County Craziness: Crye Charges County for MyPillow CEO Visit. Town Hall Restrictions. Pro-Hand-Count Supes Bring Hand-Count ‘Expert’ to Registrar of Voter’s Meeting.

Last week, without a whiff of a warning or any official blessings or encouragement from sane county staff, fellow supervisors or rational citizens, Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye flew across the country for a face-to-face meeting with his new bff, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.

As absurd as that may sound, that’s all true, first, according to confidential insiders, and later confirmed by Crye himself in today’s board meeting. (See post-meeting update, below.)

Behold! Supervisor Crye’s highly inflated ego strikes again. Crye, who has been a supervisor scarcely two months, has already demonstrated the ability to create chaos, confusion, controversy and potential law suits in record time.

Crye’s second MyPillow guy encounter (that we know of) was a highly suspicious personal decision that ripped the barely healing scab from Crye’s previous MyPillow stunt.

While Crye’s trip for his precious one-on-one with Lindell has been an open secret within various well-connected Shasta County circles, still, there remain several unknowns:

What were Crye’s ostensible reasons for a meeting with Lindell that could only occur in person, and not over the phone, or via Zoom, text or email?

What happened during that meeting, and will it help or hurt Shasta County?

When will Crye disclose details about the Lindell meeting?

How much did Crye’s trip cost, and does Crye expect the county to pay for his travel-expenses?

If you’re just catching up about Crye’s latest insane move, this video below pretty much sums up his previous sickening situation orchestrated by Crye during a supervisors meeting that’s made Shasta County a laughing stock. Again.

If you’ve already seen the video, for the sake of your own mental health, I suggest you skip it.

Crye’s super-exclusive, extra-restrictive town hall meeting

You’re not alone if you’d hoped the MyPillow nightmare that Crye brought to Shasta County was put to bed and behind us. But alas, since learning of Crye’s in-person Lindell visit, we now know that’s not true.

In the meantime, Shasta County’s unfocused dodgy Supervisor Crye has flitted onto another hare-brained idea that at first sounded fine: A Thursday-night Town Hall Event hosted by Crye. Normally, there’s much to appreciate about town hall meetings. They provide citizens a chance to meet leaders; to listen and ask questions. Typically, town hall meetings are open to the public, and usually held in a hall or community meeting room of some sort, such as the Veteran’s Hall, or the City of Redding Community Room, or even a neighborhood church, such as downstairs in the First United Methodist Church fellowship hall.

But leave it to Crye to complicate something that should be so simple. Crye’s Town Hall Event is as unwelcoming as an exclusive, members-only luxury airport lounge that’s reserved solely for first-class fliers.

For starters, Crye’s town hall event is not open to all Shasta County residents, but rather, only District 1 citizens. This contradicts Crye’s campaign pledge to represent all Shasta County citizens, not just those in District 1.

Also, Crye’s town hall event requires advanced online registration, which is easier said than done, because the registration form is difficult to find, even if you’re looking for it.

Some people learned about the town hall event by accident because for a few weeks now, Crye has discussed his upcoming town hall meeting on KCNR radio, where Crye suggested listeners watch for more information on his Facebook page. The thing is, there was no mention of it on the Kevin W. Crye Facebook page, or Crye’s Vote Kevin Crye Facebook page, or even the Shasta County Supervisors Facebook page.

During those radio conversations about his town hall event, Crye encouraged people to register quickly, because only a limited number of people could attend (about 106).

Finally, successfully registered guests must bring proof of District 1 residency. That’s an especially ironically hilarious request because Crye was embroiled in controversy during his campaign for his ongoing residency-inaccuracy issues that began with his first announcement of his intention to run for a District 1 seat, even though he lived in District 4. That subject never was truly resolved.

All that’s left for tenacious District 1 residents who meet all Crye’s conditions is for them to find the event’s location at a place called Lit From Within, a rather obscure non-town-hall-like venue at 1475 Placer St. Suite D. It’s part yoga studio, part dance studio and part special-events venue. One rather perplexing fact about Crye’s location choice is that Lit From Within was co-founded by Ashley Martin, the partner of Jon Knight, a well-known militia member and Red, White and Blueprint producer.

