District 4 Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Henry Jones is hurting. From the moment Episode 3 of Red White and Blueprint’s docuseries opens to the gloomy retro doo-wop strains of The Hazelnuts, it’s clear Jones is in some serious pain. You can see it in the way he scrunches up his neck and shoulders as he crabs up the steps to the board chambers. You can feel it in the vocal harmonies of the “Hazel Sisters,” as they are known in their native Israel. You can hear it in the lyrics to their original song, “Tempted” :
I was tempted
Tempted by your smile
I was tempted
And for a little while
I was certain
that I will be the one
To change you
and you will be mine
The use of “Tempted” for the intro—at who knows what cost!?—is a marked improvement from the over-orchestrated scores of the first two episodes. By the time a seated Jones addresses the audience, coiled in a grayish geometric-patterned business shirt like a Jack-in-the-Box ready to spring, the viewer really wants to know what’s egging this guy.
In a word, it turns out to be “inefficiencies.” Jones, who almost undoubtedly suffers from meganumerophobia (fear of large numbers) can’t stand inefficiencies, like Shasta County’s alleged $1 billion in future pension obligations. Jones promises to expose the soft white underbelly of the bloated county budget by the end of the summer, once again demonstrating that the various factions involved in the movement to recall Republican Shasta County Supervisors Joe Chimenti, Leonard Moty and Mary Rickert have yet to find an actual reason why they need to be recalled.
It’s coming, supposedly; the reason. Jones gives the game away when he notes the pension liability issue has been going on for two decades (failing to point out it’s an economic issue in cities and counties nationwide). It’s not something the present board members caused. He’s been singing the same anti-union, cut-spending tune since he was a Redding city councilmember from 2006 to 2014. The episode is titled “Count to Three,” which Jones learned to do while sitting on the 5-member Redding City Council. Three is the number of votes required to control the governmental body.
Similarly, it takes three like-minded members to control the five-member board of supervisors. Since District 4 Supervisor Jones can generally count on District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh’s vote, he only needs to cancel one of the three supervisors targeted for recall — Chimenti from District 1, Moty from District 2, or Rickert from District 3 — to control the board and bend it to his hyper-conservative will.
There was a time on the Redding City Council when Jones almost had the magical three-vote majority within his grasp, only to be betrayed by another. The depth of this betrayal, the pain Jones continues to suffer, is echoed in the second verse of “Tempted”:
I was tempted
Tempted by your eyes
I was tempted
The promises, the lies
Just keep hurtin’
But I won’t be the one
To change you
And you won’t be mine
The question just won’t go away: Who in the heck hurt Patrick Henry Jones?
Before we get to find out, RW&B co-producer Carlos Zapata, looking sheepish and a bit edgy, appears on screen to offer his version of the incident that occurred between him and recall opponent Nathan Pinkney (who goes by the name Nathan Blaze), a local comedian who posted videos satirizing Zapata and the recall movement.
The recall movement is comprised of three organizations: RW&B, Recall Shasta and the Shasta County General Purpose Committee.
As ANC reported, Zapata was upset with the parody videos and threatened to come down to the restaurant where Blaze works. Early last month he did just that, throwing a drink in Blaze’s face. Minutes later, two Zapata acquaintances allegedly assaulted Blaze at the back of the restaurant. Blaze fetched a legally registered handgun from the office safe to defend himself, but the alleged assailants had fled by the time he returned, and the gun was never brandished.
In the episode, Zapata says Blaze, “this poor little boy” (Blaze is African American) is “playing victim” and “has been hassling people for years.” It’s true that Blaze is fairly well known in Redding’s social media community and is something of a social justice warrior. Zapata, an alleged strict constitutionalist, apparently doesn’t recognize Blaze’s 1st Amendment rights. “We asked him to stop,” Zapata shrugs.
Zapata points out that initial reports of the incident incorrectly named him as Blaze’s assailant, which is true. He discounts the LA Times article that forced the Redding Police Department to correct errors in their first press release about the incident, which erroneously claimed Blaze had followed Zapata to a bar across the street and continued the altercation.
Despite the Times story confirming Blaze and other witness’s accounts, a second RPD press release contained many of the same errors as the first. Blaze was fired from his job, but not for brandishing a weapon as Episode 3 claims. No reason for the dismissal is given on his discharge slip. The Shasta County District Attorney is currently investigating the incident. Blaze has been attempting to serve Zapata with a temporary restraining order since the alleged assault occurred.
