The Times-Standard keeps the world safe for democracy

Hello, fuckwits.

We received several comments and emails asking, in essence, WTF with this recent Times-Standard editorial.

It was supposedly written in response to a complaint by an unidentified Arcata official who took the Sub-Standard to task for “promoting” Redwood Park as the venue of choice for 4:20 festivities, despite the fact that Arcata PD had announced it would effectively close the park.

Not a very interesting argument, really, which makes it all the more impressive that in a few short paragraphs, the newspaper’s editorial board managed to escalate it from shut-out pot-whiffers to Kim Jong-Il.

Watch and learn.

City officials said they were closing the park because of potential damage to the park. But city officials do not close farmers markets or other events held in Arcata Plaza that result in litter in the plaza and surrounding streets.

True or false: Farmers markets are illegal. Anyone?

[T]here is a very basic American rule of thumb. It is called the First Amendment, which prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion,” impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

Another very basic American rule of thumb is that stupid shit protected by the First Amendment is still stupid shit. Just FYI.

Equally important for newspapers, the First Amendment is also pivotal to a free and democratic society, which often needs open dialogue and honesty about events that we all know are happening, whether we like it or not.

Dude. Seriously. You wrote about people smoking pot in a park. It wasn’t the twilight’s last gleaming, ok? Our free and Democratic society wouldn’t have skipped a beat if you’d published a tuna casserole recipe instead.

We must remember Bell, Calif., where a number of people were not held accountable, and we must also remember that this newspaper is in the United States, not Libya or China or North Korea.

Which, if you think about it, is a god damn shame.

Royal wedding, Humboldt style

In a wedding for the ages, Mark Lovelace marries the love of his life, Mark Lovelace.

If Gallegos makes a list of law enforcement officers with ethics problems, does he have to put himself on it?

Pot, kettle, etc.

The Times-Standard reports that Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos is making a secret list of of law enforcement officials “whose character and honesty have come into question.”

What could possibly go wrong with that?

So because we like to help–we’re givers, you know, deep down inside–we thought we’d get the ball rolling with a list of people in Gallegos’ own office against whom dishonesty has been not only alleged but judicially substantiated.

Our story begins with a routine DUI arrest in Ferndale and ends almost two years later with a California court of appeal tossing the case after finding that DA Investigator Wayne Cox and Deputy DAs Ben McLaughlin and Randy Mailman committed prosecutorial misconduct and violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.

A subsequent opinion upheld these findings and added Assistant DA Wes Keat–the number-two guy in Gags’ office–to the list of perpetrators.

Go team!!

The appellant, Rocky Crowl, was arrested in Ferndale in 2009 for allegedly driving under the influence. At the time of the arrest, the defendant and his two alleged passengers–Rocky’s girlfriend, named Jessica Sneed, and Rocky’s cousin Christopher Crowl who bore a “ballpark” resemblance to Rocky, according to court records–were out of the vehicle, and it was unclear which Crowl had actually been driving. Was it the drunk Rocky or the sober Christopher?

Sneed and Christopher didn’t help the prosecution’s case a bit when both testified at the preliminary hearing that it had been Christopher, not Rocky, behind the wheel. But this setback was only temporary, because the resourceful men and women from the DA’s Office had a solution: Tell the witnesses that if they testify at trial you’ll throw them in prison for perjury–or, to use the formal term for that activity, intimidate the shit out of the witnesses.

Cox had them arrested (over a 3-day weekend) and both charged with felony perjury and being an accessory to a felony. And then, maybe just because some things never change, McLaughlin offered them a deal in exchange for guilty pleas. Both refused.

Just how unusual was it to arrest and charge defense witnesses with perjury? The trial judge said that in 12 years on the bench, he’d never seen anything quite like it. According to the appellate decision,

We need not ignore the clear inference that the nearly unheard of conduct by the prosecution in this case was designed to intimidate these witnesses and keep them from testifying for defendant.

The court concluded

that the evidence in the record supports the trial court’s finding that the prosecution’s unnecessary urgency in arresting, forcefully interrogating, and filing perjury and accessory after the fact charges against Sneed and Christopher resulted in effectively precluding these previously willing defense witnesses from testifying at defendant’s trial. This was misconduct.

