Friday, March 21, 2014

Takeaway from last night's DA Candidate's Forum

DA candidates square off at Arcata forum; public inquires on cannabis, plea bargains, future changes - Will Houston/The Times-Standard

That's a decent recounting of some of the discussion. Not complete, by any means.

The debate/forum last night might be one of the best this county has seen in decades.

There were no softball questions. No 'boxers or briefs' BS.

It was at times guttural and very REAL. It wasn't pabulum and soundbites. The answers were genuine and heartfelt, passionate, and really pretty unguarded.

What came through, from all four candidates, was a passion for their job, a commitment to the office, and the, at long last, voicing of the frustrations of working in the collapsing Gallegos office.

They are all committed to solving the problem, fixing what has gone wrong. That path is clear, and no matter who wins, the same basic solutions will be employed.

You no longer have a candidate who hates law enforcement. All four treasure their working relationship with the various entities, and are committed to doing an even better job. All recognize that holding each other to high standards is good for the entire process.

There were tough questions answered last night. It wasn't sanitized. I highly recommend you take the time to listen to it. You will get a real feel for all these candidates. It is very much a race, there is no cake walk.

The podcast is not up yet. You can look for it here ◼ I'll update with a link when I can.


The tone and tenor of the forum - outstanding! From the early emails from Kevin Hoover to the participants to the actual event.

That's what I see. What did you see/hear?


  1. You can tell by the T-S coverage the reporter left before the end. He says they didn't talk about the midnight releases from the jail when they did.

    The one point on law enforcement that Allan made that I want to stress, is his statement "I will work with law enforcement not for law enforcement." That is a big difference from the stance of some of the other candidates.

  2. I did not hear Allan say anything that the others did not say about the independence of the District Attorney vis a vis law enforcement. He just had a snappier slogan. All four noted that the DA stands apart.
    What Allan did not say is why, given that his every other reference is to his military service, he is not an Army lawyer. Did he apply for JAG and get rejected? Does his bar record disqualify him? And he never says anything about military justice, his experience with military justice, sexual assault in the military and his role as a commander in administering military justice. Maybe he'll have some good lines about it soon.

  3. 4:04. The Bar recognizes that people make mistakes. And that they learn from them, and go on to be perfectly fine lawyers, maybe even great ones. That's why their sanctions are mostly temporary.

  4. The Bar is overly protective of its members, a lawyer really really has to mess up to get spanked by them.

  5. Anonymous you seem to be stuck on Dollison's bar record.

    So when the same statement keeps coming up all the time, it is not hard to look at the debates and blogs and figure out what candidate or supporter is making these comments.

    You seem to be from Camp Klein.

    If I want a pitbull, I will get one as a pet. I want a District Attorney who doesn't come across as he is a circus chimp.

  6. Fine, attack the source. That does not help anyone understand why "Hey, look at me, I was in the Army " is not answering or addressing some pertinent questions about the intersection between law, lawyers, the Army, military justice, and sexual assault.

  7. Anonymous @ 4:04 pm I completed ROTC in college and was commissioned in the branch of Field Artillery, in 1991. Receiving a commission in the US Army through college does not allow you to become a JAG officer because you have to have a Law Degree. It is true that three years later, upon graduation from law school I could have switched, but I chose not to. A senior officer told me that it is better that you do something different in the Reserves and Guard from your civilian life to keep it more interesting. In 2005, I switched to the branch of Civil Affairs. There are countless individuals in that branch that are lawyers. I also switched because there are more promotion opportunities in that branch, and it is an Army Reserve Branch where there are only Field Artillery positions in the National Guard. When I was in Baghdad, Iraq; I was for 10 1/2 months, the Chief of Governance and Rule of Law for the 4th Infantry Dvn and the 1st Cavalry Dvn, who were in charge of Baghdad. I worked on Rule of Law reform, and prison reform, and helped organize a Rule of Law conference, in the Rusafa district of Baghdad. I did work with JAG officers on that assignment. I have been a Commander at the Company and Battalion level, and thankfully have never had to deal with a sexual assault in my ranks. I have held the title of Victim Advocate, due to my unique civilian skills. I actually support the efforts of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (joined by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas) to restrict Army commanders from certain actions in sexual assault cases, like overturning Court Martials. I am concerned that Congress has not embraced those reforms yet, but am hopeful they will. This past Summer I helped coordinate my entire Brigade's response and compliance to new training and research requirements to make the Army, writ large, more sensitive to sexual assault cases. So that is my experience with Army justice, sexual assault, and why I am not a JAG officer. If you want to know more about my military career, some of the awards that I have won, and my evaluations both Stateside and in Wartime check out my website at

  8. Thank you. One difficulty. Your website does not seem to state with clarity your current unit, or your current assignment. There have been a number of references to "battalion commander" during the campaign to date. That position does not seem to be on the site.

    So, what unit are you currently assigned to, when were you given that assignment, what is your job title?

  9. so in reviewing you State Bar disciplinary records, how can we (the community) feel confident that you will not do the same thing again. What assurance are you giving us and what policies and procedures will be put in place to make sure your ethics are not compromised again? And who will be your checks and balance?

  10. @ Anonymous 1:17 pm. I am currently the Group (Brigade) Operations Officer for the 2nd Mobilization Support Group. I have held that position since April of 2013. Prior to that I was the Battalion Commander of the 2210th Mobilization Support Battalion out of Mountain View, CA. Here is a link to my Officer Evaluation Report from my Battalion Command (from my website) so you can actually read about what I have done, and what my superiors think of my performance.( I am slated to take over the 2nd Bn; 413th Regiment (which is a Reserve Drill Sergeant unit) in May of this year. So I have previously been a Battalion Commander and was board-selected to fill the position again.

  11. The theory that military command qualifies one to be DA has a couple of major problems. Mostly, all the candidates, and Mr. Dollison in particular, have pointed out the managerial dystopia that is the DA's office. Mr. Klein in particular has pointed out inefficiencies and disorganization, inability to track or manage cases.
    In the military, all the serious work is done by senior non-commisioned officers. Any Lieutenant Colonel has bees supported all the way up the ladder by Sergeants and Warrant Officers. That experience is of zero use in these circumstances, and may even be a handicap. If one's only managerial experience has been in such an organizational cocoon, one has no claim to any particular capacity to start from ground zero and rebuild. The only relevant experience on that issue is experience in functional District Attorney's offices, and apparently working for Mr. Gallegos does not qualify.


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