Happy New Year
We're spending our night watching Robin Williams on Broadway and shooing the kids away with promises to call them at midnight. Hope you and yours are having as much fun.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 11:51:00 PM

New Year's
My office is two blocks from the Rose Parade route. When the kids are out of school and work is a litttle light (fortunately, they coincided this year), I try to work from home but sometimes you just need to go in to grab some files, no matter how well you plan ahead. Today was that day.

I walked over to the parade route. At 2 pm, every spot was staked out and the campers were making themselves comfortable. Barbecues abounded and the air smelled delicious. Portapotties seemed plentiful, which is a step above the NY celebration, according to the Comedian. Those of us who work nearby are grateful for the portapotties.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 02:40:00 PM

Identity Theft
The Sacramento Bee has an article on the new law and some practical advice. I deal with a few identity theft matters in my practice, mostly when it happens to a standing client. The laws and the banks seem to have caught up to this problem and it's not the disaster it once was. I'm sure the bad guys are developing a new trick.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 11:24:00 AM

New laws
The San Francisco Chronicle has the list of new laws.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 11:16:00 AM

California Coastal Commission
The news of the court's ruling [discussed here yesterday with a link to the decision so scroll down] is moving through the papers and the blogs. Calpundit's got it right: this suit accomplishes nothing and the ruling is meaningless. It's a tempest in a teapot. Still, it's a tempest that'll cost a lot of time and money to quell.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 11:03:00 AM

Both new laws that I have complained about, the summary judgment law and the lifting of the statute of limitations for a year, were the products of Senator Burton.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 10:45:00 AM

The statute of limitations
There's a new law in town. Starting January 1, for a year, the statute of limitations on molestation suits has been lifted. You can read an LA TImes story treating it as a victory and the bishops' letter condemning it.
The problem I have is that the statute of limitations is designed to put old cases to rest because the law recognizes that it is difficult after a certain length of time to actually get to the truth. Evidence is lost, memories fade. (There's case law that expresses this viewpoint. Email me if you want me to locate it for you.) The only unending statute of limitations that I am aware of is the criminal statute for homicide. In that example, the prosecution has to prove the aged case beyond a reasonable doubt. I am aware of no civil statute longer than 10 years and most are shorter, much shorter.
We're asking a jury to decide whether it is more likely than not (a 51% standard) that something happened, perhaps decades ago, in a situation that involved probably only the plaintiff and defendant. What are the chances that the jury will be able to decide fairly? This unfairmess cuts both ways. Both the plaintiff and the defendant are doing little more than rolling the dice or flipping the coin. I don't see this law helping, healing or solving the problem.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 10:38:00 AM

Rant of the Morning
I am fourth-gerneration American. My father's family is Czech, so much so that my father, third generation in this country, spoke no English until he went to school. He apparently resented this because by the time of my childhood, he recalled no Czech. It was my grandmother who tried to teach me the language (a difficult, almost impossible task) and instilled in me an almost Pavlovian respect for Thomas Masaryk, who fought for freedom from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (My father used to complain when I said I was Czech. "Her father's American and she's Czech. Amazing.")
My grandmother's respect for Masaryk resulted in my respect for Havel after her death, although I only followed the situation in the Czech Republic, then Czechoslavakia, in passing. When we were at Madame Tussaud's in London last year, I, usually camera-shy, agreed to have my picture taken with the Havel figure. Who knows, in a few generations, they may not realize it was a wax figure and think that their ancestor was more important than she was.
Which brings me to my rant. the New Yorker has a piece on Havel, the point of which is that Havel is a liberal and not ashamed to say so and the Democrats in the US should be as proud as he is, instead of cowering before Bush. Bah! I say, bah! The liberalism of Havel bears little resemblance to the liberalism that I hide from today. Here is the Havel liberalism:

Havel is a liberal—and, unlike many American liberals, he is proud to proclaim it. As he begins to make his exit, it is worth adding up what his liberalism has wrought. He helped bring freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of commerce to his country.

The liberals in the US, with their attacks on religion in the public sphere which has morphed into an attack on Christianity, which should not be allowed to poke its head out of the shadows, and their taxation which threatens to quash all commerce, have forgotten these ideals. (I won't get into the freedom of the press because I am tired of the liberal bias-conservative bias argument.) That Havel differs from US liberals is acknowledged by the New Yorker almost as an afterthought:

But Havel has also, unlike some other European leaders, refused to renounce, or even flinch from, the potential of power, even armed power, in the name of security and justice. His government pushed (in vain) for the West to intervene more quickly and completely in Rwanda. He pressed for armed intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo. And now, in the age of stateless terrorism, he is unabashedly in favor, as he said in New York, of the principle that "evil must be confronted in its womb and, if there is no other way to do it, then it has to be dealt with by the use of force."

