Last Second Special Primary Election Scoops! Don’t Forget To Vote!

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Megan Dahle on her subsidized farm.

This may come as a shock to conservatives who’ve already voted by mail in tomorrow’s 1st Assembly District special primary election, but Megan Dahle may not be the “proven conservative” she’s advertised as being.

Dahle is running for her husband 1st District State Sen. Brian Dahle’s former assembly seat against fellow Republicans Patrick Henry Jones, Lane Rickard and Joe Turner and Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the primary vote on Tues., Aug. 27, the top two will face-off in November.

Last week I endorsed Betancourt as the obvious choice for anyone interested in seeing prosperity restored to the 1st District, since she’s on board with the state’s ambitious plans to adapt to climate change, which could bring thousands of jobs to the region.

Coincidentally, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders stopped by fire-stricken Paradise last week to unveil his $16.3 trillion federal plan to address climate change through 2030. The future prosperity of the north state depends on both the state and federal plans being implemented.

But such large public works programs are anathema to Betancourt’s four opponents, who don’t see climate change as a pressing issue and share the conservative ideology that the economy works best when government steps out of the way and allows the free market to work its magic.

“No new taxes” is their mantra and Prop. 13 is their touchstone. At the candidate forum held earlier this month in Redding, only Betancourt supported the Schools and Communities First state initiative that will be on the November 2020 state ballot. If it passes, it will split residential and commercial property tax rolls, eliminating a Prop. 13 loophole that presently allows large corporations to avoid paying $10 billion annually in property taxes.

Like her conservative cohorts at the forum, Dahle’s support for Prop. 13’s sanctity was unequivocal.

“I would vote to support Prop. 13 as is,” she said at the forum. Meaning she doesn’t support splitting the residential and commercial property tax rolls.

Dahle reiterates this stance on her campaign fliers, claiming she supports “the middle class by protecting Prop. 13 and repealing high gas taxes.”

But her campaign’s website tells a different story.

On the website, it states she “supports Prop. 13.”

On the line just below that, it says she “approved split tax roll.”

“WTF?!” your average north state conservative voter is entitled to ask. “Is that a typo? Does she support changing Prop. 13 as we know it? Sacrilege!”

Is it a typo? Or is Dahle stealthily playing both sides of the electorate, like her husband in previous campaigns? My email to Sen. Dahle’s chief-of-staff inquiring about the issue has so far not been answered.

Screen capture of Megan Dahle’s campaign website.

In the meantime, I’ve found some more evidence questioning the Dahles’ conservative credentials, or lack thereof, and it’s all thanks to President Donald “Tariff Man” Trump.

Last week, shortly after declaring himself “the chosen one” when it comes to dealing with China on trade, Trump re-instated billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods. The Chinese have retaliated by placing yet more tariffs on American farm goods, cutting American farmers out of what for many was their primary export market.

Trump claims that the tariffs that are being paid for by China, but in reality, they’re taxes paid by U.S. importers of Chinese goods who then pass on the extra cost to American consumers. Trump also claims the tens of billions of dollars collected in tariffs are more than enough to compensate American farmers for their losses, which is also dubious.

According to the Environmental Working Group, which researches farm subsidies among other environmental health and economic issues, the tariffs collected so far have fallen short of the total amount needed to bail out farmers. The gap is being filled by U.S. taxpayers. A significant portion of the payments so far have been distributed to “city slickers” who don’t even farm for a living, including distant relatives of farmers and agricultural lobbyists. You can read more about that here.

Anyway, that got me thinking about farm subsidies, since Megan Dahle mimics her husband on the campaign trail by constantly touting her status as a farmer/small business owner battling excessive government regulations.

“I own and operate Big Valley Seed Company,” she states on one campaign flier I received in the mail. “As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to deal with unfair government rules.”

She also knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of government largess. In fact, according to EWG, the Dahles have received $251,530 in total USDA conservation, disaster and commodity farm subsidies since 1995. That’s roughly $11,000 per year in additional income that’s not accessible by your average small non-farming business.

The amount pales in comparison to the $5.5 million in farm subsidies doled out to conservative Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s family rice farm over the same time period, including $145,107 in 2018. Nevertheless, it confirms that the conservative principle that government shouldn’t intervene in markets totally breaks down when the conservative is on the receiving end of the intervention.

