You’re outta here!

Lawyer thinks he’s in court, tries to recuse county supervisor

A discussion of the Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Foundation, the popular zoo in Durham, turned surreal Tuesday (Nov. 4), when an attorney for the group tried to give the boot to a Butte County supervisor.

The Board of Supervisors had held a lengthy public hearing Oct. 7 on whether the zoo—which the county had been trying to relocate for years, calling it out-of-place—had violated its use permits. Tuesday’s discussion, on how much additional time to allow it to move, was not open to the public. But foundation attorney Don Stanton, who had missed the earlier hearing, insisted on speaking.

Chairman Curt Josiassen offered him five minutes. Stanton then started listing violations of procedure on the part of the board, as if in court. None of it made sense to the supervisors, and at one point Supervisor Bill Connelly quipped, “I just hope you’re not paid [for this].”

“Supervisor Connelly, I’m going to challenge you on the basis of bias,” Stanton snapped back. “I’m asking you to leave the chambers and not speak to the other board members.” Connelly sat there, stunned.

In the end, Stanton’s demand didn’t help his cause. Connelly, who had seemed prepared to support Supervisor Maureen Kirk’s desire to give the foundation three years to move, ended up agreeing with the rest of the board, minus Kirk, to give it only two years.