The name calling and innuendo regarding the race for judge between Randy Gephart and Mark Magit has gotten out of hand. This is not Brown/Whitman, it is a contest between two fine people and good lawyers neither of whom deserve the kind of nonsense that has recently been spread around town and in letters to the editor.
A letter to the Sheet published in the September 25 edition notes that the Superior Court election “has turned into mudslinging” and then proceeds to exponentially increase the very same mudslinging of which the author seems to be concerned. Has it occurred to anyone that the reason well respected people like Judge Eller and D.A. Booth (Mark Magit’s former boss) support Randy Gephart’s candidacy is because they feel he is the best qualified candidate? I have never known either Stan Eller or George Booth to be of a cynical or disingenuous mold. Supporters of Mark may disagree with the assessment that Randy is better qualified and their position should be respected just as the position of those who support Randy should be respected. To directly challenge their integrity is wrong, just as it is wrong to challenge the integrity of Therese Hankel for her detailed statement of the reasons she is supporting Randy. Yes, Therese might end up replacing Randy as a public defender if Randy wins. She might also end up replacing Mark if he wins.
I see a real problem when campaigns for judges are perceived as being the same as campaigns for partisan political office. Judges should not be “political” in the sense of being shallow media stars quick with a sound bite. A good politician does not usually translate into being a good judge.
As an attorney in Mammoth for 30 years, I have known and worked with and against Randy and Mark. They are both friends of mine. They are both good people and they are both qualified to be judge. I am supporting Randy because in my view he is much more experienced in court. His experience would allow him to be an effective judge immediately, whereas I believe Mark would need a certain amount of on the job training. That’s it. There is no other agenda. The Mono County Superior Court will be in good hands whoever wins. If Mark wins, I will offer my sincere congratulations to him and, knowing Mark as I do, our friendship will not be even a little changed by my support for Randy.
Let’s end the nastiness. Randy and Mark deserve better.
Very truly yours,
Timothy B. Sanford