A district attorney's office is unlike any other kind of place. The DA is the gatekeeper to the criminal courts; it requires a great deal of a person to do this correctly and well. For 11 years I was a deputy DA in four DA's offices, serving under eight DAs. I've seen good and bad performance and I know what it takes to run a DA's office.
The Humboldt County DA's office's dysfunction and damage is real. Everyone in local law enforcement knows this tragic truth. We need someone with competence and integrity to fix that.
I'm voting for Maggie Fleming for DA because she has impeccable ethics, long-proven service in many DA-office capacities, and understands what the job really entails. We need a tried-and-true professional with the values, ethics and skill sets it takes to be your district attorney. Maggie is the only candidate who has all of this.
Paul Hagen, Arcata
In evaluating each DA candidate's potential to effectively manage the office, voters should reflect on their own experience. Most have undoubtedly suffered under supervisors convinced they possessed some rare and mystical set of universally-applicable management skills that trumped inexperience and an incomplete familiarity with that which they managed. This view is particularly dangerous in a field as complex and highly-specialized as prosecutorial law, where few would consider four to five years of experience "seasoned" and where outcomes affect public safety not overseas manufacturing targets.
Our next DA will need to build an effective team of prosecutors and staff, a challenge that will demand knowledgeable oversight, skilled mentoring and respectful collaboration and communication with other offices and agencies. With this in mind, a review of verifiable, relevant qualifications and testimonials from people with direct knowledge of the demands of the position will lead to the best choice for district attorney — Maggie Fleming.
Jason White, McKinleyville
We have, in our professional lives as judge and legislator, become well-acquainted with the necessary skills of a good DA. We believe that Maggie Fleming is the only candidate who has these skills. Her experience in trial work, her experience in management, her understanding of matters of policy and personnel, of knowing who should try which cases and who will do so effectively.
Fleming has an excellent grasp of who she is and how to get done what must be done. We have, through decades of public service, sought to represent and ensure just treatment of the disadvantaged, of those who frequently are not treated fairly.
We trust Maggie Fleming to do right by all. She is fair and she is strong. If we are fortunate, she will be our next district attorney—and we are confident that our court system, our communities, and our county will be the better for it.
Sally Tanner and Patricia Hofstetter, Ferndale
As a parent of children who have struggled with drug addiction, I have been exposed more than anyone would ever desire to our criminal justice system. Often ignored in the process, even blamed for our loved one's actions, we are also victims of the abuse of drugs.
After one such proceeding, Deputy Prosecutor Allan Dollison turned to me and said — "good luck with your son." With that, he showed me a human compassion that I hadn't seen in others. That is just one of the reasons I support him. Another of the candidates is very heavily supported by local law enforcement. Is that really a good thing? Granted, our DA is the county's chief law enforcement officer, but the office itself should maintain a circumspect and objective independence. Allan Dollison will bring that objectivity as our new district attorney. I'm voting for him and I hope you do too!
Keath North, Loleta
I strongly believe that Elan Firpo is the best choice for Humboldt County district attorney. I am a political science major at College of the Redwoods and have served as a student representative working with CR administration and state lobby groups for nearly two years. Firpo's candidacy compelled me to join her campaign for several reasons: Her commitment and loyalty to the DA's office as senior felony prosecutor demonstrates a superior sense of duty and integrity, Firpo possesses a unique ability that is unparalleled by any other candidate to bring folks on the political left and right together to maintain a safe county that also keeps our environment clean, and her management experience builds a high confidence in her ability to successfully and effectively run the DA's office much more efficiently than the other candidates. Thank you for your consideration.
Jerred Scheive, Fortuna
I won't be voting for Elan Firpo. Two quotes from the Journal's thought-provoking interview with the candidate ("Crime Fighters," May 1): "There are about five people in the office whose job is now to move paper," and, "That would essentially just be one attorney running an office full of paralegals," regarding office efficiency and oversight of plea bargains, respectively.
Contempt for staff! Those famed management skills seem imaginary in light of these statements. IQ does not a leader make. I'm not certain who will get my vote, but it won't be Elan Firpo.
Virginia Damron, Eureka