Thus, Sen. Brian Dahle, as an assemblyman, voted against extending the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas reduction fund even as he raided the fund to subsidize the Burney biomass plant, which would have shuttered otherwise. The Dahles’ trucking company makes more than $10,000 annually hauling ash for the plant and would have lost its primary client without the subsidy.

Similarly, candidate Megan Dahle, who calls herself a “proven conservative,” has also proven she’s completely capable of accepting government subsidies when they’re offered, even though she preaches against such welfare programs for, say, poor people.

The question for 1st District Assembly District’s conservative voters is this: Does it matter if a candidate who assumes the conservative mantle doesn’t strictly adhere to conservative principles?

If it does matter, then Megan Dahle is not your candidate.

Patrick Henry Jones, from the campaign website.

So far conservative north state voters have given LaMalfa, the millionaire welfare farmer who regularly votes against the federal food stamps program, a pass on hypocrisy. They’ve repeatedly voted him into office, although that may be because no legitimate conservative contender has run against him.

But conservative voters have a choice in this special primary election. Three of the four Republicans running claim to be the most conservative in the race, and two of them plainly have a claim on the title: Patrick Henry Jones and Joe Turner.

Jones established his conservative credentials during two terms on the Redding City Council from 2008 to 2014, including a stint as mayor. For at least a decade, he’s been warning about the CalPers “pension tsunami;” he cited reform of the pension fund and restructuring city budgets as his No. 1 issue at the candidate’s forum. On his campaign flier, this champion of austerity calls himself an “environmental steward” and insists, “We need to start logging again, our forests depend upon it.”

In an effort to distinguish himself from Jones, a longtime gun shop owner, as the more fervent defender of the Second Amendment, Turner says one of the first things he’ll do if elected is sue the pants off California in federal court to revoke all the state’s unconstitutional gun laws. The retired military vet believes that if you’re being taxed, you’re not free.

The more well-known and experienced Jones is the only conservative candidate with a realistic shot at upsetting Dahle, the “proven conservative” who enjoys the support of her husband’s entire political apparatus, including the public safety unions, which aren’t exactly keen on Jones’ notions of pension reform, and the healthcare and energy industries.

For Republicans who don’t have to vote for a doctrinaire conservative, Lane Rickard’s campaign centered on public safety, disaster relief and responsible development, is an attractive choice. In my view the former legislative staffer and Redding business owner has laid out what he plans to do if elected better than any of his Republican opponents.

Rickard appears to be a member of that vanishing species, the moderate Republican. Whatever species you prefer, the most important thing to do today or tomorrow, is to vote for your the candidate of your choice, if you haven’t done so already.

If you don’t vote, you’ll have no right to complain later.

R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at
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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    If name recognition from television ads sways voters, Dahle is, unfortunately, a shoo in.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Megan’s ad is everywhere on the websites I’m surfing this morning. I got at least a half-dozen Megan fliers in the mail. They obviously have a lot of money. Guess those government subsidies help!

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        Or Bethel.

        • Avatar Wisa says:

          Or other religious dark money

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          That’s not an empty claim, Beverly and Wisa. We know the Dahles and Bethel have a close relationship, and all the other right-wing evangelical churches are on the same page. If the people in the pews follow their pastors’ commands, that translates to a lot of votes.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        I just got my seventh Megan Dahle flier. Do they own a printing company or something?

  2. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    This easy-to-understand article is brilliant (and so true).

    Prop 13’s corporate loopholes have deprived the State of billions of dollars a year in tax revenue, and are directly responsible for the heavier burden the average taxpayer is forced to assume.

    Touted as a way to “save Grandma’s home”, its main beneficiaries are corporations and other large commercial property owners, who have been allowed to freeze their taxes on commercial property for the past 40 years. Those loopholes should have been closed long ago (while leaving in place protections for individual home owners), which is something anti-tax conservatives should wholeheartedly support. It also appears that Elizabeth Betancourt is the only candidate who openly and unequivocally promotes that desperately needed change.

    I wish northstate voters as a whole would move forward into the future. Climate legislation is inevitable, so it seems far better to capitalize on it (ie: the thousands of climate-related jobs Betancourt would like to bring to the northstate), rather than voting for right-wing candidates who will fight progress tooth-and-nail, except (hypocritically) where it benefits them personally.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Patrecia, the decline in California’s public education system, once ranked near the top 40 years ago and now ranked near the bottom, is directly correlated with the passage of Prop. 13 and the loophole for commercial real estate. Closing that loophole will help make California education great again.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Absolutely. California would be a very different state today if Prop 13 had been limited to individual home owners (but of course the real reason for its passage was to benefit the Bill’s wealthy backers).

