Republicans who would kill
by Drummond, Sat Aug 22, 2009 at 01:18:56 PM EDT
This is a news story originating in a tiny sleepy village called Westport on the North Coast of California, where hippies and retiring liberal yuppies have been making their way up into the countryside for several decades leading to a small scale culture war. The demise of the logging industry has been a factor in bringing many people into the marijuana industry - it's not just for hippies anymore. The North Coast Journal, a paper based in Arcata a couple of hours to the north of where these amazing events took place. This is a story involving a man who headed up the Mendocino County Republican Party, recalled from a utilities district board for what the voters believed to be incompetence, and most recently convicted for conspiracy to murder. You see, he tried to arrange for a political assassination of his liberal political opponent.
Why should we be nervous when right wingers show up at presidential events with guns? Read the story. It has everything. Thomas Pynchon couldn't have done a better job in Vineland.
Here's a taste.
It was about 10:30 pm on the evening of June 17, 2005, when Alan Simon heard something at the front door of his gray, two-story home on Hillcrest Terrace, one of Westport's few residential streets.
"I was getting ready for bed and brushing my teeth when someone loudly and aggressively started banging on the door, saying 'Kathy -- where's Kathy?'" Simon, 53, recently testified. "The hairs on the back of my neck went up. I knew something was wrong."
Simon said he told the man that no Kathy lived there. Then he called the police. The man, Simon told the dispatcher, was a white guy with a fu-manchu-style mustache. "I opened the door and he wasn't there, so I stepped on the threshold and saw a man leaning up against a white sports car with his arms crossed. I held up the phone and said 'The police are on the way.' He walked toward the yard and said, 'Hey man, I don't want any trouble," Simon said. "Then his right arm came up. He had a gun and he fired it. I ran in, shut the door and hit the deck... My front door was exploding around me."
Yes. It's for real. Enjoy. And wait until the Coen Brothers discover the story.
Here's another excerpt which explains the story a little more.
In this very small village, there is one political entity -- the five-member Westport County Water District, which oversees the local volunteer fire department and provides sewage treatment and water to several dozen homes. In this very small district, there have been many fiery debates over the years between board members: Sheriff's deputies were called to intervene at a meeting. Recalls have been organized. And in one now infamous case in 2005, Alan Simon, the board chairman at the time, was nearly killed in the doorway of his home by nine shots from a semi-automatic .22 Ruger pistol.
Shortly after the shooting, Kenneth "Kenny" Rogers, Simon's water board rival, was arrested for soliciting Simon's murder. At the time, Rogers was chairman of the Mendocino County Republican Central Committee; he had also recently been fired from his post as Westport's assistant fire chief and replaced in a recall by Simon as the water board's chairman.