I woke up Sunday planning to listen to one long radio program that was scheduled to last three hours. It related to Shasta County’s future. But as I prepared my coffee and listened to my regular station, I heard an unexpected short story that made my heart sag a little.
The surprise story that featured Shasta County was broadcast on North State Public Radio.
The second program, the one I’d known about, was broadcast on Redding-based KCNR where a group of high-profile right wing citizens promised to unveil their blueprint to “take back” the county via a recall.
On NSPR, Shasta County was featured during a brief segment of a new Weekend Edition for a National Public Radio series, “How Disinformation is Shaping the Political Process.”
Usually, my first reaction is to feel proud to hear my city’s name mentioned on national news, or covered by a large media market.
But over the last year, our poor county has been in the news so much over various forms of unmitigated dumbshitness that nine times out of 10, our attention is embarrassing and unwelcome. We end up looking like idiots.
Sure enough, the NPR story played clips of two particularly obnoxious citizens who spoke – sorry, yelled – during the Shasta County Board of Supervisors public comment period. I recognized both the voices and winced.
The woman speaker used a trio of words to describe COVID-19.
“Plandemic, scamdemic and damdemic!”
She was followed by a male speaker, who made references to bullets, unlimited rope, and cutting off the heads of snakes; the snakes, of course, being supervisors.
Same old, same old here in Redding, California. Please, world, look away. We are not ready for prime time or prying eyes.
Fortunately, the story ended on a positive note, thanks to District 2 Shasta County Supervisor Leonard Moty. He was quoted a few times in the story, including a statement that made me grateful that he’d not characterized all North State residents as total nut jobs.
“The extremists aren’t the majority at this point,” Moty said.
Red, White and Blueprint master plan
Speaking of extremists, a little while later Sunday morning on KCNR in downtown Redding, extremists were in the majority inside the radio studio.
By the end of the morning it was literally standing room only for the shows’ hosts, guests and their two-part, three-hour program. The event had been teased by Carlos Zapata and his followers for days. Interest was high.
First, meet Carlos Zapata
In August, Zapata gained worldwide attention for his blistering verbal assault upon Shasta County Board of Supervisors.
That video went viral and thrust Zapata into the limelight as a de facto spokesman of those who refuse to comply with COVID mandates, and those who believe government’s exceeded its reach. His message resonated with the great un-masked masses. A prickly star was born.
Back to Sunday at KCNR, where, apparently, Zapata and friends’ master-plan message was so complex and so weighty that it required two entire Sunday programming time slots. The first segment was during the “Jefferson State of Mine” program with Terry Rapoza and Win Carpenter from 9 to 10 a.m. The second segment was during the “Sovereign Minds” show with Mark Kent, Lyndia Kent and Red Smith from 10 a.m. until noon.
An impressive number of the North State’s most infamous mask-deniers, science-scoffers, militia members and State of Jefferson folks were crammed inside the small radio studio.
The consecutive shows were recorded, and the videos were spliced together to combine both radio programs.
The group included a who’s who of some of the North State’s most recognized right-wing extremists, as well as some less-known players, all there to “let the cat out of the bag” regarding a combination plan/movement/media company/TV show called the Red White and Blueprint.
Red White and Blueprint media
Surprise No. 1 was that former KRCR reporter Courtney Kreider is a key part in the Red White and Blueprint plan.
She’s been described by many of militia members as the North State’s best reporter, and they’re still pissed that KRCR let her go. Some have protested her job loss at KRCR and demonstrate their loyalty to Kreider by vowing to never watch KRCR again.
Kreider, who describes herself as a “hometown girl, born and raised in Viola,” who was a loyal Rush Limbaugh fan, shared during Sunday’s program that she left KRCR because she didn’t see “eye to eye” with her previous television superiors. That occupational incompatibility caused her to leave Redding, but not before hosting a videotaped panel discussion in Cottonwood that featured Zapata, Clendenen, and State of Jefferson-zealot Terry Rapoza.
