In sharp and revealing comments, four Sonoma County supervisors took an unprecedented action on Tuesday and called for their colleague, Efren Carrillo, to resign in the wake of his trial on charges of peeking into the apartment of a female neighbor 10 months ago.
A standing room-only crowd packed the Board of Supervisors chambers for an emotionally charged hearing focused on whether the 33-year-old Carrillo is fit to continue representing the residents of his west county district, despite his acquittal in court last week.
His fellow board members said it was clear to them that he should step down, though Carrillo reiterated Tuesday that he has no plans to quit.
"You lurked, you trespassed, you tore (a window screen) and you terrorized a young woman," said Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who publicly called for Carrillo's resignation a week ago. She made a forceful argument on Tuesday, saying Carrillo had undermined public trust and compromised his ability to hold elected office.
"You can't lead if people don't believe you have character and integrity," she said.
Supervisor Mike McGuire, citing the harm he said Carrillo's prolonged legal case had done to the county, said there was a need to "close this damaging chapter in our history."
"I believe the divide will deepen, and the difficulties will continue if resolution is not found," McGuire said. "Which is why I regrettably have no other choice but to ask for Supervisor Carrillo's resignation."
At the close of the three-hour hearing, Chairman David Rabbitt said the board — which lacks the power to remove Carrillo from office — would support a formal censure, a step it is set to take at its May 13 meeting. It may also consider a largely symbolic resolution calling for Carrillo's resignation.
Carrillo showed no emotion during the public hearing, which featured a increased number of sheriff's deputies on hand to monitor the packed proceedings.
Tuesday was the first Board of Supervisors meeting since Carrillo's acquittal by a Sonoma County jury on April 26 and the board's first public comments on his behavior since July 30, when Carrillo was in self-imposed treatment for alcoholism.
Carrillo, who was elected to a second term in 2012 and was once considered a rising star in local Democratic politics, led off the hearing by stating his determination to remain in an office that pays almost $136,000 a year.
"Those who demand that I give (up) the office, to which voters of the 5th District elected me, will be disappointed," he said. "I have no intentions to resign."
The comments prompted a mixture of applause, cheers and boos from the crowd.
Carrillo called his pre-dawn behavior that led to his July 13 arrest "a foolish and unfortunate act." He said he had testified "honestly, forthrightfully and truthfully" at trial before he was acquitted by a jury of 10 women and two men.
He contrasted that legal process, including jury members with "no political agenda," with the "political world" that he suggested was partly responsible for Tuesday's hearing.