Description of Amicus Curiae

Posted to supplement the discussion at watchpaul on this topic:

An amicus curia brief literally means "friend of the court." It is written by an interested party that is NOT a party to the lawsuit to give the court more information on the law. It is not a sure thing. The group has to file an application to the court to file the brief which has to be accepted BEFORE the filing is accepted.

This latest move means someone has gotten someone in the City Attorney's office to help Paul. Nothing in the brief has anything to do with San Francisco....

Here's the description of Amicus Curiae:

"''Amicus curiae'' is a Latin expression meaning ''friend of the court'' [Black's Law Dictionary 75 (5th ed. 1979)]. The plural of amicus curiae is ''amici curiae.'' Amicus curiae presentations assist the court by broadening its perspective on the issues raised by the parties. Among other services, they facilitate informed judicial consideration of a wide variety of information and points of view that may bear on important legal questions [ Connerly v. State Personnel Bd. (2006) 37 Cal. 4th 1169, 1179-1183, 39 Cal. Rptr. 3d 788, 129 P. 3d 1 ; Bily v. Arthur Young & Co. (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 370, 405 n.14, 11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 51, 834 P.2d 745 ].

Although an amicus curiae generally participates in an appellate court proceeding at his or her own request [ see § 22.16], the trial court may request him or her to seek permission to participate from the appellate court [see Marshall v. Marshall (1931) 212 Cal. 736, 737-738, 300 P. 816 (trial court requested that certain attorneys seek permission from appellate court to file amicus curiae briefs when defendant failed to appear on appeal or file a brief; trial court's action justified by sufficiently public nature of matter involved)]. A trial court may not appoint an amicus curiae to represent it on appeal, however, since the court itself is not a party to the appeal [ In re Pina (1896) 112 Cal. 14, 16, 44 P. 332 ].

The appellate court may also invite amicus curiae briefs [see Royal Globe Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1979) 23 Cal. 3d 880, 153 Cal. Rptr. 842, 592 P.2d 329 (Supreme Court requested amicus briefs relating to construction of disputed insurance statute), overruled on other grounds in Moradi-Shalal v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Companies (1988) 46 Cal. 3d 287, 250 Cal. Rptr. 116, 758 P.2d 58 ].

[1] Raising New Matters Generally Not Permitted

As a general rule, an appellate court will consider only those questions properly raised by the parties; an amicus curiae in an appellate court must accept the issues as framed and propositions as set forth by the appealing parties. Any additional questions presented in a brief filed by an amicus curiae will generally not be considered by the court [ White v. Davis (2003)
30 Cal. 4th 528, 553, n. 10, 133 Cal. Rptr. 2d 648, 68 P.3d 74 (court refused to consider amicus curiae argument regarding payment to lawyers appointed to represent indigent defendants when argument was not previously raised); Berg v. Traylor (2007) 148 Cal. App. 4th 809, 823, 56 Cal. Rptr. 3d 140 ; Big Creek Lumber Co. v. County of Santa Cruz (2004) 115 Cal. App. 4th 952, 966, 10 Cal. Rptr. 3d 356 (court refuses to hear constitutional issue raised solely by amicus curiae); Rieger v. Arnold (2002) 104 Cal. App. 4th 451, 461, 128 Cal. Rptr. 2d 295 (court rejected amicus curiae argument urging court not to consider plaintiff's actions in sexual harassment cause of action because parties did not raise argument); see also Knetsch v.
United States (1960) 364 U.S. 361, 370, 81 S. Ct. 132, 5 L. Ed. 2d 128 (additional questions presented in amicus curiae brief filed in U.S. Supreme Court not considered); City of Los Angeles v. Standard Oil Co. (1968) 262 Cal. App. 2d 118 , 127, 68 Cal. Rptr. 512 (amicus curiae who filed brief in appellate court declaratory relief action to determine constitutionality of
a statute was not allowed to seek relief based on hypothetical construction of statute not asserted by parties)].

[2] New Arguments or Issues Sometimes Allowed

Generally, courts will consider an issue raised only by amicus curiae only in the following situations [ Costa v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1998) 65 Cal. App. 4th 1177, 1187-1188, 77 Cal. Rptr. 2d 289 ]: The issue supports affirmance.

The issue concerns the jurisdiction of the court.

For example, the Supreme Court considered an issue first raised by an amicus curiae on appeal because a jurisdictional question was involved, and the appeal was also from judgment of dismissal after the trial court sustained a general demurrer without leave to amend, in which situation an appellate court is required to affirm the judgment if it is correct on any theory,
including one first raised by amicus [see E. L. White, Inc. v. City of Huntington Beach (1978) 21 Cal. 3d 497, 510-511, 146 Cal. Rptr. 614, 579 P.2d 505 ].

An amicus curiae may also be permitted to raise a new issue on appeal when
the issue arises from a United States Supreme Court opinion decided during
pendency of appellate court action, the parties do not inform the appellate
court of that decision, and the appellate decision does not address the
particular issue [see Fisher v. City of Berkeley (1984) 1985-1 Trade Cas.
(CCH) P66473, 37 Cal. 3d 644, 209 Cal. Rptr. 682, 693 P.2d 261 , aff'd, 475
U.S. 260, 106 S. Ct. 1045, 89 L. Ed. 2d 206, 1986-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P66965
]; the issue is a purely legal issue of statutory interpretation and is not
dependent upon the development of a factual record in the trial court [see
California Highway Patrol v. Superior Court (2006) 135 Cal. App. 4th 488,
498, 38 Cal. Rptr. 3d 16] ; the issue presented is of statewide importance
and capable of being presented repeatedly [see Lavie v. Procter & Gamble Co.
(2003) 105 Cal. App. 4th 496, 503, 129 Cal. Rptr. 2d 486 (court considered
amicus argument because standard for evaluating whether advertisement is
deceptive under Unfair Competition Law is question of law with important
public policy implications); People v. Niebauer (1989) 214 Cal. App. 3d
1278, 1291, 263 Cal. Rptr. 287 (court considered argument of amicus curiae
not raised by either party, relating to constitutionality of statute
prohibiting dark-tinted windows in motor vehicles)]; the lower court had a
duty to take judicial notice of the material forming the basis of the amicus
curiae's argument, and the material can therefore be considered part of the
record on appeal [see Pratt v. Coast Trucking, Inc. (1964) 228 Cal. App. 2d
139, 143-149, 39 Cal. Rptr. 332 (Public Utilities Commission as amicus
curiae permitted to raise argument not raised by either party) ]; or the
interests of justice dictate that the amicus be allowed to present the issue
[see People v. Coleman (1942) 53 Cal. App. 2d 18, 32, 127 P.2d 309 (allowing
amicus curiae in criminal action to raise objections to instructions not
objected to by defendant)].

[3] Improper Matter Ignored or Stricken

The rules and practices of reviewing courts accord wide latitude to
interested and responsible parties who seek to file amicus curiae briefs, in
order to further the purpose of these briefs in assisting the court [ Bily
v. Arthur Young & Co. (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 370, 405 n.14, 11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 51,
834 P.2d 745 ; see Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f); see also discussion in
§ 22.11[1] (purpose of participation by amicus curiae)]. The reviewing court
may choose to ignore, however, improper material such as unreliable and
irrelevant information [ Bily v. Arthur Young & Co. (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 370,
405 n.14, 11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 51, 834 P.2d 745 ].

Improper material may be stricken from an amicus brief in extreme cases of
obvious abuse of the amicus curiae privilege. Otherwise courts are not
inclined to control the contents of amicus curiae briefs by use of orders to
strike [see Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001) 26 Cal. 4th 63, 77, 109
Cal. Rptr. 2d 1, 26 P.3d 332 ; Bily v. Arthur Young & Co. (1992) 3 Cal. 4th
370, 405 n.14, 11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 51, 834 P.2d 745 ; Matuz v. Gerardin Corp.
(1989) 207 Cal. App. 3d 203, 206-207 ].

For further discussion of improper content of appellate briefs generally,
and a form of motion to strike a defective brief, see Ch. 50, Appeal: Briefs

In an appeal to the appellate division of the Superior Court, an amicus
curiae may file a brief after permission is obtained from the presiding
judge, subject to any conditions that he or she may prescribe. If the brief
supports one of the parties' position, that fact must be noted in its
heading [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.706(b); see also Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule
8.706(c), (d) (contents and format of briefs filed in appellate division of
superior court); for a form of such notation, see § 22.42 ].

The Attorney General may file an amicus curiae brief without obtaining the
presiding judge's permission, unless the Attorney General is presenting the
brief on behalf of another state officer or agency. The presiding judge may
prescribe reasonable conditions for filing and answering such a brief [Cal.
Rules of Ct., Rule 8.706(b) ].

For a form of request for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in the
appellate division of the superior court, see § 22.41[1] . For further
discussion relating to the requirements governing the content and format,
and filing of a brief, including an amicus curiae brief, in an appeal before
the appellate division of the superior court, see Ch. 345A, Limited Civil
Cases, § 345A.56 .

An amicus curiae brief must be served on all parties before it is filed
[Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.706(e) ]. To demonstrate compliance with this
requirement, it is recommended that proof of service accompany the filing
copies of the brief. For forms of proof of service, see Ch. 518, Service of
Summons and Papers, § 518.90 et seq.

[3] California Court of Appeal

A brief of amicus curiae in a court of appeal on the merits of an action or
proceeding may be filed after permission is first obtained from the
presiding justice, subject to any conditions that may be prescribed. To
obtain permission the applicant must file with the clerk of the reviewing
court a signed request that states the nature of the applicant's interest
and explains how the proposed amicus curiae brief will assist the court in
deciding the matter [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.200(c)(2) ]. The proposed
brief must be served and must accompany the application, and may be combined
with the application [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.200(c)(3) ]. The covers of
the application and proposed brief must identify the party the applicant
supports, if any [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.200(c)(4) ]. For a form of
request for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in the court of appeal,
see § 22.41[1] .

