Meet Mark Ameli: Iranian American Candidate for Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles County
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA)
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian American (PAAIA)
and its connected PAC, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC),
recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mark K. Ameli and discuss his
campaign for Los Angles Superior Court Judge in next year's election. If
successful, Ameli would become the first American of Iranian descent to be
elected to the Superior Court in Los Angeles County.
Endorsed by Los Angeles County
Sheriff Lee Baca
Ameli holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of California at Berkeley
and a Master's Degree from the University of Southern California, both in
Economics, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of West Los
Ameli has been a practicing attorney since 1980, concentrating in the areas of
business and corporate transactions and litigation, personal injuries as a
result of defective products, vehicular collisions, slip and fall and industrial
Since 1994, Ameli has served as a judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Superior
Court. He has also been appointed by the Superior Court of the State of
California as an arbitrator and mediator in the Judicial Arbitration and
Mediation Program. In 2005 his law firm started a mediation division under the
name of Diversified Dispute Resolution.
A strong believer in public service and community involvement, Ameli has
represented many indigent clients on a pro bono basis, has volunteered his
services to the court system as a mediator and arbitrator and judge pro tem free
of charge. He is a founding member and past president of Iranian American
Lawyers Association. Ameli has served as the chairperson of the Iranian
American Sheriff's Advisory Council and is the past President and a member of
the Board of Directors of Rancho Park Rotary Club. He is also a member of the
Board of Directors of the Southern California Mediation Association.
Click here for more information on Mark
The following is a transcript of the interview with Mr. Ameli:
PAAIA/IAPAC: Why are you running for public office?
Ameli: Three decades of litigation and trial experience and fifteen years
of experience as a mediator and an arbitrator have prepared me to serve as a
judge of the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los
I was raised in a family of judges. Both my father and grandfather were judges.
The meaning of judicial temperament, fairness, and compassion were instilled in
me from a young age. I learned how to be tough on those who deserve the firm
hand of justice and to be compassionate towards victims of crime. I have also
learned how to be fair and unbiased, yet decisive to the parties in a dispute.
As an officer of the court, I have always been committed to the highest ethical
and professional standards. In my capacity as an arbitrator or a mediator, I
have proved myself to be fair and unbiased. The fact that my colleagues have
selected me to arbitrate or mediate hundreds of their cases is a testament to
their trust and confidence in my capabilities and impartiality.
I believe that my long and dedicated service as a litigator, an arbitrator and a
mediator, combined with my many years of community service, make me qualified to
become the next Judge of the Superior Court of California for the County of Los
Angeles and I would like to continue my public service in that capacity.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are some of the challenges you believe your campaign
committee must overcome to mount a successful run-off campaign?
Ameli: The major challenge of my campaign is to gain name recognition.
In order to accomplish this, I must raise sufficient funds and get endorsements
from elected officials and reputable organizations and the media. At this time
I have approximately $290,000 in my campaign account. At the same time, I have
been able to get the endorsements of two members of the California State
Assembly, and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, among others. I have also
received the support and endorsement of LA Mediators. I am working hard and
meeting and greeting as many people as I can to win their support, confidence,
endorsement and more importantly, their votes.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are the fundraising goals of your committee?
Ameli: Approximately $400-$500,000.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?
Ameli: At this juncture we do not know who my opponent or opponents may
be. The nomination process will close in March of 2010. At such time we will
determine which open seat I will run for and who my opponent(s) will be. As a
general rule, a large number of the deputy district attorneys, and city
attorneys run for judicial positions. Their experience is generally limited to
criminal prosecution. My background and experience is varied and in different
fields of civil law. Additionally, I have extensive experience in arbitration,
mediation and as judge pro tem.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What are some of the critical issues facing the Los Angeles
County Superior Court?
Ameli: A large majority of superior court judges come from a criminal law
background. Presently, approximately 2.7 million civil cases are filed in the
county of Los Angeles each year. Therefore, judges who have no background in
civil litigation handle a large number of these civil cases. This causes delay
and waste of time in courtrooms.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What roles do you think Iranian Americans can play in your
campaign and what do you expect from the community?
Ameli: We have a very large community of Iranian Americans in the
Southern California region. However, due to our failure to vote, our political
power goes untapped. I am hoping to get more Iranian Americans registered and
encourage more of them to go to the polls. Considering the fact that I will
participate in a countywide election, I will need voters beyond the Iranian
American community. There are over 2 million voters in LA County and I will
need a majority of them to vote for me. I will, therefore, need funds to be
able to effectively campaign among such voters. I am hoping that my community
would continue to support my efforts, as they have done to date, by contributing
funds to my campaign to allow me to reach my goal of $500,000.
PAAIA/IAPAC: What role can organizations like PAAIA/IAPAC play in
assisting your campaign?
Ameli: In this campaign like any other campaigns, I will need funds,
endorsement and votes. PAAIA/IAPAC can help me with the funds as well as
fundraising to allow me to reach my goals. PAAIA may have access to some
endorsements to which I do not. I would appreciate any help that PAAIA can give
me in securing such endorsements. Additionally, I hope that PAAIA/IAPAC can
publicize my campaign through its publications and announcements.
... Payvand News - 10/20/09 ... --