A Blood-Thirsty Recall Mob Murdered an Innocent Man’s Career

The word “recall” doesn’t do justice to what happened to Supervisor Leonard Moty in Shasta County’s District 2 recall election Tuesday.

Let’s call it what it is: “Murder” is the more accurate word. The recall election murdered an innocent man’s career and forever stained his legacy.

The recall election was premeditated and had many eager accomplices. It was planned by a misguided mob of so-called patriots who ambitiously put targets on the backs of all supervisors; except fellow patriot Patrick Jones, whose campaign and subsequent election was bought and paid for by a Connecticut millionaire’s mad money.

District 5 Supervisor Patrick Jones’ 2020 campaign poster.

Make no mistake; gun-shop manager Supervisor Jones is a joke. He sleeps through board meetings. He’s easily flummoxed by big numbers and lengthy reports. He uses county property like it’s his own private hootenanny hangout. He votes against anything having to do with the McConnell Foundation. He voted against a resolution honoring an exemplary county employee of the month because the woman worked for Shasta County public health. He’s pals with two-faced District 5 supervisor Les Baugh, Jones’ board-chamber trespassing partner in crime.

Pro-recall supervisors Patrick Jones (District 4) and Les Baugh (District 5).

Most of all, he’s beholden to son-of-a-billionaire Reverge Anselmo.

When the recall mob couldn’t easily get enough signatures to recall supervisors Mary Rickert and Joe Chimenti, they focused all their attention on Moty. Recallers were strategically motivated to pick off even one supervisor, since wonder of wonders Baugh had a sudden change of heart and unexpectedly announced he’d not run for District 5 re-election after all. In short order Chimenti made a similar announcement regarding his decision to not run for re-election of his District 1 seat.

That leaves two supervisor positions up for grabs in June.

Cameras capture the moment when recallers served then-chair District 1 Supervisor Joe Chimenti with intent-to-recall papers.

Of course, the recallers are already taking credit for Baugh and Chimenti’s announcements, as if they’d caused the men to jump ship early as part of a de facto recall. Who knows. Maybe, maybe not.

Whatever the reason for Baugh and Chimenti’s upcoming departures, this further energized the recallers, who redoubled their efforts and whipped gullible citizens into frothing frenzies driven by blatant lies offered as explanations why Moty should be removed.

At “medical freedom” rallies outside Mercy Medical Center and Shasta Regional Medical Center, recallers with clipboards roamed through the crowds and lied when they told worried healthcare workers that their facilities’ vaccine and mask mandates were among the many reasons why Moty should be recalled, despite the fact county supervisors hold no sway over medical facilities, like hospitals and nursing homes.

A red-shirted recall petition-signature-gatherer smiles and pauses with a beverage as a health care worker signs a recall petition at a medical freedom rally outside Mercy Medical Center last summer. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

At school walk-out events, recallers with petitions lied when they told concerned parents that Moty was going along with the “tyrannical” state pushing vaccines and masks for children, despite the fact that county supervisors have no say-so over state education mandates.

Recallers lied when they successfully duped ignorant people into believing that Moty was against the Second Amendment, despite the fact that Moty is a former police officer and retired Redding police chief who owns firearms and openly supports the Second Amendment.

The lies were fruitful and they multiplied. Truth in Advertising laws be damned, the anti-Moty lies were broadcast throughout the region, thanks to the millionaire’s deep pockets and more than $450,000 in campaign funding that saturated the North State with radio, television, newspaper and billboard ads.

Truth was irrelevant. In fact, when dozens of recallers converged upon a busy Redding intersection last month with identical yellow-and-black recall-Moty signs, and were randomly asked why they wanted Moty recalled, not one person could give a single factual reason.

Some sign-holders admitted they didn’t know why they were holding a recall-Moty sign. Others had no clue the district in which they lived, or their district supervisor’s name. One woman blamed Shasta County’s entire homelessness issue solely upon Moty, which is why she said Leonard Moty should be recalled.

They called Moty a RINO (Republican in name only). They called him a socialist, Marxist, Communist and even a pedophile. And when Moty recently became the board chair and attempted to enforce the board’s own decorum resolution following a year of former Chair Chimenti letting bedlam run amok inside the meetings, Moty was called a tyrant and bully. An artfully spliced video was produced as evidence and shared widely.

How convenient for the recallers to make Moty the fall guy for all their grievances, great and small; real and imaginary.

Facts never mattered to the recallers, hence, my description was born for these sorry individuals who appeared simultaneously duped and stupid: dupid.

