Friday, April 23, 2010
Bruguera Gets ‘Well Qualified’ Rating From Bar Panel
Salkin Evasive on Rating, Criticizes ‘Ridiculously Long’ Process
By Sherri M. Okamoto, Staff Writer
The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Election Evaluations Committee has rated Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Soussan G. Bruguera “well qualified” for re-election to another six-year term, the judge said yesterday.
Bruguera told the MetNews she was “humbly grateful and honored” by the rating, which is the second highest evaluation the committee can give.
The committee rates candidates prior to each biennial election and assigns ratings of “exceptionally well qualified,” “well qualified,” “qualified,” and “not qualified.” Ratings below the maximum are considered tentative and subject to appeal.
Bruguera is one of three incumbent judges being targeted in the June 8 primary, and is facing a challenge by Los Angeles attorney Douglas W. Weitzman.
Weitzman, who is making his third run for a seat on the bench, received a “not qualified” rating from LACBA in the two previous election cycles. An unidentified man who answered the phone number given for Weitzman on the State Bar website said the candidate “didn’t know” what rating he had received this time before hanging up.
A campaign consultant for Judge Maren E. Nelson, who is facing off against Los Angeles attorney Jim G. Baklayan in the June 8 primary, disclosed on Tuesday that she had received the committee’s highest rating.
Baklayan told the MetNews yesterday that he had met with the LACBA group last Saturday and had not yet received his rating. He declined to comment on Nelson’s rating.
The third contest is between Judge Laura A. Matz and Los Angeles attorney Marvin G. Fischler, neither of whom could be reached yesterday.
Additionally, there are a total of 15 other candidates competing for three open seats in the June primary.
Pasadena attorney Anthony “Tony” de los Reyes, one of three candidates seeking the seat being vacated by Judge William R. Weisman, said Tuesday that he had received a “well qualified” rating.
One opponent, San Pedro attorney R. Stephen Bolinger, said yesterday that he had not yet been notified of his rating, while the other, Deputy District Attorney Valerie F. Salkin, said she has an interview with the LACBA committee next week.
Salkin responded with “no comment” when asked whether this would be her initial interview or an appeal of her tentative rating.
“I don’t want to specify exactly where I am in the process because it has taken so ridiculously long,” she explained.
Gretchen Nelson, chair of the committee, said that the group was “still in the rating process” yesterday, and the appeal process was scheduled to begin next week.
She emphasized that the committee “has worked very diligently and as quickly as it possibly can, recognizing that this is a process that requires great care,” adding that the group’s response is predicated in part on the time it takes the candidates to submit the requested materials.
Candidates are asked to complete a questionnaire detailing professional experience and provide 75 references who can be contacted for their opinions.
Nelson said she was “hopeful” that the finalized list of ratings would be available the first week in May.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company