Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, April 24, 2008


Page 1


Commissioner Bianco Raises $180,000 War Chest for Campaign




Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco has raised more than $180,00 for his campaign for the judgeship left vacant by the retirement of Daniel S. Pratt, far surpassing all other judicial candidates in contributions this year, campaign reports show.

Bianco’s most recent filing shows that he collected $26,170 from Jan. 1 through March 17 of this year. His previously reported donations, collected from October through December of last year, totaled $157,690, giving him a total of nearly $184,000.

His expenditures have totaled a little over $40,000, leaving him with more than $140,000 on hand, after he withdrew the candidate statement that would have appeared in the official ballot pamphlet. State law provides that a candidate may withdraw his statement, which would have cost Bianco $83,000, up to 24 hours after the filing deadline, and it is not unusual for a candidate whose opponent has not filed a statement to withdraw his own and save the money.

Opponent Using Sheets

His opponent, Los Angeles attorney Bill Johnson, has filed a short form stating that he does not presently intend to raise or spend more than $1,000 on the campaign, exclusive of his filing fee. Johnson’s visible campaign activity presently appears limited to the hanging of hand-created signs on large bed sheets posted on fences around the county.

While no candidate has reported raising anything close to Bianco’s total in direct contributions, one candidate, Deputy District Attorney Hilleri G. Merritt, reported being similarly well funded as a result of personal and family loans to the campaign totaling $200,000.

Bianco’s consultant, Parke Skelton, said the key to his candidate’s fundraising prowess was that “he enjoyed it.”

Skelton said he told Bianco that “he was going to have to call people ..and ask for money [and] he called me back in about eight days and he said, “Hey, this works.’”

His financial showing, the consultant added, demonstrates that Bianco is “well regarded and willing to work hard.”

His donors include a number of his fellow judicial officers, including Court of Appeal Justices Madeleine Flier, who gave $100, Laurence Rubin, who gave $500, and Nora Manella, a $200 donor; and Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Luis Lavin, who gave $1,250, Mitchell Beckloff, $1,000, Ralph Dau $750, Dennis Landin $400, Hank Goldberg, John Torribio, Bobbi Tillmon, and Steven Van Sicklen, and William Ryan $250 each, Christina Hill, James Steele, and David Horwitz $200 each; Michael Pastor, Anne Egerton and Donna Groman $150 each; Rafael Ongkeko $125, and Gregory Dohi, Stephen Marcus, Darrell Mavis, Gus Gomez, Deborah Andrews, Hector Guzman, Anthony Mohr, Richard Stone, Elizabeth Grimes, Robert Dukes, John Doyle, Gail Feuer, Michael Tynan, Martha Bellinger, Mary Lou Villar, Roger Ito, Samantha Jessner, Norman Tarle, Charles Palmer, Barbara R. Johnson, Michael M. Johnson, Steven Kleifield, Michael Linfield, Katherine Mader, Lynn Olson, Fred Wapner, Mark Windham, Zeke Zeidler, Carol Rehm Jr., Stuart Rice, and Norman J. Shapiro $100 each.

Retired Superior Court Judge David Finkel gave $1,000. Other retired judges who donated included Carlos Velarde, Bernard Kamins and Richard Neidorf, $100 each, and David Rothman $150. Commissioners Robert McSorley and John Murphy gave $250, while Henry Hall, Michael Garcia, John Green, Jeffrey Harkavy, Tamila Ipema, Mark Zuckman and Robert Kawahara gave $100 each.

Large Donor

Former Superior Court Commissioner Stephen Sitkoff, now in private practice, gave $1000, as did his partner, Paul Takakjian. Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini gave $100, as did Fresno Superior Court Judge Houry Sanderson.

Robert Gerst, a retired attorney who is married to Court of Appeal Judith Ashmann-Gerst, gave $1,000.

Bianco’s largest reported individual donor was former USC Law School Dean Scott Bice, who gave $7,500. Donations of $5,000 each were reported from Bear Stearns managing director Bruce Wisnicki and Paul Bahan, a Henderson, Nev. egg farmer. The candidate reported numerous smaller donations, many from lawyers and law firms.

In other races:

•The only incumbent with a challenger on the ballot, Ralph Dau, reported contributions of nearly $29,000, much of it from attorneys at his former firm, O’Melveny & Myers. He got $250 from fellow Superior Court Judge Victor Chavez, and $200 from Judge Lynn Olson. Judge Carolyn Kuhl made an in-kind donation of $180 in postage.

The judge personally paid for his candidate statement, and reported additional expenditures of about $8,000.

His opponent, Sydnee Singer, reported contributions and loans totaling $86,000, nearly all of which was exhausted as a result of paying for her candidate statement. She took out a bank loan for $35,000; borrowed $23,000 from Deborah Lindberg, a banker with whom she shares a Redondo Beach address; and put $24,000 of her own money into the campaign.

•Also taking on substantial personal debt was Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo, who took out bank loans for the entire cost of her candidate statement. Including the statement, her spending totaled $88,000, leaving the campaign slightly in debt.

