Categorized | Local, Media

Lake County Sheriff Sued For Blacklisting Press

 

Public Official Plays Small Town Politics

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

A Lake County website has filed a discrimination lawsuit against outspoken County Sheriff Frank Rivero alleging
he “blacklisted” them from press releases and put up unfair
obstacles to getting public records.

Lake County News is a small news website started by Elizabeth Larson and her husband John Jensen.  She manages the business; he manages the news department and the six paid freelance writers.  John Jensen is a former managing editor of the Record-Bee newspaper.

riveroThey contend the issue centers on whether the Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Rivero, can treat local news organizations differently because of the way they cover the news, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reported. 

Sheriff Rivero, however, has refused to back down.  He asserts he has no obligation to email press releases to Lake County News, contending its coverage of the sheriff and his department has been biased and inaccurate, the Press-Democrat said.

The Press-Democrat noted:

The fight flared in October when Rivero told Lake County News editor Elizabeth Larson in an email that he would block her emails, not take her phone calls and that she and her husband must file formal public records requests to get information, according to the lawsuit.

“I am done with your ‘National Enquirer’ style of reporting and general disrespect of me and my office,” Rivero wrote.

Rivero acknowledges he told his staff to stop including Larson in emails sent to news organizations, but contends that policy does not violate the law because there are alternative ways for Larson to access the agency’s releases.  Rivero said the emails were a “courtesy” to reporters…

first amndment cltnPeter Scheer, Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition that advocates for open government and free speech, said the First Amendment and California’s public record laws are clearly designed to prohibit public officials from deciding the arbiters of good reporting.

“No public figure likes their press,” Scheer said.  ”Too bad, grow up. If you’re going to be a public official, you have to be able to take some heat.  And that heat is protected by the First Amendment.”

In their lawsuit, Lake County News is asking a judge for three directives:

  • Instruct the Sheriff’s Office how to respond to media requests
  • Order the agency to comply with state public records laws
  • Order the office to stop discriminating against the media based on the content of their reporting

censorTo note, Lake County Supervisors have resoundingly criticized Sheriff Rivero’s actions to censor the press through favoritism.

Former Clearlake Police Chief Bob Chalk also raised concerns that Rivero’s actions send a message that “his administration will promote and tolerate unfair and biased treatment of others.”

Through their legal counsel, Lake County News is currently in settlement talks with Lake County Counsel before the issue heads into a courtroom.

Rivero, a Cuban immigrant, started his career as a beat cop in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood and shocked the Lake County establishment when he ran for Sheriff on an anti-corruption platform in 2010, beating 16-year incumbent Rod Mitchell.   “If you find a more corrupt place in California I’ll eat my hat,” he said at the time.

Rivero said during his tenure that he’s cut more than $1 million in waste from the Sheriff’s Department budget and put an end to cops who abused their power under the “good ol’ boys” network he swept out of office.

censor2The Daily World wrote that Rivero is a contentious public official who has ”been called a thug, a liar, a bully, a cowboy and the Cuban John Wayne for his swaggering brand of justice” in the county of 64,500 residents.

“I’m a rare bird,” Rivero said in September. “I’m probably the only immigrant elected sheriff in California.  I am one controversial character; I speak my mind.  I’m a rough character to deal with when you’re screwing around.”

* * * * * * *

You can read the full story in the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat article by Julie Johnson, “Lake County Website Sues Sheriff over Press Policies.”

3 Responses to “Lake County Sheriff Sued For Blacklisting Press”

  1. Domino says:

    Awesome!! A serious cop for a truly whacked area. If this guy can clean up Lake Co, maybe he should be doing doing trainings for our State’s Sheriff’s Dep’t's as a whole. A hot topic might be, the rights and priviledges of non-criminals trump those of criminals. Another class might be on societal good vs the drunk yelling guy in Arcata. How about ….. never mind, I am talking about HumCo.

