I chanced to be at the Redding Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 20 between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on private business of my own.
Also there for a couple of hours were three public employees that I knew by sight. One was the Hon. Wally Herger, our esteemed Congressman for the Second District.
Also there, with a room full of other “government and business leaders” — according to Mr. Strazzarino (Chamber of Commerce head) — were Larry Lees, Shasta County Administrative Officer, and the Hon. Jerry Benito, our elected and non-partisan District Attorney.
I asked Mr. Strazzarino what could draw such people during business hours on a business day. He was kind enough to inform me, before returning to his computer to read more of the “Drudge Report” – that this was a meeting where Mr. Herger informed our local government and business leaders about such things as rural wildfire, immigration, income taxation, Homeland Security and off-shore drilling.
Now I am sure that Mr. Herger is well-informed about wildfires, after having dropped out of the sky with Mr. Bush some time back. I was puzzled as to what our local government employees could learn from Mr. Herger that would be useful in conducting The People’s business in Shasta County. Trying to relieve my puzzlement I asked Mr. Strazzarino if this had, in fact, been a political event?
Mr. Strazzarino, ever the gentleman, allowed that while no contributions were collected, it could be called a “political event.”
Were we, the people of the County of Shasta paying for Mr. Lees’ and Mr. Benito’s political entertainment by Mr. Herger? If we were, what does this say about the even-handed, non-partisan and fair administration of government in this county? What does it say about ethics in local government? After the diatribe against all things Democratic by the Hon. Tom Bosenko, Sheriff of Shasta County, in the editorials he authored for the Valley Post and the East Valley Times, what was I, a simple tax payer, to think about the fair and balanced accessibility of criminal justice and government services in Shasta County to non-Republicans?
Should I and those of my ilk draw the conclusion that, like Fox Noise, the County of Shasta is but a wing of the Grand Old Party? One wonders: Who picked up the tab for these public servants’ time?
Greg Winters is a Redding attorney.