'We know that there are public elected officials here today and that you'd better listen. You better start coming over to our side of town over there, and listen to what we have to say. Because now I've got what you've always had: it's called money. And listen carefully, each of you. Until you come out and talk to us and listen to us and answer to what happened, I will take my money and run a spotted Chihuahua against you and let it win. And I mean it.'—Greg Sarris, Nov. 3
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Citizens! I'm a spotted Chihuahua, and I want your vote. The above quote is from my campaign manager Greg Sarris. You may know him as the chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which opened a casino in Rohnert Park a few days after Sarris' speech announcing my candidacy. (Well, it was supposed to be a speech honoring Andy Lopez at a meeting of the North Bay Organizing Project in conjunction with a tribal donation of $8,000 to his family, but we felt the time was right for a political announcement.)
My team and I haven't yet decided what I'm running for, exactly, but I'm leaning toward county supervisor. Good pay, high reelection rates for incumbents, ability to get into trouble without severe repercussion—it seems like a perfect fit for an ill-tempered, scrappy, undersized perrito like myself. And I hear there might be a good chance at defeating an incumbent pretty soon.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Spotted Chihuahua, you're adorable and everything, but where do you stand on the issues we care about? What about water conservation, commercial development and paving our roadways? I can assure you, I will pretend to care about every little thing your heart desires, just so long as I get my treats. Give me a peanut butter crunchie, and I will sing and dance for you all day.
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"Efren Carrillo got arrested last night. He was drunk and in his socks and underwear."
It was the kind of text that makes you drop the phone and go "Daaaang!" And, like most people do when a public official is caught with their pants down (or missing entirely), I shot back with a joke. "Hey, it's like the KONY 2012 guy, without the masturbation!"
But here are the facts as we know them: Around 3am on July 13, a woman placed two 911 calls after a man rustled the blinds at her bedroom window, and soon after, Carrillo knocked on her front door and ran away. The 32-year-old Sonoma County supervisor was found in only his socks and underwear, and the screen to the woman's window was discovered to have been torn. Police believed Carrillo intended to commit sexual assault, and arrested him on suspicion of burglary, prowling and possible sexual assault in West Santa Rosa.
The day after the arrest, I tossed around a few Champagne-fueled speculations with a friend. I was convinced Carrillo had suffered some sort of mental breakdown, and initially, I empathized with the guy. I spent my '20s and early '30s sucking down whiskey drinks, a tendency that led me into "adventures" that might never have passed ethical muster in the light of day. Of course, I wasn't on the board of supervisors.
My friend, on the other hand, thought this was your run-of-the-mill booty call gone awry. But as facts were revealed, it turned out that this was far from the truth. The young woman barely knew Carrillo, aside from the superficial interaction you might have with a neighbor who lives across the fence, or in this case, across the driveway. Far from a case of buyer's remorse, this was something way more serious. For most women, an unknown man entering a bedroom window in the early morning hours is the stuff of nightmares.
As Carrillo's charges were reduced to peeking, the calls for his ouster were repeated, but much of the press focused on whether the whole incident would have long-term repercussions for Carrillo's rising political star. A more crucial question might be: How can the women of Sonoma County feel safe in a community that allows elected leaders to violate the safety of one of his own constituents, whatever Carrillo thought the potential outcome might be of his two-beer-in-hand, nearly naked, pre-dawn visit? As Rosanne Darling, the victim's lawyer told the Bohemian in December, "Nobody's talking about what this means for the women of this county. What are we willing to accept in 2013, in a place as progressive as Sonoma County?"
That's the question we should be asking ourselves in 2014.
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Hey, remember BottleRock? The most promising music festival to ever hit the North Bay, with the most insanely top-notch lineup of bands? Of course you do, because if you weren't at the festival itself, you were either stuck listening to your co-workers talk about it all the time, or just plain stuck in its traffic.
Or hey! Maybe you're one of the many people to whom BottleRock owes money. That's because after five festival days with nearly everything running smoothly, the star-struck promoters paid the bands—and forgot to pay full invoices to the stagehands, the backstage caterer, the portable toilet company, the trash lady, the shuttle bus company, the city of Napa . . . And the list goes on. Even the father of one of the promoters filed suit against his own son to be paid. Ouch.
As of late November, a trio of new investors was interested in taking over the festival and paying off its estimated $8.5 million in debt. But between the lawsuits, the bad press, the infighting and the obscene levels of financial mismanagement, who would want to take the chance?
Meanwhile, three-day passes for BottleRock 2014 remain for sale on the festival's website. Our tip: save your $329 until a real lineup is announced.—Gabe Meline