Sunday, November 19, 2006

Gallegos telegraphed his intentions

Paul Gallegos had nine months between when he was elected District Attorney and when he actually took office. Plenty of time for his handlers to whisper in his ear - convincing him that he could only trust them, reinforcing the notion that no one there would like him, that he would have to fire a few to send a message, show them who was boss - and plenty of time to set him up to fulfill their agenda.

No one saw it coming, but Gallegos began to telegraph his intentions well before he took office. This was the precursor to his bringing Ken Miller in to draft the PL lawsuit. But they pretend that this never happened.

This article tells part of the story:

District Attorney-elect reaches out to enviros
By Daniel Mintz
McKinleyville Press
Nov. 13, 2002

Taking an unusual, proactive step toward inclusion, District Attorney-Elect Paul Gallegos has pleasantly surprised environmentalists by sending them letters that ask for their input and portray "maintenance of a quality environment" as a priority enforcement matter.

Gallegos takes office in January, and following a campaign last spring that focused on a more progressive approach to county law enforcement policies, he's been heralded by activists as the usher of a new direction.

Increasing the medical marijuana plant limits and downplaying the intensity of marijuana enforcement overall was part of Gallegos' campaign platform, and he's since reaffirmed his desire for those changes. But an Oct. 30 letter sent to a variety of Humboldt-based activists and environmental groups makes a pledge to environmental oversight that's assertive and probably unprecedented.

Taking steps
The letter begins by quoting a section of the California Constitution that defines the role of local officials as giving "priority to the provision of adequate public safety resources." Gallegos then quotes the state Environmental Quality Act, which calls environmental preservation "a matter of statewide concern" for health and safety of residents and further states that regulation of corporations and other entities be done "so that major consideration is given to preventing environmental damage. "I interpret this as a finding by the California Legislature that the maintenance of a quality environment for the people of this state now and in the future is a matter of public safety," Gallegos wrote. Reflecting the content of the legislation, Gallegos added that "the district attorney... has the obligation to work toward the maintenance of a quality environment... take steps to make actions necessary to prevent critical environmental capacity thresholds from being reached, take steps to contribute to preservation and enhancement of the environment and enforce regulations intended to prevent environmental damage while providing a decent home and satisfying living environment."

Gallegos wants environmental groups to participate in the enforcement process by "advising me of matters relevant to these concerns and educating me about the consequences of inaction." He informed the various groups that he's available for "individual and/or group discussions at any time."

Welcome correspondence
Local environmentalists and the groups they belong to will take Gallegos up on the offer, and view it as a stream of fresh air.

"It's absolutely excellent," said Tim McKay, executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center, of the letter, "I've never gotten one like it, and one of the key issues that's concerned environmentalists is that we have laws on the books that are primarily unenforced."

McKay said he and his co-workers at NEC shared a "very positive" reaction to the letter. "We just said, 'Wow, this is long overdue,' " McKay related, "And I'm sure this will put Humboldt County in headlines nationally, because it's coming at a time when the environment has been degraded by the powers that be - the Bush administration."

McKay delivered mixed reviews of the County D.A. Office's performance on environmental enforcement. He pointed out that the county has a "very capable" environmental prosecutor, Paul Hagen, whose services are paid for through the California District Attorney's Association.

"I hope Gallegos retains him," McKay continued. "And the letter seems to indicate (Hagen) would be unrestrained in seeking prosecutions for violations of state law."

But some environmental damage has slipped under the enforcement radar here, McKay continued. He cited a developer's effort last year to engineer a cranberry bog at the lower reaches of Little River, a waterway at the northern end of Clam Beach.

"I hope that kind of egregious violation will not go unenforced again," said McKay, adding that "a number" of environmental law violations have escaped timely enforcement "primarily because of (outgoing D.A.) Terry farmer failing to give the green light."

Jan Lundberg heads the Sustainable Energy Institute and said Gallegos' correspondence is "very welcome" and nods to a new direction for environmental awareness.

"(Gallegos) is representing everyone with that letter because we are all citizens of this environment," Lundberg continued, "And we will be expanding the scope of environmental consciousness with his help and evolving the consciousness of the community."

