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Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s critics renew call for resignation; supervisor says he’s staying


Critics of embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo forcefully renewed their call for his resignation at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, prompting Carrillo to later say that he is not currently planning to step down.

Carrillo’s critics said his continued service in elected office tarnished the county’s reputation and left his constituents without an effective representative.

Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, listens to Karen Fraser as she asks Carrillo to step down from his position on the board during public comment, Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Embattled Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, listens to Karen Fraser as she asks Carrillo to step down from his position on the board during public comment, Tuesday Sept. 10, 2013 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

“The 5th District deserves but doesn’t have a fully functioning representative now,” said Alice Chan, a Sebastopol-based Democratic Party activist. “His continued presence on this board is an embarrassment to us and to Sonoma County.”

Should he not resign, it is almost certain he would face a recall effort, critics said.

The comments, echoed by about a dozen speakers, many of them either outright Carrillo opponents or newly emerged critics, came in Carrillo’s second Board of Supervisors meeting since his July 13 arrest on suspicion of prowling and burglary.

Carrillo responded in a brief interview late Tuesday evening, saying he had no current plans to give up his county job.

“That’s a decision I’m not prepared to make at this time,” he said. “I’m focusing on the work before me, and my intention is not focused on the distractions but rather the performance of my job while still tending to the early stages of my recovery.”

The response, the first extended, unscripted comments about his plans and his daily work schedule since his return to county business last month, came hours after his most vocal critics made a public display of their push against the 32-year-old supervisor.

Wearing bright yellow stickers that read “Resign, Put the 5th District First,” one speaker after another came to the podium during the board’s afternoon public comment period to urge the second-term west county supervisor to step down.

“It would be impossible, Mr. Carrillo, for you to represent me on any issue, on any day,” said Lee Leibrock, a Forestville resident. “You have lost your constituency.”

Leibrock said later in an interview that he had voted for Carrillo’s opponents in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Others who spoke out Tuesday have previously been aligned with Carrillo’s political rivals.

Carrillo offered no immediate response. Later, in the interview, he echoed his prepared statement at the Board of Supervisors meeting three weeks ago, saying that much of the criticism directed towards him since his arrest was “well-deserved and justified.”

He said had read emails sent by constituents, including those speaking Tuesday, expressing criticism of his actions.

“I do not cast blame on anyone for that criticism,” he said.

He gave a rebuttal, however, to claims by critics that he remains largely inaccessible and out of public sight.

He said he was working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., maintaining regular office hours, meeting with county officials and constituents and “starting to attend community events and functions.”

“I don’t think I’ve received any specific requests that I have not met or responded to affecting the 5th District or the county,” he said.

Carrillo has denied previous interview requests relating to his criminal case. On Tuesday he again said he would not comment on the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

In the early morning of July 13, police detained him outside a Santa Rosa woman’s home in just his socks and underwear. Officers later said the incident, including a freshly torn screen on the woman’s bedroom window, had the marks of an intended attempt at some type of sexual assault.

“I cannot comment on any aspect of that,” he said.

Prosecutors last month asked for a second postponement, until Oct. 11, to determine whether he will face charges.

Since reentering public life two weeks ago, Carrillo has continued to seek medical treatment for what he described as a longtime problem with binge drinking. He said he spent five weeks in an alcohol treatment program immediately after his arrest.

But his most vocal critics said Tuesday’s turnout was meant as a counterpoint to Carrillo’s admission of alcoholism and an attempt to put focus back on the reported details of his arrest and his alleged victim.

“The real victim is not Supervisor Efren Carrillo and the alleged criminal is not the disease of alcoholism,” said Karen Fraser, a Rohnert Park resident who helped organize the protest.

“We feel that the community is buying into Efren Carrillo as a victim of alcoholism and that alcoholism caused the behavior,” Fraser added later in an interview. The “real victim,” she said, is the woman who twice called 911, leading to Carrillo’s arrest.

Liberal Democratic Party activists and organized labor leaders say they are continuing to plan for a recall should Carrillo not resign.

One group, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress, has given him until Sunday to step down.

“We’re preparing to be ready to act if the deadline passes and he has not resigned,” said Chan, the Democratic Party activist from Sebastopol.

Jack Buckhorn, president of the North Bay Labor Council, a coalition that could provide financial and political backing for any recall, said the group would not decide on its next move until at least the end of this month.

“There’s going to be a recall,” Buckhorn said. “It’s just a question of how much coordination and how many partners it will have.”

Asked about those planning to unseat him from office, Carrillo insisted he was not focused on responding to a possible recall effort.

“My focus is on the work before me,” he said. “That’s what my focus has been and will continue to be.”

You can reach Staff Writer Brett Wilkison at 521-5295 or brett.wilkison@pressdemocrat.com.

19 Responses to “Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s critics renew call for resignation; supervisor says he’s staying”

  1. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    dbaker-I agree with you. My dad was a binge drinker. Liked to play pocker or pinochle with the guys. He had a low tolerence for alchohol and got drunk quickly. One night he was driving home and lost control of his van on highway 1. He came to the realization that he had to stop drinking when he was looking over the cliff at the surf below and realized my brother was in the back seat. He stopped drinking and never drank a drop of alchohol after that. No Alcoholics Anonymous.

    So it can be done. You just have to find the power within you and do what’s right for yourself and you family.

    If you need AA, that’s okay too. Whatever works.

  2. dbaker says:

    Shocked Monkey,
    Have you been to a 12 step program personally? The reason I ask is that I have been to a few forced re-education deals through the courts belief that forced participation in a class that one might see as being largely ineffective (11% success rate for the AA NA model)is the path to good citizenry and obedience to authority. What I came to realize for myself is that while they do have one step of twelve that is for making amends for your past mistreatment of others, the guiding philosophy that the whole deal is based around is that addiction is a disease that if it is to be managed it must start by telling yourself that you are powerless to it and weak and must give up your impulsive shortcomings to a mystical savior who will set you right.

    I’m not knocking AA I happen to know one person who has used the AA model and the fellowship that surrounds it to achieve the desired self control that was missing. I know lots of others who go to AA but still give in to destructive impulses that usually end badly. I’m not an alcoholic and I’m not a brain specialist but I feel is is not beneficial to allow any blame whatsoever to be assigned to an inanimate chemical. The issue of sobriety is irrelevant in a court that is founded on blind justice and equity under the law. It is not a crime to be drunk or even high unless your driving yet people are assigned to drug court for any crime that the prosecutor thinks is caused by neglecting to have circle time with a dozen others and one state agent that is happy to record her opinions on how she knows you enough to give good council on complicated issues because you filled out a questionnaire and she’s smarter than you.

    Bottom line is this, people are powerful and their ability to reason and apply logic to the world around them ought not be discarded for mystical illusions that require faith and abstract interpretations of things that are straight forward and in need of a sound evaluation. The rock bottom folks are usually at a spot where just sobering up for a few days can provide visible and encouraging rewards that can reinforce the will to overcome the vise. The lies that trap people in bad habits begin to look ridiculous and the self evident truth that begins to become obvious is that the power to change was inside all the time and it is the only thing we can change in society. The one thing that is in our control is ourselves and regardless of the drama around us we have the power to change if it is something we fully want. The rewards of jobs, relationships, health are all sources of empowerment and evidence of the path to better things. Yet these too are attributed to the ghost instead of to the resolve and forced control of the person. I thought God gave us free will and a conscience but left the leg work up to us to sort out.

  3. dbaker says:

    Let’s be reasonable, please do apply some reason to this circumstance and think through what Mr. Supervisor’s motives might have been. Now I know it is irresponsible to speculate on motives without first hearing the man out,but I bet you $100 he will say nothing and will not be subjected to a felony trial by jury. He will accept whatever is demanded of him to plea the charges down and avoid the trial which would make all aspects of the case public. He is going to decline the chance to self incriminate whether in a trial or not.

    So what was his aim when he was stopped by the police? What would the story look like had the police not been called? I’m sorry but unless he is willing to man up and provide some explanation for this attempted crime, a thinking man is going to be left with the facts and they look like a bad scene was maybe avoided and if I was this woman or her friend I would be purchasing me a better protection plan than 911 because this is truly creepy to the point that I bet she sleeps with the windows locked now. She should consider a civil suit for stress and trouble sleeping now that she’s been the mark for a home invasion?

  4. Will says:


    Efrin Carrillo should not even have the luxury of resigning!!!

    This thug attempted to rape a woman while she was asleep at 3:00am in the morning while he was intoxicated!!!

    How on earth can someone think this MORON has his constituents wellbeing in mind when he doesn’t even have the mentality to have HIS OWN wellbeing in mind?

    Efrin Carrillo needs to be in RE-HAB then taken to COURT to face charges for attempted rape!!!

