Why do you do this, Rose? Why don't you just drop this?
It's a good question, and one I get all the time. Along with, why did you even start doing this?
The answer to that last question is really the answer to the first one. I have already described my conversation with Richard Salzman, and his statement that this was bigger than I could possibly imagine. From things I learned from him, I had a different perspective on events that unfolded - Stoen's lawsuit, the bizarre dog and pony show, the involvement of the activist community, links to much larger groups with phenomenal sources of funding and support, Gallegos' - sorry, but no other way to say it but - dishonesty - the Recall, the enormous effort to keep Gallegos in office and the reasons for it, all the way to now, the destruction of the office, the loss of valuable talent, the decimation of important programs...
In the beginning, with my post-Watergate mentality, I believed in the press. I believed in the press almost as an arm of law enforcement... that if there was wrongdoing, they would expose it... if there was another side to the story, they would be happy to tell it. I was sadly mistaken.
The press, here and elsewhere, were sucked up into the great Gallegos fairy-tale. The gallant David against Goliath, the courageous young upstart against the evil corporation.
The press bought the story spun by the master PR team hook line and sinker.
In the beginning, I asked my friends in journalism why they didn't ask the questions, why the very words used by Salzman and his crew didn't make the hairs on the backs of their necks rise up. "Timber Yes, Fraud NO" Look behind the words and there is an empty vacuum. "Justice for all" - the picture of the statue of liberty on Paul's election materials... all a facade.
I began my own inquiries, and along the way, I have gotten to know the people involved. Whenever the opportunity arose to talk to the people actually affected by what was going on, I took it.
And as people began to bring me information, and documents that backed up what they had to say, and the media continued to ignore it, I learned about Gallegos' entry into the DAs office from the other side - from those who were told in a meeting that any perceived act of disloyalty would result in their termination, the side who received the infamous "gag order" memo telling them that they were not allowed to talk to the media. And I came to know the atmosphere that pervaded the DAs office. I have watched as the prosecutors have left, til only those who are unable to leave remain.
I learned about People's Temple, and Stoen's role. And I talked to people who were involved way back then, in various capacities.
I have talked to watchdog groups all across the country about "Salzman's Plan" and many watched to see if any further attempts were made to implement it.
More importantly, I came to see the extent of the activist network, the inter-relationships, the funding opportunities and connections. As I began to put pieces of the puzzle together, clearer and clearer pictures emerged.
Every morning I would wake up and say to myself "This is crazy."
And by the end of the day, I would have talked to two more people, gotten another piece of the puzzle and knew that there was an important story here to be told.
But I watched as day after day, Salzman's spin was written across the front pages of the paper, and I knew people had gone and talked to the reporters, and gotten nowhere.
So they stopped coming forward. they lost faith in the reporters. And I did, too. This ensured that Salzman's view prevailed, as now no one even tried to get the other side out.
Well, the old saying that "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time " held true in this case - eventually, Gallegos' failings began to show, little by little, culminating in the plagiarism coming to light, but too late.
Eventually the media did begin to ask questions, and Hank Sims took the first step forward with his exposure of Richard Salzman and his tactics.
Little by little the media came to see that the shiny facade was at least a little tarnished, if not completely hollow.
So - I am a little hyper-sensitive to things like John Driscoll's sitting with Mark Lovelace and covering the Palco proceedings. I see it from a completely different perspective.
The perspective of looking at Ken Miller professing to be "stunned" when the Gallegos' (Stoen's) PL case was first announced, and finding that he was involved long before, and was in fact actually instrumental in the drafting of the suit (which he ultimately had to 'fess up to, try as he did to hide it), to finding out just how long he had been involved in the effort.
The perspective of knowing who and what Michael Shellenberger was, and knowing that the national press coverage that Gallegos was receiving was well orchestrated, knowing that the spin machine was in full force. That they were indeed "structuring the debate."
The perspective of knowing when lies were being told, such as when Salzman acted as a defacto spokesperson for the DAs office during the Martinez-Hernandez case.
Everyone has had their say about the Lovelace/Driscoll thing - unethical practices, just a volley in the newspaper war, nothing at all compared to Arkley...
Well, none of that answered the questions about the incident and Lovelace's response only told us who paid for the calls, not how many days of shared coverage... How many people in the room... Who they were... Whether or not there was discussion about key points, whether Lovelace expounded on his version of the events...
But more importantly - who is Mark Lovelace, who has such an effect on so many issues with his testimony to the Water Board, with his being the go-to source whenever anything remotely involving Palco comes up - what is Humboldt Watershed Council? How many people are on the "council"? When do they meet? Who votes? What are its origins? What is its source of funding? Who pays Mark Lovelace's salary? Does he even have a salary? Does it come out of Ken Miller's pocket? What's the relationship with Michael Shellenberger? Why the full court press, the appearances on every radio talk show, the cultivation of reporters? Where does Mark Lovelace come by his sudden "expertise" in the intricacies of the Stock market, big business and bankruptcy procedure? Where do the talking points come from?
The story has already been told as if they are the ragtag underdogs, like the Merry Men against the King, the idealistic young college students who give up their lives to come sit in the trees -
Now let's hear the other side - about the activist networks which ensure protestors arrive on cue - and disappear during a contentious election - about the people who manipulate behind the scenes.
What could it hurt?
(For more articles and documents relating to Humboldt Watershed Council, check watchpaul ARTICLES)