Well I have heard that too, that the CLE shares a lot of common parts with other Minoltas. But a lot of service centers either don't know that or are not willing to use parts from another camera. Usually I was said that there are no spare parts for the CLE and therefore they won't help me.
But I had my mother call the Arlüwa service center (she speaks german) and apparently there was somebody who didn't even know if Minolta CLE is film or digital but then she spoke with some repairman and he said that they would repair. Frankly, I was a bit surprised but I will be nervous until I get my Minolta back and will check that it really works
Well, about the button. When I first got my Minolta I also thought it was a bit unfortunate but soon I got a knack of using it. And you don't have to lift your eye away from the vf. I just press it with the side of the tip of my index and then with the tip of my finger I rotate the shutter wheel CCW. It's really easy and the wheel is only locked when on A so whet you turn it past it the button does not need to be pressed anymore. A much better change would be to have the meter reading also in manual imo. However I don't know it is doable.