Lake County's assistant chief probation officer declared his candidacy for sheriff Sunday, banking that a recall effort against the county's controversial top lawman, Frank Rivero, will get off the ground.

Brian Martin, a 1989 Clear Lake High School graduate who in 2011 resigned as a lieutenant from the Sheriff's Office, joins retired Clearlake Police Chief Bob Chalk in launching early campaigns to replace Rivero.

"We've currently got a huge mess and an embarrassment to law enforcement and Lake County occupying the office of sheriff," said Martin, who gave a kickoff speech Sunday in front of the Sheriff's Office.

Martin's candidacy -- his first -- is officially for the 2014 election, but he said, "I anticipate that a recall election is likely to occur this year."

Last July, 19 months into Rivero's term as sheriff, Chalk was the first to announce he would run for sheriff in 2014.

"I recognized early on that the sheriff's department needed drastic change in the leadership," said Chalk, 59.

Chalk retired in late 2006 after 14 years as police chief. A native of Kelseyville, Chalk started his law enforcement career with the Lake County Sheriff's Office in 1975. He joined Clearlake police in 1981.

"I believe it's in the best interest of all of Lake County if the recall were to succeed," said Chalk, reached at home Sunday. "Irregardless if a person would vote for me, it's imperative that they do vote for the recall."

A group of Lake County residents last week initiated the campaign to boot Rivero from office, a day after he was subjected to a unanimous no-confidence vote at the hands of county supervisors.

Rivero is under fire for his management style and decisions, but especially because the district attorney has reported that he lied about his role in a 2008 shooting incident, which could compromise his testimony in future cases.

Rivero has said he is being targeted because he opposes an entrenched "old-boys network" and is fighting corruption.

On Sunday, Rivero said that Martin represents going back to the "old guard" leadership style of longtime Sheriff Rod Mitchell. Rivero was elected in 2010 to replace him.

"I'm unimpressed," Rivero said of Martin's announcement. "I'll give him a run for his money."

You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or