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Efren Carrillo speaks out on arrest in return to Sonoma County Board of Supervisors


Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo began an attempt to reboot his political career Tuesday by returning to public duties, voicing remorse and offering a general apology in his first public comments on his July 13 prowling and burglary arrest.

In a nine-minute prepared statement at his first Board of Supervisors meeting in more than a month, Carrillo said he had disappointed his constituents, his family and himself.

“I’m not asking for forgiveness,” he said. “There’s nobody to blame but me. I take full responsibility for my situation.”

In a nine-and-a-half minute prepared statement at his first Board of Supervisors meeting in more than a month, Efren Carrillo pauses as he outlines the remorse of his actions, Tuesday August 20, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

In a nine-and-a-half minute prepared statement at his first Board of Supervisors meeting in more than a month, Efren Carrillo pauses as he outlines the remorse of his actions, Tuesday August 20, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

The public appearance, the first since Carrillo’s initial July 18 court date, brought an abrupt end to a five-week period in which he said he had been in treatment for alcohol abuse.

Carrillo, fighting back tears at times, read the statement before a packed audience of at least 100 people. The comments came during the part of the board agenda reserved for routine announcements. Carrillo’s turn — in no way routine Tuesday — came last among the three other supervisors present.

In a dead-quiet room, he began by acknowledging the wide criticism of his behavior, conduct that he said had let his constituents, his county colleagues and his family down.

“The hurt that I have caused ripples out in so many directions,” he said. “To each and all whom I hurt, I apologize.”

He acknowledged the reported victim in his case, a female neighbor who made two predawn 911 calls to report a man, later identified as the 32-year-old county supervisor, who police said had tried to enter the woman’s home through a bedroom window.

While not detailing his specific actions, he suggested his behavior had undermined the woman’s “absolute right to enjoy the peace and quiet of her home.”

Carrillo said he had moved away from the west Santa Rosa neighborhood “so as to not cause her any further discomfort.”

Carrillo’s comments from the dais came after he met individually with two fellow supervisors before the 8:30 meeting. His colleagues had learned about his return late Monday.

Supervisor Susan Gorin, who criticized the last-minute notice, said she “was not interested in talking with him beforehand,” but nonetheless spoke with Carrillo briefly.

“I expressed my disappointment … and said that the short meeting was not sufficient to discuss the issues we are dealing with,” Gorin said.

Supervisor Mike McGuire said Carrillo echoed many of the comments in his prepared statement and shared a personal apology.

Board Chairman David Rabbitt spoke with Carrillo over the phone Monday but did not meet with him before Tuesday’s meeting. Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who was out of the state on family business, did not attend the meeting.

Through an aide, Carrillo declined requests for an interview. His district director, Susan Upchurch, said he would not be granting interviews or making public appearances, limiting his work in the short term to Board of Supervisors meetings and other internal county business.

The pattern mirrors a similar response after Carrillo’s Labor Day arrest last year in San Diego following a street brawl outside a downtown nightclub. That time, he issued a written statement, then disappeared from public view, joining a local delegation on a nine-day trip to Russia. In both instances he initially responded only by prepared statement and declined interviews about the arrests, saying the legal process had to play out.

“Since the legal process is largely transparent, people will get information as it becomes available, and I will respond as is appropriate,” he said Tuesday.

Carrillo described what he said has been a longtime problem with “binge drinking,” that he had largely ignored before his recent arrest.

“Were I to say that this last episode was an isolated incident, I would be denying reality,” he said. “I regret that it took the absurdity of my behavior on July 13 to end any question about the depth of my problem.”

He said his closest friends had for some time “begged” him to stop drinking. He acknowledged for the first time that he had been under the influence of alcohol last year in San Diego, when a fight he was involved in left an Arizona man unconscious.

Carrillo said he had come to the defense of a group of women he and his friends were with who were being harassed by “rowdies.” Prosecutors later dropped battery and disturbing the peace charges against him.

Subsequently, Carrillo said, he gave up alcohol for a while, “sort of like a New Year’s resolution,” he said.

“I never faced the reality that my alcoholism was a disease,” he said, adding later, “I deserve and accept the condemnation of not dealing with my alcoholism.”

He then made what appeared to be a rebuttal to his sharpest critics, who have called for him to resign and vowed to recall him if he does not.

His ongoing legal case notwithstanding, Carrillo said his private conduct should not sully his accomplishments in county office, a post he apparently intends to try to keep.

