A countywide sigh of relief was expelled yesterday after a special closed session meeting revealed that Chriss Street will not be Shasta County’s CEO.
Before the decision, the majority of citizens who spoke during the public comment period beseeched the supervisors to not hire Street, such as public speaker/former Shasta County Public Defender Jeff Gorder. (Apologies for the crummy camera work.)
As welcome as the news was that the county rejected Street, no amount of relief warrants a champagne-cork-popping celebration. Not yet, at least.
Rather, we’re dealing with a kind of gut-punching relief that follows a near miss of a head-on-collision with a runaway logging truck; the kind of relief that leaves you shaking after you’ve seen your life pass before your eyes to think of what could have happened.
Imagine how confused — and maybe even betrayed — Street must feel. As the top CEO candidate, he went from the heady high of last month’s thrill of victory — operating on the assurance (by a secret someone(s)) that four of the five supervisors wanted him (pending background check) — to the agony of yesterday’s defeat when he was rejected 5-0.
The background results must have been a doozy for that kind of a united vote.
Adding insult to injury for Street, not only did four of those supervisors abruptly reverse their previous votes of confidence in Street, but among those supervisors was at least one ostensible former Street cheerleader — perhaps even his supervisor recruiter — someone who now most likely hopes we never learn of his identity.
“His” is the correct pronoun because ever since Street publicly outed himself as the top CEO candidate more than a month ago, only District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert consistently sounded the alarm about Street after learning of his train wreck of an employment history, strewn with millions of dollars of litigation debris.
If his background didn’t provide enough red flags, Street belongs to New California State, a hard-right organization that believes the state should be divided in two, much as the better-known local State of Jefferson, whose members are not fans of their competitor state-splitters.
As if all that craziness wasn’t enough, it didn’t help Street’s employment chances when news broke of the Redding Police Department’s confirmation that it was looking into complaints filed against Street regarding allegations of at least one incident at the Shasta Family YMCA in Redding that involved a teenage girl.
Hell hath no fury like a Street scorned
In a dramatically spoil-sport move that only confirmed how lucky Shasta County is to not have Street as CEO, he took his complaints to KRCR for a television rant/interview with Mike Mangas that lasted more than 17 minutes.
During that interview Street vowed to show up at the next supervisors meeting armed with scathing tell-all information about county operations, specifically about its “severe financial crisis” and that Shasta County engages in practices that “may be illegal”.
All is still not well
Supervisor Rickert is the only Shasta County supervisor who deserves credit for sticking to her principles regarding Street from the get-go.
Even so, as usual, Shasta County’s male board majority dismissed and disregarded her.
Although Street won’t be Shasta County’s CEO, we still cannot fully exhale, because the jury is still out regarding possible residual problems caused by Street’s earlier endorsement by majority board members Chris Kelstrom, Tim Garman, Kevin Crye and chair Patrick Jones.
The day those four men accepted Street as a prospective candidate — someone renowned for his lawsuits — was the day they put Shasta County at risk for being sued into oblivion by Street for one reason or another. No matter how things worked out with Street, the county was in a potential sue-sue situation.
Had Street been hired, he could have sued the county for any number of things, from stressful public-comment periods, to ergonomically uncomfortable chairs. And although Street’s no longer in the running, he could still sue for being all-but-promised (perhaps by some closed-session interview-leaker) that Street was a CEO shoe-in, only to have the rug pulled out from under him, leaving him jobless once again.
Golly gee, who might have leaked that insider information to Street that caused him to believe he was the next Shasta County CEO? This bears mentioning because it appears there’s a plan afoot to make Rickert the scapegoat.
Leakers gonna leak, suers gonna sue, liars gonna lie.
The Street decision cannot be fully appreciated because the county is still reeling under supervisors Kelstrom, Crye and Jones’ vote to pledge allegiance to hand-counted elections and reject our perfectly functioning, dependable Dominion Voting Systems. Why did they do that? No good reason except they’re following the cracked-pot party line of election-denying characters like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
It’s notable that every one of those supervisors claimed during their election campaigns to be fiscally conservative, which begs the question as to whether they understand the definition of fiscally conservative.
Their bone-headed move to dump Shasta County’s tried-and-true Dominion voting system will cost the county more than a million dollars. Gosh, if money were no object, the Opportunity Center could be resurrected and made whole again. If money were no object, we could build a new elections office, or a new parking structure for public and county employees. If money were no object the county could install a metal detector in the board-chambers’ foyer where the sheriff would have enough deputies to screen those law-breaking gun-lovers carrying loaded firearms into a government building.
Yes, as if they had county money to burn, these supervisors went full steam ahead to throw Dominion overboard, despite pleas from Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen to keep the Dominion machines, because they worked just fine.
They ignored the Deputy Secretary of State who said a hand-count system was less accurate, more expensive and more time-consuming.
They ignored disabilities rights attorneys who warned the supervisors that their organizations would take legal action if supervisors didn’t choose special machines to allow those with disabilities to vote by March 28.
March 28 has come and gone. Yesterday’s vote to buy kiosks provided especially for those with disabilities may or may not be functioning in time for the Gateway Unified School District special election, or for the 2024 presidential election, either.
