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.
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?
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Tomorrow
Primrose Dr / Iris Dr (Garberville office): Traffic Hazard
Times-Standard Breaking: Eureka police: 10-year-old girl reported missing
Nooks and Crannies: Mouth of the Mad
Times-Standard Breaking: Power is out in Arcata, McKinleyville
MATTHEW IN THE MIDDLE: Which Of These Three People Would You Like to Be Handed a Seat on the Eureka City Council?
By now we’ve all heard how Lance Madsen is resigning from the Eureka City Council due to health reasons. Lance, may your health continue to improve and you and your lovely wife enjoy your life together. Thank you for your service to the City of Eureka.
The City of Eureka Charter outlines what happens in case of a city council seat opening up for whatever reason. There are three options:
- Hold a special election
- Appoint a person to the open seat
- Keep the seat open and wait until the next scheduled election
Let’s look at the three options.
There is a large cost from the City of Eureka involved to hold an immediate special election and the voter turn-out would be even lower than the 20% from the recent election.
Appointing a person for a short-term City Council seat means they have to run for election next year.
Keeping the seat open means you are subject to a potential 2-2 vote with the Mayor having to make the tie-breaking vote.
Mayor Frank Jager gets to decide which course of action to do and decided upon #2, appoint someone to fill Councilman Madsen’s soon to be vacated City Council seat.
The local media was notified and the City of Eureka posted notice that any person living in the City of Eureka’s 5th Ward could put their name in the hat to be considered for this appointment.
The three candidates that stepped forward and put their names in the hat were Chet Albin, Barry Smith and Leslie Lollich.
- Chet Albin: Retired insurance broker, current City of Eureka Planning Commissioner, former City of Eureka Parking Place Commissioner and the member of the Housing Advisory Board.
- Barry Smith: Owner of Barry Smith Construction which employs 12 people here in the North Coast. Local youth sports coach. Member of the Chamber of Commerce, where he received the Business Person of the Year in 2011.
- Leslie Lollich: Ron Kuhnel’s daughter-in-law. Public Information Officer for the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. On the Boards of Directors of the Humboldt Library Foundation and the Humboldt Botanical Gardens.
These three candidates had to submit a resume/bio with their application. Next they will be interviewed by Mayor Frank Jager’s blue ribbon panel consisting of former Eureka City Council members Virginia Bass; Mike Jones; Polly Endert; along with Neal Latt, a Yale graduate and now employee with Mathews, Kluck, Walsh & Wykle; and Lorraine Dunaway a retired community activist. Finally Mayor Frank Jager will decide which person to appoint as our next City of Eureka Councilmember, 5th Ward.
Albin and Smith are registered Democrats, while Lollich is a No Party Preference. Not that this matters as our local races are non-partisan.
First I’d like to applaud these three candidates for stepping forward and going through the process. The thing about this is that cream rises to the top. I predict the best candidate will be a unanimous vote amongst the blue ribbon panel, whoever that person is.
Keep in mind, the lucky person that gets appointed will be running for election in just eleven months (November 2014). Politics is about compromising and moving forward. Go forth and be bold. I’d recommend you don’t bash your perceived opponents, the city staff, nor the public, and don’t sit there meekly.
Finally, this is a nine-year appointment to Eureka City Council if done properly.
A recent convergence of events warrants a serious discussion on the 8,000 pound gorilla in Humboldt County. Yes, I’m talking about marijuana. From Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom coming out endorsing the legalization of marijuana to the latest Lost Coast Outpost Op-Ed from an anonymous grower under indictment who wrote, “Have you thanked a marijuana grower today?”, it’s a subject we need to have some sort of resolution, ‘cuz what we’ve got now ain’t working.
District Attorney Paul Gallegos recently spoke to the feds about Humboldt County’s problems and told his audience (and I’m paraphrasing here from a law enforcement friend) “It’s like lightning in the rain. We all go out into a rain storm and don’t worry about being struck by lightning because the odds of that happening are so low. Same with our local marijuana growers. With over 4,000 identified outdoor grows they don’t worry about arrest and prosecution because the odds of it happening are equally low. We need your help on the federal level. Either legalize marijuana or give us the resources to go after the criminals.”
