10.31.2006

Environmentalism as a Religion

Environmentalism as a Religion

Remarks to the Commonwealth Club
 
Michael Crichton
Environmentalism as a Religion
San Francisco September 15, 2003
http://www.cdfe.org/religion.htm

I have been asked to talk about what I consider the most important challenge facing mankind, and I have a fundamental answer. The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda. Perceiving the truth has always been a challenge to mankind, but in the information age (or as I think of it, the disinformation age) it takes on a special urgency and importance.

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we're told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

As an example of this challenge, I want to talk today about environmentalism. And in order not to be misunderstood, I want it perfectly clear that I believe it is incumbent on us to conduct our lives in a way that takes into account all the consequences of our actions, including the consequences to other people, and the consequences to the environment. I believe it is important to act in ways that are sympathetic to the environment, and I believe this will always be a need, carrying into the future. I believe the world has genuine problems and I believe it can and should be improved. But I also think that deciding what constitutes responsible action is immensely difficult, and the consequences of our actions are often difficult to know in advance. I think our past record of environmental action is discouraging, to put it mildly, because even our best intended efforts often go awry. But I think we do not recognize our past failures, and face them squarely. And I think I know why.

I studied anthropology in college, and one of the things I learned was that certain human social structures always reappear. They can't be eliminated from society. One of those structures is religion. Today it is said we live in a secular society in which many people---the best people, the most enlightened people---do not believe in any religion. But I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

Today, one of the most powerful religions in the Western World is environmentalism. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists. Why do I say it's a religion? Well, just look at the beliefs. If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday---these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don't want to talk anybody out of them, as I don't want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don't want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can't talk anybody out of them. These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith.

And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. Increasingly it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief. It's about whether you are going to be a sinner, or saved. Whether you are going to be one of the people on the side of salvation, or on the side of doom. Whether you are going to be one of us, or one of them.

Am I exaggerating to make a point? I am afraid not. Because we know a lot more about the world than we did forty or fifty years ago. And what we know now is not so supportive of certain core environmental myths, yet the myths do not die. Let's examine some of those beliefs.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago. When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

And what about indigenous peoples, living in a state of harmony with the Eden-like environment? Well, they never did. On this continent, the newly arrived people who crossed the land bridge almost immediately set about wiping out hundreds of species of large animals, and they did this several thousand years before the white man showed up, to accelerate the process. And what was the condition of life? Loving, peaceful, harmonious? Hardly: the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare. Generations of hatred, tribal hatreds, constant battles. The warlike tribes of this continent are famous: the Comanche, Sioux, Apache, Mohawk, Aztecs, Toltec, Incas. Some of them practiced infanticide, and human sacrifice. And those tribes that were not fiercely warlike were exterminated, or learned to build their villages high in the cliffs to attain some measure of safety.

How about the human condition in the rest of the world? The Maori of New Zealand committed massacres regularly. The dyaks of Borneo were headhunters. The Polynesians, living in an environment as close to paradise as one can imagine, fought constantly, and created a society so hideously restrictive that you could lose your life if you stepped in the footprint of a chief. It was the Polynesians who gave us the very concept of taboo, as well as the word itself. The noble savage is a fantasy, and it was never true. That anyone still believes it, 200 years after Rousseau, shows the tenacity of religious myths, their ability to hang on in the face of centuries of factual contradiction.

There was even an academic movement, during the latter 20th century, that claimed that cannibalism was a white man's invention to demonize the indigenous peoples. (Only academics could fight such a battle.) It was some thirty years before professors finally agreed that yes, cannibalism does inbdeed occur among human beings. Meanwhile, all during this time New Guinea highlanders in the 20th century continued to eat the brains of their enemies until they were finally made to understand that they risked kuru, a fatal neurological disease, when they did so.

More recently still the gentle Tasaday of the Philippines turned out to be a publicity stunt, a nonexistent tribe. And African pygmies have one of the highest murder rates on the planet.

In short, the romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature. People who live in nature are not romantic about it at all. They may hold spiritual beliefs about the world around them, they may have a sense of the unity of nature or the aliveness of all things, but they still kill the animals and uproot the plants in order to eat, to live. If they don't, they will die.

And if you, even now, put yourself in nature even for a matter of days, you will quickly be disabused of all your romantic fantasies. Take a trek through the jungles of Borneo, and in short order you will have festering sores on your skin, you'll have bugs all over your body, biting in your hair, crawling up your nose and into your ears, you'll have infections and sickness and if you're not with somebody who knows what they're doing, you'll quickly starve to death. But chances are that even in the jungles of Borneo you won't experience nature so directly, because you will have covered your entire body with DEET and you will be doing everything you can to keep those bugs off you.

The truth is, almost nobody wants to experience real nature. What people want is to spend a week or two in a cabin in the woods, with screens on the windows. They want a simplified life for a while, without all their stuff. Or a nice river rafting trip for a few days, with somebody else doing the cooking. Nobody wants to go back to nature in any real way, and nobody does. It's all talk-and as the years go on, and the world population grows increasingly urban, it's uninformed talk. Farmers know what they're talking about. City people don't. It's all fantasy.

One way to measure the prevalence of fantasy is to note the number of people who die because they haven't the least knowledge of how nature really is. They stand beside wild animals, like buffalo, for a picture and get trampled to death; they climb a mountain in dicey weather without proper gear, and freeze to death. They drown in the surf on holiday because they can't conceive the real power of what we blithely call "the force of nature." They have seen the ocean. But they haven't been in it.

The television generation expects nature to act the way they want it to be. They think all life experiences can be tivo-ed. The notion that the natural world obeys its own rules and doesn't give a damn about your expectations comes as a massive shock. Well-to-do, educated people in an urban environment experience the ability to fashion their daily lives as they wish. They buy clothes that suit their taste, and decorate their apartments as they wish. Within limits, they can contrive a daily urban world that pleases them.

But the natural world is not so malleable. On the contrary, it will demand that you adapt to it-and if you don't, you die. It is a harsh, powerful, and unforgiving world, that most urban westerners have never experienced.

Many years ago I was trekking in the Karakorum mountains of northern Pakistan, when my group came to a river that we had to cross. It was a glacial river, freezing cold, and it was running very fast, but it wasn't deep---maybe three feet at most. My guide set out ropes for people to hold as they crossed the river, and everybody proceeded, one at a time, with extreme care. I asked the guide what was the big deal about crossing a three-foot river. He said, well, supposing you fell and suffered a compound fracture. We were now four days trek from the last big town, where there was a radio. Even if the guide went back double time to get help, it'd still be at least three days before he could return with a helicopter. If a helicopter were available at all. And in three days, I'd probably be dead from my injuries. So that was why everybody was crossing carefully. Because out in nature a little slip could be deadly.

But let's return to religion. If Eden is a fantasy that never existed, and mankind wasn't ever noble and kind and loving, if we didn't fall from grace, then what about the rest of the religious tenets? What about salvation, sustainability, and judgment day? What about the coming environmental doom from fossil fuels and global warming, if we all don't get down on our knees and conserve every day?

Well, it's interesting. You may have noticed that something has been left off the doomsday list, lately. Although the preachers of environmentalism have been yelling about population for fifty years, over the last decade world population seems to be taking an unexpected turn. Fertility rates are falling almost everywhere. As a result, over the course of my lifetime the thoughtful predictions for total world population have gone from a high of 20 billion, to 15 billion, to 11 billion (which was the UN estimate around 1990) to now 9 billion, and soon, perhaps less. There are some who think that world population will peak in 2050 and then start to decline. There are some who predict we will have fewer people in 2100 than we do today. Is this a reason to rejoice, to say halleluiah? Certainly not. Without a pause, we now hear about the coming crisis of world economy from a shrinking population. We hear about the impending crisis of an aging population. Nobody anywhere will say that the core fears expressed for most of my life have turned out not to be true. As we have moved into the future, these doomsday visions vanished, like a mirage in the desert. They were never there---though they still appear, in the future. As mirages do.

Okay, so, the preachers made a mistake. They got one prediction wrong; they're human. So what. Unfortunately, it's not just one prediction. It's a whole slew of them. We are running out of oil. We are running out of all natural resources. Paul Ehrlich: 60 million Americans will die of starvation in the 1980s. Forty thousand species become extinct every year. Half of all species on the planet will be extinct by 2000. And on and on and on.

With so many past failures, you might think that environmental predictions would become more cautious. But not if it's a religion. Remember, the nut on the sidewalk carrying the placard that predicts the end of the world doesn't quit when the world doesn't end on the day he expects. He just changes his placard, sets a new doomsday date, and goes back to walking the streets. One of the defining features of religion is that your beliefs are not troubled by facts, because they have nothing to do with facts.

