Thursday, November 4, 2010
Hammock, Schneider Win Runoffs for Los Angeles Superior Court
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Randy Hammock and Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider won runoffs yesterday for seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Hammock’s 671,480 votes, or 52.5 percent of the vote, bested Beverly Hills civil attorney Mark Ameli, who had 607,465 votes, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, although some vote-by-mail or provisional ballots, which will not change the result, remain to be counted.
Hammock will succeed Judge Emily Stevens, who retired in May.
Schneider polled 772,788 votes, or 59.8 percent, in beating Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego. Griego’s vote total was 519,483.
Hammock told the MetNews he was,“grateful for all of those who voted for me and/or supported my candidacy.” He said he would “strive to make them proud of such support,” would commit himself “to being the best judge I can be for the citizens of Los Angeles County.”
The perpetually energetic candidate found himself in an unusual position yesterday, saying it was the first time in over a year that he had no work to do, either as a candidate or as a judicial officer. Currently on “as-needed” status, he has been sitting two days a week lately, and yesterday was not one of those days.
“It’s weird,” he said, adding that he would gladly accept a judicial appointment, should the governor offer him one, so that he can “get a head start” and work full-time before his term starts in January.
“Honestly, I don’t know how the process [of getting an appointment] works, but I certainly don’t mind work,” he said. He noted that he has a judicial appointment application on file with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office.
His name has not been sent to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, he said. But by law, a JNE evaluation need not be obtained for an appointment to be made during the last 90 days of the governor’s term.
Hammock credited his ballot designation and organizational endorsements with having helped the campaign, but the main factor, he said, was slate mail.
This was Hammock’s second bid for the court. The first time he ran, he relied on a candidate statement in the official ballot pamphlet—none of the candidates had one in this election—and the results were disastrous, he acknowledged.
In order to partially keep up with Ameli on the mailers, he said, he wound up spending about $75,000 in the general election, bringing his total to just under $200,000. Ameli, Hammock estimated, spent about $540,000 between the two elections.
Ameli, who ran as Litigator/Mediator/Arbitrator, did not return a MetNews phone call.
Schneider said he was “humbled” by the voters’ clear verdict, but had had little time to think about the result because he in the midst of a murder trial. He will succeed Judge William Pounders, who did not run for a new term and will step down in January.
Since Pounders is already in office, there is no vacancy to which Schneider could be appointed in the next two months. The issue is academic, Schneider said, because he expects to be in trial until just before he takes the bench.
His campaign consultant, Fred Huebscher, attributed the large margin to having “a great candidate” with an established record in the District Attorney’s Office, which gained him a County Bar rating of “Well Qualified”—Griego was rated “Not Qualified”—and the potent ballot designation “Gang Homicide Prosecutor.” The candidates spent about $150,000 each, Huebscher said.
Griego, who had the assistance of consultant Parke Skelton, and who is the brother of another well-known consultant, Victor Griego, did not return a phone call. He ran as “Criminal Prosecutor.”
One other Superior Court contest appeared on the ballot yesterday, but there was only one candidate listed. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue received 928,869 votes, suggesting that the number of votes cast for her write-in opponent, MaryEtta Marks, was miniscule, although those votes have yet to be counted.
Marks qualified under a quirky state law that allows a write-in candidate to challenge a sitting judge in the general election if the judge ran unopposed in the primary and 100 voters sign a petition asking for an opportunity to vote for a write-in candidate.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company