It’s not often that I agree with Paul Gallegos, but I couldn’t have said it any better.
- Prohibition failed because Americans like to drink alcohol.
- Our current marijuana laws are a failed federal policy because Americans like to smoke marijuana.
- When you outlaw marijuana, the marijuana growers become outlaws.
We give tobacco growers tax subsidies and cigarettes kill an estimated 500,000 Americans each year. We regulate and tax alcohol and that kills an estimated 50,000 Americans every year. How many people die of marijuana (outside of the violence associated with it) each year?
The 1960-1980s days of the “back-to-the-landers” in South Humboldt with a little land, a small house and even smaller marijuana grow for personal consumption and to make a little cash on the side have been taken over by the new generation of industrial pot growers who only care about one thing – cash, and lots of it. Screw the environment, screw the rules, screw the regulations and especially screw taxes. None of that applies to them.
We live in a Republic, a society of laws and rules that all of us have to abide or suffer the consequences. All of us except Tony Montana, Walter White and the marijuana growers.
If I have to read one more bust on the LoCO with the usual insane amounts of marijuana plants, environmental damage, the killing of endangered species, stealing of water, enough weapons to arm a Marine Corps platoon, and of course, hundreds of thousands in cash, I might puke. But we all know we’ll be reading the latest mega-bust this coming week.
The way I see things is we have two choices.
- One: bring down the Hammer of Thor with all the resources of the federal government and law enforcement to put a major hurt on our local drug dealers (AKA: marijuana growers).
- Two: legalize marijuana on the federal and state level. Tax, regulate and control the product just like alcohol and tobacco.
This week let’s discuss the first – the Hammer of Thor.
Considering 80 percent of the murders in Humboldt County are marijuana related this is ain’t such a bad idea.
Every time I ask the Humboldt County Sheriffs, District Attorney and Building Department why they are not enforcing the laws on our books I get the same answers:
- We don’t have the manpower.
- We don’t have the budget.
- We don’t want to get shot.
My first thought is, why would anyone shoot you over “medicine”? I typically don’t get shot when buying Advil.
My second thought is, why are we selectively enforcing the laws by picking and choosing which ones we are going to enforce? Does this mean I can drive 65 m.p.h. in the Safety Corridor between Eureka and Arcata because I don’t really like that law?
If I was the U.S. Drug Czar, I’d set up a DEA field office in Garberville staffed with at least a dozen agents and additional support staff. It wouldn’t be too hard to locate the marijuana busts for the coming week. Between Google Earth, helicopter flyovers and unmanned drones equipped with cameras and GPS tracking flying grids in South Humboldt, locating those 4,000 identified illegal marijuana grows would be pretty simple.
I’d have roving teams of four agents in conjunction with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force making at last two busts per day, that’s over 700 per year. And here’s where I’d put the hammer to the growers. Much like a CSI episode we’ve all watched on TV, I’d have the County Environmental Health Department and County Building Department follow up after the crime scene has been secured. Any McMansions built without a permit? Monetary fine. Build an industrial marijuana processing plant without a permit? Additional fines. Any environmental damage caused by diesel leaks, rodenticide and poisons would be more fines.
Cut any trees without a timber harvest permit or build any roads without going through the permitting process? ? Have the U.S. Forest Service slap another huge fine on the grower or land owner.
Did they illegally divert water from a stream or creek? Call in the State Department of Fish and Wildlife for another huge fine.
I’d have Sacramento amend the laws making environmental crimes a felony, not the current misdemeanor. I’d increase environmental damage fines by adding a zero to the current fine. A $25,000 fine, per offense, is taken more seriously than $2,500 fine.
