Does Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye want to be recalled in the March 2024 election, or what?
It sure looks that way.
Your average, rational, elected official who finds himself staring down the barrel of an impending explosive recall remains on his best behavior to avoid recall.
Rational elected supervisors wouldn’t dream of pulling the wool over the public’s eyes to recruit a personal acquaintance for the lead county counsel position, one of the county’s most powerful, lucrative positions.
In Crye’s case, he didn’t just succeed in ramrodding through the hiring of his cherry-picked candidate Joseph Larmour as the new county counsel at the last board meeting, but Crye did so without mentioning personal ties to Larmour, a move that’s vintage Crye.
But Crye is no typical elected official. Crye’s greatest goal is to ensure he’s a winner every time, even if his wins transform Shasta County into the biggest loser.
Once Crye cinched Larmour’s appointment, Crye then secured for Larmour a fishy bloated financial compensation package that includes a $5,000 car allowance, a $20,000 signing bonus, and an annual salary of $240,365.
Larmour’s highly inflated income allotment was championed by Crye, offered on a silver platter to Larmour, someone reputed among the North State’s legal community as not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, someone who’d now be responsible for overseeing more than 60 county attorneys.
Most perplexing about Crye’s enthusiastic Larmour endorsement is the fact that the county counsel’s office contains a treasure trove of quality county counsel candidates, most of whom are vastly more experienced than Larmour, all of whom have first-hand knowledge of Shasta County’s legal history and happenings.
Why waste a dime of county money in search of a new county counsel if numerous county attorneys are available for hire?
That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is that Crye and Jones don’t necessarily want the most qualified candidates. They prefer malleable underlings, a type that probably doesn’t exist in the current Shasta County Counsel’s office.
In a crazed revolving door that started spinning in April of 2023, Shasta County has lost and gained five county counsels who’ve served in positions that ranged from permanent and interim to temporary acting positions.
Rubin E. Cruse: 7/07/1998 to 4/21/23
James R. Ross: 4/22/2023 to 7/11/23
Matt McOmber: 7/16/23 to 9/27/23
Gretchen M. Stuhr: 9/27/23 to current
Patricia C. Weber: Provides coverage at board meetings as necessary.
Aside from Cruse, who wisely
fled retired and moved on to another position, counsels Ross, McOmber, Stuhr and Weber all seem vastly more fitting candidates to fill the county counsel seat than Larmour.
Surprised? Don’t be. When it comes to Crye and Jones’ personnel selections, nepotism and cronyism are their favorite tools used to dig up the most obsequious appointments; people most likely to kowtow to Jones and Crye’s personal interests, whether it’s Jones’ dream shooting range, or Crye’s push for a charter county.
That’s why, rather than search for the best and the brightest to serve Shasta County, Crye and his cronies routinely pick the worst and dullest; lackluster sock-puppet loyalists who’ll gladly goosestep to Jones and Crye’s every whim.
According to a story in the Redding Record Searchlight, when reporter Damon Arthur contacted Yuba County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andy Vasquez about Lamour, Vasquez said he was unaware that Larmour had accepted the position as Shasta County Counsel’s lead attorney. That was the first time Vasquez hung up on Arthur; the second was when Arthur called Vasquez back with additional questions.
Pity poor Yuba County. Oh, how it sucks to be the last to know that your barely wet-behind-the-ears county counsel has already dumped you and run off with another county. No “Dear Yuba County” goodbye letter. Thanks for nuttin’, honey.
You’d think that of all professions, an attorney would be among the most sensitive to the importance of notifying his employer of his departure before accepting a new position.
A News Cafe contacted the Yuba County Counsel’s office and learned that as of Friday, Larmour was still employed there.
Larmour did not return A News Cafe’s call seeking more information.
‘Not resounding positive feedback’
During the Dec. 19 Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert pushed back regarding hiring Larmour for county counsel.
Rickert said she’d done her due diligence. She’d checked Larmour’s references. No answer from her fellow supervisors when Rickert asked if they’d checked Larmour’s references, too. Cue crickets.
Did they know that Larmour is a graduate of a California law school that’s not accredited by the American Bar Association, a night school located in Chico that’s not even considered one of the top 20 California law schools? Did they know that Larmour’s only previous lead-county-counsel experience took place recently in rural Yuba County, where he jumped ship five months into his four-year contract? Did they take into consideration the fact that Yuba County’s population is 81,575; compared with Shasta County’s population of 182,155?
Did they care? ::Yawn:: Probably not.
Either way, Rickert was not impressed with her findings.
“I have a responsibility to the citizens of Shasta County to call the references, and I did,” Rickert said. “I didn’t exactly get resounding positive feedback.”
District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman chimed in with similar opinions regarding the heft of Larmour’s potential financial haul.
