Civil Rights Act of 1964 President Johnson signs

President Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Beginning Friday and continuing through next week, a series of Arizona events marks the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Phoenix events are covered in some detail on a dedicated Facebook page. They include:

  • The unveiling of a commemorative mural, Burton Barr Library, Friday, 10 a.m.
  • Voter registration/civic engagement event, State Capitol lawn, Saturday, 9 a.m.
  • Celebration dinner, First Institutional Baptist Church, Saturday, 5 p.m.
  • Community celebration, Carver Museum and Cultural Center, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.

Civil Rights Act of 1964 newspaper headlineAs the site describes the legislation:

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as ‘public accommodations’).”

“Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 at the White House.”

historic home Louis Emerson House

Louis Emerson House, Phoenix.

This past month, the Arizona Republic has been engaged in a noble bit of historic preservation: highlighting the most-endangered historic buildings in Phoenix.

Yesterday, the Republic staff featured the Louis Emerson House. As they note, “The Queen Anne/Eastlake style home is one of the few remaining residences in the Evans Churchill neighborhood. The Louis Emerson House has been relocated before to make way for the Arizona Center retail development. It is listed on the Phoenix Historic Property Register.”

I was pleased to see that an attorney, Robert Young, owns the home.

“He believes two occupants lived in the house before 1902, but that is the year Louis Emerson and his wife Clara moved in.”

Young says, “Louis Emerson was a meat cutter for the Palace Meat Market. He used to advertise ‘Meat fit for a king.’” Young said he believes Emerson died in the 1920s. Clara remained in the house until the early 1930s.

That recurring feature got me thinking about other historic structures occupied by lawyers and law firms. Downtowns throughout Arizona are dotted with them, but they may be a declining resource, if the Republic series is to be understood.

Seeing the Emerson House reminded me of a feature story we published in Arizona Attorney back in 2001. It was a pictorial spread of great law offices housed in unique spaces. In that article, we covered and photographed a law office housed just up the street from the Emerson House. It is called the Oldaker House, at 649 North Third Avenue.

You can see the whole story here.

What do you think? Should we revive that feature and locate a new great list of attorney spaces?

Meanwhile, I point out that my Editor’s column that’s about to be mailed includes a contest of sorts. Send me a photo of your law office and/or desk, and I may send you a prize (read the column to find out what). (The whole thing is in the spirit of a previous blog post.)

Looking forward to seeing your space!

A dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 7, will include a wreath-laying and remarks by state historian Marshall Trimble, Rear Admiral Scott Sanders, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

A dedication ceremony on Saturday, December 7, will include a wreath-laying and remarks by state historian Marshall Trimble, Rear Admiral Scott Sanders, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

If your December is like mine, your days (especially weekends) are chock-full of events. Not only are we swamped with holiday gatherings, but the (typically) nice weather ensures that Arizonans emerge to revel as much of the rest of the country shovels.

If you can fit it in, an event tomorrow morning (Saturday, December 7) is worth your time. That is when a World War II Memorial is formally dedicated on the grounds of the state Capitol.

Sited on the Wesley Bolin Plaza, the new installation is comprised of gun barrels of the U.S.S. Arizona and U.S.S. Missouri, as well as installations honoring Arizona veterans.

A website tells more about the Memorial and the events surrounding it.

Leading the dedication of the site called “Guns to Salute the Fallen” will be Secretary of State Ken Bennett.

Here is a description of the efforts via Secretary Bennett’s office:

“For nearly three years, the Secretary has spearheaded the effort to build a complete WWII Memorial in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. Hundreds of individuals and companies in Arizona including Phoenix Rotary 100, SDB Contracting Services, Marco Crane & Rigging and BNSF Railways donated thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind services to build the memorial which features the names of Arizona’s WWII soldiers who died and historic gun barrels from the USS Arizona and USS Missouri.”

“Saturday’s events include the formal dedication ceremony which begins at 9:45 a.m. and is preceded by a DPS escorted commemorative motorcycle ride finishing at the plaza. More than 1000 riders plan to attend. The riders will be greeted by The Saluting Marine, Staff Sgt. Tim Chambers.”

Their office predicts that thousands of people will attend. So keep this in mind: Bring a lawn chair, as the only reserved seating /parking will be for WWII veterans.