“There has been much speculation about my continued service on this board and in public life. Amidst this torrent of well-deserved and justified criticism directed toward me, I note that little of this criticism relates to the performance of my official duties,” Carrillo said.

But his critics, who on Tuesday again called on him to resign, said Carrillo’s admission of alcohol abuse could not fully explain or justify what they called his “poor history” and “bad behavior.”

“Even a drunk man knows that attempting to enter a woman’s bedroom window is not a proposition but a felony,” said Karen Fraser, a Rohnert Park resident who identified herself as a former rape crisis and alcohol counselor. “Only a sexual predator does not know the difference.”

Carrillo said he would not comment on the events that led to his arrest and would not be sharing any of his statements to the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Minutes after his neighbor’s two 911 calls, the first placed at 3:40 a.m., officers encountered Carrillo nearby in his west Santa Rosa neighborhood wearing only his socks and underwear.

Police said the screen on the woman’s bedroom window had been torn enough for someone to reach inside. The woman awoke to the sounds of rustling blinds, police reported.

He was arrested on suspicion of burglary, a felony, and prowling, a misdemeanor. Police later said the incident had the marks of intended attempt of some kind of sexual assault.

“I cannot comment on any aspect of this, nor will I discuss my recollection of the events or discussions with the Santa Rosa Police Department,” Carrillo said Tuesday.

He said neither he nor his attorney, Chris Andrian, had seen any police reports or investigation materials. Prosecutors on July 18 postponed filing charges against Carrillo. He is due in court Aug. 30 to learn what criminal charges, if any, prosecutors will file. If charged and convicted of a felony, Carrillo would be forced to step down.

Carrillo said he had transitioned on Monday from a five-week residential treatment program for alcoholism to an eight-week outpatient program offered by Kaiser.

He described the residential program as “rigorous,” including virtual isolation from friends and family, whom he saw during weekly two-hour visits.

“Five weeks is certainly not enough time to conquer addiction, however it is enough time to learn how to begin,” he said.

His critics said that while they wished him well in his treatment, his quick retreat into a rehabilitation program seemed to them politically motivated.

“When you’re doing it to save your career because your handlers have told you to do it it’s even less likely you’ll be successful,” said North Bay Labor Council Executive Director Lisa Maldonado, an outspoken political foe of Carrillo’s.

The three supervisors in attendance offered no response from the dais to Carrillo’s return, a contrast to their strong condemnation in a meeting three weeks ago of the behavior described by police that led to Carrillo’s arrest.

The supervisors were equally guarded later Tuesday in interviews.

Gorin, part of a political camp opposite Carrillo, said she was listening to calls for his resignation but would not take a stand herself before his next court date.

Rabbitt called the meeting “a bit uncomfortable, obviously,” adding that it was nevertheless “inevitable to have to work through that moment.”

McGuire stopped short of saying Carrillo’s constituents deserved a fuller explanation of his actions.

“I think this is just the beginning of what could be a long process,” he said. “Obviously the next step is communicating with residents of the west county addressing the very real concerns that he spoke of this morning.”

Carrillo displayed a quiet and subdued demeanor throughout the three-hour board meeting. He nodded during his colleagues’ comments and allowed only a tight-lipped smile during lighter moments.

He voiced hope that through his treatment he would regain the confidence of his constituents and supporters.

“I hope and pray that I will join the millions of people, many of whom live here in our community, who have tackled, defeated and continue to live with alcoholism while going on to lead meaningful and productive lives,” he said.

31 Responses to “Efren Carrillo speaks out on arrest in return to Sonoma County Board of Supervisors”

  1. The Hammer says:

    It’s all SPIN!

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  2. A lesson from San Diego says:

    The following quotation from the San Diego Filner scandal. The same is true of Sonoma County politicos and administrators.

    “I think the really outrageous sex scandals we’ve seen — Clinton, Weiner, Schwarzenegger, Edwards, Sanford, Spitzer — suggests the excessive awe they are exposed to and the sense of entitlement that results,” said Fred Smoller, a political science professor at Chapman University in Orange. “The staff usually ‘enables’ this behavior. … People who don’t kowtow aren’t seen as loyal and are usually shown the door.”

    The normal checks and balances that work in most of our lives don’t work in the lives of politicians because they are surrounded by sycophants rather than truth-tellers.

    Thumb up 31 Thumb down 2

  3. Recall Carrillo says:

    Henry Bernard two thumbs up.

