Friday, February 7, 2014
Ex-Lawmaker Calderon Files for Superior Court Race
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Former state lawmaker Charles M. Calderon yesterday filed a declaration of intent to run for Los Angeles Superior Court judge.
Calderon, 63, filed for the seat of Judge Ronald M. Sohigian, who is not running for reelection. He becomes the second candidate to file for the seat, after Deputy District Attorney Efrain Aceves, who is also a member of the Whittier school board.
A phone call to Calderon was returned by his campaign consultant, Hal Dash of Cerrell Associates Inc. Dash said Calderon is “an old friend” with whom he has worked in the past, going back to pre-legislative days when Calderon served on the Montebello school board.
Calderon served in the Assembly from 1982 to 1990, in the Senate from 1990 to 1998, and in the Assembly again from 2006 to 2012. He is believed to be the only person ever to serve as majority leader in both houses.
He belongs to what has been described as a local political dynasty. A son, Ian Calderon, D-City of Industry, was elected to the Assembly two years ago; a brother, Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, is a state senator; and another brother, Tom Calderon, served in the state Assembly, ran unsuccessfully for state insurance commissioner, and is now a business consultant.
Dash said the pending investigation of Ron Calderon should have no impact on the judicial campaign. No charges have been brought, but the senator’s Capitol office was the subject of a search warrant executed last year, and a leaked affidavit that has been widely reported on in the media suggests multiple instances of money being funneled to family members in exchange for Ron Calderon’s assistance with legislative matters.
Those reports implicate Tom Calderon, as well as Ron Calderon’s children. There have been no suggestions of wrongdoing on the part of Charles or Ian Calderon.
Dash said Charles Calderon is “very saddened” to have his family implicated in scandal, but has no personal connection to the investigation. Dash said he has been told that Charles Calderon has a letter from prosecutors assuring him that he is not a target of the investigation, but has not personally seen the letter.
In a statement issued through the Cerrell firm, Calderon said he was running “because I am passionate about ensuring equal access to justice for all Californians” and cited his background not only as a legislator, but as a former prosecutor and government lawyer.
A graduate of California State University of Los Angeles, he began his career as a deputy city attorney, trying cases in both the civil and criminal divisions. He later worked at two prominent law firms.
As a state senator, he chaired the Judiciary Committee and was the Senate member of the Judicial Council of California between 1994 and 1997.
Dash said Calderon has no particular ill will toward Aceves, a former president of the local Mexican American Bar Association, but “thinks he will make a better judge than Mr. Aceves.”
Aceves said he met the senator once, when he sought his support for a judicial appointment.
The veteran prosecutor said he was “baffled” as to why Calderon would choose him to run against, given the unusually high total of 14 open seats on the June 3 primary ballot. But he said he would not drop out, and that his plan to raise between $300,000 and $400,000 for the race will not be impacted by Calderon’s entry.
“My money is not coming from any political machine,” he said. “It is coming from people who know me and know the work I’ve done.”
He said he would not make an issue of the unfolding Calderon family situation. “I haven’t followed it closely at all,” he said, adding that “I am a positive person, I try not to be negative.”
In other election-related news, Cerritos criminal defense attorney Marc A. Gibbons took out, but did not file, papers Wednesday to run for the Superior Court seats being vacated by Judges Lance Ito and Carlos Uranga. Deputy District Attorney Shannon Knight is seeking the Ito seat and Deputy District Attorney Donna Hollingsworth Armstrong is seeking the Uranga seat.
Monday is the declaration-of-intent filing deadline in the 14 open seats.
Copyright 2014, Metropolitan News Company