The Attorney General may file an amicus curiae brief without obtaining the
presiding justice's permission, unless the Attorney General is presenting
the brief on behalf of another state officer or agency. The Attorney General
must file the brief within 14 days after the last respondent's brief, or the
return, is filed. The brief must contain the information otherwise required
in a request for permission to file an amicus brief in the court of appeal.
Any party may file an answer to an amicus curiae brief of the Attorney
General within 14 days after it is filed [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule
8.200(c)(6) ].

If the court grants the application of an amicus curiae to file a brief, any
party may file an answer within the time the court specifies [Cal. Rules of
Ct., Rule 8.200(c)(5) ]. Before any answer to an amicus curiae brief is
filed, it must be served on all parties and on the amicus curiae [Cal. Rules
of Ct., Rule 8.200(c)(5) ]. To demonstrate compliance with this requirement,
it is recommended that proof of service accompany the filing copies of such
briefs. For forms of proof of service, see Ch. 518, Service of Summons and
Papers, § 518.90 et seq. The filing copies of the brief must also be
accompanied by proof of deposit of one copy with the clerk of the superior
court for delivery to the judge who presided at trial [see Cal. Rules of
Ct., Rule 8.212(c) ].

The covers of the amicus curiae application and brief must identify the
party, if any, that the brief supports [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(5);
for a form of such notation, see § 22.42 ]. Whenever practicable, the cover
of an amicus curiae brief should be gray [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.40(b) ].

For further discussion and forms relating to the format, content, and other
procedural requirements governing briefs generally, including amicus curiae
briefs, filed in a civil appeal before the court of appeal, see Ch. 50,
Appeal: Briefs .

A brief of amicus curiae on the merits of an action or proceeding may be
filed after permission is obtained from the Chief Justice, subject to any
conditions that may be prescribed. To obtain permission the applicant must
file with the clerk of the Supreme Court a signed request, accompanied by
the proposed brief, stating the nature of the applicant's interest and
explaining how the proposed brief will assist the court in deciding the
matter [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(3) ].

The request and proposed brief must be received by the court no later than
30 days after all briefs, other than supplemental briefs, which the parties
are entitled to file pursuant to Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f), either
have been filed or can no longer be filed within the time limits prescribed
by that rule. The Chief Justice may grant leave for later filing if the
applicant presents specific and compelling reasons for the delay [Cal. Rules
of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(2) ]. For a form of request for leave to file a brief
as amicus curiae in an appeal before the Supreme Court, see § 22.41[2] .

The Attorney General may file an amicus curiae brief without obtaining the
Chief Justice's permission, unless the Attorney General is presenting the
brief on behalf of another state officer or agency. The Attorney General
must file the brief within the time required for receipt of a request for
permission to file an amicus brief. The brief must contain the information
otherwise required in a request for permission to file an amicus brief in
the Supreme Court [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(7) ].

Before any amicus curiae brief is filed, it must be served on all parties
[Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(1) ]. To demonstrate compliance with this
requirement, it is recommended that proof of service accompany the filing
copies of such briefs [cf. discussion in [a], above (proof of service
expressly required for amicus curiae letter supporting or opposing petition
for review); for forms of proof of service, see Ch. 518, Service of Summons
and Papers § 518.90 et seq.]. The filing copies of the brief must also be
accompanied by proof of deposit of one copy with the clerk of the superior
court for delivery to the judge who presided at trial [see Cal. Rules of
Ct., Rule 8.212(c) ].

Any party may file an answer to an amicus brief within 20 days after it is
filed. Before any answer is filed, it must be served on all parties and on
the amicus curiae [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(f)(6) ].

Amicus curiae briefs on the merits in the Supreme Court must conform as
nearly as possible to the requirements of Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.520(b),
relating to form and content. The cover of an amicus curiae brief must
identify the party, if any, that the brief supports [Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule
8.520(f)(5); for a form of such notation, see § 22.42 ]. In addition,
whenever practicable, the cover of an amicus curiae brief should be gray
[Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 8.40(b) ].

For further discussion and forms relating to the format, content, and other
procedural requirements governing briefs generally, including amicus curiae
briefs, filed in a civil review proceeding before the Supreme Court, see Ch.
54, Appeal: California Supreme Court Review .


ER - Jury reacts to settlement in first-degree murder retrial

Jury reacts to settlement in first-degree murder retrial
by Heather Muller , 8/17/2007

Jurors were led into Judge Dale Reinholtsen’s courtroom Thursday for what they believed would be the continuation of the first-degree murder retrial against Richard Craig Kesser, but they took their seats in the gallery instead of the jury box.

Reinholtsen, perched on the edge of the defense table, explained to them that the case against Kesser had been settled in their absence the day before.

“(Kesser) has not entered a plea but has waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to let the judge decide the case based on court transcripts,” Reinholtsen said.

But the judge later added, “There’s no question whether he did it. The question is the level of involvement.”

That question may finally be answered after Kesser agreed Wednesday to provide a statement to the district attorney that specifies his precise role in the murder of his estranged wife, who was stabbed to death in her Fortuna home two nights before Thanksgiving in 1991.

Kesser further agreed to a polygraph test, Reinholtsen said, and if the test showed no deception and Kesser testified against his former girlfriend and alleged co-conspirator Jennifer Leahy, he would receive a bench verdict of guilt for second-degree murder, with a penalty of 15 years to life.

If deception were found, however, a bench verdict of guilt would be handed down for first-degree murder instead, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life.

One way or the other, the special allegations of murder for profit and lying in wait have been dropped, and Kesser may some day be released from custody.

In fact, Reinholtsen said, because Kesser had already served 15 years, “he would be eligible for consideration of parole at this time,” if he is charged with the lesser offense.

But the judge went on to say that Kesser’s chances of receiving parole were “slight.”

As part of the settlement, Kesser pleaded guilty to a felony charge of making terrorist threats, which does not impact his sentence but counts as a second strike offense under California’s three-strikes legislation.

“If he ever got out on parole and committed another felony,” Reinholtsen said, “he’d be looking at another 25 years to life.”

While he expressed no opinion of the settlement, Reinholtsen said, “In a good settlement, neither side’s happy.”

Jurors expressed surprise and disappointment that court proceedings ended so abruptly.

“You know this is our one-month anniversary,” juror Greg Brown joked with the judge.

Other jurors asked about the history of the case and also questioned why the settlement wasn’t reached sooner.

Juror Karen August expressed concern that Kesser’s sentence would be based on the truthfulness of his statement rather than the level of his involvement in the brutal murder.

Reinholtsen said he believed the families’ desire to move on with their lives played a role in the resolution.

“All sides wanted closure,” he said, “and I think that’s why this happened.”

Kesser, Leahy and Stephen Duane Chiara were convicted in 1992 of first-degree murder with special circumstances of 30-year-old Fortuna resident Mary Kesser and were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Kesser and Leahy verdicts were overturned in September when a panel of judges ruled narrowly that former Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Worth Dikeman rejected three Native Americans from the jury pool at least in part on the basis of their race.

Dikeman called the reversal the biggest disappointment of his career.

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


Incestuous little activists

Incestuous little activists, that they are, with new names for new groups every time you turn around, but the same faces with new titles and ther same agenda... always lovely flowery language, so "inspirational" wearing the grassroots cloak covering the rotten seething cancerous mess. To understand you have to realize that Larry Evans is/was the Executive Director of "EPIC" - one of the worst of the predatopry litigious groups. This is about money and power, not about the environment:


In a message dated 10/10/2006 3:04:16 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, aebmail@cox.net writes:

view the video at: www.SaveEurekaWaterfront.org

Hosts Community Visioning Forum for Balloon Tract

"Imagine the Possibilities" Event To Tackle Community-Based Land Use Planning

Eureka, CA-- Citizens For Real Economic Growth (CREG) will present their fourth public educational forum on this coming Friday, October 13, 2006 beginning with a reception at 5:45 and presentations beginning at 6:30 at the Wharfinger Building on the Eureka Waterfront. The session is entitled-- “Imagine the Possibilities” and features special guest experts presenting case studies of visionary cities that undertook community-based planning ventures for their former rail yards and waterfronts with highly successful results. Seating is limited and a capacity crowd is expected for this latest installment of the citizen-organized educational series that began this spring.

“In the absence of leadership from our current city council, CREG is determined to step up and provide a small measure of what the community was promised after 1999’s overwhelming 61% vote to defeat the first big box mall proposal—a democratic and inclusive process to resolve the question of how this public trust land can best serve the community,” said CREG spokesperson Larry Evans.

“The recent announcement that Mr. Arkley and his Security National company have assumed liability for toxic cleanup on the site has spurred a surge of activity on the CREG online petition with our Supporter List now topping 1,067 signers, ," stated Evans before concluding that, “this event couldn’t be more timely.”

In addition to stories of successful projects with unique character, the program for the evening will focus on public planning methods, land use and urban design. Notable specialists coming to Eureka for this special occasion include:
§ Darin Dinsmore, principle and founder of Dinsmore SIERRA, a community planning and

consulting firm. Mr. Dinsmore is currently the Development Coordinator for the Truckee Railyard Partnership.
§ Designer Eric Lindstrom is a Eureka native who operates Lindstrom Design Studio in Grants

Pass Oregon. Mr. Lindstrom is a graduate of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and has over ten years of experience in the architecture and planning fields.
§ Professor Mark L. Gillem, PhD, AIA, AICP, serves on the faculty in the Departments of

Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon. In addition to teaching, Professor Gillem has an urban design practice with a global clientele where he specializes in addressing issues of sustainability, social responsibility and historic preservation.

“CREG wants a return to the Balloon Tract Master Plan and a true public process. It’s disappointing to have to replay the Measure J mess instead of moving forward with a community-based approach that fosters broad dialogue about a wide range of alternatives available to the city and its citizens for developing this unique parcel to achieve the highest and best use of our waterfront,” declared Evans.

