Sharon Palmer Answers Her Critics and Reminds Us: The Real Issue Is About Our Controlling Government
I have suggested a couple of times that the story of California dairy farmer Sharon Palmer—arrested, handcuffed in front of her children, and jailed overnight nearly a month ago-- isn’t as neat and tidy as we might like.
She’s come under highly questionable criticism in comments on this blog, with links to court cases and old news articles, designed to suggest she has a dishonorable past and has been dishonest in her recent business dealings. One editor of a local paper emailed me after reading my post about Sharon, wondering cynically what she was doing with two Mexicans in the trunk of her car, which was mentioned in a ten-year-old clipping about a court case involving her. You’ll find the surprising answer to that and other matters in Sharon’s comment, following my initial Jan. 8 posting about this case (and re-published at the end of this posting).
I should note that I’ve been frustrated in trying to understand Sharon’s problems, since she’s been difficult to contact. I understand she’s had some power problems on her farm and, presumably, she’s been preoccupied with the pending legal case against her initiated by the Ventura County Sheriff, now under consideration by the county’s district attorney (discussed in my recent posts about this case).
As she suggests, though, the real issue is about the government’s approach to her farming activities. And here, the government has taken drastic action against her in connection with two matters: the licensing status of her facilities and the availability of raw goat’s milk to herdshare owners. We know that in other cases involving facilities licensing with large corporations, the authorities have been quite forgiving--never handcuffing any corporate officials, or even assessing penalties. And in the matter of herdshares, California has also been known to be tolerant—other herdshares have been out there, with knowledge by California Department of Food and Agriculture—operating without interference.
It seems clear that Sharon has been gaining her farming experience on the go, and in a less-than-hospitable community environment, but that doesn’t justify unequal application of the law.
Here's the text of Sharon's statement:
Hello All...I am here to explain about several comments made about me. This explanation is for those who have a common goal in our lifetime...Health,Family and Happiness. I am Sharon Palmer, the farmer. In 1998, a mortgage company owned by my spouse and his family fell into legal and financial troubles. It left me homeless with three babies.
My father, who was a sport fisherman, had a small cabin in Rosarito, Mexico. At that time, there were no legal problems involving me,I took my children and lived modestly while trying to rebuild my life. I worked with 2 churches that helped sick and homeless moms and children. I befriended a family that had illness in their family and needed to get medical help. I did drive family members to the U.S., but I was not charged because the authorities knew of the church and the circumstances.I have no regrets in helping this family.
This incident, however, resulted in my arrest for my husband's mortgage company problems. They could not find him, so the authorities held me for 9 months in county jail, without a court hearing, until they found him. I was not an owner of this company, not on the bank accounts, not on the corporation, and never met the victims.
I settled for time served to be reunited with my children, which resulted in a felony. I didn't have to pay restitution to victims--common in fraud cases--because my husband ran the business. He served 5 years.
The loss of my family and resulting helplessness convinced me to join with my oldest daughter and my mother to develop a more natural and pure business...Farming. My Mom and daughter purchased a farm in Fillmore.
The day we moved our entire family in, we realized there was no water on the farm. Having no farm experience, we were unaware of the necessity for well tests,and we took the real estate broker's word that everything was okay. The broker and associates saw us coming--three women with no farm experience and not familiar with the area. We lost the farm and my daughter and mom have a lawsuit against them. This is where "Joe Slow" and the badmouthing come in.
To the person who states I owe them $1,400, please call me...if I made a mistake in billing or failed to pay someone, I am sorry.
I believe in what I do. I will continue to support my community with healthy foods and always try to do my best. These negative comments about my past issues have truly saddened me because the real issue is about our controlling government and poor commercial food choices. Small family farms need the public's support. I am sorry you had to endure the negative unrelated issues.