So I can tell you some facts. I know you haven't read any of what I am about to tell you in the newspaper, because newspapers literally don't report them. I can tell you that DDT is not a carcinogen and did not cause birds to die and should never have been banned. I can tell you that the people who banned it knew that it wasn't carcinogenic and banned it anyway. I can tell you that the DDT ban has caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world. Banning DDT is one of the most disgraceful episodes in the twentieth century history of America. We knew better, and we did it anyway, and we let people around the world die and didn't give a damn.

I can tell you that second hand smoke is not a health hazard to anyone and never was, and the EPA has always known it. I can tell you that the evidence for global warming is far weaker than its proponents would ever admit. I can tell you the percentage the US land area that is taken by urbanization, including cities and roads, is 5%. I can tell you that the Sahara desert is shrinking, and the total ice of Antarctica is increasing. I can tell you that a blue-ribbon panel in Science magazine concluded that there is no known technology that will enable us to halt the rise of carbon dioxide in the 21st century. Not wind, not solar, not even nuclear. The panel concluded a totally new technology-like nuclear fusion-was necessary, otherwise nothing could be done and in the meantime all efforts would be a waste of time. They said that when the UN IPCC reports stated alternative technologies existed that could control greenhouse gases, the UN was wrong.

I can, with a lot of time, give you the factual basis for these views, and I can cite the appropriate journal articles not in whacko magazines, but in the most prestigeous science journals, such as Science and Nature. But such references probably won't impact more than a handful of you, because the beliefs of a religion are not dependant on facts, but rather are matters of faith. Unshakeable belief.

Most of us have had some experience interacting with religious fundamentalists, and we understand that one of the problems with fundamentalists is that they have no perspective on themselves. They never recognize that their way of thinking is just one of many other possible ways of thinking, which may be equally useful or good. On the contrary, they believe their way is the right way, everyone else is wrong; they are in the business of salvation, and they want to help you to see things the right way. They want to help you be saved. They are totally rigid and totally uninterested in opposing points of view. In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

I want to argue that it is now time for us to make a major shift in our thinking about the environment, similar to the shift that occurred around the first Earth Day in 1970, when this awareness was first heightened. But this time around, we need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

There are two reasons why I think we all need to get rid of the religion of environmentalism.

First, we need an environmental movement, and such a movement is not very effective if it is conducted as a religion. We know from history that religions tend to kill people, and environmentalism has already killed somewhere between 10-30 million people since the 1970s. It's not a good record. Environmentalism needs to be absolutely based in objective and verifiable science, it needs to be rational, and it needs to be flexible. And it needs to be apolitical. To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth---that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric. The effort to promote effective legislation for the environment is not helped by thinking that the Democrats will save us and the Republicans won't. Political history is more complicated than that. Never forget which president started the EPA: Richard Nixon. And never forget which president sold federal oil leases, allowing oil drilling in Santa Barbara: Lyndon Johnson. So get politics out of your thinking about the environment.

The second reason to abandon environmental religion is more pressing. Religions think they know it all, but the unhappy truth of the environment is that we are dealing with incredibly complex, evolving systems, and we usually are not certain how best to proceed. Those who are certain are demonstrating their personality type, or their belief system, not the state of their knowledge. Our record in the past, for example managing national parks, is humiliating. Our fifty-year effort at forest-fire suppression is a well-intentioned disaster from which our forests will never recover. We need to be humble, deeply humble, in the face of what we are trying to accomplish. We need to be trying various methods of accomplishing things. We need to be open-minded about assessing results of our efforts, and we need to be flexible about balancing needs. Religions are good at none of these things.

How will we manage to get environmentalism out of the clutches of religion, and back to a scientific discipline? There's a simple answer: we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false.

This trend began with the DDT campaign, and it persists to this day. At this moment, the EPA is hopelessly politicized. In the wake of Carol Browner, it is probably better to shut it down and start over. What we need is a new organization much closer to the FDA. We need an organization that will be ruthless about acquiring verifiable results, that will fund identical research projects to more than one group, and that will make everybody in this field get honest fast.

Because in the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better. That's not a good future for the human race. That's our past. So it's time to abandon the religion of environmentalism, and return to the science of environmentalism, and base our public policy decisions firmly on that.

Thank you very much.

10.30.2006

NCJ - Another Salzman alias? 9/8/05

Another Salzman alias?
Plus: Gallegos, Kerrigan, others react to phony e-mail campaign

by HANK SIMS & HELEN SANDERSON
September 8, 2005
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090805/news0908.html

Reaction around the county was swift to the news that Richard Salzman, the founder of the Alliance for Ethical Business and a political campaigner for a number of causes associated with Humboldt County's progressive movement, had been writing letters to local newspapers under false names.

Meanwhile, District Attorney Paul Gallegos acknowledged that the week before the Journal's story appeared ("Web of lies," Sept. 1), he had received a complaint from a citizen alleging that Salzman was sending her abusive e-mails under a false name.

"Basically, she just told me that this might be happening," he said. "I explained that I didn't believe it, and I guess we're going to find out."

However, Gallegos said that he was reserving judgment on this allegation, as well as the particulars of the Journal's story last week, until he had a chance to speak to Salzman. On Tuesday, he said that he had not yet been able to have that conversation with the man who has been his top fundraiser and political advisor.

In last week's article, the Journal revealed that Salzman had sent fake letters to the editor of local newspapers under at least two false names: "R. Trent Williams," a pseudonym, and "Dick Wyatt," an actual resident of Fortuna who later disclaimed the contents of a letter to the editor that appeared above his name. (Posing as another person in a letter to the editor is a punishable misdemeanor under California law.)

The Journal also determined that it had received false letters from an "R. Johnson," purportedly a Eureka resident. The letters praised former Assistant District Attorney Tim Stoen and castigated the Humboldt Taxpayers' League for failing to disclose campaign contributions for its efforts in opposing Measure L, a failed countywide ballot initiative that would have raised the local sales tax.

The address given in the "R. Johnson" letters was the true home of Ruth Johnson, a 93-year-old Eureka woman, whose caregiver emphatically denied that she would, or would be able to, write letters to the editor.

Though the "R. Johnson" letters could not be definitively traced to Salzman in the way that the "R. Trent Williams" and "Dick Wyatt" letters were, there is new evidence that they were at least sent by someone with Salzman's particular political proclivities.

After the story appeared last week, the Journal learned that the same "R. Johnson" had written letters to private individuals in the area -- in one case apparently acting as something of an agent provocateur in next year's race for the Fifth District supervisor's seat currently held by Jill Geist.

Last June, Geist, a former Salzman ally, raised his ire by sitting at a table with former Deputy District Attorney Allison Jackson during a fundraising event for Rep. Mike Thompson. (Jackson, a Gallegos critic and supporter of Deputy DA Worth Dikeman, was fired by Gallegos after the recall election last year.) Shortly after the fundraiser, bumper stickers reading "Dump Geist" began appearing in area mailboxes, their provenance unclear.

Then, on July 1, McKinleyville resident Mike Harvey -- a former candidate for county supervisor and chair of the local chapter of the Republican Party -- received an e-mail from "Randy Johnson" urging him to run against Geist.

The e-mail came from the same address as letters signed "R. Johnson" received by the Journal -- rhjohnsoneureka@hotmail.com. Unlike the other "R. Johnson" e-mails, the writer in this case purported to be a Republican eager to see a challenge to Geist from the right.

"Are you ready to run again?" the letter to Harvey asks. "If not, who is there that understands the need for jobs in this county that will run in the 5th? It sounds to me like the left is eating their own with Geist so we should take advantage of the situation!"

Reached Tuesday, Geist said that Salzman's reaction against her attendance at a function with Jackson -- a registered Democrat -- was typical of a "you're either with us or you're against us" approach to political difference.

"I attended a political fundraiser for Mike Thompson," Geist said. "This is a man who embodies the ability to work in a non-partisan manner."

Gallegos said that he was not yet convinced of the facts of what Salzman had done, and that there could be a pending "investigation" (he did not specify what sort of investigation, or who would be carrying it out.)

"I'm going to reserve judgment at this time," he said. "I'll always consider him a friend, so, you know -- you move forward. Sometimes friends make mistakes."

However, Gallegos did roundly condemn the practice of writing to newspapers under a false name.

"I would not do that," he said. "I would not condone someone doing it. I would be very unhappy with someone doing it on my behalf, if it was done on my behalf. I know it's a common practice, but it doesn't make me happy, that's for sure."

Eureka City Councilmember Chris Kerrigan, who hired Salzman to work on his reelection campaign last year, said that he had talked to Salzman after the Journal's story appeared. Kerrigan said that Salzman called to apologize -- rightly so, in the councilmember's opinion.