The current law limits the use of asset forfeiture cash to capital expenditures, such as the new Eureka 911 phone system. I’d change the laws so law enforcement can keep any drug money and other assets forfeitures and use it for general funds, including hiring more law enforcement officers go make more busts, so they can get additional asset forfeitures, to hire more law enforcement officers… you get the picture.
I’d also RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) the growers for illegal drug sales and take their homes, land, cars and cash. If you can prove (via tax returns and/or public records) how you obtained all these assets and cash we’ll apologize and give it back to you. Otherwise we keep it and sell your assets.
Our U.S. Senators, Congressman and State elected representatives can rest easy knowing this entire budget expense would be paid for from the drug and asset forfeitures. The taxpayers would be making money from the marijuana drug dealers indirectly financing this venture.
For the final pièce de résistance I’d bring in an IRS auditor for a ten-year review of their reported tax returns and compare that to the assets and cash obtained on site. Remember Al Capone was sent to prison not for murder, drug dealing, bootlegging, prostitution, loan sharking or racketeering. He was sent to prison for something far worse. Capone was a tax evader. Do you know any growers that claim their marijuana income on their tax returns? Neither do I.
If you think a colonoscopy is “uncomfortable”, wait till you have an IRS auditor questioning you while reviewing your tax returns and bank records how you were able to purchase a 10-acre spread, clear-cut a forest, build a 5,000 square foot home, build an industrial-seized marijuana processing plant, drive a $60,000 tricked-out pick-up truck as one of their fleet of vehicles and have over $250,000 of cash in your possession when you’ve claimed minimal income for the past ten years. It will keep our local marijuana defense attorneys busy. Of course, I’d make sure they can document that their retainer fee came from legitimate sources and not illegal drug cash.
The penal code for tax evasion is five years plus a $100,000 fine and then the biggie – back taxes plus interest and penalties.
I’m not a federal or state elected representative or our District Attorney, so I’m not an expert on the laws and what we can and can’t do to combat the scourge we call the marijuana culture, but I do know how to make a grown man cry. Make him hire an attorney. Wanna to make a wealthy man cry? Take away his cash and his toys.
Next time – what legalization will look like for Humboldt County…
By the time you’re reading this many voters will have already cast their ballots and many of local races will be over.
Oh, I know what you are saying, “But Matthew, we don’t vote until Tuesday, November 5.”
If you are saying that then you don’t understand the dynamics of elections, especially odd off-year elections with low voter turn-out.
I’m the type of political and math geek that analyzes election numbers going back twelve years and then makes extrapolations on current voter rolls.
Who are probable voters?
What are the party break-downs (Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent) percentages?
What’s the percentage of Vote By Mail (Absentee Ballot Voters) versus polling place voters?
The Humboldt County Elections Office mailed the Vote By Mail ballots yesterday (Monday, October 7). That means 65-75% of the probable voters will receive their election ballots in their mailboxes today and many of these voters will check the boxes for their favored candidates, sign their ballots and return them within the first few days.
There are only a couple, if not one single race on most ballots, depending upon where you live. Here in Eureka we only have one single race on our ballots – Eureka School Board where incumbent John Fullerton is challenged by Lisa Ollivier. That’s it. Incumbent School Board members Wendy Davis and Fran Taplin are running unopposed. One race for Eureka and the surrounding areas that feed into Eureka Senior High School including Freshwater, Kneeland, Cutten and Pine Hill. If you live Humboldt Hill to Loleta, you should have the Eureka School Board race along with the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees, Area 2 race that has three candidates vying for that position. Some of these other outlying areas may include a Municipal District race.
Are we voting for President of the United States?
United States Senate?
United States Congress?
County Board of Supervisors?
This is an odd-year election where we vote for Harbor Commissioners, Water Districts (they’re no longer called Water Boards as that’s reserved for Guantanamo Bay), Municipal Districts, School Boards, Fire Protection and Sanitation Districts.
Pretty sexy, huh?
Which is why the voter turn-out will probably be down around 20-25%.
