LAKEPORT, Calif. – On Thursday the group that for the last four months has collected signatures to qualify a recall of Sheriff Frank Rivero for the ballot submitted its petitions to the county's elections office.
The Committee to Recall Rivero and Restore Integrity submitted the signatures to Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley at about noon on Thursday. The deadline was 5 p.m.
Fridley said she waited for the recall proponents to go over the signatures one last time before they were officially accepted.
“Once we accept them, it's done,” said Fridley, explaining that the recall rules require that all signatures must be submitted at once.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m. Fridley reported that her office had accepted the signatures after counting them to make sure they had at least the required number of 7,026.
The raw signature count came out to approximately 7,762, Fridley said.
For perspective, Rivero received more than 11,100 votes in the November 2010 election in which he beat four-term incumbent Rod Mitchell, based on election records.
The effort to recall Rivero – now two and a half years into his first term – began in earnest this past March, following a unanimous no confidence vote by the Board of Supervisors.
At the same time the board sent Rivero a letter formally requesting his resignation. He refused.
The board's no confidence vote came in the wake of a determination by the District Attorney's Office that Rivero had lied about his part in a nonfatal 2008 shooting during which Rivero, then a deputy, shot at an unarmed man.
That “Brady” determination – named for a 1963 US Supreme Court case requiring prosecutors to disclose to criminal defendants exculpatory information, including credibility issues relating to officers involved in their cases – was listed among the grounds for beginning the recall action against Rivero.
Other grounds the group listed included conducting himself in an unethical manner, failing to form a citizens’ oversight committee as he had promised to do during the campaign, and alienating “every law enforcement agency in the County as well as the entire Board of Supervisors with your lack of accountability and your failed leadership.”
The group began circulating petitions in April. They had 120 days to gather at least 7,026 valid signatures from Lake County voters.
Fridley and her staff will now have 30 business days – excluding holidays – to validate the signatures the proponents submitted to her office.
If the recall qualifies for the ballot, there would not be enough time to add it to the November ballot. As a result, a special election would have to be called, based on election rules.
Fridley said Thursday that if the recall qualifies, she would submit a certificate of sufficiency to the Board of Supervisors, which would then call for an election to occur within 88 and 125 days.
The last county official to be recalled was Board of Supervisors Chair Robert M. Jones of Clearlake Highlands in November 1978, according to election records.
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