|they will be resolved in a different climate."
Bar leaders seem
confident they can push a dues bill through the legislature in the coming session,
al-though they were reluctant to predict what such a measure might contain.
Many favor legislation which starts from scratch, rather than using the measure
authored by Assembly-man Robert Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, which never came to a vote.
That bill contained numerous concessions which some governors now say they never
supported. They characterize some of the issues - which became significant obstacles to
reaching a compromise - as red herrings whose importance will be diminished because they
are not of great concern to the new governor.
Other reforms, such as a requirement for competitive bidding for outside contracts, are
"no brainers," says former bar President Jim Towery.
The conference of delegates, educational sections, lobbying restrictions and governance
of the bar "are much more serious issues upon which there is divided opinion,"
Towery said. "The board has to make a calculated decision whether to compromise from
the outset or to take a much more aggressive stance."
The Hertzberg bill removed the sections and the conference from the mandatory bar, but
board members seem less willing to accept that now.
Many, if not most, governors want to see both entities remain within the bar, but with
a requirement that they be self-supporting. The sections in particular, backers say,
educate attorneys and legislators and serve as a resource to help resolve technicalities
which arise in statutory drafting.
The conference, say board members, has a long history of helping to improve laws. The
resolutions cited by Wilson in his veto message as politically unacceptable were not
adopted by either the board of governors or the conference's executive board as part of
either group's legislative program, said Jim Seff, a bar governor from San Francisco.
"We did a very poor job of explaining why the conference and the sections got a
bad rap, and instead rolled over and said, OK, no conference and no sections,' and
made other concessions," he said.
The final version of the Hertzberg bill "gives far too much away, much of it, in
my view, very unnecessary," Seff said. Added Palmer Madden of the East Bay, "I
would like to see us start all over. The bill that came out was burdened with features
that are not desirable."
The election of Davis was clearly a boost for bar leaders frustrated by Wilson's
refusal to meet with them.
In an interview with the California Bar Journal during the campaign, Davis called
Wilson's veto of the dues bill "a heinous act," and indicated he would try to
break the legislative impasse. Davis said the issue of governance is sensitive and
expressed concern that a politically appointed board would engage in more, rather than
"We must make a genuine effort to strike a balance between recognizing the
judicial governance of the State Bar and ensuring that the State Bar serves its appointed
purposes rather than becoming primarily a lobbying organization," he said.
Although Democrats picked up five seats in the Assembly and two in the Senate, they
still are far from a two-thirds majority in either house.
Sen. Ray Haynes, R-Riverside, said he believes there's virtually no chance of winning
the two-thirds vote required for an urgency measure. "I believe there are still
enough members there to say we won't give you anything until you change the way you're
doing business," Haynes said.
Two board members also cautioned the bar faithful not to celebrate too quickly.
"There's an assumption that somehow the bar is out of the woods and the cavalry
has come to save us," said Fresno representative Paul Hokokian. "I don't believe
that's true because I think the opposition in the legislature is still there."
Tom Warwick of San Diego said the bar should mold a bill with input from lawmakers, and
any legislation must respond to recent criticism.
"Until there's some agreement among legislators that results in a bill the
governor can sign, it's premature to suggest that because the Democrats have a majority in
both houses and control the governor's mansion, it's going to guarantee a specific
result," he said.
"The bar must evolve," he added. "I think it would be a fatal error to
presume how people are going to vote on this issue."