Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest View: Rebuttal to letter regarding (Tehama County) Grand Jury

Richard Sol
Updated: 09/13/2011 07:51:04 AM PDT

I am writing a rebuttal to the Aug. 31 letter written in the Daily News from Pat Massie Johnston. I support people and their rights to their opinions, but if they associate my name with those opinions, please get the facts right. I will not address the specific contents of the letter, but will address the incorrect or misquoted statements.

Mr. Wilkerson, the deceased Grand Jury Foreperson and I spent many hours reviewing all of the complaints brought before the Grand Jury. He never shared any concerns over a fraudulent election or cover-up. After his death I recused myself, since I am the next door neighbor of Mr. Nielsen, (as is proper protocol) of any involvement with the investigation, but the final report reflected the findings and the facts, and the Grand Jury should be commended for its effort.

While Judge Garaventa did appoint me as foreperson, I was the Pro-Tem, which was the logical and proper move. Being the next door neighbor of Jim Nielsen has nothing to do with the appointment. As for the "low rent mobile" statement, perhaps Ms. Johnston should tour the area and see his house, mine and the surrounding homes before summarizing the physicality of the area.

The letters which were passed to me after Mr. Wilkerson's death were copies of correspondence that he was in the process of making at the time of his death. He kept no secret files, nor did he keep any information from the Grand Jury, as was implied. I coordinated with the secretary St. Elizabeth Hospital Sports Medicine Program
of the Grand Jury to make sure that we responded to those complaints. Furthermore, I published all of the citizens' complaints in the Final Report. The only ones not published would be those determined not to meet the criteria for further action on the part of the Grand Jury.

County Counsel provided legal support to the Grand Jury. They reviewed those matters and cases brought before them by the various Grand Jury Committees. They would advise us on cases that were turned over to the District Attorney's Office for criminal action or on those cases that lacked merit or were matters out of the scope of the Grand Jury.

In the case regarding Mr. Nielsen, County Council provided the specific California law which was used in the summary of the investigation which sited "a residence is a domicile and a domicile is a residence." After its thorough review, the Grand Jury report concluded there was "no merit" to the claims made regarding Mr. Nielsen.

Lastly, as a good citizen, I took my job seriously as Grand Jury Foreman. I felt it was my civic duty to do the best job possible. During the turnover from the outgoing 2010-1011 Grand Jury to the incoming 2011-2012 a statement was made to the incoming members that, in fact, a County Grand Jury has no jurisdiction over state employees and cannot investigate a state employee. The statement was not made by Judge Garaventa and was quoted out of context.


Richard Sol lives in Gerber.

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