It’s all moot now. Although the recall election count may not be official for a few weeks, the prevailing consensus is that Moty has been recalled. Likewise, it’s probable that challenger Tim Garman, the recallers’ favorite candidate, will take Moty’s seat.

We can debate on another day the obvious necessity to reform California’s reckless recall system. And we can argue on another day about whether a sane candidate should have been placed on the recall ballot to hedge bets in the event Moty lost. We can talk about those things and more later.

Today, I mourn. I mourn the egregious recall of one of Shasta County’s best and brightest elected officials: District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty.

I mourn the fact that more people didn’t overtly “stand with Moty” – especially high-level fellow Republicans. Hello, Dahles? Where were you? Former Chair Chimenti, why did you omit support for Moty during your soap-box pontification about the evils of the recall system?

With grief comes those inevitable stages, starting with denial that the recall succeeded in the first place. Next comes anger, which is my current state of grief; that, and profound disappointment.

I feel disbelief that out of 21,644 District 2 registered voters, just 8,779 cast ballots. Who knows how much differently things would have turned out for all 180,000 of us Shasta County residents had those 12,865 remaining District 2 citizens bothered to vote. How frustrating that such a small percentage of citizens in just one of five Shasta County districts could cause so much damage.

Thanks for nothing, District 2 non-voters.

As a journalist I feel deeply disappointed in the local media companies that accepted tens of thousands of dollars for recall ads that were obviously false; ads that made preposterous claims that were regularly debunked and repeatedly corrected by journalist R.V. Scheide here on A News Cafe. A word of clarification here that I don’t blame the journalists who work for these media companies that took the recall-ad money. I blame the media company heads.

Those media executives who accepted the money have blood on their hands as they are complicit in Moty’s recall. The ads influenced impressionable audiences to believe a parade of non-stop lies that contributed to the success of the recall and the death of Moty’s career.

I’m angry that Moty was treated for more than a year as the recallers’ personal whipping boy, while so many — even many of his fellow conservatives and lifelong acquaintances — looked the other way.

Nothing to see here, folks; just an upstanding citizen getting the proverbial crap beat out of him in an alley by a bunch of thugs. Carry on.

Granted, let’s give credit where credit is due. In the 11th hour, literally weeks before the election, a few hundred rational North State folks did appear to come to their senses and acknowledge that the extremist recallers were gaining ground. And while it’s true that some people did speak out against the recall, there wasn’t exactly a groundswell of support for Moty.

By the way, you know that full-page newspaper ad that listed the names of Moty supporters? The recallers are collecting and “tracking” those names. Classic.

Sadly, in the case of the recall election, this was a situation when late was not better than never. Either way, there’s no denying that it’s too late now.

Why didn’t more people speak up and stand up for Moty and against the recall? I blame intimidation and fear; fear that if the mob could take down a respected, educated, articulate, ethical pillar of the community like Moty, just imagine what the unruly recall mob could do to those of us who are not Notre Dame graduates, and those of us who lack multigenerational deep roots.

Right about now is when some recallers whine that they’re being unjustly characterized. This is also when someone might quote Jones as he defends the recallers – just as Zapata defended the “good” Proud Boys – saying they’re just grandmas and grandpas and dads and soccer moms.

To that I say big whoop. That’s the best you’ve got? Even Charles Manson had a mom, dad, grandmother and grandfather. So? What’s your point?

To those who say that the recall is just a temporary blip on the North State’s political screen, that we’re making a big fuss about nothing, I remind you who the recallers are, what they say, what they want and what lengths they’re prepared to go to reach their goals. It’s not pretty, and it’s not nice. There will be collateral damage.

This 23-minute video can refresh our memories.

Please don’t buy into more lies from recallers who now attempt to normalize and downplay the means they used to justify their terrible end. The recall was filthy dirty. The recall was based upon lies from beginning to end.

Remember that Carlos Zapata, featured prominently in the 23-minute video above, now says he had no part of the recall, but rather, he’s only affiliated with Red, White and Blueprint, the organization that’s documenting the take-over of Shasta County so the rest of the country can emulate this grand alt-right scheme.

For contradictory evidence look no further than Zapata’s social media posts that clearly show his early and ongoing influence and involvement in the recall efforts.

Clearly, Zapata’s the recall campaign kingpin, whether he admits it publicly or not. Ergo, that makes Red, White and Blueprint a political organization, which comes with all kinds of sticky campaign finance rules that Zapata no doubt wishes he could avoid.

Forget Zapata. He’s a destructive, unstable bully who bends the truth beyond the breaking point, whether he’s claiming he’s a combat veteran, (he’s not), or whether he’s claiming he’s never been part of the recall efforts (he has).

