North Coast Journal Weekly link to homepageIn the News

Feb. 26, 2004

The Weekly Wrap

Remembering Monica

District 2: Who will speak for SoHum?

Mendo DA blasts Dikeman
Says Gallegos deputy should be speaking up for boss

'94 molestation case mishandled?
Error reduced couple's sentence by 12 years

Not Ralph Nader
Eureka resident may be Green Party's presidential nominee


MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: On Monday, Maxxam/Pacific Lumber reported that it had donated an additional $75,000 to the Safety Yes! Recall Gallegos Committee. That's on top of the $85,000 in donations to the committee between mid-January and mid-February. In total, the company has now contributed more than $225,000 to the effort to recall District Attorney Paul Gallegos.

GALLEGOS BREAK-IN: On Monday, the District Attorney's Office issued a press release stating that DA Paul Gallegos' home had been broken into on Sunday while the Gallegos family was at church. The Sheriff's Office responded to an alarm within 15 minutes and found nothing amiss in the house -- only a sliding glass door that was left cracked open. Sheriff's Office spokesperson Brenda Gainey said Monday that there were no signs of forcible entry into the home. Paul Gallegos' wife, Joan, said Tuesday that she had understood that the deputy who responded to the call had thought that someone had entered through an unlocked window. Gainey could not be reached at press time to confirm this. The DA's press release also said that the home had been broken into a week earlier. That incident had not been reported to the police, said Joan Gallegos, because the only way the family realized a break-in had taken place was that their home's thermostat had been turned way up. "We're already under a freaking microscope," she said. "What are we going to say -- someone broke in and turned the heat up?"

MOUTHFUL: The Safety Yes! Recall Gallegos Committee has apparently taken at least some criticism to heart. After being challenged by the Friends of Paul Gallegos and four private citizens, all recent campaign advertisements put out by Safety Yes! contain a disclaimer saying major funding was provided by the Pacific Lumber Co. And Safety Yes! has apparently complied with another aspect of that challenge as well. It had been claimed that the name of the major donor had to be included in the name of the committee. According to documents filed with the county elections office, the committee is now officially known as "Safety Yes! Recall Gallegos, Supported by Law Enforcement @ [sic] Humboldt County Community Leaders; Major Funding by Forrest [sic] Products Producer, Pacific Lumber Co., Additional Support From Families of Crime Victims." That's SYRGSBLE@ HCCLMFBFPPPLCASFFOCV for you acronym lovers.

CHOOSING SIDES: The lines are being drawn in what is shaping up as a major battle over the liquefied natural gas plant the energy giant Calpine is proposing for Humboldt Bay. The Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce announced last week that it had performed a survey of its members on LNG, and that the overwhelming response was that the county should authorize a feasibility study for the plant. Opponents of the project generally argue that such a study would allow Calpine's foot in the door. A dozen local organizations -- including the Environmental Protection Information Center, LNG Watch and the Farihaven Residents Association -- announced on Monday that they were forming a coalition to fight the Calpine proposal.
A SPECIAL WEDDING -- AND BIRTH: After 10 years together, Lara Weiss and Nora Wynne of McKinleyville got married over Valentine's weekend. They joined more than 3,000 gay and lesbian couples who have tied the knot at San Francisco's City Hall -- the epicenter of the national debate over same sex marriage -- in the past two weeks. But the couple didn't go to San Francisco to get married. Weiss was airlifted from Humboldt County to the University of California at San Francisco's medical center one month ago to give premature birth to twin girls, Luna and Zea. Baby Luna was born with a life-threatening condition; in the womb, her organs moved upward in her tiny body, causing one lung to develop incorrectly. Luna remained in the care of doctors in the hospital's intensive care unit while Weiss and Wynne took Zea with them to their wedding ceremony at City Hall, scheduled for them by a friend. Luna's remains in critical condition although she is now breathing without the aid of a respirator. Students and teachers at the Northcoast Preparatory Performing Arts Academy in Arcata, where Weiss teaches Spanish and biology, organized a benefit dinner for the couple to raise funds for their mounting medical bills. The event takes place on Saturday, Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bayside Grange.