Other groups that got Gallegos' letter include Northcoast earth First!, the Environmental Protection Information center (EPIC), Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and the Humboldt Watershed Council.

In Black and White
In an interview, Gallegos said he sent the letter to make it clear that crimes against the environment will be assertively enforced under his helmsmanship of the D.A.' s Office.

"I want to let people know that as D.A. for the next four years, I see environmental violations as a public safety issue," Gallegos continued. "Public safety is a dear concept to me and I need their assistance and will respond to what they tell me. I put that in black and white, so four years from now, if they say I'm not doing it, they have it in black and white."

He expects to make "significant policy decisions" on environmental enforcement and felt that local activists need to know that their participation in important, as they haven't been included to the degree Gallegos is seeking.

"They've been working hard and they don't know that the D.A.'s Office needs their help." he said. "The letter's overdue - I'm committed to learning, to reaching out to these groups that are actively involved, so I can do what's right."

Gallegos was asked what kind of policy changes he'd like to see on environmental prosecution. "At a minimum, the change I's like to bring is to have those who received my letter to realize they are part of the equation, and that I understand the role they play is important tot he community...we promise to be busy, and people should know that we're serious."

Gallegos has been engaged in many meetings, including those with law enforcement agencies. He's also met several times with Robert Manne, the president of Pacific Lumber Company, which has been portrayed by activists as a trouncer of environmental regulations.

But the meetings with Manne were geared to easing the safety problems stemming from forest protests, not the environmental effects of logging. And Gallegos said lots of people view him as a radical presence and are worried about what he might do.

"One of (PL's) - and everyone's - big concerns is that Paul's going to come in and be a super-liberal and not represent them," he said. "But my job is to do what's right, I'm not taking one side over the other. But I sent the letter to the environmental groups because they are the ones who wouldn't know that the D.A. might like to hear from the."

Forest protestors can expect a continuation on enforcement of trespassing laws, but Gallegos said his priority is "keeping people from getting killed or beaten up in the forest - when kids go up in the forest to protest logging, they are putting themselves in harm's way, but that doesn't mean we turn away if they're injured and say, 'Well, they asked for it.' "

13 comments:

  1. Wow! I was not aware that Tim "c**tface McKay had croaked. Whose face have the newsies at Channel 3 been shoving a mike at since 31 July when an enviro nazi issue needs to be "explained"? I also note that his bio lacks any honest employment. He was an enviro nazi leech for his entire "working" life. Amazing.

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  2. Jesus Fucking Christ! Bitter much, Leonidas?

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  3. I was referring to his public persona. He may have been a decent chap over a few beers. I'm told that Herr Hitler was fond of children and animals.

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  4. Godwin's Law in action, although with a brutally accelerated time-frame.

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  5. No kidding Hank - and it was by the 3rd post.

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  6. Hank, If you intend to attribute blasphemy due to the disparaging reference to a deceased person, I call your attention to your own statement: "Jesus Fucking Christ! Bitter much, Leonidas?"
    "St. Timothy" attended EVERY meeting convened by CDF and USFS to resolve the fire cleanup and harvest issues in the Trinity/Klamath watershed area. He and his organization obstructed every effort to restore and maintain the fire damaged forest and firefighting roads in the affected areas as well as salvage logging on the basis that some "private enterprise" might conceivably profit. These actions negatively impacted the private property owners in the region such as Leonidas (hence the "bitterness"). Such lobbying of government agencies by third party organizations amount to supporting fascistic policies.
    3:28PM: You should note that the National Socialist NSDAP reference was in the FIRST comment not the 3rd and is entirely appropriate. Also 3:28PM You would be safe in dropping the "anonymous" mask here as it is unlikely either Hank or I will be knocking on your door over this issue.

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  7. These actions negatively impacted the private property owners in the region such as Leonidas (hence the "bitterness"). Such lobbying of government agencies by third party organizations amount to supporting fascistic policies.

    OK, I see where your bitterness comes from, and that's fair enough. You can be bitter -- you lost a deal, and you're pissed about it. No one would hold that against you.

