Tuesday, April 29, 2008
JUDICIAL ELECTIONS: Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 125
White Supremacist Is in Contest With Court Commissioner
Attorney William D. Johnson—who has advocated a federal constitutional amendment to confer citizenship on whites, only, and further excepting from citizenship Hispanic whites who don’t look like Britishers or Northern Europeans—is a contestant in this two-man race. The other candidate is Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco. Bianco is raising funds, gathering endorsements, and pumping hands at gatherings, while Johnson’s campaign, so far, has been little-financed and quiet.
JAMES N. BIANCO
Commissioner Garners Endorsements, Donations—But Faces Criticisms
To look at the campaign donations Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James N. Bianco has amassed—more than $184,000 as of March 17—and his gallery of endorsements, including more than 200 from judicial officers, one might assume that his evident popularity reflects excellence of performance on the bench. Yet, paradoxically, there are those—many of them—who say that Bianco, 44, is not handling the job at all well.
The Public Defender’s Office is so fed up with Bianco that as of February, it will no longer stipulate to him presiding over misdemeanor trials. It will, however, let him handle preliminary hearings.
Bianco filled in for judges in preliminary hearing courts during a good part of the time from November of last year until the “non-stips” started. He found himself at loggerheads with deputy public defenders over various issues, including discovery obligations.
There was also the perception that he was out and out refusing to follow a 1998 Court of Appeal case interpreting the statute that proscribes uttering threats to kill.
“I absolutely, positively follow the law,” Bianco insists. He says the case that was cited is one he’s “thoroughly familiar with,” remarking:
“We just saw it differently.”
Word has spread through the Public Defender’s Office that in one instance Bianco, at a sidebar conference, asked a deputy to confer with her client on a matter and, when she proceeded to walk over to the counsel table to do so, he barked out the command never to turn her back to him again.
“Certainly there are times when I’m short with lawyers,” the commissioner acknowledges, but says he strives to act in a respectful manner.
Bianco notes he wanted to sit down with representatives of the Public Defender’s Office to talk out their differences, but that Judge Charlaine Olmedo, who is in charge of the misdemeanor master calendar in the downtown Foltz Courthouse, ruled that out.
Dissatisfaction with his performance is also discernible within the District Attorney’s Office. One higher-up in that office comments that Bianco was “one of the worst to run the arraignment court.”
Bianco, who was hired as a commissioner in May, 2005, was assigned to that court for 16 months. He concedes that he had problems.
It was in November of 2006, while he was running that courtroom, that his application for appointment to a judgeship came before the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. The subcommittee, in advance of meeting with a candidate, is obliged to disclose “negatives” that had been contained in confidential questionnaires, and Bianco says that it was recited to him that he had been described as “impatient” and “arrogant.”
He says he does not think he would draw those criticisms today, and attributes the 2006 perceptions to his newness as a judge and the nature of the courtroom he was in.
Disavowing a temper problem, Bianco immediately adds:
“I’ll qualify that. I definitely have good days and bad days, and at the time I was going through JNE, I was in a courtroom [in which] there were a whole lot of things going on that I think led to that complaint [about temperament] being made. I was assigned to Department 30 after being on the bench for about three months—and Department 30 is the felony arraignment court—and it’s sort of controlled chaos in that courtroom. The calendar is huge. It’s a really, really tough assignment….
“There are lawyers that are in there once in awhile and there are lawyers that are in there all the time—and after a year of being in there, I think there were some personalities, including my own, that started rubbing each other the wrong way.”
Lawyers evinced their displeasure with him, as Bianco recounts it, in an unconventional manner. He says:
“I would take the bench and the bailiff would sort of do the opening—you know, ‘Court’s now in session’—and people would applaud, which was, like ridiculous.”
Bianco recalls that as the calendar swelled, and he was trying to control it, there developed “some real tension in the court.”
Looking back, the commissioner says that “there were things that I could have done differently that would have worked better.”
“I’m doing the best I can and will continue to do the best I can. Hopefully, over time, the detractors will become fewer and fewer.”
Bianco was born in New York and earned his undergraduate degree at State University of New York in 1984. A law degree was conferred on him by the University of Southern California three years later.
His wife, Lisa Mead, is associate dean of the USC law school. Bianco taught there, on a part-time basis, in 2000 and 2001, and has since been guest lecturer there, as well as at Pepperdine.
Too, he teaches fairness, ethics, and courtroom management to new judges and commissioners at the California Center for Judicial Education.
At the outset of his legal career, the jurist worked for Weissburg & Aronson, gaining civil experience, then worked four years as a prosecutor for the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, followed by criminal defense work as a private practitioner.
