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Skip the Background Check. CEO Candidate’s History Reveals Plenty

Chriss Street responds to Mike Mangas during a KRCR interview. Photo source: KRCR video screengrab.

For Shasta County to consider hiring CEO candidate Chriss Street is like a family choosing a dog at the animal shelter.

After the family looks at all the dogs, they finally select one particular pooch. It looks kinda cute. It wags its tail. It seems healthy. Most compelling of all is that the poor creature is obviously an older dog, with gray hairs around its snout. It needs a home.

Even so, as much as the family wanted a pet, and as much as the dog needed a forever home, the family did not adopt that dog, because they had more information. They read a report that described the dog’s temperament and history. There it was, written right there in black and white: This was a dangerous dog. In fact, the reason the dog was homeless in the first place was because it had viciously attacked and severely injured a child from the dog’s original family, who’d eventually relinquished the dog to the shelter to ensure their family’s wellbeing and safety.

It’s all there in black and white

Not to say that Chriss Street is a dog, of course. But Street’s history is studded with stunning facts and sobering information that should get the attention of anyone who cares about Shasta County.

Here’s a sample of Street’s history, excerpted from R.V. Scheide’s story here on A News Cafe:

  • Street declined to run for reelection in 2010 after a federal bankruptcy judge ordered him to pay $7 million for mismanaging the bankruptcy trust of a trucking firm he operated before he was elected treasurer. According to the LA Times, Street appealed the decision twice and lost.
  • Street then successfully sued his original attorney on the trucking case for malpractice and was awarded $10 million in 2017. His new attorney said the award vindicated his client, although the original bankruptcy decision has not been reversed.
  • According to the now defunct Orange County Weekly, in 2018 Street sued “Marriott International and its Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland for causing him ‘the loss of sexual relations’ with his wife following his injury at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).”
  • Since leaving his post as Orange County treasurer, Street, in addition to remaining a financial consultant, has carved out a career as an economic commentator in print and on radio, appearing on FOX News, earning an author’s page at Breitbart in 2018, and as a contributor to HuffPost.
  • That same year, he joined the fledgling New California State movement, which aims to split California’s 40 million population in half by carving out the inland rural counties and forming a 51st state. Street serves as vice president of the organization. An outspoken North State hard-right couple, Patty and Ron Plumb, are key figures in that organization.

What’s that saying? Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or something like that. Exactly.

So that’s Street’s history. Here’s something more recent, a Mike Mangas interview with Street on KRCR.

Chriss Street chats with Mike Mangas during a KRCR interview. Photo: KRCR screengrab.

Throughout the KRCR interview Street appears lackluster, at best. Scarcely 30 seconds into the interview and he’s pouring the New California Kool Aide as if it’s the best idea since bomb shelters. As Street spoke, he seemed so comfortable describing his fanciful non-existent New California that he seemed oblivious to how Looney-Tunes extreme it sounds – even here in one of the most conservative California counties.

Seeing Street’s KRCR interviews (there are two) was like watching someone interview for a job who could take it or leave it. He didn’t come across as someone remotely upbeat or excited about being considered for arguably the most powerful job in Shasta County: CEO.

Knowing what we do about Street, it’s mind-boggling that he’s made it this far in the application process. How far? Here’s how a Tuesday Shasta County Administrative Office press release put it:

“A majority of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors extended a preliminary offer of employment to Mr. Street, contingent on the completion of a background investigation in accordance with legal requirements. That background investigation is in process. A final appointment is yet to be made.”

Street sighting

On a personal note, I spotted Street at Tuesday’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting. He arrived late. Whenever I stole a glance his way, he was in one of two states: nodding off, or looking at his cellphone.

You know how you’re with someone who’s seeing a movie you’ve seen a million times, but this is their first time, so you hope they’ll pay attention to the good parts, so they can feel what you felt when you saw it for the first time?

One might expect someone with their sights set on the Shasta County CEO job to appear captivated and transfixed by a supervisors meeting. He could take in the personalities, the process and even observe open animosity personified as supervisors Patrick Jones and Kevin Crye tear into Supervisor Mary Rickert with arguments, put-downs, contradictions and sarcasm.

Instead, throughout the meeting, when he wasn’t dozing, Street’s face had the resigned expression of someone waiting for a colonoscopy, sans anesthesia. Even during some of the more contentious parts of the meeting. Even when some public speakers mentioned Street’s name as they beseeched the supervisors to come to their senses and not hire him.

Who knows, perhaps he’s just not an outwardly expressive guy. Perhaps on the inside he’s on the edge of his seat, taking notes, craning his neck to take it all in. Sure. Anything’s possible.

Speaking of board of supervisors meetings, unless I missed a speaker when I left to feed the parking meter, I have yet to hear one citizen praise the board majority for considering Street. That’s weird, because by now the entire county knows all about him. With a normal candidate — and by “normal” I mean someone whose history is not strewn with lawsuits and controversy — you could count on a few impressionable folks to gush about what a fine candidate someone was, and sing praises about attributes and accomplishments. No, there has been none of that.

