Shasta County Supervisor Les Baugh Didn’t Just Get a Haircut, He Opened the Floodgates

District 5 Shasta County Supervisor Les Baugh hams it up with his barber, Woody Clendenen at Cottonwood Barber Shop in Cottonwood Friday. Photo source: Les Baugh’s Facebook page.

So, here’s the thing, Les. You got a haircut Friday when barber shops are still considered non-essential businesses during a global pandemic. You blatantly defied state-mandated restrictions that the lion’s share of nearly 40 million Californians have obeyed since March 19.

Do you think you’re the only one who wanted a haircut? Do you think others might like to visit their barbers and hairstylists and manicurists and dog groomers and others who provide first-world essential services? Do you think I’m not weary of explaining to my grandchildren why we must remain strong and stay apart a while longer, for everyone’s sake?

Let’s face it, Les. We’re not stupid, and your haircut wasn’t really about your need for a haircut. Let’s not even pretend. Your haircut was a way to thumb your nose at state restrictions implemented to keep us safe in the middle of a deadly pandemic; rules that you and many people here in Northern California may disagree with.

Do you think anyone likes these rules? Do you think there isn’t one person among us who doesn’t wish we could turn back the clock to when we could roam as we pleased? Is there a mentally capable person alive who doesn’t wish this pandemic was all a bad dream, or better yet, that the novel coronavirus didn’t exist?

Dear Lord, where is magical thinking when we need it most? Hear our prayers!

Les, do you truly believe your silly hair-cutting stunt in which you implicated your loyal barber was worth the fine he may face for defying rules that thousands of law-abiding other hair stylists have obeyed, despite their wishes to do otherwise? Will you pay your barber’s fine if he is penalized?

Les, you blew it big time when you walked into that Cottonwood barbershop last Friday and mugged for the camera and got a haircut in a place that hadn’t been given the green light to re-open yet.

You compounded that mistake when you posted your photo on Facebook, and wrote your list of excuses for why it was OK for you to ignore orders mandated by the CDC, the governor, and our local Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency. As if we all get to hand-pick which rules we’ll obey, and which ones we’ll ignore. State and federally mandated orders are not optional, like items on a personalized cafeteria menu, Les.

Who cares if you needed a haircut, or if you wanted a haircut, or whether you and your followers are tired of obeying rules you don’t like and don’t agree with.

The main point, Les, is that you, an elected Shasta County leader, not only willfully and knowingly broke the state mandates during an international crisis, but you bragged and joked about it on Facebook. As of this writing, your haircut post has received 522 comments, and 124 shares. I’ve selected a sample of those comments as examples of the public’s reaction to your haircut during the north-state shutdown.

Sample comments from Les Baugh’s haircut Facebook post

“Do as I say, not as I do? Wow! And you are a Supervisor! This doesn’t set a very good example! I am disappointed! I need a hair cut too, but my hair stylist is abiding by the stay at home orders, as I am as well!”

” ‘Not an anti anything.’ ” Please Mr. Baugh, you must have forgotten you represent not only the citizens of your district but the citizens of the entire county. It sure looks to me like, apart from your desperate need for a haircut, you’re clearly making a statement against the government’s approach to the deadly virus that has already killed thousands of our fellow citizens. I’m sure that as a county supervisor, you have the duty and obligation all the time to make decisions based on the facts and your good judgment. Let’s respect our governor for doing the same thing”

“Good for both of you! Get this Country moving. If you want to shelter up, do. Free Country.”

“You just lost my support.”

“Woody Clendenen and Les Baugh thank you for taking a stand and getting back to business!”

“As a salon owner, who is remaining closed, following both the state and county guidelines this is a major slap in the face and a direct do as I say, not as I do. I’ve been watch our county reports DAILY and listened to the city council reports and guidelines to see if we will open sooner than later. This is extremely disrespectful and not to mention despite what you say NO safety precautions are visibly happening here. We can get reported, fined and lose licenses. Barbering and cosmetology board was all over this yesterday. For fucks sake open us ALL back up if you believe, as a city leader, this is truly fine for the general public and not just your arrogant self.”

“What you are telling me is that YOU want to do what YOU want to do but YOU want me to do what YOU want me to do: I shelter in place for months because I’m ‘elderly’ while YOU do as you please. We’re not a completely free country. We have laws and mandates and orders and health directives. Grow up”

“Could you possibly be more disrespectful to the many non-essential businesses that are following the state and county guidelines? Shame on you.”

“I’m a hairstulist in town and this makes me so happy to see. I opened my doors a few weeks ago too. I didn’t ask for permission! This nonsense has got to stop! This is great!! We are humans! 90% of my clients are booking their appts. Freedom ????????????????”

” . . . I have two friends who are hair dressers and are following the rules and staying closed because they received threats that they would get fined $1000 if they opened their salon and they are seriously struggling really bad. I think the rules should apply to all so she could open too, I say use gloves, wear a mask and clean your station and only see one person at a time that to me is safe since a lot of elderly people get the hair done. You going against the rules only makes the ones who are following them want to break the rules too. Hair dressers should be able to open too if Barbers can. PS I love you Les Baugh you little rule breaker.”

“Gutsy Supervisor”

“As a nurse, this post is a slap in my face. Every day I go into work, I pray I won’t have to isolate myself from my family. A mask is such a small consideration. Would’ve been nice to have seen you both wearing masks for your ‘friends and family with compromised immune systems or at risk health’ ”

“My kid needs a haircut more than you, but I tell him no…not until the stay at home order for salons is lifted. Its not about fear, its about following orders, so we can ALL end this mess ASAP. Good to know that you think the rules don’t apply to you.”

“Yes, how can you expect the general population to abide by the rules if you don’t..Nobody likes the rules…but as a community leader this is well predictably disappointing.”

“Preaching to the choir my brother! Forward this to Gavin.”

“How dare you promote common sense!?!? Love ya buddy.”

“Open up the north state. You just started it les”

“Good !! Thankful for you standing up for your right and ours to move forward .. wish all officials thought more like you do”

The comments go on and on, but that’s a good sample. I don’t know that I could add anything new to the hundreds of comments that have already been posted on your Facebook page. And I confess, I didn’t get through them all, but could see that they mostly fell into one of two categories:
1. Way to go, Les Baugh. You’re an American hero.
2. Shame on you, Les Baugh. You’re an arrogant idiot. 

I admit, when I sat down to write this piece, and I logged onto your Facebook page, I was pretty sure you would have deleted your barbershop post by now. I figured that you’d have received so many blistering comments and so much public scorn that you would have removed the post.  I further imagined that after you removed the post, you’d see the light and write a public apology for behaving so irresponsibly at a time when people look to you for intelligence and guidance when people are feeling tested, frightened and uncertain.

But no, there your post is, exactly as you wrote it last Friday. complete with the photo of you, eyes wide, mouth agape, as your barber stands behind you, smiling, pulling up a fistful of wispy hair. Here’s that post, for those who missed it:

“The time has come…
Yep, got my haircut. Why? Because I needed a haircut. Couldn’t stand it any longer. Grateful Woody was open. Came away feeling like a man again. I know some will say this is wrong and that somehow I’m killing someone by getting my haircut. Here’s the way I see it… The Barber Shop is open. Woody, a free man, a barber, working, earning an honest living, supporting his family, is cutting hair. I needed a haircut. No one forced me to come through the door. Got my essential haircut. Left a nice tip. Feel better. Perhaps most importantly, who has the right to say going to the barber is wrong, or the PC word for it, ‘non-essential?’ No one can convince me that my thoughtful, intelligent barber is any less safe than restaurants cooking food and bringing it to the curb. How do I really know my favorite food is being handled and prepared in a safe manner? I don’t. What makes buying flowers at the grocery store or ice cream at Sonic ‘essential?’ What makes hummingbird feeders purchased at the local hardware store any more essential than mental and physical well-being? Right or wrong, we each get to choose. I am absolutely convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that my recent trek to a Redding big-box store put me at far greater risk than sitting in my barber’s chair. But that also was my choice. For the hundreds of people in the big-box store, obviously their choice as well. I was pleased to see Woody spritz and carefully wipe down the chair, as well as throughly wash his hands. Even the patriotic cape had a fresh bleached fragrance to it. Much appreciated. For my friends and family with compromised immune systems or at risk health, please do not leave your homes. I am not advocating for you to leave your homes. I do not want you to leave your homes. Stay in and stay safe. In case you want to know… this is not an ‘anti’ anything or anyone post, just my personal, practical way of moving forward, and… I needed a haircut.
— with Susie Baugh and Woody Clendenen at Cottonwood Barber Shop.”

Stupid rules

I hate Redding’s red light cameras. Every one of them. I think they’re supremely stupid, especially since I received a red-light ticket on Hilltop and Cypress a few years ago. I resented the ticket, because it seemed so unjust (the yellow light is a shorter duration than before, I just know it!), but I paid it anyway, because that’s the way it works when you’re an adult in a civilized society. Sometimes we do things we dislike and obey rules we aren’t crazy about.

Car seat regulations demand these arbitrary guidelines that say infants, babies, toddlers and children must be restrained by a certain type of car seat depending upon their body weight, and the car seat rules even dictate where in the car the car seats go, and even which direction they face. I grew up just fine without car seats, and I’m still alive to tell about it. And my grandkids hate it when they have to ride in the back seat, when the front passenger seat is empty and available. Tell me this: When was the last time you heard of a child being decapitated by an exploding airbag while riding in the front seat of a car? Exactly. You never hear of that happening. Damn meddling fear mongers.

It seems every summer public health officials report supposedly unsafe levels of E. coli at Whiskeytown Lake, and so then our county’s official party poopers put up warning signs and tell us we’re not allowed to swim there. Personally, although granted, I’m no scientist, the water always looks pretty clean to me.  Hell, fish swim in it just fine. I think well-meaning public health folks should just butt out of our business and let everyone go swim in a shit-filled lake and dodge rafts of Pamper turds until we die of sunburn, if that’s what we want to do. It’s our right as Americans.

Gosh, Les, remember back to the Carr Fire of 2018, when so many of us were evacuated from our homes, despite wishing we could stay behind? What a drag that was, to be homeless, valuable food rotting in our refrigerators and freezers that had no electricity. Personally, although again, I’m no fire expert, the fire didn’t seem all that close or that dangerous to me, even though there were charred leaves all over my lawn.  I think we all should have been able to do exactly what we wanted, and trust our gut instincts to tell us when it was safe to return to our homes, not bossy law enforcement.

You’ve heard that joke that asks for the definition of an expert, right? An x is an unknown, and a spurt is a drip under pressure. We don’t need no stinkin’ experts, Les, to scare us with all kinds of nonsense about fires or snowstorms or the weather or pandemics or invisible viruses. We’ve got free will, and by god, we should all be able to do exactly what we want, when we want it, how we want it.

And damn it, Les, extrapolating from all my examples, I can see how you could justify your desire for a haircut, despite what our governor ordered, despite the fact that my hairstylist is among an occupation that isn’t allowed to re-open yet. Screw it! I’m going to follow the leader (that’d be you), and get a haircut. You’re right, Les. It’s my right as a citizen of the USA to follow only the rules I like and that I agree with.

Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds, Les?  Do you hear how self-indulgent, immature and reckless that sounds, Les?

Les, you proclaim yourself as a Christian and a pastor, someone who believes in the sanctity of life. Well, Pastor Baugh, a large flock of people follow you, listen to you, respect you and look up to you for guidance and leadership. You know what leadership is, right? Leadership means you’re at the helm, and you literally lead people by word, by deed and by example.

