Paul Hagen: Gallegos Is No Alternative – October 26, 2010

Having already shared my experiences in running for district attorney this past spring in an open letter to the media (Arcata Eye, Oct. 6), I just read a public plea to my supporters to vote for Gallegos, headlined that he is “the only logical alternative for Hagen supporters.”  (Jeff Schwartz, Arcata Eye, Oct. 20) That is absolutely not the case.

Now my opponent is calling for my supporters, and that calls to me.  Those who know me know that I am “honest to a fault” (Eye endorsement, June 2), and while I completely refrained from negative campaigning and wish to keep it that way, Mr. Schwartz’s article calls for my unvarnished (albeit restrained) opinion.  Here are my thoughts on the subject:

Paul Hagen

First, there are three things I wish to make perfectly clear:  One, I have made it very clear to anyone who has asked that I am not endorsing anyone in this race.  Two, I have unequivocally told this to Allison Jackson directly.  Three, the reasons for this will not change.

Next, please know that I have never had a problem with Jeff Schwartz and I do respect him and those who agree with his statements.  I learned a lot campaigning, including insights into what moves Gallegos’s supporters to believe in him.  If they still do after reading this, I respect that, too.

My life’s experiences and core values, however, absolutely do not allow me to agree.  To the contrary, what I know from hard years of direct experience is that the man is congenitally unqualified, and in so many ways.  His defects lie at his core.  This, too, will not change.

Three private law firms initiated the Skilled Healthcare case and again did most of the work, but in his ads Gallegos takes full credit.  His ads are neither true nor ethical.

I write to comment on three areas of character--competence and ethics, with courage spanning them--and I write about the intersection of these in politics as it affects the public good. Please bear with me:

In a professional, one first looks to competence:  Can the person do the job well, or learn to in a reasonable time?  While many believe that Gallegos was courageous as well as competent in prosecuting Palco, or the Eureka police in the Moore case, neither was actually so.  I spent 11 years as an environmental prosecutor, and it still hurts for me to read the Palco appellate court’s decision rebuking District Attorney Gallegos.  Read it yourself, it is embarrassing.  The police prosecutions were fully as disastrous in the damage done and their cost to the county, not to mention their national coverage for likewise being thrown out of court for failure to meet minimum standards and a crazy legal theory.  There are also the Grand Jury reports still finding incompetence in Gallegos’ office.  These are well-known facts.  All of this he addresses by explaining away, but the facts remain.

As to courage, I would expect nothing less than the DA taking on corporations, etc.  I criminally prosecuted two multinational corporations for killing a man at work in Mendocino County, winning a court ruling that corporations have no Fifth Amendment rights and receiving a quarter of a million dollars in settlement in doing so.  I also prosecuted Palco twice criminally and got literally every last penny available in penalties, and once civilly receiving $80,000, $35,000 of which I sent to three grade schools in the Van Duzen River valley for violation-related science education.  In all that I did as a prosecutor I never once thought about courage, but rather always about displaying high competence at every stage from investigation to settling.  To me, doing “the right thing” is at best worthless when you badly screw it up.

While being dishonest is more than bad enough, vilification, smearing, and divisive politics are worse.  This is Gallegos’ fourth campaign and in each of the others he has done these things and won.

Which brings us to ethics.  Telling your staff you are going home sick while they stay at work and then going surfing during business hours is not ethical.  Nor is using your taxpayer-paid office staff in political campaign announcements, whom we hear on the radio and see on TV and in the newspapers.  Nor is deliberately smearing your political opponents, and it’s undeniably not ethical when you lie doing it.

Nor is it ethical to take full credit for what others have done, as in the Big Oil and Tire and the Skilled Healthcare cases, the settlements of which are now being used in ads which the Gallegos campaign is touting was "all because of Paul."  This is not ethical because it is not true.  These cases were not “all” Gallegos’s, not by a long shot.  Check it out yourself.  The Attorney General representing the Regional Water Board did the great bulk of the Big Oil case because the Humboldt DA and the responsible county agency would not, yet Gallegos’s supporters and his ads take full credit.  Three private law firms initiated the Skilled Healthcare case and again did most of the work, but in his ads Gallegos takes full credit.  His ads are neither true nor ethical.