A TV commercial currently running on local cable and broadcast channels is available for viewing on the CREG website or for more information visit -- www.SaveEurekaWaterfront.org

CREG Visioning Forum—“Imagine The Possibilities”
Guest Speakers List with Full Bio’s

Darin Dinsmore founded and operates Dinsmore SIERRA. Mr. Dinsmore is a professional urban planner and landscape architect who understands that mixed-use development presents an opportunity to provide choices which create a high quality of life while maintaining a community’s unique character in the face of growth and economic pressure. Mr. Dinsmore is currently the development coordinator for the Truckee Railyard Partnership as well as consultant project manager for the Regional Planning Partners team which was formed to guide the Place-Based planning component of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Pathway 2007 planning efforts. www.regionalplanningpartners.com

Designer Eric A. Lindstrom operates Lindstrom Design Studio. As an independent design studio located in Grants Pass, Oregon, it focuses on environmental, social, and economic issues relevant to the built environment and to the creation of place. Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and has over ten years of experience within the architectural and planning fields. As a native of Eureka, he appreciates and supports the environmental and human processes of the region, and understands the importance of public process and debate. Eric's work strives to remind others of where they live, and to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary.

504 N.W. ELM ST.


Assistant Professor Mark L. Gillem, PhD, AIA, AICP holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Oregon and teaches studios and seminars in urban design and architecture. He has a Masters in Architecture and a PhD in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelors of Architecture with Highest Distinction from the University of Kansas. He is also a licensed architect and certified planner. Through his urban design practice, he has completed projects for clients worldwide that address issues of sustainability, social responsibility, and historic preservation. His research focuses on global institutions, their land-use policies, and the resulting impacts on urban form. He has published numerous articles on urban design and presents regularly at conferences in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark L. Gillem, PhD, AIA, AICP
Assistant Professor
Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
University of Oregon

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Redwood Progressive

ER - Attorney General's Office to get Arkley-Glass report

Attorney General's Office to get Arkley-Glass report
by Glenn Franco Simmons, 10/25/2007

A completed and confidential Eureka Police Department investigation into an alleged altercation involving local businessman and philanthropist Rob Arkley and Eureka City Councilmember Larry Glass will be forwarded to the California Attorney General’s Office for its consideration.

Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said his office received the EPD report on Wednesday and he estimated it would be sent to the AGO either Wednesday or today, but no later.

Gallegos has previously told this newspaper that he considers Arkley a friend and that Arkley contributed to one of his political campaigns.

In explaining his reasoning for sending the report to the AGO, Gallegos said, “While I believe I can make a fair and impartial decision, I believe that, due to my relationship with both the parties and some of the anticipated witnesses, it is impossible to do so without creating the appearance of an impropriety.

“If the Attorney General’s Office decides not to accept the case, I will review it and make a decision. However, until such an occurrence takes place, I will withhold reviewing any material that is forwarded to us and making a decision regarding the possibility of any criminal charges being filed.”

When The Eureka Reporter contacted the AGO Wednesday, it had not yet received the EPD report; however, Senior California Assistant Attorney General Gerald Engler said, “If and when we receive a request from Mr. Gallegos, we will fully and fairly evaluate whether we should accept the matter based on whatever matters Mr. Gallegos brings to our attention.”

Engler had previously responded to a Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee request that the AGO intervene in this case because of what the HCDCC contended were “political conflicts.”

In rejecting the HCDCC’s request, Engler wrote a letter to the organization and said, “First and foremost, the district attorney is the elected prosecutor of Humboldt County. The law maintains a strong presumption that the district attorney — not the attorney general — will handle prosecutorial matters within the county. Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely that the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused.

“A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal. Thus, there are numerous cases where recusal has been denied even though the district attorney is called upon to prosecute cases involving county supervisors, sheriffs or other political officials. The mere fact that the case involves a political supporter or political opponent of the district attorney will almost never suffice to justify recusal.”

If the case is sent back to him, Gallegos explained he will determine if there is sufficient information on which to file criminal charges against Arkley.

“Specifically,” he said, “we can and will only file criminal charges if the following four basic requirements are satisfied:

“(1) based on a complete investigation and thorough consideration of all available evidence, the prosecutor believes the evidence shows that the accused is actually guilty of the crime charged;
“(2) there is legally sufficient, admissible evidence to establish the offense independently of any admissions of the accused;
“(3) there is legally sufficient, admissible evidence of the accused’s identity as the perpetrator of the crime charged; and

“(4) the prosecutor has considered the probability of conviction by an objective fact-finder hearing the admissible evidence and concluded that the anticipated admissible evidence is of such convincing force that it would warrant conviction by a reasonable and objective fact-finder after hearing all the evidence available to the prosecutor at the time of charging and after hearing the most plausible, reasonably foreseeable defense that could be raised under the evidence presented to the prosecutor.”

The case stems from an alleged altercation between the two men at a California Coastal Commission reception at the Avalon restaurant in Eureka in September.

In a previous interview with The Eureka Reporter, Glass said he filed the complaint with the EPD against Arkley alleging “assault and battery, menacing a public official and ... stalking.”

Arkley spokespersons have consistently maintained that Arkley did not shove or push Glass.

Both sides admit there was a verbal exchange, but their accounts are different.

Glass claims Arkley threatened to destroy him if he didn’t vote favorably for Marina Center.

However, Arkley’s spokespeople contend that Arkley made no such threat nor did he tell Glass that he was having the council member followed, as Glass also alleges.

Arkley apologized to Glass — an apology that Glass has not accepted.

Arkley family spokesperson Steve Glazer responded to the report of the case being forwarded to the DA’s Office by saying, “Larry Glass has been waging a campaign against the Arkley family for the past 18 months, ever since he heard that there could be a Best Buy in the Marina Center project.

“It is unfortunate that scarce police resources have been wasted on Glass’ political crusade.”

“I really don’t know what is going to happen next,” Glass said. “All I know is that I’m glad that I took a stand and did what I think to be the right thing as an elected official.”

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


Glass-Arkley investigation headed to DA

Glass-Arkley investigation headed to DA

EUREKA -- Police Chief Garr Nielsen said Monday that the investigation into City Councilman Larry Glass' allegations that businessman Rob Arkley assaulted him has concluded, and a report will be in the District Attorney's Office today or tomorrow.

But it looks like it won't be there for long.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos, reached on his cell phone Monday, said the report will be sent directly to the office of the state Attorney General, who he will ask to take the lead in any possible prosecution.

Gallegos said his office would not review the report.

Gallegos said in a previous interview with the Times-Standard that his decision to recuse his office has more to do with the appearance of a conflict of interest than his ability to handle the case fairly.

What the attorney general will do with the report isn't quite clear.

The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office last month asking it to take the lead in the investigation and any possible prosecution of the allegations. In a response letter, sent Sept. 26, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerald Engler declined that request, saying it came prematurely and, as a rule, the state does not step in at the request of a third party.

Now that Gallegos is the one asking to recuse his office, the request might carry more weight. But, based on Engler's letter, it may be far from a sure thing.

”Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely that the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused,” Engler wrote. “A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal. ... The mere fact that the case involves a political supporter or a political opponent of the District Attorney will almost never suffice to justify recusal.”

Nielsen, who declined to comment on the contents of the report at this point, said the investigation was concluded last week, and the department is giving the report a final read before handing it off to the district attorney.

Glass filed a police report on the heels of a Sept. 5 reception for the California Coastal Commission at Avalon restaurant, where he alleges Arkley shoved him, claimed to have had him followed and threatened to destroy him if he didn't vote for Arkley's Marina Center project.

Reached Monday, Glass said he's not sure where things will go from here.

”I don't know what's going to happen really but, whatever happens, I'm glad I took a stand and did the right thing,” he said.

Arkley's spokespeople have denied there was any physical contact between Arkley and Glass, and characterized Arkley's role as that of a concerned parent.

Arkley spokesman Steven Glazer said the matter was “part and parcel to the campaign” Glass has been waging against the Arkley family over the Marina Center project.

”Glass has claimed he's doing the right thing, but doing the right thing is not wasting scarce police resources on a political crusade against Rob Arkley,” he said.

Nielsen said he is confident in Detective Neil Hubbard's work investigating the incident.

”We did an exhaustive investigation, probably far in excess of what we had done if it had been two people who weren't as prominent in the community,” Nielsen said. “I feel very confident that we did a very thorough investigation.

Oh, c'mon Paul, it's not like you have to swoop up nine felonies and dismiss them all on a single day - you know, that really had the appearance of conflict of interest, this oughtta be a piece of cake! But no - it is another rock and a hard place, just like Cheri Moore - you can't do what the handlers want (they hate Arkley, and see this as a major opportunity), so you have to pass the buck - that's your real conflict of interest. In fact that has been your problem all along. Had you just done your job you wouldn't have had the Palco debacle, the Debi August debacle, the Salzman debacle, the Bowman debacle, the list goes on...


"Local Solutions" rears its ugly head again

This version of Salzman's Alliance for Ethical Business is once again positioning to affect local politics, with no accountability for their agenda. Once again they assume the respectability mantle and pretend to be just a member of the flock.

Virginia Graziani is one of Salzman's Orks - a vocal particiapnt in AEB, this bears further scrutiny. No word on whether the phony "Pacific Crest Research" is involved on this one.

CONTACT: Virginia Graziani (923-1205)
Jim Lamport (923-4372)
Bill Thorington (496-4703)
or Dennis Huber (923-3292 / 498-4613)


FORTUNA - An ad-hoc group of citizens from across the Second
Supervisorial District announced the results of a poll they conducted
over the last several months. The group formed out of concern that
issues of importance are not being adequately represented in County
government. "We question whether Supervisor Rodoni has really been
addressing the issues of the Second District in a way that reflects
majority opinion," said Virginia Graziani, a resident of Redway and one
of the group's spokespeople. "So we conducted a scientific survey to
learn what issues our neighbors think are important and what they think
our elected representatives should be doing."

The questions covered a wide range of topics of interest to the Second
District that included the General Plan, railroad issues, timber and
water questions as well as Fortuna's growth and development. "We were
surprised to see how much agreement there was amongst all the folks we
talked to," said Jim Lamport of Blocksburg. "That wasn't something we
Regarding the Humboldt County General Plan Update, the group found that
49% of Second District residents support Plan A, which provides for "the
least amount of commercial development in new areas." 35% of respondents
favored Plan B (the "middle-of the-road" approach). Plan C (the most
developer-friendly proposal) received only 12% support. In addition, a
whopping 71% of respondents feel that it is important that Fortuna
maintain its "small town feel."

