Sheriff Mark Essick must resign.

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Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick must resign for the following reasons:

Sheriff Mark Essick has abdicated his duty as an agent of our collective political will. He has refused to enforce the public health order of Dr. Sundari Mase, Interim Public Health Officer of Sonoma County. This puts all of us at risk, but it has special consequences for our Latinx and other more vulnerable neighbors. 

Sheriff Essick has exhibited poor leadership in making this decision. It is unclear, even, what his decision actually his. He communicated his decision without consulting other Sonoma County leaders. He then changed his mind. He then changed his mind again. His chosen form of communication appears to be the Facebook rant, a forum unsuitable for communicating these decisions.

Sheriff Essick has been slow to publicly condemn the officers who murdered Minneapolis resident George Floyd. His Facebook message on these matters was sent nearly a week after Mr. Floyd was murdered. 

Sheriff Essick's message about Mr. Floyd's murder is woefully inadequate to the horror of the event. He declares that he is "sickened by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis." Any death is troubling to most, but what is sickening in this case is that Mr. Floyed died at the hands of a police force that callously killed a man without provocation. It is unclear in his message whether or not he thinks the police committed any act of wrongdoing, much less a heinous murder. 

Sheriff Essick's message about Mr. Floyd does not acknowledge the significance of this event to Sonoma County residents. Sonoma County residents - like many other communities across the nation - have taken to the streets to protest the murder of Mr. Floyd as well as larger issues surrounding police violence targeting communities of color. These protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Sheriff Essick makes no mention of the sadness and anger that Sonoma County residents feel about this issue. This is especially troubling given this department's historical complicity in acts of violence toward people of color. This should have been a moment of introspection and acknowledgement. 

In sum, Sheriff Essick is, at the very least, a poor and indecisive leader as well as someone who lacks the communication skills necessary for his position. It must also be noted that his poor decisions have consistently had the worst consequences for communities of color. It does not matter if Sheriff Essick himself is a racist; it suffices to note that his policies and choices have a pattern of putting communities of color at ever greater risk. Sonoma County cannot wait until the next election cycle to choose a leader capable of carrying out her/his job. Other strategies like recalling Sheriff - a strategy that would require physically collecting signatures - would put too many individuals at medical risk. 

For all of these reasons, Sheriff Essick must resign. By signing this petition, you acknowledge that Sheriff Essick should resign immediately.