If you really want the truth about Gallegos’ professional ethics, inquire of him why the other affected DA’s and the Attorney General all refused to join in his Skilled Healthcare settlement due to their ‘ethical concerns’ over his use of secret settlement monies and more.  Ask Gallegos himself to explain directly, honestly and openly the formal rebuke he has received from the California District Attorneys Association for his unprofessional use of DA authority in settling that case.  Go ahead, ask him to explain honestly and directly.  He won’t.  That would require real courage and the capacity to tell the truth regardless.  He has neither.

I realize that many in Humboldt admire his willingness to file suit against Palco, fight evil corporations, etc.  I respect such admiration.  And I agree not only in principle, I’ve been there and done that.  But this is not what people in Humboldt are really getting.

For an office holder, these character traits take their most telling form in campaigning.  While being dishonest is more than bad enough, vilification, smearing, and divisive politics are worse.  This is Gallegos’ fourth campaign and in each of the others he has done these things and won.  In announcing his first campaign Gallegos shamelessly copied Bobby Kennedy’s announcement speech for U.S. President as his own, without attribution (Tri-City Weekly, Feb. 26, 2002; more plagiarism followed, Eureka Reporter, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, 2006), promising great progressivism.  The recall campaign, however –which I have already publicly condemned – was used as an opportunity to drive Humboldt’s cultural wedges all the deeper; and in the 2006 election his campaign depressed the county’s voting middle and polarized its tails.  This does not enhance the public good.

In 2006, opposing candidate Dikeman was made into someone to hate and fear, with the same to Jackson this time.  Schwartz himself is using fear in his appeal, using PG&E’s nuclear power plant – a field strictly under federal regulation, no DA can touch it – as the basis for not having Jackson and her “nuclear-plant crowd stick together and take Humboldt County back to the dark ages.”  Really?  Is that what will actually happen if he loses?  Either Gallegos saves us from radiation or “the Humboldt County environment and much more goes down the drain?"  Really?  This simple dichotomy is more senseless than taking credit for a drop in crime based on gross statistics.  Any thinking person knows that simple correlation does not equal causation.  And yet, appealing to fear, Gallegos tells us he has made the county safer.  Really?  Then explain exactly how.

If the Gallegos campaign wishes to "ask, beg and implore" “those progressive leaders who supported Paul Hagen to endorse Paul Gallegos,” it can.  Again, I realize that many in Humboldt admire his willingness to file suit against Palco, fight evil corporations, etc.  I respect such admiration.  And I agree not only in principle, I’ve been there and done that.  But this is not what people in Humboldt are really getting.

Regardless of what Gallegos has done or says, he is not my idea of “progressive.”  That requires truly living to progressive ideals and delivering solid results.  Based on publicly known facts, I have tried to show here why Gallegos’ so-called ‘progressiveness’ is at best just political form without professional substance.  Good intentions delivering incompetent results does not equal being “progressive.”  Based on my direct personal experiences, my knowledge of Paul Gallegos’ utter lack of what I consider true ethics, courage and honesty, as well as his now-proven political campaign-trash tactics, I believe these things fundamentally disqualify his being a progressive.  Or a district attorney.

Based on my direct personal experiences, my knowledge of Paul Gallegos’ utter lack of what I consider true ethics, courage and honesty, as well as his now-proven political campaign-trash tactics, I believe these things fundamentally disqualify his being a progressive.  Or a district attorney.

For all those reading who aren’t concerned about the progressive/dark ages argument, good for you.  What matters is results, not talk.  So just look to what Gallegos has actually done as DA and how he went about it – his actual results, not what he says they are.  After two actual elections he has shown us his best, and just as the Palco appellate court unanimously wrote, he has “failed to prove, on [his] third try, a reasonable possibility that [his] defect can be cured.”  And so, making new law, it threw out the case.

Ours is a participatory democracy, a great gift.  Each vote matters.  Vote your hearts, vote your minds, and vote for the future you want.  If it looks anything like my envisioned future, Paul Gallegos is not a “logical alternative.”  Like Dan Quayle, Paul Gallegos is no Bobby Kennedy.  He is no alternative.

