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Elections and Crime 

Editor:

So after Bonnie Neely's campaign gets an anonymous, threatening phone call, Virginia Bass believes that the "professional" response would have been for Neely's campaign to contact her directly, so she could "investigate" ("Notes from the Hustings," May 13). Sounds like Bass believes that Neely's campaign should have known said threats were connected to Bass -- and trust her to resolve them!

I actually believe in the public's right to know about dirty tactics and threats in our electoral process, and worry about a candidate who thinks it "unfortunate" when such information is released. Instead of criticizing Neely's campaign for exposing these threats, Bass should be concerned about her ability to control her own volunteers and hold them to standards of civil behavior.

Mary Johnson Smith, Arcata

Editor:

My father always used to remonstrate me with the phrase: "You can't argue with success." But your news section tries to do just that while admitting that crime is indeed somewhat down during Paul Gallegos' two terms ("Notes from the Hustings," May 13). You seem to have trouble crediting Gallegos with this, while he looks at the same data and publicly praises his staff for their success.

If you can't bring yourself to recognizing Gallegos' role, how about taking notice of the winning team he's put in place these past seven years? They've garnered federal and state awards for their dedication, hard work and diligence. Meanwhile, the individual recipients credit Paul Gallegos' leadership and their fellow team members for the honors.

They handle 10,000 cases annually, prioritized down to 250 trials. When's the last time you've heard about a hardened criminal getting off on a technicality? It's a rarity. This team does its homework and faithfully represents the People when it goes to court.

The Board of Supervisors recently noted that child abuse is down. Disgruntled former employees notwithstanding, the DA's Victim Witness Program works just fine. The Child Abuse Services Team is working fine, recently preventing a girl's murder, and has expanded its services to Hoopa. Senior abuse is being tackled daily in court as the DA's office is holding one of the worst abusers, Skillled Nursing, Inc. (a national mega-corporation) accountable for not providing the care they are paid for. Conviction rates keep pace and commitment to prison is at its highest.

Our DA's office is doing more with less - on a budget that has seen annual cuts of 10-15 percent, which Gallegos has made up, dollar for dollar, by going out and nabbing grants.

Rather than tear it down, let's support this community asset and keep a winning team in place. Their work makes this community safer.

Michael Evenson, Petrolia

Editor:

On the day Paul Gallegos took office, his detractors claimed we were "less safe" with Gallegos as District Attorney! After seven years of this unrelenting criticism, it seems understandable that Gallegos would point out that the Attorney General's crime statistics show that violent crime in Humboldt County is down and has been consistently below the California stats throughout his tenure. He has always credited his crime-fighting team for their award-winning work in making this community safer.

Laura Montagna, Arcata

Editor:

On page 6 you posted a graph showing violent crime rates for California, the US and Humboldt County. Contrary to your opinion, Humboldt clearly had a crime rate well below both the state and nation for the entire period shown, with an even greater drop for most of Gallegos' tenure. The Humboldt line never even gets close to the others.

Back to sixth-grade math class, Hank.

Conrad Gregory, Eureka

Ed. note: It must be said that the article in question expressed no such "opinion"; rather, it pointed out the fact that the violent crime rate has risen during Gallegos' second term while the same rate has fallen state- and nationwide. The only opinion expressed in the piece, so far as I can tell, is some measure of skepticism concerning the linkage between local crime rates and the person of the chief prosecutor -- and that skepticism applies whether the violent crime rate is rising or falling, in Humboldt County or elsewhere.

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