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Arrest fallout could stall Efren Carrillo’s political career



Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s arrest Saturday on suspicion of burglary and prowling is likely to curtail any short-term plans of his to seek

Efren Carrillo

Efren Carrillo (PD FILE)

higher office and could cut short or limit his career in local government, political observers said Sunday.

While the extent of immediate damage to his political prospects isn’t yet clear, the dramatically different outlook is a blow to the 32-year-old Santa Rosa native, whose roots in the Latino community and support among Democratic Party leaders in Sacramento and beyond had given him the lustre of a rising star.

Elected first to the Board of Supervisors in 2008 and re-elected last year, he was widely expected this summer to announce a run for state legislative office. The arrest put a sudden hush to those rumors.

“Last week, there were conversations about what he might run for next year,” said Stephen Gale, chairman of the Sonoma County Democratic Party. “I don’t think there will be any of those conversations this week.”

The fallout was quicker and wider over the weekend because of Carrillo’s previous arrest, after a Labor Day street brawl last year outside a San Diego nightclub that left an Arizona man unconscious.

Carrillo said he was defending a group of female friends from a verbally and physically abusive stranger. Prosecutors subsequently reduced and then dropped battery charges against him.

But questions raised then about his off-hours activities surged back with his arrest this weekend, after a woman in his west Santa Rosa neighborhood called 911 at 3:40 a.m. and reported that he tried to break into her home through a bedroom window.

With details still trickling out and legal proceedings ahead, political observers would not say the fallout was catastrophic.

“I think it’s too early to say Efren has imploded,” said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist. “But this certainly has put his rise into a stall. His ambitions are plummeting back to earth.”

Carrillo’s plans for higher office, including a possible run for the state Assembly or Senate, were likely “on hold if not out,” McCuan said.

But Doug Bosco, a former North Coast congressman, friend and adviser to Carrillo, said it was premature to speculate about the supervisor’s political demise. He voiced his hope for a personal recovery and a political resurrection.

On Sunday Carrillo began what could be a month-long stay in a Northern California treatment facility to address what he and friends have described as a drinking problem.

“I think the people who are close to Efren and like and respect him are focusing more on the tragedy that it is for him to have made this mistake,” Bosco said. “To get into the political (discussion) about what it might mean…I think that people will understand that when he comes back he’ll be better than ever.”

Bosco is general counsel and an investor in Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat.

The seclusion “allows those folks around Carrillo to buckle down and think hard about whether or not they can move through this and weather this storm,” McCuan said.

His stay means he could miss the only scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting this month, on July 30, and a July 25 meeting of the county’s startup public power agency, a cause he avidly supports but is now unlikely to steer in the short-term as one of the county’s designated representatives.

Reactions among his west county constituents ranged from shock and distress to calls for him to immediately step down. An online petition at the website change.org pushing for Carrillo’s resignation had by 9 p.m. Sunday drawn more than 50 supporters, including people who identified themselves as county residents.

Others said they would wait to see how the legal case against Carrillo unfolds.

Robert Brent, 67, past board president of the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, who warmed to Carrillo after first voting against him in 2008, called him a “champion” for his district, stretching from west Santa Rosa to Sebastopol and north up the coast.

“Politically, he’s been wonderful,” Brent said, citing especially Carrillo’s recent strong advocacy for open space protection along the coast. “But it’s not the first time that someone who is politically wonderful has had issues, is it?

“There’s a lot of facts that are unknown, but it doesn’t sound good,” Brent added.

15 Responses to “Arrest fallout could stall Efren Carrillo’s political career”

  1. Greg Karraker says:

    Ten words:

    Bill Clinton.
    Elliott Spitzer.
    Anthony Weiner.
    Mark Sanford.
    They’re ba-ack.

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  2. Emerson Burkett says:

    Efren’s Political career? Are you kidding me? Here are my thoughts on his Political Career; Resign immediately from Sonoma Co. BOS. Never, ever run for another political office. Seek Psychiatric help for your deep-seated problems; I hope they can help you: there are some personality disorders that are not treatable.
    This was not tweeting pictures of the bulge in your underwear to unsuspecting ladies. This was not having paid sex with high-end Call Girls. This was not “having a wide stance” in a men’s bathroom.
    The facts, as reported in the PD, are these; An upset woman calls 911 around 3AM and reports someone attempting to enter her bedroom window. The police dispatch a patrol car. The lady calls 911 again and says a man (without a shirt) is at her front door saying he is a neighbor. The Police arrive, on scene, and discover 5th District Supervisor Efren Carrillo in his underwear and socks, clutching a cell phone. At 3 something in the morning!
    To me, it really does not matter what the Legal outcome here is. It does not matter that Efren goes into re-hab for an “alcohol problem”. What about the Victim here? What about future potential victims?
    Political future? He has none!

