True, True. True. Sadly True. That's why I work to elect Gallegos, arguably an inept politician, but someone who simply wants to do the job in the most principled way he can. He has been skewered from the day he took office for his different approach to management. Now he's built a team that, as you reported last spring, hums with geniality and cooperation. Everyone I've met there knows they are doing important work and approach it in a strictly ethical manner. And, despite their unwillingness to bow to the pressure to win at all costs, those guys have racked up an impressive record of victories in court as well as in services to victims of domestic violence (note yesterday's proclamation by the Supes), seniors, children - for all of us.
The challenges of this DA's race sadly are not about the facts of what's going right and what needs improvement. One side says everything is ALL wrong. The other responds that everything is just fine.
How do we change that, Hank?
Can an incumbent acknowledge weakness in a particular area and not be attacked unmercifully and vituperatively by the challenger?
Can a challenger acknowledge the strengths of the opponent and pledge to keep those programs in place?
I would suppose the press has a role in public education here and I am not confident the current configuration of media is courageous or interested enough to perform that function. Thanks for trying.
Everyone has an interest in knowing what is happening around them. With crime stats, it is, as you say, not very easy to evaluate what is happening. So, one is left with going through the data to see what is up and what is down and when. Compare it to other stats from the state or nation. We do this kind of evaluation all the time to assess situations.
There is no definitive answer in the crime stats and I don't claim there is. You concluded that, yeah, crime is down. If the stats showed that crime in Humboldt was runnaway horrible, don't you think there would be a hue and cry to replace the sheriff and all other law enforcement chiefs, like the DA? So if a bad report leads one to change leadership, why doesn't a good report lead one to retain leadership?
If your position is that the stats don't matter, I can accept that, providing that there is a recognition that the DA's office seems to be keeping pace with trends and not falling down in the effort.
What I find incomprehensible is that much of the debate around whether to replace Gallegos is not founded in a preponderance of evidence. It appears to be taking a few cases and crying they are symptomatic of a major breakdown in effectiveness. But there is no breakdown; the same number of cases are filed, the conviction rate is fine, prison commitments are in line. The office is full of purposeful public servants going about the business of dealing with criminal prosecution.
Does a political campaign's success, then, rest on rumor, charges/counter charges and innuendo? I am not cynical enough to accept that for my community. Your pages along with other mass media have the difficult job of sorting things out without prejudice. Passion has a role to play here, but so should reason.
You missed one part of what is in the above. Aggravated assault with hands, feet and fists account for the rise in total violent crime. All other categories show declines.
If you are in law enforcement, the only official report card you get is the crime stats. You try your best to bring them down, feel you are on the right track when they do stay down, re-double your efforts when they rise.
And, yes, as you suggest, it is harder to do this when your budget gets axed some 10-15% each year. But you don't have the luxury of giving up.
Note: Sherrif's Dept and Courts did not suffer budget cuts. That was reserved for the DA's office because they seem to be doing so well (handling full case load, respectable conviction rate, increase in prison commitments).
How would you propose evaluating a DA's performance?
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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