Tax Collector Cherie Raffety Loses Effort to Invalidate her Challenger’s Campaign
When Supervisor Ron Briggs filed to challenge Cheria Raffety’s position as Tax Collector, he claimed to have extensive financial knowledge qualifying him for the financial position. But by this Monday the incumbent attempted to get him disqualified by saying he was just not financially savvy enough for the job.
On Monday, March 24 El Dorado County Treasurer-Tax Collector Cherie Raffety filed a petition for a writ of mandate with the Superior Court seeking a legal determination that the opposing candidate was not qualified to serve as Treasurer-Tax Collector. While El Dorado County District 4 Supervisor Ron Briggs is that candidate..
In a twist and a challenge to friendships, the only way to challenge a ballot statement or candidate is to have the Elections chief make the decision and take the action. So for Cherie Raffety to challenge Schultz's prior acceptance of Briggs’ qualifications was to sue her friend Bill Shultz. This peculiar rule makes the candidate/measure being challenged the third-party following both the plaintiff and the defendant. The actual candidate being challenged is simply an interested party to the action.
Raffety claimed Schultz abused his discretion in his appraisal of Briggs’ qualifications and experience to serve the county in a “senior financial management position.” Court documents read, “In determining whether elections official has abused its discretion, the court may not substitute its judgement for that of the elections official, and if reasonable minds may disagree as to the wisdom of the elections official’s action, his determination must be upheld.”
When Briggs filed Schultz accepted his description of his role as a county supervisor who “developed superior, intimate knowledge in developing budgets, identified funding sources, service impacts and established investment standards and practices…”
After the decision the mountain Democrat reported that Mrs. Rafferty said, “Just because you’re on the Board of Directors of the hospital doesn’t mean you’re qualified to be the head of surgery,” indicating that Brigg’s financial experience on the BOS was not the same as the work she does in the tax collecting & Treasurer job.
But the court saw it otherwise. The documents cited section 13.5 of the Elections Code concluding that “the elections official made that determination based upon competent evidence.”
Judge Smith wrote, “The court finds that the County Clerk did not abuse his discretion when he determined that Ron Briggs meets the criteria to run for the office of Treasurer/Tax Collector — Petition is denied without prejudice.”
In response to the action Ron Briggs wrote,
"Cheri Raffety, the 27 year incumbent gave her royal finger to the voters of El Dorado County in her arrogant attempt to remove my name from the June ballot. She doesn't trust the voters. On her way to avoid the voters, Cheri Raffety impugned and insulted one of El Dorado County's most treasured and trusted elected official in Bill Schultz. Judge Smith rightfully denied Raffetys power grab thus allowing the voters of El Dorado County to cast our ballots. Whatever anyone thinks about a candidate, being denied our constitutional right to vote is un-American and fascist.”