POSSIBLE DROWNING: Keith Murphy, 40, manager of the Murphy's Market in Trinidad, was still missing Tuesday after a boat he was piloting capsized in Big Lagoon on Sunday. Murphy's stepson, Tyler Butler-Smith, 20, rescued the third passenger in the boat, 3-year-old Kaitlyn Murphy, and managed to swim to shore with her.

Remembering Monica


WHEN I HEARD MONICA HADLEY died last week, I called her daughter-in-law, Marilee Hadley Taylor. (They were so close many people still mistake Marilee for Monica's daughter.) Before I hung up, I offered to notify the California Newspaper Publishers Association, since Monica's professional career and lifelong friendships radiated far beyond the borders of this county. And I asked if she needed any help editing Monica's obituary the family was preparing.

Of course, it would take a book, not a few columns in a newspaper, to capture the life and career of Monica Hadley. But when I read the obituary in the weekend Times-Standard I called Marilee again to tell her what a terrific job the family did. They touched on how Monica came to this rural part of California to teach at Humboldt State College in the early 1930s; how she met and married Gordon Hadley and later joined him in the newspaper business; how she evolved in her own newspaper career from a columnist writing about "chatty" news items -- what women wore to parties -- to using the newspaper and her persuasive brand of community activism to bring about change.

[Photo of Monica Hadley in her living room]Monica was a master at identifying a need and solving a problem. She was never one to sit around wringing her hands.

Children in danger of drowning because so many didn't know how to swim? Get the Arcata City Council to start a recreation program, borrow a bus from the school, use a summer dam on the Mad River and teach swimming lessons. She didn't do it all by herself, of course. That wasn't her style. She formed a committee and she didn't quit until the job was done.

What about local girls who became pregnant out of wedlock in an era when there were not too many options? Raise money to send them to the Florence Crittendon home in San Francisco where they would be cared for.

And the teepee burners spewing sawdust and ash into the town's air so thick it looked like snow? Housewives who couldn't hang laundry outside in the open much less grow flowers and vegetables? Monica helped organize women to circulate petitions demanding an end to this health hazard -- some of whom were petitioning against their own husbands in the lumber business. Again she didn't solve the problem by herself, but she kept the issue on the table until the state government stepped in and the lumber industry found other uses for wood waste.

Lack of culture and activities in the community for adults? Recruit help from Humboldt State and start a theater group and a choir.

In her spare time, Monica served on the Humboldt County Grand Jury, the Citizens' Welfare Advisory Committee, the Humboldt Area Foundation, the Humboldt Arts Council, the Historical Sites Committee of Arcata and the League of Women Voters. She wasn't just a joiner, she was a founding member of many of these organizations, which continue to contribute so much to what we know as the quality of life here on the North Coast.

Much of this flurry of activity occurred in the first six decades of her life, although when I first met Monica 30 years ago she was showing no signs of slowing down. I began working for the Arcata Union newspaper and the Hadley family in 1976 as a columnist, four years after Gordon and Monica sold the paper to their son, Craig, and his wife, Marilee. (I wrote the "Fieldbrook Footnotes" while I was still a student at HSU and I joined the paper as a reporter in 1981, the year Gordon died.)

[Photo of Monica Hadley with Alan Steen]Of course, I was just one of a parade of HSU graduates who got their first real newspaper job at the Union. Monica quickly became my mentor and, eventually, one of my heroes. Countless times I would go to her to talk through a story I was working on. She was always challenging in her questions: "Is the information accurate? Are you sure? Are we being fair?" And then it was always, "Then go with it," along with that matter-of-fact shrug of her shoulders. Monica understood the firewall between the advertising and editorial departments of a newspaper because she herself had to make similar decisions in the past and suffer the consequences.

