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Letters to the Editor

Will the insurance industry buy in?

Re: expedited jury trials (August). Plaintiff lawyers would do this in a heartbeat but is anyone aware of data showing insurance company agreement to this in real life rather than theoretically?

Dennis H. Black
Medford, Ore.

Racist headline

“Governor nominates Tani Cantil-Sakauye as California’s first Filipina chief justice” (August). Why must you be racist? She’s an American. Drop the qualifiers. Either she’s earned it (on merit) or it's political chicanery.  In either instance her ethnic heritage is irrelevant.

John P. Hurabiell
San Francisco

Unconvinced of financial reform

It is always nice to get grandiloquent reassurances in very expensive reports. (“Latest audit gives bar high marks,” August.) However, one cannot tell from reading the excerpts quoted whether the embezzlement problem has been solved by separation of functions so that the bar has in place a system which allows for early discovery of any future problems.

Readers will recall that the embezzlements involved diversion of rental income from State Bar real property. The employee had the opportunity to embezzle because the bar had allowed the same person to receive payments, make deposits and make entries into the accounting system. Yet nothing in the published excerpts appears to deal with this at all.  Instead we are reassured that control of payroll is strong, that the internal controls for accounts payable and procurement are strong, budgeting has embraced accountability and transparency – but not one word about making sure that functions and responsibilities are separated so that embezzlements cannot go undetected for long.

The bar has spent a lot of money on this report instead of simply fixing a simple problem that could have been easily fixed. Why?

Leric Goodman

Editor’s note: The audit of accounts payable/payroll includes the following: “The State Bar has implemented stronger controls over lease payments it receives from tenants at the San Francisco office. Specifically, tenant invoicing and payment processing is no longer centralized at the operations department. Instead, invoices are generated by the finance department based on a pre-established rent schedule that is reviewed and approved by operations, general counsel and finance. Rent checks are also received by finance who scan the check and save a copy on a shared drive only accessible by operations, finance, general counsel and the executive director’s office.”

Is Philip Kay a victim?

It is long past time that the State Bar and the courts stand up to offensive litigation tactics and practices that disrespect the court and opposing counsel. Thus making an example of Philip Kay (August) was, in my opinion, a good idea.  Among other things, I suspect it has and will continue to engender discussion and debate.

However, disbarment or even a three-year suspension is too severe. One year and the mandatory ethics course would have made the point with Mr. Kay and the rest of the bar. The State Bar is turning Kay into a victim instead of sending the positive message it intends.

Michael Arkin
Corrales, N.M.

Getting rid of activist judges

The good news is that Chief Justice Ron George is retiring . . . but not before wreaking considerable damage upon the morals of this state with his activist rulings. Considering the role of the judiciary (both federal and state) in recent years in nullifying the people’s votes regarding initiatives, propositions and, in some cases, candidates for office, considerable money and court resources could be saved by simply allowing the initiatives, propositions and candidates to be reviewed and voted on by the judiciary vis-à-vis the voters since the judiciary often tells the voters what they (the voters) really wanted notwithstanding their misguided votes.

Robert C. Wood


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