  5. Elephant says:

    Big Fish – Carrillo is neither liberal nor progressive. If he were, he would care most about the average person. Carrillo is a Democrat In Name Only, or DINO. He is a conservative with big business backing. There are others in that same category on the BoS (hop hop hop, for one). They register Democrat just because Republicans rarely get elected to anything, partisan or not, in Sonoma County.

  6. Eddie AtoZ says:

    @Big fish….I agree, except for him being an asset to the Latino.
    He claimed us only when it was convenient, or when a photo opportunity arose. We already had politicians doing that way before him.
    So, if we are to decide between heart warming pictures and the shame that’s cast over Latinos I’ll say keep them both, I’ll even throw in Carrillo. We want him as much as he wanted to take on the real issues that plague our home.

  7. Grapevines says:

    Actually by not resigning, and getting no input about this from the BOS what they are saying is:

    1) it’s ok to have an alcoholic serving as a member of the BOS.

    2) The fact that he tried to break into a woman’s residence is being overlooked.

    3) it’s behavior that we tolerate out of any County employee.

    Just consider the message this is sending out to all county employee’s and the problems it’s going to create down the road when some street sweeper/clerk/maintenance worker does something similar??

    Absolutely disgusting behavior and there is no defending it.

  8. Big Fish says:

    The Efren situation is clear evidence of the tragic consequences liberalism and the corrupt tactics it uses to reach its lofty status. It would be wonderful and surely a betterment to our society and culture if our leaders, decision makers and power brokers had a sense of morality, credibility and integrity. It doesn’t exist from the president on down. It’s only going lower. Name one who presents programs and votes his/her conscience. Today this person is abnormal.

    If the Dems, other BOS and unions wanted Efren to go he would be gone. However, he is a voting asset for the Latino/union vote and they have no one to replace him with nor want to spend the money to put another shil in office. He is the progressive guaranteed vote. At this point do you think Efren cares about the betterment of all Sonoma County taxpayers? He needs to do a little more whining.

  9. Eddie AtoZ says:

    Individuals who speak against his actions; running down the street half naked, breaking into a womans bedroom at 3:something a.m. are considered a distraction. Carrillos supporters have gone as far as portraying the victim as the “criminal”. Her only “crime” was being in his self destructive path.

    Longtime advisors such as, Mr. Martin Webb would lead you to believe that Efren Carrillo had every right to violate a woman in the safety of her home, and that we as a democratic nation should mind our own business instead of calling elected officials to task.

    Corrupted morals?

    I do not nurture a positive word for those vilifying efforts of the common individual.

    I have never been a part of any union, but am a proud member of any united group who is focused on protecting our unalienable rights, the same ones guaranteed by our founding Fathers.

    Political power brokers detest united individuals. Together through unity we accumulate experiences, resources and other attributes that otherwise would not be in our corner fighting against the Koch brothers of the world.

    Without the union the individual is easy pray. Unity is vital when we are dealing with a well organized political self serving monster.

  10. Henry:

    While I have great respect for you and the expression of your point of view, I must disagree with you on this one.

    I will point out that, not only did several unions endorse Mr. Carrillo for his second supervisorial bid, but if I’m not mistaken, they also contributed money towards his campaign. How is that any different than the unions contributing to his recall? They certainly have a right to a change of opinion, and, considering Mr. Carrillo’s recent nocturnal transgressions, I think that they are completely justified in doing so.

    Also, several family members, friends and complete strangers with whom I have spoken have expressed nothing but shock, dismay, disbelief and general disgust with not only the circumstances surrounding Mr. Carrillo’s latest incident, but his shameful San Diego incident as well, the details of which the general public and his constituents were inexplicably deprived.

    No, Henry, to me and many others with whom I have spoken, this is NOT about politics, but about that which is right, wrong, decent and just. Mr. Carrillo has acted for far too long as if he sits on a throne of impunity — and who can blame him? Look at the way he escaped justice after the San Diego incident. If his “friends” and “handlers” truly had his best interests in mind, and, more importantly, if he were really serious about changing his life, his attitude and his focus, they would have checked him into rehab LONG BEFORE this latest serious and disturbing incident.

    In the end, the decision rests with Efren. Will he do the honorable thing and resign? Or will he put the fifth district through a costly, lengthy, bitter and vicious recall?

    In the end, the choice is up to Efren.

