Critics of Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo have announced they will host three public meetings next week to offer his constituents and others a chance to air their opinions of the embattled politician and discuss whether they support removing him from office.
The move, backed by several activists who've vowed to launch a recall of Carrillo, represents a new challenge to the west county supervisor on his home turf and comes as resolution of his legal troubles is still up in the air.
Carrillo called the forums "a publicity stunt" and said he would not attend. He cited other commitments and what he called a late notice about the trio of meetings.
The announcement Monday by organizers included a direct appeal for Carrillo to explain the behavior that led to his July 13 arrest outside a Santa Rosa woman's home.
"We're asking him to tell us what happened that morning and answer why he is still competent to continue serving as the 5th District supervisor," said Alice Chan, a Sebastopol-based political activist who has been pushing for Carrillo to be recalled.
The 32-year-old supervisor has repeatedly said he would not share more detailed comments on his arrest while his court case is pending.
"At this point, I've made as much of a comment as I can based on the fact that I'm still walking through the legal aspect of it," Carrillo said.
He was arraigned Nov. 1 on a misdemeanor charge of peeking, a lesser allegation than the potential prowling and felony burglary charges he once faced. A felony conviction would have led to his removal from office, per state law.
Carrillo has yet to enter a plea. The next court hearing is Dec. 13.
The group behind the public gatherings — set for Monday in Santa Rosa, Wednesday in Monte Rio and Thursday in Sebastopol — is calling itself Citizens for Accountability.
It includes representatives from organized labor, environmentalists, victim rights advocates and other unaffiliated 5th District voters, said Chan, a group spokeswoman.
She said not all involved were pledged toward a recall and described the meetings as a kind of listening tour that could determine whether or not to embark on that "long and arduous" campaign.
"You can see this as giving the community a chance to see if it wants to proceed with an actual signature drive," Chan said.
The move appears to be an attempt to keep political heat on Carrillo, said David McCuan, a Sonoma State University political scientist.
"It's a process that's nominally about engaging the community, but it's also about turning up the political outrage against the supervisor," McCuan said. "Many of these folks opposed to him need to keep their momentum going for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to generate resources toward the goal of introducing or producing a recall."
The meetings have been organized by a group that includes: Lisa Maldonado, executive director of the North Bay Labor Council; Michael Allen, a former state assemblyman and ex-president of the labor council; Helen Shane, a Sebastopol environmentalist; Occidental resident Pieter Myers; and Karen Fraser, a Rohnert Park resident who has led protests against Carrillo since his return to public duties in August.
The second-term supervisor has rebuffed calls for his resignation. He described next week's meetings as a one-sided conversation, unbalanced by what he said was an insincere attempt to invite him.