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Prop 13 doesn’t “freeze” taxes, it limits their increase to 2% a year.

      Runaway government spending has made it so 2% a year increases are less than inflation – but that’s the fault of the 45% of Americans who pay no taxes while demanding more and more services.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


        60 of America’s biggest corporations paid no taxes on $79 BILLION in profits in 2018 (from the link below).

        And how many billions are hidden in overseas accounts by wealthy Americans?

        If you right-wingers weren’t so determined to keep wages low to benefit corporate powers and the wealthy elite, working Americans (and yes – they are overwhelmingly working families and individuals) wouldn’t be forced to depend on survival programs to suppliment their meager wages.

        • Avatar Tim says:

          Why should a corporation pay taxes only to have its owners pay taxes AGAIN on dividends or capital gains?

          Do you know who the biggest owners of corporations are? Pension funds and individual retirement accounts.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Tim do you mean runaway government spending like the farm subsidies the Dahles and LaMalfas receive? The Pentagon? Are you counting the corporations that offshore their money so it can’t be taxed in that 45 percent? Which candidate do you like?

        • Avatar Tim says:

          Farm subsidies & military spending are part of that runaway spending (though farm subsidies are insignificant compared to social programs & military). As for offshore money, I’ve never understood why the US feels entitled to tax income earned overseas. I’m not talking about the shell games and tax inversions, but legitimate overseas income that the US had no part in facilitating.

          As for the candidates, I’ll pinch my nose and vote for Jones.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Patrecia, California has been run by Democrats since 1971 and is one of the highest taxed states in the country. California is not ‘deprived’ of tax revenue. There is not one Republican that holds any state office in California. Democrats brag about the supposed surplus that California has…why then do we need to raise taxes even more? and why are you blaming ‘right wingers’ that have no power whatsoever in California?

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        I doubt that many of the wealthy backers/promoters of Prop 13 were Democrats. They just came up with a successful gimmick to hoodwink people into voting to implement their agenda.

        Also, may I remind you that 5 of the last 10 California governors were Republicans (and Jerry Brown was a DINO).

  3. Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

    I suppose it’s too on the nose to deal with the “conservative” cognitive dissonance problem by pointing out that traditional conservative principles, e.g., small government, low or no budget deficits, and cleaning up grift swamps, all go by the wayside when electing “conservatives” means the electorate gets to choose candidates who hate the same people and rights that “conservatives” hate.

    And, hey, “conservatives,” if you want to jump in here with some Et Tu Quoque nonsense about something Hillary Clinton or Jerry Brown did, you pre-emptively flunked middle school debate. If yours is the party of principles, it shouldn’t matter what that wicked other party’s representatives did.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Unfortunately, gods, gays and guns still works in the north state.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…And, hey, “conservatives… if you want to jump in here with some Et Tu Quoque nonsense about something Hillary Clinton or Jerry Brown did, you pre-emptively flunked middle school debate.”
      Except, during the Obama term, all we heard for 8 years was the left blaming Bush for every woe in the world. So it is ok for the left to look in the past and point out President Bush’s failures, but we can’t do that to Obama and Clinton? Hmmm, curious…

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        Fact: Obama inherited an economy that was in recession from W. You know what I was complaining about during the Obama years? His fucking cave-in to the banksters and Wall Street. Thanks to that, the economy never really fully recovered, especially in rural America, and economists are calling our meager 2 percent annual GDP the “new normal.” Same thing happened with Obamacare. I was a consistent and vocal critic of Obama during his two administrations. Weak as it is, Obamacare was a significant achievement and will pave the way for Medicare For All. Trump is dramatically different than any president we’ve ever had, and according to experts, clinically insane. You know why Trump didn’t go to Vietnam? Cause he would have been fragged by the enlisted troops the first time they got in a skirmish. He turned $1 billion of his daddy’s money into 6 bankruptcies. He cannot tell the truth to save his life. If you or anyone else thinks this is good leadership, well … my sympathies.

      • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

        Doug, the harm Bush did by taking this country into war with the wrong country for the wrong reason at a time when we couldn’t afford to go to war changed the world. Would that he had listened to his dad.

