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SACRAMENTO � The names Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe weren’t on the ballot Tuesday, but California’s leading bond counsel firm was one of the biggest winners on election night. California voters approved $37 billion in infrastructure bonds Tuesday, including a record-high $20 billion transportation issue. The complex series of sales will likely extend Orrick’s monopoly as lead counsel on state general-obligation bonds while generating a solid payday for the firm. With a standard 7-cents-per-$1,000-sold fee arrangement on G.O. bonds, Orrick stands to make $2.59 million after all the debt notes sell. Orrick partner Robert Feyer, the state’s designated lead bond counsel for 20 years, said the firm’s role is more about prestige than a paycheck. “Given the size of the bond issue, we get decent fees, but as a percentage [of the total amount], it’s fairly small,” Feyer said Wednesday. “But this is important to us. This is our home.” Orrick is under contract to serve as California’s lead G.O. bond counsel through June 2007, although Treasurer-elect Bill Lockyer can make changes to that pact when he takes office in January. The outgoing attorney general on Tuesday sidestepped questions about his plans for the office. But few would doubt that Orrick will dominate legal work on the bonds. That just makes sense, said former state treasurer Matthew Fong. With its size and experience, Orrick is willing to charge rock-bottom prices for its services in exchange for the name recognition and the business that its role helps it generate from other public agencies, Fong said. The ex-treasurer said he tried to expand the bond counsel pool during his tenure, but “I couldn’t, in good conscience, pay for services that Orrick was basically providing for free.” A regular contributor to state and local political campaigns, Orrick supported Fong’s opponent in the 1994 treasurer’s election, Phil Angelides. After Fong won, however, Orrick donated more than $50,000 to Fong’s treasurer and later U.S. Senate campaign accounts. Fong has said Orrick’s track record, not its political contributions, earned the state’s business. Orrick leaders have also denied any pay-to-play effort in state politics. But the firm poured more than $300,000 into Angelides’ treasurer and gubernatorial campaigns. Since early 2005, the firm has also donated more than $17,000 to Lockyer, first to a gubernatorial campaign that never materialized and later to his treasurer account. What the massive sale may produce, Fong said, are more opportunities for other firms to work as co-counsel and disclosure counsel. “I would be surprised if Orrick didn’t receive the lion’s share of the work,” said Fong, now special counsel to Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. “But when there’s a bigger pie, there’s the opportunity to cut more slices.” The man who will dole out those slices of bond work, Lockyer, won easily Tuesday, garnering 55 percent of the vote against a Republican who hardly campaigned. Lockyer’s successor in the attorney general’s office, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, also declared victory early Tuesday night, defeating Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian by a 57-38 percent margin. Aided by a hefty campaign war chest, Brown successfully deflected Poochigian’s criticism that the former governor remained a soft-on-crime, liberal flake from the 1970s � even as Oakland’s homicide total topped 100 earlier this year. At a rally Wednesday, Brown credited his victory to his two terms as Oakland mayor where he developed a reputation as a strong police supporter and a pro-business leader. “This is the city that gave me my chance,” he said. Brown now moves to Sacramento, where he pledged to work with the other larger-than-life politician, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on enforcing the state’s new anti-global warming laws and reducing parolees’ recidivism rate. Lockyer said Tuesday that he and Brown have engaged in “midnight consultations” for months as part of the expected transition. Firms specializing in redevelopment work also benefited from Tuesday’s election results, which included the defeat of Proposition 90. The measure would have barred public agencies from seizing private property for development by private interests. It also contained provisions � called vague and lawsuit-inviting by some lawyer-critics � that would have forced cities and counties to compensate owners whose properties lose value due to new laws or land-use provisions. Timothy Sandefur, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit that didn’t take a position on Proposition 90 but generally supports property rights enhancements, blamed the defeat on an opposition campaign funded by government trade groups, developers and some law firms. Voters in Idaho and Washington also defeated similar initiatives while eight states approved eminent domain measures that did not include the regulatory takings provisions found in Proposition 90. “The issue of regulatory takings really hasn’t been brought home to” voters, Sandefur said. “Regulatory takings are just as unfair and harm [property owners] in the same way eminent domain does.” A pro-property rights group has already announced plans to put another eminent domain issue before Californians in 2008. Trial lawyers hoping to curb corporate power at the ballot box suffered a loss Tuesday with the overwhelming defeat of Proposition 89. The measure, backed by the California Nurses Association, would have provided public financing to some candidates while limiting corporate donations to ballot measures. At the same time, the initiative would have allowed limited liability partnerships, which form the business structure for most law firms, to contribute without restrictions, a provision that critics said was designed to aid trial lawyers while muzzling their traditional corporate opponents.

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