By DEREK MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
State Sen. Noreen Evans, who is said to be weighing a bid next year for a seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, also has submitted an application to become a justice on the California Courts of Appeal, sources confirmed.
The Santa Rosa Democrat is nine months into her first term as a senator representing the vast 2nd Senate District. The term runs through 2014.
Evans’ apparent search for new employment, coupled with her recent public pronouncements expressing dismay with Capitol life, suggest to some political observers that she is not happy in her current job.
“She’s made it clear she’s done with Sacramento,” Sonoma State University political scientist Dave McCuan said.
Evans did not respond Monday to messages seeking comment that were sent to her private email account and also left with her chief of staff, Tom Roth.
Asked about the senator’s application to become an appeals court justice, Roth replied, “I can’t comment on it.”
Evans submitted her application to Gov. Jerry Brown, who would have to appoint her to the position.
She would have to be confirmed by the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments, according to a spokesperson with the state’s courts.
The process, which could take months, includes hundreds of surveys being sent to local attorneys, judges and others for their opinion on Evans as a candidate.
That process could coincide with Evans’ potential bid to replace outgoing county Supervisor Valerie Brown. Speculation that Evans will enter the fray gained credence earlier this month after Terry Price, her longtime political consultant, split with another candidate who also is seeking Brown’s seat.
Evans has long been open about her desire to become a judge. She has a law degree, and prior to first being elected to the state Assembly in 2004, she practiced law with an emphasis on civil litigation and appeals.
An appellate justice is paid about $205,000 a year. She currently earns $95,291 as a senator. A county supervisor is paid $134,000.
As a judge, she would not have to face the rigors of campaigning or dealing with the demands of elected office.
There are signs that those demands have been weighing heavily on Evans.
She faced withering public criticism earlier this year when she complained about having to give up her taxpayer-funded vehicle and about nearly having her pay docked because of the state’s delayed budget.
She also received blowback from members of her own party in August after she circulated an email in which she pointedly criticized an assemblyman for allegedly “hijacking” her legislation, including a link to a story about a 2007 police action at the man’s home.
Evans also was outraged that Assemblyman Roger Hernández, D-West Covina, had hosted what her email referred to as a “Hooters luncheon” at the Capitol, a reference to the restaurant chain that features waitresses dressed in revealing clothes.
Hernandez’s staff said they simply brought in chicken wings from the restaurant to serve at a potluck event hosted by legislators and that no Hooters staff was present.
“Being in electoral politics at any level of politics is terribly frustrating in California,” McCuan said. “It’s almost easier to affect public policy by going out and being a judge.”
There currently are three vacancies on the state’s appeals courts, including one created when Tani Cantil-Sakauye was selected as the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court.