Paul Hagen served as a criminal and civil prosecutor in four North Coast district attorney’s offices, including Humboldt’s.  He is currently is an attorney in Eureka and believes deeply in participatory democracy.

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  1. Rose said:

    Humboldt County attorneys to receive California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award; effects of Skilled Healthcare lawsuit being felt across the state
    For the second time in two years a Humboldt County lawyer will take home the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award.

    Make that two attorneys.

    Timothy Needham and Michael Crowley, both of the Janssen law firm in Eureka, will be presented the award next month for their work in last year’s class action lawsuit against national nursing home chain Skilled Healthcare.

    Not Gallegos. Though he manages to get half the article about him.

  2. Rose said:

    And that story is repeated 100 times over – case after case after case. the problem is – so very few people have come forward. I hear about it – you would not believe the stuff that is NOT on the blog out of deference to people’s fears.

    The very fact that they fear retribution from Paul Gallegos should be all they need TO stand up, but they don’t.

    Some do.

    And Paul Hagen is one of the truly courageous ones. In the aftermath of his points here, he is being torn apart by the hyenas. But he is a man who does the right thing for the right reasons.

    Gallegos has no clothes. There are no lovely bejeweled gowns woven of the finest silk. They are not dazzling to the eye. The sad truth.

  3. mom said:

    The transcript was botched by the DA to favor Griego’s client. Thanfully the interview was taped and Geary was right. Had Gallegos actually reviewed the evidence he would have known. Was that intentional or negligent? Doesn’t matter but explains a lot.

  4. remember when said:

    Patrik and Paul got together over a child molester?

    Alleged child molestation case takes hit
    John Driscoll/The Times-Standard
    Posted: 04/17/2008

    Good times for somebody.

    Another boy told Garey in a separate interview that he’d been inappropriately touched by Belant more than 20 times, including at a movie theater and during overnight church-related trips.

    But again, under questioning by Griego,

    Garey said that while his report said the boy had been orally copulated, the transcript of the interview did not contain that specific allegation.
    DA Investigator William Honsal said that when a search warrant was served at Belant’s house on March 1, investigators found a computer that was allegedly running a program to delete all material on the hard drive. Honsal said it was quickly shut down, but had already apparently performed five of seven sweeps over the disk, which may make any information extremely difficult to retrieve.
    Outside the courtroom, Gallegos said that the case didn’t align with the evidence presented Wednesday, possibly because of the inherent difficulty in compelling testimony from minors in sexual assault cases.

    ”That certainly requires me to go back to determine if there was a misrecollection of statements,” Gallegos said.

  5. kevpod said:

    I had a real journalist look into this. What we find is that the CDAA did terminate Hagen following receipt of some sort of confidential letter from DA Paul Gallegos. The details are confidential. Richard, Natalynne, do you find anything to dispute in that account?

  6. Write in Hagen said:

    A write-in vote for Hagen is a vote for the best choice. It’s a vote for Hagen’s excellent character and takes away votes from both Gallegos and Jackson. Hagen IS our best choice!

  7. Anon. said:

    I am writing you to urge that you support Paul Gallegos by voting for him in the upcoming District Attorney election on Nov. 2, 2010.

    I believe this race is important and that your vote can make a difference. We depend on district attorneys to be open to the possibility that police reports are based on inaccurate information so that innocent citizens are not unnecessarily dragged through the system. We also depend on district attorneys to have perspective regarding which defendants deserve probation and/or diversion so that people who make a mistake are not saddled with prison terms or felony convictions that make them unable to obtain future employment. “Lock them up and throw away the key” is not a one-size-fits-all policy.

    I recently represented a young college student who was caught in a theft-related incident after losing his job. Mr. Gallegos’ assistant district attorney took the time to meet with me and review the young man’s biographical information, including the fact that he had never engaged in violent behavior, had no prior criminal record, and showed appropriate remorse. Mr. Gallegos’ office appropriately offered the young man a chance at probation instead of sending him directly to prison but required that he spend six months in jail and attend appropriate counseling after his release. The goal was to provide punishment but give the young man a chance to show that this was an isolated incident and give him a chance to turn his life around so he could graduate college and become a productive member of our community.

