The Countdown to Forever: Last Chance to Stop the Shasta County District 2 Recall

Calling all Shasta County District 2 voters! From Happy Valley to the Win River Resort & Casino! From Platina to Ono to Igo to Centerville! From Bechelli to Ridgeview! From French Gulch to Shasta to Keswick! All 21,000 of you, the number of registered voters in the district.

A boot with a spur? Nope, it’s Shasta County District 2, where Supervisor Leonard Moty faces recall on Feb. 1.

If you haven’t voted “no” on recalling Shasta County District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty, you still have a few days remaining to do so, including election day on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

You should have received your mail-in recall ballot by Jan. 10. (Perhaps it’s buried at the bottom of that stack of unopened bills you’ve been avoiding.) If so, there’s still time to make your vote count, as long as it’s postmarked or delivered to your local polling place by 8 p.m. on Feb. 1.

You also have the option of dropping off your ballot at Shasta County Elections, 1643 Market Street, Redding on Saturday, Jan. 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The department will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day, just like polling places. If you didn’t receive a ballot, lost it, or made a mistake, you can get a replacement ballot at the same address.

Ballot drop boxes are also available and open 24 hours a day until 8 p.m. Feb. 1 at Shasta County Elections, Redding City Hall at 777 Cypress and Anderson City Hall at 1877 Howard St.

Ballot drop boxes are also available at the Holiday Market at 3315 Placer St., Sav Mor at 6536 Westside Rd., Taylor Motors at 2525 Churn Creek Rd. and the Happy Valley Country Market at 5235 Happy Valley Rd. Consult the Voter Information Guide you received in the mail for times or check the PDF version on Shasta County Elections website.

All ballot boxes close at 8 p.m. on election day, Feb. 1.

Voters who choose to vote in person at the polls on election day, Feb. 1, may do so from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Enter your address on the Shasta County Elections website to find the location of your polling place here.

Somewhere in the Voter Information Guide you’ll find this sample ballot. Mark your real ballot thusly to vote no on recalling Supervisor Moty.

Since District 2 voters who haven’t voted yet are the intended audience for this article, I’m presuming that you haven’t been keeping track of the right-wing, anti-mask, anti-vax hooligans who’ve laid siege to the Shasta County Board of supervisors for nearly two years, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. They can’t help manically ranting in their campaign statement in your Voter Information Guide:

“[Moty] has betrayed public trust. He didn’t defend our county from State government overreach. He bowed to Governor Newsom, a lawless politician, for county funding. He capitulated to the State, refusing to terminate our local state of emergency, failing to give us local control. He failed to fulfill his oath to secure our right to choose safety for ourselves.”

The statement goes on to argue unconvincingly that the district needs fundamental change and that recalling Moty, who was easily elected two years ago and is up for reelection in 2024, is a necessary last resort.

The uninitiated District 2 voter can learn two things from the pro-recall campaign statement.

First, the recall proponents don’t understand how county government works in conjunction with the state, particularly during a genuine emergency like the COVID-19 pandemic. In his response to their campaign statement, Moty matter-of-factly schools his opponents on the art of governance.

Shasta County District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty.

The County is a subdivision of the state, thus is legally obligated to abide by the Governor-declared ‘State of Emergency,’ even if I didn’t fully agree with his ‘one size fits all approach,’” Moty writes. “Approximately 85 percent of our budget is controlled by the state, for programs/services that benefit all community members. During these challenging times, the Board and staff have worked diligently to ensure critical services remained in place, while working to protect the health and safety of over 180,000 county residents. My role is to serve and protect all citizens, and our financial future.”

It’s worth noting the COVID-19 state of emergency is ongoing, as the Omicron variant rips through Shasta County at a frightening rate, sickening hundreds of people. Three out of the four recall candidates don’t believe the pandemic, which has killed more than 500 people in Shasta County, warranted declaring a state of emergency in the first place; the outlier isn’t a serious candidate. Here’s the latest COVID-19 stats according to Public Health:

“Shasta County’s case rate is now 1,207 per 100,000 people, which has skyrocketed from 82.7 per 100,000 just one month ago, which is an increase of 1359 percent. The positivity rate has jumped from 2.1 percent to 13.4 percent in the past month. Please continue to take all precautions to slow the spread and protect yourself and those around you.”

This is all lost on the recallers, who advocate for the abolishment of not only Shasta County Health and Human Services but any program they deign as “bloated and inefficient.” It’s all socialism! Communism! Marxism! The willingness to fire public employees at random was a litmus test for alternate recall candidates at the Red, White and Blueprint-hosted debate. All four candidates passed.

