Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, February 12, 2004


Page 1


Judges Have Fundraising Lead Over Challengers, Reports Show




Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Dan Oki, David Wesley, and Richard W. Van Dusen are out-fundraising and outspending their opponents, campaign records show.

The report of a fourth challenged judge, Chesley McKay, could not be located, and McKay did not return MetNews phone calls.

Reports filed with the county registrar show that for the last reporting period, which ended Jan. 17, Oki had raised $79,721 and spent $45,531, while Wesley had raised $137,360 and spent $87,226.

In contrast, only one of Wesley’s opponents and none of Oki’s reported significant fundraising.

Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Kevin Burke, one of three challengers to Wesley, has raised $70,400, spending $65,000 of it on the candidate statement in the official ballot pamphlet.

The other two candidates in the race, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Bershin and retired Deputy District Attorney Herb Lapin, both filed short forms indicating that they do not intend to raise or spend more than $1,000 beyond their $1,374 filing fees.

Oki’s opponents meanwhile, reported raising less than $5,000 among them.

Oki Opponents

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Anne Rhonan’s form says she raised less than $2,000, including a $1,500 loan from Prosecutors and Cops for Safer Streets, a political action committee headed by Association of Deputy District Attorneys President Steven Ipsen.

Eugene Salute, an Encino attorney, filed the short form. A report for Deputy District Attorney Marc Debbaudt could not be located, but Debbaudt told the MetNews he has raised only $1,500.

Salute, when he filed for the race, indicated that he had ample resources to devote to a campaign. But after a judge ruled that he had to be listed on the ballot as “Attorney,” and not “Attorney/Temporary Judge” as he requested, he said he saw no value in running an expensive campaign.

The fundraising disparity between the incumbents and their opponents is likely to be even larger when the next reports, due next week, come in, those working on both sides said.

Hal Dash, president of Cerrell Associates, the consulting firm working for Wesley, said his candidate has raised about $50,000 since the last report.

 “I can’t spend the money fast enough,” Dash chuckled. “This is a great campaign to do because the resources are ample.”

Burke Fundraisers

Burke hopes to raise some more money at two fundraisers next week, Ipsen said. One of them is a joint effort of the ADDA, the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, and the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the ADDA president explained.

Fred Huebscher, Oki’s consultant, said he had been told by Oki’s campaign treasurer that about $45,000 in donations has come in since the last report.

Oki and Wesley, the unmistakable subjects of an October statement by the California Judges Association, which declared that sitting judges should not be challenged because of “disagreements over good-faith administrative decisions,” both received substantial support from their fellow judicial officers.

The reports showed that about 250 judicial officers had donated between $100 and $1,000 each to Wesley, and that about 230 had made similar donations to Oki. Wesley loaned his campaign $30,000; Oki loaned his campaign less than that and has already been repaid, Huebscher said.

Most of Burke’s money came in the form of loans, including $12,500 from himself and $10,000 from Ipsen’s PAC. ALADS kicked in $5,000.

As for the other two races in which incumbents are running, Van Dusen reported raising and spending about $10,500, while challenger Daniel Dik showed contributions and expenditures of under $2,000.

McKay’s opponent, Stella Owens-Murrell, reported slightly over $2,000 in contributions and expenditures in 2003.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company