Don’t Anoint Susan

| March 29, 2012

Editor:

Shame on you, Richard Salzman (Mailbox, “Anoint Susan,” March 22). You told me you wouldn't do that again and then you went and did it. You agreed that there was a question of ethics, and yet you done went and did it again. You wrote that long letter filled with your reasons to vote for Susan Adams but you left one critical piece of information out. You wrote that letter like you were just another John Q. Public voicing his free and honest opinions.

But, is it free and honest when you fail to point out that you are Susan Adams’ paid employee, her campaign manager for Humboldt County? I would like to believe that you know the answer to that, but then why did you do it?

I was amused and fascinated by your decision to sell Ms. Adams by depicting her as safely middle of the road enough to please everyone. Those are the very reasons why most people with progressive values will not be voting for Huffman. Why is it a virtue for a candidate to be backed by a conservative and by a progressive? What does that say about that candidate?

You say that no one can question Norman Solomon's progressive credentials, but then say those very credentials make him unelectable in Humboldt County. I think you underestimate Humboldt County and misread the tenor of the times. I think this county has an awful lot of people who are hurting and who understand that the only way out of this hurt is with a truly progressive candidate who has years of experience in fighting the good fights and that's Norman Solomon. (I am not now, nor have I ever been, an employee of Norman Solomon.)?We, sadly, live in an era when ethical behavior is critically lacking in government, in business and more. I expected better of you, Richard.

Sylvia De Rooy, Westhaven

Comments (73)

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To Sylvia and the readers of the NCJ, Please accept my sincere apology for using the word "support" in my letter to the editor when stating the reasons I believe in Susan Adams, as I should have said those were the reasons I "joined her campaign".
Having first met and listen to all of the front runner candidates I felt Susan was the best choice of options to the status quo that Huffman presents and as I stated in my letter, I feel she is the only alternative candidate with a credible chance of winning a November run off against Jared. For this reason I offered her my support and to join her campaign and accepted the position of Northcoast Field Organizer. I would only ever work for someone I support and if I support someone I work on their behalf, whether I'm offered a paid position or not. It was wrong for me not to have been clear that I do have a position with her campaign, something of which I am most proud.

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Posted by Richard Salzman on 03/29/2012 at 12:31 AM

At least Richard is finally posting under his real name. At least sometimes. Here's who he is, Susan, as if you don't know. Richard Salzman and other email phonies The Journal won an award for uncovering his little game. What is he going to do for you exactly? Does it include scurrilous defamation under anonymous pseudonyms on the many forums throughout Humboldt County? Blogs? Times Standard? (Well, they kinda threw him off his game there by requiring Facebook log in... but you can bet he's found a way around that by now.) What, exactly is he going to do for you? And are you ok with it? As far as I am concerned, any candidate who uses Richard's services does not deserve to hold any office anywhere.

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Posted by Rose on 03/29/2012 at 2:51 PM

Rather funny that you have any say at all to what happens around here, since you don't after all, work around here Mister SF/NYC man.

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Posted by anon.r.mous on 03/29/2012 at 3:01 PM

One of the things that has always intrigued me about that "Web Of Lies" story is what else it inadvertently reveals. "The "R. Johnson" letters give the address of a Eureka home that turns out to belong to 93-year-old Ruth Johnson. On Monday afternoon, the Journal reached Ruth Johnson's caregiver, who said that there was no way that she could have written the letters. "She can't even sign her own name," the caregiver replied." How did he come to use the name of someone who can't even sign her own name? How many more? Who gives him that info? In the fullness of time, we have come to see the ACORN operations elsewhere, do we have our own local operative? - good reporters would be asking if there is a connection. Figure this out. Did he come by this information as part of his GOTV machinations? Does he have a friend who was a caregiver? Or has access to that info? Richard, since you're talking openly, sorta, here....

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Posted by Rose on 03/29/2012 at 3:52 PM

Let's remember that when it comes to Richard's sleazy tactics, we're not talking about ancient history. Last year I discovered him anonymously posting vile comments on a local blog. He made the mistake of attacking someone using the exact same words that he had previously used to attack the person while talking to me on the phone. With his words, and other information, I was able to verify that the anonymous commenter was, in fact, Richard. I made repeated calls and sent several emails to Richard asking him to explain himself. I wanted to hear him try to justify his actions. I wanted him to explain how low he would sink to attack those he disagrees with. Is there any ethical boundary he won't cross? I never heard back from him. I suspect that Richard wouldn't call me back because he knows that what he did was wrong. That's why he did so anonymously. When using his real name in public, Richard chooses his words carefully. When working anonymously behind the scenes, the ethical veneer comes off. Susan Adams seems like a reasonable candidate, but it concerns me greatly that she has someone like Richard representing her in Humboldt County. I'll keep this in mind when I go to the polls.