What? He doesn't blame the American way of life for the attacks? Now there's a liberal I can live with. No wonder Havel is proud to call himself a liberal.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 10:13:00 AM

A thought to end the year
"Every new day begins with possibilities. It's up to us to fill it with
the things that move us toward progress and peace."

Ronald Reagan

Thanks to Insight of the day
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/31/2002 09:30:00 AM


The referral tool on the right occasionally gets a handful of sites in it and then it's blank again. Makes me wonder how the "last 24 hours" is defined.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 10:47:00 PM

The I Wish I Had More Information Department
An AP article posted on Fox 11 -- District Attorney: Gang homicide rates doubled in Orange County. The Orange County rate went from 16 to 35.

Officials say it's impossible to know whether there is a connection between cuts in gang programs and the rise in gang killings. Some blame the poor economy and gang leaders getting out of prison.

I say it's impossible to know whether more killings get labeled gang-related after funding to the gang program gets cut.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 10:44:00 PM

Be Careful What You Wish For
We all wish for traffic but Two Tears in a Bucket found out some of the downside today.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 10:22:00 PM

Predicting the year
An interesting article on the ability or inability to predict what the year holds (not psychically but based on knowledge and analysis of current trends). Short answer: you can predict long term but not short term.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 05:53:00 PM

California Coastal Commission Can of Worms
A new case out of the Third Appellate District of California held that the Califonria Coastal Commission has no power to act! Marine Forests Society v. California Coastal Commission can be found here. In simplistic terms, the California Coastal Commission approves uses for the coast, not an insignificant role in this state.

The court ruled that the Commission is an executive branch commission and the appointment and possible removal of 2/3 of its members by the legislative branch is a violation of the separation of powers. However, it made it clear that Marine Forests made the objection timely and past actions are not invalidated.

One of two things should happen now: the Supreme Court reviews the case and reverses it or, more likely, the Commission is reformed so appointments stay in the executive branch. You have to wonder whether a new commission would rule differently for Marine Forests.

What about those previous plaintiffs. Do they sue their attorneys for malpractice for not thinking of such an argument? Unlikely, since malpractice requires failing below the generally prevailing standard of competency, not failing to think up a darn good argument that was not out there before.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 04:33:00 PM

Politics on the Net
This article in the Sacramento Bee starts out touting how the Bipartisan California Commission on Internet Political Practices is returning its funding to help the deficit but keep reading you'll see what the Commission is investigating. This commission is one to keep an eye on.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 02:03:00 PM

Summary Judgment amendments
The link below to the amendments to the summary judgment law does not work. The best I can do is send you here and tell you it is chapter number 448 chaptered in 2002. The summary of the changes from the law is as follows:

Existing law prescribes the service deadlines, continuance
procedures, and appellate review of motions for summary judgment.
This bill would revise those provisions to extend the service
deadlines from 28 to 75 days, to allow additional discovery after
continuance, as specified, to require a reviewing court to allow
supplemental briefing on grounds granting summary adjudication not
relied upon by the trial court, and to make technical changes.

Under section (m)(2) of the new law, additional facts may be presented to the appellate court that would defeat the summary judgment even if those facts were not presented down below.

posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 10:27:00 AM

New laws
The Oroville Mercury-Register has a short article on new laws for 2003. The LA Times usually has a good roundup on the 1st. I'll link to it when I see it.

Update: KABC's version
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 09:43:00 AM

More on Neocons
Max Boot says:

But what the heck is a neocon anyway in 2003? A friend of mine suggests it means the kind of right-winger a liberal wouldn't be embarrassed to have over for cocktails. That's as good a definition as any, since the term has clearly come unmoored from its original meaning.

Pat Buchanan is less than kind:

Neoconservatives are the useful idiots of the liberal establishment.

Thanks to Real Clear Politics for the links.

Buchanan seems to have missed the boat, complaining that neocons were liberals in the early 70s, not realizing that the shift in republicans towards the center and the shift in Democrats towards the left, which happened in the 70s, is what moved the neocons from the Democratic side to the Republican side. Of course, what do I know? I'm just a useful idiot.

posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 09:33:00 AM

Also from Bakersfield, the naming of the chair of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee. Reading the issues that she plans to tackle, I'm not sure why most of them are state, not federal, issues. Especially in a deficit situation. Is she is charge of negotiating with the feds? When I know more, I'll let you know.

posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 09:20:00 AM

A roundup of ideas to fix the deficit appears in the Bakersfield Californian.

