Monday, November 01, 2010

Voting Matters - San Francisco Judicial Election

Now, in California, we have a weird little system. Some states do it all by appointment. Some do it all by election. We combine the worst of both and have judges come up for rentention elections, but sometimes they get opposed. That is what is going on here.

Normally, this is not a big deal. But the San Francisco Superior Court judges have been acting in a particularly arrogant fashion this year. First, there was Judge Ernest Goldsmith comments from earlier this year that put a chill on people challenging his seat. Then, when a challenger did appear, but to Judge Richard Ulmer, the other judges started to organize to support Ulmer. And they apparently were not being shy about it. Judge Campos decided he would sent out endorsements supporting Ulmer on Superior Court letterhead to members of the DCCC.

Now I have some problems with Nava. He is playing the race and sex card. He says he is trying to downplay it in interviews, but he is running as the gay latino. And that is just as bad as what the Superior Court judges are doing in opposing him. Last year, it was Mellon being targeted in a similar case of race politics. Unfortunately, we got Sandoval on the bench.

Ulmer is a bit on the conservative side. Reports from the tenants' attorneys seem to say he is pro-landlord. But is this enough to vote against him? Objectively, you cannot say that Judge Ulmer has done anything wrong.

So what to do here? I think the Judges need to be reminded that they need to focus more on doing their jobs than banding together to protect their jobs. Yeah, I'm a bit about punishing incumbents this year, but in reality, I do not think that Nava will be much different from Ulmer. He will just have different prejudices. This is really about whether the judges should weigh in on judicial retention elections. Vote Nava. I'm sure litigants will regret it just as much as if we keep Ullmer.

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