Jeff Schwartz: Paul Gallegos Is The Only Logical Alternative For Hagen Supporters – October 23, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What does Pat Higgins have to do with Hagen, Gallegos and the DA race? When Higgins lost the June primary election to Patrick Cleary I was very disappointed because I was a compassionate supporter of Pat Higgins. The next day I became a strong supporter of Patrick Cleary and have not looked back.

Why? Because Cleary, while not my first choice, has some of the same progressive interests, goals and values as Pat Higgins. Ryan Sundberg has none. If I and all the other Higgins voters stand their ground and refuse to vote for Cleary then the conservative candidate wins and puts us on a path back to the dark ages of Humboldt County.

It is very much the same for the Gallegos/Jackson race. Gallegos might not be the progressive candidate you wanted, but he is a progressive candidate. Allison Jackson and her supporters will eviscerate all of the progressive gains over the last dozen years. If we also lose the Neely/Bass and Sundberg/Cleary races, forget about it.

Hagen supporters need to vote for Paul Gallegos in this election. If not, you risk putting back into power those same people who supported clear-cutting our forests, overfishing our waters, and polluting our land. You fought hard for many years to transform Humboldt County from a place where politicians begged for nuclear plants and accepted the likes of Maxxam Corp and Charles Hurwitz. Right now because of the old guard who cared little about the environment, we have a dismantled PG&E nuclear plant that sits on the edge of Humboldt Bay; nuclear rods float in a vat of liquid as they wait to be buried where they stand at the intersection of three tectonic plates. We have an old electric generating plant so radioactive we can’t get rid of it. I don’t need to mention what happened to Pacific Lumber when Charles Hurwitz was welcomed with open arms.

It was the likes of Tim McKay and Greg King of Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), and land preservationists such as Alex Stillman, Mark Lovelace, Arcata’s Mark Andre and others like Chris Kerrigan, Larry Glass and the list goes on and on that changed our landscape from nuclear power plants and mega-stores to bicycle lanes and community forests; and; yes, Paul Hagen and Paul Gallegos who challenged the old guard to clean up their environmental disasters.

Since 2001, huge strides have been made to move us away from the we-want-your-nuclear-plant crowd to the majority of us who want to protect our environment, clean up our polluted waters and bring egalitarian principles to everyone.

The countywide district attorney race is the focal point in continuing a steady forward thinking community. Gallegos enforces environmental laws and prosecutes bad business practices. Whether he gets a conviction or not, the abusers know he’ll go after them, and they will pause. If the conservative opponent wins, the Humboldt County environment and much more goes down the drain.

Environmental and business crimes are not in Allison Jackson’s vocabulary. At the last debate, the conservative candidate scoffed at Paul Gallegos for going after a national corporation (Skilled Nursing) that was running nursing homes in deplorable conditions abusing our most vulnerable citizens, the elderly, mentally ill and disabled. He won the case and brought a million bucks into the coffers of Humboldt County.

I ask, I implore, I beg those progressive leaders who supported Paul Hagen to endorse Paul Gallegos. I ask all of you Hagen voters out to vote for Gallegos even if he was not your first choice. Staying home or not filling in the square because you did not get exactly who wanted will only put us on a path you don’t want to go down. You can bet on it that the nuclear-plant crowd will stick together and take Humboldt County back to the dark ages.

Jeffrey Schwartz is an Arcata attorney. He can be reached at

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