Lead us not into temptation, Les.

Maybe you thought that your hair-cutting stunt would make you a local hero among your voters and potential voters. Maybe you even fantasized that you’d get arrested, and then your sheep, draped in red, white and blue, would flock to the jail to bleat the injustice of it all. No doubt you’d earn national headlines over all that: County Supervisor Arrested for Getting Haircut in Non-Essential Barbershop

Pretty sensational stuff, Les.  But the fallout would be a sort of win-win situation for you, wouldn’t it? What we’ve got here is a case when even the worst reactions could work in your favor, here in our red county where the majority of voters despise our governor.

You know the part that really got me about your Facebook post, Les? This part: “I know some will say this is wrong and that somehow I’m killing someone by getting my haircut.”

Such flippant, thoughtless words during such a dangerous time.

Here’s another headline for you, Les, one that that might appear sometime this summer: Shasta County Sees Spike in Covid-19 Deaths Following Premature Re-opening

Could you live with that, Les, if your protest haircut opened the floodgates to civil disobedience that led to the most dire of consequences: the loss of human life?

How many deaths is your one haircut worth, Les?

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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236 Responses

  1. Avatar john says:

    Way to go Les!

  2. Avatar George T. Parker says:

    Well said, Doni.

    I have known that a large number of people in Shasta County refuse to even look at facts and science on many issues such as climate change, vaccinations, and now COVID-19. Over the last week, I came to the realization that many people in my own circle are among them. Rational discussions are impossible with these people. They consider any fact which goes against their preferred narrative is ‘government numbers’ and part of the conspiracy to enslave Americans.

    There was a video on YouTube by two doctors down in the south Central Valley which tried to make the case that the stay-in-place orders are overreach and that the dangers of COVID-19 are overblown. When I tried to go point-by-point through the video to examine the accuracy of their statistics and their science, I was told, “Yeah. We were waiting for the government to try to debunk this. I’m not buying it.”

    I’m not sure that even a growing body count will ever change their minds.

    Many of my personal relationships have changed over the last week like never before.

    • I hear you, George. 🙁

      Call me naive, but I’m shocked by how politicized the pandemic has become. For me, it’s a matter of looking at the science as a road map. Why is it that ignoring the science about Covid-19 is considered more American, when reckless actions puts lives at risk?

      By the way, the video of the Bakersfield doctors was addressed intelligently by Redding’s own Dr. Sam Van Kirk here on ANC. Check it out.

      (Although Facebook has since removed the Bakersfield doctors’ video, I believe there’s a link in the comments of Van Kirk’s article from one of Kern County’s TV stations.)

      I hope it doesn’t take a body count to wake people up about the dangers of this virus.

  3. Thank you, Doni – for addressing this in such an articulate manner.

  4. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Damn Donni, if you only knew how a haircut could change your day when you say to your wife, with a nod and a wink, I’m “feeling like a man again”.

    • Yeah, his line about feeling like a man again … ugh.

      What a man.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        I don’t follow Les Baugh on FB but none of what he said surprises me in the least. As you mentioned he’s a self-aggrandized attention seeker which he’s now gotten in spades. Let’s see if some (even one?) of the other supervisors or local LE step up and chastise/fine him or the barber for flagrantly breaking the law. Quite obviously this supervisor believes he’s above the same laws the rest of us are expected to adhere to. Maybe he is? Good ‘ol Boys (and girls) network is alive and well in Shasta County as long as you’re breaking the law in the name of upholding THEIR “freedoms”. As far as his stupid “haircut/man” comment goes I completely agree with and will echo your reaction Doni, “ugh”. If it were up to lil ol me he’d no longer be sitting on the Board.

  5. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Seems to me that anything Pastor Baugh says at BOS meeting should be ignored, like “Oh, that’s just Loser Les flouting the law again.”

    Well done, Doni. Unfortunately, your post will fall on many disbelieving ears.

    • Yes, that’s the irony, isn’t it, that Baugh, as an elected official, represents our county’s laws. I’d be curious what the other supervisors thought of Baugh’s stunt.

      And I have no doubt that my article will not only fall on disbelieving ears, but will be roundly ridiculed by Baugh’s supporters.

      • Avatar Deb Baker says:

        Thank you for putting words to my feelings. I have tried very hard to comply with the stay-at-home directive. Some people have used descriptive words (scared, panic) with regard to my behavior. I have been told I should feel angry and fight the ‘enemy’ and rebel against the rules.
        I regret that when the virus hits the high death numbers due to this type of stupidity, the people who ‘misbehaved’ will NOT be the ones who suffer. It will be the rest of us.
        If it happens to me, then please somebody, make my epitaph say this:
        “I died so that you could get a haircut or a sandwich.”

        • Your last sentence is chilling, but I get it. I hope it doesn’t come to that, Deb. Stay safe, and don’t allow anyone to pressure you into non-compliance. It’s people like you who help keep everyone safe. Thank you!

  6. Avatar christian gardinier says:

    Doni, what a GREAT article! Les is a well known tRumpublican, part of the anti science, anti government and pro trump Dahle – LaMalfa cartel. You are corect in stating that this was his behavior is a gimmick and heck, it might get him national media exposure and some praise from his master, President Criminal Idiot himself.

    Les a person that is supposed to be protecting the health, welfare and safety of the good citizens of Shasta County but just like like Criminal Idiot’s negligent and defiant behaviors, his ‘I’ll stop at no stop light I don’t want to stop at and don’t wear a helmet while on my Harley…’ are dangerous, putting himself, but most importantly, the Shasta County Citizens, in clear and present danger and at a great economic cost yet to be paid, mostly by those in the middle class and lower segments of our society, and by our kids and grandchildren who will pay for the massive debt that will be owed. Law is the people’s only defense from individual chaos and tyranny and Reckless Les is joining the latter.

    There is a way the economy can open with testing, contact tracing, quarantine those infected, safe social distancing and the use of PPE…. but that’s NOT what Reckless Les prescribes; Like the Dahle’s and LaMalfa, he is doing nothing to bring any of that to Shasta County! Perhaps he is on the road to armageddon but hey Les, why are you taking us along if we don’t want to go that way? Grow up and be an adult, for Gods sake!

  7. Avatar Loconn55 says:

    Thanks, Doni, for this powerful analysis. My older daughter’s an RN who works in a nursing home—which is nearly as high risk for COVID-19 as an ICU — so you understand why, in a public forum, I can’t say what I truly want to say to Mr. Baugh. But as you and George T. Parker above both point out, it’s clear that like far too many of his constituents, this this elected civil servant chooses arrogance and political pandering rather than logic, caring for others, and civic responsibility.

    Scorning those trivialities, Baugh’s just following the tried-and-true Far NorCal political script: go low, rant about freedom, throw in some lib-baiting, and the Calabama masses will flock on your side — at least your gun-totin’, guvmint-hatin’, Limbaugh-lovin’ voting base, which is equally impervious to common sense and compassion — and sadly dominant in local voting booths.

    • Godspeed to your daughter, and please thank her for her service.

      “… this elected civil servant chooses arrogance and political pandering rather than logic, caring for others, and civic responsibility.”

      I couldn’t agree more. Well said.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      “go low, rant about freedom, throw in some lib-baiting”, of course he holds a flag in one hand and a cross in the other. No Republican could do without these two standard props.

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I posted this elsewhere yesterday. Seems relevant here.

    “My place is on Swede Creek Road in Palo Cedro, near North Cow Creek School. The whole stretch of road from Deschutes Road to the bridge across North Cow Creek is posted 25 mph because of the school.

    But screw that. My neighbors and I routinely go 40-45 mph through that zone, even when school is in session. We know there aren’t enough sheriff’s deputies to enforce the law. And besides, that speed limit is a hoax—there has never been a case of a kid being struck and killed in that stretch. Just a girl getting T-boned by a speeder as she pulled out of her driveway, a car occasionally failing to make the curve, other minor stuff. No dead kids.

    This is America. You can’t tell us what to do.”

    (It’s true. That speed limit in front of NCCS gets violated all day long, every day, even when school is in session.)

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      And just think of all of the equivalent lifetimes lost under car arrest sitting at state mandated red lights and stop signs. It’s carnage I tell ya!

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        LOL. I can’t even imagine how many equivalent lifetimes are destroyed each year in the LA Basin due to overtaxed freeways.

        Oh, wait….yes I can imagine it. About 2.5 decades ago, I did that calculation while sitting in my car in stop-and-go traffic on U.S. 50 in Sacramento. My commute from the ‘burbs (Fair Oaks) when I was working 8-5 with all the state employees was 2 hours per day. That was 520 hours per year—the equivalent of 13 weeks. I was getting 2 weeks of paid vacation at the time.

        Three months later, we moved to Shasta County.

        Of course, U.S. 50 has been 5 lanes wide for a long time now, and that commute is 20 minutes. Doh!

      • Avatar Anne Thrope says:

        Teasing aside, these are worthy calculations to do and they played a big role in eliminating the national 55mph speed limit. If you thought about the actual costs, you’d be abhorred by how many lifespans have been lost in airports and at US border crossings each year (surprise: the TSA and CBP each kill more American lifespans each year than Al-Qaeda did on 9/11).

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Miss Anne — I agree the calculations are worth doing.

          The rhetorical sledgehammer of “lifetime equivalencies lost” distracts from the seriousness of your cost-benefit analyses. I’ve been putting the down time to good use. Most of the people I know have been doing the same. The label you use goes a long way toward turning a valid point into nonsense.

          • Avatar Anne Thrope says:

            If you say “Americans spend more than 2 billion hours each year waiting at TSA checkpoints” most people lack the frame of reference to truly understand how long that is because they’re unaccustomed to using more than 72 hours. Same goes for 85 million days — 365 is the normal upper limit of days. 234,000 years is better, but again it isn’t very common to use more than 100 years.

            Humans’ availability heuristic allows everybody to readily comprehend how much time is in 3,000 78-year lifespans. Technically it is rhetoric, but it is factual and not misleading sophistry.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Miss Anne — Did you honestly miss my point by that much? When you convert all of this down-time to “killed lifespans” and the like, I don’t have a problem with using “lifespan-equivalents” or “person-years” or whatever else is comprehensible as units of measurement. It’s using “killed” as the descriptor of that down time. Therein lies the sophistry—the misleading foundational assumption that all of this time is irrevocably wasted.

            Only if you choose to waste it.

            My wife tells me that I’ve been more productive during this down-time than I’ve been in a year—I’m starting a new chicken coop this afternoon. I’ve lost track of the TV shows I normally watch—I fall asleep exhausted after dinner each night. I feel constrained by the circumstances, but I retain the ability to choose to be productive and choose to have fun.

            Speaking of which, the average American watches 5 hours of TV per day. That’s unimaginable to me, but assuming 12 hours of each 24-hour day are potentially productive, that’s 152 days of dead time annually per person, or the equivalent of 137,424,658 dead person-years or ~1,750,000 killed lifespans each year.

            Killed lifespans? Or maybe average Americans choose to waste time watching a stupid amount of TV regardless of the circumstances.

          • Avatar Anne Thrope says:

            I understand your point, though “killing time” is not exactly without precedent. How about “lifespans spent in vitiated freedom?”

