Happy Valley Union School District board president Tim Garman has bolted to an early lead in the race to recall and replace Shasta County District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty, earning key endorsements from the State of Jefferson movement and the Shasta General Purpose Committee.
The Shasta General Purpose Committee donated $4,900 to Garman’s campaign in November, the maximum amount allowed by law, according to the Shasta County Registrar of Voters. Garman has donated $2000 to his own campaign. So far, he’s spent $40,000 on radio ads.
Meanwhile, Redding Rancheria tribal council member Tony Hayward has raised $19600 on the strength of three maxed out personal donations from tribal members. Replacement candidate Dale Ball has $7692 in his campaign coffers, the bulk of it left over from his failed attempt to take Moty’s seat in 2020. Pharmacist Tarick Mahmoud has so far not received any donations for the recall election, which takes place Feb. 1 next year, less than two months away.
Garman earned the endorsement of longtime State of Jefferson members Sally “Rally” Rapoza and Mark Kent—the latter of whom is also the presiding officer of the Shasta General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta—after he led the four-member Happy Valley Union School District board in votes opposing the state’s vaccine mandate for teachers, administrators and school employees in October.
Last month, the Shasta General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta received a $400,000 donation from son-of-a-dead-billionaire Reverge Anselmo, the Connecticut-based patron of Shasta County District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones and the movement to recall three Shasta County supervisors because they allegedly kowtowed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 mandates.
Despite the fact that the movement is based on a false premise—the three supervisors didn’t kowtow to Newsom—it succeeded in gathering enough signatures for a special election to recall Moty, who has been the main target of the Red, White and Blueprint’s fake news “docuseries.”
RWB, which serves as the propaganda arm of the recall movement, along with the Shasta General Purpose Committee and Recall Shasta, are all three currently being investigated by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for alleged campaign finance violations.
Now, it appears the recall movement has gone all-in on Garman. At the very least, as a God-fearing Christian he meets the State of Jefferson’s religious litmus test for holding office. In the bio on his campaign’s website, Garman makes no secret that serving in government is a spiritual calling for him. Indeed, Garman claims he was literally called by God, via the radio in his wife’s van, to run for the Happy Valley Union School District board in 2016.
“The speaker on the radio was talking about how important it is for Christians to get involved with local politics and specifically mentioned school board positions,” Garman’s bio reads. “Tim made a deal with God. He would run for school board, but he would not campaign or put up a single sign.”
This time around, God has apparently directed Garman to erect signage for the February 1 recall election. But Garman won’t be doing any interviews with the media, at least for now.
“I didn’t want to leave you hanging,” he replied by email to multiple interview requests. “I just don’t have the time for interviews right now. I have declined other offers as well. Don’t take it personally.”
I rarely take interview declinations personally, but it’s hard to square Garman’s refusal to answer questions with his pledge to bring back “transparency” to Shasta County’s 2nd District seat. Refusing to take questions from the media is the opposite of transparency. It’s like applying for a job with a $50,000 annual salary (the amount the supervisor position pays) and skipping the job interview.
Fortunately, Garman has left a significant social media trail during the past 21 months of the pandemic. From these traces, we can construct the outline of a 50-something Trump enthusiast who supported lockdowns and mask mandates at the beginning of the pandemic, then flipped and came to believe such mitigations were unnecessary and ultimately refused to get vaccinated. The latter decision nearly killed Garman when he contracted COVID-19 in September.
According to his campaign website bio, Garman and wife Rebecca will soon celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They have five children. Garman worked as a roofer until he blew out one of his knees; he has been employed as an in-home salesman since 2017.
In the recent past, two of the Garman’s children were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The Garmans started a support group at Mercy Medical Center for families whose children have been newly diagnosed with the condition.
Garman was approached by the Shasta General Purpose Committee/Recall Shasta after speaking out against the state’s vaccine mandates at a Board of Supervisors meeting. According to his third-person bio:
“Tim believes in local control, personal choice instead of mandates, and constitutional liberties. He wants to be a voice for the people he represents and he wants to end local mandates. Tim wants to bring transparency and community engagement back to district 2.”
