Thursday, January 21, 2010
Candidates Target Judicial Seats
Prosecutors Say They Will Seek Posts of Nguyen, Weisman
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Deputy District Attorney Lou Holtz Jr. said yesterday he has taken out nomination paperwork for the seat vacated by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline H. Nguyen, and fellow Deputy District Attorney Valerie F. Salkin said she had taken out paperwork for Judge William R. Weisman’s seat.
Both Holtz and Salkin said they have taken out a petition to collect signtures in lieu of paying a filing fee.
Nguyen was confirmed last month to a position on U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and Weisman has said he will retire in May.
Holtz acknowledged the possibility that the governor could fill Nguyen’s vacancy by appointment, but said, “Obviously I’ll pick another seat” if that occurs.
He commented that he decided to “stake my claim” on Nguyen’s former post since he did not want to run against Salkin or Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider, who on Friday took out paperwork for the seat occupied by Judge William Pounders. Pounders has said he plans to step down when his term ends next January.
Salkin said that she did not want to run against Holtz or Schneider, and that the three of them had discussed which seats they were going to pursue. She said the decision to have Schneider run for Pounders’ seat was “easy” given the jurist’s endorsement of Schneider for the post.
She also said that Holtz told her to run for Weisman’s seat since she had learned of the vacancy first.
“It wasn’t anything specific to that seat,” she explained.
Salkin said she had not seen, prior to going to Norwalk to take out her petition, yesterday’s report in the MetNews that Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Thomas J. Griego was planning to run for Weisman’s seat.
She acknowledged that “it’s not ideal to run against another prosecutor, but if there are only three open seats, you have to be realistic that it’s going to be a competitive race.”
Griego said he had not known Salkin had targeted Weisman’s seat, but that her candidacy was “not going to affect my decision” to pursue the post.
“I’m very confident about my candidacy,” he said, pointing to his “25 years as a city employee,” and his various “non-legal experiences” working for the Los Angeles Police Department, and with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and the Southern California Association of Governments.
“I’m sure that the voters of Los Angeles County will see that,” Griego said. “I’m confident that they will.”
At least seven other individuals have launched campaigns and said they are seeking open seats on the court, including Calabasas solo practitioner William M. Margolin, Deputy District Attorney Laurie Trammell Castaneda, Beverly Hills attorney Mark K. Ameli, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Garcia, Pasadena personal injury attorney Anthony de los Reyes, Los Angeles Superior Court Referee Randolph M. Hammock, and West Los Angeles attorney and mediator Elizabeth A. Moreno.
The number of open seats in the June 8 primary election will not be determined until Feb.10, the deadline for sitting judges to file re-election paperwork with the Registrar-Recorder’s Office.
Jan. 4 marked the first day that candidates could circulate paperwork to obtain signatures of registered voters to be submitted in lieu of a filing fee, and they may file declarations of intent to run beginning Feb. 1. They must file final nomination documents between Feb. 16 and March 13.
Holtz commented that he had “the most money and the most endorsements” of all the candidates, with $400,000 in his campaign coffers and the backing of over 220 public officials, including District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Lee Baca, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Robert J. Schuit, Thomas R. White, Morton Rochman, Gregg Marcus, Ronald S. Coen, Hilleri G. Merritt, and Shari K. Silver.
Salkin said she has also secured the backing of Baca and Cooley, as well as former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp and 50 superior court judges.
She estimated having raised about $50,000 since Jan. 1 for “a total of $250,000 that’s in the bank,” and that she was hoping to have a total of $300,000 by the end of the month, the amount she planned to spend on the primary election.
“Beyond that, let’s see what happens,” Salkin said. “It’s hard to say what the budget will be until I know who I’m running against.”
Salkin added that she “expect[s] to run a very strong, very aggressive campaign” with the assistance of campaign treasurer and strategist David Gould.
She emphasized that she had “the background, qualifications, knowledge and experience” to “hit the ground running” if she were elected, insisting that none of the other potential candidates could match her felony jury trial experience.
“I’m not going to have a huge learning curve,” she said.
Griego lists Baca, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes, and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, as his supporters, as well as Judges Marvin M. Lager, George C. Lomeli, Frederick R. Rotenberg, Rand S. Rubin, Daniel J. Lowenthal, Deborah L. Sanchez, Mildred Escobedo and James K. Hahn.
He said his campaign budget is $130,000, and that so far he has raised over half of that amount.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company