"It was very brief -- because it's a legal matter, he wasn't able to say a whole lot," Kerrigan said. "I hope Richard realizes that what he did was wrong."

Kerrigan took exception with the letter defending Salzman written by the chairperson of his reelection campaign, Andrea Davis (see "Letters," p. 3).

"She's entitled to her own opinion, but I don't fault the Journal for covering a local story," he said. "That's the intent of a local newspaper. I would agree that there are things that are much more important around the world, but that doesn't excuse the fact that his actions were wrong and unacceptable."

Salzman did not return e-mail and phone messages last week.

Related stories:
WEB OF LIES - Richard Salzman and other email phonies
From the Publisher: An apology
Rhonda Meehan's letter
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html#Rhonda
Letters from "R. Trent Williams" printed by the Journal
Glossary of terms
Another Salzman alias?

10.28.2006

McKinleyville Press Editorial 9/05

McKinleyville Press - From the Editor
By Jack Durham date: 9/05

When it comes to letters to the editor, the McKinleyville Press has always had a hands-off policy. Readers submit letters and we print them. There are no limits on the length of letters nor the number that can be submitted.

We do require writers to sign their names, but we've foregone the process of calling them to verify their identities, instead relying on the honor system.

But that's changed since it was revealed last week that Richard Salzman, a local political activist, has been submitting letters to local newspapers using fake names. As first reported by Hank Sims of the North Coast Journal, Salzman has submitted letters under the names "R. Trent Williams" and "Dick Wyatt," among others.

Those letters appeared in the McKinleyville Press and several other local publications.

Salzman's hoax is significant considering that he is active in local liberal causes and sometimes works as a paid political consultant. He worked on the campaigns of Fifth District Supervisor Jill Geist, District Attorney Paul Gallegos and Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan.

In Salzman's deceptive letters, he praised Gallegos and lashed out at the D.A.'s critics. He's also attacked Supervisor Geist, who he now considers a traitor because she didn't stand behind Gallegos' unsuccessful fraud lawsuit against Pacific Lumber.

By writing the letters under different names supposedly living in different communities, Salzman was apparently attempting to show widespread support for his views. But it was just a fraud - ironically coming from the same person who helped form the so-called Alliance for Ethical Business.

Now that Salzman's tactics have been revealed, it's probably safe to assume that he lied when he denied printing and distributing the "Dump Geist" bumper stickers that were floating around town. Those stickers are consistent with Salzman's political tactics.

The McKinleyville Press apologizes for printing Salzman's letters and, from now on, we'll do our best to confirm the identity of letter writers. But that might not always be easy. The Times-Standard reported in its Saturday, Sept. 3, issue that it had actually called a number provided in one of Salzman's hoax letters and got what was apparently a bogus confirmation.

Fortunately, for most letters this shouldn't be a problem. Being that this is a small town, we often know the letter writers personally. We know their email addresses and their writing styles. Sometimes envelopes arrive in the mail we know who they're from based on the handwriting.

We won't have to call people for all the letters we receive, but if the name is unfamiliar or the content of the letter is politically charged, we'll have to make a phone call. So letter writers will now need to include a phone number. Please note that we will not print or release the phone number without your approval. We just need it for confirmation purposes.

This will create some extra work and may delay the printing of some letters. However, with people like Salzman abusing the system, we don't have much choice.

Writing under a pen name is one thing, but what about sending anonymous emails to people threatening them with physical harm?

This happened to the Arcata Eye beginning last fall when a cowardly twit using the name "Jan Johnson" started sending emails to the newspaper and its staff. The threats were reported in last week's North Coast Journal.

So who's the perp that tried to intimidate the paper's staff members and had them looking over their shoulders for months? It was revealed that the emails were sent from the part-time workplace of Shawn Warford, editor/publisher of the Humboldt Advocate.

A computer experts and police identified the emails as coming from the computer at the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Those emails were always sent on Saturday - a day when Warford was the lone-employee in the chamber office.

The Arcata Chamber promptly fired Warford, as any responsible organization would do.

After all, who supports terror and threats of violence on the North Coast? Most of us try to be respectful of each other's opinions. If we disagree, we can always have a spirited public debate. We can battle each other with reasoned arguments and put our opponents to shame with iron-clad facts and overwhelming logic. The opinion pages of local publications should allow this debate to take place. And if one publication censors a person's views, there's always another publication to take its place.

But what if someone decides that an honest debate is not enough? What if a person decides to send threats? What if someoe attempts to instill fear among those he disagrees with?

That person should be banished from our community. We are a county of diverse political interests and we need to learn to get along. We may not agree with each other, but we're neighbors. Show a little respect,

Besides publishing the Advocate, Warford also works at the Northcoast Environmental Center. It makes one wonder - if you don't toe the party line when it comes to environmental issues, might you be subject to threatening emails? Time will tell, as Warford continues to be an employee of the NEC.

It's a disturbing situation. Let's hope apologies are forthcoming, and people of differing political views can, at the very least, agree to respect their neighbors and fellow community members, Violence, in any form, is completely unacceptable

Fortunately, there are plenty of positive things going on in town.

There is a full slate of candidates for the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. We'll be writing about these candidates in the coming weeks. The McKinleyville Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a candidates' forum from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept, 14, at Azalea Hall. All seven candidates for the three open seats on the MCSD Board have been invited to participate, according to the chamber.

Work continues on the marsh projects at Hiller Park. I visited the two construction sites last week and couldn't make heads or tails of what they were doing - just piles of dirt, holes and berms. But it should be taking shape within less than a month's time and will soon be transformed into a series of marshes, with lots of trails and bird-watching opportunities.

Speaking of critters, lots of animals are being adopted from the Humboldt County Animal Shelter. A lot of people deserve thanks, including the shelter staff and our "Shelter Correspondent" Jean Durbin. Durbin is getting the word out about these animals and the public is responding by giving them permanent homes. And hats off to Paige. She visits the shelter often and helps find homes for the animals.

People should do at least two things this week - first, make a donation to hurricane relief efforts and, second, stock up on emergency supplies.

If the Katrina hurricane has taught us anything it's that we better be prepared to fend for ourselves for at least a week after "The Big One" hits.

New Orleans is a major metropolitan area and a vital U.S. seaport. In comparison, McKinleyville is a tiny town isolated behind the Redwood Curtain. If it takes four or five days to get help in New Orleans, how long will it take before help arrives in McKinleyville after a major disaster?

It could be a week, or more. You'll be on your own. Do you have enough food and water to survive for seven days? Do you have enough medicine? If you have children, do you have extra diapers? Baby food? How about your pets? Do you have enough dog food for them? Cat food?

A little extra planning now and a few dollars in supplies could make a major difference when disaster strikes.

***
the North Coast Journal - Web of Lies - Richard Salzman and other email phonies (The paper won a CNPA Award for this story.)
From the Publisher: An apology
Rhonda Meehan's letter
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html#Rhonda
Letters from "R. Trent Williams" printed by the Journal
Glossary of terms

ER - Prosecutor assigned to Child Abuse Services Team

Prosecutor assigned to Child Abuse Services Team

Prosecutor assigned to Child Abuse Services Team
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 9/22/2006

After serving as the main deputy prosecuting child abuse cases for the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for a little more than a year, Maggie Fleming has started focusing on other felony cases.

Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz, who has been with the office for approximately one year, is taking over her caseload, which he said he is looking forward to.

He still has some cases to finish up, as does Fleming, but Schwartz has already started being involved in the Child Abuse Services Team, he said.

“I am looking forward to it. I was a little concerned at first working in that area … but I have been doing it for about two or three weeks (and) I am impressed with the team that is already in place,” Schwartz said.

“My understanding is that I am going to stay on as the director of CAST,” Fleming said. “I will still be picking up some of the cases. We have a lot of jobs in the office that people share.”

In general, Fleming said her focus will be prosecuting felony cases.

“I‘ve got a homicide and some other cases that I’ve held onto,” she said.

“The CAST director became an official position through a modification of the bylaws to create the director position last year,” said Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

Gallegos said he and Phillip Crandall, director of the county’s department of Health and Human Services, thought it was necessary to create the position to streamline the decision-making process in CAST.

“Maggie was assigned to that position. She has met all of my expectations in that role and, at this time, she remains in that position,” he said.

CAST is made up of members from the District Attorney’s Office; local law-enforcement agencies; Child Welfare Services; the Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Division, Child, Youth and Family Services Division, and Public Health Branch; North Coast Rape Crisis Team; Sexual Assault Response Team; the Humboldt County Probation Department; and local tribes.

The way CAST works is that once law enforcement opens a case, the alleged abused child and his/her family go to the CAST office so that the child’s statement can be taken and the family interviewed too, according to a previous article in The Eureka Reporter.
If the alleged abuser is a member of the family, they are not allowed at the CAST office, the article stated.
To avoid putting a parent or guardian in the situation of being a possible witness for the defense, the interview is done without the parent or guardian of the child present, the article stated.
Once the alleged abused child and family arrive, the child is brought into a room with a trained interviewer. If at any time the child needs a break, it is granted, the article stated.

