Wednesday, March 19, 2014

McDonnell's endorsements grow, Ballot Designation Battle heats up

LA County Sheriff candidate Jim McDonnell endorsed by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky

Jim McDonnell's campaign to become the first "outsider" to be elected at LA County Sheriff gained the endorsement of LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky on Monday. Yaroslavsky hailed McDonnell as being the only candidate with the "clean slate" necessary to lead reforms at the agency.

McDonnell already has the endorsement of Supervisor Don Knabe, who stood with McDonnell and Yaroslavsky at the Monday press call, and McDonnell will likely gain the endorsements of the other Supervisors in the near future. KPCC's Frank Stoltze covered the event, but questioned whether the endorsement matters. Stoltze quoted Ralph Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, who said "Zev's endorsement is always extremely valuable, and could help mightily in the San Fernando Valley and on the Westside," Sonenshein said.

At the same time, endorsements "may get washed out a bit" in countywide races, he said. Backing that comes with money is more important, including organizational endorsements. Sonenshein told KPCC.

However, important endorsements are often the key to backing that comes with money. One such form of backing could come from ALADS, the union representing rank and file deputy sheriffs. As we reported on Friday, ALADS recently fired their president Armando Macias. Although the stated reason was "problems of attendance" at meetings, sources speculated that the turmoil at ALADS has more to do with attempts to hijack the endorsement decision making process to favor ousted former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. The Dragnet's sources appear to be correct, as Witness LA reported Monday that ALADS will defer endorsing any candidate for Sheriff until after the June 3 primary election.

Witness LA reported that ALADS had held a vote on the endorsement issue on March 10, but because no single candidate garnered more than 50% of votes cast, the endorsement decision was deferred until after the primary.

Of the 890 votes cast, the breakdown is interesting:

203 - Jim McDonnell
184 - Paul Tanaka
168 - Bob Olmsted
163 - Todd Rogers
144 - Jim Hellmond
26 - Pat Gomez
2 - Lou Vince

That McDonnell, an outsider, polled more votes than his principal rivals who are all "insiders," likely puts McDonnell in prime position to pick up the ALADS endorsement after the primary. It is also bad news for Tanaka. Given the campaign warchests available to the candidates, only McDonnell and Tanaka are likely to connect with enough voters to the extent necessary to make the runoff. In a straight choice between McDonnell and Tanaka, McDonnell is likely the choice of ALADS as the vast majority of ALADS members voted for anyone but Tanaka.

Met News Blasts DDA Helen Kim for "Bogus" Ballot Designation

The Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise pulled no punches in Tuesday's 'Perspectives' column, describing DDA Helen Kim's chosen ballot designation for her bid to become Judge as "bogus," and stating she is "not fit to serve as a jurist."

The Met News called Kim's ballot designation, "Violent Crimes Prosecutor," deceptive because it makes her seem to be something more than she is. According the the Met News, Kim is "a part-time deputy district attorney who works in the intake section." (Kim is understood to be a part-time filing deputy in the Complaints Division). "Basically, she has a three-day-a-week desk job." the Met News said, adding that "Making a determination as to whether charges should be filed against a particular individual is, of course, a function of a prosecutorial office, and some of those whom Kim determines should be charged are perpetrators of violent crimes. Yet, to say that she is a 'prosecutor' of violent criminals strikes me as so much of a stretch as to amount to a lie."

Strong words indeed and perhaps explained by more insight from the Met News "Kim is a client of political consultant Fred Huebscher, a master of campaign deception." the Met New said.

In her campaign website, Kim does not indicate that she is a part-time employee. She glosses over her filing deputy position, instead stating that "I function in a quasi-judicial role by reviewing the evidence independently and applying the laws of our State and Constitution and determine whether a criminal proceeding should be filed against an individual."

Kim spent almost $16,000.00 in filing fees to keep her options open as to which of eight open seats she would actually contest. In the end she decided to run against fellow DDA Alison Matsumoto Estrada for Office No. 76. It is not know why Kim decided on running against Matsumoto, but it could be a decision she now regrets given the negative publicity over her ballot designation, and even more so, should Matsumoto challenge the designation.

Either way, Kim's campaign strategy is unlikely garner her any newspaper endorsements, and in a low turnout countywide election cycle, voters typically rely on print media for their choices. Whether the LA Times or the Daily News will go so far as the Met News has done in labeling Kim "deceptive," a "liar" and "not fit to serve as a jurist" remains to be seen, however her hopes of endorsement appear unlikely.

