Note: The last print edition of the Arcata Eye prior to the Nov. 2 election comes out Wednesday, Oct. 27. We won't be running any negative letters about candidates in that edition, because there is no time for a response in print until after Election Day. Online, though, we don't have that problem.
This will be the evolving repository of late-arriving political letters that are more of the tart 'n' tangy variety, too toxic for our genteel rag. Check for updates appended to the end of the post. Call it an online exclusive! – Ed.
Jackson, the criminal-coddling, mud-encrusted smear monster vs. Gallegos, a no-nonsense, crook-catching master of justice
Aren’t you sick and tired of negative campaigning? What gets me rankled most is when a candidate slings mud and they aren’t so clean themselves. Sadly, it’s what we get from politicians who will say anything to get elected.
Who is Jackson to smear District Attorney Paul Gallegos for plea bargaining? Back in ‘97 when she was a Deputy DA, she pled out Yohan Lopez. It was his second arrest that year. He had a prior for a concealed firearm. In the case on her desk, Lopez was arrested on possession of pot and resisting arrest so violently that he was charged with battery for sending a Eureka Police officer to the hospital.
Jackson dismissed the battery count, which carries a three-plus year sentence, and reduced a felony resisting arrest to a misdemeanor. Lopez served only eight days for the reduced charge. He also pled out to possessing pot which cost him a hundred bucks. A guy who packs heat is caught smoking pot, beats up on a cop, and Jackson lets him walk.
Three months later, Lopez stalks a kid he’s having a dispute with, lays in wait and murders him in cold blood.
It was Paul Gallegos who finally caught Lopez and brought him to justice. Veteran Deputy Klein prosecuted. Now Lopez is serving life with no parole. Gallegos’ office doesn’t play around with dangerous felons.
So, next time you see Ms. Jackson slinging mud, you know it’s to cover up her own dirt.
Note: The following letters were submitted sequentially to different newspapers. The third one came in Wednesday, Oct. 20. To understand it, we've added the first two, starting with a Sept. 21 letter to the HSU Lumberjack (which included the writer's home phone number), then a Sept. 30 response sent to both the Lumberjack and the Eye. – Ed.
Gallegos bungled a rape prosecution
During the last school year, a student at Humboldt State University was raped. The Arcata Police Department investigated the crime and apprehended the rapist, who had left the state of California. The case was handed over to Paul Gallegos, district attorney. For whatever reason, he decided not to prosecute. Detective Martinez from the Arcata Police Department had done an outstanding job in handling the crime. In essence, he did his homework.
Paul Gallegos is again running for office of District Attorney. Personally, I would not vote for him for dog catcher. I strongly encourage you to vote for Allison Jackson, who has a background in crimes of this nature and is more than qualified to enforce the law. Students and the residents in Humboldt County deserve stronger support, representation, and justice in this particular area of the law.
Frank J. Cheek, Educator
I recently read a letter sent in by Mr. Cheek to the Lumberjack to which I must respond.
It is unfortunate that Mr. Cheek, who describes himself as an educator would write such an ill-informed and ignorant post. While Mr. Cheek may support Ms. Jackson, this does not give him or anyone else the right to be so fast and loose with the truth. Mr. Cheek knows nothing about the case of which he writes. Up until today, I would have said that I doubt Ms. Jackson would approve of such an attack so devoid of facts; I was apparently wrong.
I can tell you that I was the handling attorney on the case about which Mr. Cheek writes. Out of respect for the young woman and her privacy I will not write of any of the details. Detective Martinez and I both worked very hard on this case; in the end the young woman, on no uncertain terms, made it clear that she would not cooperate or participate in the prosecution. This was after the case was charged; the suspect in question was extradited and housed in the jail for several weeks. Without her testimony, the People could not proceed and therefore the charges were dismissed.
Mr. Cheek, you sir were not a witness to the events of this alleged crime; nor were you privy to the communications between the young woman and Detective Martinez; nor were you a party to the communications between myself and this young woman. Before you made comment perhaps you should have educated yourself.
To do anything less is an insult to Detective Martinez, APD and the District Attorney’s Office.
