With his nearly shaved skull sitting atop a blue button-down shirt like a scratched cue ball sinking in a corner pocket, Shasta County Board of Supervisors Chairman and Lex Luther lookalike Patrick Jones appeared on One America News last week to continue spreading lies about the 2020 and 2022 elections.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, Jones is Shasta County’s prevaricator par excellence. No local politician lies more often and so effortlessly. His appearance on OAN the day after last Tuesday’s election was typical, as Jones for the thousandth time falsely claimed he’s detected fraud in Shasta County’s elections.
“In 2019 I ran for Shasta County board of supervisors and ultimately won a seat in 2020,” Jones told the nameless blonde host. “But in that fall, I did notice some irregularities within my race and once we analyzed my race there was fraud that had happened here in Shasta County and we then saw it again in June of 2022 with six races here in Shasta County. We saw outside interference in our elections and that started me on a quest to try and restore trust with the voters here in Shasta County.”
Let me make this 10,000 percent clear: The only reason Shasta County voters allegedly don’t trust the results of our local elections is because Jones and his gang of rightwing troublemakers, which apparently includes the Shasta County Republican Central Committee, have been lying nonstop about those results since 2020.
Jones continues to cling to the Mesa pattern of election fraud study that was debunked by the Mesa County, Colorado district attorney last year after the DA discovered the authors of the report hadn’t interviewed any Mesa County election employees as they claimed.
Jones hosted via Zoom one of the discredited study’s authors, Jeffrey “The Lone Racoon” O’Donnell, at a town hall held earlier this year. O’Donnell was just one of many self-taught election integrity “experts” (read: grifting conmen) the supervisor has imported to Shasta County to prop up his election fraud lies during the past two years.
Jones did not use the phrase “Mesa pattern of election fraud” on OAN, perhaps because the report has been discredited.
The slippery supe was ostensibly appearing on OAN to attract an attorney imprudent enough to represent Shasta County in his proposed lawsuit against the state for passing AB 969.
Speaking of attorneys, on Thursday the Shasta County Board of Supervisors called a special meeting to discuss a public employee appointment of county counsel, although at the conclusion of the meeting CEO David Rickert said there was nothing actionable to report.
If you’re keeping track, about five county counsels and interim county counsels have sat in the lead county counsel’s seat in the last six months. The current interim county counsel, Gretchen Stuhr, replaced Matt McOmber, who replaced James Ross, who replaced Rubin Cruse, who retired in April.
County insiders claim that although Stuhr may remain inside the county counsel’s department, she may not be promoted from interim to official lead counsel. If that turns out to be the case, then the board majority may select a county counsel who aligns more with their legal philosophies and goals.
Back to AB 969. The legislative bill that foiled Jones’s plan to hand count Shasta County’s elections was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month.
Make no mistake, AB 969 was the Legislature’s response to the fascist authoritarian Jones’ attempt to disenfranchise Shasta County voters in the name of “local control.” Jones continues to repeat the easily refuted fiction that hand-counted elections are more accurate than elections that use optical ballot scanners.
In fact, optical ballot scanners were used in 77 percent of all American voting precincts in 2020, compared to less than one percent that used hand-counted paper ballots, precisely because optical ballot scanners are faster and more accurate than hand counting.
Like all wannabe dictators, Jones has delusions of grandeur, a common symptom of the malignant narcissist. Listen to him fishing for a pro bono attorney to take on his hopeless case against AB 969:
“This is the opportunity and the time with the correct firm in front of us to be able to not only change the state of California but to change the country and possibly the world for that matter by getting back to fair elections.”
He’s deranged, and like other members of his deceitful entourage, including District 1 supervisor Kevin Crye and District 5 supervisor Chris Kelstrom, he has interpreted AB 969 as an indication that their fascist movement is somehow “over the target.”
Wrong-o Los Tres Pendejos. You are the target! Your own bad decisions have brought the state to your doorstep. So much for local control!
