Friday, February 12, 2010
Candidate Drops Out as Open Seat Races Take Shape
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
A candidate for the Los Angeles Superior Court dropped out yesterday as others began making decisions in advance of Tuesday’s filing deadline.
Deputy District Attorney Lou Holtz Jr., who had filed a declaration of intent to run for the seat now held by Judge Emily Stevens, said he would not return his nominating papers.
With only three open seats in play—the lowest total in years—the growing field of candidates for the post he had filed for portended “a very tough...nine-month campaign” that would be inconsistent with his responsibilities to his family, Holtz said.
He told the MetNews that he was pulling out now, rather than waiting until the March 12 deadline for filing nomination documents. “I thought it was important so that others considering running would not be discouraged by my campaign,” he explained.
Holtz’s withdrawal leaves Superior Court Referee Randy Hammock, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Chris Garcia, attorney and mediator Kendall Reed, and Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Kim Smith in the contest. A potential fifth candidate, Beverly Hills attorney Mark Ameli, said yesterday he would join the competition “unless something else happens between now and [the deadline].”
The unusually small list of seats has created “a strange kind of a race,” Ameli—a civil attorney who hopes to become the court’s first Iranian-born judge—commented. But his campaign has had a “fantastic” response, with endorsements from a host of public figures, including Sheriff Lee Baca, and over $340,000 of a projected $500,000 campaign budget raised so far, Ameli said.
“We’re basically on track with respect to the money that we need to raise,” he said.
Ameli had hired the same consultant as Holtz, David Gould, so Holtz’s withdrawal created an opportunity for Ameli to seek the seat. Two of the other candidates have hired consultants as well, with Fred Huebscher working for Smith and Jill Barad for Hammock.
Reed, who just entered the race on Wednesday, said he was not going to follow suit.
“I’m going to do it the untraditional way,” he explained yesterday. “I’m not going to spend anything.”
He is running, however, because that is “something I’ve been thinking about for many years.” As for the timing, he gave the Talmudic response, “If not now, when?”
He expressed hope that “in a very crowded field” his “circle of influence” would have a positive effect.
Two other announced candidates landed in races, with Pasadena attorney Anthony de los Reyes—who filed as Tony de los Reyes—filing Wednesday for the seat being vacated by Judge William Weisman and Calabassas attorney William Margolin turning in his declaration yesterday for the seat now held by Judge William Pounders.
De los Reyes faces Deputy District Attorney Valerie Salkin, while Margolin’s opposition includes Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider and Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego.
While de los Reyes has been raising money since August and has hired Barad as his consultant, Margolin echoed Reed and said he would rely on friends, clients and personal appearances to get word of his candidacy out across the vast county.
“I’m not afraid of the money that people have collected to spend on a countywide race for a judge seat,” Margolin said, because he will be at “tons of events meeting the public” as well as on “local radio” and the Internet. “I see nothing but opportunity.”
With de los Reyes and Margolin planting their banners, there are four announced candidates who have not yet filed their declarations.
Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack has taken out papers for both the Pounders and Stevens seats, but has not yet filed in either of them. Under the Elections Code, a candidate may file multiple declarations and wait until the March 12 nominating deadline to decide which race to run in, but would have to pay multiple $1,800 filing fees in order to do so.
West Los Angeles attorney Elizabeth Moreno said she would likely decide today which seat to run for, while Deputy District Attorney Laurie Trammell Castaneda and criminal defense attorney Keith Bowman did not return phone calls.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company