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  3. Reality Check says:

    Why do attorneys make so much money? Because only they can come up defenses like: Carrillo was “hoping to share beers with a neighbor. . . ”

    With lines like that, who needs the comics?

    Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

  4. Paul says:

    “Curtail”? Hah. How about TERMINATE?
    We, the taxpayers and voters of Sonoma County, do not need this street fighting late night Lothario soaking up a nice pay check while he pursues his “other interests”.
    There are plenty of sober, focused, community oriented citizens to fill this vacancy;(He IS in “rehab”, right?) and I mean PERMANENTLY.
    We have a billion dollar pension, mess, we have a billion dollar road repair backlog, and we have a fledgling scam of a power agency to deal with (opt out now). Let Mister Carrillo pursue his personal affairs in private, minus a county job. Thank you.

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  5. Reality Check says:

    “Arrest fallout could stall Efren Carrillo’s political career”

    Could? As in might or maybe?

    In the mid-90s, Oregon Senator Bob Packwood was revealed to have–many years earlier–groped several women on his staff after having a few drinks. He was run out of the senate, his political career over.

    Times change. Carrillo supporters are bringing forth all the usual euphemisms: this was a mistake, embarrassing, he isn’t the first great politician to “have had issues . . . . ”

    Maybe it’s time for jurors to start to apply the same standards to Joe Sixpack when facing these kinds of charges in a courtroom, which is where Carrillo belongs, not hiding out in a spa.

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  6. Beef King says:

    Goodbye Efren.
    Please find a job in the private sector, and don’t subject us to your political resurrection.
    Thanks for leaving us with another useless government agency on your way out.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  7. Bill Mikil says:

    We need to restore respect and dignity to the office of Board of Supervisors for Sonoma County. It is imperative that Supervisor Carrillo, having been arrested twice, step down and seek treatment. We cannot allow him to continue on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors as he seeks treatment. He must resign now. Please sign the following petitions:

    To Efren:

    To Board of Supervisors:

    Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  8. SoCo Voter says:

    Has anyone asked if it is more an heavy drinking but also drug use (ie coke or meth)? I would bet that it will come out before long that it is even worse…

    Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  9. Elephant says:

    Efren Carillo is no Democrat. His politics are pure Republican. But then, there are others on our Board of Supervisors who call themselves Democrats and aren’t either.

    By the way, the latest spin is a doozy. Attorney, Chris Andrian, said that Carrillo was carrying a couple of beers over to that neighbor lady’s house wanting to drink with her. Let me get my boots on cause that pile of fertilizer is deep.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  10. 0 Representation says:

    This should end his career. If it had been anybody else they’d be going to jail.

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  11. Over Easy says:

    He really needs to step up resign and clean up. Stop blaming alcohol or the girl or whatever and just MAN UP, FACE THE MUSIC AND MOVE ON.

    Give someone who does not have all the baggage a chance to help the county.

    Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  12. GAJ says:

    Let me also remind everyone that Feinstein agreed with General Patreus’ decision to resign because of adultery!

    Adultery is NOTHING compared to predatory stalking of a woman in your underwear for crying out loud.

    And, as you may recall, Obama accepted his resignation.

    Come on local politicians, take a public stand and demand resignation of this creep.

    Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  13. GAJ says:

    The fact that the headline says “could stall” rather than “will end” this creep’s political career is pathetic.

    Take a stand PD, demand he step down.

    Go out and interview some feminists for Chrissakes; I understand Lisa Maldonado has a few things to say, but I’m guessing that even she won’t call for his resignation as he has a “D” after his name.

    I’m sure that Carillo’s handlers and lawyers are already pressing for the victim to drop charges.

    Why does it seem everyone is willing to give this guy a pass?

    Business people are fired, and/or sued, all the time for sexual harassment.

    This goes far far beyond that.

    Get a backbone PD, get a backbone Sonoma County Democratic Party leaders.

    Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  14. MAC. E. VELLI says:


    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  15. We need to restore respect and dignity to the office of Board of Supervisors for Sonoma County. It is imperative that Supervisor Carrillo, having been arrested twice, step down and seek treatment. We cannot allow him to continue on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors as he seeks treatment. He must resign now.

    Please sign the following petitions:

    To Efren:

    To Board of Supervisors:

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

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