Here is a complete listing of events:

  • 7:48 a.m. Run to the Guns departs EagleRiders, 1000 N. McClintock Drive, Tempe
  • 8:30 a.m. Run to the Guns arrives state capitol complex
  • 9:00 a.m. Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Flag is installed in a case in the Relic Room of the USS Arizona.
  • 9:45 a.m. WWII Memorial Dedication & Pearl Harbor Day Remembrance Ceremony begins
  • *9:50 a.m. Arizona Capitol Museum will play a live feed of the Pearl Harbor Observance from Hawaii
  • 10:55 a.m. B-17 Flyover by CAF (Commemorative Air Force, Airbase Arizona)
  • 11:45 a.m. Approximate end of ceremony
  • 1:00 p.m. American Concert & BBQ in celebration of the WWII Memorial and fundraiser for veterans, featuring Jimmie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd – 1000 N. McClintock, Tempe

Some maps will help you get there (and park); click to enlarge them. Have a wonderful weekend.

AZ WWII Memorial Parking DirectionsAZ WWII Memorial LARGE EVENT MAPAZ WWII Memorial designated parking areas

Grand Avenue Festival 2013 logo

Grand Ave. is quirky; so is its Festival logo. And yes, you can get it on a T-shirt.

It’s been awhile since I could share a straight-up Change of Venue Friday. For new readers, that’s when I post on a non-law topic, but one that may be of interest to the many other parts of our brains.

Today I have the opportunity, so I urge you to take a Saturday trip to downtown Phoenix and attend the 2013 Grand Avenue Festival.

As a fellow history buff, you may recall that Grand Avenue is notable for a few reasons. Yes, it’s the only diagonal street in our gridded city. But it’s also the urban portion of the U.S. 60, the road that back in the day took travelers from Phoenix to Las Vegas—and beyond.

That history is everywhere on the street, which is dotted with historic warehouses, now transformed into businesses, artist studios and gallery spaces. And the festival includes art, music and food. But it also includes a “Re-Dapt Historic Commercial Building Tour.” So cool.

Organizers posted the complete event program here. But, almost as if they know how busy you are, they also provided a “Short Guide to the Festival” here.

Finally, if you like a little law mixed in with your Change of Venue: Note that Grand Avenue business owners, area residents and the City of Phoenix recently were awarded a greening grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The amount from the EPA–$80,000—wasn’t huge, but it allowed street improvements that will slow the racecourse-speed traffic, improve lighting and street parking, and install some of the most innovative crosswalks and bike lanes I’ve seen (in Phoenix anyway). I’ve posted a few images below of the crosswalks and bike lanes being hand-painted; click to make them larger.

The crosswalk design was the result of a call-for-ideas. The winning design is a combination of traditional interstate highway badges that include the words Grand Ave. Congratulations to Bob Graham of Motley Design Group (sited on Grand Ave.) for the cool idea.

Have a Grand weekend.

The July 5, 2011, haboob over Phoenix. Photo by Haboob Daniel Bryant.

The July 5, 2011, haboob over Phoenix. Photo by Haboob Daniel Bryant.

I know that I promised a brief vacay for the blog and me. But I couldn’t resist sharing an important anniversary.

No, it’s not legal in the least. But that’s the beauty of Change of Venue Friday, when we get to exercise multiple parts of our brains.

And on top of that, who’s reading blogs today anyway? Everybody’s by the pool eating grilled meats, aren’t they?  (Except for those of us at our work desks, licking our injustice wounds by reading blogs and watching Youtube videos).

Well, you can join in the workplace fun, as we recall the massive dust storm—a haboob—that engulfed Phoenix on July 5, 2011.

Yes, your flight's delayed. Haboob at Sky Harbor Airport.

Yes, your flight’s delayed. Haboob at Sky Harbor Airport.

First, here is a scientific explanation of why the 2001 dust storm was so large.

Searching around Youtube for haboob video is kind of fun (but be sure to include the “ha,” at least at work). It’s amazing how much video of the event was shot and shared around the world. Finally, our state was famous for something unrelated to policy choices!

Here is a great video piece posted by the photographer Mike Olbinski (you can see more of his work here).

It is his ground-based time-lapse video as the haboob sweeps into downtown Phoenix on July 5.

The second video is an aggregation of shots from around Phoenix.

Finally, to add some news value to this post, let’s turn to a compilation of 2011 haboob coverage—or, more accurately, a mashup of TV correspondents using the word “haboob”—sometimes gleefully, other times awkwardly.