Unmentioned by OAN’s anonymous blond host or Jones was the fact that Shasta County’s MAGA/Moms for Liberty contingent got soundly thrashed in the main contest on last Tuesday’s ballot, the race for an open seat on the Gateway Unified School District board of trustees.
With 2395 votes cast and several hundred ballots yet to be officially counted, Casey Bowden leads Moms for Liberty endorsed candidate Camille King 1132 votes to 874 votes, 56 percent to 44 percent. Turnout of the district’s 9470 voters was a paltry 25 percent.
Guess what else Jones didn’t mention by name during his OAN appearance? Dominion Voting Systems. Perhaps that’s because OAN and one of its conservative hosts recently settled a defamation lawsuit with a Dominion executive for an undisclosed amount. The network still faces a defamation lawsuit from Dominion itself.
For reference, Fox News settled a defamation suit with Dominion earlier this year and agreed to pay the voting machine company $787 million.
A multimillion-dollar bill like that will put OAN out of business, and not a second too soon. Jones may want to think twice about defaming Dominion Voting Systems in future political ads.
Grassroots Campaign Puts Casey Bowden on Top
Casey Bowden’s victory in the GUSD Board of Trustees area 2 special election echoed wins across the country by candidates and ballot measures pushing back against the fascist MAGA agenda. Voters in Ohio amended their state constitution to guarantee the right to abortion and birth control. In Virginia, Democrats took over control of both houses of the Legislature, disrupting cultural warrior Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plans to run for president. In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, five Democrats replaced the Moms for Liberty school board majority.
The common theme behind all these victories was grassroots support for candidates and issues pushing back against the MAGA movement. Locally, Jessica French, co-founder of Save Gateway Unified School District, and other parents in the district began organizing after the new MAGA board majority assumed control last November and summarily fired the superintendent and attempted to replace him with thrice-dismissed Christian nationalist Bryan Caples.
“We formed Save Gateway to restore stability after last year’s coup,” French said in a Facebook post celebrating the victory. “Our goal: quality education for our children. With Casey Bowden’s election and dedicated board members, we’ve achieved it. Thanks to all who supported us.”
After getting busted for attempting to hire Caples without consulting the other board members, former GUSD board chair Cherrill Clifford resigned in January. Since then, ultraconservative power couple Lindsi and Elias Haynes have faced off with moderates Dale Wallace and Phil Lewis in a series of votes ending in 2-2 ties.
When it came to selecting Clifford’s replacement, the Haynes rejected any candidates that didn’t support the Moms for Liberty agenda despite their qualifications for the job, forcing last week’s special election.
The Haynes have also twice attempted to pass a “parental rights” board policy known as BP 5020.1 that would force school staff to out transgender students to their parents without the student’s permission, as presently required under state and federal regulations.
The political attack on transgender students inspired transgender female and Gateway parent Bobbie Simpson, 44, to join the Save Gateway campaign. She’s become a fixture at GUSD school board meetings as well as Shasta County Board of Education meetings, where triggered Christian nationalist board member Authur Gorman refuses to use her preferred pronouns.
Simpson shrugs off the disrespect.
“Despite having different opinions, I continue to respect others as people,” she said. “I think we can and should have civil discussions about the issues that divide us. Almost every time I go out someone stops me to say they appreciate what I am doing, speaking for the protection of others. Often, I am told they have a family member who faces discrimination or struggles with acceptance. Rebecca Walker approached me at the Gateway board meeting and I think she summed it up nicely when she said, ‘Thank you for always being so nice.’ I can’t know what people say when I am not present but publicly, we show each other respect.”
Like many transgender people, Simpson didn’t come out as transgender female until she was well into adulthood. She worries that the anti-trans board policy would force students to be outed before they were ready.
“I was a fully qualified adult when I came out to my family,” Simpson said. “It was incredibly scary. I know there are accepting parents, but there are those that will not be [accepting] and it could be damaging to children if they are forced out. Possibly physically, possibly emotionally, and sadly I have heard many stories of young people being forced out of their homes. … Kids are perceptive and if you show acceptance towards others at home they will see that. They will not want to open up if they see denial or persecution of others like them by their family.”