"People frequently talk about how divided Humboldt County is and use the
Second District to illustrate the case. We found that folks in Fortuna
have a lot in common and share the same values as folks from Redway or
Garberville," said Bill Thorington of Fortuna. "Most of the people
consider themselves politically moderate - 39%. These truly are just
regular folks who represent the average voter in the Second District."

The group also found that 67% of voters think the Supervisors should
play an active role to stop the Eel River diversion to the Russian
River. Only 4% think the diversion should continue with no change.
70% of Second District voters believe that the Board of Supervisors
should "play a leadership role in developing sustainable energy policies
and practices," and 50% would support "Humboldt County Supervisors
spending public money to prepare for the possible impacts of global
climate change."

The question of rebuilding the railroad has made news recently, so the
group included questions about that as well. The results on this topic
showed no strong agreement, with 46% in support of rebuilding the
railroad to the Bay Area, 48% opposed and 5% with no opinion. However,
when asked if they would still support the railroad if it did not carry
passengers (freight only), 57% of respondents said they would not be

The poll also asked about confidence in the timber industry's ability to
provide jobs, both now and in the past. Only 7% of the respondents feel
confident in the timber industry's ability to provide jobs today,
compared to 64% that felt confident just 20 years ago.

Voters are also concerned that large corporations have too much
influence in politics in Humboldt County. 44% of the respondents are
"very concerned," 25% are "somewhat concerned" and only 21% are "not
concerned at all."
The group worked with Local Solutions, a county-wide grassroots
political action committee. Local Solutions assisted the group by
facilitating the process and helping to write and administer the poll to
achieve a statically accurate sample. "We were pleased to lend a hand to
this effort," said Dennis Huber, a spokesperson for Local Solutions and
a Second District resident himself. "The group conducted this poll by
talking to a random sample of the registered voters in the Second
District. We used rigorous social research methodology and we have great
confidence in the results. I was especially impressed with the group's
energy and commitment. It isn't often that you see ordinary citizens
dedicate so much of their time to an all-volunteer effort to see what
their neighbors think."

"We're haven't decided what happens next," said Graziani. "We started
this process to get a discussion going amongst our neighbors. We want to
publicize the results to further the conversation. We hope our
representatives listen up. As far as we know, we're the only folks in
the Second District who are really asking how folks feel about the
issues. Our elected leaders owe us and our fellow voters the courtesy to
respond to our findings and show some leadership," she said.
To see the poll responses, along with the wording of questions the group
asked and the methodology for the process, go to


Lumbering to uncertainty
Company town on brink as timber firm struggles

For the past 140 years, tiny Scotia's fate has been inextricably linked to the fortunes of Pacific Lumber, long the North Coast's largest employer, landowner and community benefactor. But the futures of both are up in the air as Pacific Lumber goes through bankruptcy protection proceedings in Texas courts.

SCOTIA -- The workday begins in this old logging town the same way it has since the 1880s.
A shrieking whistle pierces the early morning quiet, calling lumberjacks, millwrights and engineers to another day sawing redwoods and Douglas fir.

The whistle is indiscriminate, a sort of townwide alarm clock, sounding through every home and building. It's a reassuring sound to residents of this company town.

But some worry about it going silent.

Over the past 140 years, no company has been more important to the economic fortunes of this region than Pacific Lumber. It has long been the North Coast's largest employer, landowner and community benefactor.

But all that history is up in the air with Pacific Lumber in bankruptcy protection.

To satisfy its creditors, the company is proposing a vast sale of its Northern California timberlands. It has reduced its once-formidable work force by more than half and shuttered mills in Carlotta and Fortuna.

The bankruptcy protection proceedings are playing out 2,100 miles away in courtrooms in Texas, home of Pacific Lumber's parent company, MAXXAM Inc.

But up here, in communities tucked among majestic redwoods, residents are wrestling with controversy sparked by the grip Pacific Lumber maintains on local politics -- influence that defies the company's decline. And small communities are left wondering how life will change if the company they depend on becomes a shadow of its former self.

"There is life after Pacific Lumber," said Erin Dunn, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce in nearby Fortuna. "But we're going to have to adapt."

A way of life is threatened

No town's fate is linked more closely to the company's than Scotia.

Scotia became Pacific Lumber's logging camp in 1883. Today, it is home to the corporate headquarters and about 275 workers and their families.

To save money, Pacific Lumber wants to sell Scotia and shed responsibility for providing the town everything from security to home repair services.

That would end a relationship that has survived fires, floods, the Great Depression and tree-sitting environmentalists. One leading proposal is to have Scotia annexed by Rio Dell, the gritty logging town across the Eel River. Another is for the town to become its own municipality. Either way, townspeople would have to buy their homes or pay higher monthly rents.
The demise of Scotia would mark the end of one of the last company towns in the United States and close a way of life for those like the Rogers family.

Joe and Deb Rogers, lifelong Pacific Lumber employees, raised two sons here: Matt is going to college on a Pacific Lumber scholarship. Grant lives just a couple of blocks away with his wife and son -- the third Rogers generation to live in Scotia -- and works for the local post office and swimming pool.

"We're unsettled," Joe Rogers said. He recently switched from carpentry to a more secure job in the power plant after watching too many longtime co-workers leave the company.

When Joe Rogers started, "you felt like if you got a job and did your part, you could retire here," he said. "We don't have that feeling anymore."

Company town in every way

Scotia today looks very much like it did in pictures from a hundred years ago. The mill looms over everything. Towering redwoods, growing atop coastal mountains, frame the shot. The town's perpendicular streets are lined with bungalows, each painted in a pale green, brown, yellow or blue, the preferred palate of a discerning former company president's wife.

Scotia seems to have everything a little town needs -- a bar, a restaurant, a theater, a supermarket. It has two churches. The town does not, however, have a mayor, a town council or any other form of local government.

Water, electricity and sewer are provided by Pacific Lumber free of charge. Residents call on the company to solve just about any problem.

If the faucet breaks, they call the company. If the garbage man is late, they call the company. If they're unhappy with their kid's homework lesson, they can take matters up with the town's elementary school principal -- whose check is signed by the company.

Grant Rogers says he wouldn't want to have grown up anywhere else. He fondly recalls sneaking down by the mill as a kid, watching the lumberjacks roll logs and high-pressure hoses peel bark off giant redwoods like an orange. He remembers how the company would christen the town's Christmas tree -- a redwood high atop a nearby mountain, draped in lights, beaming down like an angel over Scotia.

Now 24, Rogers is among a handful of young people who decided to stay in Scotia. The running joke is that bright young people like him are the region's leading export -- after marijuana. For Rogers, the choice to stay was easy. Thanks to a company subsidy, he pays around $600 a month for his three-bedroom home, far less than what he'd pay in nearby Fortuna.

Fortuna is also vulnerable

Pacific Lumber's struggles are rippling through Fortuna, as well. With a population of 11,000, Fortuna is the economic center of Pacific Lumber country. The company had a major presence in the city until last year, when it laid off 100 workers and abandoned a mill that had been running 30 years.

During the mill's heyday, sawdust would waft from the mill and collect on the roof of Clif Clendenen's cider works shop across the street.

"It was a major avuncular presence in town," Clendenen said, noting that the company routinely supported community groups and charities. "None of us wanted to see it go away."

Now Fortuna must decide what to do with the abandoned mill, on 75 acres in the city's business district.

Pacific Lumber reached an agreement in 2003 to sell the site to Roseville shopping center developer Fred Katz for $10 million. As part of the deal, the parties anticipated the city of Fortuna would kick in $7 million in redevelopment funds.

But the arrangement, details of which surfaced in Pacific Lumber's bankruptcy protection case, has been controversial: Fortuna's mayor, John Campbell, received money from Pacific Lumber while the city discussed the site's future as part of its general plan update.

Campbell, a top Pacific Lumber executive for 30 years before taking public office in 2004, has collected $519,000 in deferred compensation since 2004 and is owed $400,000 from the company, money he did not disclose on his statements of economic interest. Campbell's deal with Pacific Lumber also required he do nothing "adverse to the company's interest."

The Humboldt Watershed Council, a longtime foe of Pacific Lumber, calls the arrangement a conflict of interest and has asked the state Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate. FPPC officials won't say if they've taken up the case.

"The idea that I'm getting paid to make decisions on a proposal is just ridiculous," Campbell said. "If I feel uncomfortable or other council members feel uncomfortable, I might then recuse myself."

Hopes still pinned on company

In Scotia, there's hope Pacific Lumber can survive bankruptcy protection and remain a viable employer.

Critics blame the company's financial troubles on Charles Hurwitz, the Texas tycoon whose MAXXAM Inc. bought Pacific Lumber in 1986.

That deal altered the reputation of a company once known for its community patronage and its protection of the region's famous forests.

Hurwitz's aggressive logging in the 1990s inspired action by environmentalists and led the state and federal governments to take the rare step of purchasing an ancient stand of redwoods from the company.

Although Pacific Lumber's public relations department declined interview requests, Hurwitz has said environmental constraints pushed Pacific Lumber into bankruptcy protection.

Whatever courts and the corporate titans decide, Grant Rogers said he and his neighbors will make do.

Scotia has endured change before. He recalled, for instance, how town residents rallied to rebuild the shopping center after a fire in the early '90s. He said it is the town's ability to stick together through change that provides its sense of identity.
That, and its whistle.