Kelly Neel, Deputy District Attorney
Another parent not for Gallegos
I read a response today sent by Kelly Neel, Deputy District Attorney, regarding a letter sent by Coach Cheek regarding my daughter who was a victim of a serious crime. Please let me introduce myself. My name is Angela Hampton and I am the victims’ mother. This year will mark 30 years for me with the State of California. I have worked directed with District Attorneys’, Administrative Law Judges, Provided Expert Testimony for the State of California, Law Enforcement Agencies, Legislators and Policymakers. I feel pretty qualified on how the “system” operates and I’m not going away anytime too soon.
Ms. Neel may criticize Coach Cheek for being uneducated but I’m not. I commend Coach Cheek’s actions. I know little about him but I do know one thing, he has a strong military, “no nonsense background.” He is pretty “straight up” - something the Humboldt DA Office does not possess!
It is apparent that cases are repeatedly dismissed, charges reduced and where the Humboldt DA Office has gone soft on the serious offenders. It definitely looks like a pattern of behavior that sacrifices justice and lets criminals off with light sentences or no sentences at all. Mr. Gallegos and Kelly Neel couldn’t be further from the truth regarding my daughter’s case. The communication was the poorest that I have encountered in my 30 years of civil service work especially concerning victims of serious crimes.
Deceit to the public should not be tolerated. My daughter and I deserve an answer and deserve the truth. We are still waiting for the truth. On the contrary, my daughter was fully cooperative and still remains fully cooperative regarding the case and she awaits the decision from the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office didn’t accept the case for review for nothing. They were “interested” because something looks wrong.
- On July 28, 2010 my daughter filed a complaint with U.S Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General Edmund Brown. The case is currently being investigated and pending an answer. The request for the solution from my daughter is to refile the charges against the perpetuator because there was no answer or intelligent reason why the case was dismissed. That doesn’t sound like someone that is “uncooperative.” My daughter even claims, “the perpetuator could have at least gotten community service.”
- Here is what I think happened. There was a preliminary hearing in the case and the defendant was held to answer on the charges. Jeremiah Ross conducted the preliminary and the defendant was bound over on July 15th. The court set the rearraignment on the information and not the complaint for July 29th. Then for some unknown reason Ms. Neel scheduled it to be advanced for a dismissal on July 22, 2010 without notifying the victim and the family. A couple of conversations took place between Kelly and I. First she blamed it on Jeremiah Ross (does he know that), then she tried to blame it on my daughter's cooperation, then Mr. Gallegos informs my husband and I that there was a third party witness who he refuses to tell us the name.
- I challenge both Kelly Neel and Paul Gallegos to the truth. Let me know the day, time and place.
- Please call me for additional information or the letter to the Attorney General’s Office. Thank you.
Note: The following letter was forwarded by the alleged rape victim's mother. She says it was sent to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and California Attorney General Edmund Brown. – Ed.
'Weak leadership and poor managerial practices'
July 28, 2010
Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
RE: Dismissal of Charges and Release of [accused rapist's name redacted] on July 22, 2010
District Attorney of Humboldt County – Paul Gallegos
Case No. CR1003266
Dear Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr:
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Paul Gallegos, failed to protect me by releasing [name of accused redacted] on July 22, 2010 by dismissing all charges with absolutely no contact to me as the victim. Attached is a press release that was issued from the Arcata Police Department with serious charges stemming from rape to false imprisonment in which I suffered physical and mental trauma.
Among the most disturbing findings and decisions made on this case are:
Based on the strong evidence, [name of accused redacted] was extradited all the way from the State of Kentucky to Humboldt County, confined on June 29th, only to be release with a dismissal of all charges, on July 22, 2010, by the District Attorney of Humboldt County, Kelly Neel.
Detective Robert Martinez of the Arcata Police Department repeatedly informed both me and my mother, that he has a strong case with both physical and internal injuries including tearing that I suffered during the course of the crime along with two written affidavits generated by Arcata Detective Robert Martinez that were very damaging to the perpetrator. Detective Martinez was appalled and disappointed by the dismissal of charges of [name of accused redacted].
Prosecuting Deputy District Attorney, Kelly Neel, was very excited to try this case and felt fully confident to pursue it through an exchange of emails with my mother. I wear a hearing aide and have difficulty with hearing loss so I am unable to talk on the phone but provided my email to DA Kelly Neel, who swapped my case right under the carpet and took full advantage of my disability. There were no doubts in Ms. Neel’s information that this serious offender was going to walk free only to prowl on his next victim.