Kreider described how she left the North State for a new TV job in Nebraska, but she returned home after she encountered the same career clashes as before. Now she’s back in Shasta County where she’s dedicated to the Red White and Blueprint mission.
Kreider also shared the story of how she met Zapata: She’d heard about him and wanted to interview him for a story, but her KRCR bosses denied her request. Kreider’s been a Zapata fan ever since. In fact, their alliance is spelled out on the Red White and Blueprint’s Facebook page: @carloszapatapatriot and @courtneykreider_news
Surprise No. 2 arose when someone asked whether Zapata or Clendenen would run for elected office. This question was pertinent because one of the primary topics slated for discussion Sunday was the recall of the majority of Shasta County Supervisors.
Both men answered no, which was a shock of sorts since Zapata has been pontificating for months about “taking” the seat of District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert.
Clendenen said he thought being an elected official would be a distraction. Zapata agreed.
“Guys like us are more influential on the outside,” Zapata said, laughing that he didn’t think people would like him as an elected official, anyway. He added that for now, his answer was no, but to quote Donald Trump, if the county really needed Zapata, he would heed the call and step up.
It kind of begs the question: If the recall happens, and if neither Clendenen nor Zapata want a supervisor’s seat, then who would the group imagine as being ideal candidates, I mean considering Supervisor Patrick Jones doesn’t have a twin brother?
Zapata did speak admiringly of Win Carpenter, so that’s one.
Surprise No. 3 related to the group’s plan to collect signatures at a massive one-day event in a large outdoor area with multiple recall-petition-signing stations for District 1, District 2 and District 3.
Traditional recall efforts are done on a smaller scale, such as with tables in front of stores, or by volunteers knocking on neighborhood doors. While considering we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and large gatherings are to be avoided, one might think it would be difficult to gather signatures. Au contraire, my friend! Here in Shasta County, especially in the more rural areas, state-mandated COVID rules are expected to be broken.
Pandemic be damned, the Red White and Blueprint signature-collection site will have a party atmosphere, with live music. Yes, it would be an ambitious undertaking to collect at least 5,000 signatures for each district, which means anywhere between 15,000 to 20,000 signatures, depending upon whether Baugh was among those being recalled, too.
The group said that in the name of efficiency they’d like to piggyback on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall, assuming the California recall progressed that far, with a sort of BOGO, buy-one, get-one situation.
Their goal is to file the recall paperwork by April 5, and after that they’d have 120 days to gather 5,000 signatures per district.
Surprise No. 4 was that the group branched into two distinct areas that needed support from fellow patriots and Constitution-lovers: The first, and their most pressing, was the recall of supervisors Joe Chimenti of District 1, Leonard Moty of District 2 and Mary Rickert of District 3 for what the group described as over-reaching and mismanagement. One member said the people have spoken:
“To our elected officials, you will be recalled!”
The second request was help with the new Red White and Blueprint organization. In both cases, donations were welcome.
A new episode of the Red White and Blueprint docuseries is scheduled for release the last Friday of every month.
Red White and Bloopers
The three-hour-long Red White and Blueprint roll-out was a bit chaotic due to the sheer number of speakers and viewpoints. There were times during the breaks when the (maskless, of course) folks in the cramped recording studio seemed oblivious to the Facebook live video that continued to record, which gave observant listeners some previews about upcoming ways the guys planned to deliver their message, as well as uncensored opinions about some callers, including one reader/commenter of A News Cafe. There were whispers, and shared phone screens, and lots of laughs.
Zapata mentioned that he’d known people who’d moved away from the North State in frustration, something Zapata said he’d never do.
“No way,” he said. ” If someone breaks into my house I’m not going to move into a hotel and let them sleep in my bed.”
They protest too much
The first of just a handful of callers Sunday morning was a woman named Rita. She asked how Zapata expected people to follow his plan if he threatens people “on the other side”.
