Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, November 14, 2001


Page 1


20 Emerge as Potential Contenders in 2002 Judicial Contests


By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts


The field of Los Angeles Superior Court candidates grew by a net of one yesterday, as two candidates entered races and one announced contender dropped out.

Throwing their hats in the ring, on the last day of the extended filing period for open seats, were Covina lawyer H. Don Christian and Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Steven Lubell.

Christian filed for the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Kanner. His opponents are Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis Birnstein, mid-Wilshire civil practitioner Robert S. Harrison, State Bar Court Judge Michael D. Marcus, former Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Richard Espinoza, and Encino attorney Thomas Warden.

Warden originally filed for the seat of Judge Reginald Dunn, who reportedly was planning to step down. When Dunn filed for reelection just before last Wednesday’s deadline, Warden said he would look at the other contests.

Friday, he filed for the Kanner seat.

Two other candidates filed for Dunn’s seat, Deputy District Attorney Richard Walmark and Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey. Walmark said he would stay in the race against Dunn, but Veasey said she would not.

Extended Deadline

Veasey did not file for another seat by yesterday’s deadline. Her only opportunity to run for judge this year would come if Dunn, or another incumbent who filed a declaration of intent, does not finalize a candidacy by returning nomination documents by Dec. 7.

In that event, a new five-day filing period would open.

Lubell filed for the seat being vacated by Judge David Finkel. His opponents are Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound, State Bar Court Judge Paul Bacigalupo, and Pasadena lawyer David Crawford III.

Christian and Lubell could not be reached for comment.

Lubell has run for the bench before. In 1994, Lubell lost the judicial race for the vacated by former Rep. James Rogan to then-Deputy District Attorney James Simpson.

A New York native and graduate of the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, Lubell was elected commissioner in February 1999.

Christian is a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles and Loyola Law School.

The candidate who dropped an announced candidacy was Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Alan Friedenthal. Friedenthal had said he would run for the seat being vacated by Judge Richard Spann.

Longshot Candidacy

Friedenthal was not available for comment yesterday but Fred Huebscher, the Hermosa Beach-based consultant who was preparing to run the campaign, said he may have thrown a damper on the plan by telling Friedenthal his candidacy was a longshot.

“I’m sure Alan would make a great judge,” Huebscher said. “I would have been delighted to work for him.”

But Friedenthal would have had a difficult and expensive time, Huebscher said, going up against three opponents—Deputy District Attorneys Craig Renetzky and Richard Naranjo and Acton attorney Larry H. Layton.

The “criminal prosecutor” designation on the ballot is a powerful one, Huebscher said. The consultant handled the successful campaigns of prosecutors Katherine Mader, Richard Stone, and David Mintz for open Superior Court seats last year.

In contrast, he said, the average voter has no idea what a Superior Court referee does. That leaves a candidate like Friedenthal at a substantial disadvantage in a race, Huebscher said.

Huebscher added he will now work for Renetzky, whose father, Worker’s Compensation Judge Donald Renetzy, is running against Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg, Superior Court Commissioner Jeffrey Marckese, and Santa Monica attorney Joseph Deering for the seat of retiring Judge Michael Pirosh.

Huebscher declined comment on whether he would be working for the senior Renetzy.


  Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company