The Los Angeles Times endorsed him April 21, saying: “James N. Bianco is impressive as a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner and would make an excellent judge.” He also has the endorsements of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS).
Lawyer Who Shuns Contacts With Press Aligns Himself With Ron Paul Campaign
Los Angeles attorney William Daniel Johnson—running for the Los Angeles Superior Court as “Bill Johnson”—is a white supremacist who has advocated the deportation of non-whites from the United States.
Johnson, using the pseudonym James O. Pace, published a book in 1985 called “Amendment to the Constitution,” proposing a federal constitutional amendment that would repeal the 14th and 15th Amendments.
The portion of the 14th Amendment that conflicts with Johnson’s plan is the first sentence: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The two-sentence 15th Amendment provides, chiefly: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The “Pace Amendment” would add this verbiage:
“No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”
As Johnson’s plan is summarized by James A. Aho in his 1990 book “The Politics of Righteousness”:
Only bonafide, certified citizens will be permitted permanent residency in the United States. All others shall be compulsorily deported “in a manner economically beneficial to them” to their native lands. Although this will involve tens of millions of American residents, and is to be accomplished in a single year, Pace assures us that deportation will be “fair” and “minimally painless.” Money now “waste” on federal welfare and public education programs can be budgeted for moving allowances and the leasing of mass transportation facilities.
Those who so wish may keep title to their property in absentia, at least temporarily. But failure to comply with repatriation will automatically result in its confiscation. Further enforcement procedures are not specified. On the whole, the author is optimistic that if the carrot of allowances is beguiling enough, bloodshed should be minimal. To this end, precautions will be undertaken to ensure that “the enforcers do not become over-zealous in their duties.”
American Indians, Aleuts, and Hawaiians, although not real citizens, will not face relocation, but will be maintained in “tribal reservations” analogous to the arrangement in South Africa. Those whose age precludes easy relocation and others who can demonstrate extraordinary hardship may apply for provisional privileges to maintain their present domicile. But since such conditions are always subject to abuse, these should be observed only in the “most extreme” cases.
Johnson not only used a false name in proffering his proposal, but maintained two separate identities, using variants of his true name. In his capacity as a spokesperson for the Pace movement, he was “Daniel Johnson”; as an attorney, he was “William D. Johnson.”
A June 23, 1987 article in the Los Angeles Times reports that an attorney, “Daniel Johnson,” would be a speaker before the Glendale Human Relations Council to explain why the League of Pace Amendment Advocates had moved to Glendale (from Sunland) and what it was espousing. The story says:
“Johnson denied speculation that he may be the real man behind the nom de plume James O. Pace. He insisted that the author of the book is a U.S. lawyer who is working out of the country but refused to divulge his real name.
“The privately published, 179-page book identifies Pace as having been educated at Columbia University and Harvard University law schools and as a former member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard International Law Journal.
“The publications director of Harvard Law School, Deborah Gallagher, said the school investigated the claim last year and discovered that the author did attend the law school for one year and was on that journal board. However, she said the school promised not to reveal the person’s real name or what year he attended Harvard. The journal’s 1980 volume shows a William D. Johnson as being on the staff. Records at Columbia University Law School show that a William Daniel Johnson attended there in 1983.
“Daniel Johnson said he did attend Columbia, but he said he never attended Harvard and that his first name is not William.”
The pieces came together, and it was soon clear that the book’s author, and attorney William Daniel Johnson, and the spokesperson for Pace Amendment Advocates were one and the same person.
Runs for Congress
On April 28, 1989, Johnson qualified as a candidate in a special election in Wyoming for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. That seat was being vacated by now-Vice President Dick Cheney when he resigned to become secretary of defense. A report by the Associated Press, datelined Cheyenne, Wyo., says:
“A white supremacist has won the right to run for Wyoming’s vacant seat in the U.S. House of Rep resentatives.
“Daniel Johnson, who 10 days ago announced he had moved to Casper from California, succeeded in obtaining signatures from 479 registered voters to qualify for a spot on the April 26 special election ballot, Secretary of State Kathy Karpan said Wednesday.
“For Johnson, the achievement gives him a platform on which to spread his views that America is quickly going downhill.
“ ‘Whites don’t have a future here in this country, and that is...one of many issues that I am addressing,’ Johnson said Wednesday during a telephone interview from California.
“The 34-year-old attorney is one of three independent candidates….”
A March 30 report in the Times relates that “Johnson acknowledged that he is the author of the Pace Amendment.” The article quotes Betsy Rosenthal, Western States Civil Rights director for the Anti-Defamation League in Los Angeles, as expressing surprise that he made that admission, observing:
“He wants to, somehow, hide his true identity to people. He tries to keep his professional lawyer life separate from his Pace Amendment activities.”
