EL CENTRO — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors approved a letter with all five supervisors’ signatures to the California Democratic Party (CDP) Rules Committee Tuesday, September 15, regarding allegations made about County CEO Tony Rouhotas Jr., and Registrar of Voters Debbie Porter.
The letter states the Board of Supervisors is concerned the Imperial County Democratic Central Committee (ICDCC) is being influenced and directed by outside parties. The letter requests the CDP to conduct a review of the ICDCC’s membership and conduct in order to prevent any further damage to the reputation of ICDCC.
“I am writing to share our substantial concerns regarding the activities and conduct of the ICDCC and inquire to what, if anything, the California Democratic Party intends to do to mitigate the impacts these false and injurious accusations have had on Imperial County during these difficult times,” the letter read.
The Imperial County Democratic Central Committee held a special meeting August 27, where they adopted a resolution of No Confidence in the County’s CEO and ROV, based on influence from Cristopher Stampolis — former Santa Clara Unified School District board trustee who was banned from representing the school during community events, and was arrested for two felony counts in January of this year, according to the Santa Clara News Online.
Stampolis emailed Rouhotas regarding the costs to receive copies of election documents, stating the Imperial County Registrar of Voters was charging higher rates than other California counties.
The ICDCC resolution accused Rouhotas and Porter of racism and demanded their immediate resignations and independent investigations by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
The County issued a press release in response to the resolution, requesting the ICDCC take action to rescind the resolution.
ICDCC Chair Annette Gonzalez-Buttner — Stampolis’s significant other — spoke at the meeting. She said the ICDCC voted, 6-4, to rescind the resolution. The ICDCC also voted, 5-4 with one abstaining, to issue an apology. Although Buttner said the vote could be seen on the ICDCC website, it could not be found by The Desert Review.
Imperial Valley Social Justice Committee Chair Marlene Thomas emailed Gonzalez-Buttner September 1, requesting Gonzalez-Buttner and Chris Stampolis to resign from their roles with the ICDCC.
The letter also noted that Stampolis — who claims he is not a member of the ICDCC — does not reside in Imperial County, nor is he registered to vote in the County. ICDCC bylaws state regular and alternate members of the ICDCC must reside within a supervisorial district of the County and be registered to vote in the County.
However, Stampolis has been appointed by Gonzalez-Buttner as the parliamentarian for several ICDCC meetings. ICDCC bylaws do not list that position.
The supervisors’ letter claimed ICDCC First Vice Chair Hilton Smith — a supposed subject of disparate treatment by Rouhotas and Porter — stated he did not believe the perceived irregularities in the elections process were based on race.
“I made two mistakes,” said Smith. “One was voting for that resolution. The other was putting too much faith in the ICDCC.”
Smith claimed he was pressured into voting in favor of the resolution by Gonzalez-Buttner and Stampolis.
The letter said, “Despite Mr. Stampolis appearing to have no officially recognized role within the ICDCC, he seems to have been involved in the adoption of the resolution, and the communications stemming therefrom.”