Coastal Voices: There is much work ahead

Submitted

Editor's note: Here are excerpts from the speech by Del Norte County District Attorney Jon Alexander after he took the oath of office Monday.

To steal one from Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, "What a long strange trip it's been."

One thing you learn along the way and that's you don't get to this point, or even through each day without a little help from other folks. I look around this room, and have to say there are not enough words or time to honor every person in this room and the kindnesses you have given me since my arrival here six years ago to be with my mother in her last years ...

I - we - have much work before us. I'd like to say just a brief word

about the direction of my administration and its priorities. There is a

concept in law that is precious and central to our constitutional system

of government and it is called "due process." Simply, what that means

is, "Notice and an opportunity to be heard." The opportunity to be

fairly and timely heard exists within these halls of justice and

emanates from the bench behind me. Notice exists simply in the knowledge

of the manner folks are expected to conduct themselves, treat each

other and the consequences of their failure to do so.

And some of the things that I serve notice of, here and now, are

these:

andbull; We hold our senior citizens and elders as our most cherished

treasures. They got this country through the Depression and World War

II. They gave their sons and daughters to Viet Nam and Korea. Mr.

Brokaw was correct when he called them "The Greatest Generation." If you

harm or injure, swindle or steal from them, you may expect harshness in

return.

andbull; Immigration is a heated issue on our national landscape this day. I

believe the majority of undocumented persons in this country, like the

men and women who pick your lilly bulbs, scrape your plates and clean

your homes, are hard working, they pay taxes and they are law abiding

...

I will not use your tax money for "sweeps," but if you are

undocumented and you do break the law, I will turn you over to the

immigration authorities. Living in America is a blessing, if you

disrespect that gift, you forfeit it.

andbull; The homeless: It is not a sin to be poor and no one should be

punished for it. Along with the many other concerned citizens, I will do

everything in my power to help see a much needed shelter be built and

services provided. But that said, the harassment of persons outside our

businesses will not be tolerated. The simple economics of business in

2011 small town America will not allow it and neither will I.

andbull; Pelican Bay: Recent years have seen a drastic decrease in the

prosecution of cases arising out of Pelican Bay. Under my

administration, that trend, especially as it regards assaults upon

staff, will be reversed. Day and night, the men and women at Pelican Bay

protect you and I from California's "worst of the worst." Further,

given the immeasurable contributions they bring to the quality of this

county's collective life, especially for our youth programs, those brave

officers deserve no less protection. From gassings to armed attacks

upon staff, these will be dealt with severely, either by incarceration

or if you're a lifer with the misconception that you have nothing to

lose - my new Pelican Bay deputy, Lisa Specchio - is going after your

commissary and trust funds.

Those are but a few of the issues we will be addressing in the

criminal justice arena. But I want to conclude with notice to the people

involved in the biggest continuing threat to the safety and quality of

life in Del Norte County ...

There is a darkness that has descended upon this town ... I've seen

it in the dead eyes of too many of our citizens, our teenagers and worst

of all, infants born contaminated because their mothers could not

resist it's horrendous seduction. It is a weapon of mass destruction,

the likes of which our enemies overseas in their wildest dreams could

not create. It is a darkness and an evil whose malignancy has infected

our town and spread it poison upon our streets, our businesses, our

homes, our school yards, our reservations and our maternity wards. And

its name is methamphetamine.

As a public defender and dependency attorney, for the past three

years, I can tell you that fully 80 percent of the felonies committed in

this county and three-fourths of the children removed from homes

involve crystal meth. From the cities to the small towns, the oceans to

the plains, it is a national epidemic and it's cancer has descended upon

Del Norte County.

I spoke with my colleague, Chief of Probation Tom Crowell, two nights

ago and we agreed that one of the biggest threats was the sheer

prevalence of this poison in our midst has created an acceptance,

bordering on apathy. Most of you know my story. I've seen the slow death

of methamphetamine. I know the devastation and destruction of the heart

and soul it brings. And because it was personal to me, I refuse to let

it become personal to you and your families. At least not without a

battle.

And so, my notice - if you are beset by the chains of addiction, you

will find no more sympathetic or understanding hand than the one my

office extends to you. That hand comes not just from compassion, but

from the knowledge that if you are in recovery, you are not harming this

community, clogging our courts and decimating our tax dollars.

But also know this, if you steal or do damage to your family, your

neighbors or our businesses, we will come for you and you'll do hard

time in addition to the program we offer.

If you do violence to us and disturb our peace, we will come for you.

If you harm your children or contaminate them with your poison, you

can count on seeing more than a CPS worker, because we will come for

you.

And if you sell your poison on the streets of our neighborhoods, our

reservations or, God forbid, our schoolyards, know this and know it

well, we will come for you and we will grab you up and we will show you

what harm is.

Ernest Hemingway once said that anything good is worth fighting for.

My dying mother brought me to this place where good and decent people

gave me a new life and this moment today. On behalf of my deputies, my

staff and me, we have tolerated you for the last time and tomorrow the

battle is joined and that fight begins. And no matter what the cost or

duration, your time in this county is numbered and we will prevail.

Know this, we will prevail.

13986188
The Del Norte Triplicate
This image is copyrighted.

Crescent City autos, jobs, real estate and merchandise.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds

Connect with The Del Norte Triplicate


Triplicate Newsstand

Wednesday August 31, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour
View All Publications