Friday, October 31, 2008

Bipartisan Recommendations for Non-Partisan Races

A number of folks have asked me offline about judicial elections. They are difficult to be sure. Not only are they putatively non-partisan, but the rules for judicial conduct strictly limit what candidates can say about themselves. And plenty of people don't like going straight party line, even if they have a party voter guide with them.

What follows is not an exhaustive list -- in some races I know neither candidate. But for those for which I have an opinion, here it is. FWIW.

If you want websites, check this Akron Law Cafe post that embeds some of the links.

Summit County Common Pleas -- Juvenile Division

Linda Tucci Teodosio (D) over Katarina Cook (R). As it happens Judge Teodosio, Katarina and I all worked for the same firm, though at different times. In addition, Katarina was at the Stark Prosecutor's Office for a time when I was there. The one time I was before Summit Juvenile was before Judge Teodosio took the bench, but I heard plenty about how she changed the office. She has been an effective administrator and generally seen as having improved operations.

Katarina is not a great legal thinker and has no experience running a large office. Reports I've heard indicate that she's been effective as a traffic magistrate, but that's probably as far up the judicial food chain as she can go without bumping into the Peter Principle. Katarina also holds the honor of being the only person to ice me because of things written on this blog. Strong.

Summit County Common Pleas -- Domestic Relations Division.

John Quinn (D) over Edna Boyle (R)

John Quinn hired me into the Summit Co. Prosecutor's Office when he was General Counsel there. I worked with him a bit before he won election to the bench. He's smart and has a gentle manner perfect for that particular judgeship. The only thing he's done I disagree with is challenge Clair Dickenson for nomination to Court of App in '06.

At this point we know that if Edna Boyle is the candidate, the Repubs aren't really serious about the seat. With Strickland in office, her days of getting appointed to a judgeship then losing it are over. She'll forever be a pretend candidate to fill out a slate.

Summit County Common Pleas -- General Division.

Brenda Burnam Unruh (R) over Orlando Williams (D)

Judge Unruh and I agree on pretty much nothing politically, but as a judge she's first rate, proving that party ID and judicial ability are independent. She's fair -- not knee-jerk pro-prosecutor, tough on sentencing but willing to give people a chance if they look salvagable. She's also first-rate at the business of running a trial.

Orlando Williams is a rabble-rouser who has served as mouthpiece in the Demetrus Vinson case -- one of the most devisive cases in recent memory -- and didn't exactly act in a judicial manner.

Bob Gippen (D) over Tom Parker (R)

I got to know Bob working on a pro-bono project together. He's smart, well organized and generous with his time and expertise. He's been on the bench a few months now, having been appointed when Shapiro retired.

Tom Parker will be a good judge someday. He's probably the best hopeful on the Republican roster. I wish he was running in one of the other races, but in this case my vote goes to Bob.

John Holcomb (R) over Mary Margaret Rowlands (D)

This one is extremely tricky for your blogger. I've known Mary professionally and socially for over ten years. To say the least, we've parted ways. Personal stuff aside, I don't believe she possesses a judicial temperment.

Ninth District Court of Appeals.

Eve Belfance (D) over William Wellemeyer (R)

I met Eve four years ago when she was canvassing for the seat during her first run. As it happens she, Wellemeyer and I live within a block of each other. She's an impressive lawyer and by accounts a good judge. For about ten minutes earlier this year I was signed up to do internet communications for her campaign. Given my overcrowded, overcommitted schedule, that should say something about how highly I think of her as a candidate. (The campaign decided -- rightly -- that internet communications doesn't really work for a judicial campaign.)

Supreme Court of Ohio.

Peter Sikora and Joseph Russo (D) over Evelyn Lundberg-Stratton and Maureen O'Connor (R).

If the recent cases over voting haven't convinced you that we need party diversity on the high court nothing will. The court has repeatedly ruled against Jennifer Brunner's office using some . . . highly creative . . . reasoning.

For the record, Lundberg-Stratton is generally a good and independent justice, though a bit conservative. O'Connor, not so much.

State Board of Education

A bonus non-judicial but also non-partisan race

Heather Heslop Licata (D) over Tammy O'Brien

Heather, as noted before, is a good friend. Fortunately she's also a smart and effective Board member so no difficulty endorsing her. O'Brien is an "Elect me to something, anything" perennial candidate.


Anonymous said...

Throughout these blogs the Author states “repots that I’ve heard” – Why would someone acknowledge this information as factual and/or logical?

I would first question the Author’s source of information – He heard? How is that a credible source of fact? Why aren’t there any facts or statistics to back up these statements?

In this Author’s documentation titled, "Bipartisan Recommendations for Non-Partisan Races" he states, “but I heard plenty about how she changed the office. She has been an effective administrator and generally seen as having improved operations.”

“how she changed the office”
How has she changed the office? In a positive or negative fashion? Not every citizen, child, and/or family member of Summit County would agree that this was a positive change! Nor, would all of her Employees or Attorneys who have been before her, agree that her presence for the past 6 years has been a positive influence on the Court – therefore, the Author’s statement is not 100% correct.

“she has been an effective administrator and generally seen as having improved operations”
What leads the Author to believe that Teodosio to be an effective administrator? Has he ever worked for her? Has he ever volunteered at the Court? And, what operations have been improved?
Teodosio won the election based on her husband’s name and her democratic status – that is my opinion!

Now onto the Author’s statements about Magistrate Katarina Cook:
As the Author neither holds Office nor has he campaigned for Office. What gives him the right to speculate that “Katarina is not a great legal thinker?” He again states that his comments are based on what he heard. Katarina Cook is a fair but firm Magistrate who is educated and intelligent! She brings outstanding legal insight to the arena. She doesn’t deserve the negative speculation based on NO facts that the Author has reported.

Katarina Cook happens to be a fabulous individual that I have had the honor of meeting and knowing. I believe that what the Author has stated towards Katarina Cook is unfair and completely false! She is a great mother of 4 boys and how disturbing to think that one of her sons could some day read this crap about their mother!

I believe that the Author needed to have conducted way more credible research before wasting his days typing false statements against Public Officials.

The Author then goes on to state, “the dems don’t have dedicated partisan media”
You’ve got to be kidding me! This statement is completely backwards! The dems control the media throughout Summit County! The Independents and the Republicans don’t have a chance when it comes to media outreach in Summit County unless they pay for it!

I personally know that many letters, documents, facts, and information was forwarded and hand delivered to the Akron Beacon Journal in regards to some individuals in the Democratic Party and never once was this information conveyed to the public.

This Author identifies himself as being “on the Summit dem email list”; therefore he has informed us of his agenda.

I am a registered Democrat, I worked on a Republican Campaign this year - yet, I am considering changing my party to be an Independent. I am a neutral party who bases my decisions and opinions on the actual people, facts, and research!

To the Author:
If you are bored or discontent with your own life there are many other ways that you could be spending your free time. For example, there are many non-profit organizations that need volunteers. This would be a way more productive way for you to be spending your extra time instead reporting your bias opinion on the internet. Also, this would be a way to make you feel good about yourself.