  11. Q213 says:


    Why is everyone in a hurry? I’m sure Ravitch is working diligently to broker a sweet deal between the “special prosecutor” and Carrillo. It is the least she could do since Carrillo has endorsed her since day one.

  12. Shocked Monkey says:

    I think the thing that makes no sense to me is that the basis of every 12 step program is the acceptance for your behavior and the damage it has caused you and others.

    Efrens behavior exhibits no understanding or applications of the process he claims to be engaged in.

    I’m calling BS.

  13. Henry Bernard says:

    It may be surprising for those aware of my lack of sympathy towards Mr. Carrillo, and knowledgeable that I have desired he not serve as my Supervisor to learn that I do not support a recall given the manner in which the effort will be forwarded.

    I find far more troubling than Mr. Carrillo’s immaturity the specter of a union effort to depose the man. It’s already common knowledge that union support is key for any prospective elected official in our county. Opening the Pandora’s box of establishing a precedent for a committee of five to determine the ouster of a political target is dangerous territory in which to be wandering.

    In short, a special interest concern proven to hold the overall well being of the county and its constituency in little regard, a special interest cabal not located in the 5th District and hardly to be defined as constituent to the county in general is to determine the political reality of our beautiful locale?

    I’m disgusted with Mr. Carrillo, his childish world view and the hubris that has resulted in his current and sorry position. I’m more disgusted that a labor organization will attempt to strong arm an elected official out of the way so as to open up his seat for a hand picked operative. Because of this, I will be voting no on any recall aligned with a union effort.

    Mr. Carrillo is a decent man, too young and inexperienced for his position – yes, but intelligent, educated, hard working and involved. Given his current fall from grace, I’m willing to offer him the consideration that a jump start towards a possible and necessary maturation isn’t out of the question. Given this and a large dose of humility, I believe the man would make good, and possibly excellent, Supervisor.

    Mr. Carrillo, if you’re willing to lose the attitude of entitlement, make a firm commitment and promise to cease in allowing alcohol dictate terms, learn to patiently listen to your constituency regardless the inanity of their position (it is the 5th District, after all) and dedicate yourself towards humbly forwarding the best interests of your constituence (all of them), I offer you my support with appreciation and trust. It’s your call.

  14. Elephant says:

    Carrillo and his handlers just don’t see that the longer this drags on, the worse it will be for him and his future. For those who say “wait until he has his day in court”, I say “no way”. Our elected officials have to be held to a higher standard.

    As far as the alcoholism excuse, the police said that he did not appear to be intoxicated at the time of his arrest. That means all this is all about his true character.

    So sad that much of Sonoma County has been without real representation on the BoS for decades. I will be signing on to assist whichever local organization mounts an actual recall petition drive.

  15. James Bennett says:

    Big surprise.

    I almost feel sorry for the guy, have you ever seen anyone age 10 years in 2 months.

    However I feel what all the supervisors are complicit in with our ICLEI membership is far more agregious.

    This should be interesting though, folks will see how much influence we have in our ‘representative’ local government.

    It’s just good to see folks engaged, sorry it had to be on this.

    We have bigger issues than his weird behavior at 3 a.m..

  16. Lets be Reasonable says:

    You all sound like a lynch mob. Let him have his day in court, and if he is found guilty of a felony, then he will lose his board seat. If not, then the public can judge whether or not having a drug/alcohol problem disqualifies him at the next election.

  17. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Like I said in a previous post, he’s going to bully it out. But people are not going to forget. Even if he isn’t recalled he won’t be elected next time and he has no chance of getting elected for the assembly or senate or any other job. He’s done. He should just try to get his old job back at the Redwood Credit Union where he can help big business in Sonoma County.

    He certainly hasn’t been representing all the people in his district. He does represent the big business interests however. Exclusively. He does everything else for show and pretends he’s on families’ side but I think his constituents have caught on.

  18. Larry Watkins says:

    Judging by Carrillo’s photo, he is in bad shape physically and mentally. The Sword of Damocles hangs over him with his pending charges, his behavior and his political future.

    This guy doesn’t have the sense to cash in with his Board gig and get out of the public eye and off the front page.

    Some people never know when the game is over and it is time to cash in. Carrillo is one of those hard heads who will be taught a hard life lesson.

    He isn’t the victim, he created the victim and victims with his behavior. Being a drunk is not an excuse, it is a failure of character.

    Carrillo has to face up to his unacceptable social behavior, resign and face the court.

  19. You really need to resign now or you will be recalled….the choice is yours Efren….tick tock….