My admiration for her integrity, her energy and especially her independence over the next three decades only grew along with our friendship. I remember making the trek up the hill to her Baywood home six years ago when I was trying to reach a decision about turning the monthly North Coast Journal into a regional weekly newspaper. (She said, "Sounds like you've got your ducks in order. What's holding you back?")

I'll remember and miss so many things about Monica -- her quick smile and flashing brown eyes, her dark auburn hair that remained suspiciously auburn til the day she died at age 93.

I think I can hear her now saying, "Now, Judy. That last comment, was it really necessary?"

- 30 -


Photo above left: Monica Hadley with Alan Steen, released Beirut hostage, 1992.
Photo at top: Monica Hadley in her Bayside home during the taping of KEET-TV's Living Biographiy series, Feb. 2000

District 2: Who will speak for SoHum?


The contest for the District 2 seat on the Board of Supervisors has been overshadowed by the district attorney recall, but there's no question about its importance. At stake is who will represent southern Humboldt, a rural region with a volatile mix of loggers, ranchers, pot growers and environmentalists.

Below are short profiles of the four candidates seeking the office.

Jim Baker: Consensus seeker

[Jim Baker photo]Jim Baker says that when he talks to some of his friends in the Bay Area, he is often amazed -- and also disappointed -- to hear their ideas about what life is like on the North Coast.

"When I talk to them about their views of Humboldt County -- it's like they think it's the Balkans," he says.

Even if this is exaggerated, most locals -- Baker included -- recognize that it contains a kernel of truth. It's perhaps even more true of the 2nd District, where political views of most people in the south of the district, centered around Garberville and Redway, contrast sharply with those in the north, around Fortuna.

Baker got into the race because he thought that he was the ideal candidate to solve this problem. A fourth-generation Humboldt County native with roots in Fortuna and the timber industry, Baker has many friends among the 2nd District's old guard. But after moving back to the county from the Bay Area in 1995, he says that he took it upon himself to meet with the environmental activists and to understand their concerns.

The schism between these two groups in the county causes more problems than are apparent at first glance, Baker believes. He says that it is holding the county back economically.

"We need to heal the divisiveness in this community," he says. "That's what we need to move ahead. My experience in life, business and public service is that confrontation is not conducive to making things happen."

One of the major planks of Baker's campaign is to find areas and projects in which timber workers and environmentalists can work together. This is important, he says, because when people on opposing sides take the time to meet face-to-face, they tend to lose mental caricatures they have of each other. He says that his three years on the board of the Southern Humboldt Unified School District have helped teach him that such reconciliation is possible.

True to the nature of his campaign, Baker has not offered much explicit criticism of the incumbent. He has implied, though, that Roger Rodoni has not been as open to other viewpoints as he should be. He has said that this election is a referendum on the seven years Rodoni has spent on the board, and that he is glad that voters have a number of options to choose from on Tuesday.

And he says he's not going to make any promises he might not be able to keep, except for one: to do everything in his power to make Humboldt County a better place to live.

"To me, that's what being in public service is all about," he says.

Roger Rodoni: His own man

[Roger Rodoni photo]When the Eureka Reporter asked Roger Rodoni to size up his challengers a few weeks ago, he responded in a way that only Rodoni would.

"My attitude toward [the other candidates] is bemused, irritated detachment," he said. Given Rodoni's renown as a man who tells it like it is, anything less than this regal flair would have disappointed his many supporters -- and probably his critics, too.

Rodoni's political base has always been the 2nd District's sizable contingent of farmers, ranchers and timber workers, and he has served them well. A few months ago, he helped to bring a groundbreaking and exhaustive Farm Bureau study on the plight of Humboldt County farm owners before the board. In word and deed he is an ardent defender of property rights. His campaign literature underlines his belief that government should mostly stay out of the way of business, except when it can help business thrive.

