Letters: Vote This Way And That Way And This Way And That Way – June 2, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No on Prop 14

The title and wording of Prop 14 is extremely misleading. It claims to increase democracy when, in fact, it actually diminishes democracy by denying small parties a voice in the November elections.

Prop 14 is funded and supported by Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Dream Team” of corporate interests. Its real purpose is to eliminate diversity of choice and to further consolidate power in the major, corporate-funded and corporate-controlled Republican and Democratic Parties.

If the goal of an initiative were to achieve a truly democratic electoral system, Ranked Choice Voting would be the appropriate alternative. If our goal were a government that fairly represented the diversity of its citizens, proportional representation in the legislature would be the solution. Prop 14 does neither. It does not increase democracy. It does just the opposite. It is a dangerous step backward.

Vote NO on Prop 14.

Dana Silvernale

Blue Lake

Misleading mailings

Recent mailings of misleading flyers to Republican voters are something of a puzzler. Three local candidates paid to present themselves on advertising that claimed to be an advisory to Republicans on who and what to support. Many of the recipients believed these false tracts offered information sent by local republican organizations (Humboldt County Republican Central Committee and the Humbodt Republican Women Federated.) These voters were for the most part dumbfounded as to why their organizations would be advocating for Democrats: Bonnie Neely, Paul Gallegos and Patrick Cleary.

Those running for office too often overreach in strange ways. But if it ‘s so great to be a Democrat, and so worthwhile to vote for a Democratic candidate, why oh why would you present yourself as a Republican?

Many Republicans believed for more than two decades that Bonnie Neely was confused because we saw her functioning as a RINO. (Republican In Name Only.) Her recent change to Democrat was heartwarming. We thought, “That’s great, now she knows who she really is.” But she’s confused again and pays to be a Republican at certain times. That needs checking out.

It’s plenty timely to review those many years in office, since suddenly she is promising jobs after opposing most job opportunities for Humboldters in her 24 years as supervisor.

If these candidates aren’t sure what party they represent, how much sense does it make for them to ask to represent the citizens of Humboldt County?


Colleen Hedrick


The courage of Gallegos

When I came to Humboldt County, it was emerging under the shadow of a Texas billionaire where only one elected official had the courage to hold him accountable: Paul Gallegos. The good old boy network was upset and punished him by slamming him in the press. But it never stopped Paul Gallegos from making the DA’s Office modern, efficient, ever committed to Truth and Justice, and a place where privilege held no sway. An added plus, Paul Gallegos led by employing his considerable courtroom talents to protect the community he loves.

Today’s District Attorney’s Office has matured. Those staff members who could not work to exacting ethical standards were let go and replaced by award-winning investigators and prosecutors who are eager to embrace fairness and justice. Without resorting to courtroom tricks, they unfailingly put the hardened criminals behind bars for lengthy sentences. Their conduct has earned them high marks from the judges and the legal community.

This doesn’t happen by itself. Paul Gallegos is leading a successful District Attorney’s Office, and doing it from “in front,” which means he sets the standards that the staff works toward. He is independent enough to ignore politics – which turns out to be very efficient in use of staff time. That’s how Paul Gallegos’ management has translated into doing more with less – an awesome lesson in efficiency we can take to heart these days.

So, thank you, Paul Gallegos, for being true to your promise and bringing us Justice for All.

Natalynne DeLapp


Incompetent Gallegos

Articles keep popping up in all of the Humboldt County newspapers with Mr. Gallegos telling us how public safety is his top priority, if this wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

I received a certified letter from Folsom Prison this morning letting me and my family know that Anthony Flores the coward that ran from the scene when he and Jason Whitmill a three time felon killed my daughter on October 6, 2008 will be released from prison on January 12, 2011.

Only in Humboldt County, California can you race down the freeway at 103 mph with a car full of drugs playing chicken with a drunk on meth who is a convicted felon and was released from prison 12 days prior, no insurance, hit an innocent family killing one little girl and almost killing her mother, run from the scene of the accident to be found days later, paint your car to cover the evidence and spend one year in prison for it.