Zapata suggested the woman consult a dictionary, because the word “threaten” gets misused.
“If you attack me, you bet your ass I’m going to attack you,” Zapata said. “If you come after my family, you can bet we’re going to defend ourselves. If you come after my friends, I’m going to defend them. And trust me that, at the end of the day, when the smoke clears and the dust settles, I’m the man that you’re going to want on your side, Rita.”
Classic Zapata, claiming to not be threatening, but yet speaking in a way that was exactly that.
Clendenen, Zapata and Stake in NorCal co-founder Jesse Lane all complained about being mislabeled, about being called bullies.
“And we’ll talk about this, about the labels that they put on us and the fact that they label us terrorists and insurrectionists just shows how scared they are,”Zapata said.
“And ignorant,” added Clendenen, which served as a springboard for Zapata.
“Well, absolutely ignorant,” Zapata said. “They’re stupid. Let’s just call it what it is. Low IQ, classless people. And I don’t want to deal with those people. I want to deal with people that want to make our community better, innovative, smarter. I want people to want to move up here for the right reasons. Not because they want to bring their ideals from these crap, other places they come from, but because they want to come up here and embrace our way of life and embrace freedom and liberty. Because that’s really what this boils down to. Who can argue against that?”
I’m happy to argue against that, Mr. ‘We know where you live, we know who your family is, we know your dog’s name’ Zapata.
Mixed manly messages
Those kinds of words go limp considering hours’ of video tapes in which Zapata, Woody and Lane in particular publicly do threaten those who criticize them.
Personally, I find Lane’s protests especially humorous, considering his hot-headed response after I wrote a column he disliked.
“They want to label you as being aggressive and violent,” Lane said Sunday.
“We’ve seen it with Carlos. We’ve seen it with Woody. We’ve seen it with me. We’ve seen it with all of us. It’s this cancel culture to where if you don’t agree with them, and you don’t go with what they say, then you’re a racist, you’re a bully. It needs to stop. Men need to be men. … We need to quit this cancel culture and this sissy mentality.”
Despite the best attempts by the shows’ hosts and Kreider to stick to the talking points, the group often seemed to lose focus and veer off the official Red White and Blueprint track onto various soapboxes:
Boys should be boys and girls should be girls. If you’re not 100 percent for the Constitution you’re probably a Marxist, and God-less, or both. Lately the alpha male is enemy No. 1. Somebody drove five hours from Fortuna to get a haircut in militia-leader Woody Clendenen’s barber shop. Yeah, but one guy drove from Idaho for a hamburger in Zapata’s Palomino Room. Newsom is “King Newscum”.
There were lots of one-liners. “The time has come for 51” was mentioned a few times by Terry Rapoza, referring to the State of Jefferson and becoming the 51st state. Another Rapoza favorite: “It’s not a revolution. It’s a restoration.”
But once the message got back on track it was simple, ambitious and dramatic: The North State will be plastered with information about it. Watch for billboards. Listen for radio ads.
Sample radio ads were played for the group that featured the voices of Kreider, Zapata and Clendenen, much to the delight of everyone inside the studio.
However, Red White and Blueprint’s pride and joy is its TV show, a professionally produced docuseries created by Jeremy Edwardson, owner of the Soundhouse in downtown Redding, where the group planned to take a field trip after the show to check out the trailer.
Edwardson is perhaps best known lately for having traveled with Sean Feucht to produce concert videos. No surprise, Edwardson has ties to Bethel Music.
Why a docuseries?
The group decided to record and document the process and produce a docuseries because they’re convinced the blueprint will not just be dramatic, but that it will succeed at recalling supervisors. They believe that when (if) that happens, the group expects that their patriot format will be emulated around the country by citizens just as fed up with government’s overreach as many Shasta County residents. In the Red White and Blueprinters’ dreams, their Shasta County model will be copied like, well, a blueprint. What’s more, said Zapata, it’s a plan for everyone, no matter their party.