But it's not that easy to pin down Rodoni's politics. The supervisor has been the strongest voice on the board for the decriminalization of marijuana -- he has consistently voted against funding the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP), and he's currently carrying the torch for the liberal medical marijuana guidelines formulated by DA Paul Gallegos. When the county's Human Rights Commission asked the board to review the USA Patriot Act a few months ago, Rodoni leapt past his cautious colleagues to demand -- in so many words -- that the federal government keep its nose out of Humboldt County.

On paper, these libertarian stances should play well in the hills of southern Humboldt. But his success with his more liberal constituents, who will presumably turn out in droves to vote on the recall, may depend on whether or not they can forgive Rodoni his cowboy hat, his ties to extractive industries and -- perhaps especially -- his financial relationship with the Pacific Lumber Co.

With the current budget crisis -- and the probability of additional, painful cuts to services -- Rodoni, a two-term incumbent, argues that citizens would be better served with a steady, experienced hand on the tiller. This reasoning apparently carries weight with his colleagues: Supervisors Jill Geist and Bonnie Neely appeared in a television spot urging 2nd District voters to re-elect Rodoni, and Supervisor Jimmy Smith has contributed to his campaign.

Rodoni's campaign slogan -- "people, not causes" -- is clearly a jab at tree-huggers, peaceniks and the other exotic specimens that have sprung up and flourished in Roger Rodoni's corner of Humboldt County over the last three decades. But isn't keeping agricultural land in the hands of farmers a cause? Isn't reducing the regulatory burden on owners of non-industrial timberlands a cause? Isn't keeping taxes down and government small and efficient a cause? They are, and Rodoni is their champion.

Glen "Bud" Rogers: Global thinker

[Bud Rogers photo]Perhaps Bud Rogers best defined his candidacy when, during a debate, he vowed to go to Sacramento and camp out on the lawn of the Capitol until the state agreed to return its funding of Humboldt County government to pre-budget crisis levels.

It was the most dramatic proposal put forth by a candidate who believes that the county supervisor's seat should be, first and foremost, a bully pulpit for the citizens. And as so many issues of concern -- the budget, terrorism -- come from the top down these days, Rogers believes that a supervisor should do everything he can to make sure the electorate's voice on these subjects is heard.

"I'm a populist," Rogers says. "I want the people to do better."

At each stop during this season's campaign, Rogers has excoriated the Bush Administration for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. But his most visceral criticism has always been for the now-defunct Enron Corp., which he blames for the current cash-flow problems faced by governments all over the state.

Despite his tendency to think globally, though, Rogers does have credentials that would look good on any candidate's resume. He is a former president of the Garberville/Redway Chamber of Commerce and a former member of the county's Private Industry Council (now called the Workforce Investment Board). He is a Vietnam veteran who has returned to that country to help build houses and hospitals. A woodworker by trade, he works part-time for Whitethorn Construction, a hardwood manufacturer.

Rogers says he is deeply concerned about unemployment, the plight of small businesses and housing affordability. He has mentioned the work of an Iranian architect who builds inexpensive homes out of concrete-stuffed plastic tubes several times in the campaign, and says that such outside-the-box thinking is required if we are to solve the problem of homelessness. He wants to look into the idea of convening monthly meetings where the public would discuss "globalization" and its effects on Humboldt County business and its way of life.

Another top priority, Rogers says, is making sure that our food and water remain pure. He says he supports the idea of a ban on genetically modified organisms, and would like to find a way to put more of the beef produced locally into local markets -- partially because it makes good economic sense, and partly to stop the incursion of mad cow disease into the county.

"I realize that the realm of what a supervisor has power over is limited," Rogers says. "But at every level, we need to be able to speak out and speak up for ourselves and in some way try to preserve our civil liberties."

Sal Steinberg: Looking forward

[Sal Steinberg photo]Even before he officially announced that he would enter the race, Sal Steinberg has been running a strong and active campaign for Roger Rodoni's seat. Among the challengers, he has raised the most money, held the most fund-raisers, and likely met with more stakeholders in the district and county government.

"The 2nd District has been poorly represented for years," he said on Nov. 24, the day he filed his papers with the county's election office. "There's widespread dissatisfaction with incumbent Roger Rodoni."

