Last word on Bird?
Court tells Don Bird to steer clear of Jim Nielsen
Initially, it seems the saga of Rancho Tehama activist Don Bird and Republican state Assemblyman Jim Nielsen fizzled out, with both sides agreeing on an anticlimactic compromise. Ask either Bird or Nielsen personally, however, and each would likely tell you he came out on top.
The 76-year old Bird’s tireless pursuit of Nielsen came to an end last Friday (Oct. 21), when he agreed to the terms of a restraining order that forbids him from attempting or threatening to enact a citizen’s arrest on Nielsen or entering the politician’s property in Gerber for three years. Tehama County Judge Richard Schueler also waived a $7,500 attorney fee Bird owed from a previous bout in court with Nielsen so long as Bird complies with the restraining order.
Redding attorney Aaron Williams, who represented Bird pro bono, maintains the court’s decision will not restrict Bird.
“The two things Mr. Bird has agreed to were things he has stated he will not do anyway,” he said outside Tehama County Superior Court following the decision. “I’m very happy with it, because Mr. Bird gave up nothing. Mr. Nielsen filed this case, then paid $7,500 to make it go away.”
In a press release from Nielsen’s office titled “Nielsen Wins Restraining Order Against Stalker Donald Bird,” Nielsen is quoted as saying, “I’m pleased that the court has issued this order which is necessary to protect my family from the conduct of a person who has become increasingly concerning to me, my family and law enforcement officials.”
For years, Bird has been determined to expose Nielsen, whom he accuses of continually lying about his supposed residence in Assembly District 2. Bird and his supporters have long suspected Nielsen of fraud, insisting he lives in a gated community in Woodland, outside the district, rather than the double-wide mobile home near Gerber he claims as his residence.
While Bird readily admits to driving by Nielsen’s property in Gerber dozens of times since the politician’s 2008 election, he says he is no “stalker.”
“If you’re stalking someone, you’ve got to have somebody out there to see,” he said. “So far, I haven’t seen anyone out there. Stalking isn’t the right word in this case.”
Nielsen filed for a temporary restraining order against Bird in early September, accusing him of harassment in the form of repeated vows to enact a citizen’s arrest and a series of handwritten notes that appeared at Nielsen’s office and home. One of the notes read, “Liars, cheaters pay the price.”
Charlie Schaupp, whom Nielsen defeated during the 2008 Republican primary for the District 2 seat and who has publicly vocalized strong criticism of Nielsen, described his fellow party member as “delusional” and “narcissistic” after Bird’s Oct. 21 hearing.
“He’s a black eye on the Republican Party,” he said. “We’re never going to lead the people until we have honest politicians. I think today shows he never lived in Gerber and was lying all along.”
Nielsen avoided a handful of local reporters outside the courtroom following the hearing, opting instead to use the back exit, where he was ushered into a running SUV by several Tehama County sheriff’s deputies.
During a short press conference after the hearing, Williams revealed his motivation for representing Bird pro bono, making it clear he considers Bird an individual of high moral standards.
“Not many people are willing to go through the aggravation and put in the time to do the right thing,” Williams said. “It’s easier to remain in your house, not pay attention to what’s going on around you. Mr. Bird has been the kind of citizen we need to take a stand against elected representatives who are being dishonest, and I applaud him for that.”