Thanks to Rough & Tumble for the link. Bakersfield was below my radar screen.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 09:08:00 AM

Non sequiter
Fred Keeley will be the executive director of the Planning and Conservation League and Foundation rather than taking the task of fixing the deficit. Of course, you know the guy who is in charge of fixing the deficit produced "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes."
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 09:02:00 AM

Dianne Feinstein has come out against human cloning.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 08:56:00 AM

Andrew Sullivan is back from vacation.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 08:48:00 AM

More on tests
Reflections in D Minor has an interesting response to my posts on tests. Like Lynn, I used to like tests too when I was in school. I usually compensated for whatever trouble I was in (like refusing to do homework) by acing a test. Watching my kids and their firends, though, I don't have the same reaction. I see so many who are smart and know the material but have trouble with the tests for different reasons. Maybe we need fewer tests or different types of tests.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 08:15:00 AM

Legal insurance
I think it's time we considered having legal insurance that works like medical insurance. RIght now, we have plans like Pre-paid Legal or Lawyers Assurance Group, which allow members to ask questions as part of the plan and then get a reduced hourly rate for additional services. I suppose you could review the reduced hourly rate as a "co-payment" but it does not come close to the benefit of many insurance plans because the hourly rate is still rather high. We also have liability insurance which covers defense of certain claims but the insurance company picks the lawyer and the claims covered are more limited.

What I am envisioning is something like the PPO plans. Insureds go to a lawyer for whatever they need, the lawyer bills the insurance company and gets their fees reduced but paid.
The first reaction on my part was that this might increase litigation, already at a point where the system can't handle it. However, I think it would reduce it. First, people are encouraged to get proactive care -- contracts will be properly drafted, wills will be written, leases will be reviewed. Second, if both sides of a case (plaintiff and defendant) are insured, contingency lawyers are eliminated and the downsides of a contingency arrangement are eliminated. Third, I don't believe that most people want to litigate. Expense aside, it's a long, draining process. With a system where no one really benefits from dragging on a case, alternative dispute measures may be more prevalent. Only cases that need a jury will get one.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/30/2002 07:51:00 AM


Clean Air
I hesitated in posting this news, because I haven't anything to add but it's such good news, I wanted to share. I will say that the AQMD always strikes me as an underrated agency.
Calif. on Pace to Meet Clean Air Standards
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 09:46:00 PM

SF in a less than progressive moment
According to a CNN article about the new Segway, SF is raging in debate over whether the human transporter should be allowed on that city's streets.
According to Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, SF also delayed allowing cars on its streets.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 09:09:00 PM

Smallpox vaccine
If you're in the LA area, Harbor UCLA is doing a study on the smallpox vaccine and you can get vaccinated.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 07:57:00 PM

Tipsy tow
The AAA is offering rides home on New Year's.

Callers tell the Auto Club operator, say "I need a tipsy tow' to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular Auto Club-contracted emergency road service truck will be dispatched.

And if you're unable to say "tipsy tow" after a few drinks?
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 02:44:00 PM

Summary judgment
An initiative designed to overturn the amendments to the summary judgment law has failed to qualify for the ballot. You can find those amendments here. In short, they make it harder to get summary judgment in a case and force more cases to go to trial. The rationale is:

Longstanding California law favors trial on the merits.
Summary judgment is a drastic procedure and should only be granted
when an action is without merit and both sides have a fair
opportunity to address the merits of an action or when an action
lacks a triable issue of fact.

What the bill fails to address is the cost of going to trial and the cost of making summary judgments harder to get. Individuals and small businesses, along with a lot of medium and large businesses can't aford to defend themselves as it is.

posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 11:44:00 AM

Laws I wish they would change
Laws I wish we would change, not for any philosophical reason, but because they produce stupid results:

Writ of attachment offsets:
If someone owes you money, you can attach their property pre-judgment as security for the debt. They can offset that right with a contract claim of their own. They can't offset with a tort. So, if you owe someone $500 and they steal your car worth $5000 (assuming the police are too busy or don't have enough proof) they can attach your property for $500 and you have to wait until trial to prove the conversion and try to collect for wrongful attachment. Meanwhile your $ is tied up. Make the amounts bigger and you can't afford to go to trial.

Limited liability company restrictions:

Anyone who holds a business license can't be an LLC. Probably aimed at doctors, lawyers and accountants who can't be regular corporations either. Unfortunately, the guy who holds a contractor's license and can be a corporation can't take advantage of the tax benefits of an LLC.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 11:24:00 AM

Id'ing that Republican
I posted earlier about the different types of conservatives as laid out by Krauthammer. I noted that I think the analysts are the only ones who care. That may still be true but here's another analysis: Calpundit's Political Pigeonholing.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 10:26:00 AM

Our area has been redistricted so that instead of Adam Schiff, a Democrat, we have David Dreier, a Republican, as our Congressman. Take a look at this article in the La Canada Valley Sun about the "smooth" transition. Fair amount of sniping between the two, in a polite way, of course.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 09:09:00 AM

Interesting article in the NYTimes on testing in the schools and whether it does any good. My teacher friends tell me that there real problem with testing is that there's too many of them and they take up an inordinate percentage of instructional time, particularly at the high school level.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 09:01:00 AM

The future of education
From Daniel Weintraub's column in the Sacramento Bee:

A special legislative committee has recommended a new master plan for public education that, among its suggestions, offers a new structure for governing the schools.

