Bakersfield City Councilman and county supervisor candidate Zack Scrivner was arrested for felony possession of a significant amount of marijuana 13 years ago while attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, he admitted Friday on the Jaz McKay Show on KNZR 1560 radio.
"When I was in college in Santa Barbara, there was a lot of partying going on," and he and several friends were arrested at their home after a police officer witnessed one friend smoking pot through an open blind, Scrivner said. "We were all doing some things we shouldn't have been doing."
Scrivner, 36, said police arrested him for possession of "a little bit over an ounce" and that he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Santa Barbara Superior Court documents show Scrivner was arrested on a felony charge of possession of marijuana for sale.
Documents show he pleaded no contest to one felony charge of cultivation of marijuana and acknowledged in a hand-written statement that if he failed to complete drug diversion, he could serve up to three years in prison.
He also agreed to forfeit his claim on $780 Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies seized from him on March 5, 1997, in the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara. It was money that was furnished "in exchange for controlled substances," court documents show.
He explained that the crime was expunged from his record after he successfully completed the diversion program.
"They allowed me to plead to a lesser charge and I was able to take classes and get it expunged from my record," Scrivner said.
He shared the confession with McKay, he said, because he worried that his opponent -- former Kern County Sheriff's Deputy and Supervisor Steve Perez -- or Perez's union supporters had gotten ahold of the information and were about to reveal it publically.
Scrivner said he isn't proud of the arrest but he is glad it happened.
"It shook me up and turned me around," he said.
Perez said he hadn't heard about Scrivner's arrest and had not been investigating Scrivner's background. He said his campaign has never been about slinging mud.
Tom Webster, who is coordinating an independent expenditure effort to support Perez's candidacy, said that group has not attempted to dig into Scrivner's past.
"I want to be open and honest," Scrivner said.
The prior conviction does not, currently, appear to threaten Scrivner's ability to hold public office. The California Constitution only prevents people who have committed "bribery, perjury, forgery, malfeasance in office, or other high crimes" from holding office.
Felons are not allowed to vote, but Scrivner's felony conviction was dismissed following his treatment program.