Partner Diane Fishburn and Political Reports Specialist Julie Delong accept Stephen Mather Visionary Award.
Restore Hetch Hetchy, an environmental organization dedicated to restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley within Yosemite National Park, presented its prestigious Stephen Mather Visionary Award to Olson, Hagel & Fishburn for its pro bono legal work on behalf of Measure F which appeared on the November 2012 San Francisco ballot. Measure F would have called for a restoration study of the "other Yosemite Valley" through removal of the reservoir which currently floods Hetch Hetchy Valley within Yosemite National Park. Partner Diane Fishburn accepted the award before 150 guests at RHH's annual dinner. Diane noted that although not successful, Measure F advanced the cause by bringing national attention to the issue of reversing John Muir's unsuccessful environmental battle to save the valley.
Olson Hagel & Fishburn is a proud sponsor of the 10th Annual Valentine Run to raise money for Legal Services of Northern California. In addition to being a Copper Heart sponsor, the firm sent a team to run in this year's event.
Through special programs and advocacy, Legal Services of Northern California supports over 500,000 under-represented citizens in 23 counties in Northern California, helping the poor achieve justice and stability by challenging the causes and effects of poverty in our communities. For more information about LSNC go to their webpage at http://about.lsnc.net/.
Term Limits reform initiative drafted by Lance H. Olson is overwhelmingly adopted by electorate at June 2012 primary.
Proposition 28, a measure reforming California's two decade old term limits law, was adopted by voters at California's June election. The initiative, drafted by senior partner Lance H. Olson, was designed to permit Legislatures to serve up to 12 years in either the Senate or the Assembly, in contrast to the prior system of limiting Legislators to three terms in the Assembly (for a maximum of 6 years) and two terms in the Senate (for a maximum of 8 years). The idea behind the initiative was to provide more continuity and experience in each house of the Legislature. The initiative was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, a client of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn. Proposition 28 was approved by 61% of the voters.
Olson Hagel & Fishburn represents the California School Boards Association's Education Legal Alliance, the Association of California School Administrators, and Stockton Unified School District in a lawsuit brought against the State Board of Education for its approval of a statewide charter granted to Aspire Public Schools in 2007. (The California Teachers Association was also a petitioner in the litigation but was represented by different counsel.) At a hearing in December 2011, Deborah Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn, argued that the grant of the statewide charter violated state law, which favors locally-approved charters. Last month the Alameda County Superior Court agreed and expressed its intent to void the approval of State Board of Education's approval of Aspire's statewide charter. Click here http://www.csba.org/NewsAndMedia/Publications/CASchoolNews/2012/April/InPrint/2012_AprCSN_Aspire.aspx to view the recent article describing the victory in CSBA’s California School News.
Deborah B. Caplan, managing partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, recently appeared in San Francisco Superior Court in an effort to protect education funding guaranteed by the California Constitution under Proposition 98. The lawsuit – brought on behalf of the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, Los Angeles USD, San Francisco USD, and Turlock USD – was filed in September 2011 in response to the enacted 2011-12 state budget, which underfunded schools by more than $2 billion. A decision by the superior court judge is expected within 90 days. Click here http://toped.svefoundation.org/2012/03/29/a-lot-hangs-on-prop-98-ruling/ to view the full article published in the Thoughts on Public Education blog.
The FBI arrested professional campaign treasurer Kinde Durkee last month on bank fraud charges after a number of prominent politicians reported fraudulent transactions and missing campaign funds from committee bank accounts. However, this is not the first time Durkee's name has been linked to fraud and embezzlement of campaign funds. Nearly two years ago, Olson Hagel & Fishburn assisted Senator Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, with drafting a letter to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office to formally request an investigation of Durkee's actions in her capacity as Kehoe's campaign treasurer. Click here http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/oct/03/los-angeles-da-was-tipped-on-campaign-treasurer/ to view full article published in the San Diego Union Tribune.
Partner Richard Miadich (on right) helps present $5,000 check to WEAVE, Inc.
Partner Richard Miadich who is Vice President of the Sacramento Law Foundation recently participated in an award of $5,000 to WEAVE, Inc. The SLF is the charitable arm of the Sacramento County Bar Association where Rich also serves on the Board of Directors. WEAVE provides a safe house and crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County. Rich was quoted in the Sacramento County Bar magazine's July issue: "The Sacramento Law Foundation is pleased to award this grant supporting WEAVE's efforts to improve access to justice for victims of domestic violence in the Sacramento community."
Lance Olson (right) with fellow McGeorge alumnus and political attorney Steve Merksamer.
Senior partner Lance Olson was recently featured, along with two other UOP McGeorge School of Law alumni, in the law schools law summer issue of its magazine. In an article titled, "They Take the Initiative" Olson was described as one of the "major players in the California initiative process, both on the state and local level." Olson was identified as the author of Propositions 34 (campaign finance reform) and Proposition 25 (majority vote on the state budget) and one of the persons who spearheaded the creation of the California Political Attorneys Association.
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2011, Richard C. Miadich became a partner in the firm. Prior to becoming a partner, Rich had worked as an associate attorney in the firm's Litigation Practice Group, where he participated in matters involving election and campaign finance law, education law, government and administrative law, and constitutional law. Rich is a graduate of the UC Davis School of Law and received his undergraduate degrees from UCLA. In addition to being a partner in the firm, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Bar Association and of the Sacramento Law Foundation.
In an article called "California Influencers" Campaign and Elections magazine identified the top 50 Democratic and top 50 Republican players in California politics today. Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Lance Olson was named as one of the top 50 Democratic players in California. The article noted that Olson has been "advising Democrats about political law for nearly three decades."
On behalf of the California School Boards Association, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Olson, Hagel & Fishburn filed an original writ in the 2nd District Court of Appeal challenging Governor Schwarzenegger's veto of funding for mental health services to students in public schools. The lawsuit alleges the veto violates mandate provisions of the State Constitution.
Olson, Hagel partner Deborah Caplan, lead attorney for the petitioners, was quoted in the legal newspaper, The Daily Recorder, stating "The Legislature made a conscious decision to continue the program of county mental health services and the petitioners believe the governor's attempt to overrule the Legislature's determination is unconstitutional."
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn attorneys Richard Rios and Lacey Keys participate in Fresno County vote canvass.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno County Elections workers are getting used to having someone looking over their shoulders. This panel of three is verifying, or attempting to verify the signatures on absentee ballots, while observers from election campaigns look on intently.
The workers are comparing signatures on absentee ballots with the signatures on voter registration cards. The County Clerk wouldn't let us show you the signatures, but there were some obvious discrepancies that these workers did their best to sort out.
"It says Alicia or maybe Jesus."
In this panel of three, two must agree whether a signature is valid, or not. If not, it's stamped as "challenged," and placed in a bin, where the Deputy Clerk will try to make a final determination of whether it will be counted or not. Most of those looking on were representing the candidates in the District 20 Congressional race between Democrat Jim Costa and Republican Andy Vidak and they are expected to further challenge some of the results.
In an article called the "Propositioners: How a small number of legal specialists make their clients' cases to voters." Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Lance Olson is featured as one of a small group of political attorneys involved in drafting ballot measures. The article identifies Olson, Hagel as a firm which represents mostly Democratic and liberal clients and labor unions. Olson is identified as general counsel to the California Democratic Party.
Deborah Caplan, keynote speaker at the University of Redlands where the focus of the symposium was "Fixing California School Finance" through a lawsuit brought by the California School Boards Association to challenge California's school financing system.
On Monday, July 26, the First District Court of Appeal issued a favorable ruling on behalf of several education organizations and school districts represented by Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP. In a case involving important charter school issues, the appeals court overturned the trial court's decision and held that the State Board of Education used the incorrect legal standard in approving statewide charter applications when it failed to determine whether the proposed program could be provided through locally-approved charter schools. The appellate court also held that the State Board's procedures for approving state charters were subject to review for compliance with California's Administrative Procedure Act, and that a chartering agency's actions or inaction with respect to a charter school could be subject to a writ of mandate under some circumstances. The case, California School Boards Association et al. v. State Board of Education, will return to the trial court for further proceedings.
Deborah B. Caplan, a partner at Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP, led the litigation efforts on behalf of the education associations and school districts. Counsel for the California Teachers Association also participated in the case.
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Diane Fishburn recently addressed several local unions at a training hosted by AFSCME Council 57. The training focused on participation in state and local elections while complying with state campaign finance law.
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Diane Fishburn recently provided a joint training with the law firm of Adler & Colvin for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. The training was attended by local affiliates from around the state and addressed participation in State elections. Fishburn provided training for the affiliates on compliance with state and federal campaign finance laws.
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Deborah Caplan recently addressed the Sacramento Chapter of the League of Women Voters on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission which struck down the federal law prohibiting union and corporate independent expenditures in connection with federal elections. Caplan explained the impact of the decision on campaign finance laws, particularly in California.
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, a coalition of students, parents, school districts, and education associations brought suit against the State of California alleging that the current education finance system is unconstitutional and that the State is required to establish a system that provides all students an equal educational opportunity. Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP represents the California School Boards Association, the Association of California School Administrators, the California State PTA and the nine school districts throughout the State.
"California is currently not providing the system of schools required by the constitution because its system for financing education is completely disconnected from the costs of the State's educational program and from the needs of California's children," stated Attorney Deborah Caplan, speaking at a press conference in Sacramento. Caplan, who is a partner with Olson Hagel & Fishburn, also spoke of the daunting odds school districts face, with California ranked virtually at the bottom of all 50 states in terms of the ratios of teachers, counselors, nurses, administrative staff, computers and many other critical education resources.
