If you haven’t already voted absentee, you are probably running off to vote as we speak.  If you don’t know where your polling place is, you can check this website for both your voting location and for a sample ballot. 

http://www.sonoma-county.org/regvoter/pplace/content.htm

And please, if you aren’t familiar with a candidate or an issue, consider bypassing that vote for the time being.  As stated in my previous blog “Vote Your Conscience”, don’t vote out of obligation alone.  Voting for someone or something that you have no knowledge of can often turn out to hurt your community more than help it.

 

There are only two candidates running for Superior Court Judge of Sonoma County, Office #3, and they are Chris Mazzia and Jamie Ellen Thistlethwaite.  I met Mr. Mazzia last week, and highly recommend him for the position.  He has been practicing law in Sonoma County for over 30 years, is a partner in a prestigious local law firm and has a very broad knowledge of the law.  He is a good candidate, a great listener and will make for an honorable judge. 

Chris Mazzia

 

Very few of us have even a working knowledge of how the court system works, let alone what kinds of cases they are hearing.  What we know of the courts is whatever we hear on the news or watch on Law & Order.  Almost all of those cases are criminal case, which would lead us to believe those are the types of cases that most judges hear.  The reality is that judges are rotated through the various courts.  During their career they will preside over everything from family law to criminal cases.  This is an important fact to remember when picking your candidate.  Just because someone is an expert at criminal cases, and is known to be “tough on crime”, does not mean they will make a great judge.  Among a lot of other factors, a familiarity with many types of law plays a key role in a judge’s effectiveness.

 

I want a candidate who is familiar with civil law since a good number of the cases brought to court deal with issues ranging from employment, to environmental, to property law.  Mr. Mazzia has this kind of experience.  I also want a judge who seems like someone I could talk to; someone I would enjoy visiting with at a social function.  I found Mr. Mazzia to be quite approachable.  I am considering law school, with my future sights on being a judge, and he was more than happy to answer all my questions and gave me some valuable advice.  And at no point did Mr. Mazzia solicit my vote.  Not that it matters much, since that is exactly what candidates are supposed to be doing, but I was impressed that he let me question him and then wished me good luck in my decision as to who I vote for.

 

Although I place little weight on endorsements, it is nice to see that Mr. Mazzia has received them from both sides of the political aisle.  I don’t want a partisan judge; I want a judge who is interpreting the law based on precedent, experience and our changing times, with little thought to their chosen political party’s platform.  It is also nice to see him endorsed by the current Sheriff as well as community leaders like Jean Shultz (of the Snoopy family).

 

Mr. Mazzia’s opponent states on her website that one of the reasons we should vote for her is that we are losing 50% of our female judges to retirement this year, as if her gender should play into our decision.   Just to put that into perspective, because it sounds like such a huge number, two female judges are retiring, leaving two still sitting on the bench, although, again, I don’t see how that matters.

 

You can read more about both candidates before making your informed decision by visiting:

http://www.chrismazziaforjudge.com/

http://www.jamieforjudge.com/index.html

 

I recommend voting for Chris Mazzia for the Superior Court of Sonoma County, Office #3.