Friday, May 7, 2010
Matz ‘Well Qualified’ as LACBA Releases Final Ratings
By SHERRI M. OKAMOTO, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura A. Matz has been rated “well qualified” to remain on the bench by the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Election Evaluations Committee.
The committee yesterday released its ratings of all 21 candidates appearing on the ballot for the June 8 primary. Of the three incumbents being challenged, Matz was the only one who had not previously made her rating public.
A total of six candidates were evaluated as “not qualified” for judicial office, while nine were found “qualified.” Only the three incumbent judges and three candidates for open seats received higher ratings.
Judge Maren E. Nelson was the only person to gain the committee’s highest rating of “exceptionally well qualified.” Judge Soussan G. Bruguera, like Matz, was rated “well qualified.”
Deputy District Attorney Alan K. Schneider, Pasadena civil attorney Tony de los Reyes and San Pedro sole practitioner R. Stephen Bolinger were also evaluated as “well qualified.”
The report reflected a decline in rating for one repeat candidate, but maintained the prior evaluation of three others. Superior Court Referee Randolph M. Hammock garnered a “well qualified” rating in his first attempt to pursue a spot on the bench in 2006 when he was still in private practice, but was only considered “qualified” this election cycle.
Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack was evaluated as “qualified” for the fourth time and Los Angeles attorney Douglas W. Weitzman was rated “not qualified” for the third time. In an e-mail sent to the MetNews yesterday, Weitzman said he did not participate in the process, that LACBA had treated him unfairly in the past, that his service as a judge pro tem over several years showed that he was qualified to serve, and that he would have no other statement.
Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison received a “qualified” rating, as he did in the 2006 election cycle following a “not qualified” rating in 2004.
Candidates Not Qualified
In addition to Weitzman, the committee concluded that Long Beach mediator/arbitrator Kendall C. Reed, Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Kim Smith, Redondo Beach practitioner Pattricia M. Vienna, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Thomas Griego and Hollywood lawyer Jim G. Baklayan “possess less than the minimum qualities and attributes considered necessary to perform the judicial function adequately and satisfactorily.”
The MetNews previously reported that Nison, Mack, Hammock, Deputy District Attorney Valerie F. Salkin, Calabasas lawyer William M. Margolin, West Los Angeles arbitrator/mediator Elizabeth A. Moreno, Beverly Hills attorney Mark K. Ameli and Los Angeles practitioner Marvin G. Fischler had received “qualified” ratings.
The candidates whose names will appear on the June 3 primary ballot, and their ratings, are:
•Office No. 28—Ameli, Garcia, Hammock, Mack, Moreno and Nison were all rated “qualified,” while Reed and Smith were rated “not qualified”;
•Office No. 35— Bruguera was rated “well qualified” and Weitzman was rated “not qualified”;
•Office No. 73—Matz was rated “well qualified” and Fischler was rated “qualified”;
•Office No. 107—Bolinger and de los Reyes were rated “well qualified,” Salkin was rated “qualified”;
•Office No. 117—Schneider was rated “well qualified” and Margolin was rated “qualified” while Griego and Vienna were rated “not qualified”;
•Office No. 131—Nelson was rated “exceptionally well qualified” while Baklayan was rated “not qualified.”
A copy of the committee’s final report is available on the County Bar website, lacba.org.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company