Typical demographics for Humboldt County races break down to Democrats having a 60% to 40% voter edge over Republicans. However in the Eureka School Board race, the numbers narrow down to 44% Democrats to 40% Republicans. Even though more Democrats are registered to vote, Republicans vote more often in this race.
Also the votermetrics favor Fullerton as this voting base includes Freshwater, Kneeland, Cutten, Pine Hill, Humboldt Hill and Loleta. More homeowners with jobs versus renters on a government check. Think Rex Bohn’s 2004 Eureka City Council race (40%) versus his 2012 Humboldt County 1st District Supervisor race (63%). I personally know both candidates John Fullerton and Lisa Ollivier and wish them both well. As the saying goes, this election will come down to the candidate that gets out the vote.
And for all you anonymous commenters out there, political power does not go to those that live in an area, but those that register and actually vote. I can already hear one of my favorite anonymous fans commenting how 80% of the registered voters couldn’t even bother to vote and that doesn’t include all those who didn’t even bother to register to vote in the first place. My point again – political power goes to those that show up.
Good luck to all candidates and remember that voting is a privilege, so please vote. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain for the next four years.
“The Democratic Party is like a mule. If you hit ‘em over the head with a two-by-four often enough, it finally gets the message.”
— William Galston, Democratic strategist 2008
The Democrat turnaround began in 1991 when political consultant James Carville took a then unknown Southern Governor (who finished a distant third in the Iowa caucuses) and ran him as a centrist, a moderate, you know… someone in the middle, and Bill Clinton went on to become a two-term United States President.
Carville realized that the Democrats were still thought of as long-haired, hippie-type, pot smoking, protesting radicals and weren’t taken seriously by the country. All one has to do is read up on the 1968 Democratic National Convention held in Chicago where some protested their own Democrat candidates, while at the same time other protesters were getting manhandled in the streets by the Chicago police and the Illinois National Guard. Instead of the Democrats coming together behind their Presidential candidate, it was an embarrassing state of chaos that came to define the Democratic Party for a generation.
Carville and Clinton took the Democratic Party from the wilderness to the middle. From 1992 up through 2016 the Democrats have won the 5 out of the last 6 Presidential popular votes.
Politics are like sports. We remember the winners and forget the losers. Bonus points if you can name the Democratic candidate who finished first in the 1991 Iowa caucuses.
Democrats are like a young woman. They want to be dated, courted, romanced and then make up their own minds. They don’t want to be told what to do. Arranged marriages would not work well with Democrats.
Witness the 2008 Democrat primary race. After Barack Obama won the nomination from Hillary Clinton there was a collective pause as Obama’s team waited for Hillary’s endorsement. The biggest fear was that Hillary’s supporters would sit out the November General Election. Thankfully at the Democratic National Convention, both Hillary and Bill Clinton came forward with inspiring endorsements of Barack Obama and asked her supporters to get behind Obama to defeat Republican John McCain in the General Election.
Think back to our own recent 2012 Congressional race. Our local Humboldt Democrats were split between Jared Huffman, Norman Solomon, Stacey Lawson and Susan Adams. Once Huffman won the June primary and was going against Republican Dan Roberts, the previously defeated Democrat primary candidates endorsed Huffman and he became our Congressman with 71% of the vote.
“Check your egos at the door” is a phrase I often say in our local political scene. It’s not about you. It’s about a strategy to help “Candidate X” win their election and defeat “Candidate Y”. Recently we’ve had candidates who’ve lost in the primaries where everyone was expecting them to come out and endorse one of the two remaining candidates in the General Election. Our Humboldt County political make-up could’ve (would’ve, should’ve) been different, however some losing primary candidates went into silent mode.
I’m going to predict that the Democrats will be the first party to nominate a woman as their Presidential candidate in 2016. If it’s not Hillary Clinton, it just might be another first-term Senator who runs for President - Elizabeth Warren (D), Massachusetts.
Democrats make better lovers.
Ever had a good piece of elephant ?
Bonus answer: Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.