    • Avatar Sarah Roberts says:

      Steve Towers fo you honestly believe it should take loss of life to validate a speed limit… you’ve admitted to accidents happening on the stretch of roadway BUT it’s okay to ignore the speed limit because no one died YET!!! I find your reasoning tragically heartbreaking.

      • Ugh, Sarah, it should be obvious, but Steve’s post was satire … sarcasm … just like my column’s examples about other laws, such as car seats, E.coli in Whiskeytown Lake, and Carr Fire evacuations. These were just exaggerations to illustrate the fallacy of Baugh’s warped logic.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Sarah — Satire always comes with the risk that earnest people will take you too literally. If you’re at all subtle about it, the risk increases. I’m responsible for taking those risks, and this is the result that I often get. No worries that you missed the snarky intent—it probably just means that you’re a much nicer person than I am.

        • Avatar Deborah Baker says:

          Steve Towers I have often wished for a SARCASM FONT…so that sarcastic comments could be more readily recognized and appreciated. Everyone knows ALL CAPS MEANS YOU’RE YELLING! I vote for a comic sans sarcasm font.

          • I wish we could do that here. Sigh. (Though I know that most people here would be happy for the option to edit their comments, another feature our system lacks. )

    • Shoot, Steve, I missed that yesterday, and am glad you posted it here today.

      So smart and funny, but not funny, for all obvious reasons that illustrate why Baugh’s reckless actions are such a dangerous slippery slope if his flock follows him.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Not funny that the girl who got T-boned pulling out of the driveway was my daughter.

        We also regret that the County didn’t hear our pleas to preserve the one-lane bridge that used to cross the creek, or replace it with a one-lane bridge. You would be hard pressed to design a better “traffic calmer” entering a school zone. Everyone who lived out here knew *had to* slow down as you approached the one-lane bridge. The alternative risked a head-on collision. When the new two-lane bridge was completed, the effect was immediate.

  9. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Leadership? Not. Anyway, thank you for the article. Now we know. Although Les Baugh wasn’t hiding it, he was bragging about it.

    • Agreed.

      On a related note, something I didn’t mention is that our former sheriff Tom Bosenko is a pal of Baugh’s, and regularly posts memes that display his agreement with Baugh and his own disdain for the governor and the lock-down rules. He’s more careful to not be so obvious, but his sentiments are clear. Makes me glad he’s no longer our sheriff.

      • Avatar Ann Webber says:

        Our new sheriff is no better. During the County Health and Human Services news conference he has been vocal about his disagreement with the governor’s positions. He has made a number of derisive comments and generally appears to be bored and not interested in enforcement of the current mandates.

      • Avatar Janice says:

        I noticed one of Bosenko’s replies to Baugh”s haircut said, “Glad you didnt get scalped!” So inappropriate.

        • I missed that, but I saw that Bosenko posted a meme on Baugh’s post of someone having his head shaved. I wonder if he later removed the reference to scalping, if someone called him on the carpet because of it.

        • Avatar Deborah M Vercammen says:

          When did anything Bosanko said make sense? Glad he is gone.

  10. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    Excellent article. Right-wing “pastors” like Baugh are leading the charge all over the country to violate life-saving precautions, during a pandemic that is ten times more deadly than the worst version of the flu. As a result they – and their congregants – are dying in droves, accompanied by a surge in deaths and illness in their surrounding communities.

    And even though leaders of the massive mega-church in Redding’s midst (with eleven thousand local followers) may be outwardly complying with State mandates by cancelling their larger services, the smaller gatherings they encourage and comments on their social media pages (avidly read and agreed with by thousands of their adherents) tell a very different story. As one example the wife of Bethel leader Bill Johnson posts such statements as “Time to get this country up and running. The brave made this country, not the fearful”, and “FREE AMERICA!”.

    • Sigh. I know.

      It’s disheartening when people of faith beat drums of dissension that put their followers and those they contact at risk to march to an early grave.

      Yes, we’ve posted that meme with line about “the brave made this country, not the fearful”. It’s a nice soundbite, but it’s so wrong. The brave AND the smart made this country. Stupidity will be our downfall.

    • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

      Of course they want their churches to be open. They can’t pass around the offering plate in an empty church.

      • Avatar Deborah M Vercammen says:

        Katheryn, now you are on the exact right track…Ugh, it’s always about money for those pastors that want the money to keep coming in. You most likely read the story about the moron church pastor in Florida that told his flock to keep coming and tithing and if they did they would find that supernaturally the toilet paper in their pantry would multiply. It’s this kind of thinking that causes many of us to shake our heads that people could be so stupid. Les’s thinking shows a lot the same ignorance. He should have been voted out of office a long time ago.

  11. Avatar Kathy says:

    Thank you, Doni.
    I missed all this drama as I am in Red Bluff. Of course we have our own self proclaimed rule breaker and mayor of Palo Cedro as well.
    As for Les Baugh, Pathetic that a hair cut “made him feel like a man again” .

  12. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    Well done, Doni.

    I still have positive memories of Les for how he generously helped me and other Shasta county residents resist another government program that actually WAS oppressive to citizens (the REU/TANC “powerline to nowhere”) but what Les did deserves to be revealed for the dangerous stupidity it was.

    BTW, For many years I was (and perhaps still am) the only driver who beat one of the Redding/Redflex camera citations after a factual argument in court.

    I can’t believe Redding still uses those citation traps. If you ever have an article in the works at MNC about this genuinely idiotic government program, please contact me for the story of my experience.

    • Ed, I thought about adding a line at the top of this column saying that I have had many years of admiration for Les. Back in the day, many decades ago during Marriage No. 1, my then-husband and I were friends of Les and his wife. I remember going to their home for a terrific Halloween party one year. But I skipped mentioning all that, because it kind of bugs me when someone says, “We were friends, but I’m going to eviscerate him today.”

      But yes, I liked Les. What wasn’t to like? A jolly guy, always smiling, someone who had a heart for needy kids and who seemed spiritual and concerned about humanity.

      Of course, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that I’ve lost a great deal of respect for Les lately. I doubt he likes me very much, either, but oh well.

      And red light cameras, yes, they’re one of my pet peeves. They’ve been on my topic list for years, but I haven’t gone there yet. You can bet someone here at ANC would love to talk to you about your experience. Congratulations on beating the ticket. You’re the only person I’ve heard of who’s done so. Good for you!

      I consider the red-light cameras one of Redding’s biggest mistakes.

  13. Avatar Jal Hohnson says:

    Man, schman. If you wanna be a real man, quit messin’ with barbers and shave your damn head. Extra points for using a straight razor.

  14. Avatar Mark Roman says:

    I’m a little bit of a fatalist, but this virus is all over the state, if your going to get it, your just goin’ to get it. Our peak is probably going to be during the tourist season, but we have ample hospital capacity to handle the surge. If you’re older and frail, obese, diabetic, asthmatic or have serious illness by all means isolate your self. The rest of us need to get back to work and maintain the social fabric.

    • Avatar Candace says:

      Mark Roman, older, frail, obese, diabetic, asthmatic, etc people make up a huge part of the swath of our “social fabric”. “Hospital beds ready” for that (again…huge) portion of our society shouldn’t translate to a self-fulfilling prophecy of those same people filling those beds with suffering and dying. Pick a friend or person in your family, say their name out loud and then call them up and tell them you think they, and only they, should remain indoors or risk dying in order for you to be able to get back to business as usual. Sounds harsh, right? So is classifying large groups of people’s lives as not being valued the same as others. Nobody, nobody, nobody likes any of this. Nobody.

      • Avatar Mark Roman says:

        This virus isn’t going away anytime soon. You need to be cautious and think about what you are doing. The reason for this sheltering in place never materialized in the Northstate. If the economy goes off the rails from maintaining the lockdown for too long, the the people mentioned will be in a worse spot, as it will be for many of us. The parroting of a FB meme accomplishes nothing, better decisions will.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Mark Roman, unless you’re referring to levels of suffering I’m not sure what constitutes being in a worse spot than being dead, that’s pretty final, but ok. Seems to me to be a reasonable assumption that the reason for sheltering in place in Shasta County likely never materialized is exactly that: we sheltered in place. Guess we’ll never know. My other guess is that we’ll find out fairly soon what happens if people aren’t careful when things start opening up again. I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. I’d never be happier to be proven wrong. Take good care.

  15. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Thanks for writing this, Doni, so I didn’t have to! I confess that when I saw Les Baugh’s haircut Facebook post, I was immediately stricken with a loss of words. All I could do was tell Les to mask up and make sure he washes his hands if he’s going to do this kinda stuff. I’m afraid to feed this particular right-wing troll, and that is certainly what Baugh is doing, trolling for attention. As you noted, more than half the people commenting on Baugh’s post were in agreement with him. You’ve done a far better job of shaming Shasta County Supervisor Les Baugh than I could have ever managed!

    • Thanks, R.V.

      I thought about not feeding the trolls, and I knew that Baugh’s haircut was just a way to kick a hornets’ nest, but it was bugging me and I found myself thinking about it constantly. Writing about it was a pressure-release valve for me, so it was selfish on my part.

      When I chose the comments from his page, I really tried to do a one-for-one for-and-against selection, and as I mentioned, I didn’t make it through all 500+ comments, but it did look evenly split, and don’t forget, the commenters were all Baugh’s Facebook friends (as I am.)

  16. Avatar Gary Rogers says:

    Funny how even a Shasta county supervisor can present the attitude to be like the Big Boys in Washington and Sacramento by doing whatever HE wants to do and not care about the people who vote.

    • Correct, Gary. But that attitude seems to render those guys almost bullet proof, as many Americans like that tough-guy bravado. What always amazes me is when their supporters can’t see how those guys’ actions are hurting our people and our country.

  17. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Can or would the BOS censure a member for such a stupid act? Adulting is hard. And yeah, that idotic “made me feel like a man again” comment was a head shaker.

    • I suppose it’s possible, but I have a hunch it’s not likely. We’ll see. Just by association, his actions reflect poorly on all the supervisors, especially if they remain silent, which could appear as acceptance and agreement.

      (And the feeling like a man comment … yeah, it’s a keeper.)

  18. Avatar Bob McCall says:

    Great article Doni. That needed to be said. What an asshat.

  19. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


  20. Avatar louanne says:

    A little Popinjay!

    • Avatar Candace says:

      louanne, Popinjay indeed (although I’m not sure wearing an asshat would classify as preferred Popinjay attire).

  21. Avatar Kevin Lewis says:

    It’ll take a lot more than a haircut to make Less Baugh a man.

  22. Avatar Anita Lynn Brady says:

    “If only Michael Brown had done what he was ordered to do, he’d be alive today!
    Colin Kaepernick should lose his job because he kneeled on the football field sideline!
    Women should have their reproductive process regulated and restricted because of my religious beliefs!

    I don’t want to wear a mask; socially distance or wash my hands. I demand my freedom of choice.”

    So-called reasoning by the Red part of the Blue State CA.

    I have sought for years now, a word that encapsulates “being a mega-hypocrite”.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Speaking of being hypocritical – signs are being held by protestors who are demanding that the country be immediately thrown open (and who refuse to wear a mask or limit their movement) that read “My Body, My Choice”. Of course these are the same people who fight tooth-and-nail against giving women the same choice when it comes to their reproductive freedom.

    • Well said, Anita.

