Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Page 4


Referee Hammock Files for Judge Stevens’ Post, Setting Up First Open Seat Contest


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Randall M. Hammock yesterday filed a declaration of intent to seek election to the seat being vacated by Judge Emily Stevens.

Hammock’s declaration sets up a head-to-head contest for an open seat on the court, as Deputy City Attorney Chris Garcia also filed a declaration of intent to run for that post. Garcia took out his papers last week, whereas Hammock had announced he would run, but had not previously targeted a specific seat.

Hammock said he had been assigned as the acting judicial officer in Stevens’ courtroom at the Edelman Children’s Court while she has been on leave of absence

“I believe that I am the logical and appropriate successor to Judge Stevens’ seat, given my current judicial assignment, my extensive legal qualifications, and as well as my considerable experience as a Superior Court referee in the dependency court since July 2007,” he said, adding that if he were elected, “it would certainly be a desire of mine to remain assigned to the Dependency Court, and to attempt to carry on the legacy of Judge Stevens in assisting the children, parents and families of Los Angeles County.”

This will be Hammock’s second run for the court. Hammock ran in 2006, when he was still in private practice, and finished sixth in a field of seven. Garcia is a first-time candidate.

Filing Period

Yesterday was the first day of declaration-of-intent filing—the deadline is Feb. 10 for those wishing to challenge incumbents and Feb. 16 for open seats—and also the deadline for candidates to report their fundraising and spending numbers through the end of 2009.

Hammock was one of several candidates who provided copies of their reports to the MetNews. He showed over $236,994 in cash on hand as of Dec. 31, after having received $800 in contributions and a $250,000 loan from himself.

There are two confirmed open seats besides Stevens’. Deputy District Attorneys Alan Schneider and Valerie Salkin are running for the seats now held by Judge William Pounders and William Weisman, respectively, while Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Thomas Griego is also seeking the Weisman seat.

Another former candidate took a step toward running yesterday, as Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack expressed interest in seeking an open seat. Mack lost a runoff to then-Deputy District Attorney Michael O’Gara two years ago, a substantially improved showing over his previous efforts.

He ran last in two earlier races—a six-way contest in 2004 and a three-way tussle in 2006.

Top Fundraiser

The top fundraiser among those candidates and potential candidates who made their reports public was Deputy District Attorney Lou Holtz Jr., who has said he would run for an open seat, but not against Salkin or Schneider. He reported having over $396,000 in his campaign coffers, although $300,000 represented a loan from himself to his campaign. Donors, including five attorneys and two law firms, gave Holtz a reported $6,750.

Salkin reported having $198,150 available on Dec. 31, consisting entirely of a loan from her to her campaign, but a spokesperson said she had raised an additional $300,000 since then, giving her $500,000 to spend on the June 8 primary.

Schneider’s report indicated $98,771 available as of Dec. 31, with $75,000 of that coming from a loan he made to the campaign. At least 15 attorneys contributed to his campaign, nine of whom were fellow deputy district attorneys.

He also received donations from nine law firms and $100 in leftover funds from Judge Daviann Mitchell’s 2006 campaign.

War Chest

Garcia’s report said he had $76,606 in his war chest at the end of last year, after loaning his campaign $51,000. He received contributions from nine law firms, 14 individual attorneys, and $500 from Judge Deborah L. Sanchez.

The candidate with the most financial backing from the legal community was Pasadena attorney Anthony de los Reyes, who only reported having $17,317 on hand as of Dec. 31, but that entire amount came from contributions. De los Reyes previously announced he would run for an open seat, but has yet to specify which one.

Donors to his campaign include 26 attorneys—five of whom are from his firm of Thon & Beck—and 17 law firms, mostly from the Pasadena area. Los Angeles City Cultural Commissioner Lee Ramer gave $200, retired Judge Lawrence W. Crispo gave $250, and District Attorney Steve Cooley gave $150 from his officeholder account.

Consultant Jill Barad, who is handling de los Reyes’ campaign, said that the candidate has five major fundraisers coming up and estimated that they would have a budget of at least $150,000 for the primary race.


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