Frank Rivero recall, Lake County, California (2013)

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An effort to recall Frank Rivero from his position as Sheriff of Lake County, California, was launched in 2013. Recall supporters have submitted signatures to election officials to force a vote on the proposed recall and are awaiting verification of the signatures.[1][2] The recall did not go to a vote because supporters of the recall did not collect enough valid signatures.[3]


Frank Rivero was elected in 2010 as Lake County Sheriff, and began serving his first term, scheduled to run from January 2011 to January 2015. During his campaign, he vowed to fight corruption he claimed was widespread in the county. After taking office, he had issues with multiple groups, including the Lake County Board of Supervisors, Clearlake Police Department, Lake County District Attorney and a local newspaper.[2][4]

Reasons for recall

Recall supporters argued that Rivero was dishonest, had dishonored the department, and used unethical behavior. One supporter stated, "Each day that we wait costs the good citizens and taxpayers of Lake County thousands of dollars in lawsuits, litigation and damage caused by the reckless acts of this sheriff."[5]

The recall petition to recall Rivero stated:[6]

The grounds for the recall are as follows:

That you have conducted yourself in an unethical manner;
That the District Attorney has determined you lied about your involvement in a shooting as a Sheriff's Deputy;
That you attempted to withhold information about your false statements in violation of public disclosure laws;
That you have dishonored the Office of Sheriff because of your placement on the "Brady List," signifying that you are dishonest in the performance of your duties--the first Sheriff in California history to be publicly classified as unethical;
That your placement on the Brady List nullifies your ability to lead the Sheriff's Department and puts the taxpayers of Lake County at serious financial liability from costly lawsuits;
That you failed to form a citizens' oversight committee or meet with the public as promised;
That you have alienated every law enforcement agency in the County as well as the entire Board of Supervisors with your lack of accountability and your failed leadership;[7]

Note: A "Brady List" is a list of law enforcement officials who have been deemed to be not credible.[8]

Rivero's response

The recall petition also provided Frank Rivero's response. It stated:[6]

Based solely on inaccuracies and mistruths, this recall petition unjustly nullifies the will of the people and your vote to end corruption. It is as reckless and faulty as the District Attorney's deceptive "Brady" process.

In 2008 a thorough Internal Affairs Investigation of my officer involved shooting determined my actions "appropriate", "justified", and within department policy.
The DA's "reinvestigation" is politically motivated, violates due process, and has serious negative implications for law enforcement. A lawsuit underway will ultimately expose these false allegations and the political corruption upon which they are based.
Under my leadership, the Sheriff's Office has assembled a professional and superior staff equal to any in the U.S. My administration performs at the highest level of ethics and accountability. Deputies are preventing and solving crime at a record rate.
In my first year I returned over $1 million to the County's General Fund. I reinstated the drug task force, making significant progress reducing drugs and street crimes. My school patrol program is working and the jail has been improved from neglect and disrepair to a functional detention facility. Complaints are rare and thoroughly investigated.
I am always in direct daily contact with citizens.[7]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing recall in California

Members of Committee to Restore Integrity began the recall effort against Rivero on March 19, 2013, the same day that the Lake County Board of Supervisors issued a vote of no confidence against the sheriff and sought his resignation. Recall supporters submitted their request to election officials on April 3, and the petition language was approved on April 17.[4][9]

Recall supporters had until August 15, 2013, to collect 7,026 valid signatures to force a recall election. While the group stated it was aiming for 9,000 signatures to account for any potential issues, it was only able to turn in 7,762 by the deadline. Election officials have 30 days to verify signatures. Supporters did not collect enough valid signatures. Had the recall effort gone to a vote, a special election was estimated to cost $93,000.[5][2][1]

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