    Thumb up 20 Thumb down 2

  4. Closest we have: An English expression with a similar meaning is Roman holiday, a metaphor from the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by George Gordon, Lord Byron, where a gladiator in Ancient Rome expects to be “butchered to make a Roman holiday” while the audience would take pleasure from watching his suffering. The term suggests debauchery and disorder in addition to sadistic enjoyment. Throwing stones before all the facts are in shows a lack of character. The guilty are sometimes the first to point the finger.

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  5. Henry Bernard says:

    @Let’s Be Reasonable,

    Over imbibing in alcohol is not a disease; it is a symptom of a disease, the addiction to alcohol. The only cure for this addiction is to abstain. There is no other treatment. Abstention is a choice. An alcoholic remains at the mercy of his disease as a matter of choice, a choice to drink or not drink. To suggest otherwise is to claim the disease is incurable. Your argument necessarily demands that we incarcerate alcoholics as they, by your definition, pose a real and continuous threat to society. This, of course, is ridiculous.

    Every legitimate treatment in existence includes, at the least, the acceptance of personal responsibility and a commitment to abstinence. Blaming it on the booze finds no support outside of circles such as those you apparently draw. You do harm to addicts in serious attempt towards sobriety with your odd benevolence for this particular addiction. You justify behavior that can only bring grief and harm to an addict in encouraging a ‘victim’ mindset. Your argument enables.

    By this measure you are more dangerous than that bottle of Jack Daniels, though no where near as inviting.

    Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  6. homegirl says:

    As with politicians and power brokers I am sure a deal is being brokered. Carrillo will be charged with a lower charge, not a felony. He will be sentenced to probation and community service PLUS rehabilitation, at the taxpayers expense. Hopefully the voters will remember and he will be out of politics. Meanwhile he continues to collect $120K every year plus benefits.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 6

  7. Where's his Ef'rin' pants? says:

    Efren needs to pull it together, stop hiding, and resign. Stop this charade and round of well-scripted speeches from his handlers Doug Bosco and Eric Koenigshoffer. Get out!

    His behavior shows that he can’t be an effective supervisor until he might be “cured” of his addiction. That takes years or a lifetime. His handlers want us to believe that he can separate his public life from his personal life, but that’s another coverup story from their p.r. machine.

    Even if the Santa Rosa police found him to be drunk in his shorts and shoes (which they didn’t) and even if San Diego police found him drunk when he decked the guy (but Efren and his handlers insisted he was not drunk at that assault and arrest), he’s still got real dangerous behavior under his belt.

    Sexual and physical intimidation, womanizing, attempts to break in in the middle of the night, denial and lying. Hey, Efren’s got problems that might be intensified by alcohol, but are serious without alcohol.

    His behavior would end careers for any public employee. It’s time for Efren to stay home, get help, reflect on his life choices, and get a grip.

    That should not be happening on the public’s dime.

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  8. James Bennett says:

    BOS probably wants to smooth it over, make it go away.

    Think it’s easy to install people that will disregard their oath, stand behind Smart Meters, poisoning our water with fluoride, crash our local economy, be complicit in transforming their constituent’s dreams?

    Where do you identify and groom such a ‘candidate’?
    Sonoma County Young Democrats?
    Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition?

    Evidently they’re not that hard to find.

    This will prove interesting.

    This petition thing will prove interesting.

    Folks will see who runs the show in our local ‘representative’ government.

    Carrillo was installed for a reason.

    There are ‘interests’ to look after.

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 11

  9. GAJ says:

    @LBR, he ADMITS to harassing/terrorizing a woman and moving out of the neighborhood because he did so.

    Isn’t that freaking ENOUGH for you?

    What if it was your mother, your sister, your wife or your daughter he terrorized?

    Would you wait for the judge to rule whether he “technically” terrorized them?


    Your rigid defense of any County failures, and there are multitudes, is nauseating and diminishes your credibility.

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  10. GAJ says:

    What a complete coward.

    Schools in this State are passing rules that children who “bully” others outside of school hours will face school discipline despite the fact that the alleged “bullying” does not happen at school or during school hours.

    Carillo disgusts me.

    His latest vow to remain in office clearly shows he has issues that go well beyond binge drinking.

    On this issue I completely agree with Lisa Maldonado that his actions prove he is unfit for duty and should be removed in one form or another.

