From the time I met him, Richard Salzman was cultivating the tribal people in Humboldt County.
He was very concerned about placing ads in a Hoopa Valley paper.
With limited ad dollars, the only sensible choice was to stick with the major papers. The notion that Native Americans only read the tribal papers, it seemed to me was rather denigrating, like people who ask how to reach 'people in McKinleyville.' (The answer is, the same way you reach people that live in Eureka, they're not some strange alien race, they're people just like you.)
I always wondered what it was that made him so insistent. It always struck an odd note. And, in retrospect, everything that struck an odd note turned out to be significant.
During the Recall, he used a Tribal Judge in his ad campaign.
When Local Solutions started making overtures to the tribes on their website, again, it rang an odd note.
People said "it has to be the money." The tribes have money. Yeah, well, that does seem to have been proven true with the huge donations to Gallegos' campaign.
But more than that, Salzman's cynical use of the Native American people to further his political goals crosses into other territory.
You saw it when non Native American wife of a Bear River Tribe member, Ellie Bowman staged what is called an "event" in activist circles. Something to get the headlines. She stood on the courthouse steps and called Worth Dikeman a racist - and that is what the public heard.
Apparently they didn't hear this:
Worth Dikeman successfully prosecuted Ellie Bowman's son, Jeff Bowman, for murder.
Bowman went to prison for 25 years to life for the murder of a Trinidad Rancheria Tribe Member named Julius Aubrey.
But what Bowman was referring to was not her son's case, completely unrelated, it was another case, involving the conviction of Richard Kesser who had been found guilty of murder in the death of his estranged wife.
Throughout his series of appeals, his criminal defense attorney alleged that Worth Dikeman dismissed Native American jurors on the basis of race.
Four times the courts had found that Dikeman acted properly and without racial animus. The Humboldt County Superior Court found that he acted properly. The California Court of Appeal for the First District found he acted properly. The California Supreme Court refused to hear the matter based upon the Court of Appeal's ruling. The United States District Court for the Northern District of California found that Mr. Dikeman acted properly and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that he acted properly.
That is to say, the majority opinion found in Worth Dikeman's favor. It is not to say there wasn't a dissenting opinion. Nonetheless, these decisions were reached on the basis of Dikeman's notes and the fact that he had other reasons for excluding those and other jurors.
Now the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the earlier 9th Circuit Court in a 6-5 decision and Kesser may be granted a new trial.
The allegation revolves around what is known as a Wheeler motion. A Wheeler motion is a motion brought during jury selection when the opposing side claims that the other attorney has violated the Constitution by challenging jurors based on race, gender, religious or other constitutionally protected characteristics.
In fact, only one attorney in the history of Humboldt County had ever had a Wheeler Motion granted against him.
In People v. Mika Myers, case # CR972919, Judge John Feeney found Paul Gallegos GUILTY of using peremptory challenges to dismiss prospective jurors based upon their race.
Salzman's Dirty Tricks Department is very effective, and of course the standard denials were issued, nope, not involved, no, didn't have anything to do with it. Believe it if you like. I, for one, do not. And I feel sorry for the tribes who have been so cynically used.
WEB OF LIES Richard Salzman and other e-mail phonies
Second news release countering racism allegations issued
A systematic analysis of the two DA candidates dispels any uncertainty