Jan. 4, 2000
Downey sole practitioner Kirt Hopson is likeable, principled, forthright and aggressive. He has pride in his city. We endorse him—not for the Downey Municipal Court seat he is seeking, but for the post of mayor of Downey.
The primary reason Hopson should not be elected to the Downey Municipal Court is that he's seeking a seat occupied by a judge who is, by all accounts, patient yet efficient, unflappable, gentlemanly, and compassionate. Jesus "Jesse" Rodriguez, appointed two years ago, has won the respect of both prosecutors and defense lawyers. An adjective consistently applied to him is "fair."
Hopson alleges that Rodriguez is biased in favor of the prosecution. However, he is unable to substantiate that accusation—and is unable to back up certain other campaign utterances.
Hopson—who once blurted out during a court recess that a ruling had been the product of the prosecutor's intimacy with the judge—admits he sometimes speaks without thinking. He also admits to having a bad temper. These traits are obviously marks against his candidacy—but his ready admission of them does evoke an admiration of his integrity.
We are unimpressed by Hopson's argument that Rodriguez should be turned out of office because he lives in South Bay, while Hopson is a resident of the judicial district (comprised of Downey, Norwalk and La Mirada). We find ludicrous the proposition that the location of a jurist's abode affects the quality of his or her rulings.
We discern no tenable reason why Rodriguez should be stripped of his judgeship, and an abundance of reasons why he should be retained. We endorse Jesse Rodriguez for election to the Downey Municipal Court.
Copyright Metropolitan News Company, 2000