Street’s background is in the foreground

At this moment, supposedly a background investigation is underway to learn more about Street. Seriously? What a farce. What a colossal waste of money. Silly wabbit, the lion’s share of Street’s background investigation has already been done. (See above, and read R.V. Scheide’s story.) What new, compelling information could possibly be unearthed to make Street’s history even less appealing than it already is?

Do you know what’s even more frightening than Street’s sketchy work history? The fact that Shasta County’s board majority supervisors are well aware of Street’s reputation. Even so, they’ve given Street the green light of a preliminary job offer anyway (contingent on a background check).

Too Streetwise for country bumpkins?

What if Street chose Shasta County because he views it as a bumbling bumpkin county that just fell off the turnip truck, a piss-poor place that wouldn’t know it was being fleeced until it was buck naked and bankrupt?

It’s no secret that after all that Shasta County’s been through the last three years (not even counting the Carr Fire and Snowmageddon), it’s not exactly the belle of the ball. Our poor Shasta County. She’s a hot mess.

With that in mind, what if Street applied for the CEO job specifically because Shasta County is in its worst shape of her life, kind of like how opportunist ticks will infest a sickly animal?

What if Street judged Shasta County as an ignorant, easy-to-sue place that will set him up nicely to see out his golden years to concentrate on his true passion: New California. What might Street sue Shasta County over, you ask? Well, all kinds of things.

If someone could sue a convention center for causing the loss of sexual relations with their partner following an injury at a Conservative Political Action Conference, how difficult would it be to sue Shasta County for something even more pedestrian, like a fall down a flight of stairs in the county’s administrative building, or emotional distress from negative public comments? Suing possibilities are endless.

Word on the street: Street

Riddle me this: Aside from Street’s name – how many news outlets have released names of even one of the initial 40 CEO applicants, or any of the remaining seven CEO contenders interviewed by the Temporary Advisory Committee (which included Street)?

Zero. That’s the answer. There’s one simple explanation for why Street’s name was the only one widely circulated in the public for many weeks, and the only explanation for why there have been so many stories about him: Because Street literally put himself out there.

Unlike the other CEO applicants, Street broke ranks from the pool of unidentified CEO candidates to call upon numerous Shasta County movers and shakers. In some conversations, he introduced himself as the top CEO candidate, even before his interview with the Temporary Advisory Committee. One Redding VIP contacted by Street characterized Street’s conversation as doing due diligence to learn more about Shasta County.

That’s far different from how at least three community notables described their Street encounter. One woman recalled him as braggadocios, and said Street gave the impression that he had the job in the bag, that he was the CEO heir apparent, and all that remained were technicalities.

Job one: Destroy Shasta County

Of course, all that’s just pure speculation and imagination about why Street might desire Shasta County’s CEO job, because frankly, he doesn’t appear a good fit.

Setting Street aside momentarily, how about the supervisors who want Street as CEO? From their perspective, who better to hire as CEO than someone like Street, whose true love is New California, someone who wants to split the state in two? Perhaps they’d like Street to start small, and practice by splitting what remains of Shasta County.

That would make sense, because based upon the board majority’s recent decisions, it’s almost as they want to destroy Shasta County so they can start from scratch to create a new county from whole cloth.

Some of their decisions have made Shasta County ripe for lawsuits. They cancelled the contract for the county’s fully functioning Dominion Voting Systems, which could get the county in serious trouble with the Attorney General. And if the board majority doesn’t come up with a viable voting system option soon, then Shasta County could be sued for disenfranchising voters with disabilities. Plus, if Dominion Voting Systems gets wind of Supervisor Crye putting Shasta County in bed with the MyPillow guy, then Shasta County could be dragged through Dominion court cases as an example of a county so dupid (duped + stupid) that it actually fell for Mike Lindell’s lies, and ditched Dominion machines because of those beliefs.

Also, don’t forget some board members’ plan to implement their illegal Second Amendment resolution, which will surely put Shasta County in the crosshairs all  kinds of legal injury.

But just for the sake of argument, let’s give the supervisors who like Street the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume that they meant what they said during campaigns and when they took their oath of office and promises to serve and protect the Shasta County and its people.

If that’s true, then the supervisors who thought Street was their best choice should think again.

Look at Street. Listen to him. Take a long, hard look at his history. Ask yourself whether you believe Street will leave Shasta County a better or worse place.

If you wouldn’t bring a dog into your home that has a history of attacking children, then why would you hire a CEO with a history like Street’s to govern our entire county?

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Editor’s note: An earlier story about Chriss Street – in a passage not written by R.V. Scheide — mistakenly stated that Chriss Street is divorced. A News Cafe immediately removed that information the moment we were notified. Street is not divorced. He has been married to his wife Victoria for 43 years. We deeply regret the error.

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If you appreciate journalist Doni Chamberlain’s reporting and commentary, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you!

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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