Santa Monica Observer Issue 49 : Page 1

Page 2 Volume XI Number 49 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ November 24 - 30 2008 Stop in the Name of the Law! Complaints by residents of noisy exercisers along the 4th Street median, have led the SMPD to install park rangers to enforce a walking and jogging only rule. John Kennedy, a profession- al trainer, timed his "Roll Call Boot Camp" class stretch on the street next to the stair- case. "I agree with the resi- dents that they should not be rousted out of bed by a pro- fessional gym instructor at 6 in the morning saying, 'One, two, three, four!''" said City Councilman Bobby Shriver, who lives on Adelaide Drive. RAND Trustee to US Treasury Secretary RAND Corporation President and CEO James A. Thomson today said the fol- lowing regarding President- elect Barack Obama’s nomina- tion of Timothy F. Geithner, a member of RAND’s Board of Trustees, as the next Secretary of the Treasury of the United States: “President-elect Obama has made an outstanding choice in Tim Geithner. Tim blends a capacity for insightful analysis with a proven ability to act in times of crisis. He has been a valuable member of the Board of Trustees at RAND, which seeks to provide objective analysis and effective solutions to address challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. With Tim, the American people will gain a talented and dedicated public servant.” Geithner, currently president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, previously served with the U.S. Department of Treasury for three administra- tions, holding the post of under secretary for international affairs GEITHNER, Page 3 More Americans In Propria Personal More Americans serving as their own lawyers By MARGERY A. GIBBS, Associated Press Writer – Mon Nov 24, OMAHA, Neb. – When Danielle Nitzel found her three-year-old marriage drawing its last breath in 2004, she couldn’t afford the mini- mum of $1,000 she was told she would need to hire a divorce lawyer. So she did what more and more Americans are doing: She represented herself in court. “I looked online and just tried to figure out how to write out the paperwork,” said Nitzel, a nurs- ing student who at the time had little money and a pile of educa- tion loans. “I think it cost us $100 to file it ourselves.” The number of people serv- ing as their own lawyers is on the rise across the country, and the cases are no longer limited to uncontested divorces and small claims. Even people embroiled in child custody cases, potentially devastating lawsuits and bank- ruptcies are representing them- selves, legal experts say. “It’s not just that poor people can’t afford lawyers. This is real- ly a middle-class phenomenon,” said Sue Talia, a judge from Danville, Calif., and author of “Unbundling Your Divorce: How to Find a Lawyer to Help You Help Yourself.” The trend has resulted in court systems clogged with fil- ings from people unfamiliar with legal procedure. Moreover, some of these pro se litigants, as they are known, are making mistakes with expensive and long-lasting consequences — perhaps con- firming the old saying that he who represents himself has a fool for a client. Paul Merritt, a district judge in Lancaster County, Neb., said he knows of cases in which par- ents lost custody disputes because they were too unfamiliar with such legal standards as bur- den of proof. “There is a lot on the line when you have a custody case,” Merritt said. “There are a lot of things that judges take into con- PRO SE, Page 3 Want to Exercise? Not in My Back Yard, say some residents Affluent Residents of Adelaide Drive Cry Foul over Kickboxers, and Joggers. From the New York Times: — From his squad car on a sun-drenched corner, Lemont Davis, a Santa Monica park ranger, spotted the perpetra- tor: white male, 40 to 45 years old, feet pressed against palm tree, legs fully extended in situp position. Mr. Davis strode from his vehicle, topping just feet from the wide traffic median where Kieran Clarke was clearly break- ing the law. “Sorry, sir,” he said, “I need to inform you that this area is for walking and jogging only.” Mr. Clarke, who had been working his abdominals, stood up and quietly walked away. That warning the other day was among hundreds that have been issued in a culturally tumul- tuous crackdown by Santa Monica officials against viola- tors of a city ordinance, rarely enforced till now, that bars con- gregating on traffic medians. The target is increasingly loud, littering and generally intrusive groups of exercisers who gather from dawn until dusk along the Fourth Street median. The ocean view, the air and for some the architectural spectacle have transformed the area into a huge outdoor gym rimmed by multimillion-dollar homes. In the last six months, park rangers, dispatched by the Santa Monica Police Department in response to complaining neigh- bors, have stationed themselves on the corner of Fourth Street and Adelaide Drive during much of the day, at the ready to break up any unauthorized kickboxing. “I agree with the residents that they should not be rousted out of bed by a professional gym instructor at 6 in the morning saying, ‘One, two, three, four!’ ” said Bobby Shriver, a Santa Monica city councilman (“Recently re-elected with an even greater margin than I won by last time!”), who lives on Adelaide Drive but says he did not request the enforcement. Kickboxing, Page 2

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