Friday, November 9, 2001
Challenged Judges Say They Will Fight to Retain Posts
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Two Los Angeles Superior Court judges who face challenges in the March 5 primary said yesterday they will hire professional consultants and run aggressive campaigns to keep their jobs.
One of the two contests shapes up as a grudge match. Newhall attorney Alan Stucker, a former commissioner of the now-defunct Newhall Municipal Court, is taking on Judge Floyd Baxter, who was presiding judge of that court.
Stucker hasn’t returned MetNews phone calls, and Baxter declined to discuss the relationship between the two. But sources said it was Baxter who instigated the Newhall court’s decision to replace Stucker with Commissioner Thomas C. White in 1998.
White is now a Superior Court commissioner as a result of unification.
In contrast with Baxter, Judge C. Robert Simpson Jr. said he knows nothing about his opponent, who hasn’t returned phone calls either.
“As far as I know, I’ve never met the gentleman,” Simpson said of Glendale attorney Kenneth E. White. White, of the law firm of Cline & Associates, originally took out papers to run for the seat from which Judge Glennette Blackwell retired, but filed against Simpson after the governor appointed Leslie E. Brown, a former Los Angeles assistant city attorney, to the post vacated by Blackwell.
Baxter said he was talking to several consultants about possibly working on the campaign. He said he has no worries about raising the finances necessary to wage an effective campaign, but is concerned about the time commitments.
“I just went back into the Air National Guard,” Baxter—a decorated Vietnam veteran—explained. “This is going to put a big crimp in that, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
His wife is terminally ill with breast cancer, he noted. But he is “absolutely committed” to the race, he said, calling it “a fight to the death.”
Simpson, 76, has been a judge since 1988, having been appointed by then-Gov. George Deukmejian after having served in a couple of positions in the administration. He said he had learned of the challenge only yesterday morning but would “stay on course” and seek “professional advice from one or another of the folks in this [political consulting] business.”
In other election news yesterday:
•Workers’ Compensation Judge Donald Renetzky confirmed that he had made a final decision to run for the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Pirosh. The senior Renetzky’s opponents are Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg, Superior Court Commissioner Jeffrey Marckese, and Santa Monica attorney Joseph Deering Jr.
•State Bar Court Judge Michael D. Marcus, who had taken out papers to run for several seats, said he had settled on the contest to succeed Judge Michael Kanner. Other candidates in that race are Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis Birnstein and former Superior Court Commissioner Richard Espinoza.
•Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey said that she had “gambled” by filing for the seat of Judge Reginald Dunn, but would drop out of the race now that Dunn has filed for reelection. Veasey said she may file for one of the four open seats on the ballot—the deadline is Tuesday—or might not run at all.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company