While Simpson says she maintains a cordial relationship with the Haynes, she feels like the couple “are wasting time trying to pass a policy that is so controversial knowing they do not have the support of the other half of the board. So far it has been brought up twice and it is already on November’s agenda.”
Bowden opposes the “parental rights” policy which means as soon as he assumes office such measures will be defeated 3-2 by the new board majority of Bowden, Wallace, and Lewis.
“I am happy and relieved that Casey won,” Simpson said.
Dolores Lucero: Gadfly, Conservative Activist, School Board Candidate?
Ultraconservative activist Dolores Lucero took exception with my recent report on the Gateway district in which I lumped her in with local right-wing gadflies such as Rich Gallardo, Lori Bridgeford, Rebecca Walker, and Authur Gorman.
It’s true that Lucero often shows up at the same board meetings with Gallardo, Bridgeford, Walker, and Gorman and often shares the same hard-right political views. But Lucero has ruffled feathers since she began supporting the recall of District 1 supervisor Kevin Crye and filing FPPC complaints against him. Thanks to Lucero, the FPPC is currently investigating whether Crye has reported all the income from his Ninja Coalition promotional companies.
It was Lucero who tipped me off to the fact that some local conservatives are distancing themselves from Moms for Liberty. Lucero supported Camille King for the Gateway area 2 board seat, but accused Moms for Liberty—Shasta County chair Leslie Sabanovich and vice-chair Katie Gorman of trying to horn in on Shasta Lake’s political action.
“I don’t want anything to do with them,” Lucero said. “These ‘mothers’ keep trying to get their feet in the door so they can take over. These mothers aren’t going to represent real mothers. They don’t really care. We have nothing to do with those two girls.”
King is a member of Moms for Liberty—Shasta County’s Facebook page but is not officially a member of the group. Nevertheless, Moms for Liberty—Shasta County gave her its full endorsement in the special election.
Lucero is also persona non grata with other North State extremists, such as Nick Gardner, who co-hosts the KCNR Poke the Hornets Nest radio show every other Sunday. Yesterday morning, while mocking several people who speak at supervisors meetings, including Lucero, a laughing Gardner feigned the inability to recall Lucero’s name as he included her in his “Howdy Doody Club” lineup.
“I almost had that name on the tip of my tongue,” Gardner said before playing a clip of Lucero speaking. “Welcome to the Howdy Doody Club. I forgot her name but it rhymes with a female body part.”
To demonstrate she has no affiliation with Rich Gallardo and his crew, Lucero shared an email chain between her, Gallardo, and Carl Bott. Lucero is considering a run for a school board seat in 2024, and Gallardo gently advises her to look before she leaps:
“I ask you that before you decide to run for ANY office, please find out who else is running and talk to them.
“The worst thing we can do as patriots is ‘split’ the conservative vote.
“Sometimes, those of us who want to run for an office have to swallow our pride and understand that others are more ‘electable’ and we must get behind them and NOT file to candidacy.
“I intend to run for SCOE next cycle, but there should also be 3 seats open for Area 2. You and I must keep our ears open and talk to others who might want to run and figure this out.
Lucero took great umbrage to Gallardo’s advice and contacted Free Fire radio station owner Carl Bott to complain. Gallardo sent Bott the above email and warned that “Dolores has lost almost of her credibility due to many falsehoods, misinformation, and disinformation she has perpetuated in the last 2 years. It appears it continues to this day.”
Pot? Meet kettle. Every right-wing accusation is a confession.
For their parts, Jessica French and Bobbie Simpson aren’t resting on their laurels. French has formed another grassroots group, Shasta County CA. STOP moms for “liberty.” Simpson is working on a spreadsheet that documents all the open school board seats in Shasta County.
The current unofficial number indicates as many as 57 school board seats will be up for grabs next November. Gallardo and Gorman have already indicated they intend to recruit as many candidates for these seats as possible.
Who’s going to stop them?