Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Two More Indicate They Will Enter Races for Superior Court
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A third candidate has entered the race to succeed Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Weisman, and another attorney told the MetNews Friday she plans to file a declaration of intent to enter one of the three heavily-populated contests for an open seat.
Long Beach attorney Joseph N. Piro filed his declaration of intent Thursday, according to the county Registrar-Recorder’s office, and Redondo Beach attorney Pattricia M. Vienna indicated she was planning to file hers today, the last day judicial hopefuls may do so.
Vienna said she was considering filing for the seat being vacated by Judge Emily Stevens, but it would depend on who else entered that contest. So far, six attorneys have filed for that seat, but Deputy District Attorney Lou Holtz Jr. said Thursday that he will not return his nominating papers for the position.
The remaining candidates for that race are Referee Randy Hammock, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Chris Garcia, Long Beach attorney and mediator Kendall Reed, Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Kim Smith, and Los Angeles Deputy Public Defender C. Edward Mack, who has also taken out papers to run for the seat being vacated by Judge William Pounders.
Mack’s potential opponents for the Pounders seat are Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Tom Griego, Calabassas attorney William Margolin and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Alan Schneider.
Vying against Piro—a graduate of California State University Long Beach and Pepperdine Law School who was admitted to practice in 1976 and could not be reached for comment—are Pasadena attorney Anthony de los Reyes and Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Valerie Salkin.
Vienna opined that it “wouldn’t be wise to run against Valerie Salkin” since the prosecutor has a large war chest and “she’ll be on a lot of the slates, I’m sure.”
In comparison, Vienna said she is not working with a consultant and “I’m not dealing with a half a million dollars” as a budget either.
She commented she was planning on “doing some speaking tours” and utilizing a network of volunteers to go door-to-door in order to garner support. Vienna added that she plans to utilize YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as well.
“If Obama can do it, Vienna can do it,” she quipped.
Vienna said she was hoping to secure the endorsement of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jared Moses, who would have been her opponent in the 2008 race for an open seat created by the retirement of Judge Dzintra Janavs, but Vienna dropped out to allow Moses to win in the primary.
“I thought, okay, I will wait and try again in 2010,” she explained. “That last time was a longshot, but this time I think there’s a chance….I know I’m ready, I know I’m qualified.”
Over the past two years, she said, “I got myself a little more experience” and worked on addressing the criticisms levied on her in the “nicest non-endorsement” she received from the MetNews in 2008.
“It said I should have more recent courtroom experience…so I did that,” Vienna remarked, and she has continued sitting as a temporary judge presiding over traffic and civil harassment matters. Vienna has served as a judge pro tem since 2003.
Before that, she spent 18 years with a small firm in Redondo Beach, mostly in the area of commercial finance law, making appearances in “every courtroom from San Diego to San Francisco.” She opened her solo general civil practice in 2005.
Vienna is a graduate of the Northrop University School of Law and is a past president of the Benjamin Aranda Inns of Court. She was admitted to practice in 1986.
The attorney said the platform for her campaign this year was “bringing the simple concept of common sense back to the courtroom.”
She jokingly remarked that she would “love to put ‘common sense attorney,’ ” as her ballot designation, “but I’m sure it will be challenged.”
The attorney clarified that “I’m not challenging the existing court system, but I think I have some good ideas” for addressing the “inefficiencies” she has seen.
One example she gave was a situation where the defendant appearing before her for a traffic violation was “clearly not the person that was issued the ticket,” but “I can’t just say ‘Yes, this isn’t you.’…The defendant has to go to another department” for that determination to be made, which is “ridiculous,” she said.
Vienna insisted, “I should be able to do this right here.”
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company