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Posted by Jack Durham on 03/29/2012 at 4:32 PM

Jack, your experience replicates my exactly. He used the same tactics in the last DA race, spreading suggestions that Gallegos' opponent had an alcohol problem. He told that to me and then the same smear started appearing on blogs. It's what he does – to help us stomp and smear our way to a more progressive and principled world, of course. Any candidate that pays this character money to throw the discussion into the ditch isn't worthy of a vote. I wrote the Adams campaign asking why they had to resort to the likes of Salzman, with links to his storied history. No response.

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Posted by Kevin Hoover on 03/29/2012 at 4:51 PM

Richard Salzman's popularity is based largely on his talent to financially balance a local political system that has been fundamentally corrupted by the development community's dominance over political contributions....forever. That's the beauty of corruption. Challengers that dare campaign against it, must play by the corrupt rules to compete effectively...undermining their credibility! “You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy does not reserve a plot for weeds”. ? Dag Hammarskjöld.

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Posted by ALAS on 03/29/2012 at 11:15 PM

That's the typical justification for using sleazeball tactics – the opposition is unethical, so we're justified in being unethical too. That's pretty lame reasoning. In the case of Salzman, that argument ignores reality. The people that Salzman targets are often fellow progressives. His opposition to these individuals is not based on principle. It's based on politics. Anyone who opposes the candidate that Salzman supports, or who Salzman is being paid by, is fair game for scumbag tactics. He'll gladly spread dirt, mostly fabricated, about a candidate's personal life, family, spouse, etc. This is bad for liberals. It's bad for moderates. It's bad for conservatives. It's bad for the entire community.

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Posted by Jack Durham on 03/30/2012 at 9:05 AM

It's the remarkably versatile and adaptive Ti Quoque logical fallacy again. http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/tu-quoque/

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Posted by Kevin Hoover on 03/30/2012 at 11:20 AM

My goodness! That comment, alas, sounds so very much like THIS ONE:"Editor: So it looks like Mr. Salzman was right all along. I don't expect the North Coast Journal will be running any apologies for its editorial that criticized him for the (private) e-mails he sent out ..."

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Posted by Rose on 03/30/2012 at 4:11 PM

"The people that Salzman targets are often fellow progressives". You can't hang that on Salzman, this town's liberals have been losing for decades thanks to bitter personal vendettas. The republicans always pull together in the end.

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Posted by ALAS on 03/31/2012 at 12:55 AM

Alas wrote: You can’t hang that on Salzman, this town’s liberals have been losing for decades thanks to bitter personal vendettas. Jack responds: So your first argument was that it's OK for Richard Salzman to use sleazy, asshole tactics because the conservatives do it. Your second argument is that that it's OK for Salzman to use sleazy, asshole tactics because they've been used by liberals for decades. That's nonsensical. You also acknowledge that such tactics have resulted in liberals losing for decades. That's an admission that Richard Salzman's tactics are damaging to the liberal cause. It should be noted that there are many liberals and conservatives who refuse to play Richard Salzman's sleazy game. Too bad there aren't more of them.

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Posted by Jack Durham on 03/31/2012 at 10:18 AM

"Alas" is probably Richard Salzman as he rarely uses his real name when opining. An apologist for sleaze politics... awesome. But that's the typical argument from local progs who use and defend Salzman's employment... that's how politics works. The reason that this is how politics work is because local progs continue to hire him and allow him to employ sleaze tactics. And they wonder why voters become cynical about politics. They could, were they to stick to their guns and ethics, perform reform. Candidates claiming to "reform" politics while employing Salzman to do their dirty work are not being truthful about their intentions. Generally when referring to Susan Adams folks lead with "she's a very nice person." I met her and she did seem like a very nice person. I had expressed my concern about her use of Richard Salzman. She said that she had no idea about his checkered past. She assured me that he was not on her campaign staff, that he was simply introducing her to local people. So either she was lying about his level involvement then or upon learning about his checkered past, decided to hire him as a lead campaign staffer. Either way, I no longer think that she is a "reform" candidate. I think that she may not be all that nice of a person, either. So... that didn't work out very well, did it Richard Salzman... this letter to the editor thing. Didn't quite advance the Adams campaign like you figured... putting your good name behind the movement and all. Apparently not enough time has passed and local folks still recall recent history. Had you accepted my facebook friendship request I would have happily advised you to move on out of local politics.

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Posted by Terrence McNally on 03/31/2012 at 2:27 PM

Best not piss off Dicky Salzman, Terrence, otherwise he'll have Everett Peck draw a nasty picture of you!

