Fall 2010 pg9

Humboldt County District Attorney Candidates

The District Attorney’s race will be between incumbent, Paul Gallegos, 40.05% and challenger Allison Jackson who
received 37.07% in June.

A ) Allison Jackson

Allison Jackson

Preface: The questions below have nothing to do with the running of the District Attorney’s office. But from a personal perspective as a private attorney currently practicing in areas involving land use and representing ranchers and farmers, I offer the following:


1. How will you ensure that the General Plan Update (GPU) (and other County Policies) reflects a realistic view of Humboldt’s rural living opportunities that offers a fair and sound plan for rural landowners and Humboldt’s rural lifestyle?
– The District Attorney is vested with the responsibility for prosecuting crimes within his or her jurisdiction. Essentially, the job does not allow for any input into the GPU or other county policies except for that as a private individual. As a private individual I believe it is important to remember that we are an incredibly diverse county with diverse interests and it would be my hope that the GPU accurately expresses and protects this diversity. I moved to Humboldt County in the 1990’s from the Santa Cruz mountains and did so because I could work as an attorney in Eureka and still maintain the rural lifestyle I was raised with. I believe in the opportunity to live rurally, keep my horses and other animals, grow my own fruits and vegetables and still have the ability to work in my chosen profession in the city.


2. The county’s Planning Department has grown to outnumber most other departments in both personnel and budget, yet the community feels under served. Are the department’s priorities in tune with the citizens’ demands for service? How would you address this, especially in these times of tight budgets?
– Again, the District Attorney is vested with the responsibility for prosecuting crimes within his or her jurisdiction. Essentially, the job does not allow for any input into either the Planning Department’s priorities or budget. As a private individual I would hope that all county departments work on behalf of citizens and assist them in their demands for service. If elected as your District Attorney I assure you that my department will be changed to one that puts citizens and their demands for justice first and foremost.


3. Do you believe that the GPU offers adequate and diverse choices for Humboldt County residents to determine where they can live and raise their families?
– Once more, the District Attorney is vested with the responsibility for prosecuting crimes within his or her jurisdiction. The job does not really allow for any input regarding the GPU. As a private individual I have reviewed the alternatives in the GPU, but in order to comment on whether the GPU offers adequate and diverse choices pretty much depends upon which alternative is recommended by the Planning
Commission and adopted by our Board of Supervisors. Again, as a private individual I would hope that the chosen alternative in the GPU recognize how diverse of a community we are and that much of the beauty of living in this county comes from the ability to make diverse choices as to where to live and how to raise our families. I hope that chosen alternative in the GPU seeks a middle ground to accurately express and protect that diversity. As I stated above, I moved to Humboldt to live rurally and work in Eureka. So very many of us in Humboldt moved here to be able to live rurally and maintain a healthier lifestyle in the country while still having the economic opportunities in the city.


4. In the June Primary election some candidates received large donations from out-of-county contributors. Would you support a voluntary limit on such donations? If yes, what limit would you propose?
– As a candidate I fully understand the need to obtain donations in order to get the message out to the community and to discuss the issues. Unfortunately, getting that message out is astronomically expensive. For instance, one county wide mailer can easily reach costs of up to twenty thousand dollars. Even a printed advertisement can alone cost over one
thousand dollars just to run for a day. This is why it is so important for individual groups to explore important issues as you are doing with these questions. However, I am very wary of out of county contributors for obvious reasons: what stake do they have in our elections? For some, it may be a very real and important stake. For others, they may be supporting family member or a close friend. For others they may have other reasons for their contributions that are not representative norgood for the community. Because of these concerns, I do support voluntary limits on out of county donations and believe that they should only be a small percentage of any candidates overall contributions.

B ) Paul Gallegos

Paul Gallegos

Preface: Even though I have a background in land use law, the Office of the District Attorney in California has absolutely no authority in this area of law. These questions are inapposite to the DA’s authority, nor can the office properly weigh in on policy decisions here.


1. How will you ensure that the General Plan Update (GPU) (and other County Policies) reflects a realistic view of Humboldt’s rural living opportunities that offers a fair and sound plan for rural landowners and Humboldt’s rural lifestyle?
– If the General Plan Update does not fairly reflect the values of Humboldt’s rural residents, the zoning laws will be disregarded by individuals and the community at large, making it extremely difficult for enforcement agencies to compel compliance.


2. The county’s Planning Department has grown to outnumber most other departments in both personnel and budget, yet the community feels under served. Are the department’s priorities in tune with the citizens’ demands for service? How would you address this, especially in these times of tight budgets?
– All county departments must be able to do more with less. My office has suffered budget cuts on an almost annual basis. This has resulted in decreased staff. Despite this, we have increased our efficiency, productivity and services to the community. If the Planning Department cannot make those increases, budget cuts will result in a reduction of services.


3. Do you believe that the GPU offers adequate and diverse choices for Humboldt County residents to determine where they can live and raise their families?
– The people of Humboldt County will decide this question by their actions and defiance of GPU zoning ordinances. Zoning ordinances are created through a legislative and an administrative process. They must provide adequate and diverse choices to the citizens that live within that geographic area. If they do not, those ordinances will be disregarded on an individual and a community wide basis and the enforcement of those ordinances will be met with scorn and ridicule, instead of support, by the community.


4. In the June Primary election some candidates received large donations from out-of-county contributors. Would you support a voluntary limit on such donations? If yes, what limit would you propose?
– I absolutely support voluntary limitations on out-of-county contributions. However, voluntary limitations are not enforceable. Without enforceable regulations voluntary limitations create an economic incentive to engage in gamesmanship and deceit rather than meaningfully address the issues associated with the influence of out-of-county contributions. Legislation is required for setting limitations. Given that currently a limit is unenforceable, candidates for each position should jointly determine that limit after the filing deadline is past.

 

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