Mr. Gallegos, you and you alone were responsible for the prosecution of Anthony Flores, you and you alone failed miserably and Flores will be back on the streets of Humboldt County next year while Nicole Lynn Quigley is nothing but a sweet memory to her family and friends.

The last time I felt as sick to my stomach as when I read the letter from Folsom Prison this morning was when the Arcata Police Chaplain gave me the information that shattered mine and my family’s lives on that evening of October 6, 2008.

Some, including Mr. Gallegos, say I am just a grieving father well I am this is true but for Mr. Gallegos to keep telling our community that public safety is his top priority and then allowing repeat felons and their accomplices back on our streets after they kill our children with a slap on the wrist somehow makes me think that this could upset people other than the victims of his total incompetence. We will find out June 8, 2010.

Kenneth Quigley


Caring, committed Jackson

I just wanted to write and say how impressed I am with Allison Jackson and her list of endorsers who support her candidacy for district attorney.

There are many people in law enforcement, the legal community, business owners, and community leaders that support her candidacy. These are the folks who work directly with the district attorneys office, and for some on a daily basis. These individuals know what we need in a district attorney. Allison Jackson is a committed resident of our county who cares about its future. She has a vested interest in our citizens and will work hard for them. She has served for over 15 years as a successful prosecutor with over 10 plus years prosecuting serious violent felonies, not making plea bargains.

I believe the District Attorney’s Office should prosecute lawbreakers and close the ongoing revolving door of the current plea bargains. Now I’m no lawyer, but I have recently seen first hand how our current district attorney deals with serious violent crimes. It ended with another “PLEA BARGAIN.” Is that how our current DA measures his success? That is like forfeiting a game to me.

It’s obvious to me that Humboldt County needs a District Attorney as respected and experienced as Allison Jackson.

Please Join me and my friends, and vote for Allison Jackson for Humboldt County District Attorney.

Robert D. Barnett


Unconscionable exploitation

It is just so sad to read and hear the story from the grieving parents of Nicole Quigley, who are understandably wanting to assign blame for this senseless car accident that tragically took their young daughter’s life. They are unhappy with the way the case was handled, and they are dissatisfied with the outcome. No one should question the parents’ discontent, misery, or pain.

I, however, feel that exploiting a family’s grief for self-serving political gain while concealing culpability and distorting facts is not sad, it’s unconscionable. The cold facts are hard to dispute. The first thing to note is that it was Allison Jackson herself that let the perpetrator, Jason Whitmill, off and back on the streets when she plea bargained him out of molestation charges way back in 1995.

The next thing to note is what the law allows for in cases of “gross vehicular manslaughter,” which is generally seven to 10 years. In this case, District Attorney Paul Gallegos was able to get the perpetrator to plead guilty, accept a 14-year sentence and waive his right of appeal! Just to put this in perspective, around the same time, a guy named Cody Baker was prosecuted in Trinity County on similar charges. The DA in Trinity did not want to offer any “deals,” went to a jury trial and got all of a nine-year sentence. That might have been OK, if the charges were not then reduced on appeal to only six years.

It turns out that sometimes when a DA gets a plea, the bargain is for justice.

Mark Grimes


Gallegos fights for justice

I am currently a Deputy District Attorney working for Mr. Gallegos and would like to address a specific case, in which I believe the full story was not presented to the public and Paul Gallegos was characterized unfairly.

On August 25, 2008, Greg Jennings was struck and killed as he rode his bicycle. Mr. Jennings was wearing full protective gear and was an experienced cyclist. He was struck by Mr. Alan Bear. Mr. Bear and a passenger ran off the road by nearly 10 feet and struck Mr. Jennings with the front driver’s side of their truck. The road was straight and the weather was clear. Witnesses said that Mr. Bear was driving fine, right up until he ran off the road and struck Mr. Jennings.

Mr. Bear said he was putting a cup in the drink holder and lost control of his vehicle. Mr. Bear was evasive immediately following the accident, denied having a passenger, then denied knowing the passenger, then admitted that the passenger was a lifelong friend and he had told her to leave after the accident.