Steinberg is perhaps best known in the county for his work with the Friends of the Eel and the Friends of the Van Duzen, local groups that have advocated restoration of those watersheds. As a candidate, he has expressed doubt about the proposal to bring a liquefied natural gas plant to Humboldt Bay -- a current bete noire of the county's environmental community.

But throughout the campaign, Steinberg has taken pains not to be pigeonholed as a "green" candidate. Like fellow candidate Jim Baker, he believes that he can help put an end to polarization and divisiveness in the district. As he has mentioned several times in recent weeks, he has met with Pacific Lumber CEO Robert Manne to discuss the possibility of bringing more light industry to Scotia. He considers the future of the town, where he has been a teacher and school administrator over 20 years, an issue of great importance to the 2nd District.

Though he has said that there should always be a place for timber production in Humboldt County, Steinberg has been advocating a more active approach to moving the county's economy into the 21st century. He has touted what he calls the "restoration economy" -- an effort to bring more grant money into the district to restore rivers and timberlands. (Steinberg has made a personal pledge to do everything he can to see the county's salmon runs restored within his lifetime.)

He also sees last year's extension of the fiber-optic network into Humboldt County as a possible turning point -- he believes that with that infrastructure in place, more can be done to lure high-tech and Internet companies to set up shop here.

His work in the school system is probably what accounts for another central point in his campaign: greater attention to the needs of youth. At one point during a recent debate, he called for more skate parks, more teen centers, more music venues -- in short, more things that would keep young people invested in life in the county. Earlier this month, he conducted a voter registration drive aimed at youth in Fortuna.

But apart from the many specific proposals he has made, perhaps the biggest thing that Steinberg offers voters is his own considerable talent and enthusiasm at their disposal.

"I'll bring Humboldt County into the future," he said during a televised forum. "I'll give it my full time, my full energy and my full attention."

Mendo DA blasts Dikeman
Says Gallegos deputy should be speaking up for boss


The district attorney of Mendocino County on Tuesday accused Worth Dikeman, who's running as a replacement candidate to embattled DA Paul Gallegos, of disloyalty and said he's running a fundamentally dishonest campaign.

Speaking by telephone from his Ukiah office, Norm Vroman said Dikeman, a deputy district attorney, was employing a "Bustamante tactic" in choosing to run for the DA's office while remaining silent on whether he opposes the recall and supports his boss.

"It's a phony deal," Vroman said, in making the comparison to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who ran as a replacement candidate in the recall effort that ousted Gray Davis. "Either you're for the guy you work for or you're against him."

Vroman, who doesn't think Dikeman should be running at all, said the deputy DA "is asking people to believe something that's rather incredible" if he's saying he doesn't covet Gallegos' job.

"He should be saying that the recall is wrong and that he won't support it in any way," Vroman said. That's especially the case, Vroman added, when the recall is being financially supported by the defendant in a fraud suit brought by the DA, Pacific Lumber.

Vroman, who ousted long-time Mendocino County DA Susan Massini in a 1998 election, was himself the target of a "soft-on-crime" recall campaign soon after taking office. The effort failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Dikeman, reached at his Arcata home Tuesday evening, refused to respond to Vroman, although he made clear that he thought the criticisms were off base.

"I believe in the First Amendment and I believe in everybody's right to express their opinion even when I disagree with it," Dikeman said.

There has been some confusion about Dikeman's position on the recall. According to Gallegos, when Dikeman informed him of his decision to run, he said he wanted to be working for Gallegos in March -- after the election.

After he publicly announced a week before Christmas that he was throwing his hat in the ring, Dikeman told a Journal reporter that he "did not support the recall.

"The recall is part of our democratic process. I'm not going to vote for the recall myself, but those are issues that are separate and apart from my own campaign," he said.

On Tuesday, Dikeman had clearly backed away from that initial position.

"I take no public position on the recall, period," Dikeman said tersely.

