trancribed from hard copy - no link yet:
Eye Editorial: Among things I don't look for in a candidate are perfection or complete agreement on all issues. More important is that the individual is a rational decisionmaker with a work ethic, not beholden and with enough character to withstand the temptation of situational ethics.
Since all serious candidates evince comparably reasonable views on the major issues, it comes down to their respective track records.
Paul Gallegos. Have two words ever inflamed passions in so many directions? Why should this be? And are you as tired of it as I am?
Patty Berg, famous for meddling in local elections she doesn't know much of anything about for the sole purpose of servicing her horrid Democratic Machine, is right about one thing - Gallegos has grown in office. But who wouldn't get better at their work after eight years of OJT? At this point, Gallegos has gone from lackadaisical to extremely, stunningly adequate.
Enthusiasm for Gallegos isn't justifiable in terms of either environmental accomplishment or crimefighting. There are far better candidates for either of those purposes. Remember four years ago, when Worth Dikeman was reviled by Gallegos' adherents as the Police State Incarnate just because he had law enforcement support? That was then. The revised line is that being police-friendly and having your own in-house police force equipped with AR-15s is the New Cool.
Only no one believes it, least of all the cops themselves. As strenuously as his ads attempt to align him with law enforcement, there's an artificial, overcompensating effect to them. One of this week's pro-Gallegos letter-writers tacitly acknowledges that the newfound law enforcement love is a crock and says he "rejoices" in it. He isn't alone - the Gallegos campaign signs on local hydroponics shops are there because he is going to imprison their customers? R i g h t.
Here's another one that typifies both his trademark lack of preparation and general falsity of Gallegos' newfound fealty with law enforcement. At his kickoff campaign event, I asked Paul what he was talking about when he mentioned in a news story the problem with "hyperbole" as regards the growhouse/cannabis problem. He cited the estimate from a few years back of 1,000 grow houses in Arcata.
This set his supporters a-tittering, since it is widely and lazily assumed that I contrived that number out of thin air to support my "crusade" against growers (also known to some as news reporting). But whoopsie - that figure was an estimate made by Jack Nelsen, head of the Humboldt County Drug task Force on my old Humboldt Review radio show.
Told this in front of dozens of people, Paul responded that "There's none of us that are immune from talking without having any evidence to support it."
So there you have it. Our district attorney glibly dismisses the informed estimate of one of the law enforcement agencies he's so recently become enamored as of "no evidence." without even knowing its foundation, just to fit the exigency of the moment. As though he knows better than Arcata residents and the DTF what we go through in Arcata with these residential homes converted into fortress-factories.
No, Gallegos' real comfort zone is with Tone Loc and the more party-hearty oriented actors on the local environmental scene. See them all together at the ATL this Friday night, June 4, and chillax with a tall Funky Cold Medina.
It's beyond all logic, but not human nature - this is their tribe, regularly coalescing around the Baykeeper Bashes and Pamplin Grove shindigs. (It's reminiscent of Schoolbus Bob and his "*UCK YEAH!" sign. Bob mindmelded just prior to the onset of arrested development, and now we all have to live with it day after day.)
Vote the Gallegos Groovocracy's slate and you get the handshake and special smile by the bonfire. Decide another way and you're an Arkley tool, a sellout, a pariah, The Man, and you can't cover our election night victory party for your newspaper and radio station because you dared to dissent, so there's the stairs, dude, GTFO. That's how they roll.
How this comports with the Gandhian Principles their candidate espouses is unclear. Either they don't agree with them on those, or they do, but disregard them. If they don't agree with his principles, why are they with him? If they do, but don't follow them, haven't they lost the plot? When I ask these things, what I get back is that this is the game of realpolitik, you silly boy. Unlike some of these uber-groovy sophisticates, many of us clods aren't interested in games or the tribal imperatives of others.
A politically astute associate is certain that Gallegos will win simply because of his physical beauty. Perhaps so. But I and others are just weary of the constant and divisive culture war over this undistinguished individual. Bottom line, Paul is a nice enough guy personally, and has discernibly tried to do better lately.
That said, we all know that the temperament of an organization usually reflects the leadership, or lack of it, at the top. After one has experienced the tragic hipness, the with-us-or-against-us mentality and the fluffed-up vacuousness of the Gallegos campaign, it's fair to wonder where that comes from.
All the ads in the world will never invest Paul Gallegos with the stature of Allison Jackson. Her gravitas can't be emulated, and it stems from a rare combination of qualities - her powerful legal mind, no-BS-attitude and a hell of a lot of heart.
Among the more comical (and defining) moments in this race took place at the animal activists' forum at the Humboldt Area Foundation. Kathleen Bryson brought her dog and held the poor thing up by his front paws, and even he looked embarrassed for her.
Paul Gallegos shoed the participants' pictures of his pets on his cell phone, and that is just so him.
In contrast to all this pandering, Paul Hagen fold the critter lovers that he had little affinity for animals; that they just aren't his thing, but that he would enforce the law to the maximum degree. This was quite well received; people appreciate honesty.
Allison Jackson was able to speak from deep experience as a longtime volunteer for Carly's ride, transporting rescued animals. In short, Jackson's the real thing. If you look at the amount of online defamation that's been heaped upon her from all-too-familiar sources, plus the incumbent's ludicrous "crimebuster" ads, it's obvious that Jackson's the one they consider the biggest threat.
I'm voting for Paul Hagen. How could I not? The man is honest to a fault (see above), a legal scientist and an accomplished environmental prosecutor. When I was subpoenaed to appear in court and reveal confidential communications, Hagen volunteered to advise me and immersed himself in Shield Law, learning it inside and out and patiently disabusing me of my assumptions. On the Planning Commission, he's all about clear findings and process.
Hagen with his character, crisp precision and proven record of accomplishment, is the perfect antidote for the last eight years of drift. Kevin Hoover ◼ The Arcata Eye
Kevin Hoover will be voting for Paul Hagen. I will be voting for Allison Jackson. Should it be those two who end up in the runoff you may finally see a clean campaign in the District Attorney's race. And you will have a choice between two good people.
Should Gallegos win outright tomorrow, Humboldt County will be stuck with him for a long time. No one else will have the courage of Jackson and Hagen, who knew the gauntlet they would face, knew the dirty politics that would follow, and knew how expensive this race would be. No one else will be willing to have their character impugned.
A vote for Gallegos is a vote for those shady tactics, for Salzman and his personal brand of character assassination.
There is no longer any doubt that Gallegos has mismanaged the office. All of the candidates running (Kathleen Bryson withdrew) very clearly detailed Gallegos' failures. It's not in disupte.
Gallegos chose an odd tactic, trying to make his weaknesses into strengths with his campaign rhetoric. Perhaps he believes that if he SAYS he is tough on crime, you will forget the past 7 years. Perhaps he believes that if he drags the people of CAST into his campaign ads you will not know that he has been a one man wrecking crew for that and Victim Witness and so much more. Perhaps he believes he can hoodwink the voters one more time.
Those who work in and around the law enforcement community know his failings, ask most any person who works around the courthouse. They know the office is broken. The damage has recently begun to show, even to those who aren't really paying attention. Should Gallegos win, it will become impossible to hide, but it will be too late to do anything about it. It's almost too late now. Whoever takes over will need the full four years, and possibly more, to fix what has been broken. Just refilling the positions with higher level experienced Deputy DAs will take time. It can be done. It should be done. It has to be done.
With any luck at all, tomorrow night watchpaul will become blog history.
Get out and vote.