“Watch over the next 10 months,” Zapata said. “You’re going to see people from both sides of the aisle joining our movement. Because I’ll say it over and over again, this is not about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about America. It’s about our freedom, our patriotism. It’s about our way of life.”
As Zapata put it, Shasta County is never “at the head of anything,” but thanks to the Red White and Blueprint movement, for once, it will be.
The group’s first major goal is to remove three (maybe four) sitting Shasta County Board of Supervisors via a recall process. According to the group members, the recall is a consequence for having “failed” its citizens by complying with over-reaching state mandates. It’s not just about COVID, which, by the way, Zapata says is over, and we can resume lives as usual. COVID was the catalyst, the straw that broke the camel’s back. At this point, even if the pandemic ended, for this group, it’s about other things, like massive amounts of money spent on public health, and restrictive building requirements, and the realization that what happened this last year with regard to mandates could happen again.
With that in mind, gun shop manager and pet “patriot” Patrick Jones’ District 4 seat is safe, because he’s simpatico with the RW&B folks.
What’s unknown is whether District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh’s seat is also in the Red White and Blueprint group’s crosshairs. This uncertainty is especially confusing, since Baugh is a far-right kind of guy, a notorious non-team-player, someone who’s defied public health mandates since Day 1, and who was recently censured along with Jones for willful disobedience against a board resolution, something Baugh described as a “badge of honor”.
Editor’s note: Trying a new feature out here where I think you can respond directly in the story. Let’s see how (if) it works:As of 11:17 p.m. on March 2, every one of his Facebook friends agreed.
So it looks like Jones and Baugh’s board seats are safe from the Red White and Blueprint’s recall efforts, but the same can’t be said for Rickert, Moty and Chimenti.
As an aside, for what it’s worth, the Shasta County supervisor positions are supposed to be non-partisan, and shouldn’t enter into the picture, but of course, it does. However, when it comes to the recall, one’s party doesn’t necessarily offer any protection.
Since Jones joined the board in January, Baugh has mostly voted in lockstep with Jones, sometimes defying basic humanitarian logic. Case in point was a recent board meeting during which Jones and Baugh rejected a fairly benign and symbolic board resolution to honor on March 1 those who’ve died from the coronavirus. Boards and city councils all over the country were passing similar resolutions, as did Shasta County because of affirmative votes from Chimenti, Moty and Rickert.
Who could vote against a remembrance of more than half million American souls who lost their lives to COVID?
Jones and Baugh, could, that’s who.
Red White and Blueprint’s other mission
The Red White and Blueprint has a Facebook page, and a mission:
“The Red White and Blueprint is a blueprint for freedom. It’s about citizens of Northern Ca who are taking back local control in their county through a recall of county supervisors. It’s a movement of patriotism & a fight against government overreach.
Brought together by a common desire to ensure a future in a free and open society, this limited series will follow the group as they navigate the difficult path to recall the county officials and hold a special election. Keep your eyes out for episodes as they are released! COMING SOON!”
If this group has its way, the majority of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors are on the chopping block to lose their seats and be replaced by Constitutionalist patriots like Jones. Even if they succeed, the Red White and Blueprint believers say that’s just the first step. Their plan is to infiltrate and overtake other organizations: School boards, water districts, city councils; anywhere with elected officials.
Clendenen was proud to say that his town of Cottonwood is a positive example of that very model. He explained that he started the militia about 10 years ago because there wasn’t a reliable law enforcement presence in that region of the county.
The militia members became active in the community. They joined the water board and school districts.
“We’re a model for the entire country,” Clendenen said, adding with a laugh that this explains why Cottonwood can carry on with the annual rodeo and car shows, events that were cancelled in Redding due to COVID.