The court notified the California State Bar of its findings of misconduct by McLaughlin, Mailman and Keat.

Oh, and it also affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the DUI case on the ground that the prosecution violated the defendant’s constitutional right to due process by intimidating defense witnesses.

So there’s four names for Gallegos’ Brady list. We’d put Gags on there too, except it’s pretty hard to question the character and honesty of someone who has neither.

Good thing we don’t have tornadoes around here

This particular storm was accompanied by hot air and golf ball-sized bullshit.

Noreen Evans has a problem with government spending: She thinks there isn’t enough of it.

One more mode of transportation Noreen Evans might consider, assuming handbaskets have been ruled out.

Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) went on a Twitter tirade this week after legislators’ tax-funded state vehicles were taken away due to budget cuts.

During a roughly two-hour period on Wednesday, Evans sent a flurry of tweets suggesting a complete disconnect with the condition of the state’s economy.

As if to accentuate the dumb, she directed several of her rants at Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat newspaper.

“Hey Press Democrat! Going to Vallejo today to meet with Chamber. Was there yesterday too. Big meeting in Napa Thursday. 280 miles roundtrip. How should I get there?”

“Used allowance driving to and from Capitol, Sebastopol, Vallejo and Napa. Sorry Mendocino, state can’t afford your rep to tour tsunami damage at Noyo Harbor.”

“Napa has hot air balloons. Maybe they can send one over to take me to Thursday’s meeting!”

“Another incident at Napa State Hospital? Sorry workers, state can’t afford to send your elected reps to meet with you and see state facility. Maybe Press Democrat can go instead.”

“Sorry Humboldt. State can’t afford to send your elected reps to meet with students and faculty re impacts of budget cuts. Send the university down here.”

“What’s that Lake County? Flood damage? Sorry, state can’t afford to send your elected reps to see the damage. Send pictures.”

“There’s a llama farm in Mendocino County. Send ‘em down! I need to go up there for 4th of July. Let’s get packing!”

“Lake County has a buffalo ranch. Send ‘em down! Need to get on the road if you want your senator to see the new community college campus!”

Yeah. Here’s the thing, Noreen. We don’t want you going on glad-handing tours. We want you to sit down, face forward, and spend as much energy fixing the economy as you’ve wasted defending a perk virtually none of your constituents enjoy.

And if that’s too tall an order, why not just read what Assemblyman Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) said about losing his free car:

Under these circumstances we need to do our part.

You think?

Legislators, who are paid more than $100,000 a year, will receive a $300-a-month stipend to offset the cost of travel within their districts.

Dave Stancliff accuses Humboldt Mirror of being popular and funny

Dave Stancliff took on the local blogosphere in a recent Times-Standard column, where he made a number of insulting and inaccurate assertions about the Humboldt Mirror.

Particularly egregious was his allegation that we employ “cutting-edge humor.”

I know. What did we ever do to him?

If you’re a liberal, brace yourself for ridicule when you visit and make a comment at the Humboldt Mirror. This right-wing blog’s “Bugs” like to slice and dice “Progs” (the slang for progressives). If you’re a conservative, be ready for scorn if you stop by and make a comment at The Humboldt Herald blog whose motto is, “Provoking Humboldt Since 2006.”

Both popular blogs provide lively local news and political debate. The “Bugs” cutting-edge humor is one reason to read them. The author(s) of the Humboldt Mirror (Do good, look good. Do bad, look out.) are unknown, which is probably a good thing.

Well. Aside from the nice stuff, it does kind of sound like us.

But seriously, Dave. Right-wing? The Bugs consist of one fiscally conservative Democrat and one socially liberal Republican. Not to split hairs or anything, but that makes the Mirror slightly less right-wing than the Clinton administration.

Anyway, the rest of his column is worth a read.

So take that, Dave.

Now we’re even.

Insert remark about how far the apple has or hasn’t fallen from the tree

There’s a familiar name mentioned in conjunction with DUI charges in today’s Times-Standard.

And so it was that John's special relationship with his Cafe Waterfront barstool came to a chagrined and abrupt end.