    But any rational person would have to admit, Leonidas, that the political process you describe is more commonly known as "democracy." If you want to stretch it to its breaking point, you could call it "communism." Fascism? Uh-uh. That's the wrong term of abuse. You stretched it the wrong way.

    And while I've got you here, let me upbraid you on another matter. You say Tim McKay never had an honest job. What was the NEC, then? He did work that people found valuable, and they paid him for it. That's a job. That's the free market. Who are you to tell other people how they should spend their money?

    Blasphemy? I couldn't possibly care about it less. That's not my realm.

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  8. ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ has a point, though, Hank.

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  9. Hank's words: "...the political process you describe is more commonly known as "democracy."
    This is true if I accept Benjamin Franklin's definition of "democracy" as: "two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for lunch".
    Glad you don't hold it against me for being a private citizen negatively impacted by a micro managing bureaucracy heavily lobbied (virtually controlled) by an organization committed to seizure of private property i.e. CDF issuing to me among other ukases, how many water bars I need to install on my road which is necessary for daily access to my home only. Like it is in my interest to have the road washed away?
    I call your attention to a statement by Dr. John Ray: "The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)"
    Both National Socialism and Communism are Marxist (collectivist) political philosophies.

    With regard to: "He did work that people found valuable, and they paid him for it." I would remind you that this is also true of Don Corleone's "soldiers" (hit men). With regard to private property owners in California, these enviro nazis are in fact hit men.

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  10. It's not just that, Hank. Tim McKay's EcoNews was as hate-filled a publication as I have ever read. It was (and is) extremely partisan - no kind words, no reaching out, no assumption that anyone who was a. a republican, or b. a "conservative" could ever have a decent bone in their body, or care a whit about the environment, clean air, wildlife, or the outdoors in general. And sadly, when I expressed the hope that it would become more inclusive upon his passing, I was informed that McKay, unfortunately, WAS the moderate voice of reason at NEC, and it is unlikely we will see any positive changes in that direction.

    Before Salzman launched his AEB, he was to be a consultant for NEC, and we had some long and sometimes heated discussion about the path of partisan hatred NEC, as exemplified by the EcoNews, had chosen.

    The reality is that we are all environmentalists. We all have a vested interest in the environment. We all drink the water, breathe the air, care about improving conditions, leaving things better than we found them. And the people McKay, through the EcoNews, chose to vilify were often the people who lived and worked most closely with the land, had the most vested interest in the environment, and appreciated it far more than he seemed capable of appreciating.

    For all the wonderful eulogies, in my opinion he (through the EcoNews) did more to divide people and discourage participation in environmental causes than anything else.

    NEC was formed with the best of intentions, and the highest of ideals, and as I remember it, it did not include this partisan hatred. NEC can begin reaching out by changing the hate-filled messages and nasty sniping cartoons that grace the cover of the EcoNews.

    And since those heated discussions with Salzman, and upon watching the activist community's involvement in the corrupt and cynical use of our judicial system, it is my opinion that we need to take a long hard look at the orgs, the groups that hide under the designation of grass-roots community.

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  11. The Econews as dangerous, hate-filled? I just can't see that. To me, it was always far too flat-out boring to be either.

    McKay "vilifying" people? I just don't see that either, although admittedly I didn't follow the man's career all that closely.

    We're all of us sometimes too sensitive, to a degree. If it's directed at you, it's a critique; if it's directed at me, it's vilification.

    I don't know. If you want, we can play the Israeli/Palestinian game -- go back in time to root out the original sin. I think you'd have a hard time disputing the fact that it was McKay and his generation who, back in the '70s, were the first subjects of "vilification" in this particular war.

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  12. No real disagreement there. But at some point in time the "reporting" changed. I woudn't say EcoNews was "dangerous" and I was careful to say that it is the EcoNews that is so markedly partisan, I do not know what McKay was like in person. In general, people have always had good things to say about him, even those who might have been considered his opponents. But he had oversight, and if that publication met with his approval, it wasn't an inclusive message.

    There's reason for ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ to be bitter.

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  13. The original post was very informative. Thanks

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