And what does he think of the job Gallegos has been doing?

"That's up to the voters."

Could his silence on such questions be construed as tacit support for the ouster of his boss?

"I can't help what people think."

David LaBahn, head of the California District Attorney's Association, declined to criticize either Dikeman's decision to run as a replacement candidate or the way he's conducted his campaign.

He said there was awareness and a measure of concern among district attorneys across the state about the outcome of the recall. Should Gallegos be ousted, there could be a chilling effect -- meaning that other DAs might have second thoughts about taking on a major corporation, LaBahn said.

'94 molestation case mishandled?
Error reduced couple's sentence by 12 years


Since the controversy over District Attorney Paul Gallegos' handling of the case of child molester Pedro Martinez-Hernandez has become a major issue in the recall debate, it is legitimate to ask: Did the Terry Farmer administration mishandle a similar case 10 years ago?

The answer is murky, but it appears that like Martinez-Hernandez, a Ferndale resident who was abusing his daughter, the guilty parties in the earlier case -- Thomas Plimmer and Kelly McLaughlin -- were not put in jail for as long as they could have been.

The two, a couple who lived in Petrolia, could have gotten 32 years each; instead, because of an error that occurred during sentencing, they each got 20 years. Martinez-Hernandez could have been sent to prison for 100 years or more -- in theory, at least; instead, he received a 16-year sentence.

In December 1992, police from San Mateo County arrested Plimmer and McLaughlin at their home for suspicion of committing sexual abuse against two of McLaughlin's children. Plimmer and McLaughlin had moved to Humboldt County nine months earlier, and had previously lived in Sonoma and San Mateo counties for short periods of time.

During the arrest, police discovered videotapes shot by the couple and depicting sexual crimes committed by them against the children -- a 7-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl. They were booked into the Humboldt County Jail and charged with two counts of violating Penal Code section 288.5 ("continuous sexual abuse of a minor") -- one for each of the children.

When the case finally went to trial in 1994, McLaughlin admitted that during her stay in Humboldt County she participated in sexual acts with the children as often as once or twice a week, but said that she did not consider the acts harmful. She said that they were part of a loving relationship between herself, Plimmer and the children -- this despite the fact that in the videotape the children were seen crying and pleading for the abuse to stop, and were forced by their parents to say degrading things about themselves.

McLaughlin and Plimmer both pleaded insanity, but the court determined that they were sane after hearing from mental health professionals. They were sentenced on both counts to 20 years in prison -- 16 years for the first 288.5 count and four years for the second.

Jeanne Tunison-Campbell, a former deputy DA now in private practice, handled the case for Humboldt County.

"I know that I asked for the maximum sentence," she said. "The judge was very horrified [by the case], so he gave them the maximum sentence."

But according to a person familiar with the case, Tunison-Campbell erred by not stepping in when Judge William Ferroggiaro determined the sentence in the case. Ferroggiaro assumed that the law mandated that the maximum sentence on the second 288.5 count was only four years.

Deering's California Codes Annotated -- a standard legal text -- states that Penal Code section 667.6, which dictates how courts may sentence certain sex offenders, was changed in 1989 to allow full, consecutive sentences for "continuous sexual abuse of a child" -- in other words, the defendants could have gotten a total of 32 years each.

Tunison-Campbell said that she would have to look at the case file to remember exactly what happened, but she doubted whether she could have misunderstood the law.

"I'm a researcher," she said. "Sentencing is my thing. I certainly could have made a mistake, but I think it's unlikely."

In the end, Plimmer and McLaughlin stood trial in Sonoma County for the abuses that took place when the couple lived there. They were charged with 74 "stackable 288(b)'s" (individual acts of sexual abuse) that all stemmed from the videotaped evidence found in Humboldt County. In 1998, they were each sentenced to 162 years in prison -- the longest sentences ever handed down in Sonoma County at that time.

