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Home / Articles / News / Turds & Blossoms /  Judicial ...
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Wednesday, Feb 01, 2012

Judicial candidates tap coworkers for money, plus a Frenchie fundraises in SD

CityBeat grades the campaign trail

By Dave Maass

The latest installment of CityBeat's election column, Turds & Blossoms, wherein we rate campaigns and candidates and award them turds or blossoms for their latest foibles and triumphs.

Justice is bling’d

Here’s how not to inspire faith in a balanced judicial system: Run for judge and accept a ton of money from your prosecutor buddies.

Three San Diego County deputy district attorneys have filed their first campaign-finance disclosures as they run for open seats on the Superior Court bench. Deputy District attorney Garland Peed, who serves as chief of the D.A.’s central felony unit, has raised $37,320, including $2,900 from 17 of his co-workers and $13,750 from 17 private law firms.

Meanwhile, Deputy District attorney Robert Amador raised $10,500, hitting up 18 of his prosecutor colleagues for a total $3,900. Amador’s main role is to serve a liaison between the D.A. and local police; those professional relationships earned his campaign more than $1,000 from state, county and tribal officers.

Both picked up $1,000 from San Diegans Against Crime, a political committee made up of deputy district attorneys for the purpose of protecting their pensions and electing tough-on-crime candidates to office. On their websites, the candidates also remind supporters that “there are no contribution limits in this race” and that individuals, organizations and corporations can give them money directly. The language is copied verbatim because the two are running coordinated campaigns, sharing consultants for accounting and campaign literature.

Amador and Peed have been prosecutors for close to 30 years and are the anointed candidates, with long lists of endorsement from public officials, judges and prosecutors published on their websites. But, like their funding, their endorsements are also suffering from a major imbalance; although they boast the support of Public Defender Henry Coker, there’s a conspicuous dearth of defense attorneys. For making Lady Justice look that much skeezier, we’ll let the candidates split 17 bowel bombs, one for every 1,000 felony cases that came through the court in 2011.

At the same time, we’ll tentatively give 90 strawberry blossoms to Deputy District attorney David Berry, another establishment judicial candidate, for loaning his campaign $90,000. That means, so far, he’s paying for 87 percent of his campaign out of pocket. He accepted only $450 from other prosecutors and $2,750 from private attorneys.

French connection

We're straying far from local elections to recognize French parliamentary candidate Julien Balkany, an independent who supports President Nicolas Sarkozy, for campaigning in San Diego. Balkany, 31, is a hedge-fund manager in New York running to represent a new constituency of French citizens living abroad. We award the monsieur 57 iris blossoms, the national flower of France, for making a Jan. 25 stop at 57 Degrees, a cool wine bar in Middletown, on his West Coast tour.

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