Instead, remember Leonard Moty, and what happened to him, and see what’s been taken from him for no reason. Remember the collective community radio silence as Moty was singled out with graphic, sometimes violent verbal threats.

Remember that if all those things could happen to him, it could happen to anyone the recallers want to banish from public service, or Shasta County, or “our way of living” for that matter.

One particularly pornographic anti-Moty meme was created and posted by none other than Zapata himself. It’s sickening. I will never publish it.

Remember Moty

District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty faces recall on Feb. 1.

Bear in mind that at any point in this last year, Moty could have given the recallers the royal one-finger salute, resigned, and allowed the governor to fill District 2’s empty seat with a far-left Democrat.

Moty didn’t do that.

Never forget that Moty’s career ended by force, against his will, simply because recallers wanted to upset the board balance and get one step closer to a guaranteed 3-2 vote count in the extremists’ favor. With that, they could exert control over everything from the county’s Resource Management Department (so hated by ax-grinding Anselmo), as well as services for the unhoused and mentally ill, not to mention passing proclamations about pet projects, such as illegal firearms resolutions.

Imagine the stress and humiliation Moty, his wife, their kids and the entire extended Moty family have endured this last year at the hands of cruel people who made Moty the straw-man enemy in a war of their own creation.

Most of all, remember that Moty is strong and smart and capable. Remember his steadfast leadership and his unwillingness to acquiesce in the face of bullies. Remember all the good he’s done for this community.

Rest assured, Leonard Moty will land on his feet, and if there’s any justice, he’ll go on to bigger, better things. You can’t keep a good man down. Besides, as they say, success is the best revenge.

Shasta County was so fortunate to have someone of Moty’s caliber, education, experience and integrity. The same can be said of Supervisor Mary Rickert.

Speaking of Rickert, right on cue, now that Moty’s been recalled, the mob has already turned up the heat against Rickert. You can bet that if Moty remained on the dais as chair, he’d never allow it. But without Moty’s stability and civility, Rickert will be on her own.

One recent message against Rickert is unspeakably violent, found on a Facebook page message began with a message liked by Colt Roberts, a Red, White and Blueprint favorite who’s running for Baugh’s District 5 seat come June. (Update: Roberts contacted me this evening and claimed the violent message was not on his page, but on a post that he liked before the violent message was posted. Roberts said he was unaware of the comment, and saw it later via a screenshot.

“I do not condone such comments nor the behaviors implied in the comment,” Roberts said. “Thank you!”

I told Roberts I’d publish his explanation, but I later asked Roberts if he’d stood up for Rickert when he saw the post, or if he’d corrected the person who issued the violence message. Here’s his response:

“I honestly do not know what post the comment was on (as I tend to click like on many posts) but a concerned citizen sent me the screenshot. If I would have seen the comment I would have spoken up for sure. Honestly I don’t know how to prove that I don’t condone it other than giving you my word that if I saw a person physically attacking Mary I would stop it.”

For what it’s worth, the violent message against Rickert is no longer on Facebook.

Like Zapata’s disgusting meme about Moty, I will not post the graphic threat against Rickert here. Trust me when I say it’s horrible.

It’s noteworthy that Roberts is the candidate who suggested bringing AR-15s to medical freedom rallies.

So it goes here in Shasta County, where the pandemic is politicized, where militia members like Zapata call for blood in the streets, where Cottonwood militia leader Woody Clendenen displays a Confederate flag at his barber shop and waxes nostalgic about the good old days when the Nuremberg trials sentenced journalists to hanging.

Meanwhile, their other militia buddy, Jon Knight, smiled and flashed white-pride hand signs on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

This is a sample of the people who want to “take back” Shasta County, and I’ve not even mentioned the State of Jefferson believers, the white supremacists, the Christian zealots, the anti-vaxers, the anti-intellectuals, and the open-carry pushers, to name a few.

They’re among a mob of unscrupulous serial recallers, hell bent on killing innocent elected leaders’ careers. Rickert’s in their crosshairs now. Perhaps they’ll use their previous recall strategy based upon lies to force Rickert out as they did Moty. Or perhaps they’ll make life so miserable for her as a supervisor that Rickert quits.

As one astute ANC commenter noted about the recall, Leonard Moty didn’t lose when the recall passed; Shasta County did.

Either way, like Moty, Rickert is strong, stable, intelligent and resourceful. She will survive. But will Shasta County?

Oh, Shasta County. What will become of you? What will become of us?


If you appreciate stories like this one about the recall of Leonard Moty, please consider a contribution or subscription to A News Cafe. Thank you. Doni

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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