The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors nearly unanimously called for fellow Supervisor Efren Carrillo’s resignation at today’s public meeting, followed by over 40 comments from the public, about 75 percent of which called for the supervisor’s resignation, while Carrillo sat silent in the meeting room.
Board chair David Rabbit was the only member who stopped just short of directly calling for Carrillo’s resignation. “We can ask you to resign, but it is ultimately up to you,” he said. “You were very honest on the [witness] stand, you said some things that made me scratch my head and made me shiver.”
Supervisor Shirlee Zane had already called for Carrillo’s resignation, and Supervisors Susan Gorin and Mike McGuire echoed those sentiments this morning. Then came the public’s opinion.
Richard Sorensen Romero, a former Healdsburg city planner, told Carrillo, “The Chicano community, you embarrass us.”
Former Santa Rosa City Councilwoman Marsha Vas Dupre said, “I’m afraid of you,” adding “I don’t accept your apologies at all.”
Evelyn Cheatham, director of the nonprofit Worth Our Weight, said, “Efren, I love you. I do. But I am so disappointed… I had hoped you would do the honorable thing in the beginning and resign.” She says he has worked with teens in the program and questioned, “Can I expose the kids to you?”
Some voiced support for Carrillo. Marco Suarez said, “I’m not saying that he’s the victim, but I know that he’s been able to come forward and confront what he did and be honest.” He took issue with the term “sexual assault” in conjunction with Carrillo. “He was never convicted of being a rapist,” he said. “I know that he will do right by the county of Sonoma.”
Some who voiced support were recovering alcoholics. After the incident, Carrillo admitted he has a problem with alcohol and checked himself into rehab for 30 days before returning to his duties on the board.
State Senator Noreen Evans has called for Carrillo’s resignation, and State Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro joined the chorus at the meeting. “He supports the supervisors today that have called for Supervisor Carrillo’s resignation,” a spokeswoman told the board.
Chris Castillo, executive director of the Verity Rape Crisis and Trauma Center, spoke on a personal level to Carrillo. “Remember,” she said, “she will hold this in her heart. She will remember this always, and she will never feel safe.”