Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Page 11



Four Newspapers in Chain Make Judicial Endorsements


Los Angeles Newspaper Group newspapers, as a matter of routine, run the same editorials—but an exception has just been made. Three LANG newspapers have opted not to run the editorial in which the group’s major paper, the Daily News, declined to endorse in Los Angeles Superior Court races this year.

While the Daily Breeze did adopt that editorial, the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Pasadena Star News, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and the Whittier Daily News each published a contrasting editorial last week—the same editorial in each of those four publications—that does choose up sides.

In four of the races, its selections are the same as those made by the Los Angeles Times and by the Metropolitan News-Enterprise (as well as the MetNews’ Spanish-language sister newspaper, Nuestra Comunidad). All of the LANG and non-LANG newspapers in the county making endorsements in judicial races have sided with Deputy District Attorney Sean Coen for Office No. 3, Judge Sanjay Kumar for Office No. 10, Judge Lynn Olson for Office No. 38, and Deputy District Attorney Andrea Thompson for Office No. 65.

The Times, the MetNews, and Nuestra Comunidad have urged the reelection of Judge James Otto to Office No. 78 and the election of Deputy District Attorney Eric Harmon to Office No. 114. The Press-Telegram, Star News, SGV Tribune and Whittier Daily News see it differently. They call for the defeat of Otto over an administrative decision he made as supervising judge of the South District and favor a civil practitioner over Harmon. Their editorials say:

Office No. 78: Retired prosecutor Kenneth R. Hughey is running an unusual campaign, citing everything from his folksy country judge father to his service to his country in Vietnam, where he spent over four years in a prison camp. But we liked Hughey’s folksy outrage at sitting Judge James D. Otto’s apparent reassigning to lesser trials of a fellow judge in the Long Beach courthouse for fairly capricious reasons. Otto failed to defend his actions very well in our meeting. Hughey [age 80] would be one of the oldest judges ever elected to the bench in the county, but he’s still sharp and passionate about the law, and we like that.

Office No. 114: Berj Parseghian is an environmental attorney who switched to the law after time as a Caltech graduate student in chemistry. “I really like to dig in and find out what the reasoning is” in his cases, he told us. “When you’re presenting material to a jury, you want to break it all down so it’s understandable to everyone.” The La Crescenta resident has the endorsement of former local Rep. Jim Rogan, now on the Orange County bench, among many others, and would be a refreshing voice on the bench. This one’s a close call, as gang homicide prosector [sic] Eric Harmon is not only the more conventional choice, but a very good one.

Political consultant Fred Huebscher offers his predictions as to how candidates for the Los Angeles Superior Court will fare at the polls next Tuesday.

Huebscher is the paid consultant for Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Otto and is unofficially assisting the campaign of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lynn Diane Olson.

The consultant prognosticates these results:

Office 3—Runoff between [Deputy District Attorney Sean] Coen and Deputy District Attorney Craig] Gold with slight chance (around 20%) that it’s [radio host Joe] Escalante and Coen. Coen comes in first for sure.

Office 10—Slight advantage to [Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sanjay] Kumar (I’d say 55% chance he wins) and the race will be in the 55-45 range one way or the other.

Office 38—Olson and she’ll get at least 65%.

Office 65—Likely runoff between [Deputy District Attorney Andrea] Thompson and [Deputy District Attorney Shannon] Knight. Thompson comes in first. There is around a 30% chance that Thompson wins it outright since her opponents are doing nothing. Thompson is on most slates and Knight is one (Democratic Party of SF Valley) and [Deputy Los Angeles City Attorney Matt] Schonbrun is on none.

Office 78—[Judge James] Otto will win and he gets at least 55%.

Office 114—[Deputy District Attorney Eric] Harmon wins without a runoff and [civil practitioner Benjimin] Brees comes in second. The question is how bad will [civil lawyer Berj] Parseghian do? I suspect he gets around 15%.

A fourth candidate for Office No. 3 is pro bono attorney Laurence Kaldor. Kumar’s challenger is Hawthorne Deputy City Attorney Kim Smith and Olson’s opponent is real estate broker/attorney Douglas Weitzman.

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has secured the first media endorsement in his campaign for district attorney, with the bilingual Eastern Group Publications newspapers (the Eastern Sun and other weeklies) giving him their nod.

The editorial says:

Carmen Trutanich is our choice for County District Attorney. As Los Angeles City Attorney, Trutanich has shown that he not only understands the problems of residents on the city’s west side, but has made an effort to have a meaningful presence on the eastside at well. He appears to be open to discuss with constituents and stakeholders how prosecutor assignments should be made, and the investigative priorities for his office. We are not talking about pandering to the whims of the public, but about the need to set priorities in a time of limited resources. Vote for Trutanich.”

The Los Angeles Times has endorsed Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

All of the LANG newspapers have given a joint endorsement to Lacey and to Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson—each of them but one declaring: “ABC. Anybody but Carmen.” LANG’s Spanish language newspaper, Impacto, used the initials “CMC”: “Cualquiera Menos Carmen.”

The MetNews, Nuestra Comunidad, and the Beverly Hills Courier have urged the election of Jackson.

Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers, a candidate for district attorney, will be greeting well-wishers on Thursday at a North Hollywood “community reception.”

It will take place at a private home, its location to be provided to those who make reservations by e-mailing, telephoning (949) 350-7733, or faxing (949) 272-0420.

Staging the event are Jeffrey J. Daar of Daar & Newman, Deputy Public Defender Robin Bernstein-Lev, Ruth Zacarias of the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.

Daar says in a campaign e-mail:

“We need your support to elect Danette, who has been in the courtroom for 26 years, prosecuting murderers and other dangerous criminals. We need her Smart Justice. The status quo is not working, and she is the only candidate experienced enough and independent enough to reform an office badly in need of change. She will also revamp the Environmental Crimes Unit and bring to justice to those who pollute our cities. Danette needs our contributions to get elected.”

He specifies:

“Contributions requested, but no one will be turned away. RSVP required.”


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company