Comments from the site:
MidwayMac at 5:38 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: Lumbering to uncertainty
My introduction to this marvelous sight was in1952, when I travelled up 101 to visit a relative in Oregon. As I viewed the marvelous scenery, there was Rio Dell and Scotia, the latter, a tiny spot that was on it's own. Then the invasion of a profiteer and the tree-huggers; has pretty much shut every thing down. What's laughable is that private forest owners are logging their forests and selling their products at steep costs. The waste products, such as slash, that's what's left when trees are fallen, run thru a saw mill, the bark and a few inches of good wood remain. Even this by-product is put to good use, by shredding it and pressing it into materials which can be used for building siding and roof underlayment.

borealfox at 8:35 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: How Sad
Once more the demise of something that has worked for so long so well, that's the sad part of it.
We used to stop at there in the early 1950's when it took forever to go up Highway 101 through all the little towns on the way to Blue Lake. Half of my family worked for the timber companies, and they paid well while everyone lived well too. And now this too is going to pass. Damn.

tallone934 at 8:35 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: The end result
Since we have a huge industry of eco maniacal organizations dedicated to stopping all human endeavors regarding the use of the environment this is the natural conclusion. Non profits ripping off the taxpayers to fund fulltime naysaying employees are hard to beat. The productive people and the taxpayers get to fund both ends of these results. Tax money to maintain all these properties and tax money for the unemployed workers of the timber companies. You do-gooders better not complain when you are paying twenty bucks for a four foot board for that deck of yours.

ad50nt at 10:01 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: don't blame environmentalists for scotia's demise
Although the old PL did cut old growth, it was widely regarded by all as one of the best managed timber companies anywhere until Bush-buddy Hurowitz took over the company by means that were barely legal (if legal at all - we'll never know after he scrambled the financial books). Many observers predicted the sorry outcome we see today: screwed forests, screwed workers, screwed investors and screwed taxpayers. Only the principal in this crime, Charles Hurowitz, continues to laugh all the way to the bank back in Houston or Geneva or wherever he hides his money. This was a textbook corporate raid designed to a set plan: liquidate an asset purchased with someone else's money via junk bonds, and then go bankrupt leaving the bondholders with nothing but hot air. Environmentalists didn't do this, Texas money men did.

billbillbillbillbillbill at 10:08 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: ahem, tallone934:
Critics blame the company's financial troubles on Charles Hurwitz, the Texas tycoon whose MAXXAM Inc. bought Pacific Lumber in 1986.
That deal altered the reputation of a company once known for its community patronage and its protection of the region's famous forests.
Hurwitz's aggressive logging in the 1990s inspired action by environmentalists and led the state and federal governments to take the rare step of purchasing an ancient stand of redwoods from the company.

stevenchr at 11:46 AM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: triple the cut and the end is near
there's no mention what so ever that when hurwitz hostilely took over the family run business & tripled the cut rate in 1985, that he'd put this company out of business. he bought the company for the price he got from the headwaters scam & still owes more money for the acquisition of the com. what happend to the half billion he got for the postage stamp headwaters forest? had hurwitz let the company run along as it did before he acquired it, this scenario wouldn't even exist. but the greedy bastard sent all the monies made to houston & never paid down the debt from the original acquisition. this writing was on the wall in the late eighties after hurwitz took it over. you can log in perpetuity if you manage the forest for that, but this clown from houston let his pocket book drive the logging rate. it has absolutely nothing to do with the enviros, this is purely a business decision to run this company into the ground. yes, the environment/fisheries suffered when he tripled the cut rate

Mtrent2 at 1:07 PM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: Glad
There are plenty of differrent types of materials people can use to build with these days. Now the forest will be able to grow back. It's called progress. Move forward.

dwh at 2:20 PM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: It's both
Blame both greed and environmentalism(which in some ways is one and the same).

ridinger at 3:39 PM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: A Scotia Native
I now live in Elk Grove, but I grew up in Scotia. My folks still live there. It breaks my heart to see what has happenned. Yes, the greedy Texan and the idiotic envornmentalists are mostly to blame. I just can't help wonder why the Murphy family that founded Scotia didn't maintain majority interest in the stock to prevent this from happenning. We had state of the art gymnasiums, swimming pools, weight rooms, baseball fields, etc... We'd fish in the Eel River and ride bikes on the local trails. We'd build forts and swim all day long. The company used to bring in semi-trucks full of Christmas presents for all the children. On Halloween you would knock on every door. You always felt safe--we had the run of the town. I wish every kid had the experience I had. From the time I was 9, my folks would give me a grocery list send me on my way down the street to Hoby's Market. We had responsibilities & freedoms today's kids will never know. How do we take it back & turn it around?

sirrebral at 4:09 PM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote: Sadly, this story was not a surprise...
I'm one of the area's "exports". I grew up in a town between the Fortuna and Carlotta mills, attended Fortuna High, and left to go to Sac State. Even as a 17-year old high school student, I could see that the MAXXAM acquisition spelled trouble for PL's future.
Just a few years after the MAXXAM took over PL, Hurwitz was cutting more than trees; he was slashing spending. In the past, PL gave a scholarship to *every* college-bound child of a company employee, but shortly after I left in 1989, the company announced an end to that program.
Increasing production while reducing expenses can make a company more profitable. However, In MAAXAM-controlled PL's case, this was done to the extreme, resulting in short-term financial gains at the expense of the demise of the company. Like an out-of-state landlord, Hurwitz was a disinterested party who was more concerned with profits than the impact to the citizens of the area.

Walter_E_Wallis at 5:11 PM PST Saturday, October 13, 2007 wrote:
Tax laws make family ownership of any business impossible.Tax laws also encourage debt. Blame MAXXAM for Scotia, but who do you blame for the rest of the Pacific Northwest logging towns thet closed down after the tree huggers went nuts?

billbillbillbillbillbill at 12:45 AM PST Sunday, October 14, 2007 wrote:
I don't know why I bother replying to you stupid hillbillies. You're clearly functionally illiterate.
It doesn't matter if "tree-huggers" prevent these quick-buck companies from clear-cutting the last one percent of our forests. Either logging ends now, with just a few trees left, or it ends a few years from now, with no trees left. Either way, corporate rapine destroys these communities.
Thankfully, there are still a few sensible people left in the world who see that saving at least one tiny part of our natural heritage is more important than some Texas billionaire buying another yacht.

pondo at 9:17 PM PST Sunday, October 14, 2007 wrote: A sorry story!
As a former residence of the area it hurts to read what is happening in Scotia!! As some before me have stated, it is not the tree huggers who caused this, it was the con man from Texas!! If it had been managed as in the past it would have been able to continued to have existed for years!! But no, triple cut and run with the money.
Good Luck to the people of Scotia, hope something happens to change things around for them!!
"Fortuna's mayor, John Campbell, received money from Pacific Lumber while the city discussed the site's future as part of its general plan update." Sounds like the Mayor has some explaining to do. Maybe a "Recall Election?"

info1 at 1:45 PM PST Monday, October 15, 2007 wrote: Leveraged Buy out and Republican Corporate Swindlers Caused This
The Leveraged Buyouts that the Reagan administration encouraged are what caused this. It had nothing to do with the environmentalists, which Bush/Reagan have unceasingly smeared and blamed for THEIR policies that reward the rich and screw everyone else. PL had been in business for 50 years becaused they engaged in SUSTAINABLE harvesting. Then Maxxam purchased it with basically NO MONEY and had to pay off everyone by tripling the harvest. Trees don't grow any faster just because the "owner" is a rich Republican, and a good friend to the Bush Dynasty. This is just like the S&L mess, also courtesy of the Republicans, who bankrupted retirees, and forced us taxpayers to pay the bill. One of Bush Sr's brothers bankrupted a S&L in Colorado, but of course you never hear about that. They just keep pretending to be christians and counting on the fact that the right-wing voters don't read (or think).

By Todd Milbourn - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, October 13, 2007
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A20
Print | E-Mail | Comments (14) | Digg it | del.icio.us

ER - Convicted molester could receive indefinite sentence

Convicted molester could receive indefinite sentence
by Heather Muller , 10/13/2007

A hearing is under way in Humboldt County Superior Court to determine if a man twice convicted of molesting young children should be declared a sexually violent predator under California law.

Jerome Franz Gonzales, 61, is the respondent in the case — not the “defendant,” because he is in court to determine not what he has done in the past, but what he might do in the future.

During proceedings Thursday, there was little dispute about Gonzales’ past crimes.

Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Allan Dollison and Public Defender Kevin Robinson both told the jury of nine women and three men that Gonzales had pleaded guilty to performing a sexual act on a 5-year-old girl he babysat in 1982.

Five years later, the attorneys said, he pleaded no contest to two charges that he had fondled a pair of 8-year-old girls at a New Year’s Eve party in 1987.

Gonzales served four years in prison and was paroled in 1992, but soon violated the terms of his conditional release when he moved into a residence also occupied by a woman with a young girl.

His parole was continued, but he was convicted in 1999 of assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to four more years, during which the California Department of Corrections initiated the process of evaluating Gonzales for SVP status.

He was scheduled for release in 2003, but in 2002, a petition to have him incarcerated in a psychiatric facility was filed, and in 2004 his commitment was extended.

It was in 2006 that the District Attorney’s Office filed the current petition, which could return Gonzales to Atascadero State Hospital.

To prevail in the matter, Dollison needs to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that Gonzales committed two sexually violent offenses, that he suffers from a diagnosed mental illness and that the illness is such that he would likely re-offend if released.

The issues are complicated, but the stakes are quite high.

An SVP declaration could result in an indeterminate sentence, also called an involuntary civil commitment, in a locked psychiatric facility under the administration of the CDC.

In his opening argument, Dollison wasted no time telling jurors that he believed Gonzales met the criteria.

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” Dollison said, adding that Gonzales’ past provided “a window into what he might do” in the future.

The prior molestation convictions were a matter of record, he said, and Gonzales was diagnosed with not one but three mental illnesses that, combined, increased his chances of re-offending.

“Jerome Franz Gonzales is a sexually violent predator,” he said.

Robinson shot back that jurors weren’t being asked to look into a window, but a crystal ball.

He noted that Gonzales’ most recent qualifying offense occurred more than 15 years ago, and that he had voluntarily undergone treatment since then.

In 2002, when the CDC initiated the SVP evaluation, prior to his scheduled release, Gonzales cooperated fully with examiners — but since that time has declined to do so, Robinson said, which means that current experts were basing their opinions on years-old exams.

It’s the equivalent of “looking into a crystal ball and guessing,” Robinson said.

He also expressed concerns about the SVP declaration process itself.