  2. Kyle says:

    After living in Lake county, I am not sure what has changed. Sheriffs, deputies, volunteers all smoke in their police cars, speed through the streets going forty miles an hour in 25 mph zones.. Lake County is such a beautiful place but it a horrible place to live.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • iatrogenic violence
    From 50 years of our overstocked archives  Sam Smith, 2006 - Reader Dan writes in response to our listing of American corporations tied to Israel: "Do you have a comparable list of corporations that remain silent when a Palestinian bomb explodes aboard an Israeli bus? The policies of the Israeli government are abhorrent, but the tactics of the Palestini […]
  • Transportation news
    Transportation news Bike news High speed, high cost, high income rail What roads and rails tell us about class and power […]
  • Letting a nine year old play in the park alone considered child abuse
    Laura Clawson, Alternet - McDonald's has fired Debra Harrell, the woman who was arrested for letting her nine-year-old daughter play alone at the park while she was at work. Harrell originally had her daughter come to work with her and play on a laptop during her summer vacation, but their home was burglarized and the laptop stolen, so she allowed her d […]
  • Toy wars
    Sam Smith - Regardless of the considerable bias in the mainstream media over little wars like those right now in Palestine and Ukraine, it is important to remember that the big media first and foremost loves toy wars. For example, sending Wolf Blitzer to Israel journalistically makes about as much sense as sending Justin Bieber to report from a girl's s […]
  • Nestle contributes to California water shortage
    Al Jazeera - The Golden State is in the third year of record drought, and while consumer restrictions are not expected to make a sizeable dent in state water usage on their own, officials hope the fines, which go into effect August 1, will send a message to Californians who apparently have yet to grasp the severity of the situation.That message, however, has […]
  • The real economy
    Global Research - The percentage of children in poverty hit 23 percent in 2012, up sharply from 16 percent in 2000. Some states are much worse. For almost the entire American South, the share of children in poverty is higher than 25 percent. […]
  • Infrequently asked questions
    If sanctions are so righteous against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, why not try them against Israel's invasion of Palestine? […]
  • More on Israel's role in building Hamas
     Robert Dreyfuss, Institute for Public Accuracy - In Gaza, between 1967 and 1987, when Hamas was founded, the number of mosques tripled in Gaza from 200 to 600. And a lot of that came with money flowing from outside Gaza, from wealthy conservative Islamists in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. But, of course, none of this could have happened without the Israelis c […]
  • Pocket paradigms
    Some day our leaders may again be as good as our firefighters..- Sam Smith […]
  • Word
    Those who want the government to regulate matters of the mind and spirit are like men who are so afraid of being murdered that they commit suicide. -- Harry Truman […]
  • Word: Where the Palestinian crisis began
    Donna Nevel, a community psychologist and educator, is a long-time organizer for peace and justice in Palestine/Israel. Most recently, she was a founding member of Jews Say No!, is on the board of Jewish Voice for Peace, and is a member of the coordinating committee of the Nakba Education Project--US.Donna Nevel - As Israeli government violence against the P […]
  • Israel hiring students to troll social media sites
    USA Today - Israel is looking to hire university students to post pro-Israel messages on social media networks — without needing to identify themselves as government-linked, officials said Wednesday.The Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement that students on Israeli university campuses would receive full or partial scholarships to combat an […]
  • The war crimes Israel and Obama are committing
    Shamus Cooke, Anti-War - The two most glaring war crimes Israel is committing – as defined by the Geneva Convention – are the concepts of “collective punishment” and “necessity and proportionality.”Under collective punishment, a warring party cannot respond to an attack by waging war on the attacker’s community, as is clearly happening in Gaza. The clearest […]
  • California drought update
    LA Times -Te groundwater level in the San Bernardino Basin area is at its lowest point in recorded history, officials say.hMeasured in volume, the groundwater level for the basin is now about 500,000 acre-feet below full, according to Douglas Headrick, general manager for the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District.That would put it below the previous […]
  • CORECTION: Mandela on Palestine
    The letter we posted a few minutes ago allegedly from Mandela to Thomas Friedman was actually a satirical piece. According to The Electronic Intifada, this article was written by Arjan El Fassed in 2001 in the satirical style then being employed by Thomas Friedman, of writing mock letters from one world leader to another. Although it carries El Fassed’s byli […]