A look and a plan for Red White and Blueprint
Red White and Blueprint’s Facebook page is decked out in a red, white and blue logo in a sea of black.
The longer I looked at it the more I saw a little Lego kid dropping his star.
And its website features the same logo, this time with the image Carlos Zapata with the blueprint behind him.
A possible Red White and Blueprint disaster?.
First, about that name: Red White and Blueprint. Here’s the good news: It’s catchy. Here’s the bad news: It’s not original. Not even close. This might not have been a big deal for Shasta County’s Red White and Blueprint members, except they’ve voiced aspirations for taking this on the road across America, you know, city by city, county by county, state by state, from sea to shining sea. That kind of exposure would make it difficult to keep a “borrowed” name secret.
I’m thinking that author David Seller, who wrote the 2011 book “Red, White and Blueprint for America: A Common Sense Approach for America’s Future,” might take except to the liberties taken by our North State’s Red White and Blueprint group’s media company/movement/TV show. Likewise, I’m wondering whether the 2015 production crew of “Red, White & Blue: A Rust Belt Documentary,” might see red when they realize that someone stole their documentary’s title. Some might call it identity theft.
I’m no copyright lawyer, but my hunch is that the word and instead of an ampersand, or commas versus sans commas, or the absence of a tagline, will not be enough difference to avoid a lawsuit. Heck if I know.
Second, a word about that proposed recall. We’ve discussed this before, but the Red White and Blueprint folks seem to have forgotten a few recall details. For one thing, any of the supervisors who are under the gun to lose their seats could decide to throw in the towel and just quit at a crucial moment, before the state or Shasta County recall. The effect, for the excited Red White and Blueprinters, would be akin to recallus interruptus, because the recallers would be robbed, just at their moment of anticipated elation of having their happy ending. Talk about anticlimactic. In that event, the governor would take over and appoint new supervisors.
Which reminds me. Fun fact No. 1 (and I hope I don’t get in hot water for saying this): As far as I know, all Shasta County’s supervisors are Republicans, even the ones so despised by the Red White and Blueprinters.
Related fun fact No. 2: As long as Newsom is in office, he will absolutely select Democrats to replace any seats vacated by any Shasta County supervisors who choose to jump rather than wait for a shove.
Fun fact No. 3: The Red White and Blueprinters seem to have forgotten that even if they succeed in collecting the required numbers of signatures (5,000+ per district) and even if they do get all the paperwork in and meet their filing deadlines, there’s no guarantee that the voters will (a.) vote yes for the recall, and (b.) that if the recall does pass, there’s no way to ensure that voters will select the Red White and Blueprint’s preferred “kings and queens”.
Fun fact No. 4. Another matter the Red White and Blueprinters have overlooked is that the recall process allows others to throw their hats in the ring for any of those potentially available seats, not just the people selected by the Red White and Blueprinters. By “others” I mean the recall process could trigger an unintentional counter movement that inspires a stampede of liberal candidates to join the race.
Socialist, Marxists and Communists, oh my! Red, white and boo hoo!
Oh, and about that huge petition-signature-gathering extravaganza. There’s nothing to stop an opposing group from setting up their tables to collect recall signatures for Districts 4 and 5. It’s the American way.
So many potential blueprint flaws, yet the Red White and Blueprinters seem untroubled by these possibilities. Instead, they’re riding high on lofty expectations. They will not accept defeat. They have no Plan B. Watch that video of their Sunday radio program. Clearly, they believe that a year from now the entire Shasta County Board of Supervisors will be flipped, and every seat will be filled with Patrick Jones variations.
That’s the main reason they’re so driven to document this process over the next 10 months; they’re so convinced their plan will work that they can imagine what an awesome story they’ll have when they succeed.
Zapata, the cast, Zapata the producer, Zapata, Zapata, Zapata
A word about Red White and Blueprint’s TV show. When I first heard that this group was making a docuseries, I assumed Woody Clendenen would have a starring role. After all, our favorite Cottonwood barber and militia leader has some actual acting experience. I’m not kidding.