“It really determines what we are as a society when we allow quasi-criminal commitments,” he said.

Only one witness was called Thursday, Dr. Mohan Nair, a psychiatrist serving on the state Department of Mental Health’s SVP panel who testified for the prosecution.

Nair said he had performed approximately 200 evaluations under current SVP laws and had found in 14 out of 15 cases that the offender would not pose a substantial risk if released.

But he said repeatedly that he found Gonzales’ case “troubling.”

Even after completing treatment, he said, Gonzales reportedly told a mental health practitioner that he had recurring sexual fantasies about very young children. The respondent’s current refusal to participate in the Sexual Offender Commitment Program in Atascadero was additional cause for concern, Nair said.

“Mr. Gonzales is not going through the program,” he said, adding that he believed the respondent’s refusal to do so stemmed from a failure to acknowledge the problem.

The expert witness told the jury that child molestation is a crime of low detection, and participants in SOCP were “required to disclose not just the two they got caught on, but the 20 or 50 or 150 they got away with.”

He added that Gonzales had reportedly admitted in another setting to 10 sexual encounters with children.

And in his own descriptions of the prior offenses, Gonzales reportedly said, “I just did it in a loving way,” and “I was a child with a child.”

The respondent “describes his interactions with children as if they are peers,” Nair said, part of what he called an “emotional identification” and “sexual preoccupation” with children.

“This is a person who has a sustained interest in sexual activity toward children,” Nair said

He cited one psychological evaluation in which Gonzales said he did not believe he would commit another crime against a child — but then reportedly added, “That doesn’t mean I won’t. I’m a realist. I didn’t set out to do it in the first place.”

Nair said that in his professional opinion, Gonzales suffered from pedophilia, polysubstance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder, and presents “a substantial, well-founded risk” of re-offending.

Proceedings are scheduled to resume Monday at 8:45 a.m. in courtroom two of the Humboldt County Courthouse.

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

ER Testimony continues in SVP hearing 10/14/07


TS - Attorney general says no for now on Arkley-Glass case

Attorney general says no for now on Arkley-Glass case
The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 10/05/2007 01:40:09 PM PDT

State Attorney General Jerry Brown's Office has refused a request by the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee to take over the investigation into the flap between Eureka City Councilman Larry Glass and local businessman Rob Arkley.

A letter from the office states, “Any request at this time appears premature”.

A Sept. 12 letter from the HCDCC to the Attorney General requested that office “take the lead in the investigation and prosecution of this alleged violation.”

It is alleged that Arkley shoved Glass and threatened to destroy him if he failed to support Arkley's Marina Center project. Arkley, in turn, has claimed that he was merely reacting to comments Glass has made about his daughters.

In a letter to the Humboldt Democratic Central Committee dated Sept. 26, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerald A. Engler advised the committee his office would “respectfully decline your request to intervene.”

The letter states, “First and foremost, the district attorney is the elected prosecutor of Humboldt County. The law maintains a strong presumption that the district attorney -- not the attorney general -- will handle prosecutorial matters within the county.


Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused. A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal.”
In the initial letter, HCDCC Chairman Milt Boyd wrote that it is more than just the serious nature of the allegations that caused the committee to ask the Attorney General to handle the investigation.

”Due to political conflicts, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos will no doubt want to recuse his office from prosecuting the matter,” Boyd wrote.

Arkley made donations to Gallegos' recall campaign chest and Glass said he thought Gallegos had supported his election campaign.

In response to the letter from the Attorney General's Office, Boyd said the reply “clarifies the legal process involved” and added, “the allegations made in this case are unusual and serious and we appreciate this prompt and clear response from Attorney General Brown's office.”

ER - Man leveled shotgun at deputy

ER Man leveled shotgun at deputy
by Heather Muller , 10/5/2007

An autopsy will be conducted today on the body of Eloy Infante-Toscano, the 40-year-old native of Mexico who was shot and killed Wednesday by a deputy from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

At a news conference held Thursday, Sheriff Gary Philp described the surprise encounter that led to the man’s death near a marijuana grow on Pacific Lumber Co. property in Southern Humboldt.

Philp said two deputies and an evidence technician were called to the remote location, approximately 13 miles from Redcrest, by a PALCO security employee. While the evidence tech and security guard waited at a trailhead, the deputies split up and began hiking toward the reported pot grow.

One followed a water line, Philp said, and the other walked along a narrow trail.

At some point, the deputy on the trail observed a man “in plain view” also on the trail walking toward him, roughly 15 yards away, the sheriff said.

The unnamed deputy then identified himself as a law enforcement officer, Philp said, and “the response he got was the suspect raising the shotgun his direction.”

Infante-Toscano did not shoot, but the deputy did — “more than a few (rounds), but we don’t have an exact count,” Philp said, adding that investigators later determined that the shotgun was loaded.

Philp said emergency medical services were immediately called to the scene, but, because of the remote location, took an hour or more to arrive.

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said Infante-Toscano previously lived in the Modesto area and his parents live in Mexico, adding that he did not know the man’s immigration status.

The Mexican Embassy would notify Infante-Toscano’s family, Horton said, and the autopsy would be conducted in Sonoma County.

Philp did not say whether the marijuana grow was believed to be related to Mexican national drug-trafficking organizations, whose increased presence in Northern California forests has resulted in record-breaking pot busts, along with repeated warnings of danger to hunters and hikers.

Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Brenda Godsey said investigators were still at the scene Thursday and many details remained unknown.

Philp noted that it was “unusual” to encounter armed suspects during marijuana interdiction efforts because deputies typically make every attempt to announce their presence so showdowns like this one do not occur.

When asked if deputies announced themselves in this case, Philp replied, “I don’t have exact details, but I’m informed that they did.”

Godsey called the incident “another grim reminder of the dangers our law enforcement officers face.”
Copyright (C) 2005, The Eureka Reporter. All rights reserved.

RS - Man shot by deputy was hit three times

Man shot by deputy was hit three times
Chris Durant/The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 10/05/2007 04:47:49 PM PDT

The man who allegedly raised his shotgun toward a Humboldt County Sheriff deputy who was investigating a marijuana garden on Pacific Lumber Company property Wednesday was hit three times, twice in the chest.
Humboldt County Coroner Frank Jager said a Friday autopsy revealed the cause of death was the gunshot wounds.

”Both bullets to the chest were fatal,” Jager said, adding that they severed major arteries.

Two deputies were called to the Palco land when a marijuana garden was discovered. When they arrived, along with an evidence technician, a Palco security guard lead them to the grow.

The deputies followed a trail to the garden while the guard and technician waited on a ridge.

One deputy began to follow a waterline while the other deputy continued on the trail. Soon a man armed with a shotgun, later identified as Eloy Infante-Toscano, 40, was walking on the trail toward the deputy.

Toscano raised his shotgun at the deputy and the deputy fired numerous time, according to the Sheriff's Department.

The area, about 13 miles east of Holmes Flat, is remote and medical aid took over an hour to get there, but that didn't make a difference, Jager said.

”He may not have made it even if they had a doctor on the scene,” Jager said.

Both deputies have been placed on paid administrative leave.

TS - Sheriff: Armed man pointed gun at deputy

Sheriff: Armed man pointed gun at deputy/Grow may be related to earlier bust (with press conference video (pretty glitchy) TS)
Chris Durant/The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 10/05/2007 05:04:53 AM PDT

Humboldt County Sheriff Gary Philp said Thursday that the man killed near a marijuana grow found on private timber land pointed a shotgun at the deputy before he was shot.

Philp said two uniformed deputies and an evidence technician responded Wednesday to an area about 12 miles east of Holmes Flat after Pacific Lumber Co. personnel found the garden on company land.

Click Here to Watch Video
When they arrived at the scene, a Palco guard and the evidence technician stayed up on a ridge while the deputies followed a trail to the garden.

Philp said he believed the deputies announced themselves before splitting up. One deputy continuing on the trail noticed a man walking toward him with a full-length shotgun.

”The man raised his shotgun and aimed it at the deputy,” Philp said.

The two were about 15 yards apart.

Philp said the deputy shot “more than a few (bullets), but we don't have an exact count.”

Humboldt County Coroner Frank Jager identified the man as Eloy Infante-Toscano, 40.

A preliminary investigation indicated Infante-Toscano was shot once in the chest. An autopsy is scheduled for Sonoma County this morning.

”He doesn't have a local address, but he has ties to the Modesto area,” Jager said. “His mother and father live in Mexico.”

Jager said the Mexican embassy was in the process of notifying the parents.

Philp said Infante-Toscano's shotgun was loaded, but never fired, and medical aid was immediately called in.

A California Highway Patrol helicopter responded, but because of the remote location it didn't arrive until 1 p.m., about an hour after the shooting.

Deputies responding to marijuana grows on public and timber company land is nothing new, but the confrontation was unusual, Philp said.

”For us, (Wednesday's shooting is) an unusual circumstance,” Philp said. “People usually depart.”

The size of the garden is still under investigation, Philp said, but it is larger than initially reported.

Philp said he believes the garden is related to a 12,000-plant garden confiscated in the general area recently.

An encampment was found, but it is unclear if other people were in the area at the time of the shooting.

No other weapons were found in the encampment.

Both deputies have been placed on administrative leave and will not be identified until the investigation is complete, Philp said.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the California Attorney General's Office, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office and personnel from the Sheriff's Department.

Chris Durant can be reached at 441-0506 or at cdurant@times-standard.com .
Comments from TS website (51) included below in comments section

ER - Rollin retrial confirmation delayed

Rollin retrial confirmation delayed
by Heather Muller , 10/4/2007

Two evidentiary motions filed by attorneys unrelated to the prosecution or defense in the retrial of Joseph Pierre Rollin upended court proceedings Wednesday and delayed a trial confirmation hearing.

Rollin, a former registered caregiver, is charged with dependent abuse resulting in the 2002 death of Joi Henderson Wright, 42, who suffered from advanced multiple sclerosis and weighed only 60 pounds when she died of pneumonia in March of that year.

The motions to quash were filed by the Humboldt County Counsel’s Office in response to subpoenas filed by the defense.

