Pubdate: Thu, 15 Oct 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Eric Vodden


Yuba County District Attorney Pat McGrath is being asked by 
supporters of a drive to recall county Supervisor Andy Vasquez to 
look into what they maintain was a threat that violated election law.

The request came after county election officials determined this week 
there were not enough qualified signatures on Vasquez recall 
petitions to force a special election. While petitions had 1,456 
signatures, well more than the required 1,069, only 806 were 
determined to be valid.

Separate letters submitted to McGrath by recall supporter Steve Katen 
and attorney Charnel James, representing supporters, asked for an 
investigation. Both refer to a letter sent to voters stating that if 
they sign recall petitions they would be "identified as a marijuana supporter."

McGrath confirmed Wednesday that he received the requests, but said 
it's unlikely he will be able to review them in detail before later 
this month. He said he will be out of the office next week.

"I will go over it and review it just like everything I receive," he 
said. "I will give it a preliminary assessment and decide if there is 
any basis for further investigation."

Katen's letter states the letter sent to voters under the name of 
Gary Simpson constituted a threat and is thus a violation of state 
election law.

James's letter asks McGrath to "take these allegations with the grave 
seriousness that I feel are warranted."

"It is apparent that between the mailing to all his district members, 
and the posts on his Facebook pages, that he fully intended to 
intimidate people away from signing a recall petition against him ...."

Vasquez said Wednesday the letter was written entirely by Simpson, 
cousin of a Marysville homicide victim. Simpson also spoke before 
county supervisors last spring in support of a tighter cannabis 
cultivation ordinance later approved by the board.

"Marijuana growers have threatened Andy's life, screamed in his face 
and harassed his elderly mother," Simpson's letter states "But he 
still stood strong and voted for the ban."

Vasquez said it was "an honor" for Simpson to support him in the letter.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom