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A Case of Overshoot: Is Supervisor Patrick Jones’ Gun Range Proposal Too Big for Shasta County?

Iconic Cosplayer: Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones.

On Tuesday evening, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors will consider board chair Patrick Jones’ request to transform his 151-acre parcel on the Millville Plains into a commercial recreation zone so Jones can build his dream project, a state-of-the-art sports shooting range he’s been planning for more than 10 years.

More than a score of Millville Plains residents and landowners in the vicinity of the proposed gun range are unanimously opposed to the project. They see it as an afront to the rural way of life they’ve chosen, many of them decades ago. They sprang into action in April, when the full details of the “High Plains Shooting Sports Center” were first publicly revealed at a Shasta County Planning Commission meeting.

They hired an attorney who questioned the project’s biological survey and demanded that the county make Jones conduct an environmental impact report instead of granting the project Mitigated Negative Declaration status.

Lacking resources to hire their own scientists, the Millville Plains residents did their own research, with mixed results. One property owner, Dwight DeMers, wrote a blistering critique that purportedly debunks the gun range project’s noise report.

Navy veteran and engineer Ed Wilkes presented the planning division with a point paper that claims stray rifle bullets and ricochets from the range could strike and kill passersby in Millville and on Highway 44, some 7000 yards away.

The Millville Plains citizens state the obvious; that their property values will almost undoubtedly diminish if the shooting range is built amongst their homes, potentially eating into their retirement savings and making it impossible to develop new residential properties. They worry that expended lead bullets will pollute the water table and nearby Bear Creek, even though such ammunition is prohibited. They claim the project will increase traffic and wildfire danger in the area and doesn’t comport with the county’s general plan.

Some of their objections were substantial enough to cause the Planning Division to pull the project from the agenda the first time it was presented to the board of supervisors for approval in May.

Now, with some of the Millville Plains residents’ concerns addressed or “mitigated” by the Planning Division, and some of their worries summarily dismissed, Shasta County Zone Amendment 13-007 — Jones’ request to change the zoning on his parcel from Limited-Residential combined with Mobile Home and Building Site 40-acre Minimum Lot Area (R-L-T-BA-40) to a Commercial Recreation (C- R) zone district — is back on the board agenda again.

Dist. 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert.

“I’m receiving numerous requests from my constituents to vote no on the gun range,” said District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert.

The Millville Plains and the gun range project, three miles east of Palo Cedro, are in her district.

“There seems to be organized opposition composed of many residents in the Millville area,” she said.

There is, indeed, organized opposition to the gun range, and everything’s riding on Tuesday’s board vote. Jones must recuse himself from voting on his own project, which leaves the decision up to Rickert, District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye, District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman, and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom.

Crye and Kelstrom have indicated they’d vote yes in the past. If Rickert votes no, Garman could provide the deciding vote, whichever way it goes. A 2-2 tie would stall the project, a 3-1 vote in favor would make Jones’ day.

For all the players involved, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

High Plains Grifter: Patrick Jones’ Lack of Transparency

Perhaps no one faces more risk in this confrontation between citizens and the powers that be than Patrick Jones. Butler Engineering Group, the firm that designed the proposed gun range, RCH Group, the company that conducted the noise level test and Wildlife Resource Managers, that performed the biological survey, don’t work for free.

Neither is land cheap. As A News Café first reported last year, Jones borrowed $178,500 to purchase the 150-acre parcel in 2010 (at the time there were two parcels totaling 161 acres). The property should have been listed on Jones’ Form 700 statement of economic interest when he declared his candidacy in 2019, but he didn’t list it until 2021, more than a year after he’d taken office.

By then, Jones had received a $100,000 campaign donation from Connecticut son-of-a-billionaire Reverge Anselmo and had paid off the two promissory notes on the land. Jones told A News Cafe he paid off the loans with his own money and with help from his wife and the previous landowner. He reported no income from his job managing Jones Fort, the family gun store, on his Form 700 until this year.

Jones continues to have trouble with transparency. In June, the California Fair Political Practices Commission received an anonymous complaint from an alleged Jones donor claiming Jones was improperly using campaign funds and failing to disclose donations.

While the FPPC found no evidence to support the first claim, it did discover Jones had violated the Political Reform Act because he hadn’t filed an annual campaign statement since taking office. In September, the FPPC Enforcement Division sent the supervisor a warning that he could be fined up to $5000 per each violation in the future.

“As you are aware, the Enforcement Division received an anonymous complaint alleging that your committee failed to report campaign contributions,” reads the FPPC warning letter sent to Jones. “The Enforcement Division has completed its review and found that you failed to timely file an officeholder campaign statement short form (‘Form 470’) for 2021 and 2022 in connection with your position as a Supervisor for the County of Shasta.”

Jones has filed Form 470s for 2021, 2022 and 2023 since receiving the warning. The Form 470 is for candidates who claim to raise less than $2000 per year in campaign funding.

“This letter serves as a written warning,” the FPPC missive continued. “The information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act in the future will result in monetary penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.”

Jones did not reply to a list of questions A News Café emailed him for this story. Several of those questions concerned how Jones plans to finance his ambitious plans for the High Plains Shooting Sports Center, which could easily cost $10 million or more if built according to spec.

Diagram of the 150-acre High Plains Shooting Sports Center.

The proposed facility will feature more than 160 shooting positions, including 300-yard, 500-yard, 600-yard and 1000-yard rifle firing locations, five 25-yard handgun bays, two 50-yard handgun bays, 21 shotgun skeet bays, eight shotgun trap bays and a separate private handgun range for law enforcement.

There’s a 4,975-square-foot primary clubhouse with a 3,272-square-foot attached covered patio area, a 1025-square-foot attached caretaker’s residence, a 699-square-foot law enforcement clubhouse with a 270-square-foot attached covered patio, two water storage tanks, two diesel generator shed buildings, vehicular and pedestrian bridges and culverts to span water features, sound attenuation barriers, on-site wastewater treatment systems and one or more on-site wells.

Those features match up well with similar sports shooting centers currently being developed in Rapid City, South Dakota, and Snohomish County in Washington state. The estimated cost of the publicly-funded South Dakota Shooting Sports Complex, which has 175 shooting positions, is $9 million; the lowest bid received so far is $19 million. The privately funded Sky Valley Sportsman Park in Snohomish County adds archery to the mix and has an estimated cost of $47 million. The South Dakota shooting center sits on a 400-acre parcel, and Sky Valley sits on 640 acres of public land; both are considerably larger than Jones’ smallish 150-acre parcel jampacked with a similar number of shooting positions.

Jones plans to operate the shooting sports complex five days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or dark – whichever comes first. He wants to hold up to 14 sports shooting events per year, with large shooting events (up to 500 people) being limited to two per year and small shooting events (30 to 200 people) being permitted up to 12 times per year. Participants in the events can take advantage of RV overnight dry camping in the facility’s designated parking area.

These Millville Plains landowners, seen here near the entrance of the proposed gun range, have been meeting since April.

Those prospective motorhomes will most likely travel west on Dersch Road to get to the shooting sports center, turning left (north) on Leopard Drive and passing within several hundred yards of the home of Anne and Frank Banuelos on their way to the gun range’s entrance. Their parcel butts up to Jones’ southern border; their home is approximately 1800 feet from where the rifle ranges will be located should the project be approved.

Anne and husband Frank — a Vietnam veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD– moved to the Millville Plains 30 years ago to raise a few cows and chickens and to be left alone.

“There was nobody out here back then,” Anne said. “This is what Frank wanted to do. He has worked hard on this property; he’s still working on it. We were all content, and now Mr. Jones has riled everyone up.”

As A News Café has previously reported, it’s not the first time Jones has run afoul with local residents. Several years ago, Jones began trucking in wild pigs to conduct contained or “canned” hunting expeditions on his property. The wild pigs predictably escaped their crude enclosure and menaced surrounding property owners, including the Banuelos, whose pasture was destroyed by the rooting, rampaging feral brutes.

If the High Plains Shooting Sports Center is approved by the board this Tuesday and the project moves forward, the Banuelos worry that they may have to move if Frank can’t handle the increased traffic and noise.

“We’re hanging in there,” Anne said. “We’re scared to death.”

Photo of Jones’ escaped wild pigs destroying the Banuelos’ pasture in 2019.

Planning Commission Implements Mitigated Negative Declaration

During its initial study of the project, the lead agency, the Shasta County Department of Resource’s Planning Division, granted the project Mitigated Negative Declaration status. Instead of requiring an environmental impact report, the agency found that while the project could have some negative environmental effects, those effects can be mitigated by the applicant, in this case, Jones.

For example, the Planning Division has determined Jones must mitigate a “safety hazard impact” at the intersection of Dersch Road and Leopard Drive because of the increased traffic the project will bring. The work includes paving the road into the shooting center, so dust doesn’t drift up and smother the Banuelos’ home and other residences.

Gunfire is classified as an “impulsive noise,” and according to the Shasta County General Plan, during normal business hours an “impulsive noise should not result in a 1-hour average noise level greater than 50 dBA.” According to a brief internet search, 50 decibels is, “as loud as a quiet conversation, a quiet suburb, a quiet office, or a quiet refrigerator.”

Which is fine, unless you don’t enjoy conversations that go pop-pop-pop-pop-pop for hours on end.

The project’s Noise Technical Report found that gunshots from the rifle ranges exceeded 50 dBA at the Banuelos residence and one more residence on the projects southern border, with measurements of 54 dBA and 53dBA, respectively.

Sound is logarithmic and doubles in intensity with each 3-decibel increase. Therefore, the Planning Division directed Jones to “install a sound attenuation noise barrier as close as possible to all rifle firing locations along the southern property boundary to obstruct line of sight from those firing locations to the residences to the south and southeast.”

Tracy Verhougstraete, a registered veterinarian technician, lives with her husband and their 7-year-old daughter on a small family farm on the Millville Plains they purchased in 2007. They have beef cattle, dairy goats, and horses. Their 160-acre property is directly adjacent to the north side of Jones’s proposed gun range.

“The plains are flat and open,” Verhougstraete said in an email to the Planning Commission. “There are very few trees or hills to buffer the sound. When Supervisor Jones and his friends are out there shooting, it sounds as if they are right outside our home.”

Jones and his guests currently use this backstop berm on his property for target practice.

The Noise Technical Report monitored the sound at five residences within 3670 feet of the project. To get base readings for rifles and handguns, a .22 rifle was fired 240 rounds per hour; a 9 mm handgun and a 4570 rifle were fired 120 rounds per hour. The report found that a 12-gauge shotgun fired 120 times per hour at the clay sport shooting area exceeds the 50 dBA per hour limit. It estimated that the firing rate for 12-gauge shotguns in the clay sport shooting area might run as high as 480 rounds per hour, resulting in a 6 dBA per hour increase, far exceeding the 50 dBA limit.

To decrease or attenuate the sound of repeated shotgun blasts on Verhougstraete’s home and one other residence near the project’s northern border, the Planning Division directed Jones to “mitigate noise levels by 6dBA at the nearest sensitive receptors to specified firing locations [by installing] a sound attenuation barrier as close as possible to the northern two firing locations for the clay sports shooting area, to obstruct line of sight from those firing locations to the residences to the north and northwest.”

Even though the shotguns in the clay and skeet-shooting areas point in his general direction, Dwight DeMers, a Sacramento area resident who owns 600 acres directly east across Bear Creek from Jones’ property, received no sound mitigation from the Planning Division because he hasn’t developed the property.

“Basically, I’m going to have to sue for an environmental impact report, but even that won’t restore my property because it would still probably satisfy the noise reports because mine is vacant land,” DeMers said.

“So, I will have to take the county to federal court for taking my property. If the project is approved, it makes it 100 percent impossible for me to develop any part of my property.”

DeMers wrote a scathing 15-page takedown on what he views as the noise report’s deficiencies that he submitted to the Planning Division.

Dwight DeMers map of the gun range projects shows direction of shooting ranges and proximity of homes.

“Rezoning will be an assault on our ears and result in a substantial noise nuisance,” DeMers wrote. “The RCH Noise Technical Report dated March 2017 for Patrick Jones has numerous errors, as outlined in my attached analysis ‘Errors in Noise Report/Wrong Conclusions and lack of supportive data.’ Using property facts and math, this report is completely debunked, its conclusions are wrong.”

While DeMers presents some interesting facts about gun noise in general, he’s no expert on the topic, and his analysis falls flat, as RCH Group principal and senior noise expert Paul Miller was quick to point out in his response.

“The Dwight DeMers letter has no credibility as a technical response,” Miller said. “It is an amateur internet-research fueled attempt to discredit the March 2017 Noise Technical Report High Plains Shooting Sports Center prepared by RCH Group. The DeMers letter shows no understanding of how to analyze noise from the proposed gun range.”

According to Miller, who participated in the 2014 field analysis, it is “a noise study that the county can rely upon, it is an incredibly detailed assessment of the proposed gun range using live guns at the proposed project site, with the actual topography.”

DeMers does raise at least one poignant criticism of the noise report. Apparently, the report doesn’t consider the noise created by multiple shooters firing simultaneously, as would no doubt occur during large events with 500 competitors. According to a report conducted for the proposed Sky Valley Sportsman Park in Snohomish County, the noise level of a full competition event with 900 people attending was an estimated 52 dBA at residences 2000 feet from the range, exceeding the 50 dBA limit.

“The report completely ignores that over 100 shooters can be using the range at the same time, and the impact of that multiplier of the noise pollution that will assault the surrounding residential homes,” DeMers said.

Welcome to the Surface Danger Zone

Ed Wilkes’ map diagrams the proposed shooting center’s surface danger zone.

Millville Plains property owner Navy veteran and engineer Ed Wilkes’ point paper on the shooting range’s “surface danger zone” fairs somewhat better. Wilkes notes that the proposed backstop berms for the rifle ranges are 20 feet high. On the 300-yard range, inadvertently raising the barrel of an 18-inch rifle by 5/16th of an inch will send the bullet flying north over the top of the berm and off the range.

Rifles such as the .450 Marlin and .300 Winchester have a maximum range of 7000 yards, which is about 4 miles. According to Wilkes, that places a good portion of Millville and Highway 44 in the proposed range’s surface danger zone, including his own residence.

“I found nothing in the plans and blueprints for the gun range relating to surface danger zone and errant shot fall,” Wilkes told A News Café. “I believe it was a gross error on the part of Butler Engineering Group to not evaluate the area north of the Shooting Center for shot fall danger when they developed the plans. Of course, perhaps they did evaluate it, and the applicant (Jones) told them to ignore it.”

Tracy Verhougstraete and her family are directly in harm’s way.

“The area where they’re going to be shooting, especially the rifle, the long shot, shoots down to the bottom corner of our property,” Verhougstraete said.

“It’s one of the only areas on our property that has trees and our horses and cattle like to go under the trees. It’s not military professionals who are going to be shooting, it’s going to be people sighting in their guns, or people honing their skills and at that kind of range a little bit off is a lot off.”

While the initial plan apparently makes no mention of the range’s surface danger zone, “shot fall,” shotgun pellets and handgun and rifle bullets that fall to ground, is mentioned at least once.

“Shot fall occurring off-site is prohibited,” the plan states. “Shot fall occurring onsite shall be managed for safety by the property owner and range officer. If shot, including bullet fragments and ricochets, both on-site or off-site is found by the Director of Resource Management to be a safety concern, the use would be subject to enforcement pursuant to Shasta County Code sections 17.92.100 and 17.94.060.”

After Verhougstraete informed the Planning Division that her property immediately adjacent to Jones’ northern border enjoys a 100-ft wide public easement, the division determined that “the shot-fall zones for the northernmost proposed trap shoot firing locations would encroach upon the easement.”

The trap and skeet firing locations were moved on the conceptual development plan to mitigate the problem.

Evidence submitted by board chair Patrick Jones.

Jones, the gun store scion, personally responded to Wilkes’ surface danger zone point paper with a cryptic paragraph of text and several Google Maps screenshots featuring the Record Range near Mary Lake, the Redding Gun Club near Bella Vista and the 600-yard and 1000-yard rifle ranges on his proposed Millville Plains shooting center.

Titled “Safety Concerns Addersed” (sic), Jones claims the only weapon with a maximum range of 7000 yards on Wilkes’ list is the .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun, popularly known as the .50 BMG. Curiously, the .50 BMG isn’t on Wilkes’ list. Jones claims .50 BMGs “were banned and will not be shot at the High Plains Range. All other calibers will not reach Highway 44.”

In fact, two rifles on Wilkes’ list have 7000-yard maximum ranges, the .450 Marlin and the .300 Winchester. Highway 44, 7000 yards (4 miles) north of the range, demarks the maximum arc of the proposed gun range’s surface danger zone, according to Wilkes. Shot fall can occur anywhere in between the range and the highway, a large expanse of land with numerous houses.

It’s true California banned the sale of .50 BMGs in 2004, but existing owners continue to legally use them on shooting ranges. Jones did not respond when asked if he intended to ban all long-range rifles from the shooting sports center.

Jones goes on to note that two other Shasta County gun ranges are located closer to highways than his proposed facility.

The Redding Gun Club near Bella Vista conducts many competitive shooting events.

“The Redding Gun club located in Shasta County has a 100-yard range and is only .5 miles from Deschutes Road,” Jones wrote. “The Record Range located in Shasta County has a 200-yard rifle range and is .65 miles from Hwy 299. Both of these ranges have a 50-year history in Shasta County and are still operating at this time.”

Both ranges may be operating, but it hasn’t been without controversy. As recently as 2015, the Record Range, which is favored by local law enforcement, raised public ire after bullet fragments continually rained down in neighboring yards. Both ranges are smaller in scope than Jones’ proposal, and without knowing the dimensions of their rifle range backstops, it’s difficult to compare them to the massive High Plains project.

Lawyer Throws Everything and Kitchen Sink at Proposed Project

Like most of the Millville Plains property owners, Elizabeth Dial, who has lived with her family on the parcel immediately west of Verhougstraete since 1979, is frustrated by the county’s response to their objections.

“We do not feel the county was responsive to our concerns about safety at all,” Dial said. “We are mostly concerned about public safety, shot fall and fire danger. It was obvious that the majority of the board ignored our concerns about safety. And so did the planning commission. They kicked the can down the road and hoped we would go away.”

Several of the property owners hired attorney Donald Mooney from Davis to craft a response letter to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors before the May meeting. The letter may have helped cause the Planning Division to pull the project form the agenda. Mooney argued the residents had raised enough substantial concerns to support a “fair argument” that the project may have a “significant environmental impact.”

Mooney noted that the original biological evaluation conducted by Wildlife Resource Managers contained no assessment of nesting birds on the project site, only a brief discussion that “excluded reference to bald eagles, golden eagles and ospreys which are known to be present in the area.”

He also echoed DeMers’ claim that the noise study didn’t account for multiple weapons being fired at the same time.

“If more than two guns are fired at the same time the noise level increases even further,” Mooney wrote. “Nothing on the project description or IS/MND indicates that shooting on the site would be limited to one gun at a time. Thus, the Noise Study failed to account for multiple sounds at the same time.”

Given the number of substantial complaints raised by the residents and other agencies, Mooney urged the board to order an environmental impact report for the project.

“As set forth above and in numerous comment letters sent by members of the public and environmental organizations, as well as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife it is clear that substantial evidence supports a fair argument that the project may have significant environmental impacts,” Mooney concluded.

What Jones’ property currently looks like.

In response, Wildlife Resource Managers dismissed all of the claims brought by the residents, the CDFW and other environmental organizations. There is no “fair argument.” In what was apparently supposed to serve as the missing nesting bird survey, WRM returned to the project site for six hours, finding no evidence of eagle or raptor nests in the Bear Creek ravine. Meadowlarks, kildeer, horned larks, sparrows? Those species aren’t endangered, and the project poses no significant impact to any of them.

“Noise will not be a factor for nesting eagles or other raptors as no nests are present within the immediate vicinity of the project area,” reads the WRM response. “If raptors choose to nest on the project area in the future, they will exhibit tolerance of the project’s noise level by their choosing project area nest sites. Noise will be significantly buffered by the topography of the Bear Creek gorge and ambient noise resultant from shooting will be accepted by grassland species should they choose to nest on the project area once the shooting activities have commenced.”

However, Marily Woodhouse, director of Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue and the Battle Creek Alliance based in Manton, notes there’s a potential problem with Wildlife Resource Managers. It’s owner, Steven Kerns, also serves on the Shasta County Planning Commission, representing District 3.

“This project has the potential to make significant adverse changes to the existing environment, yet the Planning Commission has recommended approving it without any kind of EIR,” Woodhouse told A News Café. “Local residents have voiced many concerns but have been dismissed due to an amazingly deficient biological survey from Wildland Resource Managers, which is owned by Steven Kerns, who is a member of the Planning Commission. The lack of an EIR while relying on a Planning Commission member to perform the biological survey which will benefit a member of the Shasta County Board of Supervisors can only be viewed as an incestuous and corrupt example of cronyism.”

Kerns recused himself in April when the Planning Commission voted 4-0 to send the project to the Board of Supervisors for approval.

“When you’re on the Planning Commission, if you work on a project, you have to recuse yourself,” Kerns told A News Café. When informed Woodhouse disagreed with his biological assessment that eagles and raptors in the area wouldn’t be affected by the project, he said, “She’s certainly entitled to her own opinion. … The prairie ground is not supporting any raptor except for foraging. I don’t think it’s going to have any impact.”

Woodhouse was not swayed.

“He recused himself from the vote, but he has such an unfair advantage by being on the planning commission and working with all the people who voted to approve it,” Woodhouse said. “Cronyism rears its ugly head yet again. My experience, and that of my collaborators, is that public members and environmental organizations are routinely treated with inherent bias by county and state agencies. We never start from a level playing field where the agency in charge makes fair and unbiased decisions. Rather, any evidence we submit is rejected to favor of whatever business interests want. The ecological damage is ignored, to the peril of all life.”

Photo from Friends of the Redding Eagles Facebook page.

To support its contention that Bald Eagles might be able to adapt to the gun range project, the WRM response points to the well documented bald eagle nest near Turtle Bay and Highway 44. That prompted Terri Lhullier, director of the Friends of the Redding Eagles to contact A News Café.

“In the biological survey, the biologists point to the Redding Eagles who nest along Hwy 44 to demonstrate how tolerant all bald eagles are of human activity & disturbance,” she said. “I can tell you from our annual bald eagle surveys of 23 nests, there aren’t any other nesting bald eagle pairs in this area who have chosen such an urban environment like the Redding eagles. The other bald eagle nests we monitor are in much more remote and rural locations along the Sacramento River, creeks or lakes.”

While there may be no bald eagle nests in the project area, they are in the near-vicinity Lhuillier said.

“The four pairs of nesting bald eagles in Palo Cedro that are within 3.5 miles to 6 miles of the proposed project chose to nest in much more remote and rural environments with little to no human activity or disturbance,” she said. “This indicates to me that they would have a lower tolerance level for human activity and disturbances.”

For emphasis, Lhuillier provided a short video of a local bald eagle being disturbed by a gunshot and fleeing its nest.

A Call for Supervisor Kevin Crye to Recuse

Millville Plains property owner Dennis Patterson is fed up with the process.

“It’s nothing new, we have the same objections, noise, traffic and crappy studies,” Patterson said. An experienced realtor friend estimates his property may decrease by $50,000 to $300,000 if the gun range project is approved. If it’s the latter figure it will put a serious crimp in his retirement plans, and no one seems to care about that. “How does dropping a commercial gun range in the middle of a residential district conform to the general plan?”

A News Cafe posed the same question to the Planning Division’s David Schlegel, senior planner on the gun range project.

“The proposed zone amendment to a Commercial-Recreation (C-R) zone district is consistent with the County’s General Plan (Sections 6.9, & 7.1), which allows for commercial-recreation uses through implementation of the C-R zone district and as such, the C-R zone district is considered to be consistent with all General Plan designations,” Schlegel said. Thus, an application can be made to amend the zoning to C-R for property with any General Plan designation, which is what is proposed in this case.”

That’s called running smack dab into the wall of bureaucracy. You can’t fight City Hall—or the Planning Commission or the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

You can, however, influence the board’s vote. To that end, former Shasta County public defender Jeff Gorder, who helped organize the movement that successfully gathered enough signatures to trigger a recall election of District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye, is calling for Cyre to recuse himself from voting on the High Plains Shooting Sports Center because Jones has been paying for radio ads against Crye’s recall, creating a conflict of interest.

“Those ads are allegedly being paid for by the Committee to Elect Patrick Jones and have been running regularly on KCNR1460 and perhaps other radio stations as well,” Gorder said in a letter he sent to Crye and distributed to local news outlets.

“It seems obvious to me that you have a conflict of interest in the matter due to the significant financial benefits you have been receiving from Mr. Jones’ election committee. … Therefore, you should recuse just as you recused from making a decision regarding Hawes Ranch because of your supposed financial interests therein and as Mr. Jones recused from deciding about Hawes Ranch because his nephew was apparently employed there.”

Jones and Crye’s recusal from the Hawes Ranch decision several weeks ago, along with Rickert’s, whose husband’s friendship with Glenn Hawes extends back to their high school days, effectively killed the Hawes’ request to change their zoning to Commercial-Recreation. The Hawes had hoped to legally operate the amusement park that’s been growing on the property for several years. Now they’re in limbo. The nullification had longtime county employees scratching their heads trying to recall the last time such a thing happened.

The next time it happens could very well be this Tuesday.

Stay tuned.

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R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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