For the last bit of haboob humor on this holiday-ish Friday, I offer my shot of a sign in front of Revolver Records in downtown Phoenix; the words appeared within hours of the dust cloud passing. There’s probably no news event that cannot be translated into eye-catching commerce through the use of three exclamation marks.

Haboob at Revolver Records 08-13-11 lo

That’s right. It was a haboob!!!

That’s it; I’m out. Have a great weekend!!!

Disrobed cover by Fred BlockThis past month, I wrote about a great new book—and a terrific lunch with judges that introduced me to it.

Below, I share my column from a recent Arizona Attorney Magazine. I encourage you to enjoy Judge Fred Block’s new book, and to dig into some Chinese food. Here’s the column:

Candor and courts go together like professional and conduct.

That’s true from the attorney’s side, where we understand that statements uttered to judges must be true and accurate.

But the return flow of information from judges may not always be quite so candid.

Before anyone yells “Contempt,” understand I’m not viewing candor’s opposite as dishonesty. Instead, it’s guardedness and caution—characteristics that describe many judges.

Judges have good reason to hesitate before speaking about courts and the justice system. Nonetheless, most people appreciate the occasional glimpses they offer into a system often shrouded in mystery.

And that’s why I’m glad I accepted an April lunch date with two judges.

The first was the wonderful Judge Bob Gottsfield, of the Superior Court for Maricopa County. Accompanying him was a federal district judge from New York, Fred Block. Judge Block was presiding at a trial at the federal courthouse in Phoenix.

We met at Sing High Chop Suey House—a first for me. What brought us together was a conversation about the legal system—and a book that Judge Block had penned.

Sing High Chop Suey HouseAs I tucked into my white-meat chicken chow mein (a house specialty), I listened with pleasure to the law practice stories Judge Block told. He avoided commentary about his book, politely preferring to have a conversation rather than a press junket.

So impressed was I by the chat and by the judge that I ordered the book from Amazon the next day. And I urge you to do the same.

Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge is that rarest of animals: a candid book written by a sitting judge. His story—from a solo law practice to an Article III Judge—makes for enjoyable reading. And the cases he analyzes range from front-page fodder to colorful New York. Scanning the index gives an education: “Bondi, Richard ‘The Lump,’” “Madoff, Bernie,” “Casso, Anthony ‘Gaspipe.’”

Judge Frederic Block

Judge Frederic Block

In between bites, the judge explained that too few people understand anything about the justice system, let alone what a district judge does. He hoped his book would go some distance in educating the public.

I haven’t finished the book, but what comes through is voice with a capital V. As I prepare for May, when I’ll be writing a lawyer profile, I will devour and learn from Disrobeda masterful rendition of a profession, a time, a man and his many chapters.

Plus, I can’t wait to get to “Gravano, Salvatore ‘Sammy the Bull,’” and “Simpson, O.J.”

pro bono gavelHere is a challenge I offer to you today: Share a law-related item via social media or email.

Whoa, pretty easy, right? I bet you thought I was going to ask for some major heavy lifting. Instead, it is a simple click, share, send, done.

The item is connected to a topic I covered before: a State Bar of Arizona Law Day event that will offer free legal information to those who need it.

Really, truly, honestly free. The information will be provided by generous Arizona attorneys who know that the gap between legal services and people who need them is too, too wide. Those volunteers are offering their time pro bono to help shrink the gap just a bit.

All of the pertinent details are here. If you share nothing else, send this link to anyone you know who may be able to use it. As the State Bar says:

“The 2013 Law Day Legal Aid Clinics will serve as a free legal resource where members of communities from across the Valley and Tucson can attend information sessions on a variety of legal topics.”

“The information sessions will be conducted by volunteer lawyers and will last 90 minutes. Lawyers will provide guests with a presentation on a specific legal topic, as well as reserve time for a question and answer period. Guests can participate in one or more sessions at one of the five partner locations.”

Are you connected via social media or email to any groups that could benefit? Send it their way. Post it on your Facebook timeline. Share it on your neighborhood association listserv. Ask your firm administrator to post it prominently.

Your sharing news of Saturday’s event can help guarantee its success. Possible attendees have to be informed about the locations, the topics, the opportunity on offer. Success of the event, as measured by attendance and questions answered, will help ensure that it can be done—again and again.

For at least a part of the morning, I will be at the event staged at Phoenix’s Burton Barr Central Library. I want to hear some of the information offered, and I want to thank the lawyers who are offering it—and their Saturday.

I hope to see you and your friends there. And if you missed that link, here it is again.

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