In some ways this election season feels like it’s never going to end. But on a local level I feel like the surface hasn’t even been scratched as to some of the issues that we’ll be voting on locally.
I wanted to take this one post to write about the local Superior Court judge race. This endorsement from the Alameda Magazine endorsing Scott Jackson is the only thing you need to read about the subject if you only read one piece on this particular race. He is the best choice, but really the only choice if you believe in voting for competence.
But we think this year’s race for Alameda County Superior Court judge offers a clear choice: Scott Jackson. He’s a smart attorney with a broad range of experience who has garnered deep respect from both prosecutors and defense lawyers. In fact, this year, in an unusual move, both Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley and Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods endorsed him, along with more than three dozen county judges.
An Oakland resident, Jackson is currently the director of the Litigation Center at Golden Gate University Law School, the campus’ largest department. Previously, he was a partner with the law firm Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley, handling civil litigation. And before that, he was a deputy district attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
According to the Bar Association, 81 percent of its members—attorneys from throughout the East Bay—ranked Jackson as the “most qualified” candidate in this race.
As to his opponent there are some serious problems:
Jackson’s opponent, Barbara Thomas is a longtime local attorney and former Alameda city councilmember. Thomas describes herself as a “victim’s rights” attorney and has been practicing law since the 1980s.
During the past year, Thomas was embroiled in a nasty legal dispute with the Alameda County Bar Association. The association had terminated her from its list of attorneys assigned to serve low-income defendants. In court documents, the association raised serious questions about her billing practices and said she had committed numerous rules and administrative violations over the years.
In an interview, Thomas accused the association of age discrimination, saying it “wanted younger attorneys.” But Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch dismissed Thomas’ lawsuit in its entirety in July, ruling that it was without merit. According to transcripts of the case, Roesch became frustrated with Thomas because she was badly unprepared for the final hearing. She acknowledged during the hearing that she failed to file—or bring to court—key evidence of her claims against the association.
For those that were around back when Barbara Thomas was on the City Council there was also some unpleasantness she was involved in during her time there that involved another City Councilmember and missing post-it notes from that other City Councilmember’s locked file cabinet.
More recently Barbara Thomas has been fairly vocal about her lack of support for rent stabilization efforts.
I voted for Scott Jackson, he’d be a solid choice for an elected judge.