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James Morris has raised six times as much as Phil Urie in race for San Joaquin judge

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Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008 10:00 pm

Spanos. Stone Brothers. Alegre. Attorneys. Doctors. Republicans. Democrats.

What do they have in common? They're all donating money to the two candidates running in San Joaquin County's judicial race.

Attorneys James Morris and Phil Urie aren't split on political lines - a review of their donors show Republicans and Democrats for both. And both have received the assistance of defense attorneys and prosecutors.

What separates the two veteran attorneys is the amount of money raised as of June 30, the most recent period that the candidates were required to disclose. Urie's contributions totaled $18,995. Morris had raised $113,973.

In other words, Morris has raised six times as much money as Urie, most of it for the spring primary election between four candidates. Voters narrowed that field to two candidates and will decide between Morris and Urie in November.

The race pits Urie, a prosecutor with 23 years of experience, against Morris, a civil attorney for more than 37 years. The race has been absent of any controversy or back-biting, and both candidates have vowed to keep it that way, saying it wouldn't be appropriate for a future judge to be anything but professional.

When it comes down to fundraising, each has obtained the support of some big names within the county.

Contributions to James Morris

For the entire judicial race, James Morris has raised $113,973 and spent $109,262.

In the filing period of May 18 through June 30, he received $12,774 and spent $31,387. The following are his contributions, in dollar amounts, from that period.

$1,000 Ronald Berberian, owner of Stockton car dealership Berberian Brothers, and son-in-law of developer Alex Spanos
$1,000 Modesto law firm of Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios, Pacher and Silva
$1,000 Roger Schrimp, business and real estate law attorney with Damrell law firm
$750 Alan and Judy Marchick, owners of Midas Muffler in Stockton
$500 Agriculture Commodoties Express, of Ripon
$500 Brown Sand Inc, of Lathrop
$500 Califia LLC, also known as River Islands @ Lathrop, based in Walnut Creek
$500 James Clare, of Pacific Southwest Irrigation, based in Escalon
$500 Costa Farms, Tracy
$500 Haley Flying Services, of Tracy
$500 R.G. Kagehiro, Tracy farmer
$500 David Silva, owner of Silva Trucking
$500 Vernalis Enterprises, of Lathrop
$300 Robert Foy, chairman of Board of the California Water Service Group in Stockton
$300 G.L. Morris, San Francisco retiree
$250 Judy Altman, investor from Tulsa, Okla.
$250 Ronny Altman, owner of Altman Energy in Tulsa, Okla
$250 Adele Corvin, San Francisco retiree
$250 Dell'osso Farms, of Lathrop
$250 Susan Lenz, certified public accountant in Stockton
$250 Sylvia Lofthus, homemaker
$250 Roger Vincent, doctor at Delta Radiology in Lodi
$200 John Antongiovanni Jr., farmer
$200 Kobrin Foothill Development of Stockton
$200 Klein Ventures in Stockton
$150 Tabak Law Firm, based in Stockton
$150 Charles Wagner, Stockton retiree
$100 Friends of Paul Betancourt, a 2004 Republican State Assembly candidate from Fresno
$100 Jerry Degroot, Ripon retiree
$100 Craig Enos, certified public accountant in Folsom
$100 Dennis Geiger, attorney in Stockton
$100 Sandra Herson, San Francisco retiree
$100 Cooper & Hoppe, Fresno attorneys
$100 Joseph McMonigle, Burlingame attorney
$100 Chris Papas, attorney
$100 Andrew Schaefer, Sacramento retiree

Some larger or morenotable contributions to Morris from the filing periods prior to May 18:

$5,000 James Clare, owner of Pacific Southwest Irrigation in Escalon
$2,500 Stockton law firm of Hakeem, Ellis and Marengo
$1,500 Xapuri Villapudua, San Joaquin County Superior Court judge
$1,000 George Abdallah Jr, San Joaquin County Superior Court judge
$1,000 Bank of Stockton
$1,000 Bank of Stockton
$1,000 Delta Property Administration, property management company
$1,000 Geraldeen Berkman
$1,000 Brocchini Farms of Stockton
$1,000 Damrell, Nelson, Schrimp, Pallios, Pacher and Silva law firm
$1,000 George Gibson, attorney with Frontier Homes
$1,000 Millicent Guiliani, family law attorney in Tracy
$1,000 Mayall, Hurley, Knutsen and Smith law firm
$1,000 Roger Schrimp, attorney with Damrell law firm
$1,000 Alex Spanos, developer and San Diego Chargers owner
$1,000 Tabak Law Firm
$1,000 Samuel Tenenbaum, Merced attorney
$1,000 The Verner Group, run by former Franklin High football coach Tom Verner
$500 James Baum, Lodi businessman
$500 Linda Lofthus, San Joaquin County judge
$500 David Wellenbrock, San Joaquin County prosecutor
$500 Richard Ripken, vineyard owner
$500 Pacific State Bank
$300 Charlotte Orcutt, San Joaquin County judge
$250 Berberian European Motors
$250 Patricia Hatton, obstetrician
$250 Herbert Horstmann, San Joaquin County Superior Court commissioner
$250 David Michael, vintner
$250 Frank Passadore, developer with Grupe Co.
$250 Roger Ross, San Joaquin County judge
$250 Cully White, insurance adjuster in Los Angeles
$200 George Abdallah Jr., San Joaquin County judge
$200 Tom Doucette, president of FCB Homes
$200 Peter Meyer, professor at University of the Pacific
$200 K. Peter Saiers, retired San Joaquin County judge
$150 Robert Bansmer, deputy sheriff for San Joaquin County
$150 Nels Fransen, dean of Humphreys College
$150 Bernard Garber, San Joaquin County judge
$150 Karen Hale, principal of Vineyard Christian School
$150 Teri Oppenheimer, dean of Pacific's pharmacy school
$150 Xapuri Villapudua, San Joaquin County judge
$100 Michael Machado, senator
$100 Fred Muskal, professor in Pacific's school of education
$100 Ellen Schwarzenberg, deputy public defender for San Joaquin County
$100 George Spanos, attorney with Spanos Co.

Contributions to Phil Urie

For the entire judicial race, Phil Urie has raised $18,995 and spent $14,398.

In the filing period of May 18 through June 30, he received $4,911 and spent $771. The following are his contributions, in dollar amounts, from that period.

$1,500 Arnaiz Development
$1,000 Inez Rrie, retiree from Utah
$500 Anthony Alegre, owner of Lodi-based Alegre Trucking
$500 Diane Crum, Stockton homemaker
$250 Cynthia Clements, Stockton homemaker
$200 Kendall Bates, with Community Bank of San Joaquin
$100 Robert Dalton, attorney
$100 Georgia Stewart, personal aide to Maxine Stone

Some larger or more-notable contributions to Urie from the filing periods prior to May 18:

$4,999 R. Jay Allen, attorney and principal developer with Stone Brothers
$500 Arnaiz Development
$250 Norman Crum, with Valley Pacific Petroleum Services
$250 Frank Michael, CEO of Allied Cedit Union
$250 Lori Michael, Lodi Unified School District paraeducator
$125 Vittoria Bossi, criminal defense attorney
$100 Armando Cuellar, Alameda County prosecutor
$100 Richard Harlow, Lodi Unified School District teacher
$100 Jonathan Karesh, judge in San Mateo County
$100 Raul Leyva Jr, security with Union Pacific Railroad
$100 Peter Marek, defense attorney
$100 David Street, dentist

On Morris' side there is Alex Spanos, the mega-developer who owns the San Diego Chargers football team and is known for having significant clout. He donated $1,000, as did his son-in-law.

