Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Debbaudt's Debut - ADDA Hosts DDA Judicial Candidates

Downtown Los Angeles' fashionable eatery, Engine Co. No. 28, was the venue for newly-elected ADDA President Marc Debbaudt's much-anticipated debut. This was the first event under Debbaudt's tenure, held in honor of newly-appointed Hon. Judge Frank Tavelman, a former DDA and former ADDA Vice President. The event was also billed as an opportunity to meet the DDA Judicial candidates endorsed by the ADDA, as well as a candidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor 1st District, former US Congresswoman and Labor Secretary, the Hon. Hilda Solis. The ADDA has endorsed Solis to replace term-limited Supervisor Gloria Molina.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper (center) flanked by newly-appointed Hon. Judge Frank Tavelman (left)
and newly-elected ADDA President Marc Debbaudt (right) at Engine Co. No. 28
Anyone hoping expecting Debbaudt to deliver a string of expletive-laden invective touting his ascendancy to the Presidency of the ADDA, would have been disappointed. Debbaudt instead spoke succinctly yet passionately of his goal to partner with labor, law enforcement and victims' rights associations to further the political influence of the ADDA.

Although the focus of the the well-attended event was on the DDA Judicial candidates, several representatives from AFSCME, the labor group who bailed the ADDA out of its financial woes, were also in attendance, perhaps looking a little nervous given Debbaudt's election platform accusing AFSCME of being a "financial vampire, draining your dues, giving you little in return." Let's hope Debbaudt is as successful in negotiating lower dues as he was in orchestrating his first event.

But enough ADDA politics, let's turn to the Deputy District Attorneys who have been endorsed by the ADDA in their campaigns to become Judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court. We start by looking at three DDAs who were amongst the first to announce their candidacies.

Office Numbers 22, 61 & 157

(left to right) Deputy District Attorneys Amy Carter, Andrew Cooper and Dayan Mathai
candidates for Office Numbers 22, 157 & 61.
 Deputy District Attorneys Amy Carter, Andrew Cooper and Dayan Mathai were amongst the first to declare their intention to run for Judge of the Superior Court. In addition to gaining the support of the ADDA, they also enjoy the endorsements of District Attorney Jackie Lacy and former District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Office No. 22 Amy Carter
Although Carter filed papers for four open seats, observers expect Carter to settle on Office No. 22 on March 7, when all declared candidates have to settle on one seat and their all-important ballot designation.

Carter, who will run as a "Sex Crimes Prosecutor," is pitched against Pamela Matsumoto who describes herself as an "Administrative Law Judge." Matsumoto's ballot designation may not be entirely correct. According to the Los Angeles Metropolitan News Enterprise, she was a Superior Court Referee until being laid off in July 2012 and served briefly as an ALJ hearing benefits cases before that assignment ended in August 2013. She currently is engaged in insurance defense work.

Whether Carter will use any of the $500K that she has on hand to challenge Matsumoto's ballot designation remains to be seen. Experts seem agreed that Matsumoto's current ballot designation is weak compared to Carter's and legal fees will be better spent on the slew of slates that Carter has already locked up. Matsumoto told the Met News that she does not know how much she will spend on her campaign, and will not hire a consultant.

Although to odds seem to favor Carter, she is not leaving anything to chance, and is conducting her campaign with the same attention to detail and preparedness that has defined her career as a most effective prosecutor.

Office No. 61 Dayan Mathai
 Gang Homicide Prosecutor Dayan Mathai currently faces four opponents in the race to replace retiring Judge Nash. Late entrant DDA Helen Kim has filed papers for this seat, as well as seven others; a $14k+ expense that might cause some to question her judgement. On March 7, we will know which seat she chooses, but she would be wise to drop out of this race. That would leave Mathai's likely opponents as Beverly Hills admiralty lawyer B. Otis Felder and Commissioner Jaqueline H. Lewis.

Felder currently describes himself as a "Deputy City Attorney at City of Los Angeles" on Linkedin, however he would be unwise to chose that ballot designation.

It appears that his current occupation is "Attorney at Law Offices of Otis Felder," and he lists past employment at the City Attorney's Office in Central Trials and in San Pedro.

Interestingly, Felder also lists a past employment as "Staff Assistant to Hon. Albert Gore, Jr at United States Senate," presumably the same Al Gore who served as Vice President of the United States and laid claim to have invented the internet. That might explain the confusion over Felder's job description. Once again, we will have to wait until March 7 to learn of Felder's choice of ballot designation, or indeed, if he will run.

Not much is know about Commissioner Lewis. Currently she has no campaign website and may be relying solely on her ballot designation to carry the day on June 3.

