By Ashley Loza
Kern Valley Sun
Scott Spielman, candidate for Kern County District Attorney, made time to visit the Kern River Valley on Saturday, Oct. 28.
Spielman attended a meet-and-greet hosted by Daures Stephens, owner of South Lake Cycle and former Senior Deputy with the Kern County Sheriff.
When current District Attorney Lisa Green announced in December that she would not be running again, Spielman, as Assistant DA and second in command, knew that he should assume the position.
“When Lisa is gone, I run things,” he said. “I have the best experience for this job. I know that.”
Spielman’s resume with the DA’s office is, in fact, extensive. After joining in 1994, he has prosecuted over 100 felony jury trials, almost half of which have involved murder, sexual assault or child abuse. In addition, Spielman has spent time in several units of the office, including Misdemeanor, Preliminary Hearing, General Felony, Juvenile, Rural Crime and Special Prosecutions Units.
He said that he prefers working as a prosecutor because rather than working for a specific client, he feels that he is “truly looking for justice.”
The office itself has over 250 employees, and, according to Spielman, they prosecute anywhere from 6,000 to 8,000 felonies a year, along with anywhere from 22,000 to 28,000 misdemeanors.
He points to recent county budget cuts as an added realm of experience.
With the county losing money as a result of oil prices and the need to operate the DA’s office as effectively as possible with the budget given, Spielman has experience navigating the constraints and predicts that the budget will continue to be a problem for several more years.
“Budgets are down; crime is up,” said Spielman.
Stephens says that one of his main reasons for inviting Spielman to the valley was his accessibility. While working as a Senior Deputy, Stephens worked with Spielman many times, and he says that the best way to describe him is “inviting.”
“I think it’s important that we have a district attorney that you have access to,” said Stephens.
He was also happy with Spielman’s approach to issues that are exclusive to the valley. Stephens said that Spielman asked him what concerns residents may have, rather than told him what issues residents were facing. Spielman said that he heard loud and clear that residents were concerned about the loss of a dedicated courtroom and had also been willing to discuss the possibility of assigning a DA to the valley, which Stephens says is sorely underserved.
“How do they get information that’s accurate if it’s not coming from the people?” asked Stephens.
Stephens’ concern for the community and experience working with Spielman was a factor in the meet-and-greet’s turnout, as many guests attended solely at Stephens’ suggestion.
Gloria Sepulveda, a resident who had become more involved in the community this year after dedicating her time to forgotten Erskine Fire survivors, said that she had attended at Stephens’ suggestion because she feels his concerns overwhelmingly align with her own.
After seeing Spielman speak at a recent Kernville Chamber of Commerce meeting, she was eager to attend at Stephens’ suggestion. Sepulveda said that she felt that Spielman had spoken about many of her concerns, and she wanted to know more about him.
“I liked what he had to say,” said Sepulveda. “He made a lot of good points.”
The event was also attended by Carla Pearson of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who came to know Spielman after he prosecuted the drunk driver who was responsible for the death of her son. Spielman was a collaborating writer for “Adams Law,” a California law that made it possible to convict repeat drunk drivers who kill.
He is supported by Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, Kern County 4th District Supervisor David Couch and District Attorney Lisa Green.
Overall, Spielman is interested in making the best of the county’s constrained budget and California’s recent laws that have made prosecuting both misdemeanors and felonies more difficult.
“If we don’t hold criminals accountable, what do we think they’re going to do?” asks Spielman.
To learn more about his campaign and experience with the District Attorney’s Office, visit scottspielman.com.