Wednesday, September 13, 2006
LACBA Set to Launch Educational Effort on Judicial Elections
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles County Bar Association will roll out a campaign to call public attention to the Nov. 7 judicial runoff elections in the next few days, the chairman of LACBA’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee told the MetNews yesterday.
LACBA will use an “e-mail blitz” to inform thousands of individuals on its mailing lists of the ratings given the candidates in the four races and of the availability of additional information on the websites metnews.com, maintained by this newspaper, and smartvoter.org, a project of the League of Women Voters, Brent Braun said.
Links to that information are already available on the County Bar site, lacba.org.
Braun said the emails will likely out Monday and will target not only the 27,000 LACBA members, but also vendors doing business with the association, labor unions, chambers of commerce, professional groups, and the 27 smaller bar associations affiliated with LACBA.
Members of the public, Braun explained, constantly ask lawyers during judicial election campaign season “who are these people?” The current effort will direct recipients of the e-mails to the available sources of information, including the candidate’s own websites, he said.
Historically, Braun acknowledged, the County Bar considered its educational efforts concluded once it released the candidate ratings.
LACBA rates all judicial candidates “exceptionally well qualified,” “well qualified,” “qualified,” or “not qualified.” Braun’s committee is responsible for the ratings and consists of about 45 lawyers, he said.
The new effort will “draw attention to the elections and who the candidates are— not just the ratings, but [other information that will help voters] make more informed and intelligent voting decisions,” Braun said.
LACBA President Charles Michaels could not be reached for comment last night, but Braun said he is very supportive of the effort.
Candidates in the runoffs, with ballot designations in parentheses, are:
•Office No. 8—Deborah L. Sanchez (Criminal Prosecutor) and Bob Henry (California Deputy Attorney-General), for the seat previously held by Judge Charles Rubin, who retired April 30. Sanchez was rated well qualified and Henry qualified by LACBA.
•Office No. 18—Daviann L. Mitchell (Criminal Gang Prosecutor) and John C. Gutierrez (Administrative Law Judge), for the seat vacated by Judge Michael E. Knight, who retired in February. Mitchell was rated qualified, as was Gutierrez.
•Office No. 102—Hayden Zacky (Criminal Gang Prosecutor) and George C. Montgomery (Criminal Civil Attorney), for the seat of Judge Marion Johnson, who did not run for re-election. Zacky was rated well qualified and Montgomery not qualified.
•Office No. 144—David W. Stuart (Criminal Prosecutor) and Janis Levart Barquist (Deputy City Attorney), for the seat vacated by Judge Paula Mabrey, who retired April 28. Both were rated well qualified.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company