Calaveras County Official Apologizes for Controversial Comment

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CALAVERAS COUNTY --

A Calaveras County official has apologized for making what some call racist comments against Mexicans at the March 3 planning commission meeting.

Planning commissioner Kelly Wooster said during a public meeting that people from Mexico are an "invasive species."

It was a straightforward apology from Wooster.

"That is apparently being viewed as offensive and hurtful. That was not my intent,” he said during Thursday’s planning commission meeting.

No jokes, straight talk a week after he made what some are calling racially insensitive comments.

In the March 3 meeting, commissioners were discussing the topic of invasive plant species. A commissioner asked in the video, “Maybe we can just say invasive species?” and Wooster replied, “including people from Mexico."

Since the meeting, a petition started by county resident Mike Magana called for Wooster’s resignation, stating that comments like these "have no place in our community, especially from a county representative."

FOX40 asked Wooster during a break if he could elaborate on his apology.

"I’m not going to comment on that either. Sorry,” Wooster said.

Some, like fellow Commissioner David Tunno, said his apology was genuine.

"And he was apologetic, and he put everything in context ,which people who were here understood that,” Tunno told FOX40.

But Magana and groups like El Concilio, which provides advocacy services for Hispanic and other underserved communities said his apology is not enough.

“County Board of Supervisors of Calaveras really have to remove him from his position,” Yamilet Valladolid, the site director with El Concilio explained.

FOX40 showed Valladolid Wooster’s apology.

"It’s not what he originally stated. He originally was very specific that he said people from Mexico,” she said.

At one point during the apology, Wooster said, “I have had negative experiences with cartel marijuana growers on my ranch,” he also said, “Mexican people I have known and do know were and are decent, hardworking, intelligent people. "

The group is now calling on Calaveras County to take action.

"They have to show that is an example, that that was not going to be accepted,” Valladolid said.

FOX40 also called Calaveras County for comment, they said they would not give one.

Magana said he will continue to collect signatures for Wooster’s removal from the planning commission, which he plans to present to the Board of Supervisors at a later date.

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