My absentee ballot for Mendocino County was forwarded to me, and it arrived in the mail on Saturday. I’m waiting to see if my registration for San Francisco goes through in time—if it doesn’t, I will return my ballot to Mendocino so that I’ll have voted somewhere.
But I’m also interested in the Mendocino County election, because there’s some interesting stuff going on, especially with the race for district attorney. The incumbent, Norm Vroman, died a few days before I turned my back on Fort Bragg, and I remember chortling to myself as I passed a “Vroman for DA” sign on Highway 128.
I would have voted for Meredith Lintott anyway, because I thought she was the better candidate and I wouldn’t vote for Vroman on principle. With Vroman’s death, it seemed like a fait accompli for her, not that she needed it.
So I was surprised when I called my father last week, and he told me that Keith Faulder, the assistant DA, had been appointed interim DA, and was mounting a campaign to try and convince voters to vote for Vroman anyway, so that the County would appoint Faulder if Vroman “won” the election. A surprising number of people have apparently hopped on board with this harebrained scheme, and my father got several mailings about it.
Now, I’m not a big fan of Keith Faulder, for an assortment of reasons. Not least of which is the cases that Faulder cited as “triumphs” for his record. I happen to disagree with the verdict on one of them, and feel that Faulder achieved it through some underhanded dealings. Now an innocent man is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, his reputation forever tarnished.
However, and more importantly, I dislike his assumption that the county will appoint him if Vroman is elected. If he wanted to be the District Attorney, he should have run for the position. He shouldn’t be able to ride on Vroman’s dubious coattails to a position he didn’t earn, and voters shouldn’t be supporting it. Faulder could campaign as a write in candidate, after all.
Keith Faulder was admitted to the California Bar in 1993, after graduating from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Thomas Jefferson is a mail order law school. Students never actually attend classes at a campus, or interact with other students. They can complete their degrees entirely through online study. While this kind of education is sometimes appropriate, I’m not sure it’s the best choice for legal education, which requires extensive rhetoric, ethics, and government background. I think that a physical law campus provides the best education, and I’m not sure I want a mail order diploma running the DA’s office of Mendocino County. There are complex legal issues unique to Mendocino which I think require a more extensive legal education.
The story has begun to garner some attention elsewhere in the state as another peculiar Mendocino happening, with newspapers like the Press Democrat weighing in on the issue.
Faulder claims that county residents are “confused about the election process.” Most of the Mendocino County voters I have talked to aren’t confused at all—Vroman’s dead, so they plan to vote for Lintott. And if you vote in Mendocino, you, too, should vote for the candidate who is alive.
I’ll be posting other election endorsements in the coming days, in the traditional “meloukhia’s quick and dirty guide to California elections.”