Quoted in the Times Standard's Year End Recap Paul Gallegos has this to say:
"While crime has continued to go down, we are still trying to catch up on the backlog of cases, especially homicides, from the past,” Gallegos said. “Hopefully, we will have tried all of them by the end of 2007.”
Gallegos described 2006 as a good budget year “because we were able to begin the slow process of rebuilding from the losses caused by the budget crisis. Unfortunately, it will take a couple of years of rebuilding to be where we need to be to do the job that we want to do. Morale is good despite the work load and the long hours.”
The biggest challenges have been dealing with the lack of resources and treatment options for the drug and alcohol addicted and the mentally, as well as the recent police shootings.
”My firm belief continues to be that if we can meaningfully address drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and mental illness, we will profoundly improve the quality of life for all people in Humboldt County,” he said. “My personal hope is that my office can assist Humboldt County in becoming ranked as one of the best places in the country to live.”
Really? The slow process of rebuilding from the losses caused by the BUDGET CRISIS?
C'mon, man. your office must be swimming in money - hundreds of thousands of dollars not being spent on all those unfilled positions, saved because all but three of your experienced prosecutors are gone. Maybe you better rehire the PR man to come up with some new BS line for the New Year.
Morale is good? IN the DA's Office? Is that why they are all leaving?
"The biggest challenges have been dealing with the lack of resources and treatment options for the drug and alcohol addicted and the mentally, as well as the recent police shootings?" Are you kidding?
The North Coast Journal is more in touch with the reality of the situation: "THE YEAR IN GALLEGOS - A take-no-prisoners election challenge from within the office, red-handed plagiarism, terminal short-handedness, high-profile cases ignored or overturned on appeal -- all in all, it was a pretty quiet year for District Attorney Paul Gallegos. But as the list would indicate, even Gallegos' down times pretty much out-Richter those of most anyone else you could care to name.
The first half of the year was taken up by the election. Gallegos was running for the office for the third time in four years, including the failed, Maxxam-financed recall attempt against him in 2004. This time, his challenger was Deputy DA Worth Dikeman, a veteran Humboldt County prosecutor, who had announced that he'd seek to oust Gallegos nearly a year previous, back in the summer of 2005. The race was not friendly, from either side -- Dikeman charged Gallegos with incompetence, Gallegos' proxies charged Dikeman of racism and bias toward the police. Gallegos won by a healthy margin -- 53-46 -- but not near as healthy as his 60-40 recall win.
A couple of prosecutors quit. Dikeman was fired. In August, news broke of a horrible case of animal abuse out in the hinterlands, with 41 dogs found dead or dying of neglect just over the border in Trinity County. It turned out that the alleged perpetrator, Roberta Bugenig, had just moved there from the Bridgeville area, where the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office had filed felony animal abuse charges against her in 2004. Gallegos' office had declined to prosecute the case. The discovery of these facts prompted condemnation from animal rights activists.
Seemingly in response -- in fact, it was never quite clear -- Gallegos published an opinion piece titled "Vigilantism A Force Of Anarchy" in the Times-Standard. The piece's odd phraseology prompted the Eureka Reporter's Heather Muller, who had originally reported the Bugenig case, to do a Google search; as it turned out, much of the op-ed had been lifted straight out of an academic paper on The Ox-Bow Incident.
Not all the post-election news was as embarrassing -- or not yet, at least. In November, Gallegos finally filed the long-delayed appeal of his office's sprawling fraud lawsuit against the Pacific Lumber Co., which had been tossed out of court a year and a half prior. The suit, along with Gallegos' generous medical marijuana policy, is the thing that first defined his tenure in the office, and gave him a reputation as a crusading people's prosecutor. Will the appeal bring back some of the magic?