3.06.2010

TS - Paul Gallegos seeks third term; incumbent Humboldt District Attorney announces bid at campaign headquarters

Paul Gallegos seeks third term; incumbent Humboldt District Attorney announces bid at campaign headquarters

With dozens of supporters standing behind him, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos announced his campaign seeking re-election Friday, pledging to continue making the difficult decisions and serving all the county's residents.

”We have never backed down, and we never will, because while a ship in harbor is safe, that's not what ships are for,” Gallegos said at the event Friday, held at his campaign headquarters at 321 Third St. in Eureka.

Gallegos, who was first elected to the office in 2002, is seeking his third term as Humboldt County's top law enforcement official, facing challenges from Allison Jackson, Paul Hagen and Kathleen Bryson, all of whom have announced their intention to run for the office.

Humboldt County District Attorney's Office Investigator Wayne Cox spoke at the event, saying he was hired on with the office in 2007, and was refreshed by Gallegos' can-do attitude and the open minded way he approached the job.

”As a tight-knit team, the District Attorney's Office has accomplished great things, including the cases against Paul Jasnosz, Andy Belant, Dave Gundersen and Steve Hash, some of the most vicious and heartless predators in our community,” Cox said.

“Because of Paul's direction and leadership, they are now being held accountable for their actions, as are countless other felons that have been convicted during Paul's tenure as district attorney.”

Former California Assemblywoman Patty Berg introduced Gallegos at the event, calling him a dear friend, and said he has been effective and courageous in bringing his office into the 21st century.

”Paul believes that it's his job to stand up for all the people of Humboldt County, and I so appreciate that,” Berg said, adding that when Gundersen, the former Blue Lake police chief, was arrested, Paul took it upon himself to try the case. “By appearing in the courtroom, Paul leads his office from the front, not from behind. He leads by example.”

Local defense attorney Peter Martin made similar comments.

”I'm impressed that he does handle high-profile cases himself -- there's always some political risk in that,” Martin said, adding that he wasn't always a Gallegos fan.

Having spent 10 years as a deputy district attorney working under Gallegos predecessor, Terry Farmer, Martin said he was “obviously not a supporter” early in Gallegos' tenure in the DA's office. But, over time, Martin said he worked with Gallegos on several cases and walked away impressed.

Keith Taylor, of the Center for Indian Law & Economic Justice, said he's supporting Gallegos partly because of his work with local tribes. For the last two years, Taylor said Gallegos has been holding monthly roundtable discussions with tribal leaders to discuss law and order and sovereignty issues.

After taking the podium at the event, Gallegos spent the first half of his remarks thanking his staff.

”They are truly a dedicated group of hardworking people who every day come early and leave late,” he said. “It is a pleasure to work with them.”

Then, Gallegos lauded his accomplishments in re-inventing the DA's office into a modern-day law office that represents all the people of Humboldt County. Asking the people of Humboldt County to again check his name on the ballot, Gallegos said he will continue working to rid the county of what Mahatma Gandhi deemed the seven deadly sins: “Wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, religion without sacrifice, and politics without principle.”

The Gallegos campaign will hold an open house during tonight's Arts Alive. For more information on the campaign, visit www.votepaul.org.

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-standard.com.