Are Those Tehama’s Nuts In Your Carpetbag?

It’s election season and you’ve probably gotten your sample ballot in the mail by now, so start looking it over. Do your research on the candidates – don’t just vote for the guy with the cowboy hat for Congress because he has an R next to his name. Learn about Max Steiner, veteran and super smart guy. Here’s his website, where you can read his stance on issues. maxsteinerforcongress.com/issues Maybe you’ll find you still prefer the $5 million subsidy welfare queen LaMalfa, but ask yourself honestly – What has he done for you? 


And speaking of nothing, what have any of your local elected Tehama County officials done for you? If you’re Bart Fleharty or Casey Safreno, the answer is plenty. Bart is an attorney who specializes in real estate and environmental law. He is District 3’s appointed member of the Groundwater Sustainability Commission – appointed by D3 Supe Dennis Garton – even though he lives in District 1. 


I wrote to Justin Jenson, Executive of the Groundwater Sustainability Agency, and he sent me back the bylaws, which state that “One member should be a resident, property owner, or groundwater user within Tehama County Supervisorial District 3”. However, the bylaws also state the following – “criteria are neither exclusive nor mandatory, and the Board of Directors may deviate from these criteria upon recommendation of the Commission for good cause.” In other words, the bylaws aren’t really laws. They’re more like suggestions. And even though Fleharty may not own property or use groundwater in District 3, Dennis Garton still appointed him to represent his constituents, as pointed out by Garton’s opponent Pati Nolen at the Candidates’ Night in Paskenta Tuesday. There was an audible gasp from the audience. For all I know Fleharty may have written the bylaws himself. Justin didn’t know who wrote them, but I do appreciate his responsiveness to my endless queries.


So why would Garton appoint Fleharty when there are plenty of qualified people in his district? It could be because of his long bromance with District 4 Supervisor Bob Williams. Bob Williams’ mother (not Bob himself) sold around 1700 acres of grassland in Henleyville – sort of between Flournoy and Rancho Tehama – to 2DSD LLC a little over a year ago for $5 million, which Bob will inherit at least in part. 2DSD LLC is headquartered at the address of bazillionaire Casey Safreno’s $13.5 million home in Woodside. He also owns a $1.5 million “cabin” on Lake Almanor.

Screenshot from Google Maps – Liz Merry

Safreno pulled at least 8 ag well permits on the Henleyville property. Fleharty was the agent on that sale and there is a big “Re-elect Bob Williams” sign on the gate, as I learned from watching Williams’ District 4 opponent Matt Hansen’s excellent video series “Behind the Sign”. Check out Episode 5 “A Thirst for Profit” to see it for yourself.
Casey Safreno is a former Merrill Lynch executive who left for Lehman Brothers 5 years before LehBro became the largest US bankruptcy in history due to their shenanigans during the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Safreno also owns around 400 acres already planted in nuts where Flores dead ends into Rawson Rd, just up the street from Williams’ house. They are listed as being owned by West Flores LLC (Casey Safreno principal) and also sport Bob Williams re-election signs. 

Photo by Liz Merry


Clearly there is a connection among Williams, Fleharty, and Safreno. Fleharty is even listed as a top donor on Williams’ campaign to the tune of $500, but he is not a top donor of Garton’s. If he contributed anything to the man who actually appointed him to that powerful commission seat, it was under $100 – the threshold for having to submit the donor’s name and occupation. Hope Garton doesn’t get all jelly about that.


Incidentally, I found those three properties and all the other information about Safreno in less than an hour on Google and a couple land sites. It is all public record. I doubt these are the only properties owned by Safreno in Tehama County, but I’m not going to spend all day looking at the principals on every corporation that owns property in the county. He has also punched in a bunch of ag wells on his properties in Oregon. He is a thirsty guy.


And he ain’t the only one. Some of you may have gotten the idea that I oppose local family nut farms. Not true. What I am four square against are the carpetbaggers who are transporting our water to other places and spending the profits where they live. They have no investment in our community. Oh they’re spending a little locally to keep their lap dogs in places of authority. Like the authority to refuse any sort of water monitoring or an ag well moratorium to protect the drinking water of their own damn neighbors.


It’s time to clean house, folks. Elect Nolen and Hansen for Tehama County Supervisors.

Liz Merry

Liz Merry was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, then transplanted to the Jersey Shore. She moved to Chico in 1984 and married her comedy partner, Aaron Standish, in 1990. They have lived in Manton since 1994.

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