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December 29, 2005

13 Questions for Jeny Card


When the Journal spoke with Jeny "Remedy" Card in March 2003, she had been living on platform in a tree near Greenwood Heights Road in Freshwater for almost a year in an attempt to stop Pacific Lumber Co. loggers from falling trees in the area. Not long after, tree-climber Eric Schatz was sent up into her tree by PL and she was arrested. Criminal charges led to a no contest plea on trespassing and a plea bargain: Time served and a $10 fine, which ended a portion of her legal troubles.

photo of Jeny CardWhat remained was a civil suit filed by Palco against Card, other tree-sitters and their supporters alleging interference with timber business. That suit is slowly wending its way through court, along with a countersuit filed by Card and company alleging misdeeds by Palco, Schatz and others. We spoke with Card again last week, not long after her latest court date in front of the Honorable Quentin Kopp.

Left: Jeny Card

1. Are you still Remedy? What should I call you?

Remedy, Jeny Card, Jen, whatever.

2. Remedy being your alias, your "forest name"...

That's right, it's a forest name. I didn't want to take the name Acorn or something like that -- I was going through a lot of deep personal powerful changes in my life and I wanted to have a name that reflected that. When the name Remedy came into my head I knew that was the one.

3. Remedy for what?

Well, we have a lot of problems in the world today and we need to fix them. And I want to be part of the healing process, not the damage.

4. I don't think I knew your real name until I read it in a police report.

Nobody did. I gave it to the cops when I was in handcuffs. Most people still call me Remedy. Even my mom calls me Remedy.

5. When were you arrested?

March 17, 2003 -- so just over 2 1/2 years ago.

6. What have you been doing since then?

Well, I'm being sued by Pacific Lumber. And in September of 2004, I turned around and sued them back, and added Eric Schatz and Schatz Tree Service and the other tree-sit extractors to my cross-complaint. For the most part that's what I've been doing. I'm going to the Pacific Lumber School of Law. I feel like I'm in law school -- I'm not getting any college credit, but I don't have any student loans, so it's all right.

7. What, in brief, is the argument in their suit, and yours?

Pacific Lumber is suing me and about 30 other people for trespass and conspiracy to commit trespass. I'm suing them on 12 different causes of action: assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress, kidnapping, false imprisonment, conversion (which is stealing), violation of my civil rights, forcible entry, invasion of privacy based on the hidden cameras that were stuck in my face for several hours without my knowledge, negligence and negligence in hire. That's most of them.

8. It seemed like you spent most of your time in the tree educating yourself on forestry and becoming an environmental wonk. Now it sounds like you're becoming a legal wonk. Do you think the legal battles [against logging] are perhaps more effective than direct action?

I don't think direct action works very well unless there's a simultaneous legal battle. I don't think anybody sitting up in a tree or even a few people sitting in trees that are tied together are going to get very far when the crews show up with chainsaws and bulldozers. It's almost impossible to hold them off at that point. So there needs to be a legal battle going on at the same time for it to be effective.

9. When you gave me directions on how to get to your house, you mentioned that you have removed the street address numbers because you were threatened. In what way?

There was a semi-threatening post on the Internet, an inferred threat that gave my home address as well as the addresses of a couple of other people. When you look at the history of people who opposed Pacific Lumber and what has happened to them, their homes have been broken into, their offices have been broken into. It's a serious threat around here. And the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department is right in league with Maxxam/Pacific Lumber when it comes to their adversaries.

It is OK to beat up forest activists in Humboldt County, or anyone associated with them. I don't think it matters if Paul Gallegos is the DA or Terry Farmer. Somebody needs to police the police and I don't think it's happening.

How come Ramsey Gifford [another treesitter involved in the Freshwater action in 2003] was charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon, based on flimsy or no evidence, while people who oppose Pacific Lumber can be shoved to the ground by sheriffs or people associated with Pacific Lumber and no charges are ever filed? I think that's a problem. The police are supposed to protect everyone equally and they don't. Do I feel that I will get equal treatment if there's some kind of altercation between myself and tree-sit extractor or a logger? No.

10. So your only means of achieving equal treatment is to bring your own charges, to challenge the tree-sit extractor in court?

Absolutely. Part of the lawsuit will hopefully challenge what happened that day and those months when the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department and the Eureka police gave nearly unfettered police powers to Pacific Lumber and Schatz Tree Service. They even gave them their own handcuffs. I never had a sheriff offer me their handcuffs so I could go strong-arm somebody I didn't like.

That's what we're suing for. We're saying is that Pacific Lumber and Schatz Tree Service were acting under color of law, that they were given the authority of police by illegally shutting down Greenwood Heights Road, which they did the day they took me down, and that [the police] supplied tools and help to the tree-sit extractors.

11. What is the status of the trial?

Things are moving right along. They weren't for a long time. We have a trial date set for June 19, 2006 -- and six months is not a long time in lawsuit land. We really have to step on the discovery process. That's what I've been doing. I'm asking for the peeping tom headcam footage that Schatz was supposed to give me. I asked for it in June of '05. I should have had it by July. They have been fighting me every step of the way.

I am my own attorney in the case. It's been difficult to get anything from PL's attorney or Eric Schatz's attorney, Brian Carter, who is Jared Carter's son. Jared was a vice president at PL for some time and its lead counsel. We have to get every shred of evidence we can so we can make sure we can prove our case and also to defend ourselves.

12. Do you think what you're doing now has some effect?

I think it's had an effect. Of course I was forced into this position when I was sued by this giant corporation. They started it. By the time I was served, they were already suing something like 80 people. This is what they did for a couple of years, file suit against anyone who said they didn't like PL. They stopped doing that. They've stopped suing people because it opens them up to all sorts of probing.

13. Do you think your actions have had any effect on the timber business in Humboldt overall?

I don't know if I could go that far. But it's definitely costing PL a lot of money to continue this lawsuit.


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