Campaigns for judicial seats in the San Mateo County Superior Court are rare. Typically, judges run unopposed and races only take place if there is a retirement or if the sitting judge is named to a new position. That is the case with Office Four, vacated when Judge Beth Freeman was appointed to the federal bench.
Running for her seat are two people with long histories in this county and in law. Jeffrey Hayden is working hard for this seat on the bench and has many bright ideas on how to improve it. He also has a good mindset for what it takes to be a judge in this county.
However, Susan Greenberg is a more natural fit for this position. With 14 years as a court commissioner under her belt, she knows the position and what it entails. Court commissioners essentially act in the capacity as a judge and are typically assigned to lower level matters. It is that experience from which Greenberg will draw when she takes this new position. Still, there are other positives. While both candidates emphasize the need for efficiency created by an understanding and adherence to the computer age and paperless technology, Greenberg has already put that into practice in our duty as court commissioner.
When it comes to sentencing and a philosophy behind it, both point to the success of alternative sentencing programs such as drug treatment and mental health court but also suggest there needs to be funding for it to work effectively. Both seem open to alternatives to jail such as ankle monitoring but said the sheriff has the ultimate decision. Greenberg seems more steadfast in not considering factors like immigration or the loss of a professional license in sentencing but both said it should be case by case.
Both also seem to have a sensitivity to the people they will serve and acknowledgment of the sometimes strenuous tasks in front of a judge — that decisions matter and can ultimately change lives. Hayden has a more philosophical way of speaking and seems to paint a broader picture when making a point while Greenberg is quick and very matter of fact when making her points. That unhalted and pragmatic approach has likely been refined after 14 years behind the bench as a court commissioner. In this type of race, that straightforward approach and experience is crucial for the position. Greenberg deserves your vote.