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Just thought I’d make note of some thoughts Ed has on Dikeman’s good fortune in El Dorado County.
I had a court appearance today. Judge Brown was out, and so the civil matters were sent over to Courtroom 6. I had to wait until the family court calendar was completed, so I decided to wander the halls briefly and catch up on gossip. Nobody was talking about Dikeman, however, there were copies of today’s ER laying on the top of the backrests of the benches with the big bolded headline WORTH DIKEMAN DISCUSSES FIRING. I read the interview, but found little sustenance in the story. Only a little bitterness seaped through, and Dikeman mostly showed some class and hope for the county’s criminal justice system. When asked how he thought the D.A.’s office was being run, he responded:
I don’t find fault with the recent hires Paul has made. There’s only one attorney in the office, aside from Paul, who I think doesn’t exercise good judgment.
So do you think the “one” is Schwartz or Keats?
I went back to the civil end of the hall, gossiped with one of Andy Stunich’s partners, and made my appearance. My car was in the shop and I had some time to kill so I thought I’d take in a trial. In Courtroom 3 there was a tree-hugger trial from the looks of the defendants, but it didn’t grab my interest. Courtroom 8 had some sort of preliminary hearing which I also found boring. Courtroom 7 was handling the small claims – I think the judges are shorthanded this week – and Courtroom 1 was locked shut. So I headed over to Courtroom 2 where Gallegos himself was prosecuting the murder trial we’ve all been reading about. Actually, I’m not up on the facts except that it looks like the fallout from a shoot-out between crank-heads down here in Myers Flat. The defendant was of course well groomed for trial. I watched for awhile as a defense expert was testifying about the angle of the bullet trajectory through the victim, commenting after a video he relied on about how sometimes cops are wrongfully accused of shooting suspects in the back when the suspect twists and turns while being shot at (I wonder if the film will be used if any litigation comes out of the Cheri Moore incident). Gallegos cross-examined to establish that there was another scenario to explain the trajectory, particularly the scenario that would point to guilt. The expert admitted it was also possible. The court then announced the introduction of audio-tape evidence that would take the rest of the morning, and so I left.
But before I left, I noticed that one of the alternate jurors had a copy of the ER, headline faced up. Either she had not been instructed to forego reading the papers, or she was not heeding the instruction. She was however taking copious notes, and so I assume she was taking her task seriously. I note that there is an article about the trial in today’s edition.
McCrea was still busy with my car, so I walked to Oldtown for a bagel at Los Bagels. An elderly gentleman greeted an elderly couple he apparently knew as he came into the shop. He made his purchase then grabbed an ER and his eyes widened at the headline, presumably the Dikeman headline. He brought it over to his friends, who also perked up and the couple agreed as the first gentleman said “he had it coming.”
My car ended up taking most of the day, so I called the office to discuss some items that my partner would have to attend to in my absence and decided to visit some friends over on B Street. The male half has now had a personal conversation with both Neely and Fleming, the former in his living room for about an hour as she recently pounded the pavement, and the latter near the water where he made the mistake of mentioning that the photo on her signs wasn’t flattering. Ms. Fleming was slightly flustered and said it was “just a snap shot.” He didn’t really discuss politics with either.
When my car was ready, I walked over to McCrea, by the rapidly deteriorating Downtowner Motel and behind the hauntingly dormant Eureka Inn. Nice day. Got a lot of walking in. If you saw a bearded guy in a dark suit wandering around it was probably me.
It’ll come as no surprise that the ER editors believe the firing is a bad idea. They attempt to shore up their position by arguing that they aren’t against Gallegos because they opposed the recall, but supported Dikeman in the most recent election simply because he was the better candidate (a combo eerily reminiscent of Arkley, Jr., but I’m not going there. Too tired a theme.).
They begin with a bit of a contradiction by admitting they don’t know why Dikeman was fired, but then they state they agree with Dikeman’s explanation:
We agree with what Dikeman stated in an e-mail Friday night: “It is patently obvious that I was fired because I exercised my constitutional right to speak my mind. I had the temerity to point out to this community some of Paul’s shortcomings, and Paul has had the poor judgment to retaliate against me for that.”
Of course, it’s not that simple, otherwise he would have been fired after commenting during the recall campaign that Gallegos had lost the confidence of the people of Humboldt County. I don’t know why he was fired either, but I do have a source close to the facts who told me that the relationship had simply eroded to the point that it was no longer workable. This same source told me way back during the campaign that if Gallegos won re-election that Dikeman would be out before the end of the year, and that the relationship had been hostile for quite some time.
While I agree with the ER that it’s not necessary for the head D.A. to like everyone who works under him, it is essential that he not be undermined. Dikeman ran just about the nastiest campaign I’ve seen on a local level the recall attempt itself excepted. He repeatedly called Gallegos a liar, and he pressured Gallegos to rush the Moore investigation while admitting that he was “out of the loop” as to its status. He commented negatively on a case that is now pending before the appellate court, thereby souring the jury pool should the lower court ruling be overturned and the matter sent back for trial. And the very evidence he presented at his initial press conference indicates that Gallegos at least subjectively felt he was being undermined from day one.
The editorial is reminiscent of the Grand Jury report which criticized Gallegos for firing Allison Jackson without any indication of awareness of the reasons for the firing. At least the ER admits that they don’t know why Dikeman was fired. But shouldn’t they ask that question before rendering an opinion as to whether the firing was appropriate?
Update: Okay, maybe Captain Buhne has the explanation as to why the TS editorial is unusually bold, (even if it is lacking in certain crucial specifics).
Reported by Captain Buhne.
I was one of those calling for it to happen. And the campaign the way it was, it probably had to happen. But I’m not sanguine about it. Whatever you think of Dikeman’s conduct and philosophy, he has devoted his life to public service. That deserves recognition.
I know not everybody is going to feel this way. Fred-in-the-Hills for instance, who was a target of what sounds like an obsessive campaign of Dikeman’s. Others have complaints as well. Certainly, I wasn’t impressed with how he conducted his campaign, and in fact if he had taken more of a positive approach he’d probably be in Gallegos seat right now.
But he’s 63 years old after decades of service during which he probably could have earned considerably more money. He can probably retire very comfortably, but I hope he finds a positive outlet for his gifts because he certainly isn’t ready for the glue factory.
I wish him well.
And I hope now Gallegos will be able to pursue his job with the vision that’s earned him 3 election wins, now maybe without too much internal resistance.
E-mailed to me by a Native American friend in Idaho. I didn’t find the story in either of the local daily papers. What gives?
I’m posting the link without comment for the moment. Here are some highlights:
By a 6-5 vote, the court said the prosecutor in Humboldt County singled out Native and Native-looking jurors. Papers quoted extensively in the decision show Worth Dikeman [pictured at right] referred to Native jurors as “darker skinned” and described them as “resistive of the criminal justice system generally and somewhat suspicious of the system.”
Writing separately, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw cited the “raw prosecutorial bias against Native Americans.” He said Dikeman, now a deputy district attorney, displayed “contempt for and stark prejudice against Native Americans” in his handling of the murder case.
Humboldt County is 5.7 percent Native American and is home to Yurok, Hoopa, Wiyot and other tribes.
The decision itself is here.
So why am I first hearing this from a resident of Idaho?
According to KHUM, with 83% counted, Paul is ahead 54 to 46 percent.
Measure T is ahead 55 to 45%.
Geist appears to have avoided a run-off. Not so for Neely, though she’s way ahead of Fleming.
Update 10:00 -
I was wrong about Orange County. They’ve hardly begun to get their count in. In fact, for such a low turnout, I have to say that this is one of the slowest counts in recent history. Aren’t all these new machines supposed to speed this up?
SF seems to have its act together, with over 60 percent counted. But LA, Santa Clara, San Diego, Alameda, and even many rural counties are sending results in a trickle.
In any case, Angelides is maintaining a 4 point lead with about 13% of the count in.
Prop 81 is at about 45%. Prop 82 is at 41%.
Update 11:22 – Prop 81 is making a move and is at 46.2% with 37.8% of precincts reporting. LA counts are coming in. But unfortunately, nearly all of Orange County and 9/10 of San Diego remain to be counted. Disappointed in my fellow Humboldt County voters on this one too.
Update 11:43 – Lt. Gov race still close. Check out the map below. Blue is Garamendi, Green is Speier, Yellow Figueroa.
Did some phone banking tonight at Carlson Wireless Technologies, who were very kind to lend the Gallegos campaign their offices and telephones for the effort. They will be hosting the GOTV effort tomorrow, no doubt with some sacrifice to their business. Kudos.
Southern Humboldt seems pretty solidly pro-Gallegos and Pro T, neither of which should be much of a surprise. I expect that Humboldt County’s turnout is going to be a bit higher than the state average due to the spirited local campaigns. So it’s a matter of getting out the base. As I was calling people, a few of them were annoyed, but many of the people we reached were happy to be talking to a real person. Some households had received as many as eight or nine automated messages about the election. I can’t believe those automated calls are effective! I wonder if they ever lose votes for a candidate.
Meanwhile, pro-Gallegos folk are circulating a mock Dikeman campaign photo, which isn’t going to sway those left on the fence (always wonder about people who haven’t made up their minds by now – and I hope they tip their waiters and waitresses well!), but has provided some amusement for those in the base who don’t think Gallegos has been hitting back with enough force.
I was in Eureka today for a deposition and spoke with the opposing attorney who will be voting for Dikeman. He believes that Gallegos is incompetent, but says that his vote is primarily based upon the fact that the police don’t like him and is concerned that they won’t have their hearts into their work and may not investigate cases as effectively. It’s an odd argument from my perspective. If the police are going to select our District Attorney, then why bother to have an election? It’d be cheaper just to bring all of armed law enforcement into one gymnasium and take a hand count. But it does tell you that the philosophical debate about prosecutorial independence is at the core of this campaign. The attorney was very put off by the photo posted above – apparently it was displayed somewhere at the North Coast Co-op. He also agreed that Dikeman has run a very poor campaign and may lose as the result.
I’ll start posting results tomorrow night as they become available to me. Wouldn’t mind help from anybody, particularly with news in Mendocino County and beyond.
So yesterday I missed Steven Lewis’ interview with Chris Crawford (I heard Allison Jackson was a no-show) on KMUD as I was tabling for Gallegos at the Summer Arts Festival in Benbow. It was a little disappointing as the planners relegated the non-profit booths to a ghetto in the far corner this year. We had a stage behind us, but we got very little traffic unless someone of moderately popular interest was performing. We a few interesting discussions. Raised some pocket change. Not very eventful actually. I did get one scowl, but who knows what that was about?
Oh, and somebody forgot to tell me that the table was a joint Gallegos/Measure T operation, so there I was sitting at a table surrounded by signs for a cause I oppose – as if my Measure T experience hadn’t been surreal enough. How can I fit this into my baseball metaphor? I was relieved to finish my shift, as was my son who seemed to prefer an ice cream cone and a trip down to the river to cool his feet in the water to the profound political discussions he had been treated to for two hours.
As mentioned below, my letter was published in the Eureka Reporter, along with a legion of others for each side. The lines are obviously well drawn. All about turn-out here on in.
The Eureka Reporter is the only local paper that publishes its letters online. They don’t have anything new or interesting this morning. They do have a cute cartoon.
I don’t see anything new on either campaign website, other than GOTV info on Gallegos’ site.
So unless something extraordinary happens, I probably won’t post anything about this race until tomorrow evening, when I’ll try to post all of the returns of interest as they come it.
Update 4 thirtiesh: Just visited Fred’s Blog where a poster named “rose” is pasting in several different comment sections a few paragraphs containing references to some allegations of corruption with regard to the husband of Kay Rackauckas whose piece about the CAST program was published in the ER this last weekend. It appears to be purely ad hominem with as yet no substantive response to Rackauckas’ arguments. However, you may believe it’s important to your voting decision – assuming there’s a soul in the county who hasn’t made up his or her mind. At this point “rose” cites only allegations and the existence of a probe. Of course Orange County politics are as goofy as ours, if not more so.
Second update: Hmmm. Apparently “rose” has her own blog entitled “watchpaul” full of, well, whatever. Don’t know anything about her other than some of her posts over at Fred’s, but she certainly has an axe to grind with Gallegos.
Word has it that Dikeman spoke to a crowd in Fortuna last night, joking about how his wife is prettier than Joan Gallegos, the incumbent’s wife. Dikeman also made a crack about how he taught his children how to walk on their own, an obscure reference to some campaign photos of Gallegos with his children on his shoulders. These yucks were obviously an encore from a recent interview in which he joked that he knows another prosecutor who surfs, only that prosecutor is “famous for not crashing into rocks,” in reference to a surfing incident in which Gallegos almost died.
Meanwhile, an old friend of Dikeman’s is calling him a liar.
A CAST prosecutor from Orange County is calling him a liar.
The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria is calling him a racist.
3 points for the incumbent, but a supporter of the challenger called Gail Gordon a liar. Gordon is the mother of a murder victim for whom Gallegos obtained a conviction and a life sentence.
But so far it’s been a pretty rough weekend for the challenger. On his upside, he saved 40 grand for a last lap media blitz so you can’t find a page of newspaper in Humboldt County that doesn’t have his mug on it.
Call it a wash?
As an aside, I went to Dikeman’s website page listing all of the news articles favorable to his campaign – at least by his campaign’s estimation. Looking at the list, it does seem that Dikeman is getting a lot of help from the ER. Now, in recent weeks there have been several articles that would seem to favor Gallegos, including a couple of those linked above. Is there an HSU journalism student out there who can earn some credits performing a FAIR type comparison of each paper with regard to this campaign? Maybe the ER is simply publishing more DA campaign stories.
If I was asked to cite only one reason I am voting for Paul Gallegos instead of his challenger Worth Dikeman, it would probably be Mr. Dikeman’s response to Mr. Gallegos’ second debate reading of what seems to me a very innocuous and common sense principle from the American Bar Association Standards for Criminal Justice: “prosecutors should take care to avoid any relationships with the police that might cast doubt on the independence and integrity of the office of the prosecutor.”
Mr. Dikeman answered only that the ABA standards are not “binding” (though they are recognized by the California District Attorney’s Association). He did not bother to explain his philosophical difference with the provision. Would hiring an officer to manage his political campaign constitute a violation if it was “binding?” Holding press conferences to demand that Mr. Gallegos rush to conclusion an investigation into police conduct?
I was hoping for an explanation as to why these examples do not constitute actions that would cast doubt on Mr. Dikeman’s independence and integrity. He’s had ample time to clarify. Apparently, he simply does not believe the prosecutor should be independent from the armed wing of law enforcement because no “binding” law forbids him to be so.
I find that very disconcerting.
Update 6/4/06 – It was published, under the heading “Dikeman’s proximity to law enforcement is disturbing.” Unfortunately, the editor missed the point of my letter. Although I do find his relationship with law enforcement disturbing, the letter was about his expressed philosophy about that relationship which I find even more disturbing.
Eric V. Kirk