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  11. Michael Sheehan says:

    @Average Joe

    Who knew the County of Sonoma was so open-minded? I guess the First Amendment really doesn’t apply equally to all U.S. citizens if you can be censored for even innocuous opinions.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 6

  12. West county Resident says:

    Mr. Carrillo know’s he won’t be Reelected so the best he can hope for is his fat Pension and Lifetime medical .I for one believe he dose not deserve this and he will NOT step down for that reason alone.We the people should show up to every Board meeteing to put pressure on the other BOS to do what’s right.If they don’t we the people should start a Campaign against the other supervisors.

    Thumb up 39 Thumb down 9

  13. Larry Watkins says:

    It is typical of the democrats to disavow one of their own who causes them embarrassment and shame. That politician must be a republican, they could never truly be a democrat believer.

    If the Board of Supervisors truly believe Carrillo should go and he is not willing to resign, they need to shun him at meetings. Turn their backs to him and do not recognize him. Make him an outcast and unworthy.

    Perhaps then Carrillo will get the message and go which he desperately needs to do.

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  14. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @HB – Certain individuals have different brain chemistry which makes addiction MUCH more likely. Yes, it is possible to over come it, just like with a number of other illnesses. You say these people are weak, but you could argue the same (wrongly) that an overweight person who has diabetes is weak because they don’t lose weight. the body is not a perfect machine, and sometimes the part that goes wrong is in the head. Is some with depression weak? It is the same thing – bad brain chemistry. Before you judge, maybe you should do some research. Here is an interesting article:

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 31

  15. Average Joe says:

    @ Michael Sheehan

    I post under a false name because my employer, the County of Sonoma, would end my career for speaking on a blog. So enjoy your out-ness but don’t for one minute discredit the options shared by those less fortunate.

    Thumb up 42 Thumb down 6

  16. Reality Check says:


    You make sense again. Whatever my personal views of Carrillo, he’s entitled to his day in court. Meanwhile, county government will function more or less about as well as it usually does. This is a distraction only for those who make it one.

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  17. Keep up the pressure….he needs to keep hearing from people that he must now resign…please sign the petition and get ready for the recall fight:


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  18. ross says:

    its clear that carrillo’s drink of addiction is power, and he is unwilling to let it go. unless recalled, the wild ride will continue. i wish he had the maturity to step down and deal with his issues, at least he is moving…
    he did work hard and had a ready ear for anyone with money or the desire for county government to do more. if we needed a local rep to get help with unreasonable or unjust county actions we got efren around!

    Thumb up 33 Thumb down 7

  19. Follower says:

    That was good. Now tell us a scary ghost story!

    Thumb up 16 Thumb down 9

  20. Emerson Burkett says:

    Wow, so many excellent comments; and I agree with most. Not very much I can add, except:
    The Fix is In Folks. I predict he gets a slap on the wrist in Court, continues to serve his wealthy benefactors, becomes eligible for a fat County pension in January, and continues to get bailed out of trouble that he gets himself into. The danger here is that with his arrogance unchecked he may well escalate his unsociable behavior and really hurt some woman next time.
    You gotta take your hat off to his Handlers (Eric and Dougie), these boys really know how to spin and do excellent Political Crisis Management. What a true shame these folks do not devote some of their enormous talents and energy to helping out the poor and oppressed Middle Class. Well, you don’t get Rich without screwing the little folks.

    Thumb up 38 Thumb down 12

  21. Michael Sheehan says:


    I disagree. The guy is a Democrat. You can disown him if you want, but ask anyone who voted for the guy. And no matter what party they belong to, guys like this, including Spitzer, Weiner, Filner, and other self-serving, arrogant narcissists have no place in public office.

    One question – why should anyone on this site argue with posters who hide behind fake names? Why not stand behind your opinions with courage?

    Thumb up 15 Thumb down 20

  22. Henry Bernard says:

    @Lets Be Reasonable,

    I’ll never understand the “alcohol’s an addiction” crowd moaning that dependency is a disease just as are diabetes or cancer. Bull Sh*t! Take some responsibility for the weakness of over imbibing. No one in their right mind would label diabetes or cancer a dependency. Alcoholism is a choice as is proven by those with the weakness having found the strength of will to quit. You can’t quit cancer. You can alcohol. What you need to quit is enabling the dependent in justify their choice.

    And please, cease in aligning judicial process with political will. They are not the same and never will be. Mr. Carrillo will have his deserved day in court. I’m not required that this right force me abstain from my right to oust an irresponsible politician.

