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‘Surly Cur' Salzman




In response to Sylvia De Rooy's letter (Mailbox, March 29) beginning "Shame on you Richard Salzman" for doing what he promised her he wouldn't do on "a question of ethics," it strikes me, sadly, that Ms. De Rooy's outrage is unfortunately misplaced. As all the higher attributes of human decency are founded upon being truthful, decent people -- like Sylvia -- who are lied to rightfully feel a sense of ethical betrayal. The problem with Sylvia's having "expected better of you, Richard," is that we are absolutely not dealing with either an ethical or a decent person here.

The NCJ's own Ryan Burns recently wrote an article describing the man as "the disgraced Richard Salzman." While certainly accurate, "surly cur" would be a far more apt description. Those who have dealt with him know his form of politics is attack-dog blood sport, forcefully engaging not merely in lying but badgering, beleaguering and bullying anyone opposed to that which he advances.

This is a man who has introduced into Humboldt County politics crafty push polling, professional out-of-area consultants, and advanced forms of character assassination. The creeping consequence of this has been a metropolitan-style guttering of electioneering rhetoric, the slick obfuscation of issues, and ever-spiraling campaign costs. Our county's once-decent, rural style of electoral democracy increasingly resembles a knife fight in a phone booth, to everyone's detriment (except, doubtless gleefully, his own).

Lest anyone think my position is one of sour grapes (which will be the inevitable canine spin to come), let me point out that this is a man who once wrote a letter to a Humboldt County newspaper, praising himself and his work, and dishonestly signing it with the name of his dog. I do not apologize for my disgust at his degrading behavior, clearly neither would Ms. De Rooy, nor should anyone.

The true insult and betrayal of his pernicious conduct is that all of us are now stuck with what the son of a bitch has done to our county and, as Ms. De Rooy's letter so well demonstrates, will shamelessly continue to do.

Paul Hagen, Arcata

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