The lesson, a smart local attorney told me, is this: If you’re assaulted by someone, call 911 immediately. Don’t wait until the next day to call the police.
Zapata & company would probably prefer Blaze to be the public face of their enemy, since a straight-up contest between conservatives and liberals in conservative Shasta County would undoubtedly end in their favor. But the chances of the recall’s success are far more complicated. The three supervisors on the cancellation block are all conservative Republicans. Asked who needs to be canceled the most, Zapata chooses Moty, because the former Redding Police Chief reached out to Blaze when he learned about the alleged assault.
“They’re making it personal,” says Zapata, who’s made a habit of threatening detractors since his August 2020 comment before the Board of Supervisors went viral after Zapata predicted violent insurrection if the board didn’t abandon the state’s COVID guidelines and open up the county.
The episode flashes to Moty at a press conference announcing the Fair Political Practices Commission’s investigation into all three groups involved with the recall effort. Chimenti, Moty and Rickert are members of Forward Shasta, a nonprofit organization created to defend the supervisors being targeted for recall. The group has requested the investigation into the recall movement’s funding. In response, RW&B co-producer Jon Knight is shown at a board meeting, claiming the group is not a political organization, but a “private company owned by Americans.”
“Your guys’ lawyer is taking you for a ride,” he tells the three supervisors.
RW&B’s claim to be exempt from filing campaign donations with the county appears to be based on the questionable notion that it’s just a film production company documenting the recall movement, not a political organization supporting the recall. The 10-episode docuseries is being promoted as, well, a blueprint for other counties to follow, not a rather lengthy campaign ad. There’s no telling when the FPPC will weigh in on the multiple charges against all three recall organizations. It might be weeks; it could be up to a year.
After this short digression, the episode returns to Jones, this time in a rumpled blue suit and pink business shirt sitting in front of a Civil War era canon located at Jones Fort, the family gun shop. His neck is again withdrawn, like a snapping turtle pulling its head into its hard armored shell. He recalls becoming political during the 1990s, observing Redding City Council decisions that left him feeling both provincial and alienated. All those inefficiencies!
“These people couldn’t have possibly grown up here,” Jones says he ruminated at the time. After two failed attempts, he was finally elected to the Redding City Council in 2006. By his second term, he very nearly seized control of the council until his ultimate betrayal.
Who the heck hurt this guy? Whose eyes tempted him? Who broke those promises? Who told those lies?
Believe it or not, it’s allegedly one of Shasta County’s favorite sons, former Major League Baseball star and Redding City Councilmember Rick Bosetti, coach of the Redding Colt 45s collegiate baseball team.
This is Jones counting to three, the blueprint for political success for others to follow. He helped bring Tea Party fellow traveler Gary Cadd on to the city council in 2012 and figured Republican Bosetti had his back. It was not to be. Jones implies, without offering any evidence, that Bosetti is corrupt because an anonymous person donated $1 million (another scary big number) to refurbish Tiger Field in downtown Redding, where the Colt 45s play.
Is any of it true? I have no idea. I didn’t live here back in 2012-2014. Jones has a nasty habit of throwing out big numbers with no documentation. Bosetti has yet to return my call informing him of this potential libel.
I found a clue in this Marc Beauchamp column from the Record Searchlight in 2014, in which Beauchamp cites a Yelp review from “Buzz F”:
“Gary Cadd, along with Patrick Jones, is a member of the former Tea Party majority on the Redding City Council—now a minority. Rick Bosetti has long since come to his senses, leaving Jones and Cadd as the lone representatives of Teabagistan on the council. Cadd and Jones have continued to crew the good ship Luna Sea from port to rocky shoal on their own.”
Was Bosetti coming to his senses the ultimate betrayal for Jones? That’s what Jones appears to be claiming in Episode 3.
Jones’s political fortunes sunk after that, until Connecticut billionaire and former Shasta County resident Reverge Anselmo threw him a $100,000 campaign lifeline last year, essentially buying the District 4 seat by outspending the incumbent 3 to 1.
As everyone with two eyestalks knows, the Tea Party has long since morphed into the Trump Party.
“We were really disappointed last year with what happened with the country,” says disappointed Trump supporter Jones, despite winning his own race.