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Posted by anon.r.mous on 03/31/2012 at 4:00 PM

People run, and win, or lose, Richard, perfectly fine without you. Your bullying tactics, trying to control who does and doesn't run are not only well known, but they are flat out WRONG. whether it is a Eureka City Council race or a Supervisors race, they have a right to throw their hat in the ring. The other thing people need to know is what happens AFTER the race is won - and what Salzman want does then. Don't do what he wants? The he turns the guns on you. It starts with gentle admonitions.... Poor Susan may not know what will be expected of her - either that or he knows she is a willing tool.

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Posted by Rose on 03/31/2012 at 7:35 PM

erggh, typos. Editing my own comment, so much to say, but it's too much for people to hear. Comment portion above should read: The other thing people need to know is what happens AFTER the race is won - and what Salzman does then. Was going to go into what happens if he doesn't get what he wants, or what can happen when he does, but that's a story for another time.

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Posted by Rose on 03/31/2012 at 7:38 PM

Richard Salzman Northcoast Field Organizer Susan Adams for Congress Post Office Box 4429 San Rafael, CA 94913 HQ: 707.376.8683 Direct: 707.822.5500 Fax 707.825.6600 Richard@SusanAdamsForCongress.com www.SusanAdamsForCongress.com Are you getting paid Dear Richard, or is this Pro Bono?

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Posted by anon.r.mous on 03/31/2012 at 8:40 PM

Rose and anon.r.mous: get a room!

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Posted by Buzz on 03/31/2012 at 10:30 PM

Just an insult there Buzzy? That's all you have? No response to the substantiated shit that your boy (or you, Dick) Dick Salzman has done? Do you want Jack and Kevin to join them in said room? How about a response, based upon logic and facts, as opposed to the poor whoa is me, the ends justify the means, ala alas...

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Posted by quark on 04/01/2012 at 10:52 AM

Quark sure started drinking early, but what the hell, happy Sunday.

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Posted by Alcoholic Anonymous on 04/01/2012 at 4:29 PM

When I think of "asshole" or "sleazy" on a scale from 1-10, Salzman's antics are....well...antics. Even today, the republicans are busy strong-arming a competitor to drop out of the supervisor's race, while engaging in the usual disappearance of competitor's campaign signs. To me, local media gets a "10" for its self-censorship of issues relevant to residents amid the worst economic collapse in 80 years, a planet melting like a Popsicle, no more "negative" front page reminders of perpetual wars, AIDS, or the uninsured cancer epidemic, etc, etc...(a very, very long list). A censorship so ubiquitous and effective, that even well-known experts in the field of local progressive politics...like Durham and Hoover, see no compelling need to support local progressive organizations, events, protests, fundraisers, or candidates. At least Salzman shows up...and has actually won some good fights. But please, don't let me stop you from slathering over the Salzman "speck", while so much is collapsing around us.

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Posted by ALAS on 04/02/2012 at 12:52 AM

Your justifications for Richard Salzman's sleazy tactics keep changing. Now you're justifying them by claiming that his tactics are OK because at least he show's up? That doesn't make any sense. Then you try to cloud the issue by complaining that we don't cover international strife or the global AIDS epidemic. You forget that both the Press and the Eye are local papers. We cover environmental issues, economic issues and health issues, but all from a local angle. We also provide space on our editorial pages for folks to weigh in on these issues. What you're saying is that it's OK to be sleazy and unethical as long as the scumbag tactics advance your own cause. I would argue that it hurts your cause in the long run. It hurts the entire community.

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Posted by Jack Durham on 04/02/2012 at 9:07 AM

I don't remember Humboldt County politics being so sleazy until Salzman came to town. As for the sign stealing, that has always been a thing, over-reported and mostly kids. I wish the sign stealing would go on after the elections, so maybe the assholes who leave their signs up 5 years after the elections would have their stuff cleaned.

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Posted by anon.r.mous on 04/02/2012 at 9:29 AM

There was sleazy stuff before. It's a continuing thing. One of the reasons that it continues is that people allow it to continue, which is how this discussion started.

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Posted by Jack Durham on 04/02/2012 at 4:34 PM

"Alas," I've got this idea about advancing Humboldt County politics in a way you and I will both be really happy about in the end. So if you could just reveal your actual name (which, concurrently, will add credence to your blog post arguments) I'm gonna engage in a campaign of character abuse and say some things on the interwebs which may not be entirely true. Or nice. But it will totally work out for local progressives. You just have to be patient about the means to the end. And if any of it hurts your feelings or you're like: hey, that's totally untrue! just remember that there are AIDS and cancer, which is comparatively worse. Just your name and we'll get started.

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Posted by Terrence McNally on 04/02/2012 at 5:57 PM
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