The case was filed as a felony, by Paul, against the advice of many of the staff and investigators in our office. The injustice of Mr. Jennings being killed in such a casual and remorseless manner caused Paul to reach for a felony conviction. Unfortunately, as the investigation proceeded it became clear that the Patrol Officers involved could not testify that there was gross negligence, none of the witnesses could provide any clue as to what caused the accident, and ultimately the case had to be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Do I believe in my heart that there was gross negligence involved in this accident? Yes. Did we have any proof at all of what happened inside the cab of that truck? No.

Mr. Bear ultimately was sentenced to one year in jail, which was the maximum sentence available by law.

Our office also pursued a judgment against Mr. Bear on behalf of his widow for lost financial support. Relatively new case law allows for restitution, through the criminal courts. A judgment through the criminal court is collected by the State of California on behalf of the victim, and avoids the cost and time of civil attorneys.

Mr. Bear was ordered to pay nearly $250,000 in restitution to Mr. Jennings’ widow. This is the largest criminal restitution order in Humboldt County history, and it was the first time our office has pursued this type of remedy.

There can never be justice done in a case such as the death of Mr. Jennings. However, under Paul, our office fought harder and longer to do the most we could, within the boundaries set by law, than would most other counties within this state.

Additionally, Paul is available to consult with us on our cases, and his guidance inevitably involves taking the higher road and doing the right thing, even when it isn’t the easy thing to do. Our office is composed of extremely hard working, dedicated personnel who take our jobs very seriously and personally. Paul personifies that dedication and is a role model for the rest of us.

I am not in line for any promotions, raises, or special assignments. I am writing this letter on my own initiative, because I believe it is the right thing to do.


Elan Firpo, Deputy District Attorney


Paul’s proper priorities

I am writing to show my support to re-elect Paul Gallegos as our District Attorney, and hopefully dispel some of the erroneous statements I have heard from people who are opposed to his victory.

First, I support Paul Gallegos because he is doing a great job prioritizing trials and not wasting time and money, but still getting convictions. The fact is that violent crime is down since Paul took office. Even with budget cuts so rampant, he has been able to gain grant to match the reductions. Plea bargains are an effective and less expensive tool he uses well. His office and staff are winning awards.

Second, the claim that he is soft on a certain crime is just not true. Justice isn’t for sale for money or power or position in Humboldt any more. Paul cannot prosecute 215 growers unless they abuse the State laws—which he didn’t make, the voters of California did—and he has prosecuted hundreds of 215 abuses. The statement that he allows 100 plants which is way higher than most other places in the state is just wrong…His policy determines square footage of the grow (100 sq. ft.) not the number of plants.

Third, people say that law enforcement agencies don’t support him. I don’t dispute this, in fact I rejoice in it. Paul Gallegos polices the police, and some of the most public cases I have followed in the papers illustrate this. The claim that he lets off criminals is just not true… presented a case that is prosecutable, without issues concerning admissibility of evidence, warrant validity, or credibility of testimony, those cases are followed through. I am not saying that the enforcement agencies are failing, but there are a lot of technicalities, rules and procedures that come under scrutiny.

Last, I learned to respect Paul Gallegos when he took on Maxxam, and stood up to a recall effort because of and financed by Maxxam/PL. The degradation in my watershed still plagues us, but corporations know that that behavior won’t fly in Humboldt County while he is at the helm.

In closing, I would also share that if Paul Gallegos gets more than half of the votes in the primary election for District Attorney the race is over, and no run off has to carry on until November. Humboldt, I charge you to vote, vote responsibly, and vote for Paul Gallegos this primary, June 8.

Van Kupilik


We need Pat Higgins

For several years now I’ve been watching Pat Higgins. He’s been ever consistent in his goals and willing to stand up for them; he makes informed decisions based on a long-range view that balances both our need for jobs and economic stimulus with vital protection of natural resources.

