Monday, December 10, 2001
Superior Court Race Opens Up After Judge Dunn Does Not File
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
There will be a fifth open seat on the Los Angeles Superior Court up for grabs in the March 5 primary after Judge Reginald Dunn did not return nomination documents by Friday’s deadline.
By not finalizing a candidacy after filing a declaration of intention to run, Dunn sets up an extended filing period through Wednesday, in which any eligible candidate can take out papers and become a candidate for the seat.
The race currently has two candidates, Deputy District Attorney Richard F. Walmark and Encino attorney Thomas Warden.
Dunn had vacillated for weeks. He told the MetNews before filing opened that he expected to run, but later told acquaintances that he had changed his mind—only to file his declaration of intention on the last possible day.
Walmark, Warden and Superior Court Commissioner Glenda Veasey had filed declarations of intention before they knew Dunn was going to file himself. Warden filed a declaration of intention to run for the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Kanner, as a backup plan, but said he would return nomination documents for Dunn’s seat if Dunn didn’t.
Walmark said he would run even if Dunn stayed in the race, but did not return his own nomination documents until Friday.
Dunn could not be reached Friday for comment, but registrar’s office records show that he never picked up the papers necessary to file his candidacy. Veasey could not be reached for word on whether she intended to get back into the race now that Dunn isn’t running.
Having filed her declaration and paid the filing fee, Veasey could now enter the race without paying additional fees. If a new candidate gets in, he or she would have to pay the $1,330.51 fee at the time nomination documents are issued; the documents, including the signatures of 40 registered voters, would have to be returned by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The extended filing period applies only to the seat now held by Dunn, the only incumbent to file a declaration of intention but not return nomination documents. Filing is now over for all other seats, including two open seats in which candidates who filed declarations of intention dropped out and didn’t file the final paperwork.
The two were Commissioner Jeffrey Marckese, who was running for the seat being vacated by Judge Michael Pirosh, and State Bar Court Judge Michael D. Marcus, who was seeking the Kanner seat.
Marcus confirmed Friday that he had decided not to run, but declined to comment on the reasons. With Marcus and Warden out, the race now has four candidates: Deputy District Attorney Lauren Weis and attorneys Richard Espinoza, H. Don Christian, and Robert S. Harrison.
Marckese said that he had reconsidered after talking to his family.
The commissioner, who lost a bid for an open seat on the court two years ago, said he had come to realize that with four candidates in the race, there was likely to be a November runoff. “I wasn’t really ready to make the long commitment” that a year of campaigning would require, he said.
His withdrawal leaves Santa Monica attorney Joseph Deering, Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg, and Workers’ Compensation Judge Donald Renetzky seeking the seat.
All other candidates who could have returned nomination papers did.
Deputy District Attorneys Richard Naranjo and Craig Renetzky and Acton attorney Larry H. Layton are seeking the seat being vacated by Judge Richard Spann. Renetzky is the son of Donald Renetzky.
The other open seat is now held by Judge David Finkel. Deputy District Attorney David Gelfound, Pasadena attorney David Crawford, State Bar Court Judge Paul Bacigalupo, and Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Steven K. Lubell.
Two incumbent judges are being challenged, Floyd Baxter by former Newhall Municipal Court Commissioner Ross Alan Stucker and C. Robert Simpson Jr. by Glendale attorney Kenneth E. Wright.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company