At issue were documents pertaining to services provided to Wright by Adult Protective Services, a division of the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, as well as records of testimony presented before the 2002-03 and 2003-04 grand juries, which investigated the Wright case.

Deputy County Counsel Rosanne Zuber argued in the first motion that most of the APS documents requested were confidential.

Defense attorney Barry Morris, from Hayward, disagreed, telling Judge Harold Neville that the documents were subject to disclosure, and any suggestion to the contrary was “simply a bogus argument.”

Morris said he was seeking two categories of documents from APS, the first having to do with general policies and procedures of the department, and the second showing the process that led to the decision to terminate services to Wright.

His statements suggested that he plans to put the DHHS on trial, saying in court Wednesday that the documents are needed to show “why the APS abandoned a woman … six months before her death.”

The second motion to quash was argued by Deputy County Counsel Wendy Chaitin, who said records of testimony requested from the 2002-03 grand jury were no longer in existence, and that release of records that do exist from the 2003-04 grand jury could be ordered only by the court’s presiding judge, John Feeney, who was unavailable Wednesday.

After hearing both sides, Neville agreed in part with Chaitin.

“I think the argument is before the wrong judge,” he said, a statement that sparked a series of courtroom changes, with six lawyers, a cart full of documents and numerous supporting staff parading from one courtroom to the next, until everyone ended up back where they started without the arguments having been heard by the right judge.

In the end, Zuber voluntarily released documents detailing general policies and procedures to Morris and his co-counsel, Matthew Fregi, from Martinez, and Neville continued the other matters, including trial confirmation, until Oct. 17.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos won a conviction against Rollin in 2004, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal after a higher court determined that Gallegos used statements during the trial that were made by the defendant before he had been read his Miranda rights.

Deputy District Attorney Ben McLaughlin will prosecute the case this time around, with jury selection expected to begin later this month.

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



The state Attorney General’s office has declined a request by the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee that the Attorney General’s office take over the investigation of Eureka council member Larry Glass’ allegations of intimidation by local developer Robin P. Arkley II, stating “any request at this time appears premature”. The central committee’s September 12 letter to the Attorney General requested that office “take the lead in the investigation and prosecution of this alleged violation.”

In a letter to the Humboldt Democratic Central Committee dated September 26, 2007, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerald A. Engler advised the committee his office would “respectfully decline your request to intervene”, stating “First and foremost, the District Attorney is the elected prosecutor of Humboldt County. The law maintains a strong presumption that the District Attorney – not the Attorney General – will handle prosecutorial matters within the county. Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused. A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal. Thus, there are numerous cases where recusal has been denied even though the district attorney is called upon to prosecute cases involving county supervisors, sheriffs, or other political officials. The mere fact that the case involves a political supporter or a political opponent of the District Attorney will almost never suffice to justify recusal.”

Engler went on to state “neither the District Attorney nor any involved party has asked us to intervene. Even if such a request were made, it is unlikely we would do so given the considerations set forth in the preceding paragraph. As a general rule, the Attorney General will not intervene in a local matter at the request of a third party, such as the Central Committee”, and continued “any request at this time appears premature. Nothing in your letter suggests that the appropriate local law enforcement agency such as the sheriff’s office or city police are unwilling or unable to investigate the alleged crime. That is an essential first step before it is even appropriate for a prosecutor to consider whether to bring charges.”

HCDCC Chair Milton Boyd said the reply “clarifies the legal process involved” and added, “the allegations made in this case are unusual and serious and we appreciate this prompt and clear response from Attorney General Brown’s office”.



Evaluating the D.A. recall

From the McKinleyville Press
Evaluating the D.A. recall
Activist, attorney, officials offer varying and surprising views

By Daniel Mintz
Press Staff Writer

"There will be political consequences - I know that."

Spoken by District Attorney Paul Gallegos just after he filed the fraud lawsuit that would jump-start a recall election, the quote could be generally applied to the whole of his first year in power.

Gallegos has commandeered the county's attention in a scant 14 months of helming the D.A.'s office and has been alternately described as a beacon of democracy and a misguided bumbler. Perhaps more than anything else in the county's recent history, Gallegos' emergence as D.A. and the drive to remove him has fired up political divisions that preceded him by many years.

The dynamics of bitterly combative elections aren't put in place in as short a time as Gallegos has been district attorney. Heavy campaigning now dominates public attention but there are important and talked-about aspects of the recall that aren't reflected in the steadily intensifying election gamesmanship.

And the recall's impacts may not be as obvious or as linear as the polarized campaigns make them seem.

The recall and environmental activism

The fraud lawsuit against Pacific Lumber Company (PL) is a looming presence, and though its focus has shifted from environmental damage to alleged financial gain, it has mobilized the county's environmental movement in support of Gallegos.

Having a PL nemesis as D.A. would have been an activist's fantasy not long ago, and Gallegos is drawing the impassioned support of many environmentalists - as he did in 2002, when he successfully ran for office against longtime former D.A. Terry Farmer.

But some have doubts. "The environmental community at large did not pick this fight," said veteran Earth First!er Darryl Cherney on the lawsuit and the ensuing power struggle. "There was nothing approaching consensus from any contingent of the environmental movement that this was a battle we wished to fight."

Cherney has watched the recall's procession of events with concern. A key organizer during the historic years that preceded the 1999 Headwaters Deal, Cherney believes that the movement's been drawn into a political brawl that threatens its progress regardless of outcome.

"The nanosecond this suit was announced, I knew the D.A. would face a recall and I think the D.A. knew it too," Cherney continued. "But what the D.A. didn't think through was the stress it would put on his supporters."

Resistance to the influence and logging practices of PL has been an effort - and for some, an obsession - that has been ongoing ever since the mid-1980s, when the Houston, Texas-based megacorporation Maxxam took the company over. But Cherney thinks the lawsuit and the recall mark a dangerous turn.

"Nobody can accuse me of being 'soft on Maxxam,' but in all the years I've taken them on and in all the incredibly adventurous battles we've waged against them, we took risks but we didn't gamble and I think that's the difference here - the risks we took were calculated and this gamble has not been calculated by the D.A."

Cherney wonders if Gallegos and Assistant D.A. Tim Stoen, who was hired by Gallegos and is the suit's lead prosecutor, have blown away an unusual opportunity for progressive gain.

"Neither he nor Stoen took into account that their supporters would have to mount months of stressful campaigning and raise tens of thousands of dollars to fight off Maxxam in what could be a losing battle," Cherney said.

Bad moves?

Cherney's educated guess is that the D.A. will indeed be recalled, and he said he "sees it all as being unnecessary." Gallegos made a drastic mistake almost as soon as he took office, Cherney continued.

He's been familiar with Stoen's work in Mendocino County since 1989, he said, adding that Gallegos' enlistment of Stoen as second in command began a series of blunders. Stoen's personally disastrous association with People's Temple demagogue Jim Jones is an obvious reason why hiring him was a bad move, Cherney continued, but there are other factors.

"It's not that Tim Stoen was fooled by Jim Jones - what disturbs me is that he hasn't seemed to have learned anything from his experience."

Cherney suggested that Stoen, who plunged into preparation of the lawsuit and focused on it almost exclusively during his first eight weeks on the job, again allowed himself to be duped.

"And if we lose the D.A.'s race, we will have experienced an environmental Jonestown here, in Humboldt County, led by Tim Stoen," Cherney said.

He was asked what will be lost if Gallegos is ousted. "Let me reverse that, because Gallegos has presented us with a lose/lose situation. Even if we win the recall, we will have still spent all of our environmental and political capital - and Gallegos will have to start campaigning for re-election in two years, and we will be fighting this battle all over again."

If the recall succeeds, Cherney added, "the loss is even deeper because we'll have been dragged into a battlefield for which we are unprepared, and potentially led to slaughter."

Cherney may not be be winning favor with his forthright commentary (he says his associates come down on him "like a ton of bricks" when he shares his thoughts) and he said his conclusions are painfully realized.

"But I think the liberal left environmental community of Humboldt County is in denial - we're blaming PL for this battle we're in, but a true warrior doesn't whine about the strength of his or her adversary, and we're getting a lot of that from Gallegos supporters."

The formation of the Alliance for Ethical Business (AEB, a non-profit group founded by Richard Salzman, Gallegos' campaign manager) was another error, Cherney continued.

The AEB sprang forth at the same time recall fervor appeared to, and its expressed purpose has been to support the lawsuit. Cherney attended an AEB benefit in Southern Humboldt and said that it misrepresented the group's intent - the event looked and sounded like one to support Paul Gallegos, he continued, and he isn't sure that people completely realized what they were aiding was a private organization.

A better move would have been to have formed a political campaign to encourage people not to sign recall petitions, said Cherney, who characterized the creation of the AEB as a "disastrous mistake in judgment."

The Gallegos campaign's incessant targeting of PL is another strategy that will backfire, Cherney believes. He thinks that the apparent victory of forcing the recall committee to mention PL in its ads due to the company's heavy funding will actually draw more votes for the recall.

Cherney questioned the value of highlighting PL funding instead of explaining why Gallegos has what it takes to be a good D.A. "For one thing, everybody knows PL has put money into this," he continued. "Two, nobody cares and three, all the people who do care have already made up their minds."

Gallegos had made some puzzling decisions, Cherney believes, and he cited the D.A.'s dramatic rollback of his medical marijuana limits as "a textbook case of political spinelessness" that has only served to disappoint an important element of his support base.

"The moral is that running somebody for office who has progressive politics is not enough," Cherney continued. He stressed that candidates have to be chosen carefully and be evaluated on a basis that includes consideration of administrative and leadership skills.

"I'll tell you this," he concluded. "It's so critical that we learn our lessons. People always say 'PL's a villain' and if we always blame Maxxam for every loss we suffer, we are never going to learn how to play this game better."
Takeover's lingering aftermath

As an attorney, Bill Bertain has been in the game for over 18 years. He launched legal actions to block Maxxam's takeover of PL and has helped gain settlements for residents of Stafford and other areas said to be impacted by PL's logging. And he portrays Maxxam as the recall's knob-twister.