That’s the second thing you can learn from their campaign statement. The recallers aren’t here to help. They’re here to tear things down.

Connecticut billionaire Reverge Anselmo thinks he can buy Shasta County.

This is in line with the whims of their financial benefactor, Connecticut son of a billionaire Reverge Anselmo, who so far has donated $100,000 to wingnut District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones’ 2020 campaign and $450,000 to the Shasta General Purpose Committee, the recall’s political action committee.

Anselmo’s wealth was inherited from a driven father who established the first private satellite television network in the 1980s. The company was sold for $3 billion after his father’s death. You can read more about this story here.

Anselmo has never been able to fill the shoes of his legendary pops, and many of his attempts to strike out on his own, including a poorly received autobiographical novel and Hollywood feature film, have fizzled out.

In Shasta County, Anselmo’s attempt to build a winery and restaurant near Shingletown continually ran afoul of the Shasta County Department of Resource Management. Now back home in Connecticut, he’s taking pot shots at Shasta County and donating millions to hyper-conservative causes such as Rand Paul’s Protect Freedom PAC.

Anselmo has donated an unknown amount to the Red, White and Blueprint, a pro-recall production company that makes among other things a fake news docuseries that has repeatedly libeled Moty.

Anselmo makes the occasional appearance in the series. In Episode 2 of the Red, White and Blueprint docuseries, Anselmo says he’d be willing to return to Shasta County if the Department of Resource Management was totally eliminated.

In November, Anselmo donated $400,000 to the Shasta General Purpose Committee to add to the $50,000 he gave in August. Without these cash infusions, it’s doubtful Moty would be facing recall on Tuesday.

This writer has long postulated that Reverge is out for revenge against Shasta County and was happily validated by two recent, prominent opinion pieces that concluded the same thing in the Record Searchlight. If you have a subscription, you can read them here and here.

Moty just might be Shasta County’s longest serving public servant. He spent 31 years on the Redding Police Department, the last six as chief. He’s served 14 years as the District 2 supervisor. He’s got an MBA from USC and has been endorsed by literally hundreds of local businesspeople. He has connections up and down the state.

None of his four opponents can hold a candle to him. Just read their candidate statements in the Voter Information Guide. It’s all hot air. Firing Moty and hiring any one of the four would be akin to replacing a seasoned NFL quarterback with the waterboy.

But it is by no means certain that Moty will defeat the recall. He’s benefitted greatly from a timely $100,000 donation from Sierra Pacific Industries, according to local campaign finance records, but it’s just a fraction of the more than $600,000 total raised by the Shasta General Purpose Committee.

The recallers have been able to flood the advertising zone with misinformation, from television to radio to the internet to District 2 mailboxes. Moty has fought back with hard-hitting advertisements of his own, but will it be enough?

The answer to that question, dear District 2 voter who hasn’t voted yet, may be up to you. The recallers are counting on a low turnout in which Moty fails to gain more than a 50 percent majority and is successfully recalled. Then the alternate candidate who gets the most votes, even if he has less votes than Moty, is declared the winner.

Loose cannon? District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones in RWB Episode 3.

In Episode 3 of the Red, White and Blueprint docuseries, District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones, the most dishonest politician in Shasta County, says all he wants to do is “count to three.” Jones is talking about gaining a three-vote majority on the five-member board of supervisors. Installing any of the alternate candidates in place of Moty could finally usher in his long-held dream of transforming Shasta County into a libertarian dystopia.

Reverge Anselmo will no doubt approve.

It doesn’t seem fair that a belligerent billionaire can just barge in and buy the county, but fair has nothing to do with it. It’s legal. Right now, Anselmo, who has a virtually unlimited source of funds, can dump an unlimited amount of money on the Shasta General Purpose Committee, placing Shasta County in a perpetual state of recall.

It doesn’t have to be that way. District 2 voters can send a message to billionaire bullies like Anselmo: Shasta County isn’t for sale.

According to Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling Allen, so far “5,441 ballots have been dropped off or mailed back, and that includes just over 150 people who have voted here in person in the office.”

That means almost 15,000 District 2 voters have yet to vote!

So, District 2 voter. If you haven’t done your civic duty already, locate your ballot. Fill it out, it’s easy; there’s only one circle to fill in. Vote “no” on recalling District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty. Ignore the alternate candidates.

And get thee to a ballot box!

R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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