By the way, although Supervisor Crye gives lip service to caring about the needs of the disabled, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Crye quote someone who couldn’t fathom the big fuss about the disabled needing a way to vote privately, after all, people who need their asses wiped by someone else probably wouldn’t care if someone saw their ballot.
Twice now Supervisor Rickert has made substitution motions for the board to rescind its vote to cancel the county’s Dominion voting machines. Each time, her motion has been shot down.
Unless the Shasta County Supervisors rescind their vote to cancel Dominion, and if they proceed with their hand-count plan, Shasta County will be the only California county to do so.
Jones isn’t telling the truth when he says that hand-count ballots will be easy, because Shasta County is a relatively small county. The fact is, when it comes to attempting hand-counted elections with our number of registered voters, we’re huge.
A News Cafe contacted Pamela Smith, president of Verified Voting, with some questions about other hand-count municipalities. Smith said she has no issues with hand-counting, and in some places, such as small counties and townships that don’t have multiple races, hand-counting makes sense. She offered examples of tiny towns in Alaska, in New England and other similarly sized locales with one-race elections.
But Smith dropped an informational bombshell when said that the next closest municipality registered-voter-wise to Shasta County’s approximately 111,000 registered voters is 16,000 registered voters. Smith said that from there the numbers decrease steadily to around 11,000, and after that down to around 5,000 and even less registered voters.
The stunning fact is that if the supervisors do not rescind their Dominion vote; if they insist on hand-counted elections, Shasta County will be the only county in the country with as many registered voters as Shasta County to attempt this horrible experiment that has so much at stake.
If the supervisors were unaware of this, then it’s not too late for them to rescind their reckless vote and stop this nonsense. However, if they are fully aware that Shasta County has about seven times the number the registered voters as the next-closest hand-count jurisdiction, then these supervisors are deliberately dooming Shasta County’s ability to hold successful, free and fair elections.
As Supervisor Rickert pointed out during yesterday’s meeting, it’s as if Cathy Darling Allen and her elections staff are being set up to fail.
Borrow a blueprint
We’ve already seen the kinds of irresponsible, reckless leadership disasters brought by supervisors Crye, Kelstrom and Jones; actions that demonstrate that these guys are unstable elected leaders who can’t be trusted with the keys to their clown car, let alone the entire county.
Their votes and demented, delusional decisions are so blatantly destructive to Shasta County that the only viable explanation is that they know exactly what they are doing: They’re hell bent on burning Shasta County to the ground in a scorched-earth operation that will render our county nothing but sticks, stones, unpermitted shacks and jackrabbits; a perfect canvas from which to create their yee-haw utopia.
Even Supervisor Garman, who lately has been congratulated for joining forces with Supervisor Rickert on some common-sense votes, is not entirely blameless. Case in point, had Garman not joined in voting with Supervisor Patrick Jones and former Supervisor Les Baugh, Shasta County Health Officer Karen Ramstrom would still be here.
Time is of the essence. It’s too risky to give these supervisors the benefit of the doubt. We’ve seen enough to imagine how much worse things can get. If the board majority could nonchalantly toss aside its elected Registrar of Voters’ informed, educated expertise, then what’s to stop them from ignoring the elected Shasta County Sheriff, or the elected Shasta County District Attorney, or any other elected leaders or department heads?
To quote one of Shasta County’s most renowned extremists, they’re the sons of bitches in charge now, whether we like it or not.
Can you keep a secret? Perhaps you’ve heard rumblings about a growing number of concerned Shasta County citizens who have joined forces to take action. They’re done with speeches to supervisors who appear to doze as the public speaks. They’re through with appealing with reason to unreasonable supervisors who seem to not care about what’s best for Shasta County and her people. They’re not waiting around to see what new insanity the board majority can wreak upon the county. They may not agree on everything, but they do agree on one logical solution: recall, and not a moment too soon.
Supervisor Crye is the No. 1 recall target, because he’s done more damage to Shasta County in the last three months than decades’ worth of supervisors combined. Besides, he only won by 90 votes. Recalling him will be a piece of cake.
Why stop there? Why not clean house with a clean sweep? It would be extremely efficient to recall ringleader Jones, especially if some Gateway Unified School District folks decide to also recall the Haynes trustee couple. Three birds, one stone, same district. How poetic that would be, since Jones’ Red White and Blueprint efforts to overthrow the county included taking over school boards.
While they’re at it, as long as people are filling out paperwork, they may as well recall the silent-but-deadly Jones follower Kelstrom, who disregards the rule of law every time he boasts that he doesn’t need a permit to carry a weapon, because it’s his God-given Constitutional right to do so.
Finally, there’s the potentially problematic Garman, someone who contributed to the ouster of Ramstrom for no good reason, and who admits his dislike of election machines, a philosophy that could eventually come to bite the county in the end.
First things first. We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Without a voting system, there will be no Gateway Unified School District election. Without a voting system, there will be no way to recall a rogue board majority and replace them with rational, moderate citizens who love Shasta County.
Most of all, without a certified, state-approved electronic voting system being reinstated, there’s no way in hell I would trust my ballot in a Shasta County extremist-led hand-count voting system.
So here we are, in a county where untrustworthy supervisors destroyed our voting system under the guise of restoring trust.
With this board majority, all trust is gone. It’s up to us to bring it back. Then, we can break out the champagne.