    Allison Jackson’s campaign used the result in this case as an example of why she should be district attorney, claiming Mr. Gallegos’ office lacked judgment. Ms. Jackson’s campaign mis-stated to the public that the young man had committed numerous prior thefts he did not and implied that she would have sent him directly to prison. Ms. Jackson’s campaign also stated that the young man just received probation, neglecting to tell the public he received six months in jail. Ms. Jackson’s comments were extremely misleading and based on misinformation in the police report and an attitude that a district attorney should always maximize punishment. Fortunately, Ms. Jackson was not in charge of the case, and this young man is truly turning his life around and should graduate from college this year with a job waiting for him.

    Mr. Gallegos also dedicated his own time and that of his office to collaborate with our law firm on an eight-month jury trial against a corporation that owned all of the skilled nursing homes in Humboldt County and was chronically under-staffing its homes. Many witnesses at the trial told tragic stories of how the under-staffing impacted their loved ones, who often sat in their own waste for hours or days at a time and went weeks without being bathed.

    Mr. Gallegos was personally present every day during the trial and successfully obtained an injunction on behalf of the People of the State of California requiring the corporation to comply with an injunction that will monitor compliance with staffing levels for our seniors.

    Mr. Gallegos also obtained a $1 million payment for the County of Humboldt to be used by his office for future protection of our citizens. This case was reported around the country as one of the most significant jury verdicts this year. In a recent debate, Ms. Jackson stated that if she were in office she would just concentrate on violent crimes and would not have wasted her time with this nursing home case. Fortunately for our seniors, Mr. Gallegos was our district attorney and took the time to protect them.

    I believe Paul Gallegos is the better candidate for Humboldt County District Attorney. He not only concentrates on serious and violent crimes, but he has also created a culture in his office where deputy district attorneys share discovery and play by the rules as opposed to displaying a win-at-all-costs mentality.

    Patrik Griego

  8. kevpod said:

    This is a flat-out hearsay character attack. Does Hagen have a right to know who his accuser is? Who are you, Richard?

  9. Richard said:

    Paul Hagen, what a guy.

    Of all the things I learned about Paul Hagen during the June election cycle, the one that stuck me the most was not that his former employers at the CDAA thought he was a joke and had long wanted to fire him, and not that his fellow environmental attorneys in Humboldt County thought he was a light weight and didn’t respect him, but rather it was that his neighbors didn’t like him. Not even a little bit. And more then one of his neighbors had warned him to never come on their property again and to never speak to their children.
    That was striking.

  10. South Coaster said:

    Hagan is a corporate stooge. His idea of participatory democracy is to empower the Shelter Cove utility district with millions of dollars so they can buy each manager a new $50,000 trucks, 4 day work weeks, 10 weeks paid vacation with holidays, and million dollar pensions. While putting everyone else in the growers camp or servitude. Government is Hagan’s God. Sounds like the dark ages to me. It’s a good thing he lost whether you like Gallegos or not.

  11. Fact check said:

    Hagen’s bossed had wanted to fire him almost a year earlier and it was Gallegos who asked them to please give Hagen a second and then a third chance. Kevin could not be more wrong about this. If he knew a journalist, maybe he could ask that person to do some research. Hagen’s former bosses may not speak on the record, but they may confirm such information. Both of them did endorse Gallegos in the spring, the moment they heard that Hagen was running.

  12. Paul Hooker said:

    I am thankful for Paul Hagen writing this letter. It’s about time somebody came out and spoke the truth about Gallegos. He just keeps on taking credit for results he is not responsible for. My question to all the local media is this, “Why haven’t you been responsible journalists and uncovered this crap yourselves?” Kevin, you’ve done a pretty good job. But I wonder, are the others afraid of what might happen to them? Thank you Paul Hagen, and Kevin for having the guts to write and print the letter.

  13. davesknothere said:

    It’s better to be wordy than talk and say nothing like gallegos.