Although he is finishing up some other cases, Schwartz said at this point he is spending most of his time working on CAST.

“I am going to all the CAST interviews and do everything that a CAST prosecutor will do,” he said.

Gallegos said it is not unusual for prosecutors to rotate assignments.

“We rotate assignments as we believe it is necessary,” he said. “Our goal is to cross-train our felony attorneys to CAST and to all other areas of our office and to rotate them into those positions over an appropriate period of time so they can both obtain and maintain that expertise. The prosecution of child abuse is especially important. Therefore, we want every felony attorney to be trained to handle those cases.”

As for how long Schwartz will be the CAST attorney, Gallegos said nothing is ever set in stone.

“We rotate assignments as we believe it is necessary,” he said. “Many things could extend or shorten an assignment to a particular area.”

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

RELATED STORIES:
ER - Gallegos responds to county grand jury's criticism of his office regarding CAST
ER - DA's Office yet to respond to request for child abuse records

ER - Three in Whitethorn case get probation

Three in Whitethorn case get probation
by Kara D. Machado, 9/14/2006

Despite the negative statements by Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz that a probation official was inept in her recommendations for the four Whitethorn kidnapping/rape defendants, three of the men were sentenced Wednesday to three years of formal, supervised probation.

The other will await his fate in custody as a judge determines the details of his plea agreement with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

“I’m sorely upset about the probation report,” Schwartz said to Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson. “It’s really, really an almost unprofessional probation report.”

Nate Robin Garza, 21, Deshawn Lee Moore, 32, and Gregory Donald Scheider, 31, were the three to receive probation. Levi Garza, 21, is scheduled to return to court, after Wilson reads July plea transcripts, on Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.

The four men were initially accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in Whitethorn in March after a debt to Levi Garza was not paid.

According to past testimony, the woman claimed she was kidnapped for two days and tied to a tree in Whitethorn for 24 hours.

Each of the defendants had many of the charges against them dropped as part of a deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The men have been in jail since their March 16 arrest.

Nate Garza, Moore and Scheider later accepted a plea agreement of false imprisonment, with Levi Garza additionally pleading guilty to kidnapping and marijuana trafficking.

The Garzas, who are twins, were led into Wilson’s courtroom Wednesday handcuffed together. Behind them, also handcuffed together, were Scheider and Moore.

All wore orange jail-issued jumpsuits, with white long-sleeved shirts underneath. The Garzas and the other men sat, separated by a row of seats, in the courtroom jury box.

The courtroom was filled with supporters of the foursome.

Levi Garza’s attorney, Kenneth Bareilles, told a passionate story to Wilson about how he believed his client deserved a second chance at life, that he’s been honest about his crimes — even saying he wished he hadn’t gotten the other three defendants involved — and that Garza is “a product of Southern Humboldt County.”

“He wants a stepping stone to start a whole new life,” Bareilles said. He wants to be a good parent (to his infant daughter, born while he was in jail) — he didn’t have a lot of role models.


“He has a job waiting for him. He just wants to go to work like a regular person and come home to his wife and child. He’s guilty of what he pleaded to and he knows he needs to be punished.”

Bareilles described Garza as a young man with a troubled background who needs counseling to overcome that and the deaths of a brother (“killed in an accident”) and a sister (“by her own hands”).

Schwartz had no sympathy, characterizing Garza as having no remorse for what he did to the victim and said he “has been a thug — or at least thinks he’s a gangster — in Southern Humboldt County for (years) and he thinks he’s a big marijuana dealer.”

If Garza does not get formal, supervised parole, Wilson estimated a maximum penalty of five years and eight months in prison.

Of the statements the four men made in court, both Garzas’ being brief, Wilson was angered by Moore’s.

“Your honor, I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Moore said. “I didn’t even know the (victim or what was really going on).

“I was just dumbfounded at the time and still dumbfounded.”

Wilson said, “I’m dumbfounded by your comment.” “There is no possible way you could not know what was going on ... that’s ridiculous.”

Because of Moore’s statement, Wilson said, Moore was sentenced to 60 days in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for revocation of probation on a separate charge. Moore was also ordered to attend a domestic violence program and to return to court on Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m. with proof of attendance.

If Nate, Moore and Scheider violate their probation, all three men will all face a two-year prison term, with Scheider facing an additional eight months for possession of methamphetamine.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

Update:
Sentencing continued in statutory rape trial 5/21/2007

ER - Defendant withdraws release request

Defendant withdraws release request
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 8/22/2006

Gregory Donald Scheider withdrew his request to be released on his own recognizance prior to his sentencing, which is scheduled to take place in mid-September.

Scheider, 31, along with Levi Cole Garza and his brother Nate Robin Garza, both 21, and Deshawn Lee Moore, 32, all pleaded guilty earlier this month to a variety of charges in connection with accusations that they kidnapped and raped a woman in Whitethorn in March. As part of a plea deal, the four men agreed to take lie detector tests.

“Three came back in their favor and one came back inconclusive,” said Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz, adding that Scheider’s were inconclusive.

The four men each had charges against them dropped as part of a deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

Originally, Levi was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and possession of marijuana for sale.

Nate was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert.

Scheider was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and unlawful possession of a specified controlled substance.

Moore was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert.

As part of the plea, Schwartz said Nate, Scheider and Moore pleaded guilty to rape in concert and false imprisonment.

“Levi Garza (pleaded) guilty to both those charges, as well as kidnapping and marijuana trafficking,” Schwartz said.

The sex-related charges were dropped against all four men when their polygraph results came in.

The Garza brothers and Moore appeared in court Friday for their OR hearing.

At the beginning of the proceeding, Kenneth Bareilles — attorney for Levi Garza — told Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson that his client had since decided he did not want to be released on OR.

Wilson denied the requests of the other two.

Scheider, Nate Garza and Moore are facing a maximum of three years in state prison. Levi Garza is facing five years in state prison.

The men are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13, at 2 p.m., in the Humboldt County Courthouse in courtroom three.

(Kara D. Machado contributed to this story.)
Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

Update:
Sentencing continued in statutory rape trial 5/21/2007

ER - Judge Wilson denies release of Whitethorn defendants in kidnapping, rape case Friday

Judge Wilson denies release of Whitethorn defendants in kidnapping, rape case Friday
by Kara D. Machado, 8/18/2006

As of Friday afternoon, three of the four Whitethorn kidnapping/rape defendants will not be released on their own recognizance (OR).

Levi Cole Garza and his brother Nate Robin Garza, both 21, and Deshawn Lee Moore, 32, appeared in Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson’s courtroom Friday, handcuffed to one another.

Moore led the trio — all wearing jail-issued orange jumpsuits — followed by Levi Garza, then Nate Garza. While sitting in the front row of the jury box, the three men appeared somber.

At the beginning of the trio’s proceeding, Kenneth Bareilles — attorney for Levi Garza — told Wilson that his client had since decided he did not want to be released on OR.

“He does not want to be released” from jail, Bareilles told Wilson. “He knows he is going to prison” and would like to use his time in jail as time served when being sentenced.

Wilson acknowledged the withdrawal of the OR request and initiated a future contact visit with Garza’s infant daughter.

According to Wilson’s comments in court, Garza’s significant other was pregnant at the time of his arrest and the child was born while he was in jail.

Garza, who is facing up to eight years in a state penitentiary, should have some kind of contact with his daughter before going to prison, Wilson said, and requested that officials look into the visit.

Neal Sanders, attorney for Nate Robin Garza, remained steadfast with his request for his client to be released on OR and be given a reduced bail.

In court, Sanders accused the victim in the Whitethorn case of lying during her testimony and said his client was not even present during any false imprisonment of the victim.

Wilson disagreed, saying Nate Garza acted in concert to the criminal events surrounding the victim and denied his OR request.

Moore’s attorney, Mike Eannarino, told Wilson that his client’s mistake was “simply being there and living at the house” during the time the victim said she was imprisoned and raped.

Moore had just moved into the Whitethorn home at the beginning of this year, in January or February, after moving from Birmingham to Seattle.

Wilson said, as with the other defendants, he is unsure to what he will sentence them. However, what he does know, Wilson said in court, is what they all pleaded guilty to and determined none were good candidates for OR.

Ultimately, Wilson denied OR to Moore as well.

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz said the defense attorneys’ arguments, in regard to the case, were “audacious” and merely a “futile effort” to get their clients out on OR.

The three men — as well as Gregory Donald Scheider, 31 — were accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in Whitethorn in March. Each had charges against them dropped as part of a deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The men have been in jail since their March 16 arrest.