      Maybe here at ANC we can work on finding that perfect word. It’s out there. We just have to find it.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        In my experience that would take three words: “White Fundamentalist Christian”, which it seems is the #1 prerequisite for being hypocritical, racist, sexist, homophobic, and a whole slew of other unpleasant things

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:


        • Avatar Candace says:

          Those “My body, My Choice” signs are of course intentional to throw that sentiment back in the faces of pro-choice folks. I’m pro-choice and while I think the analogy is stupid, carrying those signs was not done “stupidly”; it was done purposely by anti-abortion folks. It’s wholly political and it got the attention that they were seeking.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            Candace ,

            No doubt that was their intention. However, I think it backfired on them, since normal society would just view that as demanding rights for themselves that they want to deny others.

  23. Avatar Hollis Pickett says:

    Superb rant – points clearly expressed and well taken! Hasn’t the man ever heard of pomade or Dippity-Do?

  24. Avatar Victoria Green says:

    Minutes after Gov. Greg Abbott announced salons and barbershops in Texas could reopen Friday, a Dallas salon owner was sentenced to seven days in jail Tuesday for violating state and county orders to close her salon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Shelley Luther, owner of Salon a la Mode, was fined to $7,000 for ignoring a restraining order from state District Judge Eric Moyé, according to the Dallas Morning News. She also received a cease-and-desist letter from County Judge Clay Jenkins on Friday. She ripped up the letter the next day at a rally.

    Jessica Flores, USA TODAY
    ,USA TODAY•May 5, 2020

    • Thanks for sharing. Interesting. It’s nice to know some places take those violations seriously.
      But why do I have a hunch that here in Shasta County, no such sentencings will occur? I’m guessing Les felt confident enough about being invincibly above the law to pull this stunt. To him, it’s a big joke. You can tell from the comments that many people admire him for what he did.

      It makes me wonder if the fallout would have been different, and justice swift, had it just been an average citizen who made a spectacle out of publicly breaking a law with a haircut at a nonessential business. This story perfectly illustrates how those in power can abuse their positions and come away unscathed. One of the perks of being an elected leader, I guess.

  25. Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

    Gee Les, I just want marijuana to be legal so I may indulge in the privacy of my home, so I may grow a plant or 2 on my 5 acres.
    But I’m glad that you are the all seeing example of what is acceptable and appropriate.

    You are a LOSER LES!

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Another thing to consider is, the vast majority of barbers and hair stylists don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. So how long do you want these folks to go without any income? I have been getting my haircut from the same person for quite awhile now, I trust that she would do everything under her power to ensure my safety. That should be my decision. I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with the government telling us that we can’t make a living and provide for our family.

      • Avatar Kathryn McDonals says:

        I believe they can get unemployment benefits under the gig worker provisions.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Thanks, Kathryn…you are correct, however I contacted my barber and asked if she was getting benefits ( I of course explained why I was asking, because of this discussion) She said she applied but it is taking forever to get approval. She has yet to receive any money. I applied for benefits on March 29th, and the process went fairly quickly for me.

          • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

            Did you apply as a gig worker? My daughter is also waiting.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            No, I’m just a regular worker that got furloughed. My last day of work was March 24th. It took a couple of days to apply because the website was often down, but once I got in and was able to apply, the process was quick and easy.

    • Dang, Chad, I should have added marijuana to my list of examples. Exactly!

      Oh, and what about stop signs? I have one in my neighborhood that’s really silly. I think I’ll start ignoring it today. And if I’m stopped for RPD, my defense will be Baugh’s Rule, where Les is more.

  26. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    How come I can’t get a haircut, but I can go into any liquor store in the city? Why are barber shops closed but marijuana dispenseries are open? There is no science behind these arbratary closings. Why are liquor stores open? Because the state collects a large amount of taxes from them. It’s about money. This is why we are growing tired of the restrictions. I went to the Sundial Bridge Sunday to walk my dog. It was as crowded as I’ve ever seen.
    Being a 64 year old man, I am blessed with a full head of hair and haven’t received a haircut in 2 months at least. I certainly need a haircut more than I need a bottle of Jack Daniels.

    • Doug, I’m not going to argue about whether or not the mandates make sense, because I agree that many are confounding and even inconsistent. I get it. But these are rules we’re stuck with in an effort to protect people from a deadly virus.

      Yes, if I were queen of California I’d have made different choices regarding what’s essential and what’s non-essential. But what I think is essential doesn’t matter. I am not an epidemiologist, I’m just a citizen who’s just as weary of the shut-down as anyone else.

      That’s not the point here. And of course, we are ALL tired of the restrictions. The point is that District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh behaved in a way that said he was above the law, which, in term, tells the public that it’s OK if they behave that way, too. Come on in! The water’s fine. Look! No sharks!

      (And, as Jenny Abbe so astutely pointed out below, Susie Baugh, vice mayor of the city of Anderson, went along with it. A disappointing two-fer.)

      Maybe we can agree to disagree about the specifics of the shut-down, and maybe even draft a list of our ideas, for next time. Because there WILL be a next time.

      Stay safe, Doug. Be thankful you have a nice head of hair. Lucky you!

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        I am in no way giving Les a pass on this, I think it was unwise what he did. I just don’t understand the arbitrariness of these rules. I feel bad for the young lady that used to cut my hair, she is struggling right now to make ends meet, unable to take advantage of unemployment benefits. There were not huge crowds in hair salons, certainly less than when I was in Safeway yesterday. If I wear a mask, and my barber wears a mask, what’s the big deal? I would feel totally safe. Yep, full head of hair and no grey yet…I’m one of the lucky ones.

        • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

          “ Yep, full head of hair and no grey yet…I’m one of the lucky ones.”

          Doug, we’re about the same age, and you have a lot of dang gall. 🙂

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Sorry about that Hal…funny story here, a few years ago we had Thanksgiving at my brothers house. I am the middle child of 8 kids in my family and the only one that isn’t grey yet. My brother asked me what hair coloring product I use, because it looks so natural. I told them that it is all me, I don’t color my hair. He didn’t believe me and was pissed off at me the whole day, barely talked to me…I was like, really?

        • Avatar Anne Thrope says:

          Doug, she should be able to take advantage of unemployment now (but it may takes months before she is approved and gets that first check). Normally 1099ers are ineligible, but the state & feds have both made temporary changes due to the increasing size of the “gig economy.”

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


      I suspect that when you go into liquor stores you will encounter a plastic barrier between you and the clerk (like convenience stores), and signs telling customers to stay six feet apart. I see no such precautions taken between Les and his barber, which of course would be impossible, since getting a haircut involves being inches from someone’s face for a lengthy period.

      And as another commenter pointed out below, a decision was made that problem drinkers undergoing withdrawal and filling up the hospitals would be extremely counter-productive.

  27. Avatar Rick Zeller says:

    Doni, thanks for a well written article, full of common sense. Leaders should be leading by example, especially now.

    • Yes, we are all so confused, Rick, which is why, as you say, leaders should be setting (good) examples for us.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      To give Baugh a little credit, I think he actually is trying to lead by example. (Though he spends about half his essay denying that—borrowing punting the ball to achieve plausible deniability and shirking responsibility from the Trump playbook, it seems.)

  28. Steve Du Bois Steve Du Bois says:

    A lot of lessons there, Doni. Fascinating read. Thanks for your intense detail to arrogance. Oh, and you’re right. That yellow light is shorter.

    • Glad you liked it, Steve.

      And yes! I KNEW that yellow light was shorter!

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Doni, when I was on the Shasta County Grand Jury years ago, we did an extensive investigation of the Red Light Camera program. I spent better part of a day during that investigation timing yellow lights of monitored intersections and non-monitored intersections and compared them to the state mandatory standards. I can assure you that yellow light duration is right smack in the middle of the requirements laid out by state law. Yellow lights are not shortened. Cities are not allowed to change the timing of yellow lights. I went into that investigation with no real feeling either way about the program, but came out of it with the belief that it is a net positive for the city.

        My wife just recently got a red light violation at the same intersection, when we brought up the video of the offense, my wife made the left turn onto Hilltop, crossing the intersection 1.3 seconds after the light turned red. That was a dangerous maneuver that could have easily caused an accident.

        I never worry about red light cameras, because I am a cautious, attentive driver, I don’t think I have ever come close to running a red light in my lifetime. Statistics showed that…and I’m doing this off of memory so I may not be 100% correct, but if I remember, accident rates on the Cypress/Bechelli intersection dropped by over 30% a year after installing the red light camera. We can’t station a traffic cop on every intersection.

        The problem with this is, the fine for running a red light is $167…the corrupt state we live in adds fees to the fine which jacks up the cost of running a red light to over $400. That is unconscionable.

  29. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Preacher Porn (noun)

    Having your wife watch as you get your hair cut (manhood restored) by another man.
    The continued reference to both active participants as a “free man” acting on their “own free will” is to avoid anti-solicitation laws.

    • Preacher Porn. I love it. (Les forgot about Samson.)

      Very observant about the fact that Les mentions his wife being there.

      And also astute of you to point out the “free man” and “own free will” clauses, which he probably felt would protect him. Hair-splitting. Literally.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Maybe Les’s wife is the one who thought he needed a haircut. Maybe because he was getting a little *too* manly.

      Delilah she climbed up on Samson’s knee
      Said tell me where your strength lies if you please
      She spoke so kind and she talked so fair
      Well Samson said, Delilah cut off my hair

      You can shave my head, clean as my hand
      And my strength will become as natural as any old man

      —”Sampson and Delilah” Rev. Gary Davis

      • Avatar Semi-Retired says:

        This is off the top of my head so I may not be 100% accurate. I believe Bob Weir spent some time hanging out with the Reverend Gary Davis. Anyway, I really like Weir’s interpretation of that song.

  30. Avatar Peggy Elwood says:

    Two thumbs WAY UP Doni…..I have always admired your guts and grit in speaking up to power and showing us what integrity looks like!

    • Thank you, Peggy, but writing this took no guts. My words were a result of my frustration at seeing an elected leader blatantly ignore rules the rest of us are supposed to follow.

  31. Avatar Lita ViCo says:

    Thank You Doni! Yes! I am SO Happy you laid this out! I will be forever grateful that you put this out, I have been so put down by these Clowns that keep tripping around in their own little personal Circus! 🙁

  32. Avatar Greg Lawson says:

    Bravo, Doni! A pastor? Really? I would never have guessed.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Baugh is a right-wing “pastor”, which there are far too many of in Shasta County. They believe that the government should abandon the poor and disabled (the church will supposedly give the “deserving poor” what they need – of course no one who isn’t paralyzed from the neck down through no fault of their own is considered “deserving”), they are war mongers, advocates for unlimited guns, and are generally racist, sexist, and homophobic.

  33. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    Liqueur stores remain open nationwide because they HAVE to be open.

    For any who don’t understand why this is (and are too lazy to search for the answer) widespread alcohol addiction in the USA requires widespread infrastructure:

    “…the associate director of Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, psychiatrist Robert Swift, said abruptly cutting off the supply for problem drinkers could make things worse by sending them into alcohol withdrawal.

    “Which is a syndrome characterized by hyper-activity, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, sometimes hallucinations, sometimes seizures, and a small percentage of people can actually die from experiencing this,” he said.