The proposal would shift day-to-day management of the Department of Education to the governor, who would administer the programs through his education secretary. The state Board of Education would become essentially an advisory body. And the state superintendent, a position that can't be eliminated without amending the constitution, would be the accountability cop, overseeing testing and ranking of schools and auditing districts to ensure compliance with state laws.

My cynical view: until we know what the teachers' unions have to say, there's no telling if the new plan has a chance.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 08:54:00 AM

Some candidates are starting their campaigns for 2006. Appparently, this early start is necessary because of campaign laws. Do you think that's what the voters intended when they put that proposition into place?
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 08:48:00 AM

Rough and tumble
when I get around to putting links up, this will be one of them. Meanwhile, take a look at Rough & Tumble, a roundup of news stories on California, by the Public Policy Institute of California.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/29/2002 08:44:00 AM


The town sale
So they sold a town for $1.8 million but the sale is not binding and the price seems too high. The followup should be more interesting than the press it's getting now.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 10:10:00 PM

The floats are coming
The Rose Parade is days away and the weathermen are promising the rain will be gone. If you want to see the floats up close and personal, don't wait for the aftershow. Get your sneak peek the night before when they line up on Orange Grove. A fun way to spend New Year's Eve.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 09:59:00 PM

Cornwall debunked?
I'm halfway through Patricia Cornwall's latest book "Jack the Ripper Case Closed". She's got me convinced that she's solved it. I heard of a website that refutes her evidence. Anyone know the url? Email me at
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 08:51:00 PM

RSS Added
I upgraded to blogger pro and added RSS. No sense in doing this if no one reads it. I was trying to get trackback to work but this is as far as I have gotten.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 08:03:00 PM

A California Democrat wants to change the requirements to pass a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority so those Republicans don't get a say. There are countless benefits to a democracy but one detriment is the ability of the majrity to oppress the minority. To some extent, we have prevented that by enacting laws protecting certain minorities. However, there is an ever changing minority that can't and shouldn't be defined by statute. Now, it's the Republicans in the CA legislature (and those voters who put them there). Note to Democrats: Republicans are a minority in this state, but they do exist. Giving them a say via the two-thirds vote is a good way to ensure that everyone participates in government. It's not as if the Republicans can do anything without the Democrats so the minority is not in control as the Rialto Democrat seems to believe.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 02:14:00 PM

Here's an LA Times (well,ok, a Glendale News-Press) article telling us that tenants have to enforce their new rights in court. This is a surprise? I regularly get calls from clients and potential clients asking that I "force" someone to do something that's required by law. The only way to force them is by a lawsuit, much to the client's disappointment. Even if regulatory agencies have the power, they are usually overwhelmed. I mediate bcases because it works better than litigation but if the other side doesn't want to play, a lawsuit is the only option.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 11:57:00 AM

Joshua Claybourn has a post on conservatives suggesting that the principals behind the 60s demonstrations were conservative. I guess that's why the neo-cons are former liberals.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 11:07:00 AM

Here's an example of what I mean: Glendora and San Dimas talking about who will get more sales tax revenue. 1. It's going well but Glendora is worried that it will go bad anyway. 2. The revenues are good. But I hae to ask: upscale shoppers will shop at Costco?
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 11:03:00 AM

Geez! The LA Business Journal is all doom and gloom. I take my myopic view via how busy the corporate half of my law firm is. We're busy. Deals are getting done. I think that'll translate into a robust economy. The main problem is we can't match the growth of the bubble and it will always be gloom and doom until we stop looking over our shoulder.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 10:57:00 AM

Charles Krauthammer has an interesting article up on the different types of conservatives. I'm a neo-con but does anybody besides the analysts think about what kind of conservative they are?
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 10:41:00 AM

Poker is legal is California. For an interesting discussion on the difference between LA poker and other games go to this thread
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 10:33:00 AM

According to "reliable sources", Congressman David Dreier doesn't have a staff member that handles education issues. Since his district covers LA suburbs, a population heavily focussed on education, isn't this a huge oversight?
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 09:52:00 AM

It'll take a while to learn the software. Tips and hints are appreciated.
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 09:50:00 AM

I haven't found a blog focussing on California politics and news. If I'm missing it email me, at
posted by Justene Adamec at 12/28/2002 09:49:00 AM

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Comments on So California news, law, and politics by Justene Adamec. There are occasional forays into other topics because, after all, it is a blog. Offline, I am a lawyer and mediator. Email justenea -at-

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