I helped to create Efren Carrillo Jr.
All I mean by that is that stories I and my PD colleagues wrote about Carrillo when he was in his 20s and sharply ascendent contributed to his public persona as someone clearly extraordinary and going places.
Here are quotes and observations from early stories that former reporters Rayne Wolfe and Chris Coursey and I wrote about the son of once-undocumented immigrants who distinguished himself rapidly at Santa Rosa High School, in martial arts, at Cal and then in Sonoma County business/political circles:
"He's ... one of the community's brightest young stars."
"He just blew me away in terms of his maturity, his delivery."
"Smart, smooth, he handles himself just beautifully."
As a student struck by all that his parents did for him and his siblings, Carrillo resolved, "I'm not going to disappoint them."
Every word we wrote about the young man who spent most of his first 5 years in Mexico and at just 27 was elected to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors was true. Since then, circumstances have confirmed that far lesser assessments of aspects of his character also are true.
THE DUST HAS SETTLED from the criminal-court trial that found Carrillo not guilty of peeping into a female neighbor's apartment, but left no doubt that what he did shortly before 4 a.m. last July 13 was despicable and darkly revealing.
Now self-damaged goods, Carrillo is legally entitled to remain in office for the remaining two-plus years of his second term.
But things get done in government, as in business and all arenas of human endeavor, mostly through relationships and trust. And some of the colleagues and constituents necessary to Carrillo's success as a leader now regard him as a pariah.
Thirty-three days ago, every one of his four fellow supervisors urged him to resign. Five days ago, members of the Santa Rosa City Council called unanimously for him to be removed from the board of directors of Sonoma Clean Power.
HERE'S THE THING: The running of the county of Sonoma and of Sonoma Clean Power is high-stakes, precarious business, just like that of a pro sports team.
The margins between success and failure, constructive innovation and stifling status quo, are thin. Everybody involved, especially those at the top, needs to be on top of their game and, to absolutely the highest degree possible, working together.
And Carrillo has caused himself to be to some degree ostracized. We can each arrive at our own estimation of how severely his ability to engage creatively, to join with others to make things happen, has been eroded.
Is his potential as an agent of change now 90 percent of what it was prior to the morning of July 13? Fifty percent? Ten percent?
EVERYBODY'S TELLING him what to do.
I would hope that Carrillo, someone I've admired and appreciated, would look hard at what he was elected to do — to lead, to shine, to advocate for his constituents in exemplary and collaborative fashion — and consider whether that's now remotely possible.
At this moment, the young man who seemed quite possibly destined for national political prominence now is the lamest of ducks. It's unimaginable to me that he would be elected to a third term in 2016.