Bertain views the recall as an extension of Maxxam's involvement in the county since the mid-'80s. "One can't understand what's going on now until one understands what happened then," he said. "What we have seen is an ongoing pattern of deceit."

The ultimate expression of that, in Bertain's view, is PL's heavy funding of the recall and the company's simultaneous assertion that the election is largely about safety issues. And to Bertain, the political actions of the company are directly linked to Maxxam CEO Charles Hurwitz.

"He is again attempting, with much more energy and viciousness, to influence many fine people into misplacing their loyalties," Bertain continued. "And he's using the recall as a means of doing it, through funding and by having his people direct it."

Bertain characterizes the Maxxam takeover as "an invasion of the county" that was achieved through fraud. It's a situation that's continuing and hitting a peak, Bertain added, with tragic effects.

"Hurwitz has distorted many aspects of life in Humboldt County - political, social and environmental - and it's a sad, sad story. He's caused a lot of dissension and divisiveness. And now that he has somebody going against him, he's playing off it again."

Asked if the recall also represents a cultural divide, Bertain said it may to some degree. "But then again, I'm Catholic, pro-life and a Republican - and my family has been here since 1882."

Bertain was born in the PL-owned lumber town of Scotia, and grew up there and in Rio Dell. His family operated the Bertain's Laundry and Dry Cleaning business in Scotia from 1920 to 1992 and "it breaks my heart to see what Hurwitz has done to the company."

The lawsuit and the recall can't be convincingly separated, Bertain continued. "The stakes must be pretty high for PL, considering the amount of money they've put in and that they're resorting to political tactics that have never been seen before in Humboldt County."

The recall has "saddened a number of people and confused a lot of people," said Bertain.

They may not understand the lawsuit's relevance, he continued, because PL has paid for an advertising blitz that may be succeeding in obscuring it. But he also believes that Gallegos is highly respected by many. "Some people who don't have the courage that Paul has might have shied away from such a battle because of the wealth of the defendant. But I admire him for taking up the challenge and I think a lot of other people do, too."

Is the election a "referendum on PL," as some have suggested? "I think PL pretty much made it that by funding the recall," Bertain responded.

And he looks at the recall as an important moment in county history.

"I think PL helped get the recall going and has obviously put money into it - and so brought it to this state of controversy and divisiveness. It's part of the ongoing saga brought to us by Hurwitz and I look at this in many ways as a defining issue for people here in Humboldt County."

The pro-recall campaign rhetoric is "playing off people's prejudices," Bertain continued, and pitting longtime residents against more recent ones, conservatives against hippies, and so forth. "Hurwitz is clever and he's hired clever people to take advantage of people's fears."

Cultural collisions

Elected officials have mostly avoided recall commentary, as the contest is too hotly waged to dive into. Second District Supervisor Roger Rodoni is running for re-election and when pressured to reveal his stance during debates, he's repeatedly said that he'll keep his views on the recall private.

Rodoni, however, does see more general aspects of the recall that are open to discussion.

He views the election as something more than a political pie fight between the timber industry and environmentalists. Rodoni described it as a "cultural clash" whose roots extend back to the late 1960s, when "societal and world views were changing, and there was exposure to a larger world by young people and a reluctance of the older generation to accept brand new philosophies and ideologies."

Rodoni first used the term "generation gap" but then conceded that there really is no accurate or pat label for the division the county's seeing. "What it gets down to is one side accusing the other of not thinking right - reason and logic take a back seat, and the truth loses."

Is the recall election a sign that the county is changing? "There are claims to that effect, but in my travels, I don't run into that much - I observe the opposite, that there is strong opposition to change."

Rodoni has been portrayed as the political linchpin of the southern region's old guard of ranchers, large and small timber operators and business interests. He does draw lots of support from those quarters, and reports that the recall's perceived impact goes beyond PL.

"By focusing on PL, what some of the opponents of the recall seem to miss is that there are other huge timber companies in the county who are watching this and are nervous," said Rodoni. "And they believe that they may be accused of something even if they're innocent. We've got that angle with the D.A. - in some people's minds, he's got a gunslinger attitude and it's not good for business."

Those considerations are relevant when considering that the county's traditional logging and agricultural economies are on the wane. And Rodoni thinks that accusing PL of "buying" signatures on recall petitions by funding the drive to collect them ignores the presence of genuine dissatisfaction with Gallegos.

Rodoni doubts that anti-PL recall rhetoric will affect the company's credibility. "People are, in a word, jaded," he continued. "People have had enough of it - right, wrong or indifferent, people are tired of it and this kind of stuff is just one of PL's business hazards."

Divisive times

Having been elected on a platform that heavily emphasized consensus-building, Fifth District Supervisor Jill Geist is witnessing the recall's frenzied political swordsmanship with disappointment.

She believes that the recall wouldn't be happening if not for PL's hefty funding, but she also thinks both sides have fueled the contest's antagonism. The formation of the AEB was a mistake, Geist said, because it opened the Gallegos campaign to criticism and further provoked PL.

She believes that Gallegos has tossed the concept of impartiality by railing against the company, and "I think some people see that as an abuse of power."

Geist also noted that Gallegos and Stoen have chosen to make the PL suit a public case, going as far as promoting it in meetings with chamber of commerce groups. "One wonders why they're not treating this like any other case," she said. "If they had stuck with an attitude that suggested 'the court will determine the outcome' and gone that track, I truly believe there would not have been a recall."

A concentration on PL and its role in the recall may be relevant, Geist added, but she also noted that aside from responses to "soft on crime" allegations, "there has been nothing new introduced as far as Paul's performance as D.A."

Nor does Geist think the lawsuit is the momentous lever for change that some seem to believe it to be. "I've heard people say that this case could change the way timber harvesting is done, and I disagree. The way to do that is by changing the Forest Practices Act and the way permitting and environmental reviews are done - and that's a fight that takes place in Sacramento."

Division is the recall's most easily observed effect, said Geist, and it isn't helping people understand what's going on. "We're not having two discussions that I think are important - one, what will it take to restore stability to the D.A.'s office; and two, that good government should be boring. If an official does the job well, there is minimal drama and what we're seeing now is lots of drama that's causing divisiveness in the community and we're seeing it come from both sides."

A dangerous year

Gallegos is now infamous for creating various and incessant stirs. His first year is a chronicle of headline-friendly controversies - and they began even before he took office. After the 2002 election win he told a reporter that he'd fire "14 or 15" attorneys if necessary, a comment that created panic in the D.A.'s office and established an immediate sense of mistrust.

Police groups have expressed dissatisfaction with him, and a schism developed between Gallegos and the Board of Supervisors after it rejected his proposal to contract a high-profile outside law firm to aid the PL lawsuit. Much of Gallegos' considerable community support viewed this as an example of established leadership retreating from its responsibilities.

Despite being heavily lobbied otherwise, Geist was one of four supervisors who voted against the contract proposal. She said the decision wasn't difficult to arrive at, as the proposal was in only in draft form. The lawsuit itself was only a sketch at that point - inflammatory references to gross environmental damage had to be removed and the suit was amended.

The original version of the suit alleged that PL's fraud allowed the company "to be able to cut down an estimated 100,000 trees on unstable slopes it could not have otherwise been allowed to do," thus facilitating extra profits. The logging in unstable areas has proceeded, the first version asserted, causing "major landslides and destruction to the streams, bridges, roads and homes of Humboldt County."

An amended suit was portrayed as an "expansion" of content, but it removed those shocking accusations and shifted the focus to whether environmental reviews were adequate. A press release from Gallegos had proclaimed that logging on unstable slopes was no longer an issue, though the alleged fraud is directed at a study assessing timber harvesting on unstable slopes.

But the lawsuit had already become a celebrated or reviled cause, and Geist is concerned that debating it - and having a slugfest with PL in a political arena - is exacting social damages. "I'm reluctant to weigh in with a public position (on the recall) because in this atmosphere, it doesn't contribute to anything - we have looming issues we need to be working on and we need cohesion," she said.

Financial resources are also important, Geist continued, and they're being fed into political furnaces. "A tremendous amount of money and energy has been given to the AEB and (Gallegos' campaign committee)," she said. "Tremendous amounts of financial capital have been poured in, perhaps $250,000 combined, and that's only what's being tracked - the AEB is not a political action committee, so we have no idea of the money it has raised. And I think a number of non-profits are seeing their grant money drying up and going away. I can't help but to think there could have been a more constructive use of money."

Government operations have also been impacted. "There's an overall feeling of great uncertainty and it feels like there's a siege mentality up on the fourth floor (of county headquarters, where the D.A.'s office is located)," said Geist. "The general public will probably never understand the tremendous amount of pressure Paul is under and it's not just him - it radiates through the entire department."

Political fallout

With the election a week away, people are considering post-recall scenarios with concern. Geist noted that the mechanics of many criminal cases have been thrust before the public for judgment, which is a bad precedent.

"Could you imagine being a defendant and wondering whether your case will be tried in public?" she asked. "You begin to wonder how politics might affect charging and sentencing, and that causes me to be very concerned."

Both Rodoni and Geist believe that Worth Dikeman's candidacy could have a pronounced effect on the election's outcome. Rodoni said that Dikeman has a campaign presence in his district that's twice that of his own and was asked if he thought Dikeman, a veteran prosecutor, has increased the recall's chances of success.

"Emphatically - yes," Rodoni responded.

Geist said Dikeman will appeal to people who are shell-shocked by political warfare. "For people who look at this as something other than a Pacific Lumber issue and have concerns about the office itself, (Dikeman) comes in with credibility and stability, and that will be appealing to people who are tired of the drama."

But Geist thinks the most significant changes after election day will be social, not political. "A lot of people will have been divided into camps, and will be physically and emotionally worn out - probably no one more so than Paul and his family."

There is also a category of people that hasn't been talked about much - those who aren't tuned in to the election's bombastic parrying and may not care much. "I am sometimes surprised to run into people who ask me what the recall's all about," Geist related. "There are some people who aren't even paying attention to this - and it's almost refreshing."