    Thumb up 36 Thumb down 10

  23. James Bennett says:

    More Right and Left rhetoric.

    How about TAGAs.

    Adherent to a

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 15

  24. Elephant says:

    Michael Sheehan – Mockingbird’s second paragraph is spot on. Carrillo is no liberal Democrat. He is what is known as a DINO – Democrat In Name Only. Like his advisor Eric Koenigshofer , like Doug Bosco, like many others on our city councils as well as a few others on the BoS. They say that they are Democrats, but their political views and actions are conservative Republican. Very very few who wear the badge of a Republican can get elected in Sonoma County, even to a non-partisan post.

    And big business (which in Sonoma County is primarily developers, the construction industry and the huge wineries) supports them through and through.

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  25. James Bennett says:

    I find it more than interesting that the whole community dances around the corpse that was Carrillo’s career.

    Yet all of our public officials are taking directive from a globalist NGO who’s purpose for being is to impose the plan of action that is UN Agenda 21. A Plan that is about eroding/replacing our Constitution. An Agenda that is anti-property rights (actually anti-private property), anti-free market, anti-small business. An Agenda that has a very specific plan in terms of where and how we will live, our transportation freedoms. A Plan that will ultimately ration our consumptions in terms of water and energy use. An entire blue print that provides for our control and oppression. The “planning” aspect of the Agenda is called Plan Bay Area. Why wasn’t it on the ballot? Why didn’t they make it their responsibility to inform you? Who said it was OK to transform your life without asking?

    To do so puts them literally in treason, as they took an oath to uphold our Constitution.

    To do so is an ultimate betrayal, especially to do so in secret. To disregard the few that have pointed out what membership to this group (ICLEI; International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) represents.

    Carrillo moved, the woman can lock her windows.

    What about issues that far transend an alchohol problem and effect all of us?

    This problem might be more involved that Carrillo’s arrest, but very much in your interest to learn about.

    http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/ http://www.freedomadvocates.org/

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 18

  26. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Mockingbird – you may not agree with his views, but he has not been convicted of anything as of yet. As far as I know, Innocent until proven guilty still holds true in this country. Let the judicial system run its course. If he is found guilty of a felony, then he will lose his position. Otherwise, he has a right to trial by voters next election. I know people who have been addicted to drugs and have gone through rehab and come out whole the other side. It is a disease; some people are MUCH more prone to addiction than others. Sure HB, personal responsibility is important, but I don’t hear you blaming someone with cancer…

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 42

  27. Henry Bernard says:

    Carrillo’s Mea Culpa

    If we can judge a man by his words, what do Efren’s tell us.

    A quick break down of his statement:

    Alcoholism 5:05 minutes
    SelfLoathing 1:30 minutes
    Benefits of Tenure :32 seconds

    Apology dedicated to:

    Family :13 seconds
    Friends, Constituents :07 seconds
    Victim :06 seconds

    Number of mentions of addiction and treatment – 25

    Number of mentions of personal responsibility – 5

    Number of times he apologized – 1

    So am I to understand that, in the end, alcohol is the real culprit? Is so, now that he’s sober, what explains the paucity of apology. Ah Efren, you just don’t get it. It’s not all about you.

    Thumb up 57 Thumb down 11

  28. Michael Sheehan says:

    At last, I agree with something that Mockingbird wrote, as the first paragraph actually made sense and is factual.

    Of course, the second paragraph is simply more nonsense, as if Carrillo is anything but another SoCo liberal Democrat, but 1/2 right is better than nothing.

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  29. Steveguy says:

    The police said that he wasn’t drunk.

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  30. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Looks like he’s going to bully it out like everything is okay. It’s not okay. He’s been a ticking timebomb for a long time now and he was aware of it. If he did indeed stop drinking from the last stupid incident it didn’t last long. i guess it takes multiple extreme errors of stupidity to learn his lesson.

    He needs to resign. He’s a bully and is bought and paid for by the giants of business in this county. The poor and middleclass in that district need someone who will represent their interests too.

    Thumb up 47 Thumb down 15

  31. Elephant says:

    Good. The better article made it to WS.

    Carrillo likely has/had a drinking problem. But remember that the police said that at the time of his arrest, he wasn’t drunk. Carrillo’s personal issues go beyond alcohol. This is nothing more than spin, folks.

    Being totally honest, the following quote comes from a British television show. Don’t consider the source as the words are true –

    “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit the views.”

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