Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Page 1


LACBA, After Appeal, Says Candidate Chomel ‘Well Qualified’


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee has granted Deputy District Attorney Marc A. Chomel’s request to upgrade its tentative rating of him as a judicial candidate, but has declined Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Lori-Ann C. Jones’ similar request to do so, the two told the MetNews yesterday.

Chomel—who originally drew a “qualified” rating and who is competing against Deputy District Attorney Hilleri Merritt and Tarzana attorney Steven A. Simons in the June 3 primary for Office No. 72—said that the committee had notified him that it would rate him “well qualified” in its final report after he appeared before it to appeal his initial rating.

He said that he had argued to the committee that that he was “more balanced” than it had concluded when it issued his tentative rating, and attributed the change to his ability to satisfy the committee’s concerns that he would be impartial if elected, and not “too much of a law and order” candidate.

Merritt has similarly been rated “well qualified,” while Simons’ rating remains unknown.

Jones—who will face off against Deputy District Attorney Pat Connolly, Deputy Attorney General Bob Henry and Workers’ Compensation Judge John “Johnny” Gutierrez in the race for Office No. 84—failed to upgrade her tentative “not qualified” rating from the committee.

She said that she too had appeared before the committee to appeal her rating, but that that it had notified her that it would not change her rating in its final report.

The committee’s decision not to change Jones’ rating raises the possibility that all of the candidates appearing on the ballot for Office No. 84 will be rated “not qualified.”

Connolly has confirmed that he received the same rating, while Henry told the MetNews last week that the committee had told him that he would be rated “not qualified” after rejecting his similar appeal of his rating.

Gutierrez, who ran for judicial office in 2002, 2004 and 2006, drawing a “qualified” rating from the committee in each contest, thus far has not returned phone calls seeking to determine his current rating.

The MetNews has previously reported that Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau and state Deputy Attorney General Lance E. Winters have been rated “exceptionally well qualified.”

Deputy District Attorneys Michael J. O’Gara, Jared D. Moses and Michael V. Jesic, as well as Superior Court Commissioners Patricia D. Nieto, James N. Bianco and Rocky L. Crabb, have been rated “well qualified.”

Deputy District Attorney Mark Lee, Los Angeles attorney Douglas W. Weitzman and North Hills attorney Richard A. Nixon have declined to disclose their ratings to the MetNews, and ratings similarly remain unknown for Referee Cynthia Loo; Deputy District Attorneys Kathleen Blanchard and Eduard R. Abele; Deputy Attorney General Paul “Pablo” Bruguera; Deputy City Attorney Allan A. Nadir; Redondo Beach attorney Sydnee R. Singer; and Los Angeles attorneys Robert Davenport and Bill Johnson.

The committee confirmed last week that it would not issue ratings in the race for Office No. 69 between Commissioner Harvey A. Silberman and Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo “due to the pendency of matters outside the control of the committee.”

Its final report on candidate ratings had been expected today, but the status of its release was called into question when three members of the association’s Board of Trustees told the MetNews yesterday that they still had not been provided with pre-release copies.


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