It was my mother who stumbled over the dismissal of charges; otherwise, I had no way of knowing that this offender was released.
DA Kelly Neel told my mother it was evidentiary. Detective Martinez tells me there was plenty of evidence including medical evaluation reports and my swollen face when slammed against the bathroom basin by my perpetuator. What has gone wrong here? Was anyone going to tell me that my offender was freed? Surely, my perpetrator should have at least had an assault charge against him with probation or jail time.
As a victim, I am requesting a thorough investigation from your office in the interest of justice for victims who are swept under the carpet based on the fact that they just don’t want to do their job.
The Humboldt County Grand Jury found that “Weak leadership and poor managerial practices” have undermined the Humboldt District Attorney Office and that current management exhibits a limited understanding of how things are done in the department. Staff members are saying that Mr. Gallegos lacks the global perspective needed to keep the department operating efficiently and that he does not fully understand the functionality of many of things they do in the office.
It is apparent through my family’s research that cases are repeatedly dismissed, charges reduced and where the Humboldt DA Office has gone soft on the serious offenders is explicit of a pattern of behavior that repeatedly sacrifices justice and lets criminals off with light or no sentences at all. Many serious cases have ended up like mine all involving explosive evidence that would put the offender behind bars or at least a probation punishment.
I am requesting the highest power to get involved in this tightly knit county that continues to dismiss serious cases that would otherwise be prosecuted at the fullest extent of the law. Criminals are walking away with slaps on the wrist by dismissing their charges and giving defendants what they want. It is my opinion that Paul Gallegos simply isn’t following the law with regard to dismissals and plea agreements.
The following information is provided to your Office of Attorney General so you may carry out your mission to investigate and restore justice for victims like myself. The officials involved are:
Detective Robert Martinez
Arcata Police Department
Special Services Unit
Phone: (707) 825-2512
Police Report #10-1306
Paul Gallegos, District Attorney
Humboldt District Attorney Office
825 5th Street, 4th Floor
Eureka, CA 95501
Kelly Neel, Deputy District Attorney
Humboldt District Attorney Office
825 5th Street, 4th Floor
Eureka, CA 95501
As a student I had aspirations of higher education with two academic scholarships and one athletic scholarship at Humboldt State University. This crime has caused me great mental and physical trauma in which I am required to take a leave of absence from college for six (6) months. As a victim, I deserve better justice than what I have received.
I look forward to a favorable response in which justice may be restored by holding even the District Attorney’s Office to the highest standard of law.
[Name and address of alleged victim redacted]
A culture of blind obedience, a legacy of blown cases
I have known Paul Gallegos for many years now.
I have been involved in politics all my life beginning with a horrific baptism that occurred at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968 with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. In Humboldt, among other just causes, I helped Paul fight and win against the ill-advised corporate funded recall; and a few years later, had discussions about my running his first re-election campaign.
When he was elected eight years ago I was, like so many others, delighted and viewed the future with promise, certain that a new course had been charted and the pro-corporate tilt and old boy biases that colored so many prosecutions were a thing of the past. In this, many of my expectations were fulfilled. However, the downside was that one group of influential individuals was replaced by another and the results have not been good for the community as a whole or many of those residing therein.
A culture of blind obedience to Paul took hold, where questioning of the most minor nature was viewed as betrayal, the act of a traitor, and where any deviance from the cynical storyline was cause for political and/or legal retaliation.
In my case it was political - apocalyptic threats and slander from political operatives and not being invited to certain parties. Unfortunately for them, after 20 years in Humboldt County, these were as water off a duck’s back, too many people knew me, knew my politics, and it didn’t affect me in the least. I was immune.
But in the case of my significant other Barbara Shults, Founder of the North Coast Animal Welfare Advocacy Center, they were legal – first, trying to turn a fix-it ticket into a misdemeanor, then calling being jumped by five people on the Arcata Plaza "Mutual Combat" and finally maliciously prosecuting her for simply taking an abused and neglected dog to the shelter in McKinleyville - a poor pitiful creature she found roaming on a busy roadway, and whose unlawful confinement and mistreatment County Animal Control had known about and ignored for over two years.
