Friday, July 11, 2003
Sheldon Sloan Wins Seven-Way Race for Board of Governors
Votes Tallied for Former LACBA President Nearly Double Nearest Rival’s, but Less Than One-Third of Total
By David Watson, Staff Writer
Los Angeles attorney Sheldon H. Sloan, a former Los Angeles Municipal Court judge and former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, has been elected to the State Bar Board of Governors.
Sloan won election to a three-year term over six opponents in District 7, consisting of all of Los Angeles County. He received 2,100 votes—nearly double the total of his closest competitor, Northridge attorney James A. Otto.
His victory represents the first for a local candidate endorsed by the influential Breakfast Club since 2001, when former California Attorney General John K. Van de Kamp won election unopposed in one of two District 7 races.
In the other local contest that year, self-styled outsider candidate Matthew Cavanaugh narrowly defeated Breakfast Club candidate Patricia Lobello-Lamb, and last year both Breakfast Club candidates lost close races to Cavanaugh-backed candidates.
The club had hand-picked candidates to represent District 7 for the last three decades, and until 2001 either persuaded would-be challengers not to run, or backed their own selections so massively that they almost always prevailed.
Sloan told the MetNews he plans to “better learn the structure of the State Bar and do what I can to increase efficiency, lower dues if possible, and improve the image of lawyers statewide.”
He described his experience as LACBA president in 1996-97 as a “good exercise” that would help him in his new role. “Many County Bar presidents have gone on to serve on the State Bar, and I think they bring an additional point of view that is important,” Sloan declared.
He said his election “makes it clear that Breakfast Club candidates can win, but it is imperative for the Breakfast Club to select candidates who are well known in the legal community and deserve its support.”
Voting for the Board of Governors ended June 30. Canvassing took place this week and results were announced by the State Bar yesterday.
In District 7, Otto received 1,102 votes, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Frank M. Tavelman 913, Phillip Feldman of Sherman Oaks 853, Long Beach attorney Curtis L. Harrington 689, downtown Los Angeles lawyer Scott W. Davenport 573, and Los Angeles attorney Joseph Lewis 460. There were also three write-in votes.
Harrington was the candidate endorsed by Cavanaugh.
20 Percent Turnout
The 6,693 votes cast represent about 20 percent of the approximately 32,000 members of the bar eligible to vote in the county.
Sloan was a judge from 1973 to 1976. He served as Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission president and was involved in the effort to bring pro football back to that facility.
He also has served as a member of the Judicial Council of California and has been active in Republican politics. His practice focuses heavily on government law and lobbying, and he was reportedly influential in the judicial appointment process during the administrations of Govs. George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson.
Cavanaugh had conceded before the vote totals were announced that he expected Sloan to win, but called the outcome a “moral victory” for outsider candidates.
Sloan, he noted, received less than a third of the total number of votes cast.
“The outsider vote was so split,” he said. “It seems like when the contest is one-on-one the Breakfast Club can’t win.”
Breakfast Club President Jo-Ann W. Grace called the outcome of the vote “fantastic.”
“Shelly is a fabulous candidate and will make an excellent Board of Governors representative for this district.”
Grace, who is also co-publisher of the MetNews, said the club was gratified by the large field of candidates drawn to the race, saying it represents a “renewal of interest by the bar in the workings of the State Bar.”
“The purpose of the Breakfast Club is to place qualified leaders on the Board of Governors.”
Feldman, a critic of the attorney discipline process who ran a series of ads near the ballot deadline urging supporters to vote, said he sent congratulations to Sloan on July 1—more than a week before the vote count was completed. He called the campaign “disappointing,” saying he would have liked to debate Sloan.
In other districts:
•Chico lawyer Richard L. Crabtree was elected in District 1 with 423 votes. Placer Deputy District Attorney Clark E. Gehlbach received 256 votes. The district consists of 19 Northern California counties.
•Oakland Deputy City Attorney Demetrius Shelton was elected with 1,550 votes in District 3. Sunnyvale lawyer Tahir J. Naim received 849 votes. The district consists of Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
•Fresno lawyer Paul S. Hokokian, who served on the board from 1997-2000, was elected with 973 votes in District 5. Leonard C. Herr Jr. of Visalia received 330 votes and James C. Sherwood of Fowler 288. The district consists of 14 Central California counties.
•Raymond G. Aragon of Bonita was elected without opposition in District 9. The district consists of San Diego and Imperial counties.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company