The April 1989 issue of “All the Way,” a publication of the Mississippi-based Nationalist Movement, a White Supremacist group, says this:
“The strongest pro-majority campaign in the nation is mounting here with far-reaching implications. Congressional candidate Daniel Johnson is being blasted as a ‘white supremacist’ because he favors repatriating non-whites to Africa and scrapping affirmative action programs.
“Johnson, 34, seeking the post vacated by now-Secretary of Defense Richard Chaney [sic], is a smart Harvard-law grad who persuasively articulates the pro-gun, pro-family, pro-American position. He is a dedicated anti-communist with many youthful supporters.”
Johnson attracted about one-third of one percent of the vote, according to a Nov. 23 article in the Boston Globe which labels Johnson a “racist.” That description is one which Johnson has insisted doesn’t apply to him, pointing out that black nationalists support the idea of sending African Americans back to Africa.
The campaign manager for Johnson was John Abarr, 18, a Ku Klux Klan organizer. Abarr is quoted in an Aug. 12, 1989, article in the Daily News of Los Angeles as disclosing that Johnson had resigned from the League of Pace Amendment Advocates “because he was upset that the group wasn’t growing as fast as he wanted it to.”
Johnson was replaced by Jessie Johnson (no relation), a former “grand dragon” of the Ku Klux Klan in Texas.
Runs in Arizona
Two years ago, Johnson again sought a congressional seat, this time in Arizona. Billing himself as “a traditional democrat—embracing the views and policies at the historical core of the party,” he competed with five others for the Democratic Party nomination, coming in a weak fifth.
His call for upstepped efforts to send Mexicans back to Mexico, when they had entered the United States illegally, taken by itself was hardly a radical stance. It was a contrast to his earlier extremist position that all “Hispanic whites” should, through a constitutional amendment, be deported unless “they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe.”
Johnson’s activities in connection with the Pace Amendment did not come to light during that campaign.
In addition to urging “large-scale deportation of illegal aliens,” Johnson said there was need to “fine and imprison persons who hire illegal aliens,” and aligned himself with the Minute Men.
His campaign manager in that contest was Russ Dove. An Aug. 18, 2006 report in the Arizona Daily Star on a congressional hearing in Tucson on illegal immigration supplies an insight as to Dove’s nature:
“Before the hearing, border activist Russ Dove was arrested after entering the meeting hall and yelling.
“Dove, who publicly burned a Mexican flag in April, was asked to leave by organizers, said Sgt. Decio Hopffer, a Tucson police spokesman. Organizers called police, and Dove was taken to the Pima County jail on one count of suspicion of interfering with a permitted event, Hopffer said.”
The July issue of the same newspaper quotes Johnson as saying of Dove: “I really like his positions.” (He acknowledges that his campaign manager “looks like a biker, dresses like Diane Keaton and has tattoos up and down his arms.”)
Johnson’s campaign manager in the present campaign is Holly Clearman, who is also state coordinator for the Ron Paul for President campaign. That effort is ongoing, notwithstanding that Paul, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, is out of the running for his party’s nomination, with U.S. Sen. John McClain of Arizona having cinched it.
Johnson, 53, is running his campaign in tandem with the pro-Paul drive.
(Clearman is herself a candidate in the June 3 election, seeking a seat on the Republican County Central Committee from a northeast area.)
Shuns News Coverage
Most persons who run for public office seek attention, craving to be interviewed and photographed. Not Johnson.
Johnson made two appointments to meet with the editorial board of this newspaper and a reporter, but cancelled on the morning of each appointment. He’s declined to allow a MetNews photographer to go to his office to take his picture.
The Los Angeles Times has also been denied an audience by the office-seeker. He has refused to meet with its editorial board and did not return a phone call seeking comment on his involvement in circulating petitions which caused six Hispanic-surname judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court to go on the ballot so that write-in campaigns could be launched against them.
The candidate also chose not to meet with the Los Angeles County Bar Assn.’s Judicial Election Evaluations Committee, or send it any materials.
Avoiding journalists is not new for Johnson. When he embarked on his quest for a congressional seat in 1989, Johnson was still attempting to sustain his two separate personae: local lawyer William D. Johnson and activist Daniel Johnson. Lawyer William Johnson was apparently not expecting the press to contact him in connection with political doings of candidate Daniel Johnson. A National Law Journal article on April 29 reports:
“On March 30, William D. Johnson was reached at his Glendale, Calif., firm, Johnson & Gardner. Not initially receptive to inquiries, he shunted the call to his secretary, who then suggested it was a case of mistaken identity and provided a Wyoming telephone number.”
