MATTHEW IN THE MIDDLE: The 2014 District Attorney’s Race

Matthew Owen / Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 @ 3:03 p.m. / In the Middle , Op-Ed

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So far, four candidates have made public their intentions to run for next year’s District Attorney’s race: Arnie Klein, Elan Firpo, Maggie Fleming and Allan Dollison.

Paul Hagen, Kathleen Bryson and Allison Jackson have all stated they have no intentions to run at this point.

Here is a brief bio of each of the four candidates. We’ll get to know them more over the coming seven months.

Arnie Klein: lives in Eureka, 71 years old, undergrad at State University of New York College at Buffalo, graduated Golden Gate University School of Law, registered Democrat, began his career with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, from there the Tulare and Monterey County District Attorney’s office before closing out his career and retiring from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office. First D.A. candidate to have his website up and running: votearnieklein.org

Elan Firpo: lives in Eureka, 47 years old, undergrad at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, graduated Santa Barbara College of Law, registered No Party Preference, prior career as a product engineer and program manager in the high-tech industry, currently a Deputy District Attorney with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office for the past 4 1/2 years.

Margaret “Maggie” Fleming: lives in Arcata, 54 years old, undergrad at U.C., Davis, graduated Santa Clara University School of Law, registered Democrat, former Deputy District Attorney for the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s office before transferring to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office and now County Counsel for the County of Humboldt.

Allan Dollison: lives in Eureka, 47 years old, undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, graduated Western State University College of Law, registered Democrat, former Deputy District Attorney with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office for 6½ years. He is also a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Keep in mind that unless one candidate receives 50% + 1 votes in the June 2014 primary, the top two candidates will go on to the November general election, regardless of how they placed in June.

With Paul Gallegos announcing his decision to not run for reelection, this changes the dynamics of this race. No longer will it be the “cult of Gallegos” against former Deputy District Attorneys whom he fired (Paul Hagen and Allison Jackson) or will fire should he win his reelection against them (Worth Dikeman).

There seems to be two types of voters with this race.

1. Will our new District Attorney prosecute the repeat violent criminals and keep them off the streets?

2. How will our new District Attorney handle the multitude of marijuana cases coming their way?

Are you a “law & order” voter (Eureka, Fortuna and McKinleyville) or a “concerned marijuana” voter (Arcata and SoHum)?

This next month will lay the foundation for which of these candidates can hit the ground running on January 1. Right now it’s all about bringing in campaign contributions, garnering endorsements from law enforcement, elected officials, respected community members, the brethren and Paul Gallegos and organizing your campaign team.

It doesn’t matter which of these candidates is the best attorney, nor which could be the best manager of the District Attorney’s office. What matters is which candidate can campaign the smartest/hardest and get the most votes. Love Paul Gallegos or hate Paul Gallegos, he won three elections for District Attorney and defeated a heavily financed (Maxxam) recall campaign. Consider that not one of these candidates has done a political campaign before makes this race all the more interesting. We (the voters) might actually get to witness a clean campaign and have candidates talk about the issues and their vision for the District Attorney’s office instead of them throwing mud at each other.

This is the only contested election at this point. All the other County electeds are running unopposed for now, including the Sheriff, Assessor, Treasurer-Tax Collector, Auditor-Controller, Recorder-County Clerk Registrar and two County Supervisors (Ryan Sundberg and Virginia Bass).

Tick-tock. Time is of the essence at this point. Besides all-important December 31 fund raising deadline, endorsements are being locked up and campaign teams are shaping up, especially those volunteers who will actually work on a campaign versus just vote.

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NOTES: In the matter of “The Back Slap” there isn’t much I can say that hasn’t already been written by Thaddeus Greenson of the Times-Standard. “One Del Norte official called “disturbing” and “inappropriate.” “It was excessive and extremely inappropriate,” (Del Norte County Supervisor Mike) Sullivan said.

From John Chiv and his “Words Worth Blog” who also took the time to contact Del Norte County Supervisor Mike Sullivan, “In Del Norte, we have some pretty difficult decisions to make but I have never seen another Supervisor strike another Supervisor. I may be old-fashioned but I think that is shocking, especially a man striking a woman.”

And finally from Allison Jackson’s Times–Standard Letter to the Editor, “Mr. Lovelace, last Tuesday’s article was an account of an alleged assault by you on Supervisor Bass. It was not a good old boy slap on the back. The violence that you displayed against Supervisor Bass at the California State Association of Counties meeting last week, which the Del Norte official called “disturbing” and “inappropriate,” will not be tolerated by this community. You need anger management counseling.”

I’m naïve enough to believe that Lady Justice is blind to race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry, religion, sex, wealth and elected status.

I’ll close with this one simple mantra my mother instilled in me. “Treat others as you’d like them to treat you.” How would you feel if a man came running up behind your wife, sister or daughter and hit them so hard on the back they went lurching forward and then that man ran off?

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