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Law—Water issues in San Diego draw professor’s interest

Local Consumer Attorneys Honor

Hulburt and Bunn

UCSD political science professor Steve Erie recently offered his perspective on the local water industry and how he says the Metropolitan Water District subsidies have encouraged urban sprawl in San Diego.

Erie, also the director of UCSD’s Urban Studies and Planning Department, presented “The Water Authority and Me,” at California Western School of Law along with Howard Williams of the San Diego County Water Authority board of directors.

Erie also co-authored “Unraveling Southern California’s Water/Growth Nexus,” with post-doctoral research assistant Pascale Joassart-Marcelli. The article appeared in the spring 2000 edition of the California Western Law Review, a collaborative effort of Cal Western and UCSD.

The article detailed what the authors call a collaboration between the amount of subsidy a region receives and its growth rate. Their research concluded that water subsidies, by distorting the economics of supply and demand, have produced “unwanted consequences.”

The article was published at a time when local water districts were battling in court on a restructuring of water costs and future supplies. In response, the San Diego Municipal Water District published a rebuttal that will be printed in the upcoming edition of the Law Review.

“The MWD’s reaction to the article steels my resolve to fight back,” Erie said in the fall 2000 edition of Res Ipsa, the magazine of California Western School of Law. “Given the politics of water subsidies in Southern California, the region’s subsidized beneficiaries are eager to point the finger at each other rather than pay their fair share for water provision and sustainable development.”

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Heads Up: The 4-month-old law firm of Hulburt & Bunn is already turning heads in the legal field.

Both partners of the firm were selected for honors from the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. R. Christian Hulburt was named Trial Lawyer of the Year and partner Benjamin Bunn was named the Consumer Advocate of the Year.

According to the association, Hulburt’s award was primarily for his representation of Christopher Spencer in a medical malpractice case against Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, which ended with the jury returning a verdict of negligence against the doctors for $4.3 million. The case later settled on appeal for an undisclosed amount.

Bunn’s award was for “extraordinary service to the organization and the community.” Among his accomplishments is a program he created with Superior Court Judge Federico Castro to provide free legal services to children with injury cases to ensure the settlement is in the best interest of the child.

Agency Aid: The local bar association recently awarded more than $25,000 in grants to six San Diego agencies for services ranging from technology assistance to program seed money. Contributions were given to the following: the Center for Community Solution ($5,000); Being Alive San Diego ($3,000); Kids’ Turn, San Diego ($5,000); the Griffin & Wong Institute, Real Solutions Center for Children ($3,000); Volunteers in Parole, San Diego County ($3,500); and Progressive Social Services Systems Technology Inc. ($6,000).

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Honoring O’Neill: Seats are still available for the retirement dinner in honor of Judge Robert J. O’Neill on Friday, March 9, at the Bahia Resort Hotel.

Tickets are $50 per person, with proceeds benefiting the PromiseLand Ranch, St. Vincent de Paul Village’s planned facility for homeless children in the county. For more information, call (858) 488-3509.

O’Neill retired Dec. 31 after 20 years of service. He now offers private dispute resolution services to litigants, other disputants and their counsels.

Signing On: Patricia J. Lane recently joined the San Diego office of McKenna & Cuneo LLP as office administrator John D. Tishler and Sandra L. Shippey were named partners at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch Bronwyn E. Billings, Javier Van Oordt and Bonnie L. Lutz were named associates with Klinedinst, Fliehman & McKillop.

The deadline for the next Law column is Jan. 31. Please send related items to dward@sdbj.com.


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