Her opponent for the seat of retired Judge Alan Kalkin, Commissioner Harvey Silberman, reported raising $117,000, of which $15,000 was loaned by the candidate and $40,000 by South Pasadena architect Todd Reinhart.

Donors included Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff, who gave $1,000, Judges John Doyle, Joanne O’Donnell, and Wendy Kohn, $100 each; Judge Zeke Zeidler and Commissioners Robert McSorley and Reva Goetz, $250, Commissioner Amy Pellman and Judge Marjorie Steinberg, $200 each, the law firm of Hersh, Mannis & Bogen, LLP in Beverly Hills, $3,000, and Kevan O”Meara, an engineer, $5,000.

•Merritt reported spending a little over $85,000 of her $200,000, mostly on the candidate statement. Opponent Steven Simons, a civil lawyer, reported raising $40,000, all but $600 of it in loans from the candidate, and spending $61,000, leaving the campaign at a deficit at the end of the reporting period.

Simons’ spending went mostly for slate mail. The third candidate in the race, Deputy District Attorney Mark Chomel, reported minimal donations and spending. The three candidates are seeking the seat now held by Judge Francis Gately.

•Workers’ Compensation Judge John Gutierrez, seeking the seat now held by Judge Gibson Lee, raised $32,000, most of it loaned by the candidate, and spent less than $10,000, mostly on professional services. Deputy Attorney General Robert Henry reported raising about $21,000, mostly in loans from himself and his sister, Inola Henry, a teacher, Democratic National Committee member, and Democratic National Convention “superdelegate.”

Henry reported spending a little over $6,000, mostly on slate mail.

Another candidate in that race, Superior Court Commissioner Lori Jones, raised only $450, all of it from Superior Court judges. Barbara R. Johnson gave $100, Robin Miller Sloan $250, and Patricia Titus $100. Deputy District Attorney Pat Connolly reported fundraising of $5,000 and spending of less than $1,000.

•Superior Court Referee Cynthia Loo, running for the seat from which Judge Wendell Mortimer Jr. will retire next week, reported raising $27,000, mostly in family loans, and spending about $6,800, mostly on literature and consulting services. Fellow bench officers who have donated to her campaign include Commissioner Lori Behar,  Referees Sherri Sobel and Robert Ambrose, and Judge John Doyle, who gave $100 each, Referee Steven Berman, who gave $200, and Judge Allen Webster, who gave $500.

Deputy District Attorney Thomas Rubinson reported raising $17,650 in donations and loans, mostly from himself and his family. He spent less than $5,000.

The third candidate in the race, Deputy District Attorney Mark Lee, reported donating $100, the sum total of his campaign.

•Deputy District Attorney Eduard Abele reported raising a little over $52,000, all but $1,000 of it a loan from the candidate, and spending less than $300 in his bid for the seat now held by Judge Michael Duggan. Another candidate for that seat, Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack, reported raising $69,000, mostly in loans from the candidate, although he had a few contributions, including $100 from Webster.

The third candidate, Deputy District Attorney Michael O’Gara, reported raising and spending less than $4,000.

•Deputy City Attorney Alan Nadir, a candidate for the seat last held by retired Judge Michael Luros, loaned his campaign the cost of his candidate statement but had no other fundraising or expenditures. Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Blanchard reported loaning her campaign $25,000 and raising another $1,400, including $150 from Superior Court Judge David Gelfound.

The third candidate, attorney Richard A. Nixon, filed a short form.

•Deputy District Attorney Jared Moses, running to succeed retired Judge Dzintra Janavs, reported raising $45,000, including a $25,000 loan from the candidate. His donors included Gelfound, who gave $450, and Judges Hayden Zacky and Richard Stone, who gave $100 each.

Moses reported spending a little over $3,000. His opponents, Douglas Weitzman and Robert Davenport, both filed short forms.

•Superior Court Commissioner Rocky L. Crabb, running to succeed Judge Jack Hunt—who gave $500 to Crabb’s campaign—reported raising nearly $45,000 and spending a little over $2,000.

He loaned the campaign $35,000 and received a number of donations from other judicial officers, mostly in the eastern end of the county, including Judge Bruce Marrs, who gave $1,000, Judge Dan Oki, $750; Judges Dennis Aichroth, Lynn Olson, and Francis Gately, who gave $200 each; Judges Abe Khan, Mike Camacho, Mortimer, Bruce Minto, Marjorie Steinberg, and Martha Bellinger, who gave $100 each, Commissioner H. Don Christian, $500; Judges Robert Dukes, Thomas Falls, Susan Lopez, and Juan Carlos Dominguez $250 each, and Judge George Genesta and Commissioner Wade Olson $150 each.

Retired Judge Sam Cianchetti gave $500 and retired Judge Thomas Nuss $100.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Jesic, also running for the Hunt seat, reported that he spent and raised nothing. Deputy District Attorney S. Paul Bruguera had not filed a report as of yesterday, election officials said, and did not return a MetNews phone call about the matter.


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