Here comes da judge(s) – Who Not to Vote For

by on June 7, 2010 · 8 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Culture, Election, San Diego

san diego judges

For the first time in years – or at least in any of our memories – there’s controversy surrounding the election of Superior Court judges in tomorrow’s primary.  Normally, the usual (yawn) campaign of judges takes on the quiet excitement associated with lawn bowling. But not this year, this year of the rise of the tea party.

This year there is a tea party-like group called “Better Courts Now” that is upsetting the apple cart by pushing their own slate of holier-than-thou conservative candidates.  As if judges weren’t conservative enough! Most judges are former prosecutors – an already conservative role within the court system – and so by time most don their black robes and step up to the seats – there’s definitely a conservative bias that dominates the courtroom.

Now this tea party-minded group wants even more conservatives to get their judicial days in court. The group’s website does not appear to have any direct connections to the tea partiers but if you check out some of their past articles, it is very apparent that Better Courts Now is an anti-abortion group that supported Prop 8 – the law banning gay marriages in California.

There’s five judicial posts open on Primary day. Whomever you vote for, just make sure you DO NOT VOTE for the following – all endorsed and supported by “Better Courts”:

  • DO NOT VOTE for Craig Candelore
  • DO NOT VOTE for Bill Trask
  • DO NOT VOTE for Harold Coleman, Jr
  • DO NOT VOTE for Larry “Jake” Kincaid

The San Diego County Bar Association gave “well qualified” ratings to three of the sitting judges: Jon Lantz Lewis, Robert Longstreth and Joel Wohlfeil.

The fourth sitting judge up for re-election, DeAnn Salcido was rated as “lacking qualifications.”  This adverse rating stems from at least a couple of reasons.  One, she is not all that respected by trial lawyers for her in-court behavior (nit-picking and insistence on her own imposed rules and procedures), and two, she upset the judicial tray of good manners when she sued her own presiding judge out in El Cajon (a definite no-no). The problem is that her only challenger is the arch-conservative Harold Coleman, who received an “unable to evaluate” rating.

There is no incumbent judge in one Superior Court race, and the County Bar gave “well qualified” ratings to two prosecutors running (see, what did I tell you): Stephen Patrick Clark – a retired federal prosecutor, and Richard Monroy – a deputy DA.  They are up against El Cajon businessman Jim Miller, Jr., who the Bar rated as “lacking qualifications.”

The three other conservative extremists (Kincaid, Candelor, and Trask) all received “lacking qualifications,” ratings.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie June 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

I realize that “whom not to vote for” may be grammatically correct, but it just didn’t sound right for a headline.


Jack June 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Well folks, appears I need to weigh in on this one, if only for a little exclamation point.

Larry Kincaid and I have a history, he is an adjunct professor in the program I oversee at the Universtiy for which I work. He is nice guy, and a competent instructor. For those of you who know me, I am inclusive Roman Catholic and my faith means a lot to me. I do, however, have a problem with folks who put the the IXOYE fish on their cars, and even more so make it a part of their buisness cards and letterhead. Larry does, and for that I will not vote for him, regardless of his rating by the local Bar Association.

When I found out he was running for a judicial office, again, I decide to check out the website for Better Courts Now. It is a decidedly scary group of people. The main theme is they do not want judges who make law from the bench, but they want judges who will rule from the bench reflecting family values…read, their particular values. I could spend an evening lecturing on why this simply an ignorant statement, but this not the forum. BCN, however, does want judges who are anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, and anti just about anything they do not care for in their small minded provencial lives. Judges who will make law from the bench, their law.

It is such a bizarre group of individuals, when the website first opened, amid all their testimonials from an assortment of crack-pots, they admitted they did not know who they wanted off the bench in San Diego, and who they wanted in their place. They just knew they wanted some of the judges to go. Like I said, a rather bizarre political platform.

I will refrain from categorizing them as Christian and conservative, because the racist, homophobic, xenophobic rhetoric these groups spew is not conservative. My father is conservative and has spent his life accepting people with different points of view, skin color and lifestyle. I am a Christian and what these folks have to say simply makes me shudder and wonder if I have a different copy of the Bible. What BCN and its siblings and proteges spew is hatred, plain and simple. There is nothing Christian about them except the plastic fish on their collective SUV’s they use to cut you off in traffic while blathering away on their cell phones trying to get on Hedgecock’s afternoon hour of hate to tell everyone why we should hate Mexicans, or whatever group du jour we should be marginalizing.

As a retired trial attorney I have appeared in front of Judge Salcido and Lewis. They are are both real pains….if you come to their courtrooms unprepared. I have never been treated adversely by either judge, in fact, I can say Judge Salcido has treated me with respect and dignity everytime I appeared in front of her, even in a couple of very ugly cases.

As to the other two incumbents, I cannot speak to their qualifications.

For those of you who will vote tomorrow, remember this. We, as a nation pride ourselves on our system of checks and balances. The judiciary, in particular must not become a forum for specific groups, particularly the borderline crackpots. What was very much a good ‘ol boys judiciary in San Diego, has changed, and I believe for the better. Voting for judges sponsored by a particular group, and this includes any group, moves us further away from an independent judiciary.

And now I have had my say…..



Frank Gormlie June 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Excellent, Jack. As our blogger Lane says, bump


lane tobias June 7, 2010 at 11:32 pm

jack, a timely statement. thank you for your insight.


Marilyn Steber June 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm

If “Bump” means “What he said”, I add my Bump.


Tim June 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

So where does a guy go to vote around here? I used the county tool to ensure I was registered, and it kindly told me “election information is coming soon.”
Well, gee wiz.
I live on Narragansett. Is it still the Masonic Center?


Frank Gormlie June 8, 2010 at 11:18 am

Tim, not sure, but here’s a web address to find your polling place :


Tim June 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Thanks, I found it. Looks like the mortuary it is.


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