    As Dr. Swift said, an increase in cases of alcohol withdrawal would bring more people to the hospital, at the worst possible time: “At this point we really want … people to not go to the hospital so should we have a surge of COVID-19 patients in Rhode Island, there will be beds for them, and we can care for these people who are critically ill.”…”

  34. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    A Pastor who co pastors a church with pastor Dave Honey of the Good News Rescue Mission

  35. Avatar Karen says:

    Here is what I love…you can nail a subject like I want to with all my heart (were I a writer) and still give me a chuckle, even when the content is disgusting! I wish I could have written, “sheep, draped in red, white and blue, would flock to the jail to bleat the injustice of it all.” I personally call them sheeple. Maybe we just need a few sheeple dogs. A wonderful article, Doni. Civil disobedience like this will prolong the suffering of so many. It saddens me that some people think of no one but themselves and their petty, selfish, childish (although I hate to disparage children) desires.

    • Thanks, Karen.

      “Sheeple” … another great word. Dang, another missed opportunity.

      I have no doubt that Baugh’s act of disobedience will have a ripple effect, as his believers follow his lead, and proceed without caution. It’s so sad, and so unnecessary.

  36. Avatar Jenny Abbe says:

    Thank you, Doni, for articulating what so many of us think about this selfish act. Let’s not forget that there was another elected official with him on his bad hair day: Anderson City Council member Susie Baugh. It’s unforgivable that as lawmakers, they want to project lawlessness. Ironically, Supervisor Baugh’s Ballot statement in 2018 read: “I’m unwavering in my support for law-enforcement.” He has now officially wavered. Are barbers and hair stylists in a tough spot? Of course, along with thousands of other small businesses, gig workers, kids out of school, frontline grocery, delivery and healthcare workers. Look around and see which elected officials in our society are trying to push for temporary relief in exchange for safety measures. Then see who’s bending the rules for their own gratification, endangering the wider community, and in the process influencing their constituents to do the same. Susie Baugh is up for re-election in November, Les in 2022. Vote out their dangerous echo chamber.

    • Jenny, thank you! Well said!

      I cannot believe that I overlooked the other elected official in the barbershop, Les’s wife, Anderson City Council vice mayor, Susie Baugh. Much appreciated for pointing that out.

      And I love the quote you pulled from Baugh’s ballot statement. Ironic, isn’t it?

      You’re correct that both Baughs are up for re-election; Susie come November, and Les in (sigh) 2022. We can only wonder what the world will be like in two years.

  37. Avatar Lisa says:

    I offered to lend him my freshman biology textbook. Haven’t heard back.

  38. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    This is what white privilege looks like.

    • Avatar Katie says:

      Yes, and a feeling of entitlement. It’s disappointing.

      • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

        White male entitlement. A male Karen.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          White male entitlement? White privilege? Good grief…bringing race and sexism in this conversation? Now I’ve heard everything.

          • Avatar Chad Magnuson says:

            What would you call it if not “white privilege” or “male entitlement”?
            Would you call it freedom of expression to violate laws? Acceptable behavior by an elected official, or justification for a political stunt?

            As a county supervisor Les has a sworn obligation to follow the law, to respect the premise of a state emergency, to not be an ass…….
            But it is obvious his religion and his moral allegiance to societal norms is different from mine.

  39. Avatar Eleanor says:

    Helluva post, Doni! One of your best, and that’s saying something. Had to read it twice, and had to laugh at all the ‘Les’ sprinkled throughout. I’m thinking he will read it, especially since it is written so personally to him, and one might think he might think it through, and respond accordingly.


    • Thank you, Eleanor. 🙂

      I would be shocked if Les responded, but if he does, rest assured I will share his response here on ANC.

      • Avatar Kirsten plate says:

        Sadly, Doni……even though Les got a good shot of “manliness ” , I doubt he has the guts to reply. I have liked a lot about this person, and been glad to occasionally share thoughts with him, but this last performance has made me lose my respect for him. Sadly.
        Mostly, because I find it so important that we try to listen to “the other side”. Agree to disagree. Making it a Ginsburg/Scalia friendship.

  40. Avatar Dan Greaney says:

    Doni, thank you.
    Les, I’m proud of my state for doing a very good job of reducing Covid mortality. I’m proud of Shasta County–its citizens, businesses, and governments–who are also reducing that mortality.
    A difference between civilization and savagery is shared laws and norms. Civilization can exist with self-rule when we exercise self-discipline. It’s fine to disagree, but not to break our civil code, especially when the violation puts others at risk. As they say, freedom is not free. It requires self-discipline.

    • Avatar Steve M. says:

      Great comment Dan. I agree completely.
      Doni, a fine piece of writing. Congrats!
      Again and again I am amazed and so thankful we in the Northstate have such brilliant writers available to us at A News Cafe. This includes our community of posters as well.
      Fabulous everyone!

      • Thank you, Steve M. I join you in that feeling of gratitude for ANC’s brilliant community of writers and readers. It takes a village. I feel pretty happy about that. I’m glad you’re here, too.

    • I agree with your points, Dan. Well said.

  41. Avatar Rhonda says:

    Great article! Had me literally clapping my hands in applause for you!

  42. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    Doni! I appreciate your thoughts and perfect words! You said all of things that I have been stewing about! I did submit a letter to the Board of Supervisors, which was read prior to the meeting yesterday. I also filed a complaint with the County Health and Human Services Department. The one result that Les may not have considered is the state is relaxing to phase 2, counties that exhibit the ability and willingness to efficiently manage the process. His actions demonstrate that our county officials are thumbing their noses at the restrictions. So if they give us an inch, he will likely take a mile.
    I also filed a complaint with the State Board of Barbers and Cosmetology. Interesting that they did not have a record of license for that particular shop or individual barber.
    The “feel like a man” statement really made my feminist skin crawl! And made me think of the Five Man Electrical Band song lyrics, “long-haired freaky people need not apply”. I imagine there was a time, maybe still is, that Les thinks less of some who don’t fit into his parameters of who is worthy.
    Again, thank you for your astute take on this and your mastery of communication!

  43. Avatar Connie Koch says:

    Stands and applauds you Doni! Well done! Your examples were perfect! Thank you for saying what needed to be said!

  44. Avatar Penny Steiner says:

    It astounds and breaks my heart that so many in this county and nation have decided to risk others’ health in a misguided pursuit of freedom. Such exercises will result in many “de-selecting” themselves from this life. Given the partisan nature of those taking such acts, it will assuredly most affect those of a certain party. It’s hard to advance your political agenda when you’re dead.

    • Penny, nice to see you here.

      You sum up the situation perfectly. And it’s very sad to see people behave in ways that make it clear that they are thinking only of themselves, and not the potential dire consequences to others (and themselves, too).

  45. Avatar Sandra Vaughan says:

    “The Flood Gates are open” How appropriate! I have had a horrible feeling in my gut all day! Something is coming. And to see this article was perfect. Feels like I am caught in middle of tornado of righteousness, propaganda, conspiracy theory, confederate flag non-sense swirling all around me.

    As I sit here and wonder deeply; how bad will it get, how many will die and how are we going to find true north again for humanity? Based on the new temperature rising today, I am left with the knot in my stomach, aching for reality, responsibility and renowned leadership to prevail once again!

    I am afraid, not just for the north state, but the country and the world as this is only the second inning of a long pandemic and economic crisis game we’re all playing. And all the Les’s in world are not going to help us win this!

    Tragic times 🙁

  46. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    Curiosity led me to check out some of the comments on Les’s FB post. One just cracked me up.

    “I’m getting so desperate I may have to get my sheep curls lopped off my Woody.”

    Perhaps it’s this kind of reaction that sometimes prompts my bride to say, “When we met in high school, I thought you were so mature. What happened?”

  47. Avatar Julie Gutierrez says:

    Last time I checked, we live in a free
    Country. I consider it a consensual act. The patron wanted his hair cut and the barber obliged. No animals were harmed during this process. All who partook in the act knew the risks. And yes i know the character of Les Baugh, who lives and breathes red, white. And blue, who loves God and his country will make it right with Mr. Clendenon, who is an awesome guy too.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Julie — Living in a free country comes with *more* personal responsibility, not less. In the current situation, Baugh’s “I do what I want” mentality puts everyone else in the community at risk. That’s how deadly pandemics work, unfortunately.

      Nobody goes out and intentionally gets sick with a disease that’s killed 75,000 Americans in a short time—but the probability of that happening rises the less cautious you are. You get sick because you think it’s all about your freedom to do whatever you like, and next in line are your kin, friends, neighbors, work colleagues, essential workers who serve you, and medical professionals who will try to save you.

      It’s a selfish gamble, to put it politely.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      Religious ideology should never be allowed to pass for responsible, informed decision making. As individuals, or preachers, we have every right to be ignorant as we like but elected officials are responsible to all of us and should be held to higher standards of informed decision making. Any elected officials who refuse to accept established science, (COVID-19, AGW), in favor of political idologies, should be reoved from office and stripped of all benefits.

  48. Avatar Milo Johnson says:

    I try to get information from as many sources as possible and the use common sense and my own experience to determine the best course of action. It turns out that the best “common sense” source about the Covid-19 Virus that I have found is my own acquaintance, Dr James Williams. He is a career ER Doctor and holds the civic title of Local Health Authority of Reagan County, Texas, southeast of Midland-Odessa. Every few days he put out a detailed update of his conclusions on his Facebook account. Here is his update for today, May 6th:
    ames Stuart Williams
    6 hrs

    Friends, it’s getting harder to write these CoV2 updates for y’all as time passes, and I have been concentrating on getting this one ready since last week. This is actually the third major rewrite.

    The difficulty is in part because actual, real news about the CoV2 pandemic has become somewhat thin (the science is proceeding at a faster than usual pace, but it’s still slower than most of us would like). And trust me, as someone who has spent years in a biochemistry lab putting things in and out of test tubes, this stuff will never be televised on ESPN. The other difficulty is that public discussion of the state of the pandemic has become badly obfuscated by a lot of conflicting “authorities”, some of whom are politically motivated, but many of whom are just plain wrong.

    So today’s Update will be my attempt to deliver some of the important information as correctly as possible.

    1. No, The CDC Is Not Deliberately Lying To Us

    Last weekend CDC released its confirmed CoV2 umbers, and a whole bunch of people got their panties twisted up over it.

    Yes, 37,000 confirmed deaths seemed like a huge downshift from 68,000 deaths… but most folks didn’t read the entire bulletin. Which wasn’t very long, and there was no excuse for not reading it, but lots of folks (including me!!) didn’t do so at first.

    One of the CDC’s jobs is tracking epidemics. They do this with many diseases, including measles, pertussis, and influenza every year. They do NOT publish flu infection and death tallies in the middle of influenza season and say that’s the final word, because the epidemic is ongoing. But in every year in May they DO publish their summary findings of the previous winter’s flu season. (This past week they published that summary btw, and there were over 80,000 confirmed influenza deaths in the US. That’s a bad flu season.)

    Last week’s CDC numbers on CoV2 were collated in the same manner as they do flu and measles. They are still collecting data, because the epidemic is ongoing. They simply announced the tally of confirmed CoV2 deaths as of 4/25 was about 37,000. They further suggested that, based on their experience in tracking epidemics, this extrapolates to about 65,000 actual CoV2 deaths to date, but this is only an estimate.

    So calm down. CDC might have screwed up the CoV test kits back in Feb/Mar, and they may have been giving out contradictory recommendations on how to deal with this virus, but this isn’t a sign of malfeasance. They are a small agency with limited resources trying to deal with a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

    Mistakes are bound to happen. CDC is tracking the numbers, and they are the best in the business at that. Give them time to figure it out. We aren’t done yet.

    2. We Are Nowhere Near Done With CoV2 Yet

    Friends, this virus will be with us for a long time yet. We are not done. We aren’t even close to done.