In fact, this photo on Clendenen’s Facebook page is from a movie. (I think that’s him in the center.) He’s worked with local film maker Rene Perez, who describes himself on his Facebook page like this: “I write and direct B movies for the home video market.”
You know what? Right now, I kind of feel sorry for Woody. He’s the guy with the acting experience, but so far it looks like Zapata will be Red White and Blueprint’s superstar. Gosh, Woody’s the head of the Cottonwood militia, for Pete’s sake. If that’s not lead-man worthy, I don’t know what is.
Maybe it boils down to confidence. It’s no secret that Zapata thinks highly of himself. If anyone could manage to become an instant, convincing actor and producer, Zapata could.
For the record, he’s the guy I quoted earlier who said girls should be girls and boys should be boys. He’s the guy I quoted who said that alpha males were enemy No. 1 lately.
How weird is that? What kind of guy describes himself as an alpha male? What kind of guy says women want him, and men wish they were more like him?
When a woman on Facebook accused Zapata of displaying false bravado and toxic masculinity, Zapada responded, “Admit it. You kinda got turned on.”
Perhaps it’s that level of self-assurance that explains how although the Red White and Blueprint is touted as a group effort, so far it appears to be the Carlos Zapata Solo Show.
I arrived at this conclusion after going down a long research rabbit hole in search of more information about Red White and Blueprint. That’s when I found the first Red, White and Blueprint references that belonged to an author and a filmmaker. It was a quickie check. I didn’t dig too deeply.
Next, I found what you see below, which seemed strange because the first installment of the Red White and Blueprint series won’t be released until the end of March.
What struck me as especially odd was the first sentence: “With Carlos Zapata.”
Huh? It’s a docuseries about events that haven’t happened yet about many people. Wouldn’t you think that this would have been conducted by Kreider, since she’s a reporter, and since she has experience both in front of and behind a camera? Strange.
That link led to this next one that contained the super shmaltzy storyline that has the feeling of something straight out of a Hallmark TV special, rather than an organic, authentic documentation of a process that will no doubt be messy and painful for our community:
“Brought together by a common desire to ensure a future in a free and open society, this limited series will follow a group as they navigate the difficult path to recall county officials and hold a new election.”
That was followed by the “photo gallery”. Check out the photos.
Zapata, Zapata, Zapata.
Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
Which led to this, the full cast and crew.
Behold, notice that Zapata stands alone as the sole cast member.
When was the last time you saw a TV show with a cast of one, I mean, other than a stand-up comic?
But we’re not done. One guess who’s the only cast member with a bio hyperlink, small though it may be?
I lied. One more. Finally, like one of those sets of Russian dolls where they get smaller and smaller, the last place left to click was on Zapata’s bio. Here’s what it said:
So there we have it. Who is Carlos Zapata? Why, he’s a producer, known for Red White and Blueprint (2021).
Guaranteed, he’s known for a lot more than that.
Meanwhile, Zapata keeps talking the talk. As he does so he continues to gain more followers who rely on Zapata and believe his every word. They cling to Zapata’s promise that one year from now, his Red White and Blueprint believers will be very proud.
“We want to get all this control back into local hands,” Zapata said.
“And when we do that, I’m telling you right now that one of two things are going to happen. Everybody’s going to want to move to Shasta County, and everybody’s going to have a million dollar home. You’re looking great for real estate. Or people in the rest of the country are going to make a replica of what we’ve done here. That’s what we hope for.”
I don’t think we’ll have to wait a year. Once the blueprint’s serious construction begins, I think there are enough motivated people to build momentum and follow through with the project. Of course, it’s anyone’s guess what the finished product will look like.
I just wish I had a crystal ball to see how Shasta County will be portrayed on the world stage in these coming months, and what will become of those of us who call this place home in a county that’s more divided by the day.