As a biologist, he has credibility when addressing issues of Humboldt County’s fisheries and watershed, looking at the Big Picture in terms of agriculture, forests, and river health. Short-term schemes jeopardize our future while enriching a scant few of us; we need a Supervisor with brains, foresight, and experience in the public arena.

We need Pat Higgins.

Diana Ashley


Cleary clearly capable

Patrick Cleary’s diverse work and community service experience is why he is the best candidate for Supervisor. Cleary’s efforts encompass health care, telecommunications and broad band access, providing basic services such as water and sewer, assisting local businesses and non profits grow and succeed, supporting a new ice plant and improvements at the C Street Dock for our local fishing industry, helping our local agricultural businesses expand, and promoting art and music in our community.

Cleary is committed to promoting trails, affordable housing and sustainable jobs while protecting the environment in which we live. Cleary supports treating McKinleyville with the respect it deserves by establishing a McKinleyville Advisory Committee and including McKinleyville and Hoopa on the Humboldt County Association of Governments Board. Cleary’s proven ability to listen to and work with people who often don’t agree is another important reason why he is the best candidate for the Fifth District. He is someone who seeks solutions, not blame.

Please join me and vote for Cleary on June 8.

Juli Neander


Higgins makes sense

As the June 8 election approaches, I would like to encourage Humboldt County Fifth District voters to consider selecting Pat Higgins as their Supervisor. He understands the benefit of expanding sustainable and organic agriculture to increase jobs, improve nutrition and provide food security for our community.

Pat has attended meetings and reached out to the sustainable farming community to find out how we could increase production and set up needed transportation support and infrastructure to ensure that we don’t waste energy or farmer’s time in getting produce to market.

In these uncertain economic times it just makes sense that we grow more of our own food and Pat will work actively with all interested parties to make this happen. He also recognizes that the less money we send out of the county for food the more dollars recirculate here, which provides additional economic benefits.

As someone who has worked to support Humboldt County family farming, I look forward to having Pat as an ally and advocate on the Board of Supervisors for these critical issues.

Melanie Patrick, MBA

Humboldt CAFF Market Development


Pat the pit bull

I would like to take this opportunity to share with your readers some of the reasons to consider voting for Pat Higgins this June to represent the Fifth District on Humboldt County’s board of supervisors. We can all look at Pat’s website, his brochures, or even talk to him to know where Pat stands on the issues.

But the reasons that I think are important is first Pat has a deep love for Humboldt County, its beauty and its resources, he is a fisherman, he is out enjoying this place and seeing how vulnerable it is. Pat will be like a pit bull, he will not let go, especially when it comes to protecting these resources. Pat is also a fisheries biologist which brings me to my next point: there are three big rivers flowing through the Fifth district: the Mad, the Klamath, and the Trinity, whom do I trust to protect and manage this resource in the coming years – Pat Higgins, he has dedicated his life to studying these rivers and the fish that live there.

Water is going to be the big issue in our future: water rights, clean drinking water and recreation to name a few. The management of water will greatly affect our lives in Humboldt County. Consider this reason as you cast your ballot on June 8.


Ingrid Kosek

Blue Lake

Rodoni the best choice

As your Assessor, Johanna Rodoni will concentrate on what is best for the citizens. She has already demonstrated that she is fair, open and a skilled leader and administrator. Johanna has the breadth of experience like no other candidate. She runs a private business; she is a landowner, rancher and was appointed by the Governor to the Board of Supervisors.

I have no doubt that she will run the most efficient, effective, use friendly office in the County. Under her leadership customers will be well served. Johanna will be a great Assessor.


Loretta Nickolaus

Retired County Administrative Officer


Mari Wilson for Assessor

As Humboldt County Assessor, it is extremely important to me that the next assessor be highly qualified and familiar with all aspects of the assessment process. It is also important to have an assessor that treats all taxpayers with respect and provides a high level of customer service.

Mari Wilson meets all the above requirements and is the ideal person to become the next assessor. She has worked in the office for 22 years and has held increasingly responsible positions. Her experience has given her an in-depth knowledge of the laws that govern property taxation in California. She is fair-minded and treats customers and co-workers with respect.

