District 2 endorsement spat flares

February 28, 2002 11:00 pm

By SHARON STELLO

The California Correctional Peace Officers Associations chapter president says the group was misled by a campaign volunteer for District 2 supervisorial candidate Paolo Maffei.

Ralph Storm, president of the CCPOA Sierra Chapter, called actions by Maffei and his volunteer questionable if not unethical.

The CCPOA is the bargaining unit for correctional peace officers in the state. The Sierra chapter, representing correctional officers, counselors, parole officers and others at Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, has 406 members.

Storm says Don Stone, a volunteer for both Maffei and District 3 candidate Jim Peterson, offered to set up interviews with all the candidates for the CCPOA to choose who to endorse, but then only invited those he represents.

Stone denies this.

At no time did I ever say I was going to contact the other candidates or their managers. Why would I? Thats silly, Stone said, adding that it was the CCPOAs responsibility to set up its own interviews.

Maffei agreed and called Storms assertion nonsense.

Stone grew up in Twain Harte, graduated from Columbia College and now works for the Assembly speakers office. Stone often visits relatives in Tuolumne County.

He volunteered to help Maffei and Peterson for the experience of helping with a campaign and because he believes they can best tackle the countys tough issues, he said.

Storm contends that Stone assured him all the candidates had been told where and when the interview would take place, but only Maffei and Peterson showed up on the scheduled day.

Mr. Stone led CCPOA to believe that the other candidates were informed of the meeting, but chose not to attend, Storm said in a letter to The Union Democrat.

Sometime after the interview, Maffei said Storm told him he had received the CCPOAs endorsement. Maffei announced this at the Chamber of Commerces candidates forum in early February.

Storm said the association then learned the other candidates hadnt been invited to the interview and arranged for a new round of interviews.