Capitol Alert

Calaveras official who made Mexican remark likely to keep job

Calaveras official apologizes for calling Mexicans invasive

Calaveras County Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster gets backing of supervisors after his apology. Two weeks ago at a public meeting he likened Mexicans to an invasive species. The California Latino Legislative Caucus called for his removal.
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Calaveras County Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster gets backing of supervisors after his apology. Two weeks ago at a public meeting he likened Mexicans to an invasive species. The California Latino Legislative Caucus called for his removal.

A Calaveras County planning commissioner who likened Mexicans to an invasive species has apologized and appears likely to keep his job.

After video emerged of Calaveras County Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster suggesting a plan to combat invasive species could encompass “people from Mexico,” the California Latino Legislative Caucus called for Wooster’s ouster.

My remark was a very unfortunate choice of words. It never should have happened.

Calaveras County Planning Commissioner Kelly Wooster

At a subsequent meeting, Wooster acknowledged the remark “is apparently being viewed as offensive and hurtful” and said he had meant to critique vague language that could have applied to plants, animals or humans.

“My remark was a very unfortunate choice of words. It never should have happened, so to those that I have offended and hurt, I do apologize,” Wooster said, though he also noted that “I have had negative experiences with cartel marijuana growers on my ranch, and we were talking about invasive species that are here illegally.”

The county board of supervisors on Thursday drafted a proclamation allowing Wooster to keep his job, calling his comment “inappropriate” but citing “his apology, his spotless prior history as a Planning Commissioner, and his promise to not repeat this mistake.”

“Commissioner Wooster has habitually contributed extraordinary thought and effort to his work on the Calaveras County Planning Commission and has, prior to this one mistake, consistently conducted himself with dignity and civility,” the proclamation states.

They will officially vote on adopting the proclamation next week. It prompted a rebuke from the Latino caucus on Thursday.

Their decision to let Mr. Wooster continue to represent County government is a slap in the face and reflects poorly on the entire county.

California Latino Legislative Caucus

“The Supervisors had an opportunity (to) make a clear statement that racist behavior will not be tolerated by any representative of county government and to restore the integrity of Calaveras County,” Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, the caucus chair, said in a statement. “Instead, they chose to send the wrong message to the 12 percent of county residents who are Latino that they do not matter. Their decision to let Mr. Wooster continue to represent County government is a slap in the face and reflects poorly on the entire county.”

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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