Here’s wondering how quiet the halls of San Diego’s Manchester Grand Hyatt will be on Sept. 10-13 for the State Bar’s annual meeting.
On Monday, a majority of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s 50-plus delegates to the 2009 Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations essentially threatened to boycott the State Bar meeting because the hotel’s owner, Doug Manchester, donated $125,000 to Proposition 8. (The Conference of Delegates, which debates political and legal issues, convenes on the same site as the annual meeting.)
The delegation’s letter, sent to State Bar President Holly Fujie, comes on the heels of the 4,000-member Beverly Hills Bar Association’s failed attempt on Friday to get the State Bar to relocate the big event.
L.A. fumes, after the jump. But will anyone else?
Fujie said Friday that the State Bar Board of Governors took no action on the Beverly Hills Bar’s request because canceling the agency’s contract with the Grand Hyatt this year and in 2011 would cost the State Bar $750,000 in cancellation fees.
That didn’t stop the L.A. delegation from sending its letter on Monday.
“Many of the members of our delegation are dismayed to learn that the annual meeting will be held at this location,” Chairman James Gilliam Jr. wrote. “In fact, many of our delegation members have expressed that they will not stay at the Manchester Hyatt hotel, nor will they attend MCLE courses held there.”
The letter asks the State Bar to hold its conference at the nearby San Diego Convention Center or some other site.
In an email message today, Gilliam told Legal Pad that the decision to send the letter was made by a majority vote of the L.A. delegation. “Given the high level of support for sending the letter,” he wrote, “I’d say this issue is incredibly important to a substantial number of our delegation’s members.”
Gilliam said he personally won’t stay at the Grand Hyatt “or any other Manchester-owned property.”
With seven months before the conference, what remains to be seen is whether objections to the location will spread and really disrupt the event, or simply fizzle out as the year wears on.
— Mike McKee