Q–I think my lawyer is billing me for too many hours, but I can’t argue with him – he’s a lawyer!  Is there any help available to me without hiring another lawyer?

A–The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s non-profit corporation, Dispute Resolution Services, offers attorney-client mediation and arbitration services. They provide an economical alternative to filing a lawsuit and the rules are less formal than those of the court.  You may request resolution of any size dispute.  Volunteers are experienced attorneys and lay people who recieve training to handle fee disputes.  For more information contact the Attorney Client Mediation and Arbitration Services Program, 261 S. Figueroa St, P.O.Box 55020, Los Angeles, CA 90055-2020, telephone (213) 896-6426, Monday to Friday, 1:00-4:00 p.m.  For problems dealing with attorney misconduct and violation of State Bar rules, contact the State Bar of California, 1149 S.Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015-2299 or call (800) 843-9053.

Q– I was a witness to a crime and now I have to give my testimony in court.  I don’t know what to expect, what my rights are, or where to get information.  Does the government offer any services that could help me?

A– The office of Rockard J. Delgadillo, City Attorney of Los Angeles, provides a Victim Assistance Program to assure that services and support are made avail able to crime victims and witnesses. As a witnesss of a crime, your cooperation and active participation is very important to our criminal justice system. This program provides information and referral to locate public and private service agenies, crisis intervention and assistance in obtaining emergency help, case status or disposition information.  They offer explanation of court procedures, court support if requested, support services for the elderly, handicapped and child victims, among other essential services.  For more information call the Office of the City Attorney at (213) 485-6976.

Q–I vote in all elections and pride myself on active participation in my community.  I believe voting is our civic duty and wish more young people realized how important and valuable voting is.  I don’t have a lot of free time but want to help encourage voting in some way – any suggestions?

A– Hosting a polling place is an excellent way of making a difference in your community and helping your family, friends and neighbors actively participate in democracy. The Office of the City Clerk invites you to sign up as a polling place for the upcoming May 15 Municipal Elections, and they will even pay you $50 to do it.  The requirements are at least 15’x20’ of space, a safe and healthy environment with access to a restroom on site; sufficient parking for precinct officers and voters; and disabled access (ramps available as well as disabled parking).  If this space is part of your business, hosting a polling place can be an excellent way to increase your clientele and get to know the community.  You can also enjoy a sense of satisfied smugness, knowing that you are an active participant in improving the health of our valued democratic process.  The Polling Place recruitment hotline is (866) 899-8683 – option 3, or (213) 978-4008.  Visit for further information.

Confused?  Lost?  Frustrated?

Unable to find answers to your government questions and issues?

Why not ask Government George?

If he doesn’t already know the answer, he will find out for you!

George Christopher Thomas has been answering questions at the Government Center for over 6 years.  He worked for the federal government both here in California and on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.  He has been involved with many political campaigns, including his own, and with many political and civic organizations.

Fax your question to (818) 392-8550, or write to us at:

The Government Center Gazette, P.O.Box 2444, Van Nuys, CA 91404.

By daryl

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