Originally published November 2 2012
Urgent calling campaign launches today: Help is needed to to free James Stewart and Sharon Palmer from unfair prosecution by Ventura County
by Summer Tierney
(NaturalNews) A new push back in the fight against government corruption begins this week in California, as supporters of Healthy Family Farms owner Sharon Palmer and former Rawesome food club manager James Stewart launch an aggressive and urgent calling campaign in hopes of seeing criminal charges against the two dropped. The group is reaching out to all food rights and civil rights advocates - and especially to those who have already signed the "Free the Farmer" petition on Change.org (http://www.change.org) - requesting that they place calls TODAY to key government officials and demand an immediate investigation into what appears to be prosecutorial misconduct on the part of the Ventura County District Attorney's office.
The move comes as attorneys for both sides are set to meet this week to discuss what direction the case will take. Palmer and Stewart face 39 and 37 felony counts respectively for allegedly conspiring to defraud farm investors and commit various other financial crimes, all related to securing ownership for the land on which Palmer's farm was eventually built. Neither Stewart nor Palmer are guilty in any way, say supporters, and the prosecution so far has introduced nothing but hearsay and circumstantial evidence to indicate otherwise. Supporters insist the long laundry list of offenses has been ostentatiously inflated beyond what is reasonable or believable and is ultimately an attempt by Ventura County prosecutors to mask their real agenda - essentially to harass and intimidate small food-conscious folks out of business, while systematically destroying community access to healthier, fresher foods.
And in that sense, Ventura County may already have won. After years of recurring raids and arrests perpetuated by Ventura County against Palmer, she was eventually forced out of the cheese business, making it impossible for her to earn enough income to repay farm investors on time - ironically, one of the main crimes with which she is now being charged by Ventura County. Likewise, in Los Angeles County, the Rawesome private food club has been closed since August 2011, when it was raided for the second time by numerous armed government agents; in its place now is a vacant lot, a 'No Trespassing' sign and an even less welcoming padlock. Stewart, the club's former manager, meanwhile remains in custody after his most recent arrest in July of this year.
But supporters of today's calling campaign are hoping their activities today will help in different ways - first, to help their friends and next, to send a clear message to local government officials that California voters, the whole country and even the world are watching what happens in Ventura County and will hold those government agents accountable for their actions or inactions in what is becoming an increasingly visible drama.
Callers, they say, should demand to know why California is wasting manpower and valuable taxpayer dollars in the political pursuit of a farmer and a "milk man" when there are hardened criminals roaming free. Callers are encouraged to profess that Ventura County has no business holding an innocent 65-year-old food producer hostage in jail, without bail, while the state already faces issues of overcrowding. Even though they cannot now save Palmer's cheese business or keep Rawesome from closing, supporters hold out hope that they can still speak up on behalf of food rights - and civil rights too, understanding that Palmer and Stewart have yet to receive justice so long as their constitutional rights are ignored by the criminal justice system. Supporters hope there may be power in numbers, if others friendly to their plight will contribute their voices too, as the events of the case continue to unfold.
Urgent help needed today to make a difference in the fates of Palmer and StewartTo lend your support, please sign and share the petition at Change.org (http://www.change.org), and join the calling campaign TODAY by reaching out to any and all of the California government officials below. Let them know this case is important to you and why. A sample script is provided below for guidance. Remember, as always, to please be civil.
"Hi, my name is ______________. I'm calling from ____________ to express my outrage at how California's local officials are handling the Ventura County case against farmer Sharon Palmer and food club manager James Stewart. Why is California wasting time and taxpayer money on health-conscious folks who give back to their communities? Why does Ventura continue to hold an innocent milk man without bail, when jails are overcrowded and hardened criminals roam free? The whole world is watching your conduct in this high profile case. Please do what you can to put an immediate end to this apparently selfish, political agenda of the Ventura DA."
Kamala Harris, Attorney General
(916) 445-9555 Sacramento Office
(415) 703-5500 San Francisco Office
(510) 622-2100 Oakland Office
(559) 477-1691 Fresno Office
(213) 897-2000 Los Angeles Office
(619) 645-2001 San Diego Office
Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator
(310) 914-7300 Los Angeles Office
(559) 485-7430 Fresno Office
Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator
(213) 894-5000 Los Angeles Office
(559) 497-5109 Fresno Office
Elton Gallegly, U.S. Representative
(202) 225-5811 Washington, D.C. Office
(805) 482-2424 Camarillo Office
Sharon Runner, California State Senator
(916) 651-4017 Sacramento Office
(661) 286-1471 Santa Clarita Office
(661) 729-6232 Antelope Valley Office
(760) 843-8414 Victor Valley Office
Robert S. Gonzales, Santa Paula City Mayor
Jeff Gorrell, California State Assemblyman
Sources for this article include:
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