Tragedy Strikes Tehama County Supes

Yikes – giant oak falls on Supervisor Carlson’s house – photo courtesy Candy Carlson

Welp, I was all ready to write a glorious recap of Tuesday’s Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting – the one I have been waiting to attend for over 5 years. The Old Guard was gone and a new era of leadership was emerging. I envisioned everybody singing Kumbaya together at the end. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

I was giddy with excitement Tuesday morning. The two new supervisors, Pati Nolen and Matt Hansen, took their seats on the dais for the first time and 2023’s Chairman Bill Moule – who has only served on the board a little over a year – opened the meeting. Unfortunately, we were two supes short of a full house. Wait, what?

Supervisors Matt Hansen and Pati Nolen

Chairman Bill Moule – photo courtesy appeal-democrat.com

When Moule gaveled us into session, we learned about two separate and awful incidents that kept the two longest serving members of the board away. District 5’s John Leach had fallen and been hospitalized. By the time you read this, he will have had major back surgery and we hope is now resting comfortably.

Supervisor John Leach – co.tehama.ca.us

District 2’s Candy Carlson had a several hundred year old oak tree fall on her house and garage late Monday/early Tuesday, doing extensive damage and seriously injuring her daughter. Carlson and her dog were hit with debris but are ok. Her home is no longer habitable, but they are lucky and grateful to be alive. Please send prayers, health juju, reiki, or whatever you think will help both families through this extremely difficult time.

Supervisor Carlson – Red Bluff Daily News

The living room – photo courtesy Candy Carlson

While the audience tried to absorb that shocking news, the three newbies marched on into the meeting and the Chair gave his inaugural opening remarks. He kindly warned us that he would be starting off every meeting with a quote for us to ponder. OK, if he insists. This week was a goal-oriented quote from Alice in Wonderland. That’s cool. I like goals.

Personal observation – every time someone says “Chairman Moule” I hear “Chairman Mao”.

Chairman Mao – wikipedia.com

And now you will, too. Sorry about that. He went on to tell us his plan for the Public Comments portion of the meeting going forward. While he didn’t demand it, he requested that members of the public not critique staff during their three minutes at the podium. If we have something critical to say, we should submit it in writing. I assume verbal accolades are welcome.

The phones immediately lit up with outraged citizens reminding Moule of their First Amendment rights, which he did acknowledge in his initial request. There is a difference between criticism and personal attacks, and most prior chairpeople wouldn’t allow the latter.

Martha Kleykamp called in to say that she would be exercising her First Amendment rights any way she wanted and shared a quote of her own from Alice In Wonderland. “Off with his (her) head!” Hah. Martha is one of the best extemporaneous speakers you’ll ever hear and it’s always exciting when she approaches the podium or phones in. Manton’s Matthew Meyer also speaks brilliantly off the top of his head. Those two have a special gift.

Martha Kleykamp and her stallion, Captain

The meeting went on, under the watchful eye of County Clerk Jennifer Vise, wearing her Board Clerk hat. She knows the ropes and procedure better than anyone in the room and I was relieved to see her there, keeping the newbies on track. Since the Chair rarely makes a motion – he or she normally entertains motions from the rest of the board – it was up to the two brand new supes to move and second every vote in their very first meeting. So that’s what they did. I think all votes were unanimous, but you can check the minutes if you care.

Groundwater Sustainability Agency Executive Justin Jenson appeared at the podium to talk about the Public Workshop meeting that will address the well registry form. It’s scheduled for Feb. 8 at 6pm at the Red Bluff Community Center. There will be an overview of the registration program, a Q&A, and staff on hand to help people fill out their forms. Write Jenson at jjenson@tcpw.ca.gov for more info or call 530-690-0700 ext. 201.

Justin Jenson – photo screenshot from my livestream of the meeting Tuesday

For some reason, the Merry Standish household did not receive a form. But I will print one out, fill it in, and mail it. The form is woefully inadequate as an indicator of how much water anyone is using or the health of any individual well. Additionally, the expected high non-response rate will adversely affect the registry’s accuracy.

So why bother creating one at all? Because apparently Tehama is the only county who doesn’t have one and it is mandated by the state. Other counties have been entering completed well information into a database all along. Not us. So now we get to hire a firm to create the database for us. Why? Because departments are short-staffed? Or we don’t have the tech knowledge to do it ourselves? Who knows? Another cushy contract for an outside firm. The Groundwater Sustainability Agency has already spent millions on outside “professional services”. Cha-ching.

There was also a presentation on the planned traffic circle at Hwy 99E and South Ave. in Vina. You probably call them roundabouts, or rotaries if you’re from New England. This one has already been approved and will be built, but I was surprised there was any opposition at all. Apparently there are a lot of accidents at that intersection and putting in a roundabout will help turn head-on collisions and t-bones into little sideswipes. That’s the plan, anyway. There appears to be apprehension on the part of some to use these traffic smoother-outers. Folks get a little freaked out until they figure out the flow.

Meme courtesy memeful.com

If you’ve been to the new Costco in Redding, you’ve probably used the circle there. That one has four incoming roads and the one in Vina will only have three, so it should be a snap. As my buddy Louise Wilkerson said at the meeting, “If you mess up just drive around it again.”

Smart gal, that Louise.

If you appreciate Liz Merry’s reporting and commentary, please consider contributing to A News Cafe. Thank you!

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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