During the past month the momentum to recall Marin County District Attorney Paula Kamena has escalated. The heat is on in Marin County as District Attorneys throughout the state are closely following the outcome. If Kamena is successfully recalled it could set a precedent that would address the political abuse of others holding that office. A triumphant grass roots movement such as the Marin recall coalition would empower the average citizen and put district attorneys on notice that they should listen closely to their constituency. The political power of a district attorney is almost absolute. Running for and holding this office should carry with it the responsibility to respect the law and exercise the law without favoritism.
On Friday, February 24, 2001, California State Attorney General Bill Lockyer met with the Marin Independent Journal editorial board. His comments, carried in the paper the next day, indicated that he had heard complaints that justice has not been done in family law courts in Marin. At the center of the recall effort is the use of the grand jury by Kamena and her assistant, Kelly Vierira, to indict Carol Mardeusz whose daughter, Haleigh, was taken from her five years ago without a full custodial hearing. Lockyer went on to state that these complaints "were substantive and serious" (and) "it seemed to me they needed to be addressed." Lockyer favors medicinal marijuana and the recall movement is backed by the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana whose founding director is Lynnette Shaw.
One group within the recall coalition was the Legal Abuse Task Force headed up by a woman named Terri Lynn Day. Day told Shaw that celebrity Erin Brockovich had agreed to appear at a recall rally scheduled for February 26, 2001 on the Marin County courthouse steps . Shaw was skeptical but after receiving two emails from someone identifying themselves as "K. Erin Brockovich" and using the initials "EB", Shaw released publicity about the scheduled appearance. Two days later the Marin Independent Journal ran an article by Richard Halstead entitled "Kamena Recall Supporters Gather Near Civic Center". The first two paragraphs of the article were devoted to the fact that "their featured speaker couldn't make it" and the fact that "the rally took the place of a press conference that was canceled after it became apparent the featured speaker, Erin Brockovich, couldn't attend". The previous day this reporter had spoken with and E-mailed Reporter Halstead asking him if he had confirmed that Erin Brockovich had agreed to attend before he ran his story. He apparently did not and the editors of the Marin Independent Journal allowed the story to run thereby effectively discrediting the recall movement.
Grass roots movements, such as the Marin recall coalition are prime targets for disinformation specialists and moles because such citizen-fueled power is a threat to the established political structure. This is particularly true when the threat targets the office of district attorney where, more often than not in California, the previous district attorney hand picks the new district attorney so that the policies and power remain unchanged and intact. The office takes on the appearance of a dynasty and selective prosecution is the result, as in the case of Carol Mardeusz. The media certainly shares the blame for this fiefdom and its continual abuse of power .
Terri Lynn Day, in whom others placed their trust and faith, resigned her office as chair of the Legal Abuse Task Force "due to stress related health problems" in a handwritten note dated March 4, 2001 She has since left town and is communicating only through E-mail. She left others in the coalition with damaged reputations, and the recall movement wounded by her assurances that she had known and worked with "the real" Erin Brockovich for over a year.
On March 12, 2001 newspapers reported that Erin Brockovich addressed the Anti-Defamation League Women of Achievement dinner last week. She was the keynote speaker and is quoted as saying, "Everyone now comes up to me and says, 'So, you're the real Erin Brockovich?' I guess my name now is 'The Real' Erin Brockovich." The REAL Erin Brockovich denies any involvement with or knowledge of her alleged appearance of the Marin recall rally. She did not attend because someone else was using her name and identity.
Many of us grew up watching mild mannered Clark Kent run into a phone booth and emerge as the invincible Superman. Superman was a good guy fighting a never ending succession of bad guys. Of course, the dual edged sword of false identification and stolen identities played no part in the Superman story. This, after all, was entertainment and everyone knew it was not the real world.
What happened in the impersonation of Erin Brockovich took place in the real world. In this very real world, a mother sits in jail, while Marin County District Attorney Paula Kamena deliberately prostitutes the legal process and assures that a child named Haleigh remains incommunicado in the home of self-admitted cocaine distributor and abuser, Leo Magers. This same man and his mother, Dr. Betty Magers, were booked for the sexual abuse of Haleigh Mardeusz. Kamena refused to prosecute and her office ordered the evidence destroyed. In the real world the taxpayers of Marin County pay for the defense of Leo Magers and allow their district attorney to lie to a grand jury.
The impersonation of Erin Brockovich was destructive to the recall movement and to the democratic process. This person's actions were clearly an attempt to deflect the entire campaign from the issue of 1) child abuse, 2) medical marijuana, 3) abuse of power by the district attorney, and 4) the rights of the citizenry for redress when politicians use their office in violation of the law. In professional investigations (civilian and military) this is a concept known as a pretext.
It is not a new concept. Sophisticated spies like Oswald LeWinter (also known as "Raison") have used it in the past. LeWinter said he was "Raison", so that he could provide information about the October Surprise, the allegation that a deal struck by former CIA director William Casey and George Bush Sr. allowed the American hostages to be held in Iran until after Ronald Reagan became president. Currently LeWinter is a key figure in Mohammed Al Fayed's lawsuit against a reporter, lawyer and others involving the car accident that killed his son, Dodi, and Princess Diana. From time to time LeWinter, speaking as Raison, touted the talent of a certain Oswald LeWinter as being credible and a CIA agent extraordinaire. He was boasting about himself, of course.
Terri Lynn Day appears to use the same techniques when she states she has used several aliases to achieve her objectives. Ms. Day propounds something called "Legal Abuse Syndrome" and she is very reluctant to talk about the specifics of her participation in the "Brockovich" scam. She will not address how her actions damaged the Marin recall campaign involving Carol Mardeusz and Lynnette Shaw. Terri Lynn Day has left town and left Mardeusz, Shaw and others to pick up the pieces of this important grass roots movement.
The media did not do its job by properly investigating this story. The Marin Independent Journal reporting has been filled with pro-Kamena bias since they began to cover the Marin recall. Reliable sources have stated that The Pacific Sun has refused to run a factual paid ad detailing the basis for the recall until reporter Jill Kramer completes a story on Carol Mardeusz. Those backing Mardeusz agreed to cooperate and go to the Marin Court House to review the extensive files on the Mardeusz case. There, they said, Kramer could copy the supporting paperwork and pay for the certified copies to document her story. They said that Kramer refused. It is doubtful that Paula Kamena needs a committee to keep her in office when the so-called "legitimate media" is doing that job so well.
Part two of this series will allow those most affected to post their unedited comments about the "Brockovich Scam".
Virginia McCullough © 2001