Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Election Picture Becomes Clearer as Signature Period Begins
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
The outlook for candidates seeking open seats on the Los Angeles Superior Court became clearer as the period in which to file signatures in lieu of filing fees opened.
Friday was the first day for such filings, and four deputy district attorneys—all advised by campaign consultant David Gould—took out the necessary paperwork. The last day to file the signatures is Feb. 5.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper took out papers to run for the seat of Judge Jessica Silvers, who is retiring in February, in the middle of the official nominating period, which runs from Feb. 10 to March 7. The California Supreme Court ruled a number of years ago that if a candidate has filed nominating papers before the incumbent holder of that seat retires, the election goes ahead; otherwise, a retirement would create a vacancy that the governor could fill by appointment, pending an election two years later.
Another Gould-advised prosecutor, Stacy Okun-Weise, took out papers for the seat of Judge Bruce Minto, while Alison Matsumoto Estrada targeted the seat of Judge Harvey Giss and Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong that of Judge Carlos Uranga.
Giss confirmed yesterday that he would not be running. Minto and Uranga could not be reached, but Gould expressed certainty that neither would run.
Giss said he was stepping down because he is going to be 75 years old before his term runs out.
The job, he said, has been “sometimes hell, sometimes sheer pleasure.” The former career prosecutor said he is somewhat dismayed by the state of the criminal justice system—“the public thinks they’re being protected, and they’re not,” he put it—but said that was not a primary consideration in his decision to retire.
He said he has not decided whether to serve out his term, which expires in January 2015, or retire, but that he would not step down before next spring. “There are a couple of cases that I want to try.”
He said he has no specific plans once he retires, but that he would definitely not sit on assignment.
“I’m not going to be reading advance sheets day and night,” he quipped, acknowledging that he sounded like “a grouchy old man.”
Giss was a retired deputy district attorney when then-Gov. Gray Davis tapped him for the court in April 2001. He is married to fellow Superior Court Judge Susan Lopez-Giss.
Also seeking election to the Superior Court are Deputy District Attorneys Ann Park, Teresa Magno, Christopher Frisco, Dylan Mathai, and Amy Carter, and possibly private attorney Douglas Weitzman, who would be running for the fifth time.
Frisco, another Gould client, has declared that he will run for the seat of Judge Joseph Di Loreto, who earlier told the MetNews he will not run again. Gould said he expects Carter, whom he does not represent, to take out papers today to run for the seat of retiring Judge Michael Solner.
The period for filing declaration of intent to run for the court runs from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5, with an extension to Feb. 10 in any race where the incumbent does not file.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company