Beyond the SOJ boilerplate, Garman has positioned himself as the anti-vaccination, anti-mask replacement candidate. Garman’s October school board votes to not comply with the state’s vaccine mandate for teachers, administrators, school employees and students (if the mandate for K-12 students goes into effect next year as expected) were designed to attract attention, and the SOJ and local media took the bait.
KRCR Channel 7 ran with it, strangely reporting that the Happy Valley school board president opposed the Oct. 18 staff/student walkout protest against vaccine mandates when in fact, as the long version of Garman’s interview makes clear, he supported it.
“If people want to make a stand, it is the right time to do so, we have the constitutional rights to do that and I hope that people actually do,” said Garman, who expected more than 1000 staff/students to join the walkout. “In the long run if our ADA drops, we will lose funding absolutely,” he said nonchalantly. “Then we’re going to be laying off teachers. Some schools may close.”
The Happy Valley board voted 4-0 to ignore the state’s vaccine mandate for public and private education employees, which requires unvaccinated workers to be tested for COVID-19 weekly. Instead, the board now requires all school staff to be tested weekly.
At the meeting, Garman stated, “The vaccinated can contract COVID and infect others just the same as the unvaccinated and the district should know who is positive regardless of their status.”
That’s simply not true. Given the reality of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated, testing all staff isn’t a bad idea in its own right, even though district superintendent Shelly Craig noted the district is unable to purchase enough tests. But in the battle against COVID-19, testing everyone doesn’t represent a happy medium between following vaccine mandates and not following them, as Garman implies.
Garman has proven himself adept at spreading medical misinformation. It’s highly improbable that there will be “more deaths from the side effects of the kids taking the vaccine than there will be from kids dying from COVID,” as Garman opined to KRCR. His Facebook posts frequently complain about censorship of such misinformation while simultaneously spreading it:
“If the vaccine worked and was safe, you wouldn’t need to run huge ad campaigns and mandate it. If it worked and was safe, you wouldn’t need to block, censor and threaten those who question it.”
At the October meeting, before the board voted 3-1 to refuse to comply with non-voluntary vaccine mandates now or in the future, Garman was seemingly oblivious to the fact that Shasta County was in the midst of its fourth and most deadly COVID-19 surge to date, with one of the highest infection rates in the state and more than 400 deaths.
“The state of emergency was issued in March of 2020,” he said. “This pandemic no longer fits the definition of an emergency.”
The Happy Valley Union School District board chose to ignore the state’s vaccine mandate despite a warning from superintendent Craig, who noted that there could be possible ramifications from Cal/OSHA, the Shasta County Office of Education, Shasta Public Health, and the California Department of Public Health.
At September’s school board meeting, which Garman didn’t attend due to contracting COVID-19, Craig advised the board to continue enforcing the state’s mask mandate.
“The district is at high risk of liability if we do not follow the mandate. The primary concerns are tort liability against the district, lack of insurance in the event of litigation, especially if we aren’t following the mandate, fines and penalties, potential criminal sanctions for failure to follow CDPH directives, and potential loss of funding.”
The board wisely chose to keep the mask mandate in place. Presumably, not following the state’s vaccine mandate presents similar liability risks. When asked if any of the ramifications she warned about has come to pass, Craig declined to comment.
In the months before the pandemic struck, Garman posted racist, misogynistic and erroneous memes attacking then Democratic presidential primary candidate Kamala Harris’ May-December romance with former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown in the mid-1990s. Brown was legally married at the time but had been estranged from his wife since 1981. Like most Trump supporters, Garman gave the “pussy-grabbing”, twice-impeached former commander in chief’s peccadillos a pass.
Garman posted criticisms of trans female athletes competing against cis female athletes. He posted rants denying climate change, citing well known non-scientist climate skeptics such as Anthony Watts.
He claimed drug cartels had taken over the Mexican government and would soon occupy California.
