Meet your DA candidates: Elan Firpo

Elan Firpo/My Word

y father and grandfather were career California Highway Patrolmen, my mother in police dispatch. Dad's career brought us to Garberville. I grew up in a law enforcement family with an unwavering respect for the law.
After graduating College of the Redwoods and Cal Poly, I became a high-tech design engineer. That led to a 13-year career designing computer components, then to supervising teams of 50 engineers and, eventually, to managing facilities with 3,000 employees around the globe. Rising to executive level in the private sector, my success demanded managing major operations, motivating employees and holding them accountable so that projects ran on time and under budget.

There is more to life than making good money. I heeded the call to public service instilled by my family's tradition, earned a law degree and returned to Humboldt in 2009 as a prosecutor: here, where my parents live and where I'm raising my children.

With proven executive experience and an engineer's obsession for solving problems, I will address the public safety issues of Humboldt County and manage the office of district attorney so that it works effectively and efficiently for you.

I will close the revolving door on those few who prey upon us, particularly repeat offenders that otherwise would have been imprisoned before realignment. As the only working deputy DA in this election, I have current working knowledge and experience navigating the new landscape created by the Governor's Plan that sent prisoners back to Humboldt and halved sentences.

While carrying a full case load at all times, I have also mentored summer interns, just as when I was an engineer. As district attorney, I'll establish prosecution protocols, which is management-speak for the way we prosecute ALL cases. By establishing clear guidelines for attorneys and support staff, we will prosecute as a team.

The DA must be a justice partner with other law enforcement agencies. All departments involved in public safety should coordinate our efforts to keep streets safe. My plan will bring together mental health programs, probation, social services, treatment facilities and the hard-working men and women in police organizations. By detailing one deputy DA to work with each agency, for example, we will be better able to distinguish criminals from addicts. Applying this approach to other types of cases, we bring about outcomes best suited for resolution of their impact in the community.

Marijuana grows that dry streams, damage the environment or attract violent criminals will be shut down. I advocate setting certifiable guidelines for legal 215 grows. In that way law enforcement will not come down on legal activities only to have cases thrown out in court, and growers can call on law enforcement when they're victimized.

I will optimize current resources and regain the confidence of the Board of Supervisors and the public by providing a quality work product in the form of consistent and rigorous prosecution. By putting in place proven management structures, ones that I'm very familiar with, we can improve our service to the county, attract more grant funding, and provide the supervisors with solid reasoning to support budget requests.

The broad coalition that supports this campaign is proof positive that the polarization of the DA's office will end under my watch. When the senior vice president of Green Diamond Resources and prominent environmental advocates agree on one candidate, that's a sign that we can truly rise above our differences. When two conservative Eureka City Council members and two former supervisors from the heavily Democratic Arcata's 3rd District stand together, we know that polarization can be surmounted. Humboldt constituencies who are worlds apart on passionate core issues set aside those differences to be in agreement that I exercise good judgment based solely on the facts and evidence. In a free, open society, it's essential that all sectors trust the structure and application of the law, under which we all thrive.

My candidacy refutes the wrong-headed notion that we must be combative in order to protect what we value most, or that bullying achieves results. Instead, in working together, my supporters find that all of us desire a clear impartial line in administering the law, that political persuasion curries no favor, and that I'm the candidate who has earned their trust to exercise the impartial judgment expected of the chief law enforcement officer of Humboldt County.

Yes, we can be one community working together for our common safety. I respectfully ask for your vote for district attorney to do just that.