Mendo’s elections this year are also bound to be contentious, and their District Attorney race is no exception.  I am informed that there are three candidates.

The incumbent is Meredith Lintott (the link is to her Facebook page, but I’ve subsequently located her official site) who was elected following Norm Vroman’s death in last election cycle.  She is being criticized by Medical Marijuana advocates with regard to her policies, and some claim that she is pushing the marijuana prosecutions well beyond the public’s comfort level.  She had promised leniency, but perhaps has come to view the subsequent passage of Measure B (which repealed elements of Measure G) in 2008 as a mandate for more aggressive prosecution of marijuana crimes.   Although she is perceived by many as “conservative,” she emphasizes among her successes interventionist/community based comprehensive policies.  Although all D.A. candidates have to make some lip service in that direction, she claims to have delivered on it.  She also claims to have pursued environmental crimes and boasts success in negotiating a half a million dollars settlement in a case pertaining to the construction of the new Noyo Bridge (anybody with info?).  She is backed by Congressman Mike Thompson among others.   A curious name on her list is Michael Sweeney.  Could he be Judi Bari’s ex-husband?  According to her Facebook page she also likes to listen to Eric Clapton, and, well, she’s willing to admit she listens to Jack Johnson, for which she deserves credit for bravery.

Running against her is Matt Finnegan who worked under Lintott, but was fired (I don’t know why – maybe someone does?).  His issues page contains many of the usual generalities and vagueness, but also some interesting clues as to his overall philosophy.  On marijuana, he backed Measure B, and he adopts the safe position of promising to pursue trafficking for profit, grows on public lands, and trespasses onto private lands, while promising to honor Proposition 215 and deprioritize small time possession cases.  He goes out of his way to emphasize transparency and accountability, and promises against “cronyism,” which leads me to wonder if those are going to be issues raised with his former boss.  He emphasizes his support of gun rights, which might cost him progressive votes in other communities, but is unlikely to be an issue as even most progressives here tout what they call “rural values” which distinguish them from their urban progressive counterparts.  And he throws the usual bones to progressives, again, by emphasizing interventionist approaches to law enforcement, promising to work with public defenders and substance abuse treatment advocates in a comprehensive policy.  He also promises to work with judges to implement policies which discourage late hour settlements which waste the time of potential jurors on Monday mornings, but he is not very specific – triggering concerns for me that what he has in mind is sanctions for defendants who settle late and/or incentives for early settlement, thereby creating a negotiation disadvantage to defendants.  I guess the big question he has to answer is why he is running against his former boss.

Also running is David Eyster who currently practices criminal defense in a private practice, but has been a “tough prosecutor” (no word as to whether he’s been a tough defense attorney”) in the past.  Eyster has some endorsements (I don’t know any of the names) and a handful of “commendations,” the red flag for progressives constituting praise from Republican former Attorney General Dan Lungren (who among other things basically pretended that Proposition 215 never happened for the duration of his office).  This Mike Geniella article on Eyster which is linked from the “news” page of Eyster’s site quotes Eyster as referring to marijuana as “the elephant in the room” neither of the other candidates will discuss.  He then says, pretty much what they say, that he’ll respect Proposition 215 while prosecuting the profiteers.

So who is the “progressive” and who is the “conservative?”  The labels might have some relevance in the Humboldt race.  I don’t know that they’re at play in Mendo.

I did come across this handy link to the Anderson Valley Advertiser piece which reviews each of the candidates’ Facebooking.  Are any of our Humboldt candidates Facebooking?

Thoughts from Mendo voters up on the race would be helpful.  For instance – does anybody know why Lintott fired Finnegan?