The reason why Lit From Within is an unexpected venue choice for Crye is because for months during Crye’s campaign he claimed to be an independent candidate with zero affiliation with the Red, White and Blueprint crowd. He even appeared to distance himself from those candidates whose campaigns were funded by son-of-a-billionaire Reverge Anselmo. Even so, if you recall, Crye flew to meet with Reverge one-on-one; just to chat. No, said Crye, he did not meet with the son-of-a-billionaire to to ask for money. Of course not. Why would anyone think that?

Did hand-count advocates bring hand-count expert to Redding?

It pays to listen to the radio, even programs that are difficult to stomach, because during Crye’s Sunday morning radio show on KCNR he mentioned one nugget of information that begged plenty of questions.

Crye said that come Monday (yesterday) there would be a special meeting with Shasta County’s Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen that could include himself, Supervisor/Chair Patrick Jones and another person who was an “outsider”.

Although Darling Allen was unavailable for comment, confidential county insiders confirmed the identity of Crye’s mystery “outsider”: Linda Rantz, a friend and colleague of Mike Lindell. Rantz is a frequent guest on his podcasts, and travels the country speaking about her belief in the hand-county elections system and disdain for Dominion machines in particular, but all electronic voting machines in general.

Rantz is with the organization Cause of America Missouri, which takes its message on the road.

Rantz is best known for her report and guidebook, “Missouri Election Fraud: Identifying the Evidence Outside the Machines.”

“Our goal is to identify potential weaknesses in Missouri election procedures that can result in our votes being ‘canceled’ by fraud, ‘stolen’ by bad actors, or otherwise diluted by problems or flaws in our complex system,” Rantz stated in her report.

Shasta County review: It’s not good

In less than three months the Shasta County Board majority has done a stunning amount of damage to the county’s ability to govern under the rule of law. Right out of the gate, one of the new board majority’s first orders of business was to indicate its intention to enact a hard-right Second Amendment Resolution. (It’s on ice while Jones and friends await their new cherry-picked CEO who’ll agree with their resolution.)

Speaking of a new CEO, the board majority’s favorite pick for Shasta County’s next CEO is Chriss Street, a highly controversial member of a secessionist group that aims to split rural and urban California in half to create a 51st state. Truly, it would be difficult to find a more abysmal CEO choice.

Chriss Street, treasurer of Orange County, California, speaks during an editorial board meeting in New York, U.S., on Friday, June 12, 2009. Orange County should adopt stronger oversight over investment pools that once placed more than $800 million in so-called structured investment vehicles, according to a grand jury report. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Then, when Shasta County’s Election Department received news of a possible $1.5 million grant that Darling Allen suggested be put toward a new elections department building, the board majority nit-picked and squabbled over the fact that the non-profit grantor had an affiliation with a Mark Zuckerberg-owned company. District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert’s earnest appeals to common sense and fiscal responsibility fell on the board majority’s deaf ears when Rickert pointed out that by accepting the grant as seed money to build a new elections building, it could save the county nearly $200,000 in annual elections department rental fees. The board majority’s so-called compromise was to demand the grant application be returned to the grantor with specific stipulations, a move that could result in the county losing the grant altogether.

Finally, in what’s arguably the most damaging move yet, this same board majority voted to cancel the county’s Dominion Voting Systems contract after the City of Shasta Lake City Council election is finalized.

The board majority made that decision to eliminate the Dominion Voting Systems, despite learning that doing so would disenfranchise voters with disabilities.  Those men remained resolutely anti-electronic voting machine through hour after hour of sound, educated advice from countless experts who warned of potentially dire governmental outcomes should the supervisors not quickly select and implement a replacement electronic voting system.

A Feb. 27, 2023 letter sent to Chair Jones on behalf of Attorney General Rob Bonta, written by Deputy Attorney General Jay C. Russell, was as blunt as blunt could be.

He reminded Jones of the county’s elections obligations.

“Whatever certified voting system Shasta County considers, it must pay close attention to statutory (and practical) deadlines as part of its implementation planning,” Russel wrote.

He concluded his letter to Jones with unambiguous language about potential future consequences for Shasta County should it continue its current direction with regard to voting systems.

“If Shasta County has definitively terminated its contract with Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., it should proceed swiftly and efficiently to enter a contract with a certified electronic voting system vendor well in advance of the March 2024 statewide primary election or any intervening election. Failing to do so will, as discussed above, likely render Shasta County in violation of numerous federal and state laws.”