“Get ready to fight or move if Trump can’t build the wall,” he warned. He complained about PG&E’s public safety power shutoffs, enacted to prevent electrical lines from starting fires during high winds.
In a September post, he approved the right-wing proposal to redraw the state lines of California, Oregon and Idaho, combining northern California, southern Oregon and Idaho to create Hitlerian lebensraum for America’s beleaguered white Christian nationalists.
“Wow I can’t wait until the state lines get redrawn,” he wrote. “Instead of everyone fleeing CA for Idaho we can just stay home and enjoy a state that still has common sense.”
That day can’t come soon enough for Garman.
“Ouch. I’m ready to leave. If only I can convince the rest of my family,” he posted above an image of the sinking Titanic in October 2019 at the end of yet another smoke-filled fire season in California.
Garman’s Facebook posts show that he took the COVID-19 pandemic seriously at first. Here’s a post from March 2020, shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the statewide shelter in place in order:
“So much hate being spread on Facebook,” he posted on March 20, 2020. “So many of you are blaming Trump, Newsom or other politicians for spreading fear and panic. You all need to get real. The real hate is those who keep publicly blasting our politicians, especially at a time of world crisis. You are the haters and you should take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself, do I really have that much in me? If the answer is yes then seek help. This is a time we should come together and help each other and support all our leaders. I can’t stand our governor but at this time I have said he is doing a good job. I don’t agree with every position he takes with this but I have compassion for him because he is trying his best and there is no set of plants to work off. Be well and be safe and please SHELTER IN PLACE.”
Four days later, shocked at discovering no one in Anderson seemed to be following the shelter in place order, Garman posted, “I want to get back to normal and go to work again but the more you ignore the Governor’s order the longer it will take and some point if you can’t stay home he will order martial law. I don’t want that but if he has to go there because people are ignoring him this then so be it and I will support it.”
By early April, Garman was advocating hard lockdowns, posting memes about our “dense population” problem and the necessity of social distancing.
But Garman’s enthusiastic support for the state’s COVID-19 protocols began to fade shortly afterward.
On April 7 he posted the first of what would be many harangues on hydroxychloroquine, HCQ, as a treatment for COVID-19. Garman is familiar with HCQ because his son is participating in a clinical trial using hydroxychloroquine to treat type 1 diabetes. Garman-the-former-roofer reckons that COVID-19 attacks the immune system using the same mechanism as type 1 diabetes; therefore, if hydroxychloroquine works on one, it works on the other.
Forget about the fact his son’s clinical trial is ongoing, so we don’t know if it works on type 1 diabetes. Garman’s seen proof enough.
“Coronavirus is killing people because of how the immune system overreacts and damages the lungs,” he posted. “If this can be stopped by a drug that has already been determined to be safe then why are we not using it?”
Garman speculates there are two reasons why HCQ isn’t being used. First, on Twitter then-President Donald Trump was hocking hydroxychloroquine, so the president’s critics were bashing the malaria drug because Trump was promoting it. Second, Big Pharma didn’t want relatively cheap hydroxychloroquine, already proven safe for human consumption, cutting into the billions in profit it expected to gain from manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for national governments.
Garman has continued to post about hydroxychloroquine’s alleged efficacy for COVID-19 since then. We now have the benefit of 20 months’ worth of research on COVID-19, including the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat it. In a meta-analysis published in Nature in June 2021, researchers examined 11 randomized controlled trials with a total number of 8,161 patients and found HCQ was not an effective treatment.
“According to the findings of this study, HCQ in addition to standard of care appears to be not an effective treatment in primary outcomes, including negative conversion time, the negative rate of PCR, and mortality rate. In addition, HCQ did not show a significant improvement in other secondary outcomes. HCQ was also associated with higher rates of adverse events.”
Translation: Hydroxychloroquine is not an effective COVID-19 treatment, and may even cause harm in patients infected with COVID.
Shortly after mentioning hydroxychloroquine for the first time on Facebook, Garman, reacting to a right-wing website report that falsely claimed Michigan had banned the purchase of seeds, entertained the notion that COVID-19 might be a hoax.
