By SCOTT PESZNECKER
A former Calaveras County supervisor who is suing the county has joined the race to become District 2's next supervisor.
Mokelumne Hill resident Michael Dell'Orto who represents District 2 on the Calaveras County Planning Commission filed papers yesterday to enter the March election.
Dell'Orto said he's thought about running since Supervisor Paul Stein announced in October that he won't seek re-election.
He said he made up his mind last weekend.
"I was kind of hopeful that Paul would stay in there," said Dell'Orto, 58. "When it was obvious that he wasn't, I was hopeful to find someone I could support. There are some good people there, but I don't know them well enough to know if their positions are something I could support."
District 2 encompasses Mokelumne Hill, West Point, Mountain Ranch, Glencoe, Wilseyville and Railroad Flat.
Dell'Orto is the fifth candidate to file for the District 2 seat. The others are Mountain Ranch residents David Studley and Ronald Huebert, West Point resident Leroy Fonceca and Glencoe resident Steve Wilensky.
The filing deadline is 5 p.m. today.
Dell'Orto wouldn't comment about the pending lawsuit he filed against the county in July 2002.
The lawsuit, alleging false arrest and civil rights violations, stems from events on the morning of July 4, 2001, when Dell'Orto was arrested in Mokelumne Hill on a public intoxication charge.
In the lawsuit, Dell'Orto denies he was intoxicated. He said he'd called the sheriff's department to complain about a deputy, and that's when he was arrested.
Dell'Orto is seeking more than $1.6 million in damages, according to the lawsuit. Dell'Orto said he wouldn't drop the lawsuit if elected.
Before district boundaries were moved in 2001, Dell'Orto was District 1 supervisor between 1989 and 1996. Then, District 1 included Mokelumne Hill, where Dell'Orto is a fourth-generation resident.
Dell'Orto was ousted in the March 1996 primary election, finishing third by 11 votes. San Andreas resident Lucy Thein won the seat.