3 Times, 3 Months: Unfit Supervisor Jones Presides Over Pandemonium

Tuesday morning, a slender, white-haired, 89-year-old Korean War veteran with a blue plaid shirt sat quietly in the front row of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors chambers.

A Korean War veteran listens as a speaker makes his point about the Constitution. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

His face betrayed no emotion as he watched and listened. Occasionally he slowly turned his head from side to side; from the lectern to the dais and back again. Sometimes he put his open hand to his mouth.

An elderly gentleman in the front row of Tuesday’s Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting covers his mouth as a man speaks near the lectern. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

The man in the starched plaid shirt was a trooper. He stayed through the entire morning, even after the meeting eventually devolved into bedlam for the third time in three months — first in May, next a few weeks ago — even when he followed the crowd into the foyer to wait until order was restored.

Former Board of Supervisors audience members wait behind locked chambers doors in the foyer after Jones demanded a citizen leave and then called for recess. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

With the meeting’s customary prayer and flag pledge out of the way, District 4 Supervisor/Chair Patrick Jones quickly explained the rules, details and penalties of his new public-comment period. Yes, penalties!

Plenty of folks surmised that Jones’ decree was in response to the previous board meeting that featured total chaos as Jones first lost control, slammed the gavel, called for recess, leapt from his seat and stormed down to the chamber floor. There, Jones pointed, grimaced and barked orders that were lost amid audience upheaval as a group of people surrounded activist and satirist Nathan Pinkney to shield him from being removed from the board chambers, as Jones had ordered, which would have been the second time for Jones to target Pinkney.

Tuesday, perhaps hoping to prevent any repeat pandemonic performances, a scowling Jones laid down the law about his new ground rules: Going forward, public comment at the meeting’s start would be limited to non-agendized topics, within the subject matter jurisdiction of the board. People who wished to address agenda items would need to wait until those items were presented later in the meeting.

Next, Jones addressed the consequences that would befall disruptive citizens. He warned that troublemakers who’d been chastised once for speaking from the floor would be ordered to leave. Should anyone refuse Jones’ orders, he’d call a 10-minute recess and everyone, including the media, would be required to leave as county deputies and private security guards escorted the offender from the room. Finally, if the exiled person attempted to return to the meeting, that citizen would be prosecuted with criminal trespassing.

Welcome to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors circus, where Chair Jones behaves as a control-freak ringmaster over his lowly subjects who will be punished if they do not comply with his wishes. He governs with an authoritative verbal whip against those he dislikes.

Conversely, he bestows smiles, patience and indulgence upon those he likes, and who like him.

Patrick Jones smiles at the standing ovation he received from his followers inside his Aug. 23, 2021 illegally breached board chambers. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Jones’ double ring double standards regularly include ignoring his fellow patriots’ outbursts, or granting his pals extra speaking time, often facilitated by asking his favored speakers leading additional questions while his lucky compadres rack up as many as 20 extra minutes, as was the case when Jones gamed the meeting’s comment system as he hand-fed questions to notorious election denier Doug Frank.

Speaking of which, a yawning loophole in Jones’ new public-comment regulations tips the scale in his favor, and allows supervisors to ask nearly unlimited follow-up questions for an undetermined length of time.

Several audience members weren’t keen on Jones’ new rules. Steve Kohn pointed out scenarios where people are unable to languish indefinitely in board meetings for untold hours waiting for their agenda item to appear, a process that could last well into the evening, which would ultimately result in the public being prevented from commenting at all. Kohn also criticized Jones’ habit of allowing speakers he likes to speak longer than the allotted three minutes, while immediately cutting off those he dislikes.

“It’s just simply wrong,” Kohn said. “This is an abuse of this position.”

Dawn Duckett, an unabashed critic of the ultra-conservative board majority, schooled the trio in a good leader’s characteristics, contrasted with evidence of how Jones and Crye were deficient in those skills.

First Duckett explained that a good leader will set aside personal biases, and apply the rules equally. She said good leaders command respect, because good leaders model respect.

“When they say, ‘quiet down’ they quiet down,” Duckett said.

Then Duckett listed some incidents in which Chair Jones and District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye had not modeled respect.

Duckett recalled speaking at meetings where Jones made faces, snickered, laughed at her testimony, and once quipped that he felt sorry for her. Likewise, she said that Crye was heard on a radio program saying she was “spewing nonsense” and he described some citizen speakers as “blathering”.

Duckett’s not alone. Crye has treated others rudely, such as the blatant disrespect he showed former Shasta County Superintendent of Schools Charlie Menoher, and retired attorney Larry Johnson. Both men are upstanding, well-respected men, facts that didn’t erase Crye’s mean streak. One favorite Jones’ trick is to intentionally mispronounce speakers’ names, such as calling Suzanne “Susan”. Tuesday Jones sarcastically referred to speaker Benjamin Nowain as “Benji” and called upon “Tina Hill” to speak, when the name on the comment card was Tim Hill, an active Recall Kevin Crye secretary who served Crye notice of intent to recall papers during a board meeting more than four months ago.

Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye, left, is served with a notice of intent to recall by Tim Hill, secretary of the recall group, during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2023. A smiling board chair Patrick Jones looks on. (Photo by Michael Chapman/A News Cafe)

To add injury to how Crye routinely mocks, belittles and needles everyone from Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen, to District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert, to Kevin Crye recallers and other public speakers, the truly sick part is that Crye appears to get his jollies from verbally eviscerating people.

That’s no way for leaders to behave, Duckett said.

“When we go low, you’re supposed to go high,” she said, adding that she’s a 60-year-old grandmother who’s strayed in recent months from her normal behavior as she speaks out in frustration from her seat at meetings.

“When you have people like me acting out at meetings, you have a big problem,” Duckett.

Before the meeting would break for lunch, Duckett’s words would prove nearly prophetic as once again, Jones did have another big problem as he chastised yet another citizen – this time Christian Gardinier – and ordered him to leave the chambers. As with the previous train-wreck meetings, although many people were speaking out from the floor, Jones honed in on Gardinier.

Supervisor Patrick Jones ordered Christian Gardinier to leave the board chambers Tuesday. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Even so, in the row directly behind Gardinier’s seat, just mere feet away, a man yelled, “BOOOO! BOOOO!” after Pinkney finished speaking.

Jones’ response? Nothing.

And when Gardinier yelled, “Come on!” that same man yelled, “Shut the fuck up, ya goof”.

This man booed and cursed, without a single consequence.

The man’s words were loud, further amplified when he put his hands around his mouth as a makeshift megaphone.


Crickets from the chair.

Tuesday’s turmoil would eventually test-drive Jones new rules, which ultimately proved flaccidly unenforceable, once again leaving Jones an impotent leader.

As has become a regular occurrence during the public comment period, Jones permits his favored speakers to break Jones’ own rule about limiting comments to topics within the board’s jurisdiction. Case in point, on Tuesday Jones sat, lips pursed, gavel MIA, as Michael Paulbitski used his entire three minutes to bash Pinkney, someone obviously despised by Paulbitski and Jones. Paulbitski, aka Nate Hale, is renowned throughout the North State for his racist, misogynistic hate speech, which Pinkney has exposed and satirized on social media.

A meme targets Nathan Pinkney from Michael Paulbitski’s fraudulent social media account under the false name of Nate Hale.

But Tuesday, Jones did nothing to stop Paulbitski from going after Pinkney, just as Jones didn’t stop a woman from recently slandering a former supervisor with unspeakably vile accusations.

Frustrated audience members, many of whom participate in the Recall Kevin Crye effort, have tried various ways to express their indignation when Jones allows a speaker to go wildly off topic, or when Jones does nothing when a speaker calls people names or by divulges personal information. They tried standing in protest and turning their backs to the dais. They tried calling out to Jones, “relevance” and “off topic” while the violations were happening, but Jones only shut them down, banged his gavel and yelled sternly at the audience.

“Quiet on the floor! Quiet on the floor! That’s enough! That’s your last warning!”

Tuesday the group tried something new. Whenever a speaker steered off topic, the sound of fluttering paper could be heard across the chambers as people — some standing, others seated — held signs high that said in bold, all-caps: POINT OF ORDER.

Jones did nothing. Jones said nothing.

Supervisor Rickert suggested the chair should acknowledge anyone from the floor who’s proclaimed “point of order”.

One of the sign-holders, Susan, voiced her exasperation during the public comment period. She said that after the last board meeting, she approached Jones and told him that the chaos that happened at the last meeting was his fault. She blamed his lack of leadership, and the crowd’s unrest when he fails to shut down speakers who address the audience instead of the board, and use disparaging language in the process.

She said she felt excited when she read the rules of order, as it gave citizens silent, civilized recourse to communicate their disapproval to the chair when speakers were out of line.

“So we all stood up with signs that said point of order, and what good did it do?” she asked. “We’re following the rules, we say ‘point of order’. So what? What difference does it make?”

Steve Woodrum, seated, and Christian Gardinier hold POINT OF ORDER signs to identify a meeting violation. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Gardinier held one of those signs. He’s also a frequent speaker who has been highly critical of the three supervisors who ditched the Dominion electronic voting machines.

Before being ordered from the board chambers, Christian Gardinier joins other audience members with POINT OF ORDER signs. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Business between the drama

Prior to the Gardinier incident-eruption, board members moved on to the agenda item to approve a letter to the State of California Attorney General regarding the Zogg
Fire cases prosecuted by the Shasta County District Attorney against PG&E.

The proposed letter was a byproduct of Crye’s criticisms that cast aspersions upon Shasta County’s District Attorney, Stephanie Bridgett, and how she handled the Zogg Fire case. Crye wanted the board to approve and send his letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta. Crye, Kelstrom and Jones voted yes. Supervisors Tim Garman and Mary Rickert voted no.

Crye stared at Rickert and asked if anyone had spoken with Bonta, to which Rickert replied no. She explained that Crye’s letter to Bonta was toothless and pointless, because Shasta County was not a party to the Zogg Fire case.

“We don’t have any standing,” Rickert said. “You understand? We don’t have any jurisdiction.”

It was revealed during the supervisors’ discussions about the Bonta letter that the current acting County Counsel, Matt McOmber, had identified at least 26 points of concern in the letter. What’s more, Crye had not consulted with McOmber or other counsel staff for assistance in creating the letter, nor had McOmber approved the letter.

Regarding the letter’s content, District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert asked Crye what should have been a simple question: Who wrote the letter? Crye refused to disclose the letter’s author(s).

At one point Crye claimed that the reason he wouldn’t disclose the identities of those who’d assisted him with the letter was because he was protecting them and their families from being targeted. However, later, when citizen Duckett again spoke, and she point blank insisted on transparency, Crye claimed he wrote the letter.

“You did not,” Duckett fired back, “That’s a lie.”

Ducket predicted that Crye’s claim to have written the letter would one day day come back to bite him.

Crye’s authorhood assertion was shaky since at a previous meeting he’d expressed the desire to secure about $10,000 to pay independent attorneys to assist and consult with him regarding the letter. In a subsequent meeting, attorney Shon Northum spoke at length during the public comment period about the Zogg Fire case in a stance that mirrored Crye’s accusations nearly verbatim. Much to the dismay of many audience members, Jones  said he would allow Northum to continue speaking beyond the three-minute time.

Northum has been affiliated with Shasta County’s ultra-conservative groups and individuals, and has been a return guest on Red, White and Blueprint podcasts.

Local criminal defense attorney Shon Northam with Cottonwood militia leader Woody Clendenen on a Red, White and Blueprint podcast.


Back to the board circus

Terry Rapoza is a frequent speaker and a self-proclaimed Constitutional expert.

When State of Jefferson leader Terry Rapoza spoke, he opened by identifying Crye, Jones and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom as heroes for voting to cancel Shasta County’s Dominion voting machines. Rapoza, who said he’d recently trained hundreds of people in Southern California how to emulate Shasta County’s board majority, said those three men had the “testicular fortitude” to “stand up against tyranny” and do the will of the people. Rapoza complained that a previous poster of his event was erroneously mischaracterized and leaked.

An excerpt of Poster No. 1 declared:

“RESTORE LA LIKE SHASTA COUNTY. Extraordinary hands-on two morning training to restore our elections in CA! Terry Rapoza and freedom fighters broke the back of the Shasta County Government and removed the voting machines. Like a piercing silver bullet, after the two-day instruction , we will be ready to take back the Board of Supervisors, Board of Education and the Registrar of Voters.”

A change in location was the primary difference between the two posters. The second poster’s new location was at the Fullerton Sizzler in Fullerton, not Los Angeles.

When some audience members groaned in disbelief at Rapoza’s speech, he said he’d take five more seconds, adding that because people in the audience couldn’t control themselves, maybe they needed a psychiatrist. Later, when someone in the audience emitted an exclamation of disapproval as Rapoza spoke, he announced he’d take 20 additional seconds, to which Jones agreed.

It was during Rapoza’s comment when Gardinier exclaimed from his seat, “Oh come on!” which triggered Jones’ opportunity to implement his new public comment rule. In what seemed a Groundhog Day moment inside the board chambers, when Nathan Pinkney refused Jones’ orders to leave the board chambers, this time, Gardinier refused. Once again, the lights were switched off, and the board clerks nicely asked the media to leave. Media remained because the story – Gardinier – was still in the room with a pair of Securitas guards standing nearby.

From left, Shasta County CEO David Rickert (no relation to Supervisor Rickert) remained for a few minutes with Gardinier and two private security guards. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

A word about Jones’ recess. In the case of each of the meetings where Jones ordered someone out (Pinkney twice, and Gardinier once), the moment Jones pounded his gavel on the dais and called for recess was the moment the county’s live streaming video stopped. It’s not a conspiracy, but a reality of the board process.

Either way, consequently, when recess is called, those people watching the live streaming videos from beyond the board chambers will see an abrupt end to the video. They will not observe chaos at play inside the board chambers. They’ll miss seeing the drama that ensues when the expelled person does or does not obey Jones’ orders.

They will wait and wonder what exactly is going on, and unless they’re watching a FB Live post — as A News Cafe frequently broadcasts — then those citizens are literally in the dark about exactly what was happening inside the meeting.

.They won’t sense the tense exchanges in the vestibule as citizens on opposite sides of multiple contentious issues are thrust into the same small, cramped space, like dumping two fighting fish into an empty baby food jar.

Michael Paulbitski responds to Nathan Pinkney who challenged Paulbitski for blasting Pinkney for three minutes. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Palo Cedro: To steer or not to steer?

In a topic that’s appeared before the board for several years, Palo Cedro residents were once again discussing whether they did or did not want to adopt a resolution to establish a steering committee concerning Palo Cedro planning efforts.

Those who shunned the concept of a steering committee explained their distrust of government and a desire to keep Palo Cedro just as it is.

Those Palo Cedro residents who welcomed a steering committee rationalized it as a sound way to ensure smart, deliberate planning.

There was a huge swath of middle, common ground upon which there was nearly unanimous agreement: No big box stores. No 24-hour all night stores or gas stations. No low-income/high density subdivisions.

To those who said they didn’t want government involvement, Supervisor Rickert said the beauty of this resolution is it’s driven by the people, assisted by the county, if needed.

“This isn’t about government over-reach,”Rickert said. “It would let the people lead.”

Lani Bangay, a Palo Cedro resident and businessman, and like Northam, part of the Red, White and Blueprint movement, said friendships have been fractured from four years of debate regarding a Palo Cedro steering committee.

Kelstrom pitched the idea of an online and/or mailed survey, but after some discussion from staff, such issues arose such as fact that black-and-white questions are easier to tabulate, and although open-ended questions yield the most information, the replies would be extremely time-consuming to decipher.

There were motions, substitute motions, and substitute motions to the substitute motions.

At some point, Crye, who doesn’t have Palo Cedro constituents, relentlessly rammed forward the concept that the best way to collect public input is for supervisors Kelstrom and Rickert – who both represent Palo Cedro residents — to spend six hours together in front of the Palo Cedro Holiday Market grocery store.

Rickert was in a corner. If she said no — that she didn’t want to sit in front of a grocery store for six hours — then classic Crye would most likely accuse Rickert of an unwillingness to speak with her people.

Kelstrom, Garman and Rickert all said that the majority of emails they’ve received from Palo Cedro residents are from people who want the steering committee. To that, Crye turned to the audience and asked for a show of hands. When Crye counted nine hands for the steering committee, and 26 against, Crye looked victorious.

“It’s insane when people throw out stats,” Crye said, who returned to his idea of having supervisors Kelstrom and Rickert in front of a grocery store.

Rickert suggested they first contact the store’s owner to ask permission, as she envisioned a parking lot crammed with cars.

Crye shot back, “I’m sure businesses would be fine with 3,000 cars.

Rickert said she’d still feel better if they spoke with the store’s owner.

“Maybe we do need permission,” Rickert said.

“I get my daughter donuts there every day,” Crye said. “I can ask.”

The supervisors will return to the Palo Cedro steering committee topic after Kelstrom and Rickert have completed their grocery store poll, at some yet-to-be-determined date.

What happened with Gardinier?

Christian Gardinier waits outside the locked board chambers for return to the meeting. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

You know that Jones ordered Gardinier to leave the board chambers. You know media stayed behind to record and document, despite clerks’ polite requests that we leave. (No disrespect to the clerks. We all have our jobs to do.)

After several minutes waiting inside the board chambers with two security guards, Gardinier finally got up, and sauntered up the aisle and through the double doors into the lobby. There, the recess dragged on well past Jones’ promised 10 minutes. People chatted with one another, including Gardinier.

A few minutes later a pair of Shasta County Sheriff’s Deputies showed up, including former board deputy Will Gardner, who happens to be married to Judge Molly Bigelow.

Small world.

The deputies and Gardinier spoke. The lobby was noisy, and their conversations were out of ear shot, but there was a lot of nodding and smiling going on. Gardinier, who’s a licensed therapist, was pretty chill, and seemed ready to move beyond the morning’s drama. He told the deputies he appreciated the difficult work they do, and in fact, Gardinier said they all deserve raises. Hand shakes all around, and all was well with the world, at least outside the board chambers.

At one point I mistakenly said on Facebook Live that it appeared the deputies were trying to convince Gardinier to leave, based upon Jones’ earlier statements about the new rules, that anyone asked to leave couldn’t return, under the threat of being charged with trespassing.

Well, well, well. It looks like Jones’ threats have no teeth, just like the letter Crye, Kelstrom and Jones are sending to Bonta.

The man in the blue plaid shirt

Meanwhile, standing near the foyer’s large glass doors was the man in the blue plaid shirt, watching and waiting with the rest of the people to enter the board chambers. I made my way through the crowd to him. It had been many years since we’d spoken.

“Hello Senator Johannessen,” I said.

He smiled. I asked if he cared to share his thoughts about “all this” — as I motioned around the noisy packed lobby and locked board chambers.

Kaare Maurice Johannessen shook his head and didn’t speak at first.

What must have gone through the mind of this former California Senator, California Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Redding City Council member and mayor, and yes, a Shasta County supervisor, as he watched the insanity and absence of civility and decorum revealed before his very eyes?

How did the meeting seem for him — looking through his lens of someone who recalls like yesterday when he was 6 and the German army occupied a supposedly neutral Norway, and when his father, who created and distributed an illegal, anti-Nazi underground newspaper, served time in a concentration camp, as did Johannessen’s grandfather.

How does Senator Maurice Johannessen process the meeting he witnessed Tuesday, compared with his lifetime of experience as a dedicated public servant who adopted a new language and embraced his United States of America at 17, someone who grew up to play instrumental roles in the funding and/or development of everything from the Cascade Theatre, Turtle Bay Museums, and the Sacramento River Trail, to the Shasta County Library and the Veterans Home?

Still shaking his head, Senator Johannessen spoke.

“I cannot believe it!” he said. “When did this happen, how did this happen?”

I said the answer’s complicated.

Johannessen knew one thing for certain.

“I could never be a supervisor under those conditions,” he said. “Never.”

The noise level dropped to a cacophony of whispers as shoes shuffled toward the now open doors.

Gardinier grinned. “I’m first in line!”

Sure enough, he was first in line. Head held high, Gardinier was also first through the doors, first to walk down the center aisle, and first to reclaim his front seat on the opposite side of the room from Senator Maurice Johannessen.

(Editor’s note: special thanks to journalist George Winship for assistance with Maurice Johannessen information.)

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.

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments