Tuesday Is Election Day
Setting the record straight on Dikeman's 'dirty dozen'
by Alison Sterling Nichols, 6/4/2006
At his first press conference in January, which I attended, Worth Dikeman pledged he’d run a positive campaign.
He then played a four-year-old phone message from Paul Gallegos to some unknown person. The KINS reporter asked, “Is your playing of this ‘secret’ tape the kick-off to your positive campaign?”
We all laughed, but clearly Dikeman was launching what political observers are calling one of the most negative and dishonest campaigns this county has seen.
Now, four months later, I must set the record straight on what I term “Dikeman’s Dirty Dozen,” the 12 worst misrepresentations by Mr. Dikeman’s campaign.
Wish me luck; it’s a long list.
1. Dikeman alleges an “unprecedented mass exodus” from the DA’s Office. Wrong. Nearly twice as many left when Terry Farmer started his 20-year reign. Change is harder for some than others.
2. Dikeman claims, “Violent crime is up.” Wrong again. According to the California Department of Justice, since Gallegos took office, Humboldt County has experienced its lowest rate of violent crime in 15 years. A little bounce in 2004 made it the second lowest rate in 15 years — nearly half the state rate. We have safer streets. Live with it.
3. Dikeman complained, “Democrats can’t endorse one Democrat over another.” Well, it happens all the time — even in Humboldt County. Following precedent, the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Gallegos voting 20-1.
4. They claim, “Paul lost a Victim Witness grant.” In fact, that grant, intended for minority communities, went to Hoopa, establishing the first Native American Women’s Shelter in California. Hoopa is still in Humboldt County last time I checked. No loss of jobs, but an expansion of services.
5. “The grand jury didn’t like the way Paul was doing his job.” Gallegos inherited an ancient management system literally run on 3-by-5-inch cards. Improvements were needed because of severe budget cuts and the challenges of transition from a 20-year administration. Gallegos answered the grand jury recommendations with solutions.
6. Dikeman claims he’s a born-again 215 advocate. This is entirely laughable. In one case, he took a well-known medical marijuana patient to court 22 times for four legitimate plants. As DA, Mr. Dikeman could choose to prosecute any legitimate 215 patients arrested by the police. His history proves it’s entirely possible.
7. “Four courts have found I acted properly” in excluding three Native Americans from a jury. No, the courts confirmed Dikeman used an “ethnic-based reason” to exclude Native Americans from a jury pool. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is now determining if a mistrial is the proper remedy.
8. Mr. Dikeman says, “I don’t pay attention to my trial record, only the next trial.” No wonder — it’s awful. According to court records, he has lost 10 out of his last 12 jury trials. In contrast, DA Gallegos has eight convictions out of the last nine trials. Who would you rather have prosecuting criminals?
9. Dikeman asserts, “Paul is politicizing the Cheri Moore investigation.” Despite being “out of the loop,” Dikeman calls his own press conferences to make this claim. Who is politicizing it? Dikeman’s campaign manager, EPD Detective Dave Parris, told the press “the investigation is over” well before key investigative reports were turned in to the DA’s Office. Does Mr. Dikeman work for the people, or for the Eureka Police Department?
10. An independent DA? Dikeman would have us believe that there is no conflict in choosing to have top Eureka police officials run his political campaign. The American Bar Association and the California District Attorneys’ Association say, “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.” Enough said.
11.“The Child Abuse Services Team has been dismantled” by having only one attorney. Absolutely false. Gallegos assigned his very best prosecutor, Maggie Fleming, to CAST. By comparison, Orange County, with 20 times as many attorneys and considered to have one of the best CAST programs in the state, also has one prosecutor assigned to CAST. CAST functions more efficiently than ever.
12. Dikeman’s ads try to convince us, “It’s not about PALCO this time.” But campaign disclosure statements show most of Dikeman’s cash comes from the same groups who bankrolled the failed recall. Their negative messages are the same fear-based claims, and they still have absolutely no merit. Indeed, this is the recall again.
Mr. Dikeman, using fear tactics to take office at any cost undermines the work of prosecutors and damages morale in the DA’s Office.
Thankfully, Paul Gallegos continues to focus on his successes as an independent DA who is making our streets safer and truly striving for justice for all.
Thank you for letting me set the record straight on this long list of misinformation.
(Alison Sterling Nichols is a Westhaven resident.)
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