Friday, June 4, 2010

Just Before The Election, The Politics Get Ugly

On the Friday before Tuesdays election, local blog The Humboldt Herald is reporting that a candidate for 5th District Supervisor had a DUI that never made the local news paper.
Below and without permission is a copy of the blog.

The same week Ryan Sundberg announced his candidacy for 5th district Humboldt County Supervisor, a bench warrant was issued when he failed to appear in court for DUI charges.

Stemming from a Dec. 7, 2009 incident, Sundberg was charged with 2 counts of Driving Under the Influence with a special allegation of blood alcohol levels of .15 or higher. The legal limit is .08.

Sundberg’s campaign announcement came on January 22. The warrant was issued on January 26. Sundberg pled Nolo to count 1 and the second count was dismissed on January 28.

The court imposed a fine of $2,341.00 and 3 years probation. Sundberg was also ordered to enter a 1st Offender DUI program. The fine was unpaid as of March 12.

While the Times-Standard regularly runs a list of people charged with DUIs, Sundberg’s name never made the paper. Maybe he lucked out and got lost in the shuffle of a new computer system at the DA’s office.

I am not big on bashing politicians for traffic violations, being seen at sex clubs, having a wide stance, being caught with a hooker, a DUI or a pot ticket. I would if they were vigorous in condemning others that break those laws. That is called a hypocrite.

I question the timing of this story. It should have come out in March after the fine wasn't paid. The Humboldt Herald either took it's time to share this with the rest of us or there was a reason this story didn't surface that had nothing to do with the Herald.  Maybe someone was able to keep this quiet until now.

The Humboldt Herald points out that other DUI's make the Times-Standard newspaper and this one didn't.
Why is this? Why did the newspaper endorse Patrick Cleary the 5th District?

One thing is for sure, the election is about 3 days away and the ugly is starting to surface.


  1. This story was unknown to the Herald until today.

    An earlier release would have been better for everyone. Ryan's camp would have appeared up front rather than hiding it.

    If opposing campaigns were holding the info to harm the vote it would have been better to release it before the absentee ballots went out.

  2. Thanks Heraldo. This just means that someone was hiding this. It just doesn't look good for Mr. Sundberg even if he didn't have anything to do with it. But I'm pretty sure that if I got a dui it would be in the paper.

    I have made no secrets that I am not a fan of Sundberg mostly because he wasn't around to answer more questions at more debates. I even tried to move the khum debate to a neutral location at Access Humboldt and have khum and kgoe air the debate but Sundberg had already rebooked that date and was unable to commit.

    At least as far as we know he hasn't been going around talking about the need for more DUI check points or something like that. I hate those politicians that legislate against vises that they themselves have.
    I just don't know enough about Sundberg to back him and the more I know the less I know.

    Thanks for setting the record straight.

  3. Perhaps this explains the avoidance of forums and debates.

  4. You hit the nail right on the head Heraldo.
    I still wonder why he didn't pay the fine?
    Wouldn't that have taken some of the fire out of this? I mean, its one thing to break the law and get caught, it's another thing to run for public office and not pay your public fines.
    Who is coaching this guy?

  5. This whole thing shows a lack of leadership and responsibility. Will he have the same advisors around him if he is elected?

  6. Bullshit. Sundberg was upfront with his volunteers about the DUI from the start.

  7. What about the voters, Anonymous? Voters didn't know about this. Why didn't he publicly announce this months ago? I don't understand the logic of how he has handled this.

  8. If you look back on the H blog an anon wrote in about this months ago. It was well know among supporters. It was known by both Pat's. Jeff didn't leak it. Not his style. A package was dropped off at major news sources. Who does this sound like, anyone we know. Someone held on to this issue until just now. Think about it, H knew and never followed up. It was public record. Tell me Tom are you just going to moderate any info that does not agree with H boy. Cause he is moderating anything that shows facts.

    Anon like me

  9. Someone who goes by "Anonymous" is claiming to have "facts".
    They may be mistaking "hearsay" for "facts".

  10. I have never had to remove a posting on my blog.
    I don't spend most of my time on politics on this blog and don't get as many angry visitors as the Herald.

    I think that if someone made an accusation like this on my blog and wouldn't identify themselves or at least provide information that could back it up, I would also remove it.

  11. I have some sympathy for Mr. Sundberg as it seems his lawyer screwed up and failed to appear for him at the court date.

    I don't want to make any excuses for driving while drunk but people make mistakes.

    I was on probation for the first three years I lived in Humboldt due to a gun violation.
    I showed up in court and paid my fines did a works program and completed my 3 years of probation without getting into anymore trouble.
    I now keep my guns more secure. I learned my lesson.
    Sundberg said he has given up drinking as a result of this. It sounds like he has learned his lesson. Luckily, no one was hurt as a result of either of our bad decisions.

    Aside from the DUI, the two big things in this story to me are the failure to appear and the timing of the release of this information.

