Klahr v. The Bar

Letters from the week of July 11, 2002

Man of Principle

Legal wrangling: I would like to comment briefly on your July 4 cover story on my disbarment ("Old Glory," Amy Silverman). Other than an excessive number of "cheap shots" at my housekeeping practices, the story is basically accurate — even if not comprehensive and complete. But there are a few errors of fact that I would like to correct:

It has not been established that lawyers who contract out cases are responsible for the failures of their contract attorneys — at least for discipline purposes. Case law on this is conflicting and unclear, and the Supreme Court in my case refused to write a written opinion on my own situation.

The Phoenix City Council never routinely served meals, although the school board does. Neither body discontinued meals because of my eating habits.

Bar settlement officer Steve Friedman told me at the settlement conference that he advised the Bar that mine was not a case for disbarment and they should make a settlement.

Although it is true that most of my 35 character witnesses knew little of the charges against me, they made clear that they didn't care; some had known me for 40 years, and all agreed I was a person of charity, integrity and good character. My case split the "Establishment" since many of my witnesses were mainstream lawyers and officials.

It is not true that I admitted I was guilty of "most of the charges." In the first proceeding, the only charge I was possibly guilty of was undue threats to my former office landlord over undue pressure to terminate the lease.

Most important, I do not favor legalization of hard drugs, especially since I have seen what they do to otherwise good people. I do believe that both marijuana and harder drugs should be decriminalized and considered to be a public health problem like cigarettes. This indeed is the will of Arizona voters per the passage of Proposition 200 and other drug-reform initiatives.

Finally, I have no desire to practice law within a crooked, corrupt Bar Association that doesn't even follow their own rules, much less the law. The Bar needs to be reformed — or abolished.

Gary Peter Klahr

Unlikely hero: Amy Silverman's look at attorney Gary Peter Klahr and his disbarment dovetails for the most part with my brief experience with the man. Yes, Klahr is eccentric and colorful, in much the same way a Picasso painting is: too off-the-wall and visually assaultive for polite company. I've not seen him breaking bread or other objects, but I know he can be abrasive and off-putting. It's easy to see why he is persona non grata among the country club set.

Nonetheless, a real person and humanitarian (if sometimes naive) resides within that Huckleberry exterior, warts and all. His civil liberties record, as Silverman notes, speaks for itself. Too bad Klahr gets hung out to dry while so many socially graced shysters in this society are amply rewarded for hiding the dirty legal and moral laundry of their well-heeled clients.

A. Wayne Senzee

Food for Thought

Better than a coupon book: After reading two of your scathing Cafe reviews, I have to say thanks. Thanks for saving me time and money. True, I would never eat at Rawsome! anyway < a href="/issues/2002-06-27/cafe.html/1/index.html">("Severe Grain Damage," Carey Sweet, June 27), but it's nice to know you were there to take the bullet for me if I wandered in by accident. I may have tried Everett's ("Even Cow Girl Gets the Blues," Carey Sweet, July 4), but thanks to you, I'll stick to grilling toxic, hormone-spewing, antibiotic-filled steaks at home. I'm sure my Caesar salad is better, too!

Thanks for being critical and expecting excellence from the restaurants you review. It's expensive to eat out. No one likes a special night out ruined by bad food or indifferent service. Keep up the good work, and if you're interested, I have a potbellied pig for sale.

Justin Finestone

Gimmicks "R" us: Everett's steak house "trendy" ("Even Cow Girl Gets the Blues," Carey Sweet, July 4)? As the first organic steak house in the nation, I would hardly call this trendy. It is an innovative concept, and maybe this is a bit hard for the simple-minded to comprehend.

I do not feel that the creators of this restaurant are trying to trick its consumers into something — as you compared it to an "As Seen on TV" gadget. The food that is produced and sold is organic. This type has an entirely different taste and feel to it. Maybe you should give it another chance before jumping to such harsh conclusions. We frequent this restaurant often and know of many more who do the same.

Via e-mail

Lighting Up

Where there's smoke, there's ire: In response to Tempe's smoking ban, Dennis Kelley states that "California is doing just fine" with its statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants (Letters, July 4). Apparently, Kelley hasn't been inside a California bar lately.

Although there were a few high-profile cases early on in the law's lifetime, most bar owners see fit to ignore it. Walk into most neighborhood joints and you'll find the patrons puffing away, much as they did before California's legislators took leave of their senses.

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