  4. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Yeh, it’s called corporate welfare, subsidy is a cover-up term. I’m not sure if Ms Dahle really understands the Prop 13 Split Tax Roll initiative. Ms. Betancourt sure did and spoke eloquently about it. And now Republicans have 4 candidates to split up their votes, hmmm, we’ll see how that adds up on Tuesday evening. Polls are open 7am-8pm, Tuesday, August 27th, stay home and someone else will vote for you. Want to finally have some political power for Redding, Shasta County, the North State, vote Elizabeth Betancourt, she’ll be able to pass critical legislation that’ll serve our rural north.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      Not surprisingly, the Dahle Mama’s camp hasn’t replied to my inquiry about the “split roll” typo. If it is a typo, I wouldn’t want to be the one who made it!

      Meanwhile, Sen. Dahle’s chief of staff, after I sent him to the link from Environmental Working Group that documents the senators more than $250,00 in farm subsidies since 1995, said he’d get back to me by the end of today with a response. By end of the day I suppose he could have meant midnight, cause no response so far.

      Vote people! It’s the American thing to do.

  5. Avatar Underwhelmed says:

    Depressing story. This is a six-figure job. The front runners treat it dismissively by bragging about everything else they have on their plates. Do they even plan on showing up to vote for the paycheck? Some of those running have ZERO social media presence and seemingly little interest in interfacing with future constituents. The average resume’ for a first-line management job has more meat than these websites.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      I agree with you underwhelmed, it’s fair to say all of the candidates have failed to exploit social media in their campaigns. Another telling gauge are the candidates websites. Democrat Elizabeth Betancourt has the most informative website IMHO, followed by Lain Rickardson. Megan Dahle’s website is a carbon copy of her husbands with the same vague language. Patrick Henry Jones tells us nothing we don’t already know about him. As far as who has the actual qualifications to do the 1st District Assembly gig, I’d say they’re only three who are qualified: Betancourt, Lain Rickardson and Patrick Henry Jones.

  6. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      That reminds me – Patrick Jones may be a more-or-less legitimate conservative, but he’s also a Tea Party extremist. He’s a two-trick pony (pensions and guns), and would – I believe – drag the north state backward. The citizens deserve better than someone with his limited imagination and goals.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        The only photo of him on his website, used in this story, is at one of those overpass Trump rallies in Redding.

        Speaking of the Tea Party, Patrecia, it’s worth mentioning that the late David Koch and his brother supplied the juice to unleash that animal and pave the way for Trump.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Exactly. The Koch brothers and other major corporate polluters/exploiters created and motored the Tea Party.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:


  7. Avatar Joshua Brown says:

    I am quite glad to read that Elizabeth supports the Schools & Communities First Act.

    • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

      She certainly does, Joshua, and if you haven’t read last week’s story on her, you should, because she knows her stuff.

  8. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    “…And, hey, “conservatives… if you want to jump in here with some Et Tu Quoque nonsense about something Hillary Clinton or Jerry Brown did, you pre-emptively flunked middle school debate.”
    Except, during the Obama term, all we heard for 8 years was the left blaming Bush for every woe in the world. So it is ok for the left to look in the past and point out President Bush’s failures, but we can’t do that to Obama and Clinton? Hmmm, curious…

    • Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

      You and I viewed the horror of 9/11 and the subsequent war into the wrong country for the wrong reason. So what in the world did Obama or Clinton do that even comes close to upsetting the balance of power in the Middle East and causing the the deaths of thousands of people and upsetting our whole economic system because we were not able to afford this war?

  9. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    LOL it was a typo on Megan Dahle’s website! It’s been changed to say she doesn’t support it. No comment so far on the $250 grand in farm subsidies they received.

  10. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


  11. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    California has a climate change plan and so does Bernie Sanders:

    • Avatar Gary Tull says:

      That’s quite a plan and I would hope most folks agree with the lions share of it.

      • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

        It’s amazingly detailed! Including how it’s going to be paid for.

        • Avatar Gary Tull says:

          Yes, it IS comprehensively detailed and I think many would support the GND.

          My concern with Sanders (if he gets the nomination) is that the vote may split to a point where enough so-called Independents – fearful of socialism – spoil his chances with write-ins such as Romney or someone who hasn’t a chance, and the country winds up with ongoing reckless ignorance in the WH for another term. That would absolutely be a national disaster the country cannot afford.