All four defendants pleaded guilty to a variety of charges earlier this month:

- Levi Garza was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and possession of marijuana for sale;

- Nate Garza was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert;

- Scheider was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and unlawful possession of a specified controlled substance; and

- Moore was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert.

Then, as part of a plea deal — which included a lie detector test — the foursome pleaded guilty to rape in concert and false imprisonment, with Levi Garza additionally pleading guilty to kidnapping and marijuana trafficking.

Schwartz has said three of the lie-detector results came back in the defendants’ favor. One was inconclusive.

As a result of the tests, the sex offense charges were dropped against the foursome.

Both Nate Garza and Moore are facing a maximum of three years in prison.

Scheider is scheduled for his OR hearing Monday.

Most likely, Wilson has said, he will deny all the OR requests.

The men are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13, at 2 p.m., in the Humboldt County Courthouse in courtroom three.

(Kara D. Machado may be reached via e-mail at kmachado@eurekareporter.com.)

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

Update:
Sentencing continued in statutory rape trial 5/21/2007

ER - CHARGES DROPPED IN RAPE CASE

CHARGES DROPPED IN RAPE CASE
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 8/16/2006

The four men accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in Whitethorn in March have each had charges against them dropped as part of a deal with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The men — Levi Cole Garza and his brother Nate Robin Garza, both 21, Gregory Donald Scheider, 31, and Deshawn Lee Moore, 32 — pleaded guilty to a variety of charges earlier this month. As part of a plea deal, the four men have agreed to take the lie detector tests.
“Three came back in their favor and one came back inconclusive,” said Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz.

As a result, he said all four men will have the sex offense charges against them dropped.

Originally, Levi was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and possession of marijuana for sale.
Nate was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert.
Scheider was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, sodomy in concert and unlawful possession of a specified controlled substance.
Moore was charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit robbery or rape, conspiracy to sexually assault, unlawful oral copulation and sodomy in concert.
As part of the plea, Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeff Schwartz said Nate, Scheider and Moore pleaded guilty to rape in concert and false imprisonment.
“Levi Garza (pleaded) guilty to both those charges, as well as kidnapping and marijuana trafficking,” Schwartz said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson dismissed the sex charges against the men and requested that the information be forwarded to the probation department for a sentencing recommendation.

Eureka-based attorney Neal Sanders, who is representing Nate, requested that he be released on his own recognizance prior to sentencing; attorneys for the other defendants asked for the same for their clients.

The men who were arrested March 16 have been incarcerated since.

“This case was not as originally advertised,” Sanders said.

“I know they have family members (and) I know they have ties to the community,” Wilson said.

But, he said, even without the sexual assault charges, the other charges the men pleaded guilty to are “egregious,” and he thinks they “place a danger to the community.”

Nate, Levi and Moore are scheduled to be in court Friday for a hearing about being released on their own recognizance. Scheider’s hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Most likely, Wilson said, he will deny the request for releasing them prior to sentencing.

All the men are facing time in state prison.

The men are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 13, at 2 p.m., in the Humboldt County Courthouse in courtroom three.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

Update:
Sentencing continued in statutory rape trial 5/21/2007

ER - Council races fill up

Council races fill up
by Rebecca S. Bender, 8/12/2006

The filing window has officially closed, and there is no shortage of candidates for seats on the Arcata, Blue Lake or Eureka city councils.

Eight candidates are in the running for two open seats on the Arcata City Council.

Michael Winkler, Alex Stillman, Nick “Eeyore” Page and incumbent Councilmember Dave Meserve have previously announced their candidacies.

More recent entrants include activist Bobby Harris, massage therapist and astrologer Dana Quillman (who also happens to be the partner of Councilmember Paul Pitino), Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey Schwartz and incumbent Mark Wheetley.

Bridget Dory, from the Arcata City Manager’s Office, said that seven of the candidates had qualified as of 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. The eighth, Wheetley, returned his paper late in the afternoon; his collected signatures will be verified Monday, Dory said.

In Blue Lake, two seats are open on the City Council, and three people will by vying to fill them.

Incumbent Mayor Sherman Schapiro and Councilmember Marlene Smith both stepped up to run again, Blue Lake City Clerk Karen Nessler confirmed Friday afternoon, and Blue Lake resident David Beebe also filed to run.

Eureka’s race differs from Arcata and Blue Lake in that candidates run for the ward in which they reside or for the mayoral position, and are elected by Eureka residents at large.

In the 1st Ward race are Larry Glass, Tish Wilburn and incumbent Mary Beth Wolford; in the 3rd Ward race are Ron Kuhnel and Jeff Leonard; in the 5th Ward race are Nancy Abrams and incumbent Mike Jones; and for the mayor’s race are Jerry Droz, Marshall Spalding, Councilmember Virginia Bass and incumbent Peter La Vallee.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

10.27.2006

ER - New Deputy DA Schwartz excited about working for Gallegos

New Deputy DA Schwartz excited about working for Gallegos
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 9/18/2005 The Eureka Reporter

Although he debated moving his private practice to Humboldt County, San Francisco-based attorney Jeffrey Schwartz decided he would rather work for Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

For the past year and a half, Schwartz said he and his wife have spent only weekends, breaks and holidays together while she has worked as a lecturer at Humboldt State University and he at his private practice in the Bay Area.

“Part of our plan was she was going to teach up here and we were going to sort of commute,” he said. “It kind of worked out … but we have a kid now so that’s really the difference. … We needed to be in the same place. I just (kept) imagining if I was in trial (in San Francisco) three or four months at a time. … I didn’t want to do that.”

So he started exploring his options.

Schwartz said he first heard about Gallegos when he read Humboldt County newspapers during Gallegos’ recall election in March and liked what he was reading.

“Really, what it came down to was, I really like this guy, I like his politics and I like what he’s doing,” he said.

Soon after, former Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen introduced the two.

After meeting Gallegos, Schwartz said he became interested in applying for a job as a prosecutor.

“What particularly interested me (was) this DA and his philosophy,” Schwartz said. “I think he’s just a great DA and I think he’s … taking care of the office in the way it should be.”

Because his respect for Gallegos played a part in sparking his interest in a position in the District Attorney’s Office, if Gallegos does not win the election next year, Schwartz said he would probably find a new job.

“I don’t know enough about Worth Dikeman (yet), I think he’s more of a traditionalist. … In all likelihood, I probably wouldn’t stay,” he said. “Right now, my position is that Paul would win the election. I certainly hope he would.”

Schwartz said he will cross that bridge when and if he has to.

For now, he is looking forward to becoming a prosecutor after spending almost 20 years as a defense attorney. Although his caseload will increase, he said he is up to the challenge.

“I was a public defender years ago and we had 90 to 100 cases … over three days. So I’m used to having lots of cases and moving them along,” Schwartz said. “I’m doing this because I really want to do this and I really want to work with Paul. … And I’m actually taking a huge salary cut to do it.”

Schwartz will start out making almost $56,500 a year. Without the reduction, he would be making approximately $81,000, Gallegos said.

Gallegos said he thinks Schwartz will be a good addition to his staff.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with him and expect him to be an asset to the office,” he said.
Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

ER - Web address not wrong, just changed

yougofree.com Web address not wrong, just changed
The Eureka Reporter The Eureka Reporter 8/26/2005

The Web site for Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos’ newest hire, Jeffrey Schwartz, a San Francisco-based criminal attorney, was changed sometime after an article about him was published Wednesday.

Those attempting to access his Web site, which was www.yougofree.com, will now be forwarded to another San Francisco-based practice, Petersen Law Office.

Schwartz could not be reached for comment by deadline.

Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved

***
Related stories re: Jeffrey "yougofree.com" Schwartz:
New deputy Jeffrey Schwartz to join Humboldt County District Attorney's Office soon
Web address not wrong, just changed
New Deputy DA Schwartz excited about working for Gallegos
Council races fill up
CHARGES DROPPED IN RAPE CASE
Judge Wilson denies release of Whitethorn defendants in kidnapping, rape case Friday
Defendant withdraws release request
Three in Whitethorn case get probation
Prosecutor assigned to Child Abuse Services Team
Council candidate Schwartz seeks a truly progressive future

ER - New deputy Jeffrey Schwartz to join Humboldt County District Attorney's Office soon

New deputy Jeffrey Schwartz to join Humboldt County District Attorney's Office soon
by Christine Bensen-Messinger, 8/24/2005
The Eureka Reporter
 
In mid-September, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office will welcome its newest deputy district attorney, San Francisco-based attorney Jeffrey Schwartz.

“He’s been practicing quite a while, (he’s) a pretty experienced attorney,” said Paul Gallegos, Humboldt County’s district attorney.