And on Urie's side there is R. Jay Allen, an attorney and principal developer of Stone Brothers, who donated $4,999. His company runs Sherwood Mall, the recentlyopened Stonecreek Village (home of REI) and property in Lodi, including Lakewood Mall and the Starbucks across the street.

Both candidates said they would make sure there were no conflicts if they are elected judge.

"I have no agenda before me," Morris said. "My responsibility is in every case to be fair and impartial, and whichever way that breaks, it breaks."

Urie pointed out that there is another factor for any judge, whether elected or appointed by the governor, that is much more common in California. In other words, the contributors aren't the ones who concern him when it comes down to being impartial in the courtroom.

"There are a couple who I probably would have more concerns about, because they're friends, (rather) than contributors," Urie said, noting that all judges have friends who are fellow attorneys.

Judicial campaign spending is part of the focus of California's Commission for Impartial Courts. In a report released Aug. 15, a task force of the commission suggested that a list of all contributors be placed in the courtroom, where any attorney could see it.

Campaign finance limits aren't really feasible on a statewide scale because race costs vary from county to county, depending on population.

In San Joaquin County, for instance, each candidate must pay $7,500 to get a statement on the voter pamphlet. But that fee is $45,000 in Los Angeles County.

And, the commission noted, if contributions are limited, smaller, independent expenditures - those not required to be reported - will rise. Thus, it would be difficult to monitor campaign spending.

All contributions of more than $100 must be filed with the registrar. As of the latest round of disclosures, most donations to Urie and Morris were in $100 or $200 increments, with a few four-digit exceptions.

Morris received $5,000 from James Clare, owner of Pacific Southwest Irrigation in Escalon. The next-biggest amount was $2,500 from prominent Stockton law firm Hakeem, Ellis and Marengo, followed by $1,500 from Judge Xapuri Villapudua, a former prosecutor who was appointed to the bench last year.

Morris also had a number of $1,000 donations in addition to the Spanos contributions: Judge George Abdallah Jr.; Merced business attorney Samuel Tenenbaum; retiree Geraldeen Berkman; family law attorney Millicent Guiliani; Brocchini Farms in Stockton; Tabak Law Firm; Delta Property Administration; The Verner Group, run by former Franklin High School football coach Tom Verner; Frontier Homes attorney George Gibson; two donations from Bank of Stockton; business and personal injury law firm Mayall, Hurley, Knutsen and Smith; attorney Roger Schrimp; and three more donations from the Damrell law firm, which includes Schrimp.

Urie's next biggest contribution after the Stone Brothers partner was $500 from Arnaiz Development, while Morris had more than 30 donations of $500 to $750 each.

Morris has received the endorsement of nearly every law enforcement union in the county, which could mean that he was getting the conservative vote. But Urie is a career prosecutor and got donations from Allen, who is Mormon - so he could also be getting the conservative vote.

Urie acknowledges that there's no way he'll catch up to Morris' fundraising, but he said that's not everything. And Morris agreed.

"The key is: What kind of lawyer are you?" Morris said. "What kind of skills do you have? What kind of knowledge? What kind of character?"

Contact reporter Layla Bohm at layla@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 4:16 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    Wow, observer, you're really smart. Remind me of Inspector Closseau. Why do I bother you so much? You're really becoming more and more paranoid. Don't close your eyes in bed tonight, that boogieman papercut is hiding under your bed! ROFLMAO

  • posted at 2:22 am on Mon, Sep 1, 2008.


    First of all, I preferred your "Papercut" blog name the best. It was easier to keep up with you. All of your other blog names are boring and unimaginative. "Papercut" was the perfect name for you.Second of all, why do you think we need a link to the Record to read what you have posted there. At least in the record you consistently use the name "Eyewhitie". The only problem you have at the Record is that nobody responds to you. Same on the Capital Elector.

  • posted at 11:13 am on Sun, Aug 31, 2008.


    Speaking of campaigns and elections:http://forums.recordnet.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=1&nav=messages&webtag=sr-news&tid=8697.Interesting!



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