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This can be found on his Facebook campaign page and has been sent out to much of the media.

 

Setting the Record Straight – Responding to the “Bombshell” Unfounded Allegations from the Lost Coast Outpost.

Dear Neighbors,

Last week I sat down with Lost Coast Outpost reporter Ryan Burns for what I thought would be an in-depth conversation about key community issues in the 1st Supervisorial Race. What transpired was an unexpected foray into my personal and professional history, dredging up tired and completely discredited accusations of wrong-doing. (I would like to remind readers that as a health professional and accredited state foster family, I have been thoroughly investigated and vetted by federal agencies. Any evidence of wrong-doing would disqualify me for those positions.)

I suspect that Ryan was fed material for a smear campaign to weaken the progressive candidate in this race and normally I wouldn’t bother to respond.  But there is some very strong language and all have the absolute right to the truth. So, in response to those unfounded allegations, here are the facts:

The Washington State situation:  As a young 19-year-old I moved from my home in Humboldt to Seattle. It was my first time away from family and friends. I was also inexperienced, young and naïve.  I admittedly got caught up in a company (Kleen Environmental Technologies, Inc) whose business practices were based on greed and growth, and as I later discovered, not completely above board. Here are the facts:

  • I did NOT write or approve any letter from Lansing Birdinground in support of the Kleen application. Once I realized that such a letter existed – had been forged and submitted to support the company’s application for a very lucrative hazardous materials contract – I challenged the representative of the company and demanded it be pulled. But by then it was in the public record.
  • I also did NOT attend the subsequent administrative proceeding – in fact by that time I had cut all ties with the company and left the area. The individual at the hearing was apparently an identity assumed by one of other Kleen representatives – one who as a non-citizen with a criminal record needed to remain under the radar in order to successfully secure a waste permit.  The “health incident” involved the two company representatives who decided the questioning was getting too damaging.  Of course, I was shocked to learn that “I” had testified.  I felt like Cary Grant in North by Northwest.  Should I have set the record straight with the administrative court?  Certainly, and I wish I could turn back time.  I will only say that I was young and scared and decided to keep my distance.
  • I do not have any explanation as to why only one of the attorneys claims I was present and the others uncertain.
  • I also did not ever claim to have attended HSU.
  • Ryan also failed to include in his reporting that the disposition and associated documents identified Mr. Olson and other parties to be evasive and not transparent about their knowledge of the letter in question or that the attorneys stated in their filings that “The role Robert Olson played in Kleen’s submission of the false document to the Commission, Mr. Olson made false statements to the Commission in an effort to cover up his company’s responsibility”… “Clearly, Kleen’s principles do not have clean hands”. Instead, to the contrary, Ryan chose to cite Mr. Olson as a person of authority to build his narrative.
  • The article published by Ryan also failed to disclose that Kleen Environmental is now under the ownership of Stericyle. And that as such, the principles, agents and their legal counsel are conflicted and/or obligated not to make statements that may in fact be damaging to the company or that may bring into public knowledge a breakdown in corporate ethics that could have damaging implications on the public perception of the company and its officers. Such public information would undoubtedly have financial implications on the stock value of the company.
  • This was a very hard lesson – I was easily compromised by adults I had trusted and seen as mentors. From that life experience I came away with a renewed commitment to “follow the rules” in any further relationships, both personal and professional.
  • I am certain many will ask me to name the man who appeared at the proceedings, but at this point in time I do not see any public interest in doing so other than to further my own interests in a case where everyone (other than my political opponents) has seen fit to move on.  If voters would have held that against me, I would have respected their decision.

Pomo situation: I have already briefly covered on my Facebook page and will post the prior statement in conjunction with this release.  By uncovering a myriad of issues (including fraudulent purchases by a tribal member employee and a vast number of unauthorized wire transfers), subsequently contacting the Concord and San Francisco police departments respectively, and generally opposing leadership’s indifference to what I had discovered, I apparently earned the ire (and payback) of the Tribe.  However, as Tribal Administrator, I was able to establish TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) and expanded this program to serve several counties and I am still visiting and in contact with tribal members who benefitted from those programs and services.  The allegations made by the Tribe were also directly refuted (but omitted in the Lost Coast Outpost coverage) at the campaign launch by a speaker who traveled from Lake County to speak on this matter.

Tribal politics can be very tricky.  Unfortunately, when the federal government imposed the supremacy of Tribal Councils under the Indian Reorganization Act, it not only replaced traditional indigenous methods of government, but failed to even provide the key virtue of a democratic republic.  There are no checks on the power of a Tribal Council.   They can disregard a Tribal judicial decision and even just fire the judges.  When power is only limited by the conscience of the leadership it can lead to some very difficult politics.  I do not wish to showcase these issues in my campaign, but needless to say I am unaware that the FBI would ignore such serious charges because of the low amount of money involved or for any court of competent jurisdiction to refuse to bring forth charges if in fact a crime was committed.  Needless to say, I became embroiled in a political tar pit.

The problem is that I am at a serious disadvantage.   I have a confidential non-disclosure agreement with the Tribe and so I cannot even respond to their accusations with substance.  I cannot make public the vast number of documents in my possession, so that the public can judge these documents on their own merits, rather than cryptic accusations in a disregarded letter to the FBI and whatever brain processes Ryan underwent in deciding that they must be meritorious.  I cannot submit my detailed letter to the BIA and the associated documents.  I cannot provide numerous documents in the file which would explain the situation, the Tribal Council’s issues, and the actual reasons the business relationship broke down.   If I was to attempt to defend myself with documentary evidence, they could sue me.  However, because of Tribal immunity, I have no recourse against them for defamation.

I do not want to make attacking a Tribal Council a fixture of this campaign.  But there are plenty of news stories and a slew of witnesses and parties to numerous allegations which have taken place with this exact tribe and Tribal Council before, during, and after my involvement with them.  To research the credibility of the people who made the accusations should have been a priority in the reporting.  I can only bring forth witnesses to my efforts to serve the Tribe well, and so far, Lost Coast Outpost has completely ignored them.

Finally, I was surprised at the description of my manner as “nervous or evasive.”  I certainly didn’t feel nervous, but given the inaccuracies in Ryan’s article and his apparent failure to contact anyone who might have contradicted his narrative, perhaps I ought to have been uncomfortable.  I clearly wasn’t prepared for an interview in which a reporter (or someone making use of him) had dredged up old issues I hadn’t even thought much about in decades.  If I had any idea of his intentions, I could have brought names of people for him to contact who might have put the matter into a much different light.  I will admit that I was probably not at my best for crisp clear responses as it began to feel like an ambush.  But as my colleague Andie will detail, he not only edited and altered my comments, but even his own questions – which were not always clear and therefore difficult to answer as originally worded.  He appears to have interpreted some of my less-than-articulate responses to fit the narrative he apparently carried into the interview.

In fact, both my colleague Andie and I were alarmed at how uncomfortable Ryan appeared, and she noted that:

Ryan was visibly nervous and physically shaking and avoided direct eye contact. We were quickly concerned that his agenda and line of questioning were not going to follow our agreed upon focus on the issues and platform. It became increasingly clear that he was after something to sensationalize his story. God forbid our “independent media” cares about even-handed objective reporting. Lost Coast should be ashamed of spreading rumors and blatantly one-sided hit pieces. – Andie White, campaign volunteer.

I cannot spend all of my time responding to every point he made in an article which feels like gaslighting to me.  I will be happy to personally discuss these matters with anyone who is truly curious and willing to discuss facts.  Yes, I’ve had some pretty crazy experiences as an adult, and they are now being used to paint a very unjust and inaccurate depiction of me.  I wish I had done some things differently, but I am not and never have been guilty of these outrageous allegations.  If the Tribe was willing to waive confidentiality, I could put that matter to rest, but such a waiver is unlikely and would indeed be damaging to tribal sovereignty.

I certainly can’t account for what happened in Washington State Administrative proceedings in which I did not participate, and I am not going to name someone who made mistakes so that I can win an election.  I expect that my opposition prefers to hound me on this matter as if this is their “Benghazi moment.”  That’s up to them.  I hope people will reserve judgement and get to know me personally and judge me upon that basis.  If they choose otherwise then I will respect that decision and move on.

Reflecting on this situation I cannot help but think back on why I entered this race – to fight for progressive values, to be a voice against the status quo and to challenge the influence of big money in local politics. I love Humboldt County; I love our local community. I have a connection to this land that goes back to the days of my people being the original inhabitants of this place we call home. That love and connection will never cease. I am so incredibly grateful to each and every one of you who have worked beside me, stood in solidarity against special interests, and all of you who gave of your time, energy, and much appreciated resources so that we could pursue our collective vision – one of restoring a county government that truly reflects the values of working-class people like you and I. Despite the recent attacks we cannot lose sight of all we have accomplished working together. I am proud of each and every one of us. I could not be more pleased with the progress we have made thus far.

The last two months (and more notably the last two weeks) have been incredibly difficult for me as an individual, for my immediate and extended family, for the campaign team, for our friends and for so many people who I love and admire. This ordeal has been designed to cause an incredible amount of strain. The blog hit piece, the bias and one-sided reporting, endless personal attacks, have caused untold damage to family, friends and political supporters. It’s increasingly clear that for the forces that oppose us (and their friends in local media), there is no end in sight.

As a result, and after much reflection and careful consideration, I cannot in good conscience allow these forces to continue to damage my family, friends, and colleagues. I openly admit that I am not perfect. However, I have not broken any laws, committed any offenses, nor been convicted or had any conclusion of law made against me that would warrant the treatment I have received. We have spent considerable time and energy addressing these unfounded allegations and the many slanderous statements lodged against me; in speaking with many of you I also recognize our shared anger at this ordeal and contempt for those who have pushed and promoted this unprecedented attack. I encourage you to turn that frustration into a renewed commitment to challenge Rex Bohn and the status quo and to stand up to the influence of big money and special interests here in Humboldt County.

We cannot let this one setback hinder our greater cause. Let us allow history and Creator to set this straight with time. I want us to focus on our work to improve the lives of those around us. This is not the end of our mission. You have my commitment that I will always be an advocate and supporter for the good we aim to bring to the people of Humboldt County. There is undoubtedly a great deal of work left undone and so there is no shortage of tasks ahead of us. But for me as a candidate it is imperative to step back and take the time to focus on the people I love the most – my family. So, for the time being, we will walk away from this particular campaign with our heads held high and our commitment to our collective vision intact.

May Creator continue to bless and keep each and every one of you and may Creator continue to bless the people of Humboldt County.

With the utmost respect and appreciation,

Allen McCloskey

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