The two people vying to replace retiring San Mateo County Judge Craig Parsons June 3 are smart, capable and interesting candidates who would both bring a lot to the bench.
Ray Buenaventura is a Daly City councilman and attorney who often works in the county’s private defender program. He is well-versed in the courts and has a wealth of experience as a defense attorney.
Stephanie Garratt has spent nine years on the bench as a court commissioner before court cuts eliminated three of the seven positions here in San Mateo County. She was recently reappointed and returned to the bench in April after working in the District Attorney’s Office. Court commissioners do essentially the same job as judges but typically take lower level cases and cannot vote with the 26 judges in this county.
Both have similar views on sentencing and sentencing alternatives such as at-home monitoring or considering other factors. All must be considered, but ultimately the law must be followed.
Both believe the court calendar can be sped up through technology but budgets and ultimately personnel play a significant role. Both would be excellent as Parsons’ replacement on the bench and it is difficult to recommend just one.
However, there is something to be said for the experience Garratt has behind the bench. While Buenaventura would likely come up to speed quickly, this is a role with which Garratt is familiar and comfortable.
It also is significant that when there was a new court commissioner position open after positions were eliminated — Garratt was the one selected to return. That says something about the current judges’ confidence in and comfort with her abilities. Garratt has a wide range of cases with which she is familiar from family law to domestic violence — which often prove to be the most difficult and challenging. She is to the point, poised and confident in her abilities with a larger view of the justice’s role in the community. She deserves your vote.