Whether Mathai face one or two challengers, he is likely to do well given his ballot designation, preparedness and active campaign.

Office No. 157 Andrew Cooper
Gang Homicide Prosecutor Andrew Cooper was the first DDA to declare his candidacy and has had the longest to prepare. His sole opponent is former Commissioner Arnold Mednick, who is currently working as a sole practitioner.

Mednick probably cannot be lawfully use "Superior Court Referee" as a ballot designation as it is too remote. Mednick would likely draw a challenge should he use a misleading ballot designation, and Cooper appears well prepared to challenge it.

In what appears to be a straight race between Cooper and Mednick, the odds favor Cooper given his campaign resources, preparedness, and ballot designation. But Cooper is not leaving anything to chance. He had a calendar crammed with community meetings and fundraising events.

We will have more on the other DDA candidates in the run up to the March 7 deadline, but for now, here are some photos of the candidates from the ADDA event.

(left to right) The Hon. Frank Tavelman, DDAs Stacy Okun-Wiese and John Colello

(left to right) DDA Shannon Knight, HDDA John Portillo and DDAs Teresa Pineda-Magno and Donna Hollingsworth-Armstrong

(left to right) DDA Bobby Grace, The Hon. Hilda Solis, DDA Serena Murillo
(from top row, left to right) DDAs Carol Rose, Shannon Knight and Joan Chrostek
Amy Carter, Andrew Cooper and Alison Matsumoto-Estrada
Carol Najera and Stacy Okun-Wiese
Attorney Andrew Stein, DDAs Donna Hollingsworth-Armstong, Serena Murillo and Dayan Mathai
The Hon. Hilda Solis and DDA Teresa Pineda-Magno.



nohumansinvolved said...

We haven't endorsed Solis yet. That will be a decision of the Board at the next meeting Tuesday 3/18/24. Every DDA is welcome to attend.

Anonymous said...

I think the ADDA will endorse Solis, why else would they invite her to this event? Besides, it's a smart move to have a friend on the Board of Supervisors. Kudos to Bobby Grace for organizing the event, and to Marc for his unusually brief speech.

Anonymous said...

Unless Solis's race is uncontested, it's hard to believe she would get an invitation and top billing in the event without her competition being offered the same. The endorsement must be a done deal.

ImJustSayin said...

Why was Andy Stein in the photo? I don't think he's endorsed by the ADDA is he? He is running against a DDA and I don't understand why he was featured. Doesn't seem right to me. Just sayin....

Anonymous said...

@2:20 There is a challenger to Solis for District 1, El Monte City Councilman Juventino "J" Gomez, who is endorsed by his former boss Mike Antonovich, is also running. I assume the ADDA will interview him before officially endorsing anyone.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't make sense to endorse Antonovich's guy - Gomez - after so much was put into featuring Solis with the DDA's running for judge. Anyway Antonovich is no buddy of labor. Just seems disingenuous to pretend the issue is undecided.

Marc Debbaudt said...

I am informed and believe and thereupon allege that Gomez refused to be interviewed or come to a meet and greet. I was told he does not want to be endorsed by any unions or groups. So, if you can get him to seek the ADDA's endorsement I'm sure the Endorsement Committee will seriously consider his request and make a recommendation to the Board.

While the issue of Solis' endorsement may seem to be inevitable to some to the extent that they feel free to say that it is "disingenuous to pretend that the the issue is undecided," then I suppose protocols don't matter because the ADDA Board simply hasn't voted on it yet. Will they? If you think I can tell you with any certainty how your Board of Directors will vote, you are sadly mistaken. But I venture to guess, and that's all it is, that the majority will probably vote to endorse Solis. But you never know.

As to Stein, he showed up to the event which was held in an open and public bar and I believe it was the Editor of this Blog who wanted and took the photo specifically for this Blog and chose to permit Stein to be in it, probably because it would have been rude to demonstrably prohibit his joining in. So I guess I find myself defending the Editor as to why Stein was in the photo.

Finally, At this point Stein has not sought the ADDA's endorsement.

It was difficult, but I managed to post this without a string of expletive-laden invective touting my ascendancy, and I'm sure you are all disappointed.

Marc Debbaudt

Anonymous said...

Marc is correct. Stein gate-crashed his way in, and nobody felt comfortable telling him to butt out. It is a pity that Steve Schreiner was a no-show, I bet he would have stood up to Stein.

Andrew Stein said...

I was invited to attend the event...I am endorsed by over 70 Judges including the Honoree Frank Tavelman....Dozens of DA a are supporting me....That's why I attended.

Anonymous said...

Stein is the best candidate, of all of them.. we have enough DDA's on the bench...