    According to the Times-Standard today, Sundberg was to have his lawyer appear for him which is normal for people that can afford a lawyer. His lawyer let him down.

    What is not addressed is who leaked the information that was, according to Sundberg, already public, and why they took months to bring this information to the media?

    The timing is dirty politics.

  12. What's the dollar value of their campaigns including independent expenditures for them or against their opponent? Are we talking about $50K, $100K, or $1mil?

  13. According to the North Coast Journal, Sundberg had over 41 thousand dollars in monetary and non monetary donations for a total war chest of over 97-thousand dollars. The rest had less. Cleary had a total war chest of over 63-thousand and Higgins at just over 13-thousand with Lytle only reporting a loan to himself from his company for 500 bucks.

  14. Dirty politics can backfire. We should know a little after 8PM.

    Are you conducting and covering local exit polls?

  15. Not at work. It's an hourly thing that isn't working out this year.

    I will just follow the returns on my own with dad and let the local news guy cover the results at 6 am tomorrow.

  16. Don't feel sorry for Sundberg because of his lawyer, Tom. That lawyer is sharp. They don't pass out law degrees at Stanford to dummies. I've met him and I'd have to say he is among the two dozen most intelligent people living within the borders of Humboldt County.

    If he didn't appear, he had a reason.

  17. I wrote the post above based on the information I received through our local media that Greg Rael is Sundberg's attorney.

  18. Gosh, he had a reason. That would be my bet. I'm sure that you have no idea what it was nor do I have a clue for the reason. I've never met him but understand he is an excellent lawyer.

    Look at the smear campaign that is being directed at Sundberg at H blog and beyond by the same group of folks. This is pure Salzman political tactics.

    What Ryan did was not the smartest thing in the world. However you don't erase 15 years of community service by one mistake. Slimers can keep repeating it all they want but lots and lots folks in 5th knew about the DUI.

    What makes the most sense. That many knew about it and treated it as no big deal or that a large group of people tried to hide it.

    Yea, the CHP, Sheriff, DA's office, all newspapers, and the blogs. They stopped publishing DUI names to hide it, hide arrest reports,etc. If he had that kind of connections why did he even get the DUI. How about the officer is told by cell phone to let him sleep it off cause he is home. That is the level of corruption you are talking about but No the gave him field test and secondary test. Gave him a citation. What make more sense.

  19. Earlier today:

    "Tom Sebourn said... I have some sympathy for Mr. Sundberg as it seems his lawyer screwed up and failed to appear for him at the court date..."

    I wrote: "Don't feel sorry for Sundberg because of his lawyer, Tom. That lawyer is sharp. They don't pass out law degrees at Stanford to dummies. I've met him and I'd have to say he is among the two dozen most intelligent people living within the borders of Humboldt County.

    If he didn't appear, he had a reason."

    I thought my point was obvious, but you seem to have missed it, so here it is, this time in different words.

    Mr. Sundberg's attorney is very smart. If he didn't appear in court, he must have had a strong strategic or tactical reason that we don't know about.

    Further, Mr. Sundberg does not deserve Tom Seabourn's sympathy for his lawyer's supposed ineptness. On the contrary, Tom should appreciate how smart Mr. Sundberg was to retain one of the best lawyers anywhere within hundreds of miles to defend him on the charge of driving at twice the legal limit for alcohol in the blood.

  20. I apologize for misspelling Tom Sebourn's name.

    I hope that never happens again!

  21. Most people condemn DUI's in general, Tom, which is why we have laws against it. It is irresponsible behavior which puts innocent lives in danger, as we all know from the high number of DUI fatalities. Putting yourself in a situation where you have to drive and then over-drinking shows a dangerous lack of judgment. While we may not stop barbecuing with our neighbor who gets a DUI, it isn't hypocritical to say his lack of judgment makes him unfit for public office.

  22. When my ancestors first came to the US over a couple of hundred years ago the spelling was, Seabourne. It has been misspelled a couple of times officially over the years which is why it is so easy to misspell.

    Some of my relatives pronounce it Sea burn. I go with the way they pronounce the cruise line named after the original spelling. Thanks for getting it right in it's current form for what it's worth.

    As far as DUI's for alcohol, it is not something anyone can reasonably argue in favor of.

  23. Rule #1, hire a good lawyer. It will be interesting to see if we find out why things unfolded the way they did in this story.

  24. So, Tom, the anniversary of Sundberg's risking your life was earlier this month. Did you ever find out "why things unfolded the way they did in this story."

    Google "de la Fuentes DUI" and check out some of the 45+ news articles. Google "Sundberg DUI" for evidence of the quality of the local media.

    What I'd still like to know, Tom, is how Sundberg was able to successfully spin the belated exposure of a serious DUI -- an event that should have been made public in the same one-day timeframe as the de la Fuentes DUI.


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