  14. Happy Pills said:

    King Benson, it could be their concern with the mental health of the accusing witness.

  15. Jane said:

    I worked with Mr. Hagan as a paralegal. The man is superb in his professional and ethical conduct as well as impeccable in his honesty. The only comment I can think of that is negative is that Mr. Hagan can be a bit wordy at times. No doubt he makes more than a few, less than honest, officials and citizens of this community a bit nervous in his forthright approach to the world and facts. But then again he packs a lot of value into those words.

  16. Robert Benson said:

    Paul Hagen is not, currently, campaigning for District Attorney. He did not run a negative campaign.
    “Hagen starts his rant by saying “I completely refrained from negative campaigning and wish to keep it that way.” That I could respect. but then Hagen follows it up by engaging in bitter negative campaigning. huh?”
    The cowardly anonymous poster who wrote the above statement has overlooked the fact that Hagen’s campaign ended in June. Therefore, he could not be “engaging in bitter negative campaigning” by warning the public of Paul Gallegos’ blatant and documented competence and ethics deficiencies. Like myself, I expect Hagen is motivated by concern for the People. I respect him for waiting until his campaign was over before he criticized Gallegos. This level of prudence is admirable. He appears to be an honorable man, which is distinctly rare around these parts.
    On a side note: Last night (10/26/10), I spoke to Paul Gallegos at HSU. I informed him that APD, EPD, and his investigators have all advised me that threatening someone’s life is not criminal, i.e. if the actor says, “Stop messing (seeking redress of grievance) with Stephanie, I don’t want to see you end up in a ravine in Southern Humboldt”. Paul could not identify the criminal nature of the threat and could only advise me to contact the Attorney General. I consider this to be evidence of his incompetence, or ethical failure; as Gallegos has perjured himself, and sided with Stephanie, in the civil suit against me. Every other attorney, that I have spoken with, has advised me that Criminal Threats and tampering with and dissuading a witness apply. What is the cause of Gallegos and his investigators not considering the threats to be criminal?

  17. Mary said:

    Rumor has it that Hagen has been offered a position if Jackson is in office. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  18. Somebody's Mom said:

    Finally the facts come out and its about time (sigh* in the 11th hour!) thank you Mr Hagan for using the political capital you had to spend. We didn’t think Paul Gallegos had anything of substance to do with Skilled Healthcare and the info on being rebuked for inappropriate use of “Secret Settlement Monies” ….why oh why didn’t the Attorney General throw the book at him? Oh! Because its too late after he already gave an endorsement? What a bunch of corrupt bastards these are running the Democratic Party in California!

  19. kevpod said:

    There several letters to the editor which might qualify. We’ve run, either in print or online or both, every opinion submission on this race that came in with attribution. And there are plenty of comments here on the site detailing Allison Jackson’s woeful shortcomings. Why, I just learned that her announced intention to rebuild the DA’s Office might actually cause disorder and chaos. Who in their right mind would want that?

  20. kevpod said:

    Then I guess the key point would be what degree of influence Paul G. had on the departure. If he didn’t play a role in Hagen’s dismissal, then we need to disabuse ourselves of that particular assumption. I covered this and will look up my back stories.

  21. Nat said:

    The public will likely never know the reasons Hagen was terminated by the CDAA because it is a personal issue and employers are not allowed to talk about why someone was let go. As I was saying before Hagen was a civil servant employee (as opposed to “at-will”) of the CDAA, in order for them terminate his employment there has to be cause, and thus he could not have been fired just on the recommendation of a county DA. When a County DA didn’t want to accept the services of Hagen as the environmental circuit prosecutor all they had to say was, “I am sorry, but we are not in need of his services.” Hagen worked for and was under the supervision of CDAA, if they fired him it was for reason(s).

  22. kevpod said:

    I’m aware that Paul Hagen was a circuit prosecutor. However, it is my distinct recollection that he was terminated due to the actions of Paul Gallegos. Perhaps I’m incorrect in that and there is no linkage. Maybe someone with a better memory can provide further detail.

