Three months ago, I wrote that Reverge Anselmo is seeking revenge against Shasta County after he donated $50,000 to the Shasta County General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta, the two now-merged organizations behind the effort to recall three Shasta County Supervisors for allegedly genuflecting to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 mandates a bit too much.
The Connecticut-based son-of-a-billionaire believes he was jilted by Shasta County a decade ago, after his efforts to establish a restaurant, ranch and winery near Shingletown ran afoul of local zoning ordinance provisions enforced by the Department of Resource Management. It seems Anselmo, a multi-millionaire by inheritance and an extreme libertarian who’s donated more than $1 million to Sen. Rand Paul’s Protect Freedom PAC, didn’t think local government regulations applied to him.
Anselmo first returned to exact political revenge on Shasta County in 2020, donating more than $100,000 to Patrick Jones, the Tea Party prevaricator/gun store clerk who wouldn’t have won the District 4 supervisor seat without the Connecticut millionaire’s largesse. Now outsider Anselmo has octupled down, donating $400,000 to Shasta County General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Shasta County Registrar of Voters Nov. 17.
The two recall groups merged this summer and claim to be a “grassroots effort” comprised of “nonpartisan parents, business owners, doctors, nurses and teachers who seek … to establish a board of supervisors who will respect and uphold the U.S. and California Constitutions, maintain fiscal transparency and accountability, honor local ingenuity, and protect the individual liberties of its citizens from the tyrannical coercion from state and national governments.”
There’s a reason that sounds familiar. It’s the same old libertarian claptrap we’ve been hearing since the Tea Party’s inception in 2009. It should come as no surprise that local past Tea Party members Lynda and Mark Kent are the respective treasurer and principal officer of the merged recall organization. The Tea Party’s distorted emphasis on individual liberties over the common good, shared by multi-millionaire libertarians like Anselmo, melded seamlessly with malignant narcissist Trump’s phony populism.
Thus, a bankrupt bigoted billionaire became a white working-class hero.
Now that their hero has been vanquished—cheated!—the Trumpentariat’s anger has been channeled toward opposing any and all local, state and federal government interventions to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. They continue to rant, rave, spread medical disinformation and threaten violence at city council, board of supervisor and school board meetings not just here in Shasta County but across the nation.
Here, in addition to helping make Shasta County’s COVID-19 case and death rates among the highest in the state, they’ve been moderately successful.
Anselmo, an occasional Hollywood producer, has appeared in two episodes of the RW&B docuseries and has donated an unknown amount of money to the group, which also produces a podcast. After a months-long campaign of lies and deceit, documented by A News Café, enough signatures were gathered to trigger the recall of District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty, one of the three supervisors targeted. RW&B along with the merged recall group are being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for alleged campaign finance violations.
According to the FPPC, recalls are considered “ballot measures” and “contributions to ballot measure committees (including those controlled by a candidate) are not limited.” Otherwise, Anselmo’s donation would have been limited to $4900. Shasta County General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta cannot donate funds to individual candidates running to replace Moty, but it, along with the RW&B docuseries and podcast, can continue to promote the ballot measure—the recall—itself.
That means more lies and deceit are coming down the pike soon.
The recall election is slated for Feb. 1, 2022. Anselmo’s $400K injection comes just as the campaign against Moty is heating up amid what amounts to a growing local insurrection against implementing any measures designed to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 in Shasta County.
Four candidates have officially joined the fray against Moty, according to the registrar: Tim Garman, the Happy Valley Union School District board president who rejects the state’s COVID-19 protocols for public schools; business owner Tony Ruel Hayward Sr.; Tarick Mahmoud, pharmacist with the Three Percenter tattoo; and finally, construction superintendent Dale Ball, who was handily defeated by Moty in 2020.
Recall Shasta did not return an email seeking comment on this story.
Moty questioned how Shasta County General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta can call its organization grass roots when it’s funded by an out-of-town millionaire.
“A Connecticut millionaire is trying to buy our County,” he said. “Anselmo spent over $120,000 to buy Jones a board seat. Now he has contributed well over half a million dollars to steal my seat. Recall Shasta claims to be a grassroots effort. This is corruption at its worse! They’re nothing more than a front for Anselmo and Jones to control our community. What’s in it for Anselmo, other than revenge after losing an expensive court battle for building without permits?”
Perhaps for Reverge Anselmo, revenge is enough.