(Johnson later called back and acknowledged his identities, already reported in that morning’s issue of the Times.)
In the Arizona contest, the candidate was, as now, not visible. A column in the Arizona Daily Star on June 17, 2006, terms Johnson “a mystery man,” commenting:
“…Johnson seems to be incognito. The campaign won’t provide any biographical information or Johnson’s positions on issues. They won’t agree to an interview or even a quick cup of coffee just to chat.”
The column directs this remark to the candidate:
“So, Mr. Johnson, just let us know if and when you plan to reveal yourself.”
The April 1 issue of the Daily Breeze, disseminated primarily in the South Bay, quotes Johnson as saying—with respect to an issue not related to his judicial campaign:
“I have a practice of not talking to the media. That’s been in place for a long time.”
Seeks Carson Post
The issue was his apparent violation of ethical guidelines promulgated by the League of California Cities. Johnson had made a bid for appointment by the Carson City Council as city attorney notwithstanding his earlier donation of campaign funds to two members of the council. A spotlight had recently been cast by the newspaper on the league’s stricture when it reported that another aspirant for the post had contributed $3,800 to a councilman’s Assembly campaign. That lawyer, Francisco Leal, stepped aside in light of the disclosure.
The April 1 article reports that Johnson withdrew his application on March 25 in the aftermath of the controversy involving Leal.
The article points to Johnson’s heavy involvement in the collection of signatures on petitions that theoretically imperil the continued service of the six Hispanic judges (though it would appear that no write-in campaign against a California judge has ever succeeded). Noting that Johnson admitted a $180 contribution to Councilman Elito Santarina, the article says:
“In Johnson’s case, the link to Carson politics went beyond contributions. Johnson has circulated petitions on behalf of the Rev. Ronald Tan, who is Santarina’s political adviser, in an effort to launch write-in campaigns against six Latino judges.”
Johnson’s campaign, so far, has consisted of posting placards on fences and other structures throughout the county. They’ve been spray-painted at “meetups” at his La Canada Flintridge home, organized in tandem with the Ron Paul crusade.
Although Johnson has filed a form with the Office of Registrar-Recorder saying he doesn’t plan on spending more than $1,000, a candidate two years ago—Lynn Olson—did the same thing, then engaged in massive spending at the end, taking incumbent Dzintra Janavs by surprise, and without a war chest with which to respond. Olson won. In running two years ago for the Democratic nomination for Congress from a district in Arizona, Johnson put $188,000 of his own money into his campaign coffers.
However, in the current political contest, Johnson’s opponent, Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco, unlike Janavs, would not be caught off-guard by a flurry of eleventh-hour spending. Campaign reports show that as of March 17, Bianco has raised $180,000.
Johnson was licensed to practice in California in 1981, Colorado in 1990, and in Arizona in 2006. He has an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in Utah (where he majored in Japanese), in addition to his law degree from Columbia.
Johnson’s website recites:
“After graduation, Bill was hired as an attorney at one of Los Angeles’ oldest law firm, Lawyer [should read “Lawler”], Felix & Hall. He was sent to work in Tokyo, Japan to send business back to Los Angeles. Upon returning to Los Angeles two years later, Bill soon left Lawyer, Felix & Hall and set up his own practice representing Japanese companies and other multi-national clients in their international and California transactions.”
That leaves out a few stops along the way. As the National Law Journal’s April 29, 1989 article summarizes Johnson’s job history to that point:
“After graduating in 1981, he went to work for the prestigious Japanese firm of Matsuo Kosugi in Tokyo and then to a firm in Seoul, South Korea.
“Upon returning to the United States, he first worked for Lawler, Felix & Hall and then for Finley Kumble [Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey], where he stayed 2½ years. After that, he went to work in-house for his largest client, Japan Life, a bed marketing company with offices in Los Angeles. He then went out on his own, keeping Japan Life as an important client, and first becoming ‘of counsel’ with downtown L.A.’s Zobrist & McCullough and then opening his own office in Glendale.”
The Glendale firm of Johnson and Gardner was opened in January, 1987. The “Gardner” in that partnership was Kevin S. Gardner, now practicing in Utah. By 1990, the firm moved to a location on Los Feliz Boulevard in the City of Los Angeles.
“Johnson & Associates” at 350 S. Figueroa Street, Ste. 190, first appears in Parker’s Directory in 1993. In recent years, Johnson practiced with bankruptcy attorney Douglas A. Crowder in Johnson & Crowder, at that address. However, the firm is once again “Johnson & Associates,” the associates whose names are listed on the office door being Thomas A. Widger and Stacey L. Widger.
Johnson will be identified on the ballot as “international corporate attorney.”
— Roger M. Grace
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company
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