A New Day In Tehama

Congratulations, Tehama County. You did your homework. You saw through the BS. You showed up and you voted. And not in the worst numbers for a primary election in a mid-term year. Some folks jumped the gun and thought the initial totals were final. So no, it wasn’t 20% of eligible voters. It will probably end up around 40% – which is still nothing to brag about. The counting is not done, but there probably aren’t enough votes out there to change any of the early results.

Last week, when this column hit the newsstands – ok the interwebs – I was in the beautiful historic town of McCloud on the south side of majestic Mt. Shasta. I bring my little vendor booth up there to the Mushroom Festival every Memorial Day weekend.

Photo by Liz Merry

And speaking of Mt. Shasta, have you spent much time on it or in its shadow? It’s big – much bigger than the feisty little volcano in my backyard, Lassen Peak. At 10,457 feet, Lassen is just over ? the size of Shasta at 14,180. And it ain’t just the height. Shasta is just enormous – sprawling.

Anyone in halfway decent shape can walk up Lassen Peak in under 3 hours. We once saw a grandma in her 70’s with a stroller coming down the Peak Trail after pushing her 2 year-old granddaughter to the summit. My kind of gal.

Top of Lassen Peak with Mr. Standish – Liz Merry

No way you could do that on Shasta. It doesn’t welcome with open arms. It’s cold, aloof, doesn’t know or care that you’re there. Climbing it is a multi-day effort requiring all manner of equipment and planning. A professional mountain guide perished up there recently. It’s beautiful, but with the danger, Lemurians and UFOs – there’s just a lot going on.

But back to the Mushroom Festival. This year I brought something unexpected home from McCloud – our spiky little pal Covid. Tuesday I started feeling some irritation in my chest, Wednesday I woke up feverish, congested, coughing, death warmed over. Did a home test with a negative result.

Friday I woke feeling much better but still coughing – tested positive. Mr. Standish and I are double vaxxed and boosted and were due for our second boosters this week. I got sick instead. By the time you read this, I will be out of isolation and back in the swim.

But to make a larger point, numbers are climbing again. I posted a photo of my positive test on Facebook because it looked so much like a pregnancy test I couldn’t resist making the joke.

Preggers or Covid? Whew – just Covid

Nineteen people from here and elsewhere chimed in that they or family members currently had it and almost a dozen folks messaged me privately that they did, too. Apparently this current variant has some delightful gastro-intestinal symptoms, too. It’s the summer surge – stay safe everybody.

I was isolated during all the festivities on Election Day. Waaah. Our awesome Elections Official Jennifer Vise has not yet finalized the numbers, but if the current results stand, there are big changes coming to the board of supervisors. Thanks to you, Tehama. You did it and I have never been prouder of you.

Neither of the Supervisors-elects, Matt Hansen nor Pati Nolen, are one-trick-ponies.

Supervisor-elect District 4 Matt Hansen

Supervisor-elect District 3 Pati Nolen

Water was central to both campaigns because it is our top priority issue, but they are both much more than that. They are smart, methodical, big picture people whose styles could not be more different. In fact, because Candy Carlson lost the Auditor race, she will retain her seat on the board and we will see the most intelligent dais since the good ol’ days of McIver, Willard, and Russell.

Carlson must be thrilled to have lost. I would be if I were her. Not only will she no longer have to tolerate 2 men who talk down to her like she’s their daughter or ex-wife, she will be working with 4 other true servant/leaders who want the best for everyone.

Will they agree on everything? Of course not. But without the underlying hostility that has been present as long as I’ve been attending, compromises can be made and solutions found. Fresh ideas and a lot of working together. That’s what we hope to see in 2023.

Carlson will be the senior member of the board, but she’s Chairwoman this year, meaning District 1 supe Bill Moule will be Chairman next year. He’s relatively new, but that’s OK. We’ve seen what happens when supervisors feed at the public trough for too long. In D4 supe’s Bob Williams’ own words, “I just anticipate a day when no one will run for supervisor except folks with a special interest or an axe to grind.” Newsflash. Sometimes people run because they want to help. Because they are fed up with the status quo and the lack of vision. Bob is currently losing his re-election bid 66% – 34%, despite endorsements from the local Republican Trinity – LaMalfa, Nielsen, and Gallagher. So much for his axes and special interests.

District 4 Supervisor Bob Williams

We’ve all made our share of voting errors, but we learn from our mistakes. Mr. Standish and I voted for Dennis Garton the first time he ran for D3 Supervisor, but it was mistaken identity. Garton’s occupation on the ballot said “former undersheriff”. We thought it was Rob Heard’s undersheriff, a big strapping fellow named (we think) Jerry. When Heard was running against Clay Parker, Jerry told us “We’re not going to bust you for a lid of grass.” A lid of grass. Hah. We thought we were voting for a supe who might not be suffering from Reefer Madness. Oopsie. Garton is currently losing his re-election bid 54% – 36%. Buh-bye.

District 3 Supervisor Dennis Garton

But now it’s a new day and the real work begins in 6 months when Nolen and Hansen are sworn in. Trusting all 5 supes is going to take some getting used to.

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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