Schwartz has spent time and represented cases in Humboldt County, Southern California and Northern California.

He is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City and the John Marshall School of Law in Chicago. Schwartz has been working exclusively as a criminal defense attorney since the early 1980s, according to his Web site, www.yougofree.com.

“When we were recruiting, he was one of the people that applied,” Gallegos said. “I’ve actually been talking to Jeff for a couple years.”

For one reason or another, he said, it did not work out until now to hire Schwartz.

“Jeff’s been out there, we’ve talked. (The District Attorney’s Office has) talked to all sorts of people,” Gallegos said. “(Since Tim Stoen left) we have a senior position available and we’re filling it with a senior deputy.”

Schwartz has tried almost every type of case, including misdemeanors, white-collar crime, robberies and death penalty murders.

Although he will be a senior deputy, Gallegos said, he is willing to start with less pay.

“He’s coming in at a reduced salary, he agreed to that,” he said.

Because of his experience, Gallegos said, he should fit in well with the office.

“He will be a senior deputy, which means he will come in and do senior work or he won’t last long (but) he’s a pretty qualified guy,” Gallegos said.

Although the office is not staffed as it should be, Gallegos said hiring Schwartz will start to level out the playing field.

“Our base level of attorneys should be 17, we have 13 right now, (and) we will be at 14,” he said.

(Christine Bensen-Messinger can be reached at christine@eurekareporter.com.)

Related stories re: Jeffrey "yougofree.com" Schwartz:
Web address not wrong, just changed
New Deputy DA Schwartz excited about working for Gallegos
Council races fill up
CHARGES DROPPED IN RAPE CASE
Judge Wilson denies release of Whitethorn defendants in kidnapping, rape case Friday
Defendant withdraws release request
Three in Whitethorn case get probation
Prosecutor assigned to Child Abuse Services Team
Council candidate Schwartz seeks a truly progressive future

TS - New deputy DA has a troubled history - 10/27/2006

New deputy DA has a troubled history
Kimberly Wear The Times-Standard
Article Launched:10/27/2006 04:24:25 AM PDT

But he says, 'I'm ready to do good work for the county'

EUREKA -- The newest Humboldt County deputy district attorney was reprimanded by the California State Bar eight years ago, but says he learned from the experience and talked with his new employer about the situation.

”It was something that happened in 1998,” said Allan Dollison, who started work in the District Attorney's Office this week. “I've learned a lot and have done a lot of neat stuff since then.”

District Attorney Paul Gallegos said he knew about the discipline and talked with Dollison at length about what happened.

”It was quite a while ago,” he said. “He's certainly served the community since then. I have every indication he learned from his mistake and is going to be a great prosecutor.”

Dollison recently returned from service as an Army civil affairs officer in Afghanistan, where he received a combat action badge. He had been heading up the Public Defender's Office in Amador County near Tahoe.

Before that, Dollison served as an assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. protectorate near Guam.

Bar records show Dollison was disciplinedin August 2000 with a 60-day suspension and placed on two years' probation after stipulating to 16 counts of misconduct in four consolidated cases.

Those included failing to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquires; improperly withdrawing from representation; failing to return client files and unearned fees; and two counts of failing to cooperate with the bar's investigation.

”As part of one case Dollison was handling, he agreed to file a motion to set aside a default that had been entered against his client,” the bar summary states. “After not responding to his client's inquires, Dollison told her he had filed a motion that was denied in court. He provided a copy of the motion, a notice of ruling which stated an attorney had appeared on behalf of the other party.”

”In fact, Dollison never filed a motion, there was no hearing, he fabricated the notice of ruling and forged signatures on documents he sent to the client,” the report continues. “His misrepresentations were acts of moral turpitude.”

Another client had wages garnished. and others had to hire new counsel to complete their bankruptcy case, according to the state bar.

The report did note a mitigating factor that Dollison started a law practice soon after passing the bar, but “due to a lack of experience and business acumen, he accepted difficult cases for relatively low fees.”

”He abandoned several matters when he moved to a new office in order to stabilize his practice,” it read.

Dollison said he got in over his head as a new attorney and took on more than he could handle at the time. A lot has changed since then, and he has moved on, he said.
”I'm ready to do good work for the county,” Dollison said.

Kimberly Wear covers the cities of Eureka and Arcata. She can be reached at 441-0512 or kwear@times-standard.com
***
State Bar Association Allan Lee Dollison

RELATED:

More:
Like Gallegos, he did not go to an accredited Law School - Western State Univ was not an accredited Law School at the time Dollison attended.
It has recently become accredited.

Like Stoen and Schwartz, this guy likes to run for office:
Senatorial candidate suspended in 2000
Smart Voter - Philosophy
Smart Voter, March 2, 2004 Election - Our Environment
He also ran for the California Assembly in 1994.

Addtl link:
The AEB's agenda
2. DA can exploit his national notoriety by recruiting seasoned as well as fresh bright younger prosecuters

1336
SUPREME COURT MINUTES
THURSDAY, JULY 27, 2000
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
S088328
In re Allan Lee Dollison on Discipline

It is ordered that Allan Lee Dollison, State Bar No. 177299, be suspended from the practice of law for one year and until he makes restitution to Lynda Maisterra (or the Client Security Fund, if appropriate) in the amount of $837.00, plus 10% interest per annum from September 1, 1997; to Francisco and Flor Cruz (or the Client Security Fund, if appropriate) in the amount of $625.00, plus 10% interest per annum from September 24, 1997, and furnishes satisfactory proof thereof to the Probation Unit, State Bar Office of the Chief Trial Counsel; and until he has shown proof satisfactory to the State Bar Court of his rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the general law pursuant to standard 1.4(c)(ii), Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct, that execution of suspension be stayed, and that he be placed on probation for two years on condition that he be actually suspended for 60 days and until he makes the restitution described above and provides satisfactory proof thereof to the Probation Unit. If he is actually suspended for two years or more, he shall remain actually suspended until he provides proof to the satisfaction of the State Bar of California of his rehabilitation, fitness to practice and learning and ability in the general law pursuant to standard 1.4(c)(ii), Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct. Allan Lee Dollison is also ordered to comply with the other conditions of probation recommended by the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court in its Order Approving Stipulation filed March 31, 2000. It is further ordered that he take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination within one year after the effective date of this order or during the period of his actual suspension, whichever is longer. (See Segretti v. State Bar (1976) 15 Cal.3d 878, 891, fn. 8.) It is further ordered that if he is actually suspended for 90 days or more, he shall comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court, and that he perform the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) of that rule within 120 and 130 calendar days, respectively, after the effective date of this order.* Costs are awarded to the State Bar and and one-half of said costs shall be added to and become part of the membership fee for the years 2001 and 2002. (Bus. & Prof. Code section 6086.10.)
*(See Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6126, subd. (c).)

More:
Monday, October 23, 2006
State Bar Association Allan Lee Dollison http://members.calbar.ca.gov/search/member_detail.aspx?x=177299 - #177299

August 26, 2000
ALLAN LEE DOLLISON [#177299], 34, of Saipan was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and until he makes restitution and proves his rehabilitation, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 955. The order took effect Aug. 26, 2000.

Dollison stipulated to 16 counts of misconduct in four consolidated cases: three counts each of failing to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquiries and improperly withdrawing from representation, and two counts each of failing to return client files, refund unearned fees and cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

As part of one case Dollison was handling, he agreed to file a motion to set aside a default that had been entered against his client. After not responding to his client’s inquiries, Dollison told her he had filed a motion that was denied by the court. He provided a copy of the motion, a notice of ruling which stated an attorney had appeared on behalf of the other party.

In fact, Dollison never filed a motion, there was no hearing, he fabricated the notice of ruling and forged signatures on documents he sent to the client. His misrepresentations were acts of moral turpitude. He never refunded his fee.

He vacated his office and did not notify clients or the courts, he failed to appear at hearings and failed to follow court orders. Two cases were dismissed as a result of failure to prosecute. One client’s wages were garnished to pay a default judgment, and other clients were forced to hire new counsel to complete their bankruptcy petition.

In mitigation, Dollison started a solo practice soon after his admission to the bar, but due to a lack of experience and business acumen, he accepted difficult cases for relatively low fees. He abandoned several matters when he moved to a new office in order to stabilize his practice. He also suffered from depression and is under the care of a psychiatrist.
 