  23. Nat said:

    Kevin, Hagen was never an employee of the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office. He worked for the California District Attorney’s Association (CDAA)as a circuit prosecutor (see his own website:–he never worked as an employee of Gallegos’ and therefore could never be fired by him. It should be noted that while working for the CDAA, Hagen was a civil servant and therefore there are a whole extra level of protections to the employee from firing. Hagen was terminated by the CDCC after extensive administrative review.
    I will also point out that three of Hagen’s bosses have endorsed Paul Gallegos: David LaBahn (Executive Director of the CDAA), Gale Filter (CDAA Director of Environmental and Consumer Affairs) as well David Eyster (Hagen’s superior in the Mendo. DA’s office).

    This election is about the choice between Gallegos and Jackson. With Gallegos you know what you are getting (fair, honest, ethical, tried and true), he’s come a long way in the past 8 years and has created an award winning, stable and effective DA’s office that works for All of us in Humboldt County. With Jackson we don’t know what we are getting other than the disruption of a well run office. She says matter of factly, “I am going to rebuild the DA’s office.” This sounds like disorder and chaos to me…Why fix something that isn’t broke?

    Vote for Gallegos he is the District Attorney, he’s been doing the job, has the experience, and has created a strong team that works tirelessly to be good servants for the people of this county.

  24. Steve said:

    Hagen’s a friend and there is much to respect about him. That said, he’s had a problem with PG for years, some of which may be about a personality conflict. My disagreement with Hagen’s very long position piece above is that it ignores the fundamental issue at hand: we must *choose* between PG and AJ. Its all fine and good to run down PG, but the slippery statement that PG is “no alternative” means little to me in the absence of an equally thorough analysis of AJ. Is AJ without faults? I doubt it.

    I like Hagen a lot, but I’m not convinced that AJ is any better, and let’s not forget that the election is about choice, not perfection. Alas.

  25. kevpod said:

    I hope that’s true. Hagen’s termination was one of Gallegos’ more damaging acts of vengeance. We need Hagen’s environmental skill set more than ever.

  26. Richard said:

    He says he won’t endorse Jackson, but he is clearly shilling for her and has spoken to others about why he would accept a job working for her if she wins.

  27. Diane said:

    My hats off to Hagen for enlightening us with what we suspected all the time. Wish he would have written this about three weeks ago. But his insight is consistent with what I have seen and been told for quite some time. Paul Hagen is a straight shooter. Allison Jackson gets my husband and my vote. Thats Paul Hagen, we appreciate you taking the time to write this. It took guts

  28. kevpod said:

    ” Just like Hagen, we only get character assassination from the Eye and very little that will help voters with the decision on November 2nd.”

    This after a lengthy character attack on Hagen, twice notifying us that “I used to respect Hagen.” Who cares what “livewiremotley” thinks? The person doesn’t even have the conviction to put a real name on their opinion.

    Seriously, we might as well just assume that anyone who opposes Gallegos is incompetent or unethical. Because that’s invariably what the anonymizers rush to let us know once the dissent is voiced.

    “I hope the press can tell us a little more useful information about the candidates prior to the election, like how many murder trials they have each tried and what is their success rate. What types of cases have they each handled during the last four years?”

    Reporters could spend all their working hours compiling hard stats, but if the result didn’t service the various partisans’ pre-existing beliefs, they’d just flame the offending journalists under fake names using the “I” pronoun, always an endearing combination.

  29. J J said:

    I voted for Hagen in June. Wish he expressed more in the June election. He may have garnered alot more support. Maybe he didn’t want the job that bad to begin with.

  30. Sam said:

    Harry T: Are you sure you are not just a little Richard Salzman covered in mud that is feeling the upcoming loss?

  31. Hagen is a Joke said:

    I used to respect Paul Hagen. That respect is now gone.

    Hagen starts his rant by saying “I completely refrained from negative campaigning and wish to keep it that way.” That I could respect. but then Hagen follows it up by engaging in bitter negative campaigning. huh?

    Hagen next states that smearing your political opponents is undeniably unethical. Also a fine statement. but Hagen then follows that statement by smearing his political opponent thereby showing himself to be unethical by his own definition.

