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Amos, Wickersham Face Fall Duel : Clear Election for Boland Possible in Tax Collector Race

Times Staff Writer

Municipal Court Judge E. Mac Amos Jr. and Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles Wickersham will face off in November for a Superior Court seat, and Paul Boland held the possibility Tuesday night of winning his race for county treasurer/tax collector outright by easily outdistancing seven other candidates.

Early returns Tuesday showed Boland, the chief deputy tax collector for the county, far ahead of his competition, but it was unclear whether he would capture 50% of the votes and avoid a November runoff with the runner-up. Boland was endorsed for the job by his boss, retiring Treasurer James E. Jones.

Four candidates were in a pack behind Boland, running nip-and-tuck for a second-place finish and hoping to stop Boland from a clean victory. They were Patrick Boarman, who was thrust into the public eye in 1983-84 when he served on the county Board of Supervisors in a caretaker position; Carl Silva, who was endorsed by the San Diego County Employees Assn. and other public employee groups; Jan Janette, a data-processing coordinator for the county, and Lance Vollmer, a land-use consultant who was formerly an aide to Supervisor Paul Eckert and campaigned to make the treasurer/tax collector’s office more accessible to the public.

County Clerk Bob Zumwalt and County Recorder Vera Lyle easily won reelection to their jobs.

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In the Superior Court race, the only loser was the third candidate, Thomas R. Waddell, who currently is in private practice and had the least public exposure going into the campaign.

The primary election of a Superior Court judge was perhaps the most interesting of the nonpartisan county elections, with voters given a rare opportunity to select from a diverse group of three candidates.

Amos, appointed to the Municipal Court by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. in August, 1982, was elected to that post by voters later that year and was reelected in 1984. He noted in his campaign that, of the three candidates, only he already has experience as a judge and could be evaluated on his performance.

He was the only one of the candidates to receive the highest rating of a San Diego County Bar Assn., which said he is “well qualified” for the post. Waddell and Wickersham were rated “qualified.”

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Waddell, who ran unsuccessfully for district attorney in 1976, argued that he has the most varied legal background of the three, with experience in civil, criminal and domestic law.

Wickersham is a 20-year veteran of the district attorney’s office whose most-publicized prosecution was the winning of the criminal case that forced Roger Hedgecock to resign as mayor of San Diego last year.

Wickersham was the only one who openly described himself as the man to beat, boasting the endorsement of the county Police Chiefs’ and Sheriff’s Assn.

If the judgeship was the most interesting race, the horse race was for the job as the county’s treasurer/tax collector, in which eight candidates campaigned to replace James E. Jones, who is retiring from the $60,154-a-year post.

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Jones, who has been tax collector since 1967, endorsed Boland, his chief deputy tax collector and a 13-year veteran of the tax collector’s office--to succeed him. Despite the endorsement of the incumbent, Boland still was unable to prevent challenges from seven other candidates.

They included Vollmer, a former aide to Supervisor Paul Eckert; Boarman, an economist who was smitten by politics while serving as an interim county supervisor; Jan Janette, a data processing coordinator in the assessor’s office; Robin G. Low, a contract compliance officer for the county; Art Samuel, a senior systems analyst for the county; Carl Silva, for 11 years a deputy county assessor, and Gene Smith, who left a county job seven years ago to open a tax service in Escondido. In decidedly less challenging races, County Clerk Bob Zumwalt faced competition from only one candidate--an employee, Robert L. Price, who has served as a deputy county clerk for 14 years and who also challenged his boss for the job in 1982. County Recorder Vera Lyle won election to her third term over a token challenge by John Kelly, who has run for a variety of public offices in recent years.

Winning reelection without even token opposition were Sheriff John Duffy, Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller, County Supervisor Leon Williams and County Assessor Gregory J. Smith.


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