ooks like Ken Miller and crew are pushing Gallegos into appealing his piece of shit Palco suit. It's not enough that the case has been thrown out, what is it, three times now? Miller & Co. won't give up. How else do you explain Jeffrey "yougofree.com" Scwartz buttering Gallegos up, telling him (and you) how fabulous he looks in those silky golden, jewel-encrusted robes they have created for him, in the hopes that he will parade into court yet again without realizing he is buck-naked.
This nauseating piece of - ummmm, fiction demands a response. It's time to make the real record clear. I'm going to need more than 750 words, Mr. Somerville.
Paul Gallegos: The beginning of an era
Article Launched: 02/05/2008 01:15:29 AM PST
Recent editorials in the Times-Standard and North Coast Journal make Paul Gallegos out to be a one-trick pony -- the Palco lawsuit.
The T-S said that his legacy as the Humboldt County DA rested on his suit against Pacific Lumber. Hank Sims, in his Town Dandy column said that Gallegos' “whole career as a prosecutor” had been tied up with the suit and said that the state appellate court has now “erased his whole reason for being.” (”An end to a saga,” Times-Standard, Jan. 25; “Full circle,” Hank Sims, North Coast Journal, Jan. 17.)
But Gallegos is no one-trick pony, and anyone who thinks so hasn't paid attention to what has gone on inside the DA's office.
Paul Gallegos entered office more than five years ago. Since then he has turned the DA's role into what it should be, the protector of all people of Humboldt County and their interests. That means more than simply prosecuting drug dealers, common thieves and violent offenders. Of course, that takes priority. But the district attorney's office under Gallegos is more than that.
Gallegos has gone after miscreants in the business community, corrupt politicians, environmental polluters and criminally negligent nursing home operators. He stands out among virtually every other district attorney in the state who limits their offices to prosecuting common criminals.
The Times-Standard noted that some people in the community saw Gallegos' suit against Palco as an “ill-thought-out attack on Humboldt County's historical way of life.” Paul Gallegos' utopian vision was, and still is, to expand the office's charge to include the prosecution of those “historical” good businessmen and women and politicians who violate laws, so rarely enforced that they seem to be on the books for show.
The advocates of Humboldt's “historical way of life” want Gallegos to do nothing but go after homeless drug addicts who steal bags of Top Ramen from Winco or college students who grow marijuana. Concentrating on minor criminals would keep him from concentrating on bigger fish -- crooked business people and politicians and anti-environmentalists.
You don't win every murder case that comes along, and you don't win every Palco case that comes along, but that does not mean you give up. (By the way, Paul Gallegos won every homicide case he tried and every other major case he tried since taking office.)
Gallegos was the first person to challenge successfully Humboldt's historical values when he won election three times, despite the historical power base fighting like rabid dogs to stop him. While they could not stop him at the polls, they have been successful stopping him at the courthouse steps so far.
Have you noticed that the non-historical cases he brought -- the cases against Debbie August and Palco, to name two -- never got past Humboldt's historical power base (the judiciary, the newspapers and the local law makers) and thus never reached a jury, which would have been made up largely of people who elected him.
When discussing advocates of Humboldt's “historical way of life,” the Times-Standard should keep in mind that Humboldt's “historical” way of life included the decimation of the Native American population, much like the South's “historical” way of life included the lynching of African Americans.
But don't bet on Gallegos to abandon his mandate to fight Humboldt's historical values and run the DA's office the way a DA's office is supposed to be run, i.e. protecting all of the people of Humboldt County, regardless of an appellate court decision on one case.
The “historical” people of Humboldt County better get used to the idea that according to the Gallegos vision of justice for all, lawbreakers of all stripes should wear prison stripes. Gallegos believes that crooked politicians, business people, lumber executives and nursing home operators should sit on the same cold jail bench alongside shoplifters, child molesters and murderers.
Paul Gallegos represents Humboldt County's contemporary values, not its historical values.
Jeffrey Schwartz is an Arcata attorney and former prosecutor at the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office. He can be reached at email@example.com.
We'll have to take this one point by point, and see if there are ANY true statements in this piece.