The lawsuit has received statewide coverage, some of which can be heard here http://www.scpr.org/news/2010/05/20/k-12-advocates-sue-california-failing-fund-educati/. For more information, please visit www.fixschoolfinance.org.
The FPPC has recently made significant regulatory changes regarding what constitutes a gift and how gifts are valued. Many long-standing rules have been significantly amended or eliminated all together. For example, free admission, refreshments and travel provided in connection with a speech, panel or seminar is now a reportable gift subject to limits. If you plan to make gifts to public officials, or want to learn more about these regulatory changes, you should review our memorandum explaining these new rules available here.
In July 2008, the California State Board of Education adopted a requirement that all students throughout the state take algebra by eighth grade. Members of the education community retained Olson, Hagel & Fishburn to bring a legal challenge to the action. In January 2009, the trial court granted plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction, finding that the meeting was not properly noticed under the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act and that the State Board did not have authority to impose the eighth grade algebra requirement. After an appeal by the State Board, in April 2010, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the injunction in its entirety.
Deborah B. Caplan, a partner at Olson, Hagel & Fishburn, led the litigation efforts on behalf of the California School Boards Association and the Association of California School Administrators.
Richard Miadich: Olson, Hagel attorney and co-chair of Food from the Bar.
The Sacramento Business Journal reports that local lawyers are teaming up with Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services from April 19 to May 14 to fight hunger in the Sacramento region. The effort is headed up by Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP senior associate Rich Miadich who serves as co-chair. "As lawyers, we have a special public trust to provide service that goes beyond access to the court and some service pro bono," said Miadich. "Food from the Bar resonates with what lawyers can and should be doing." Founded in 1976, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services seeks to assist those in need and move them toward self-sufficiency and financial independence.
On January 21, 2010 Sacramento Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster ruled that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's Strong Mayor Initiative constituted a revision of the city charter and such revisions cannot be proposed through the initiative process. The judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing the City Clerk from placing the matter before the voters. The lawsuit was brought by Sacramento labor leader Bill Camp who was represented by Lance Olson and Richard Miadich of Olson, Hagel & Fishburn. "The ruling affirms what we have argued all along," said Lance Olson, lead attorney for the plaintiff in the lawsuit. "The voters may revise the city charter, but it must be done lawfully and through an open and inclusive process."
The United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in a rare special public session which reflects the gravity of the decision particularly with respect to Federal elections. The major holding in the Citizens United case is that the Court invalidated the Federal law which prohibits corporations from making independent expenditures in Federal campaigns. The practical effect of the decision is that both labor unions and corporations are not prohibited from making independent expenditures in Federal elections, something they were not permitted to do prior to the decision.
Olson, Hagel & Fishburn partner Deborah Caplan was recently certified as an appellate law specialist by the California Bar Association Board of Legal Specialization. In order to obtain certification as an appellate specialist, an attorney must demonstrate substantial experience in handling appellate briefs and oral arguments and must pass a challenging written examination. There are less than 300 appellate specialists in the State.
Chris Waddell, head of Olson Hagel & Fishburn's Public Retirement Law practice, has authored a report on public pension fund governance best practices for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME), a longstanding client of the firm. The report, entitled: "Enhancing Public Retiree Pension Plan Security: Best Practice Policies for Trustees and Pension Systems," serves as a roadmap for improving public pension plan governance. The report reviews best practice policies and recommends policy language for pension systems to adopt with a focus on trustee responsibilities, education, core competencies and ethical and fiduciary conduct. A copy of the report is available at www.afscme.org/pensions.
Lance Olson speaks at press conference announcing filing of lawsuit to remove the Strong Mayor Initiative from the ballot.
On December 2, 2009 Bill Camp, head of the Sacramento Central Labor Council filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court challenging the constitutionality of the Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's Strong Mayor initiative. The lawsuit alleges the initiative violates the California Constitution which does not permit the revision of a city charter through the initiative process. Speaking at a news conference, Lance Olson, attorney for the union leaders, explained that the Mayor and proponent of the initiative had not followed the correct legal process for revising a city charter. "Any major changes to the Charter such as are proposed by the Strong Mayor Initiative must be done through a deliberative and open process—either by the City Council holding public hearings or through an elected charter commission operating in the open," explained Olson. "The Charter cannot be revised through a process where those with a private agenda and behind closed doors draft a new Charter and then present it directly to the voters. Such a process is not deliberative nor open as required by the State Constitution."
Olson, Hagel attorney Richard Rios participates in Santa Barbara vote canvass.
Most of Santa Barbara County's offices were closed for Veterans' Day. But at only 8:45 a.m. today, the county's election ballot-counting headquarters at the corner of Anacapa and Figueroa streets was bustling.