“This kind of crap makes me feel like maybe this whole thing is a hoax and we are being played,” he posted on April 11, 2020. “Just an excuse to create socialism or worse. I do think the virus is real but I strongly believe the liberal side of our government is taking advantage of the situation and taking more of our free rights sway. They want to outlaw fishing. To be fair I am sure the conservative side is doing likewise with what they want too.”
“Bye bye freedom, hello socialism,” Garman posted one week later, atop a shared post from former Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko contrasting WalMart’s status as an essential service to the state’s temporary ban on camping. By May 15, Garman admitted he was no longer wearing a face mask in public.
After the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, Garman’s Facebook posts switched focus from the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter protests and accompanying riots that swept the country after Floyd’s death.
Garman shared the fake news story that mysterious piles of bricks were appearing near courthouses before demonstrations took place. Conflating protestors with rioters, he advised BLM to protest just once a month, as if BLM might listen to some random white dude. The nation had received the message and needed time to “cull out the racist people” in law enforcement.
“You are not a sheep if you wear a mask,” Garman said in a July 2020 post. “You are not a sheep if you do not wear a mask.” The shift from supporting martial law to making excuses for people who don’t mask up when and where it’s required was complete.
In August, Garman downplayed the number of children killed by COVID-19 by posting a made-up claim that a child in America is 66,668 times more likely to be sold to human traffickers than die of COVID-19. It’s an insult to the parents of the 230 children aged 0-4 years and the 527 5–18-year-old children to date who have been killed by COVID-19 in the United States since the pandemic began.
In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, Garman applauded Shasta County District 5 supervisor Les Baugh’s open letter to Gov. Newsom complaining about COVID-19 protocols. He offered up the climate change denier’s plan to solve the wildfire issue. After once supporting them, he admonished athletes for taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, included Redding native and world soccer superstar Megan Rapinoe.
Less than a month out from the November election that would see Trump thrown out of office, Garman, triggered by a viral news report that a high school chemistry teacher in Colusa supervising a Zoom classroom asked a student to remove a Trump flag from his virtual background, uncorked a bizarre conspiratorial rant accusing all teachers of being predators on the nation’s youth:
“This is sickening. This is wrong on so many levels. With COVID the liberal teachers are now using it as an excuse to dictate what our kids can and can’t have in their own HOME. Talk about an invasion of privacy. This has gone too far. I registered as a Republican when I was 18 because my high school history teacher was a hardcore Democrat and if you agreed with him you got a whole letter grade higher. That was wrong in my opinion so in his eyes I was a rebel. The teachers have been predators for years and they are after our youth. And now they have free reign into our homes. NO NO NO. We cannot allow this any longer.”
It’s difficult to imagine the man making this statement is a local school board president, let alone the leading candidate to replace a lifelong public servant with District 2 Leonard Supervisor Leonard Moty’s years of training and experience.
After voters sent Trump packing in November 2020, Garman announced he was switching to the right-wing Parler social media platform because Facebook was to censorious. After Trump supporters stormed the capitol in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, Garman apparently landed in Facebook jail. To celebrate the Fourth of July this year, Garman posted a meme reminding us “this holiday was made possible by people with guns.”
“January 4th 1776 was born one nation under God,” says another post shared by Garman. “245 years later it needs to be born again.” Another shared post reads, “Normal isn’t coming back. Jesus is.”
When Garman caught COVID-19 in September, he admitted in Facebook posts that he was unvaccinated and had taken ivermectin, which he had previously endorsed online, along with hydroxychloroquine. Like HCQ, the research on ivermectin’s usefulness for treating COVID-19 has come in, and according to Forbes reporter Steven Salzberg, it still doesn’t work.
Garman told KRCR he spent two-and-a-half weeks on oxygen during his personal battle with COVID-19, misery that would almost have certainly been lessened if the overweight COVID magnet had bothered getting vaccinated.
It begs the question: if Garman can’t take proper care of himself, what makes him think he can take care of Shasta County’s 2nd District?