    Every epidemiologist and virologist I’ve talked to or read has said the same thing. The features of this virus’s infectiousness and virulence strongly suggests the epidemic will not be done until 2021 or even 2022.

    This doesn’t mean it will be producing the numbers of deaths we saw in the beginning. If you look at the graph I’ve attached to this post, you can see that what we have done with our measures so far was replace the pink curve for the blue one.
    By flattening toward the Blue Curve, we have given our systems time to adapt. Our hospitals and medical systems have prepared and are now better able to deal with a local or regional outbreak than they were in February. Our testing systems are more robust, so we are better able to detect hot spots before they flare out of control. We have better treatment protocols for severely ill people. So the likelihood of another New York City outbreak occurring in the future is much, much lower.

    And there are a lot of unknowns yet. We don’t know whether the virus is going to mutate to a less deadly form, or “burn itself out”. We don’t know yet how long it will take for 60% or more of the population to develop immunity to the virus (“herd” immunity). We don’t know if effective antiviral drugs may become available in significant amounts. We don’t know if an effective vaccine will be developed.

    All of these things will affect the length of time we will have to keep dealing with the reality of CoV2. But it will be in the ballpark of 1-2 years.

    3. The Models are Garbage, Both the Old and the New

    If by now you still believe that the “science” of developing models for this pandemic is accurate, you haven’t been paying attention.

    The early models of the pandemic were much, much worse than the reality. The Imperial College model, upon which most of Europe and North American countries based their pandemic response, has been shown to badly overestimate the death rate/numbers and equally badly underestimated the common sense behavior of ordinary people. It also badly underestimated the numbers and likelihood of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infections. And so on.

    A lot of people point at the Swedish model and say it was the one we should have followed, but if you look at the model and the progress of the pandemic in Sweden, it’s really not much better than the Imperial model. It got a lot of things wrong. Sweden may be looking like it’s doing better than the rest of Europe because of factors that their model completely ignored. In other words, they very likely just got lucky.

    Now I’m reading about new models coming out of universities all over the place, most of which are predicting awful future events. Of course, the American media is all over these doom-and-gloom models. Talk of a “second wave” and other fantasies is rampant. And there is no good reason to believe in ANY of them.
    Because modeling is an inexact tool at best, useful for public policy planning only. You look at various models, try to decide which are most likely, and make your plans to deal with the future based on your best guess. That’s about as good as it can get.

    And as America is finding out now, if you plan poorly based on a faulty model and you wreck your economy, the unintended consequences may be worse than the problem you were dealing with to start with.

    So stop believing in models. They’ve been mostly wrong and always will be. And by the way, this applies equally to the “climate change” models that have been big news for the past 30 years.

    4. “Flattening The Curve” Is Being Falsely Redefined

    The first thing to recall right now is that the purpose of social distancing and “flattening the curve” was NOT to reduce the number of deaths due to CoV2.

    That’s right: I am saying that just as many people will die from CoV2 infections even with social distancing. And we (the scientists and doctors) told everybody this back in early March.

    But somehow the public has come to believe that social distancing and wearing a mask (pretty much useless) will “save lives”. No, it won’t. That was never the purpose.

    The original and clearly stated reason we needed to invoke social distancing was to prevent overwhelming our health care system. Not because we wanted to protect doctors and nurses as if they were some sort of privileged upper class (we’re not), but because if hospitals got overwhelmed, then deaths from ALL CAUSES would go up due to the system being paralyzed by too many CoV2 cases. It was an essential step taken to give our systems enough time to ramp up their capacity and equipment to deal with CoV2 cases effectively.

    We have done that, as nearly every authority I’ve read seems to agree. We can come out of hiding. We can deal with this virus and get on with our lives, at least the vast majority of us can.

    5. Wearing A Mask In Public Does Not Protect You Or Anyone Else

    I have been truly amazed to see the use of masks explode in the past 2 weeks. Even more amazing is the number of local governments that have enacted laws requiring masks.

    This flies in the face of ALL the science. Here on my Facebook page I have previously linked at least 2 very, very solid medical articles explaining why public mask-wearing is at best useless, and at worst may be more dangerous than not wearing a mask. The United States Surgeon General has gone on record saying the same thing, for Pete’s sake!

    Two months ago people were buying up toilet paper like it was cheap gold, and now people are wearing masks like they are magic talismans. (I suspect it’s mostly the same people.)

    When it comes to blocking virus-laden droplets, ALL of the medical literature says the same thing, folks:
    1) cloth masks are next to useless;
    2) surgical masks may reduce risk to others when worn by people who are acutely ill with CoV2 (and think about it… acutely ill people are NOT going to be shopping with you at the grocery store); and
    3) properly fitted respirators like N95’s are essential for doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists who are doing high-risk procedures on infected persons, but for everybody else they don’t do much good at all.

    So let’s stop it with the mask nonsense. Please.

    6. CoV2 Isn’t Going to Kill You or Your Family (…Probably)

    We have seen enough numbers now to know that CoV2 has a CFR/IFR (case/infection fatality rate) of about 0.1%, and it’s likely that only 15-20% of the population has been infected. So this means that each of us living in America right now has a chance of dying from this virus of about 2 in 10,000. This may go up to as high as 5 in 10,000 by the end of the year.

    That sounds bad, right? But let’s put it in perspective. Your chance of being killed by heart disease this year is about 19 in 10,000. Cancer, about 18 in 10,000. If you combine your risk of death by heart disease, cancer, and accident (these are the 3 top causes of death in America), your chances of dying this year is almost 70 out of 10,000. Now, compare that to 2 in 10,000 for CoV2 and decide if your fear of CoV2 is really justified.

    At this point we know from closed-community events (shipboard infections on Diamond Princess and Theodore Roosevelt) that roughly half of CoV2 infections are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. So, if you lived on an isolated island with 10,000 people on board, here’s how it would probably break down:

    • 6000 people would get sick with CoV2
    • 4000 people wouldn’t get sick at all
    • 3000 people (50% of infected) wouldn’t know they were sick, or would have just “a touch of a cold”
    • 1800 people (30% of infected) would get sick enough to need to stay in bed for a few days
    • 1200 people (20% of infected) would need to see the doctor, and most of those would not require any special treatment
    • 240 people would need ICU treatment
    • 6 people would die

    That’s the breakdown, folks. It’s really that simple. The fear factor in our society over this disease is way out of proportion to its reality.

    That’s all I can reasonably write for now. Keep on keepin’ on, my friends.

    (For further reading on this topic, I encourage you to go to and read his May 5 article, “Can We Discuss Flatten-the-Curve in COVID19?” He does a brilliant job of summarizing the medical realities of the pandemic. I will link his article on my FB page later today.)

    James S. Williams M.Sc. M.D.

  49. Avatar Candace says:

    Julie G, Last time I checked we live in a country governed by laws. Whether or not one agrees with a law does not make the consensual breaking of it anything less than simply a breaking of the law. A person consents to steal your car in order to supply another who consents to buy your stolen car. The deal was consensual; the law was still broken. There are a lot of antiquated, stupid laws still on the books but some are there for our safety and protection. You don’t like the laws? Vote for people that will change them. That’s what we do in a free country; the very same country represented by that red,
    white and blue flag you spoke of.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Just to be clear, there was no law passed to shut down businesses. It was a Declaration of Emergency that was given by Gov Newsom. On March 12, Newsom issued an executive order that states “All residents are to heed any orders and guidance of state and local public health officials, including but not limited to the imposition of social distancing measures, to control the spread of COVID-19″. If you want to get technical, the phrase in the declaration, “All residents are to heed any orders and guidance …”If you look up the word heed in the dictionary, you will discover that it means “to give consideration attention to.” It does not say you must obey. So the way I look at it, Gov. Newsom did not actually issue an executive order requiring Californians to practice social distancing. All he did was order people to pay attention to what the California Department of Public Health are recommending. Looking at California’s quarantine laws…it only pertains to those that are sick. This is where the local health official appears to have overstepped their authority. The counties are not looking at this on a case by case bases. Instead, they are issuing broad orders that affect both the healthy and the sick.

      So to me, those officials that are threatening people with arrest for violating social distancing is wrong. If someone wants to open their barber shop, that should be between him/her and their customers.

      • Avatar Donica says:

        YES!!!!!!! I agree 100% you hit the nail on the head. This article makes me sick to my stomach to read its so hateful and bashing. Feels to me like someone who already had a bad taste in their mouth about Les and found (what they thought) an opportunity to take some low blows. Their is no balance to this article its all bashing. A good article will have balance so you can see good and bad ( both sides of the story) in the situation you are writing about.

        • Avatar Candace says:

          Donica, It’s not a news article; it’s an opinion piece. Huge difference.

        • Donica, with all due respect, this “article” is not a news story, but an opinion piece.

          But for what it’s worth, I included in this column a slew of comments I extracted from Les Baugh’s FB post, pretty much a 50/50 split between those who believe Les Baugh is an American hero whose actions should be applauded, and those who believe Les Baugh is a reckless, grandstanding, irresponsible, hypocritical, egomaniac idiot, especially given his position as an elected leader.

          It “feels to you” like I already had a bad taste in my mouth about Les, and I used this as an opportunity to “take some low blows”? His stunningly irresponsible actions were low-hanging fruit, and frankly, I’m disappointed – but not surprised – that he hasn’t suffered any consequences for his actions, because that just gives a green light for regular folks to ignore CDC, federal, state and county public safety orders and guidelines.

          If there’s a spike in cases because of people who follow Baugh’s lead, that’s on his head.

          • Avatar Donica says:

            The way you speak of him just really leads one to believe you had issues with him before.
            I counted up the negative and positive comments an not you did not post a fair amount. Their is 11 negative and 7 positive. you did not see the story from the other side and that in my opinion is what a good writer would do.

            Lots of counties are going against governors, CDC,federal and state safety orders so will you be writing articles about Yuba, Sutter county and all the other businesses and people? Its happening everywhere people breaking the orders ( not a law).

            People have a choice if someone wants to go get their hair cut because someone else did it then it is the fault of the person making the decision.
            So no a spike in cases will not be on Les Baugh’s head it will be on anybody who makes the personal choice. People are given free will to think for themselves and are responsible for their own actions no matter who influenced it.

            If we were going to see a spike it would be happening due to the fact that way more people have been out and about shopping for the last couple weeks then when we first went into sheltering in place. So that spike you are speaking of is highly unlikely.

      • Doug, just to be clear, on March 19 Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring the state’s 40 million residents to remain in their homes unless they were classified as essential workers. The point of keeping us home was to enact the ultimate in social distancing.

        You can hair-split all you want about words like “heed”, but I think a governor’s executive order carries a lot of weight, especially when it’s done in the middle of a pandemic as a health-and-safety measure.

  50. Avatar K says:

    Well said. Nothing to add.

  51. Avatar Disgusted in Shasta says:

    I’ve lived in Shasta County the most of 60 years, and I’ve never been so embarrassed as I am now to read so many hateful and ignorant comments about a truly fine man who like me and millions of Americans are fed up with this overblown chinese virus foisted on us by even more hateful democrats for no other reason than to make our great President look bad, and somehow get him out of office. God Bless Les Baugh, a better man than any who posted on this rag.

    • Avatar Steve M. says:

      OMG, I rescind my comment above praising our commenters.

    • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

      Now, that just stung.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I’m trying to be more civil these days, but you wrote that a virus that’s going to kill well over 100,000 Americans, despite extraordinary measures, was foisted upon us by hateful Democrats. Them’s fightin’ words.

      Our great President of 4.25% of the world’s population has overseen 28% of the COVID-19 deaths—so far—because he dropped the ball.

      And now I’ve had two glasses of red wine, so I’m just going to say it right out loud. You’re a mouth-breather, pal. A genuine scheisse-for-brains.

      You want to defend Baugh, but you don’t even have the courage to use your own name. I don’t agree with Baugh one bit, but he took a stand and put his name on it. He deserves better support than the likes of you. Piss off.

    • Avatar Donica says:


  52. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    People… stay on topic or your comment will be removed. Simple as that.

  53. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    And let’s review our comment policy for those that have just joined us.

    We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      I know I wandered off subject a bit when I addressed the Red Light Camera subject that came up…I apologize. But I’m scratching my head a bit with ANC allowing Mr Marek to call me a ‘moron’, not once but twice. Does that not violate your comment policy?

      • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

        My admonition wasn’t directed at you. The comments in question were removed before most people saw them.

        And you are right. Those comments have been removed.

        • Barbara’s back in the saddle. Thank you, Barbara.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          Thank you …I realize you have many comments to muddle through, no doubt a daunting task to be a babysitter here

        • Avatar Ed Marek says:

          As you can see, I had already moved my own comments on this issue “on-topic”, to the open thread, before me comments were removed last night.

          “Ed Marek May 6, 2020 at 10:57 pm
          I took a look for any news RE Redding/Redflex since the ancient history I posted (off-topic) on the Les’s haircut story today. Doni, please consider if this deserves some follow-up.

          Both ANC and the RS reported on the Redflex contract renewal decision by the city council three years ago:

          “…It is safe to say Redding’s eight red-light cameras are not the city’s most popular feature. Unfortunately for grumbling drivers who got dinged $500 for a rolling right-hand turn or another infraction, the people who like them carry some clout: the police chief and all five city council members.

          Following the recommendation of Police Chief Rob Paoletti, the Redding City Council on Tuesday voted 5-0 to renew a four-year contract with Glendale, Ariz.-based Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that operates the cameras in Redding…”

          But neither story included any mention by Redding elected officials or city employees of what just might, perhaps, have been of interest to the citizens of Redding, the truly impressive record of Redflex’s extensive programs to bribe elected officials and government employees to secure contracts nationwide, during the entire period which it was partnering with Redding to issue red light camera tickets…

          Does it really seem plausible that the Redding Police Chief, the City Council, and all other staff involved didn’t Know about Redflex’s extensive criminal history at the time of the contract renewal?…”

          Barbara, I assume you removed my comments on this story for repeatedly using a single word, a “rude” term, in violation of your comment policy?

          Was anything else I wrote in violation of your policy?

          If that word was my violation, in the future Ill try to avoid using such descriptive terms, and let the readers fill in their own word for the behavior I comment on.

          Can you please tell me if have you recently removed any of my other comments?

          To inform others, I have never received any warning about or notice of any violation by me of the ANC comment policy.

          Doni, I hope you saw my comments before they were removed.

          I thought they comprised a basic explanation of how an unscrupulous corporation (as further illustrated in my remaining comment) absent effective control and oversight can take advantage of erroneous common assumptions of human capabilities and behavior, to sell a product that causes a community great harm, by mis-labeling it as a “public safety” program.

          And I hope to read more about this subject in a future ANC report.

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Yup. Name-calling not allowed here. We rarely give warnings; we assume people will behave themselves and not say anything here they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:

            Barbara, in reply to your comment below (hopefully?)

            Still wondering, Can you please tell me if have you recently removed any of my other comments?

            I appreciate the work you do, and am not trying to make it more difficult…

            But please reconsider your deletions, and replace my two posts above.

            After Mr. Cook commented, claiming particular expertise and authority on the Redding/Redlex redlight camera traps based on his government service, I pointed out in some detail the incompetence of both Shasta County Grand juries on the same subject, as well as failures in the program by Redding City Government in general. I don’t even recall making a personal characterization of Mr. Cook, as he stated I did in his complaint.

            Did I?

            OK, the Grand Jury is not exactly a highly exalted government position, but if I had used the same word to describe the incompetence of bodies of higher-ranking governmental functionaries, would you have deleted my comments just because one of them posted on MNC?

            Back on-topic, some fairly “rude” words have been used in comments here criticizing Les Baugh for actions he took that were not even in his official governmental capacity.

            Would you need to delete any of those comments, if Les were to come here and post comments in his defense?

            Americans have a long history of using colorful and even outright “rude” language in public to characterize government officials and their actions.

            Not on MNC?

          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            There was indeed a personal insult used. We do not edit comments to remove anything we deem inappropriate so the entire comment was removed.

            There is a difference between saying, “That was a stupid thing to say” and “He’s stupid.” Neither is ideal in terms of what we’d like to see here, but the former would be probably be allowed to stand.

          • Avatar Ed Marek says:


            For the third and last time:

            Can you please tell me if have you recently removed any of my other comments?

            I am only asking this to better understand and comply with your policies.

            If the answer is you can’t recall, I can well understand why.

            We can all continue to call all the government officials who are NOT posting here all the names we want…right?



          • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

            Two of your comments were removed.
            Name-calling is inappropriate here, as in “X, you are a jerk.” But “X, that was a jerk thing to say/do,” could be acceptable.
            Phrasing and context matter.

          • Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

            Ed, you write well, and you communicate your points effectively. You don’t need to resort to insults and name-calling. That goes on in most online forums, unfortunately. I’d really like to see ANC remain the exception to the rule.

          • Avatar Randy says:

            The “name calling” thing is quite interesting. The entire right wing promotes colossal lies about scientists and then back up their claims with other lies and fake information and when they get confronted with their lies they tell more lies. Don’t call them liars though or they will cry like babies. Add victim hood to the flag and the cross as the most over used tools of the GOP.

  54. Terry Turner Terry Turner says:

    Doni, this column was brilliantly done! I agree completely.

    It bothers me greatly that people declaring their right to be “free” don’t understand that if they contract the virus, they personally may be fine. They may be showing no symptoms, or will have a mild case with no horrific side effects. But they may pass it on to a loved one, a child, a spouse, a sibling, a parent or grandparent, who may then become very ill. That person may become permanently incapacitated, or even die well before their time.

    As I consider the potential risks vs the potential “reward” of opening too soon or in a haphazard way, I realize that to me, the risks are not worth it.

  55. Avatar Adam says:

    Wow, I’m shocked at the the fear and vitriol in people’s reactions. I don’t know much about this Les guy but he seems to be far more rational and even grown up than the online responses at least.

    Umm, the data on the virus doesn’t merit the response most folks have had on TV, I thought more “real folks” saw farther than that. A few scary stories does not an encompassing truth make. If this is a threat worth our full shutdown response, then we’ve done very, very well! CDC data and national predictions show about a 2% increase in total yearly deaths over what we have each year every year. We’ll see if that holds true but it appears most people aren’t in much danger

  56. Avatar bruce vojtecky says:

    We are all in this together but we are not together as the hate from both sides show. There is no middle ground, you are “them” or “us”.

    • Avatar Jason says:

      Hmm….not wise words, my little Yoda from Arizona. In the end, cowards are those who follow the dark side.

  57. Avatar Margy says:

    Excellent article – a side note about Les’s character – drive by his office building in the 1500 block of Hartnell, observe how Non-maintained it is – this is also where he rented an office to a massage business that specialized in ‘sex slaves’ Law enforcement closed them down prior to the closure of non-essential business. If not for the arrest, would he have allowed them to remain in business?

    • Avatar Susan R Bryant says:

      He isn’t Man enough to apologize even with his new haircut. Worst supervisor EVER. Thinks he is a man of God. Pffffft.

  58. Avatar John Dalton says:

    I was told via email to one of the board members that the others rebuked him in a closed session. Not strong enough for my liking and sweeping it all under the rug. Nothing about this with local news as to be expected. Even an insincere acknowledgement of wrong doing by Pastor Baugh might send a better message as a leader.

    • What I wouldn’t have given to have been a fly on the wall for that closed-door session.

      I don’t think we’ll hear any kind of apology from Baugh, because that would mean admitting wrongdoing, and I just don’t see that happening. I do wonder, though, if his hubris would waver if our infection/death numbers blossomed as people followed his lead.

  59. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    As County Supervisor, I believe Les was wrong with his FB post. It is not leading by example. However, if the gal that cuts my hair would reopen today, I would be first in line to get a well needed haircut. I would accept the risk factor, as I do when I shopped at Safeway yesterday.
    There are scientists that believe there are different strains of this virus. One that hit California much earlier and is not as deadly as the mutation that hit Europe and the East Coast. I believe this to be true I’m certain I got Covid-19 near Christmas time. I had all the symptoms and was off work for a week. The VA doctor I saw said it was a nasty virus that he had been seeing, of course at the time we didn’t know what it was.
    California is in better shape than most and should be able to start getting back to normal. I just wish we can take the politics out of this crisis. GOP givernors are critisized for wanting to reopen, but a Democrat governors same decision is ignored. Everybody is suffering, Democrats and Republicans alike

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      Doug Cook,

      You aren’t entitled to “accept the risk” for all the other people you’ll come into contact with after being practically nose to nose with your barber (who has been in close contact with who knows how many other people). And if you haven’t been tested for Covid-19 there’s no guarantee you’ve had it. It’s doubtful, since it even takes young healthy people several weeks to recover from this illness.

      • Avatar Donica says:

        A test is no guarantee. Only for that day! You can test negative one day and positive the next. To piggy back off of Doug there is no guarantee he has not had it. Unless you were the one sick its not fair for you to say that its doubtful they had it. Keep in mind they have been testing people who were sick before we all sheltered in place and they have immunities to the virus so yes they did have it before just because someone does not have a positive test does not mean they did not have it.

  60. Avatar SB says:

    I happen to think that the DUI laws a bit extreme. When I am away from the safety of my home, and having a few drinks, WHY should I have to pay money for a cab or Uber to get home? WHY should I have to leave my vehicle at someone’s home or sitting overnight in a bar/restaurant parking lot, only to have to find a way to retrieve it the next morning? After all, I don’t get THAT DRUNK, I mean I’m not falling down, only seeing with one eye open, puking drunk. I’m only “a little buzzed”, only have a bit of a “glow”, right? I can drive perfectly fine. These pesky DUI laws are a huge inconvenience and freedom to move freely.

    I’ll tell you why I can’t drive drunk. Because law makers put these laws in place to protect not only myself but other people on the road with me. However, maybe now that I see Les Bauugh breaking rules, can I too??!

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      Not quite the same thing, SB. DUI laws are just that, laws that were passed by the state legislatures. The Declaration of Emergency that Gov Newsom put in place was an order to comply with what the Dept of Public Health recommends., “…“All residents are to heed any orders and guidance …”
      Driving drunk will always be against the law…getting my haircut is not against the law…it may be violating a recommendation by the Governor, through the Dept of Public Health. But do we really want to go down the road of treating a hairstylist the same as a drunk driver? You want to put another father in handcuffs because he was playing Frisbee at a park with his son?

      I just returned from a quick trip to Safeway where there were approx. 20-25 people shopping, very few wearing masks. Would you call that equivalent to driving under the influence? Les was breaking rules by being with one other person…but I wasn’t breaking rules by being in a store with 25 strangers? We don’t say driving drunk is illegal, unless you are closer than 5 miles from your home. Illegal is illegal.

