Dolan threatens lawsuit over ‘smelly’ redistricting plan

Still fuming over county Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi’s “drive-by” redistricting plan, Supervisor Jane Dolan fired off a pointed missive to hundreds of Butte County voters this week, threatening to sue over what she said were several open-meetings violations.

Dolan said she’s already retained a lawyer for a possible lawsuit and hopes that her letter will galvanize public support against Yamaguchi’s “railroaded” redistricting plan.

But in the four-page letter, Dolan charges that it wasn’t really Yamaguchi who masterminded the offensive plan—it was political operative David Reade, who recently has started to cast a long shadow over county politics.

First, a little history: It was Reade who served as the late Assemblyman Bernie Richter’s chief of staff (he’s also Richter’s son-in-law), and it was Reade who worked as Yamaguchi’s campaign manager just last year. Reade, who has served as the county Republican Central Committee’s chairman, recently procured a job as a consultant for Norcal Waste Systems—only weeks after Yamaguchi successfully proposed giving the company almost exclusive garbage hauling rights to much of unincorporated Butte County.

Yamaguchi proposed what he called his “consensus plan” at a supervisors’ meeting on July 24, two full weeks after public hearings on redistricting ended. That means that the supervisors were effectively forced to accept it for information without giving the public time to comment on it or change it.

If Yamaguchi and Reade met privately with Curt Josiassen to discuss their own redistricting plan, it could be a violation of the state’s open-meetings laws—and Dolan said she’s “surer than sure” that they’re guilty.

“If I have to be 100 years old and having bake sales and car washes, I will have these guys under oath and in deposition,” Dolan said. “This plan smells.”

The plan would prevent thousands of Chapmantown voters who are currently in Dolan’s District 2 from voting in the next election, since it would put them into Josiassen’s District 4. That would make them ineligible to vote until 2004, when Josiassen’s term is up, although Dolan’s term will next be up for grabs in 2002.

Dolan said that was deplorable.

“The voters have already rejected Reade’s smelly tactics,” Dolan said, referring to Reade’s unsuccessful bid for an Assembly seat against Sam Aanestad. “Now he’s just working through his puppets so no one knows where he really is.”

Yamaguchi and Josiassen could not be reached for comment. Reade laughed when he heard that Dolan had retained a lawyer. However, he admitted that he’d been discussing redistricting with both Josiassen and Yamaguchi separately for months.

“It appears that I am being accused of being a friend of Kim Yamaguchi and that Kim Yamaguchi is being a friend of mine,” Reade said. “If that’s a crime, then I plead guilty. We are friends and discuss many public-policy issues.”

Dolan said that’s exactly the problem and noted that Reade isn’t an elected official and shouldn’t act like one. She also said that county Planner Craig Sanders admitted that he put the map together with help from Reade.