And why her persecution? Some years before, Barbara had publicly chastised Paul over his failure to charge much less prosecute the guilty party in what came to be known as the “Mad River Case” – where, among other horrors, over 80 dogs had been confined with no water or food and left to starve, their cannibalized skeletal remains stuffed into 55 gallon blue drums like disposable diapers.
There are countless other issues being batted back and forth in the community about Paul’s time in office, his numerous defeats and occasional successes, topics well aired by others, not needing repeat here.
For me it is simply this: After such high hopes, Paul has failed, failed both me and the community. This November I will not be voting for Paul. It is time for a change. Join me in voting for Allison Jackson.
Note: Apparently candidate Allison Jackson erroneously named someone as a supporter who isn't, sending the area's leading online idealists into a frenzy of name-calling and character attacks. The following is from a gentle soul not familiar with the insult culture which dominates local political blogs, who said she wanted to set the record straight. – Ed.
You're blaming the wrong person
I am writing in response to a letter that I read from Fran Shulman. Allison Jackson is not a liar, nor is she manipulative, devious, or conniving. She has had my deepest respect for 16 years. I was the one, way back in May of this year, who called Fran Shulman regarding an endorsement for Allison. I’ve known Fran for 15 years. I was the person who asked her if she would lend her name to officially endorse Allison Jackson. I used the same words that I did with everyone I called, and that was to say that to officially endorse means that you give your permission to use your name in an ad. Fran did at that time officially endorse Allison. I gave that information to her committee and her name has been on Allison’s website and facebook since May, 2010.
On Oct. 5, 2010, at my request, Fran came to a meeting at my house where folks who I had gathered endorsements from were given the opportunity to go on camera for a television spot regarding why they supported Allison. Fran clearly stated that she did not want to be on camera for a commercial so she talked with the other people present. The miscommunication was mine. I did not understand that Fran was withdrawing her endorsement. I believed only that she didn’t want to be on camera. I am sorry that the ad endorsement got muddled with the camera shoot. There was absolutely no intent to do anything but to invite a deeply respected community member (Fran) who had told me previously that she officially endorsed Allison Jackson to express on tape the reasons why.
T. Diane Green, LCSW, ACSW
Paul Gallegos' as District Attorney: a lax, lazy and lying letdown
I voted for Paul Gallegos when he ran against Terry Farmer. I felt Terry Farmer had gotten soft on criminals, as he was plea bargaining for lesser. charges. Paul said he would be hard on crime, so I voted for him.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that Paul had just been blowing smoke. What kind , though, I’m not sure.
A drive-by shooting in Eureka was the first case that cought my attention. A bullet barely missed an innocent child. The shooter was given what amounted to a slap on the wrist.
Then there was the molestation case. The man convicted of multiple molestations was given a light sentence, considering the magnitude of his crimes..
Early on Paul hired Tim Stoen as Assistant D.A. He received a salary around $100,000, plus benefits and perks. As far as I know, Humboldt never had an assistant D.A. before. Tim filed suit against a large company, and lost. He brought conflict of interest charges against Debi August, a Fortuna city councilmember. He lost that too. Both of these cases took a lot of time and money. Our money! Paul is good with the D.A.’s budget.
I’ve always wondered why conflict of interest charges were never brought against another councilmember, from a different city. But then, she never spoke against Gallegos. Debi August did.
Fairly recently, a man shot and killed his brother. He had gone into the house to get the rifle used in the killing. I’m not certain what crime this man was ever convicted of, but I do know that he is free and living with his daughter and son-in-law. Oh yeah, his grandchildren live there too. Tough on crime!
There have been other crimes committed in this county where justice was not served. What other county can you shoot someone in the back and not go to jail? How about killing a child, while you should have been in jail in the first place? How about people violating restraining orders, and still possessing firearms? The list goes on and on.
Humboldt’s law enforcement is frustrated by the poor effort of the D.A. They are upset by all the plea bargaining, amounting to slap on the hand. They are upset that sometimes the D.A.’s office won’t even file charges. Why even arrest anyone?
I witnessed a man breaking into a Delreka beer truck. He pulled a knife on me and threatened me. I called the APD and followed the man through town. Finally five officers showed up. The APD had arrested this man before, and the officers were surprised the man was not in jail, from a previous crime. I placed the man under citizens arrest and, while doing so, the man sid he knew who I was and where I lived. He said he would come to my house and kill my family and me. He said he would cut us into thousands of pieces. The D.A.’s office said they would call me for the trial. They never did. They said they would call me when this man was to be released from jail. They never did. Imagine my shock when I ran into this guy in my neighborhood! I called the D.A.’ s office to find out what happened. I never got to speak a human, and I never got an answer.
Paul’s ads have some of his staff saying what a great leader he is. They say he has great integrity, is honest and leads by example. What an awkward position to put these people in. Remember the day he went in to work, told his staff he was sick and, going home? Later that day he was injured in a surfing accident. It made headlines! He was out playing, after lying to his staff, and all on our dollar! Honesty? Integrity? Great leadership? Leads by example? Boy, I sure hope not!
Criminals are being let off way too lightly. Some charges, if they are even filed, get reduced so drastically they don’t even resemble the original offense. I’ve been paying attention, and so should you. Make the criminals pay for their crimes when convicted.
I don’t need some attorney in Arcata telling me how I should vote. I’ve done research and I’ve paid attention. I’ve spoken to a lot of local law enforcement officers and not a single one backs Paul, they back Allison Jackson. I have been a victim and a witness, but have never once heard from the D.A.’s office. Things have got to change. We can’t let the criminals run our county. You long time residents, how do you like living here now?
It is true the the D.A.’s office has been involved in some high profile cases, that in the long run should benefit the people. But, it’s like my late Father-in-law used to say, “Even a blind pig picks up an acorn every now and then.”
I’m hoping everyone will look past pot and vote for Allison Jackson. I hope some day I can feel safe here again!
Paul has let us law abiding citizens down!
A potpourri of preferences
As I get caught up on my back issues of News Papers, I focus a lot of my attention on the Nov. 2 election information being published.
First: District Attorney’s office. Published information about the current DA’s record, past practice and performance issues.
The County’s Grand Jury has found that problems continue to “plague” the District Attorney’s Office, including poor management, failure to claim grant reimbursements and nepotism. The Grand Jury found that “poor office management practices and communication continue to plague the District Attorney’s Office, after first being noted in the 2004-05 Grand Jury report” and that “these ongoing problems have been corroborated by the testimony of several witnesses.” If your performance evaluation noted bad management practice, would you still have a job?
Allison Jackson’s personal and professional endorsements speak for themselves, you decide!
Second: Measure Q. Measure Q, the school bond in McKinleyville that will improve our schools and move our students, staff and community to a brighter future. There is good, factual, validated information about this issue everywhere.
I have seen a lot of negative ramblings about the issue and most recently from our own McKinleyville Press Editor Jack Durham. Mr. Durham reported negative things about the measure in his last two issues. Mostly about the School District not providing enough information about the issue and if the information provide by the District constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts.
The School District has been doing everything in its power to make our schools the best that they can be for our Community and our future community members.
Mr. Durham, I ask you to please be fair and impartial in your News Paper reporting. Please make an appointment with the School District Administration so you can get the facts to report and not get the negativity from our usual negative Nelly’s around town.
Also, please don’t use your News Paper to report your personal beliefs about issues. That would mean that our home town newspaper would now become propaganda. Something that I thought I would not see coming from the McKinleyville Press.
Please read the factual information about Measure Q and support the Bond so we can give our community and students the tools they need to build a better tomorrow for all of us!
Third: Supervisor – District 5. Two candidates who are community business people. One who moved to Humboldt County in 1997 and the other candidate born and raised in the Community that he wants to represent. Is 13 years enough time of involvement to know of the past, current, and future issues related to this community? I’m sure Mr. Cleary is a great musician and Radio Station manager, but I want someone who has roots. Roots are the support mechanisms of all things and Ryan Sundberg has roots in this community. I believe he would be a great District 5 County Supervisor.
Our community needs new leaders and fresh ideals to make it better for all of us. Please educate yourself about the up and coming election and make your choice for what is better for us as a community.
Robert D. Barnett
Note: Editor Jack Durham’s views were confined to Opinion columns in the McKinleyville Press and Arcata Eye, and labeled as such. Also, the above letter had been on the Opinion page for publication in this week's News Paper, but was displaced by a late-arriving political cartoon. – Ed.