All of which leaves Alison Matsumoto Estrada, by contrast, well positioned to receive voter and media approval. Her ballot designation, "Government Corruption Prosecutor" accurately describes her full time assignment as a trial deputy in the Public Integrity Division.

Matsumoto's campaign website is

"Like" her on Facebook at

In other news:

The Met News also reports that DDA Amy Carter, candidate for Superior Court Judge Office No. 22, has filed a petition challenging rival Pamela Matsumoto's use of a misleading ballot designation "Administrative Law Judge." Our full report is to follow, in the meantime, the Met News report is excellent reading, as usual.


Anonymous said...

It is really a shame that you and Roger Grace pair up to attack any DDA who wants to be judge or run for any office for that matter. It is a testiment to you and his integrety. Minimal to say the least. Does attacking your fellow DDAs really give you that much pleasure. You and Roger Grace are like empty beer cans. Empty inside and smelly. But I know you publish this because you can't take the heat.

Anonymous said...

It's really a shame that 5:56AM doesn't have the decency to recognize misconduct when she sees it. a part-time filing deputy is not a 'violent crimes prosecutor,' someone in Hardcore is. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being a filing deputy, it's a choice most DDAs make when they need a break, often a well deserved break from the cut and thrust of being on the line. Kim probably needs to be a part time filer so that she can take care of her personal life commitments. But it is misleading, no flat out dishonest, for her to portray herself as a full time violent crimes prosecutor. I suggest the Dragnet or the Met News files a PRA to get Kim's trial stats. When do you think was the last time she tried a violent crime? Any crime? She should be ashamed of herself.

Anonymous said...

7:55 You should be ashamed of yourself. Are you upset that Kim was more creative with her ballot designation and has the upper hand? It is going to make Mosomoto look bad, like sour grapes, to file forms against Kim, that will ultimately probably be denied. Mosomoto will have to convince a judge that none of Kim's cases are violent, won't she? Do you think a judge is going to go through a list of each case she has filed over the past few months and proclaim all to be nonviolent? In the end Roger Grace and you, Mr. Berger, are making Mosomoto look bad. You shouldn't be attacking either DDA. One will make it and one won't. I don't know either one, but based on your attack and Roger Grace's attack, which I find so grotesque, I am going to now look for Kim's name and make sure it is checked. I will also send out an email to 1000 others to do the same. Your mean personality coupled with Roger Grace's nasty rants are not helping Ms. Mosomoto is all I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments made about Berger and Grace. Helen Kim is entitled to use the best possible campaign strategy, just like Alison. Berger and Grace are Mad Men who probably don't think women have any place on the bench. It's 2014 not 1964, and if a stay at home mom wants to give up precious time with her kids and split domestic and professional work, then that's fine with me. Many judges work part time too, so what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

Can we get back to reality here? A part-time filing deputy is not a 'violent crimes prosecutor.' It's like saying a 911 operator is 'crime fighter.' It's true Kim is part of the process, but the heavy lifting is not done by filing deputies in CCB. Kim is deliberately misleading voters and that is not the kind of person I want as a judge.

Anonymous said...

Has the ADDA endorsed Kim? I don't see it mentioned anywhere.

Anonymous said...

9:23am, her name is not "Mosomoto." According to her website and the DA Directory is "Matsumoto." Although (I understand) she campaigns in heavily Hispanic LA County as "Estrada."

Kim should rethink her ballot designation. But let's also get some Windex for these glass houses

Anonymous said...

The ADDA has not endorsed Helen Kim. Ms. Kim has not sought the ADDA's endorsement. The ADDA has endorsed Alison Matsumoto Estrada.

The Endorsement Committee is considering what to do if and when two DDAs compete for the same seat, as well as under what circumstances the Board will not endorse a DDA candidate. The committee will be recommending protocols at the next meeting that will guide the Board in the future.

Marc Debbaudt

Anonymous said...

Any DDA knows that "violent crimes prosecutor" is, at best, a technically true yet fundamentally misleading appellation for a part-time filing deputy. It is technically true because, if Kim has filed a robbery, she is, I suppose, a prosecutor who has dealt with a violent crime. However, it will give voters a substantially false impression, as if Kim is in the courtroom litigating against murderers as common practice. To the degree Kim is trying to technically abuse the ballot designation system, you have to wonder what type of bench officer that would make. It's very similar to the technically permissible but abusive filing for eight seats and cherry picking on the last day. I wasn't a fan of Matsumoto, especially when she adopted the name Estrada right before the campaign, but she is obviously the better choice.