Mari has fresh ideas and the motivation to carry those ideas to completion. She has planned, and is currently implementing, on-line access to assessor information, including assessment roll data. In her day-to-day responsibility for the budget, Mari has dealt creatively with the budget reductions we have faced over the last several years.

Mari is the most qualified and most experienced candidate running for this office. If elected, she will serve the citizens of Humboldt County effectively and fairly. Please join me in voting for Mari Wilson for Assessor.

Linda Hill, Humboldt County Assessor


Gallegos’ winning team

The sour grapes of former prosecutors running against Paul Gallegos leave a bad taste in my mouth. It may be natural for candidates for office to stretch the truth a bit when attacking an incumbent. But when those attacks demean a whole office that is serving us well, the public is harmed.

Gallegos has built a team that rarely loses a case. The deputy District Attorneys come to work prepared, armed with facts developed by a skilled investigative team. They have the respect of judges and juries because of their high ethical and professional standards. Crime is down and they are sending the worst criminals to prison in the highest numbers ever.

We all need to thank and support this team for their work, not tear it down with false accusations or the amplified grief of one or two inconsolable victims. This winning team is asking us to vote for Paul Gallegos so they can keep on doing the job of keeping us safer. Count me on their side. I’ll be voting Paul Gallegos June 8.

Conrad Gregory


The incomparable Higgins

Pat Higgins deserves your vote for Fifth District supervisor. His depth of understanding of Fifth District and Humboldt County issues and ideas for our future are unmatched by his competitors. He also is running a campaign largely supported by volunteers and funded by small donors – it is worth looking at the list of well over 300 Fifth District citizen endorsers on his website.

His leadership of the Harbor Bay Economic Development Committee as Harbor Commissioner brought a diverse group of interests together and resulted in a new vision for economic development in and around the Bay. This vision includes expansion of aquaculture, sport fishing, eco-tourism, and recreation, development of short sea shipping and ship repair, and streamlining of permitting for small business incubation.

Pat is dedicated to building a trail between Eureka and Arcata and is already working on the transfer of the North Coast Railroad Authority rail right-of-way to a Humboldt County entity. As a fisheries biologist he will continue to fight to restore flows to the Eel River and the Klamath and advocate for Marine Life Protection Areas that provide for a sustainable harvest.

Pat has been actively engaged in business and civic life in Humboldt County for over 30 years. He has the ideas, skills, and determination to help us create our sustainable future.

Sincerely, Jennifer Wood


RE-legalize marijuana

One reason government and police agencies accept grant money used to prohibit, persecute and exterminate cannabis (marijuana) is because they are addicted to the money. A sane or moral argument to continue the discrimination doesn’t exist. Cannabis should be RE-legalized, regulated and taxed.

Another logical reason to RE-legalize the relatively safe, God-given plant that doesn’t get mentioned is because it’s Biblically correct since Christ God Our Father, The Ecologician, indicates He created all the seed-bearing plants, saying they are all good, on literally the very first page (Genesis 1:11-12 and 29-30). The only Biblical restriction placed on cannabis is that it is to be accepted with thankfulness (see 1 Timothy 4:1-5).

The list of reasons to RE-legalize cannabis is growing faster than the plant itself.


Stan White

Dillon, Colorado

A productive waste

Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) would like to thank the 220 residents from Arcata, McKinleyville, Blue Lake and Eureka who braved the foul weather to drop off their household hazardous waste in Arcata Saturday, May 22.

By the end of the day, almost 18,000 pounds of hazardous materials were collected at this single-day event, including paint, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, bulbs, medical sharps and batteries. Thanks also to Humboldt State University for offering HWMA the use of their new Plant Operations Facility (the former Industrial Electric facility on Samoa Blvd.) and to the City of Arcata, a member agency of HWMA.

Check out hwma.net for our 2010 calendar of mobile events (next household hazardous waste collection: McKinleyville, July 17, Pierson Park, 9-2).

Karen Sherman, Program Analyst

Humboldt Waste Management Authority