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Recall effort for Lake County sheriff misses Nov. 5 ballot

  • Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero (McClatchy News Service, 2012)

The deadline for placing a recall measure on the Nov. 5 ballot against embattled Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero came and went Tuesday.

But his critics still expect to get enough signatures by Aug. 15, the signature gathering deadline, to hold a special election for the recall effort.

“They're still coming in,” Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown said of the signatures.

Rivero said that's just more bravado from a group that weeks ago said it nearly had sufficient signatures — 7,026 valid ones are needed — to take the recall to voters.

“They've been pushing that number around for awhile,” he said. “Good luck on that one.”

A second recall effort led by Rivero supporters against Brown has yet to make it to the signature gathering stage, according to the Lake County Registrar of Voters office.

Brown said nearly 8,000 recall signatures have been gathered, but his group wants to ensure they have plenty to make up for the inevitability that some will be discarded by the the registrar's office as invalid.

If sufficient signatures are gathered by Aug. 15, an election would be held in about three to five months, depending on how long it takes to validate the signatures. The registrar has 30 business days to complete that task.

While the recall group had hoped to avoid a special election, it will be worth the cost to get rid of Rivero, Brown said. Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley estimates the cost at over $90,000.

“We have to get rid of this guy,” Brown said.

Rivero has been embroiled in numerous battles with other county officials and employees that predate his taking office in 2011. It began with allegations of racism and cronyism in his own department when he was a deputy.

Brown says Rivero has cost the county nearly $750,000, including $250,000 paid to Sheriff's Office employees who challenged their terminations.

Rivero also has been sued by a local newspaper for allegedly withholding information, and the Lakeport Police Department for cutting off access to computerized police information. He's also fought with the Clearlake Police Department and District Attorney Don Anderson, a former ally who has become one of his worst enemies.

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