Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Page 1


Otto, Challenger Step Up Spending in Judicial Contest  

Colleagues Pitch in to Help Judge Challenged Over Reassignment of Bench Officer


By a MetNews Staff Writer


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James D. Otto raised and spent nearly $100,000 in a two-month period in his bid to win a new six-year term, campaign finance records show, while his opponent outspent him by a 3-2 margin.

Thursday was the statutory deadline for filing reports covering the period March 18 through May 19, and Otto’s report indicates that he took in more than $95,000 in that time, spent a little over $100,000 in the same period, and had about $21,000 on hand.

Otto, the supervising judge in Long Beach, is being challenged by a retired prosecutor, Kenneth Hughey. Hughey has criticized Otto’s administrative action in transferring a friend of Hughey’s, Judge J.D. Lord, to what Lord considered less desirable duties.

Otto’s contributor list looks like a judicial personnel roster. More than 200 Los Angeles Superior Court judges, four commissioners, three Court of Appeal justices, a State Bar Court judge, and several retired judges donated, as did former Orange Superior Court Presiding Judge Kim Dunning.

Among the largest donors were two former supervising judges in Long Beach, as Judge Arthur Jean gave $2,000 and Judge Gary Ferrari gave $1,000. Judges Edward Moreton Jr., Joseph E. De Loreto, Patrick T. Madden and Lance Ito each gave $1,000, Tomson Ong gave $2,000, and Mark Kim gave $1,000 plus a non-monetary contribution worth $2,500.

Hughey reported raising and spending nearly $150,000, of which $140,000 was his own money. No judicial officers gave to his campaign.

Otto is putting virtually all of his funds into slate mail, while Hughey appears to have spent $30,000 on a phone bank operation.

There was far less fundraising and spending during the past two months in the races involving the other two challenged incumbents.

Judge Sanjay Kumar, who had previously raised over $150,000, including $100,000 he put in himself, reported adding about $72,000 and spending nearly all of it, leaving himself with about $15,000 on hand. His opponent, Kim Smith, reported raising and spending $113.53 in the last two months, leaving him with nothing in the bank.

Smith has spent less than $20,000 in total.

Judge Lynn D. Olson, who spent more than $120,000 to oust Judge Dzintra Janavs, has thus far raised less than $15,000 in her bid to keep it. Her opponent, Douglas Weitzman, did not file an electronic spending report with the secretary of state, which is only mandatory if the candidate raises or spends more than $25,000.

It could not be immediately determined if Weitzman filed a paper report with the county registrar, which is mandatory if an electronic report is not filed, although a detailed report is not required if the candidate states that he does not intend to spend more than $1,000, exclusive of the filing fee. 


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company