Hoopa Tribe Delays District Attorney Endorsement

Elan Firpo (standing at podium at right) asked the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council to endorse her campaign for Humboldt C0ounty District Attorney. Firpo also fielded questions from the audience and said she planned to take a harder stance against meth and heroin dealers as well as marijuana grows that are damaging the environment./Photo by Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune.

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

After the usual agenda setting and minute approval motions passed, Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairperson, Danielle Vigil-Masten gave a brief report about her recent travels.

Days earlier, she returned from a California Chairman’s Association meeting in Sacramento where northern and southern California tribal leaders gathered to plan 2014 drought response.

“We’re working with other tribes to be sure nobody’s water rights are jeopardized,” Vigil-Masten said.

She said she was also working to secure legislation that would return a portion of the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area to the Hoopa Tribe. And, she attended a meeting at Sacramento State University to discuss the possibility of a tribal college campus in Hoopa. Another project could result in a Hupa Language application for smartphones and tablets.

Councilmember, Byron Nelson, Jr. said he traveled to Utah to work on his project to re-publish the Hupa History book, “Our Home Forever”. He said the revised edition will be more visually appealing with more than 150 photos. And, the history will extend further back in time as well as to the present. The first edition included only history between the late 1800s and up to 1950.

He hopes to include history up to 500 years back.

After their reports, Humboldt County District Attorney candidate, Elan Firpo asked the Council for a campaign endorsement and hinted at a financial contribution.

Although the Council declined to endorse her—they said they would like to hear from all of the candidates before endorsing anyone—they entertained a 30-minute impromptu question and answer session that ended with applause from the audience.

Firpo, a Humboldt County Native, is currently Deputy District Attorney with the Humboldt County Office. She prosecutes a multitude of felony cases and said she sees that the eastern Humboldt County communities needs more outreach.

“I want to ask what I can do for you,” she said. “I would like to see more outreach here for your community; probation services and rehabilitation services.”

She said she wants to take a harder stance on meth and heroin dealers, and prosecute marijuana grows that harm the environment and attract criminal activity.

She explained that after State Assembly Bill 109, a.k.a. realignment, passed, incarceration policies changed. In most cases, non-violent offenders now serve their sentences in county jail as opposed to state prison. With AB109 came additional funding to the County to help offset the expense and provide additional services.

“You need some of those resources out here,” she said.

She also addressed issues of understaffed law enforcement and a flawed jury selection process.

Firpo is informally endorsed by current District Attorney, Paul Gallegos. She is running against Maggie Flemming, Alan Dollison and Arnie Klein.

In other business, the Council accepted an insurance payout for the Education Department’s totaled out Nissan van; approved the purchase of a new boat for the Tribal Environmental Protection Agency (TEPA); approved a project to remove the concrete wall at Supply Creek in order to construct a new intake; approved the purchase of a new copy machine for the Insurance Department, and more.

KIDE 91.3 FM Station Manager, Joseph Orozco, asked permission to open two volunteer sports broadcast fund coordinator positions, but the motion died on the floor without a second. He also asked to advertise two contract positions to hire and education program producer and environmental program producer. Both requests were tabled pending the development of job descriptions.

Later, Lonyx Landry from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services gave a presentation asking for the Tribe’s blessing to begin relationship building with County Human Services projects, such as foster care.

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