“Deputy District Attorneys” who oppose Newell also ran against him in 2006

“The politics are so nasty because the stakes are so small” in small-town politics, a former colleague of mine at The Union once astutely observed.

The District Attorney’s race is going to be ugly, as I’ve written before. After dealing with the ugliness of the Diaz-Pruett clerk-recorder’s race, I’m “uglied out.”

But I read this story in The Union how “Attorney David Alkire officially kicked off his campaign for Nevada County District Attorney by announcing that he has been endorsed by the bargaining unit that represents all of the county’s deputy district attorneys and deputy public defenders,” and it caught my attention.

It went on to quote Alkire at length, while offering “(For Newell’s response, see box).” I couldn’t find the “box” online — a real journalistic screw up. There should have been a link on that page to provide balance.

But what the story left out is that one of the county’s deputy district attorneys, Jim Phillips, ran against Newell in 2006 — and lost. It’s all a matter of public record to The Union’s City Editor Liz Kellar, who attended the Alkire “kick off party” and wrote this story.

I’d also like to hear Sue McGuire, a former employee in the DAs office who has been an aspiring politican, weigh in on this race.

I really have no dogs in these local political races except to call out glaring omissions or misconceptions in the reporting.

My next prediction: Is the “anti-growth” rap against Terry Lamphier really valid? Stay tuned.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

10 thoughts on ““Deputy District Attorneys” who oppose Newell also ran against him in 2006”

  1. I can’t help noticing that in the very next post after you slam The Union for its mistakes in print (which I’m not excusing) you misspell Alkire’s name throughout. Also, you have consistently misspelled my name for years…

  2. Liz, You’re getting paid to make mistakes and errors of omission. Your customers and advertisers pay you as well. And you can’t “erase” your misprints. This is a personal blog.

  3. I’ve always said it’s hard for those of us whose mistakes are printed for all time to live them down. As far as the”omission,” I don’t consider that a valid charge. I will be covering this race in depth and all the players, and their ties, will be thoroughly explored in the months to come.

  4. But whether I’m paid or not, you put yourself out there as a professional and should maintain the same standard, no?

    1. Liz,
      I’d crawl into a hole if I made a mistake like the ones pointed out at The Union in a for-profit business.

      As for professionalism, you sat on the story about Jeff Ackerman suing the grieving father for weeks. Your excuse was waiting for the DA to file charges for decking Ackerman. But he never did. Omitting that Jim ran against Cliff in 2006 was cause for concern. I hope you’re not biased against our DA.

  5. Interesting take on the Ackerman suit. My recollection is that I wrote a story on the suit as soon as it was filed. I didn’t sit on it, as you suggest.
    Not sure why you’re so intent on calling out Jim Phillips. It’s no secret he ran against Newell in 2006, and has continued to work for him since then.

  6. Liz,
    This is becoming a time sink on a busy day. But for the record, your recollection is wrong. You did sit on the Ackerman suit, and you reported it weeks later. And you blamed the delay on the DA, of all people. Here are the facts:

    March 5, 2010:
    The Union publisher/editor sues local family in tragic incident

    March 27, 2010:
    Union publisher alleges assault over column

    Did The Union “bury lede” in publisher’s $1 million against citizen?

    And this is how you defended being weeks late on this article involving the publisher of The Union:
    Submitted on 2010/03/07 at 11:26 am
    Jeff, you wrote that “civil legal cases are routinely reported in the media.” Actually, as you know, The Union has a policy of very rarely reporting civil cases. That is why we waited for more than a year to report the Thomas Hastert fraud and, more recently, waited a year to report the Bill Campbell case – even though we knew there was a fraud to report. And that is why we have not reported the dispute between Jeff and Mr. McKnight. We have been waiting for the DA to file charges. At that time we will be covering the case.
    -Liz Kellar

    But the DA never filed charges.


    On this article, you wrote: “Not sure why you’re so intent on calling out Jim Phillips. It’s no secret he ran against Newell in 2006, and has continued to work for him since then.”

    Here’s why:

    First of all, it is unknown to a lot of people that Phillips ran against Newell, including ones who weren’t here in 2006. Others just don’t remember. It is germane to the story.

    Second, Phillips and Oliver Pong are deputy DAs, represented by the bargaining unit that is backing Cliff’s opponent. Endorsing the opposition could “speak volumes” about Newell’s management, as Alkire maintains.

    On the other hand, it could speak volumes about settling a score with Newell, going back to the 2006 elections, which Phillips lost, others might argue. (It wouldn’t be the first time, would it?)

    A new regime that demands results sometimes creates ill feelings between longtime workers and new management (for example, requiring trial lawyers to go to trial). The bargaining unit also has a process to deal with disagreements (apart from politicking).

    I’m just proposing that you present the facts, and let the readers decide, rather than a one-sided version.

    1. Bonnie,
      It was a poor choice of layout. A “box” in tiny type refuting the mainbar story. Please. The comments belonged in the main story, along with the mention of Phillips (a deputy DA) running agains Newell in 2006.

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