    Hagen then says, “vilification, smearing, and divisive politics are worse” only to follow it up with one of the most blatant examples of vilification, smearing and divisive politics we have seen. huh?

    And left completely out of the Hagen rant is any explanation for why he does not support Jackson or any discussion of her smearing of her opponent, divisive politics, and negative campaigning. How does Hagen feel about Jackson’s ethics? Will he say it publicly like he has privately? If he thinks we care about his negative opinions why doesn’t he tell us about his other prior opponent, whose supporters have also asked for the votes of persons who supported Hagen. Is Hagen hoping to act like neutral in the hope that Jackson offers him a job or will he publicly state right now that he will not accept a job from Jackson even if she were to win and offer it to him? If he doesn’t state this, we have to question if his rant has a motive other than to just get back at his former boss for being fired. My guess is that he is hoping for a job from Jackson.

    It is sad. I used to respect Hagen. I guess he is just a typical negative politician crying for some of the spot light now that the sun has set on his campaign. What is worse is he acts like he is different.

    I hope the press can tell us a little more useful information about the candidates prior to the election, like how many murder trials they have each tried and what is their success rate. What types of cases have they each handled during the last four years? What do the candidates’ peers think of their skills and ethics? I suppose this is too much to hope for in the Eye given the papers unfailing support for anyone but Gallegos. Just like Hagen, we only get character assassination from the Eye and very little that will help voters with the decision on November 2nd.

  32. Harry T said:

    Mr. Hagen calls himself,”Honest to a fault.” It has been my experience that when anyone calls himself “honest” or says, “Trust Me” then it is time to run as far away from that person as you can.

    Mr. Hagen says,”In a professional, one first looks to competence: Can the person do the job well, or learn to in a reasonable time?”
    Here is what heavily-experienced prosecutor David Eyster, who is running for district Attorney Mendocino, had to say about Mr. Hagen in a letter: Mr.Eyster wrote:
    “It was a surprise to read that the Sierra Club, an organization that I respect, has endorsed Paul Hagen to be Humboldt County’s District Attorney. As a former prosecutor also currently seeking public office in Mendocino County, it is my belief that the elected DA of any county should be a lawyer who has demonstrated a special aptitude and fitness for prosecution work and can set forth on the campaign trail a track record of personal success in handling serious and complex criminal matters. Most elected DA’s have shown exceptional trial and management skills that promote public safety, job one of any DA.
    I don’t believe Mr. Hagen has these qualities or experience so any endorsement by any entity of Mr. Hagen comes, of course, as a surprise.

    I was the senior supervisor and lead criminal trial attorney for the Mendocino County DA’s Office when Mr. Hagen started as a prosecutor many years ago. As an aside, I was the prosecutor who personally prosecuted and convicted former Humboldt County District Attorney Bernie DePaoli of felony misconduct that ultimately landed him in prison. I consider myself a good judge of young legal talent and it was never a secret that I opposed Mr. Hagen’s hiring.
    While certainly engaging at times, I found Mr. Hagen to be one of those people who only talked a good game. I still chuckle when I recall how he became terribly angry that he was not invited to a criminal procedure training session that I routinely held for our summer law clerks, volunteer interns who had only completed their first year of law school. None of the office attorneys had ever attended or even asked to attend — this law clerk-oriented training session. No self-respecting attorney who has passed the Bar exam and is working in a DA’s Office should require such a beginner’s course but, unfortunately, Mr. Hagen was the exception.

    So there is no confusion, I have not had any contact with Mr. Hagen since 1996 so, perhaps, he has improved his legal skill set in the intervening years. Maybe he has finally developed jury trial skills, or now has experience with developing and managing office budgets. Maybe he has served as the supervisor of a felony trial team, or personally handled notorious and violent cases like those we read about that give us chills. The District Attorney is a very important position in any county, especially these days when it comes to public safety and tight budgets. Before you cast your vote for the June 8th primary, I encourage all of my neighbors to the north to take a critical look at Mr. Hagen to make sure he still isn’t a one-trick environmental pony who has no real experience with the important business of public safety.”

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