Humboldt Hard Lines Soften

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. By Emily Gurnon, Special to The Times
    Source: Los Angeles Times

    Each summer, southern Humboldt County begins to look like military-occupied territory. Low-flying helicopters buzz fields, land on private property and disgorge cargoes of camouflaged sheriff's deputies in search of marijuana plantations.
    That kind of activity -- seen by many as belligerent and oppressive -- along with a perceived lack of interest in communicating with the public, may have contributed to the decision of voters in this North Coast county to boot out the incumbent sheriff and the longtime district attorney.

    "You lose goodwill with your community when you do stuff like that," said Paul Gallegos, the district attorney-elect, referring to the helicopter raids.

    In an upset last March, Gallegos, a private defense attorney with no political experience, ousted Dist. Atty. Terry Farmer, who had won the last five elections beginning in 1982. Gallegos takes office today.

    The election also ended the tenure of Sheriff Dennis Lewis, who lost by an overwhelming margin to an underling, former Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Gary Philp.

    Gallegos and Philp represented, for many voters, new blood in a system that had become unresponsive and inefficient. Gallegos campaigned on a progressive platform, promising a more considered approach to medical marijuana cases. He also pledged to treat both sides equally in conflicts between timber companies and protesters, to eliminate waste in the department and to focus resources on domestic violence, elder and child abuse and the methamphetamine scourge.

    Gallegos, 40, attributes his victory, in part, to his endorsement by the local chapter of the Green Party and its volunteers.

    "They gave me people, they phone-banked, they were on the streets with signs, they brought a lot of energy and commitment," Gallegos said. "They were very instrumental to me."


    Complete Article:

    Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
    Author: Emily Gurnon, Special to The Times
    Published: January 6, 2003
    Copyright: 2003 Los Angeles Times

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