      • Avatar Candace says:

        Doug, The “law” has to do with “essential” businesses. Food is essential to survive; haircuts are not. It may be essential for you to be in a grocery store in order to buy food; it is not essential for you to be in a barbershop to have your hair cut. It may be essential to your barber to be employed but it’s not essential for your survival to visit his shop. So, whether or not you agree with which businesses should or shouldn’t be deemed as essential (and I think there’s not much rhyme or reason to some on the list) under the current restrictions , yes, Mr. Baugh was breaking the “law”; you were not. You are correct when you say “Illegal is illegal”. I may think a few of the slippery-slope “breaking the law” analogies being used in the context of the virus are somewhat silly just as I think the “driving cars vs the virus risk acceptance” argument those use to defend their position to buck the guidelines put in place to protect one another is silly. That’s partially due to the fact that I’m not typically a fan of slippery-slope arguments in general. Laws and the enforcement of those laws don’t care whether or not you or I think they’re stupid. If that were the criteria for following or not following laws we’d have total chaos. Still, all “should or shouldn’t” judgements put aside, I’m extremely lucky to have never been put in the impossible position of following well-intended, life-saving restrictions which include an unintended consequence of me literally not being able to feed myself or my family and unable to get any help. I don’t dismiss anyone’s struggles through this pandemic. Lastly, I think Mr. Baugh’s haircut antics were asinine. Wrapping oneself in the American flag to excuse acting like a grandstanding ass doesn’t make one less of an ass.

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          I will reiterate…Mr. Baugh was NOT breaking a law. The Declaration of Emergency that we are living under is not a law. But I agree with you that it was asinine for Les to post his haircut on FB….very unwise.
          But it is not breaking a law, it is going against the recommendations of the Ca Dept of Public Health.

          I realize that grocery stores are essential, that wasn’t my point. The point being that I am much safer having an one-on-one interaction with a barber than I am schlepping around a crowded grocery store. So I don’t buy into the outrage of someone getting a haircut…not thrilled that he felt the need to broadcast it over social media, though.

          “…it is not essential for you to be in a barbershop to have your hair cut.” Yeah? Have you SEEN my hair?

          • Avatar Candace says:

            Doug, there was no reason to reiterate, I heard you the first time which is why I started my comments with “law” in quotes. It was a tip of the hat to your distinction (Although if it’s not considered law why is it LE can fine you and put you in jail for not complying? Does that mean LE are breaking the law when they do so? Also, is it not mandated by the Governor and not the State Health Dept.?). I’m going to push back on your “safer at the barber” argument, at least in the context of Les B’s FB photo. Neither were wearing masks and both are in very close proximity to one another. Who knows where they’ve previously been and with who? Typically (unless you’re getting a 1950’s Redding summer buzz) take at least 15 to 20 minutes. Using that metric, unless you stand very close to numerous unmasked fellow shoppers who hover around your head and face for 10 to 15 minutes I don’t buy that your less safe in that setting.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            I think I am much safer with a one-on-one encounter with someone I know than being in a grocery store with 20 other strangers. So far there have been 30 confirmed cases of the virus and 4 deaths in Shasta county. that has a population of 180,000. I believe the governor is now exceeding the emergency powers act. Modoc County has 0 reported case and 0 deaths from the virus. You don’t think they should be able to decide themselves to reopen? You think the governor has the right to keep them shut down? As far as fines and jail for violating the orders…I believe it is unconstitutional, and I expect when this is all over there will be much written about and debate from Constitutional scholars and people much smarter than me about the legality of arresting citizens. Do you really want to live in a country where a father can be handcuffed and arrested for playing Frisbee with his son at a park? This ain’t North Korea.

          • Doug, Les Baugh, an elected public servant, broke our governor’s executive order.

            Why the nit-picking over the executive order not being a law?

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Because I am a nit picker, I suppose…I guess I am not following the outrage over someone getting a haircut, I agree with you that it was unwise to post it on social media. If the gal that used to cut my hair offered to make me an appointment tomorrow…I would jump at the chance without guilt. I feel comfortable taking the risk…just as I take a risk going to Safeway. We’re getting to the point of overstepping the governments authority to keep businesses shut down.

  61. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    No, there is no guarantee that I had it, however it took me about 2 months to get over the upper respiratory lack of breath and coughing, my guess is that I had it….but it’s only a guess.

    You fall into that category of someone who doesn’t work so the shuttering of businesses doesn’t affect you like it does me and other working folks. It is much easier for you to want to extend the shut down as long as possible, than it is for us working stiffs that need to make a living. You are high risk because of your age and pre-existing conditions. Feel free to shelter in place as long as you want, it is prudent for you to do so. The rest of us need to go back to work sooner than later. Gov Newsom is moving forward with the reopening plan. Do you disagree with him?

    • Avatar Ed Marek says:

      You did’t catch COVID-19 in California in December.

      But if it makes you feel better, your delusion is widespread:

      “So many people are convinced that they had covid-19 already

      …The virus was here before anyone thought it was, we now know. Health officials in Santa Clara County, south of San Francisco, recently determined that at least two people who died in early and mid-February tested positive for the virus. But that doesn’t answer the question that has been spreading, afflicting anyone who recently — or even kind of recently — experienced any covid symptoms:

      “…Thinkihadititis is a condition afflicting people who experienced covid-like illnesses that befell them long before coronavirus was a thing. It happens when bits of news and scientific findings lodge in the parts of the brain that incubate hope — Oh hey, maybe I already beat it! — and anxiety — Oh God, maybe I gave it to a bunch of people…”

  62. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    Perhaps it’s time for a little perspective here, based on reality.

    The baby steps toward relaxing the California social distancing standards Newsom suggested recently should, perhaps, be reconsidered, as Covid-19 seems like it may have re-accelerated a bit in the last few weeks:

    “Infection growth rate

    On average, each person in California with COVID is infecting 1.06 other people. Because this number is only slightly above 1.0, it means that COVID is growing, but slowly.”

    As “quarantine fatigue” has set in, not just shown by local pols getting haircuts, but all the rest of us taking shopping trips and other public activity without masks, and travel also seem to be increasing, Nationwide, and many states seem to have seen the same uptick in transmissions.

    The abandonment of the fight that trump is advocating that has been taken seriously in many states is insane, and will have disastrous consequences in those regions.

    I don’t think Newsom will retract his previous announcements, but unless he has access to better statistics than we do, you have to wonder if California’s “relaxation” will be limited to what has already been announced, for a very long time.

    If so, will our local trumpists rise up in revolt in expression of their “freedom to infect”, and ignore their responsibilities even more than they have already?

  63. Avatar Ed Marek says:


    To rephrase my question:

    Can you please tell me if have you recently removed any of my other comments posted on any other stories at MNC?

    Sorry, if I was repeating a question that I can now see probably was not clear to you.


    Thank you, and I believe we largely agree on your points.

    I have always tried to comply with MNC community standard, and at least in terms of the “X, you are a jerk.” But “X, that was a jerk thing to say/do,” standard (though I can’t say I entirely understand it) I thought I had done so.

    But since I can no longer see the two comments that were removed, I can’t dispute the point, beyond what I have said already.

    Now this is where you and I may not agree, and also why I have asked if my comments have been deleted before.

    I can recall using the terms such as “false” and “lie” in response to several of the regular commentators on MNC, on much more important matters than possible small-town-political-corruption.

    Never on my first reply, or where there is any possibility of a misunderstanding, but only after I have provided unrefuted factual evidence, and someone continues to post the same false statements.

    I believe that If you allow anyone to lie to you without reply, you are become a participant in their activity. When the discussion involves matters (quite literally) of life and death, acquiescence is a serious mistake.

    I think our accelerating national disaster under the trump regime illustrates the hazard I am describing.

    While it may seem relatively innocuous to ignore those MNC commentators who post the same false statements over and over again, consider the great harm they cause.

    Humans evolved (if you believe in evolution, that is) to form collective opinions, and rational and scientific reasoning is really alien to most of us, most of the time. If a lie is repeated often enough, and no objections are heard, any of us would tend to believe it. And if those lies are on a topic like the COVID-19 pandemic, the result may be many additional deaths, that could have been easily prevented by the truth.

    So, while I could never hope to have the time to call out all the falsehoods of some of the most prolific liars on MNC, I expect to try to continue to use those terms (when backed up by facts) and hope others here will do the same.


    I was about to post when I saw your prescient comment.


    • Avatar Randy says:

      So much work just to call a liar a ‘liar’, or a moron a ‘moron’. Communications didn’t used to be this hard.

  64. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    “Can you please tell me if have you recently removed any of my other comments posted on any other stories at MNC?”

    I don’t know what MNC is. But here at ANC, the only comments of yours that I removed are the two.

  65. Avatar Ed Marek says:

    Oops. Sorry. Thanks.

  66. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Seems as there’s enough persons on this email stream to vote Mr. Baugh out of office in 2022 and his wife as well. Anyone interested in running ?

  67. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    Frank just states virtually the same diagram as I yesterday… guess WHO got deleted? I should “congratulate” and “stroke” you all more I guess rather than make BOLD STATEMENTS CALLING FOR CHANGE IN LILY WHITE AMERICA HUH +!+

  68. Avatar George Koen says:

    The sad thing is that the majority of his congregants are elderly. God forbid any get sick.

    • Avatar Jist Cuz says:

      Almost like I was reading your mind George. Red may be Red until you’re Dead! Old folks aren’t gonna appreciate Lester too much in 2-3 weeks if we have an uptick in cases with a few more deaths… And remember children Lester did it to himself when he fails to be re-elected +!+

  69. Avatar Jist tell me already says:

    Why are there so many “Legacy Children/stop human trafficking non profits organizations popping up in Redding? I don’t remember a need for this 10 years ago. Are undocumented immigrants moving to the North State for a better life? What changed?

    This seems so odd to me. Human Trafficking is real but how did this become a Redding California problem? I seriously want to know. What changed?

  70. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    My name is Lester. Do as I say not as I do +!+

  71. Avatar Deborah M Vercammen says:

    Thank you, Doni. You made a lot of good comparisons about rules we do and don’t like. I worked for years for the State Department of Health in injury prevention and fought for car seats, inground pool barriers, to prevent the accidental drowning of infants and bike and motorcycle helmets, markings of 5-gallon buckets to notify of infant drowning hazards and all the while there was lobbyist that were calling our facts and statistics lies. So, it doesn’t surprise me at all that people will want to call all of this pandemic a hoax. But, we that are seniors don’t want to get sick and we shall never know how much worse it would have gotten. It is so hard to see business closed and hurting. It hurts all of us but we should hope this will make a difference in the spread of this virus. I wish everyone well and even with some of my friends that hate these orders I understand them. I for one would hate it I violated the sheltering and distancing and made somone sick even if I never knew who it was. I also know that we in injury prevention saved many lives and we still do with what we worked to enact…I don’t know who they are nor does it matter because we did it for the good of all. These pandemic actions taken were for all of America and the health and safety of all…and we know it has hurt so many to be out of work. I hate it. Other countries have closed down so, it’s not like America was the lone wolf here. I know people are restless, I am too…and I will never take a vaccine they come up with so I do hope we find other was to deal with it…and to those that are all still closed and hate it…well, you have made a difference and that might not pay your bills but your at least wanted to be part of the solution. Les, you are certainly not someone we should be following.

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