Friday, April 11, 2014
Democratic Party’s Endorsement Process ‘Rigged’, Ex-Lawmaker Calderon Says
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
The Democratic Party’s lack of endorsement of his judicial candidacy resulted from a “rigged” process, former lawmaker Charles Calderon said yesterday.
Calderon, who served as Democratic leader in both the Senate and Assembly, told the MetNews that the decision of the Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee to endorse neither himself nor his opponent had little to do with his qualifications for the post.
“It’s about who gets the most people there,” he said. “[David] Gould was working hard on getting his buddies in.”
Gould, himself a veteran of Democratic campaigns going back more than 40 years, is consulting for Calderon’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Carol Rose, and several other judicial campaigns.
The committee met Tuesday night to consider endorsements in local judicial and legislative races. Party rules require that a candidate receive 60 percent of the vote in order to be endorsed, and only registered Democrats are eligible.
Jeff Daar, a San Fernando Valley lawyer and co-chair of the committee that interviews judicial candidates, said that committee recommended an endorsement of Calderon, but he fell just short of the 60 percent mark in voting by more than 160 members of the full central committee.
Daar said most members of his committee were impressed with Calderon, not only because of his legislative service but because of trial experience. The committee takes a candidate’s legal experience “quite seriously,” he said, but the full central committee is more of a “political body” and doesn’t always approve his committee’s recommendations, he noted.
Calderon appeared on his way to getting the endorsement without much discussion, he said, until some of the members “started waving newspapers” and talking about the legal problems of the candidate’s brothers. State Sen. Ronald Calderon and former Assemblyman Tom Calderon were recently indicted on corruption charges.
Daar noted that the party’s county chair, Eric Bauman—who is also vice chair of the state Democratic Part—gave an impassioned speech urging that the members not judge the candidate by the acts of others and follow the committee’s recommendations. Other respected figures in the party, including former Los Angeles Controller Rick Tuttle spoke in Calderon’s behalf as well.
Calderon called the process “kind of depressing if you’re a Democrat,” elaborating:
“It’s like what I often say about the Tea Party. They don’t’ care about facts, they don’t care about truth...and sometimes they don’t have a brain.”
He blamed the result in part on the fact that many of his supporters were involved in local campaigns. A number of city elections were held around the county Tuesday.
Some of the members, he said, “were almost crazed” and “out of control” in their efforts to link Calderon to the scandal that has enveloped his family.
“What can I say except we’re different?”, he asked rhetorically. “I can’t control what [my brothers[ do. What they do they’re responsible for, what I do I’m responsible for.”
Calderon and Rose are candidates for Office No. 48, the seat from which Judge Ronald Sohigian is retiring.
The committee made other endorsements in judicial races:
•Office No. 22, civil litigator Pamala F. Matsumoto was endorsed over Deputy District Attorney Amy Carter.
•Office No. 54, Superior Court Commissioner Debra L. Losnick was endorsed over Deputy District Attorney Shannon L. Knight for the seat now held by Judge Lance Ito.
•Office No. 61, Superior Court Commissioner Jacqueline H. Lewis was endorsed over Deputy District Attorney Dayan Mathai and former volunteer prosecutor B. Otis Felder for the seat now held by Judge Michael Nash.
•Office No. 76, Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim was endorsed in her race with fellow prosecutor Alison Matsumoto Estrada for the seat now held by Judge Harvey Giss. Daar said his committee recommended no endorsement, but Kim, the only Democrat in the race, received the necessary supermajority of the full committee.
•Office No. 87, criminal defense attorney Andrew M. Stein was endorsed over prosecutors Tom Griego and Steven P. Schreiner for the seat now held by Judge Rex Heeseman.
•Office No. 97, no endorsement between Deputy District Attorney Teresa Pineda Magno and Deputy City Attorney Songhai Miguda-Armstead for the seat formerly held by Judge David Milton, who retired in February. Gould, who represents Miguda-Armstead, said his candidate received about 53 percent of the vote, whereas the committee endorsed her opponent.
•Office No. 107, Superior Court Commissioner Emma Castro was endorsed. Her opponent for the seat now held by Judge Bob S. Bowers Jr. is Deputy District Attorney Joan M. Chrostek.
•Office No. 113, no endorsement between Superior Court Referee Steven Klaif and Deputy District Attorney Stacy Wiese for the seat now held by Judge R. Bruce Minto, who retired last month.
•Office No. 117, no endorsement between Deputy District Attorney Carol Najera and Judge James B. Pierce.
•Office No. 138, no endorsement between attorney Marc A. Gibbons and Deputy District Attorney Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong for the seat now held by Judge Carlos Uranga.
•Office No. 157, no endorsement between Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper and retired Superior Court Referee Arnold William Mednick for the seat formerly held by Judge Jessica Perrin Silvers, who retired in February.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company