Then, in a surprise move during a supervisors meeting the next day that shocked everyone in the board chambers — including county counsel, who’d not been consulted — Supervisor Crye waved a sheaf of papers overhead and proclaimed he’d been in communication with Lindell, who’d agreed to partner with Shasta County in the event the county was sued for dumping Dominion. For the record, Crye contacted Lindell; not the other way around.

Since then, we know that Crye flew across the United States for an in-person meeting with Lindell, someone who’s being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems over his baseless, roundly debunked claims of fraud about Dominion’ voting machines, and former President Donald Trump’s Big Lie.

It’s possible that Shasta County could be named as an example in the Dominion lawsuit as a county that rejected Dominion Voting Systems following the dissemination of Lindell’s reckless misinformation.

Now, most recently, the hand-count-believing board majority invited one of the most vocal hand-count proponents in the nation for a sit-down meeting with Cathy Darling Allen, Shasta County’s Registrar of Voters. One thing is for certain, if that meeting takes place, Darling Allen will be outnumbered by people hellbent upon obliterating Shasta County’s current voting system.

Those are just some of the things we do know, and I’ve probably forgotten some.

What’s unknown is what Crye will eventually announce regarding his meeting with Lindell.

What’s unknown is whether the board majority will come to its collective senses and rescind one of the worst actions ever taken by a Shasta County board in Shasta County history.

What’s unknown is exactly what conspiratorial nonsense Darling Allen will be subjected to by hand-count believers, brought here by Shasta County supervisors who are also hand-count believers.

What’s unknown is how long Supervisor Rickert can hold the line as the moral compass and leader of the board minority in the face of blatant disrespect, dismissal and disregard dished out by two particular fellow supervisors.

What’s unknown is how long District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman can endure the taunts, mocking and cruelty expressed on social media by those displeased by the fact that he’s thinking for himself, and proving he has a functioning conscience.

What’s unknown is whether Crye will finally set his ego aside for the sake of Shasta County, and make decisions based upon his professed love for Shasta County, and the needs of all Shasta County citizens, whether they’re in District 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.

What’s known is today is another Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting. As we’ve learned, anything can happen. Hang on, Shasta County. It’s not over yet.

Tuesday-afternoon update

Prior to the board of supervisors’ lunch break and closed-session meeting, two separate citizens addressed Crye during the public-comment period regarding Crye’s latest Mike Lindell dalliance.

First, retired Redding attorney/public defender Jeffrey Gorder asked Crye point blank if he’d visited Lindell. With that, Crye sat staring, closed-mouth and stone-still.

“Did you fly out to meet with Mr. Lindell regarding his voting system and his willingness to pay money for Shasta County’s defense?” Gorder asked,

Crye did not answer.

When the 3-minute timer rang, and as Gorder continued to wrap up his comments, Chair Patrick Jones abruptly told Gorder he was done, despite the fact that Jones regularly allows commenters to continue, sometimes for several extra minutes. One especially memorable incident was in September, when Jones allowed Douglas Frank, Lindell’s associate, to blather on for more than 15 minutes beyond the allotted 3 minutes.

Jones yelled at Gorder to stop talking, and when Gorder continued to speak, and reminded Jones that he allows others more time to finish, Jones then turned off Gorder’s microphone.

Next to tackle the subject was private Redding chef and comedian Nathan Blayz, who stepped up to the lectern and asked the same question Gorder had asked a few minutes earlier. Crye said he would answer Blayz because he had been respectful of Crye.

“When you did fly across the country to meet with Mr. Lindell, did you use taxpayer money to fund that trip?” asked Blayz.

After running out the clock with an explanation of why he’d answer Blayz’s question and not Gorder’s (because Blayz had been respectful of Crye), Crye finally replied.

“I did fly out there, absolutely,” Crye said. He then answered Blayz’s question about travel expenses.

“I was on a county-sponsored trip,” Crye said, words that were drowned out by hoots of laughter and groans from the audience.

“Parts of my trip I paid for myself that were outside the purview of the county, OK?”

So there we have it. Yes, Crye flew to meet with Mike Lindell. And yes, he billed the county for anything he deemed part of his “county-sponsored trip”.

Stay tuned for future answers regarding what happened during Crye’s meeting with the MyPillow guy, and how much money the county will pay for Crye’s trip.

Note: The Shasta County Board of Supervisors meetings are live streamed. You can watch here


If you appreciate journalist Doni Chamberlain’s reporting and commentary, please consider contributing to A News Cafe.

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 Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate. Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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