Prosecutors in both counties had been in constant contact since Plimmer and McLaughlin were arrested, and both knew that the two would be sent to Sonoma County on completion of their trial here. But as Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Ken Gnoss notes, Plimmer and McLaughlin's conviction in Sonoma County was never a sure thing. Defense attorneys asked the court not to allow the videotape into evidence as it had already been used in the Humboldt County trial.

"They actually tried to suppress the evidence," Gnoss said on Monday. "If they were successful with that, the case would not have been allowed to go forward."

If that had happened, Plimmer and McLaughlin would have been left with the sentences received in Humboldt County -- 20 years apiece, rather than the 32 years they could have received.

Not Ralph Nader
Eureka resident may be Green Party's presidential nominee


[photo of David Cobb speaking]Four years ago, the Green Party nominated Ralph Nader for president -- and the legendary thorn in the side of corporate America pulled away enough votes from Al Gore to throw the election to George W. Bush. This time around Nader's running as an independent, and the Greens seem likely to put forward a relative unknown -- attorney David Cobb, who moved to Humboldt County a year ago.

The new owner of a 100-year-old Eureka Victorian, Cobb worked for the Nader campaign in Texas in 2000 and made an unsuccessful bid for the Texas Attorney General's office in 2002. He then served as the general counsel at the national level for the Green Party before seeking to become its presidential candidate.

He does not have a lock on the nomination, but he is the frontrunner and will be on the ballot in next week's California presidential primary. The Journal sat down with him.


NCJ: Why are you running for president?

DC: I'm seeking the Green Party's nomination in order to grow the Green Party. By that I mean concretely increasing the number of Green Party registrants and increasing the number of active participants to help build state chapters where they don't yet exist, and to strengthen the chapters that do exist, to help local candidates get elected and overall to improve our democracy.

NCJ: The city of Arcata once had a Green majority on its City Council. But for the most part we are a two-party country. Where do the Greens fit in?

DC: That's a fair question. In the so-called two-party system, the establishment parties have always actively fought against any systemic or structural change in this country -- and third parties have always been responsible for agitating for and incubating new ideas, especially for systemic structural change. Here's the list: the abolition of slavery, women getting the right to vote, the end of child labor, the creation of the Social Security Administration, unemployment insurance, workmen's compensation laws, pure food and drug laws -- all were rejected by the establishment parties of their day until third parties championed them.

Given that reality, we're the only party calling for an end to transnational corporate empire. We're the only one calling for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia and the rest of the world. We're the only party calling for universal health care, for publicly funded elections, for a living wage, for an end to the war on drugs and the prison-industrial complex.

NCJ: We're hearing a lot in the press about the Democratic primary races, but not a lot about primaries in the Green Party. Are you looking at March 2 as some sort of "Super Tuesday"?

DC: It is, actually. We've had three primary contests and I've won either the primary or the caucus in Washington, D.C., Iowa and Ohio. On March 2, California, Rhode Island and Massachusetts [vote]. That's a big deal for us. We'll still be choosing delegates in April and May in the Green Party [leading up to the national convention in Milwaukee in June].

NCJ: You worked for Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential campaign. What effect does Nader's entry into this race have on your own campaign?

DC: The short answer is none. I welcome his voice into the process. I am disappointed that he is not seeking the Green Party nomination, but it's his right.

NCJ: It is widely argued that Nader swung the last election in favor of Bush. Is that a valid point?

DC: Of course it's a valid point, but first of all, Al Gore won the election, that's very clear now. And shame on Al Gore for not fighting [harder]. He basically allowed George Bush to steal the election, and we the people allowed a judicial coup d'etat in this country. The Greens and myself continue to say that George Bush is an illegitimate president. Having said that, Ralph Nader and the Green Party have a right to exist and are demanding that the system be changed in such a way that people are not forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

We are going to continue to participate in elections, and we are urging Democrats and Republicans to work with us to reform the voting system, to use proportional representation and/or instant run-off voting so people do not have to vote their fears.



North Coast Journal Weekly

© Copyright 2004, North Coast Journal, Inc.