One local high-ranking Republican told me the mistaken belief that Trump was cheated out of his second term is the glue holding the recall movement together. This Republican believes President Joe Biden won the election fair and square but asked to remain anonymous because telling the truth in Republican circles at the current moment can get you canceled, just like that.
Nevertheless, this high-ranking Republican believes a majority of local Republicans will reject the recall movement because it’s just too extreme.
How extreme is Shasta County’s recall movement? In Episode 3, supervisor Jones says the county should have gone its own way and created its own COVID regulations last year instead of joining the state’s four-tiered system. For a man who claims to abhor inefficiencies, it would have been a horribly wasteful approach. Arguably more people would have died from COVID and the county would have lost tens of millions of dollars in state and federal COVID relief aid that helped keep local businesses afloat and families fed.
At some point in Episode 3 Recall Shasta head Elissa McEuen makes an appearance, complaining that the three supervisors she and her cohorts are attempting to cancel have a “platform” and the “media” behind them. It’s true that Chimenti, Moty and Rickert have taken the recall seriously since Recall Shasta submitted its first ultimately rejected documents. However, McEuen has little room to complain considering the fact-free, anti-science, anti-government spiel she’s been spewing to audiences across Shasta County for months, such as this.
One of the most irritating aspects of the RW&B project and the recall movement at large is the complete lack of any fact-checking. This is hammered home in Episode 3’s final segment in which three local middle-aged doctors are interviewed. I’m not going to name them, because they were played—hoodwinked—by the producers and directors of the RW&B docuseries.
One of the doctors repeats a well-known fallacy spread during the pandemic, that individuals tested positive multiple times for COVID were counted as multiple cases. With the exception of infrequent errors, that’s not true in Shasta County or across the nation.
Amazingly, another doctor complains that Gov. Gavin Newsom banned the hoarding of hydroxychloroquine last year after then-President Trump falsely claimed it cured and/or prevented COVID. The doctor correctly notes that the drug is useful for treating rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. It’s also useful for treating symptoms of terminal brain cancer, but when he tried to get an off-label prescription for a patient suffering from that disease, the pharmacy turned him down because of the hoarding law. The doctor seems to be unaware of Trump’s role in causing the hydroxychloroquine shortage in the first place.
(Interestingly, the doctor says he changed the brain cancer patient’s diagnosis to lupus on the prescription pad in order to get the hydroxychloroquine, which kind of sounds like prescription fraud.)
Finally, a well-known local physician who’s run for elected office in the recent past repeats the Hippocratic Oath, that the first rule physicians must follow is to do no harm. The treatment for the disease can’t be worse than the disease itself, he says, noting the increase in mental illness and substance abuse during the course of the pandemic. Neither an infectious disease epidemiologist nor a public health expert, he’s shown chastising the county supervisors at a board meeting last August for scaring the local populace with medical mandates instead of educating them.
In fact, that’s exactly the same course Shasta County Health and Humans Services chose to follow, education, not rigid enforcement of COVID regulations. Very few businesses were cited for violations. There was no real lockdown, aside from some public-school districts that chose to go to hybrid or remote-only learning. There’s no question some students and families were negatively affected by such measures, but surprisingly, the national suicide rate, which epidemiologists predicted would rise during the pandemic, actually went down.
The doctor attempts to offer the supervisors four agenda items to address his concerns, but his three minutes of public speaking time are up. He backs out of the chambers, somehow looking humbled yet entitled at the same time.
I’m not sure if this is how it happened in real life because I wasn’t there, but as the episode concludes the speaker who follows the doctor is Carlos Zapata, preparing to deliver the violent rant that went viral last August and vaulted him to national notoriety.
The viewer is left with impression that if we’d only listened to the doctor, we might not have ever heard of Carlos Zapata. That may sound like a blessing to some, but the trade-offs in lives lost and diminished financial aid just wouldn’t have been worth it.
Such inefficiencies apparently don’t bother District 4 Supervisor Patrick Henry Jones, a man who abhors inefficiencies. He’s driven by more primitive forces, and we can thank Episode 3 for revealing them, even though it may be inadvertent. Jones is a man who has been both tempted and betrayed. He’s been hurt and he’s now seeking to get even. His involvement in the recall has little to do with the management of the pandemic. He’s out for revenge.