Spellman gets served

District 5 Supervisor Darren Spellman shortly after being served by Valley Springs resident Clark Gehrke

A recall effort was launched against Calaveras County Supervisor Darren Spellman Tuesday. The petition marks the second time opponents have tried to oust Spellman from the board – a December recall petition fell 366 signatures short of the 1,702 signatures necessary to trigger a new election.

“This recall effort is focused entirely on Spellman’s unacceptable behavior and actions,” said a statement released by recall organizers. The papers cited “His disregard for policies, procedures and the law; his personal attacks on citizens, fellow supervisors and other elected officials; his threats to use his position against citizens and their businesses; and his poor attendance at board meetings.”

“I have no idea what they are talking about; it sounds like complete manufactured dribble,” Spellman said in response to the accusations. “Where are the specific incidents when I have ever done any of that stuff? I didn’t threaten to get a teacher fired. That went to court and I was not found culpable of any wrongdoing.”

In a March, 2011 hearing, Calaveras County Superior Court Assigned Judge Thomas Smith denied Tamara Farmer’s request for a court order prohibiting Spellman from harassing her. Smith admonished Spellman nonetheless, saying Spellman was overzealous and should refrain from using his elected position for personal advantage. Smith made no ruling on the allegation, supported by the teacher’s supervisor, that Spellman threatened to get her fired.

Spellman has been at the center of controversy since unseating previous District 5 Supervisor Russ Thomas. After showing up to his first board meeting in hip waders to suggest he would be trudging through muck, Spellman has accused board members of corruption and announced his intent to run for Congress. More recently, Spellman has come under criticism for missing board meetings on Jan. 10 and Feb. 14.

“There are a bunch of people who are really embarrassed to have Darren Spellman as their supervisor,” said Tillman Sherman, organizer of the petition drive. “He spouts that he is taking care of constituents but we have seen no evidence of that.”

Sherman, a San Andreas resident, expects the newest recall effort to succeed because, unlike the previous attempt, his team is “more adequately organized.” Sherman said recall proponents will be collecting signatures beginning March 9. In order to sign, a person must be a registered voter and live in the “old” District 5 that consisted of Valley Springs and Copperopolis. The 1,702 signatures required represent 25 percent of voters registered in District 5 at the time of the November 2010 elections.

“I’m just disgusted, you know,” Spellman said. “If they (recall proponents) even took a second to listen to me and learn how I want to help the county maybe we could see eye to eye. … I think they have an objective and it is to put people they are friends with in places of power. It doesn’t matter if I am a peaceful person and want to do good.”

The “friends” Spellman is referring to are former Supervisor Russ Thomas, whom he defeated in 2010, and Valley Springs’ resident Marti Crane, who intends to run for Spellman’s seat in the event of a recall election. Both Crane and Thomas were members of the failed recall election effort in December.

Contact Alex George at ageorge@calaverasenterprise.com

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