Profile Information
Bar Number 177299
District District 6
Undergraduate School California St Univ Fullerton; CA
County Riverside
Law School Western State Univ COL; Fullerton CA

Status History
Effective Date Status Change
Present Active
10/25/2000 Active
8/26/2000 Not Eligible To Practice Law
3/16/2000 Active
10/25/1999 Not Eligible To Practice Law
6/15/1995 Admitted to The State Bar of California
Explanation of member status
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law

Effective Date 8/26/2000
Description Discipline w/actual suspension
Case Number 97-O-18138 
Eligibility to Practice Law Not Eligible To Practice Law 

Effective Date 11/15/1999
Description Ordered inactive
Case Number 97-O-18526 
Eligibility to Practice Law Not Eligible To Practice Law 

Effective Date 10/25/1999
Description Ordered inactive
Case Number 97-O-18138 
Eligibility to Practice Law Not Eligible To Practice Law 

Administrative Actions
This member has no public record of administrative actions.

Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.

California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.

© 2006 The State Bar of California

More:
(MPRE) Above means he was told to take an ethics course and pass the Multi-State Professional
Responsibility Exam.

Like Gallegos, he did not go to an accredited Law School - Western State Univ was not an accredited Law School at the time Dollison attended.
It has recently become accredited.

Like Stoen and Schwartz, this guy likes to run for office:
Senatorial candidate suspended in 2000
Smart Voter - Philosophy
Smart Voter, March 2, 2004 Election - Our Environment
He also ran for the California Assembly in 1994.

Addtl link:
The AEB's agenda
2. DA can exploit his national notoriety by recruiting seasoned as well as fresh bright younger prosecuters

10.23.2006

District Attorney's judgement questioned

This is Mickey Fleschner's letter to the McKinleyville Press describing Paul's appearance at a Trinidad
Chamber of Commerce dinner... This is where he was talking about the Brian Schooling case....

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
District Attorney's judgement questioned

Dear Editor,

Mr. Paul Gallegos attended the Jan. 20, 2004, Trinidad Chamber of Commerce dinner meeting as the guest speaker. In his comments Mr. Gallegos had outlined his vision of law enforcement, which placed emphasis on integration with social services in the rehabilitation rather than routine criminal prosecutions and reflexive incarceration of those convicted. During the course of the question and answer session following his informative presentation, and exchange of revelatory importance took place.

Mr. Dick Bruce, a chamber member, asked a question to the effect; "Is it appropriate for the District Attorney to perform social service functions when we already have schools, other social service agencies and the Sheriff?" Mr. Gallegoos, in his response, decided to use an example to explicate his progressive approach to duties as District Attorney. He referenced a pending case in sufficient detail for us to understand the defendant's identity, After defining for us a psychological condition called "multiple personality disorder," he paused to make these admonitions:

He presumed that none of us in the audience was in the "jury pool" of potential jurors in the case.

He cautioned us that we should not talk widely about this matter, hoping we would keep this example amongst ourselves.

He advised us that any of us called as jurors in this case would have to recuse ourselves form jury duty.

Resuming his analysis, Mr. Gallegos explained that this defendant had three different personalities. The first was that of a severely abused toddler, the second (I'm a little hazy on this one) of a neglected child through adolescence, and the third of a properly functioning adult. Mr. Gallegos, in all seriousness, rhetorically asked us to advise him which one of the personalities he should prosecute?

This example he offered to an informal gathering of about 45 citizens to illustrate the broader understanding of social issues he brings to the office of District Attorney. He recognized from the onset that speaking of such things was impacting the jury pool. Continuing with his psychoanalysis of the defendant after such recognition is not poor judgement, it is a lack of a fundamental capacity to make judgements requisite of a District Attorney.

Though I supported Terry Farmer in the last election, I did not support the recall petition of Mr. Gallegos. Mr. Gallegos made it clear in his campaign that he was a reformer of traditional "tough on crime" law enforcement. He won the election and I thought Humboldt County should suffer or benefit from the consequences of giving his approach a try. However, his Jan. 20 performance has nothing to do with a more enlightened approach to law enforcement. It demonstrates an appalling deep seated lack of judgement. Had I experienced this earlier, I would have supported the Recall petition.

Sincerely,
Mickey Fleschner
Trinidad

10.22.2006

NCJ - WEB OF LIES Richard Salzman and other e-mail phonies - September 1, 2005


On the cover: Richard Salzman shakes hands with Deputy DA Worth Dikeman

From the Publisher: An apology
by JUDY HODGSON
September 1, 2005
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/pub0901.html

This is a long overdue apology to our readers.

As you will learn in this week's cover story, this newspaper and every other newspaper in the county we have researched so far have been victims of a letter-writing hoax. We printed a letter in June from a reader who had written before, whose letters had appeared in other newspapers, without calling to verify the letter's authenticity.

It was a fake name, one he used to influence public opinion in the best-read section of any paper -- the letters to the editor. This deception, we learned this past week, has been ongoing for months, much to our embarrassment, and we sincerely apologize.

The letter writer isn't just an ordinary reader. He is a political activist, and a volunteer and sometimes paid consultant for many liberal causes. He worked on the campaign to elect Jill Geist as county supervisor, Paul Gallegos' initial run for district attorney and Chris Kerrigan's bid for re-election to the Eureka City Council. He was a key player in the successful fight against Gallegos' recall attempt. And he has been an outspoken critic of Pacific Lumber Co. and Debi August, a Fortuna City Council member indicted by the grand jury for conflict of interest. (August's case was later dismissed.)

During our investigation, we learned he wrote frequently under several names, including, occasionally, his own -- Richard Salzman.

By perpetrating this hoax, Salzman betrayed the public, especially the people who have supported his causes. Citizens on the other side of these important issues will long remember his deception. There were many thoughtful, passionate, sincere letter writers during the same period of time who will now have their very existence called into question because of Salzman's deception.

Some readers may ask if our headline, "Web of lies," is too harsh. I don't think so. To write letters under an assumed name is a lie in itself. Then, when we confronted him with the evidence of his deceit last Friday, he initially denied it. It was only after a face-to-face confrontation Monday in our office, and a few more hours of private reflection, that he admitted his deception.

Salzman now claims he has some right to use a "pen name." Maybe in writing fiction, but not in the news business. Political careers and important causes are advanced or maimed based on how the news unfolds, and cynical attempts to twist the contents of newspapers to one's own end should be roundly condemned, whether the twister is Salzman or Karl Rove. Geist has long distanced herself from Salzman; Gallegos and Kerrigan should do the same.

We spent staff time this past week reviewing all letters published in the Journal in the last two and a half years. In addition to those originated by Salzman, we have published a few others whose authenticity we cannot yet verify, meaning we cannot find the authors in any of our databases nor can we contact them by phone or e-mail. Our promise to readers is to do our best to screen letters in the future, and to investigate any and all attempts to falsely and covertly manipulate public opinion.

-- -- --

We also learned this past week of what we hope will be the penultimate chapter in the pepper spray saga. The judge in the case, which found that Humboldt County and the city of Eureka police officers used excessive force in dealing with anti-logging demonstrators in 1997, ruled that the plaintiffs are entitled to recover legal fees. (The ultimate chapter will be when the attorneys actually get paid.)

As we have editorialized many times these past eight years, the county supervisors and the Eureka City Council should have condemned the actions of their officers -- under orders of then-Sheriff Dennis Lewis, who bears ultimate responsibility -- and they should have offered to settle with the victims. Fighting this case every step of the way has been a failure to accept responsibility all along the chain of command and has been extremely costly to taxpayers. The tab so far is in the millions.

###

WEB OF LIES
Richard Salzman and other e-mail phonies
September 1, 2005
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html

On the cover: Richard Salzman shakes hands with Deputy DA Worth Dikeman
at a Dikeman press conference earlier this year. Photo by Hank Sims.
by HANK SIMS

For at least the last 10 months, controversial political figure Richard Salzman has authored numerous letters to local newspapers under fake names, the Journal has learned. The letters, which were signed "R. Trent Williams" and "Dick Wyatt," were published in the Journal and the Eureka Reporter, the only two local newspapers with extensive online archives. It is believed that they also appeared in other publications.

Nearly every hot political topic to hit Humboldt County in the past year is addressed in the letters -- from the aftermath of the failed recall attempt on District Attorney Paul Gallegos (during which Salzman was the DA's campaign chairman) to the battle over the new county general plan, Eureka City Councilman Chris Kerrigan's reelection, the threatened boycott of Arcata and the backlash against Salzman himself.

Acting on a complaint from Fortuna resident Rhonda Meehan (see sidebar), the Journal contacted Salzman Friday afternoon to ask if he had, in fact, written letters to the editor using phony names. He said that he had not.

"The only letters I write are the ones you see from me," he said. He added that he had never heard of "R. Trent Williams," but that Fortuna resident Dick Wyatt was a political colleague.

In a follow-up telephone conversation that evening, Salzman at first sought to dismiss Meehan's claims, saying that Meehan was "clearly a hard-core Dikeman supporter." (Deputy District Attorney Worth Dikeman has announced that he will challenge Gallegos for the post of district attorney next year).

However, on Monday, after being presented with hard evidence collected by the Journal that supported Meehan's allegations, Salzman recanted and issued a partial confession.

In a statement delivered to the Journal Monday afternoon, Salzman confessed that he had submitted letters to the editor under a "pen name."

"The use of pen names has been a common practice throughout history," Salzman wrote. "It is important to know I stand behind the substance of everything contained in all the letters I submitted."

Salzman's change of story came after he met with the Journal in our offices Monday morning to review the information supporting Meehan's case that this newspaper collected Friday afternoon and over the weekend.

After reading Meehan's complaint, the Journal looked closely at identifying information in e-mails from Salzman stored on our computers, then at similar information in the single e-mail from "R. Trent Williams" that we retained. We also looked at the e-mail purportedly sent by "Dick Wyatt" that Meehan referenced, which we received but did not publish.

A careful read of the e-mail "headers" -- addressing information at the top of the message that most e-mail programs hide -- showed that both the "Williams" and the "Wyatt" e-mails contained the IP address of the computer that sent them (see sidebar). These addresses matched addresses used by Salzman in the same period.

The "Williams" e-mail (sent May 23, 2005) and the "Wyatt" e-mail (July 9, 2005) both originated from a computer using the IP address 68.230.244.48. All the e-mails that we had received from Salzman between March 3, 2005, and July 5, 2005, were from a computer using the same address. (The first e-mail we received from Salzman after the "Wyatt" e-mail was dated early August, by which time his IP lease of that address had apparently expired.)

Over the weekend, the Arcata Eye provided this newspaper with copies of e-mails it had received from "Williams" -- one dated Dec. 16, 2004, and one dated Aug. 4, 2005. The Journal compared the IP address information contained in the Eye e-mails to the same information in e-mails known to be sent by Salzman at those times. In both cases, the IP addresses matched. In mid-December, both Salzman and "Williams" were using IP address 68.105.22.128; in early August, both were using 68.105.23.202. The combination of these three dates, during which Salzman and "Williams" were using the same IP address, was conclusive.

In addition, the Journal discovered that Salzman didn't employ much creativity in devising what appears to be his principal pseudonym.

Though the Williams letters were signed "R. Trent Williams," e-mails sent from "Williams'" e-mail address appeared in inboxes as coming from "Rick William." Salzman's full name is Richard William Salzman.

Reached Tuesday morning, Salzman declined to comment on the matter any further. He said that he would not provide a list of false names he has used.

In recent months, the Journal has received two letters from a person claiming to be a Eureka resident named "R. Johnson," one of which was published in July (the other, sent a month earlier, was published in the McKinleyville Press). Upon further examination, the letters have proven to be false.

Even though the "R. Johnson" letters were sent to the Journal electronically, they cannot be definitively tied to Salzman or any other person as they contain no IP address information. However, they both take stances similar to ones Salzman has taken in the past: One thanks former Assistant District Attorney Tim Stoen for his service to the county, the other excoriates the Humboldt Taxpayer's League and auto dealer Harvey Harper.

The "R. Johnson" letters give the address of a Eureka home that turns out to belong to 93-year-old Ruth Johnson. On Monday afternoon, the Journal reached Ruth Johnson's caregiver, who said that there was no way that she could have written the letters.

"She can't even sign her own name," the caregiver replied.

Meehan, who is the sister of Fortuna City Councilmember Debi August -- a vocal Gallegos opponent and former target of a lawsuit prosecuted by the DA's office -- said Tuesday that she sent her fax to local newspapers after the real Dick Wyatt, a Fortuna resident, apologized to August for the content of the Salzman letter that appeared under his name.

According to Meehan, Wyatt said that Salzman had asked to write a letter to the editor using his name. He later regretted that it had made reference to August's "mendacious behavior," Meehan said. (Wyatt could not be reached for this story. August declined to comment.)

Meehan said that she just took a guess about the "R. Trent Williams" letters.

"That one -- I don't know," she said. "Both letters just sounded so much alike that I threw that one in there." l

-- Staff writer Helen Sanderson contributed to this report.

-- -- --
The story of 'Jan Johnson'

Recent editions of the Humboldt Advocate, a small weekly newspaper published in Arcata, have dropped dark hints about a vast conspiracy among other newspapers. Many supposedly "independent" local newspapers, it is suggested, are in fact owned by a single, shadowy "neo-conservative" businessman who wishes to bend the public will to his ends.

The hints come both from the pen of Advocate editor/publisher Shawn Warford and from one "Luke Morris," an alleged resident of Eureka whose letter praising Warford's previous editorials on the subject appeared in the Aug. 10 issue.

There is no Luke Morris listed in the local phone book, nor is there any such person registered to vote in Humboldt County. When challenged on this point, Warford -- who used to work for the Arcata Eye and the North Coast Journal -- wrote that Morris' letter was delivered by hand to the Advocate offices, slipped under the door with no name or address given. Warford said that he decided to print the letter anyway, contrary to his own stated policy.

A mystery. But for Kevin Hoover, editor/publisher of the Eye, there was something familiar about both the "Luke Morris" letter and Warford's own frequent invocations of media corruption and conspiracy. It was all contained in a series of anonymous e-mails he and other members of the Eye staff began receiving last year -- e-mails that, over the course of a few months, turned from bizarrely amusing to deeply abusive and frightening.

Last fall, Hoover received a series of e-mails from someone who identified herself as "Jan Johnson," an Arcata woman. The first few letters "Johnson" sent to Hoover asked him to investigate Johnson's contention that the North Coast Journal is secretly owned by Rob Arkley, a Eureka financier and well-known donor to high-profile Republican causes. (Editor's note: It is not.)

After several such e-mails, and another suggesting a freelance writer that the Eye might consider hiring, Hoover asked "Jan Johnson" to provide a phone number in future letters. She declined.

The e-mails did not cease, but they started to develop a threatening edge. Eye staff members started receiving letters from "Jan Johnson" through their personal e-mail addresses. One such letter was sent to the Eye's advertising manager, Terrence McNally.

"You can run, but you can't hide," the letter said. "We have our sources at The Alibi. You're on our list for crimes against humanity. We intend to bring you to justice. December 9 will be just the beginning."

In the spring, the Eureka Reporter (which is owned by Rob Arkley) printed a letter from Jan Johnson that praised the Reporter and complained about the "awful Arcata Eye." (Upon learning that the letter was fake, Reporter editor Glenn Franco Simmons apologized for printing it.)

The letters abated for a time, but on March 12, Hoover received another "Jan Johnson" letter that caused him to take action.

It began fairly innocently, but it swiftly degenerated into loathing and veiled threats. The letter stated that the Eye, the North Coast Journal and the McKinleyville Press were all financed by Robin Arkley, Sr. (Rob Arkley's father).

It then referenced an incident from a few years back, when Hoover was suddenly (and apparently randomly) attacked and beaten by a group of men on New Year's Eve.

"Wouldn't it be interesting if those guys ran into you again?" the letter asked. "They know where you work and live and the car that you drive... Am I getting warmer? Yes, we are on to you."

Hoover notified the police, then got a computer-savvy friend to compare the IP address information in the "Jan Johnson" e-mails with other e-mails stored on his computer. The friend found a hit: At least some of the Johnson e-mails were sent from an IP address recently used by the Arcata Chamber of Commerce.

The e-mails that appeared to come from the Chamber's offices were sent on a Saturday. At the time, there was only one employee working at the office on a Saturday: Shawn Warford, who was a part-timer for the Chamber, in addition to running the Advocate.

Arcata Chamber of Commerce President Ray Geary said that while he could not discuss personnel matters in detail, he did say that Warford was told that "his services were no longer required" shortly after he spoke with Hoover and his staff spoke with the Arcata Police Department.

Geary offered advice to any local business that might find itself in similar circumstances.

"If situations like these are occurring, there needs to be in-depth follow-up and follow-through with those offended, in cooperation with appropriate authorities," he said.

Capt. Tom Chapman of the Arcata Police Department confirmed Tuesday that there had been an investigation of the matter. Though he said that "we're fairly certain we know who it is," the department could not gather enough definitive proof to bring a case against the suspect. (Chapman declined to identify the suspect by name.)

Hoover said Sunday that after Warford left the Chamber's employment, the Jan Johnson e-mails stopped. He said Sunday that he didn't wish to write about the matter for fear that it would rekindle the e-mailer's abuse.

"I was just glad the harassment of my staff and me was over with," he said.

Warford did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment for this story.

Sidebars:
Rhonda Meehan's letter
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html#Rhonda
Letters from "R. Trent Williams" printed by the Journal
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html#Letters
The story of 'Jan Johnson'
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/cover0901.html#Johnson
Glossary of terms
An apology
http://www.northcoastjournal.com/090105/pub0901.html

Related story links:
will be updated