By Donna Westfall – February 5, 2022
Have you ever encountered a situation where you felt threatened and intimidated? Where a person is shouting at you repeatedly? Where you wanted to run to safety?
Now add a weapon to that scenario. A rifle. And the person doing the yelling is intentionally and repeatedly yelling, “Get off my property” at a weaponless process server in fear for their life.
In my 50 years of being a landlord, I’ve employed process servers on rare occasions. Mostly because tenants had stopped paying rent and needed to move on with a little help from the legal system.
On Friday, February 4th, I was asked to serve papers to a woman living in Smith River.
It had nothing to do with not paying rent.
It had everything to do with her being on the $25 million School Bond Measure A committee called the Citizens Oversight Committee (COC). Jessica Curry is a board member on the COC. The COC’s purpose is to protect taxpayer’s monies. In my experience of attending meetings of the COC over the last 5 months, they do not know their purpose.
From all indications Jessica Curry was, in my opinion, one of those that practice rubber stamping along with incompetent Chair, Steve Lyons and hypocrite, Karen Sanders.
Linda Sutter has been attending COC meetings as well since October 2021. From all indications the only person that knew what they were talking about in watching over taxpayer’s money on the COC board was and is Angelina Countess-Bieber. However, none of Angelina’s numerous questions were being answered. She was being stonewalled. Ms. Sutter, a paralegal, prepared a Cease and Desist letter and sent it to the COC Board. They did not take her seriously. Subsequently, on Tuesday, February 1st, she Filed a Writ of Mandate with Del Norte Superior Court to get them to perform. The Court date was set for February 25th. Everyone had to be served so that they could have enough time to respond within 15 days of the court date.
When a lawsuit is filed, someone has to serve the parties. The first to be served was Chair Steve Lyons before noon on Wednesday morning, February 2nd.
He notified other members of the COC with this email:
“FYI, I just want to help prepare you, in case you have not already been served, most likely sometime today you will be served a Writ of Mandate filed by Linda Sutter. Please do not stress over this. I have made both Jeff N. and the school attorney aware of such, and they will be advising us as to how to proceed.
Sincerely, Steve Lyon, DNCOE COC Chairperson.”
Maybe Jessica Curry did not read her email.
NOPE. Not possible.
By Friday morning, other COC board members Angelina Countess-Bieber, Linda Prouty, Darryl Winkelman and Karen Sanders had all served. Those board members accepted service politely, willingly, professionally, and without incident.
And then the last to be served was Jessica Curry. Out in Smith River.
Linda Sutter drove me out there. There were 2 houses on what appeared to be substantial acreage. We drove to the first house that appeared to have a greenhouse as entrance to the front door. I went up and knocked and asked, “Is Jessica Curry here?”
The elderly gentleman pointed to the house below and said she lives there. I walked down to her house and noticed a dark colored truck, a chicken coop, a beautiful dog wagging its tale, gas cans and lots of 55 gal drums. Before I could even get close to the steps of the front porch, Jessica Curry came out brandishing a RIFLE!
Now, I’m not about to try arguing with a woman with a rifle any more than trying to befriend a rabid dog. Linda Sutter was sitting in her car. I yelled at her, “She’s got a rifle.” Linda yelled back, “Throw the papers on the ground”. Linda could hear Jessica yelling at me, “Get off my property. Get off my property. I’m going to call the police.”
I hightailed it out of there not wanting to become a statistic and recipient of a bullet.
While driving back to Crescent City, Linda received a phone call from Deputy Sloan from the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Apparently, Jessica thought it was Linda Sutter that was serving her with papers. Also apparently, she thought or was told it was ok to brandish a rifle in order to avoid service. Who would have told her this?
Could it have been the Schools attorney?
I don’t think so.
Could it have been one of the other board members?
Unlikely. But if that happened, surely that member or those members should also be removed from the COC.
Could it have been a family member?
This seems the most plausible option since I’ve since learned Jessica’s husband works as a correctional officer at the Prison. The Curry’s are most likely comfortable with firearms. It appears her husband may have been home.
I, on the other hand, am not comfortable with firearms. Never in my life have I ever been in a situation where not only words but lethal force was used to intimidate and threaten me.
Shocked and shaken by this scenario, we drove directly to the Sheriff’s Office to have them write up a report.
All I could think of is Jessica probably needs to be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and her rifle confiscated; and she needs to be removed from the COC immediately!
I got the impression that Deputy Sloan didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, Jessica probably did not point the weapon at me. I couldn’t remember, I was still shaking in the Sheriff’s office when Deputy Sloan took the report.
In this day and age when government agencies are squeezing every nickel they can get out of taxpayers, one would think that these OVERSIGHT COMMITTE’s would understand their purpose.
We are solicited by phone and mailers that Oversight Committee’s are another plus in enticing the voter to approve an increase in property taxes for the benefit of public schools; or adding a sales tax that will provide a variety of services but instead increases salaries and benefits to government employees… which they said would never happen.
In reality, based on my experience of these Committee’s, people are chosen to turn a blind eye to protecting the taxpayer’s dollars. And thus, Oversight Committee’s are a waste of time. They are not trained. They do not understand their purpose and apparently have no interest in learning. Plus when the public does appear in order to make public comments, Chair Lyon squashes their voice.
What options do taxpayer’s have left?
Lawsuits and ballot measures. An expensive, time consuming and costly endeavor. At this rate, more and more lawsuits will be filed and ballot measure petitions circulated to stop or repeal taxes is definitely in our future.
The way I look at it, the taxpayer can equate the expansion of government with their insatiable appetite for taxes to a slow moving lava flow burning everything in its path.