Supervisor Rickert and Garman’s words fell on deaf supervisors’ ears, because as expected, once again, when the vote was taken, Rickert and Garman were overruled. Just like that, Larmour was the county’s new counsel. He’ll rake in the dough, despite a lack of glowing recommendations.
Larmour’s appointment was one thing. However, even more egregious was the fact that Crye failed to disclose during board discussions pertinent facts about Crye’s personal connections to Larmour.
Specifically, Crye didn’t mention that Larmour’s girlfriend, Amber Abrams, works for Crye.
Once again, Crye concealed crucial information about private affiliations between himself, his personal business staff, and his hell-bent desires to bring his favorite folks into the county’s public fold.
What Crye should have disclosed during the board’s discussion about Larmour was that Larmour was Amber Abram’s boyfriend, a point that’s only relevant because Abrams doesn’t just work for Crye, but she’s friends with Kevin and Sarah Crye, and Gomes, Crye’s assistant.
Among the photos below is at least one taken at Pathways Church in Redding, which happens to be Crye’s church.
Crye has boasted during Board of Supervisors meeting and his radio show about how he single-handedly lured Larmour to Shasta County as a county counsel recruit.
Crye routinely uses the word “poached” — as if it’s an honorable thing — with regard to stealing Larmour from Yuba County, or acquiring CEO Rickert, for that matter.
If all this has a familiar ring, it’s because Crye has been caught with his questionable ethics down around his ankles in previous compromising county personnel matters.
He pushed hard for Dr. James Mu as the county’s new health officer, despite the fact that the committee charged with interviewing prospective health officers voted 7-1 against hiring Mu.
Crye’s pal, Chair Patrick Jones, was the panel’s lone pro-Mu vote. Jones didn’t lose sleep over that, because he somehow knew that when the time came for a board vote, the extremist majority would ignore the interview panelists’ recommendations and green-light Mu as the county’s top doctor.
Mu’s appointment was tainted, because neither Crye or District 5 Supervisor Kelstrom volunteered during their glowing endorsements of Mu the fact that Mu had contributed generous donations to the men’s political campaigns.
As with the appointment of unimpressive Larmour as county counsel, Crye and his hard-right board majority pals bypassed superior, more highly qualified physicians when they picked Dr. Mu.
When the board majority selected Mu, they picked someone who is leaving his private practice with 5,000 patients, someone so lacking in educational requirements that taxpayers must now foot the bill for his additional medical training to bring him up to snuff. Plus, although Mu is technically the new health officer, he’s still not working full time for the county because he’s dealing with his private practice.
Good Lord, even a 16-year-old Burger King applicant would be rejected if she couldn’t commit to showing up after she was hired.
Talk about bait and switch. Now that Mu’s been hired, Jones and Crye bloviate about how they must now offer Mu a huge severance package, because you know, we must consider Mu’s hardship as he will need to eventually close his practice.
Here’s an idea, ding dongs: Don’t hire inferior, undereducated candidates. Problem solved.
During a recent radio show clip, Crye justified higher wages and special perk goodies for not just Mu, but also CEO David Rickert, whose derriere Crye regularly kisses while simultaneously flooding CEO Rickert with words of praise.
During board meetings, a smirking Crye frequently leans over to whisper things to CEO Rickert, often after Supervisor Rickert has spoken, or after a member of the public has taken Crye to task during the public comment period. CEO Rickert often responds with grins, smiles, chuckles and bobble-head nods.
When A News Cafe reached out to Rickert for an explanation about the secret exchanges taking place in full view between Crye and Rickert during public meetings, Rickert emailed a response.
First, he commended A News Cafe for attending the meetings. Second, he addressed his and Crye’s quiet communications during board meetings:
“My conversations with Supervisors are to advise on issues or to provide information on questions. That board meeting presented a lot of unique issues with the charter being one of them. I value the input of the public at our meetings. One example, I thought there were a number of useful comments concerning Supervisor salaries that the board should consider in any future vote.”
Nice dodge, but no cigar, CEO Rickert.
“That board meeting”? A News Cafe didn’t inquire about a specific meeting, but the ongoing Crye/Rickert tête-à-têt exhibited during almost every meeting since CEO Rickert was hired, a scene where Crye rolls his chair to the right where he cozies up to CEO Rickert to deliver a comment or make a face.
For what it’s worth, I’ve yet to see CEO Rickert initiate a conversation with Crye during meetings, but I’ve observed plenty of times when Crye has CEO Rickert’s ear and undivided attention, something not enjoyed by the other supervisors.
Back to the clip in which Crye makes it sound as if Rickert is in such demand that the county must do everything in its power to retain him.
To their credit, Crye and Chair Jones don’t hide their real reasons for Larmour, Mu and CEO Rickert’s huge salaries and spectacular severance packages. Their plan is the hard-right board majority’s guarantee that if the 2024 election dumps the extremists and replaces them with sane moderates, the hard-right guys are banking on the guess that a sane board will not have the stomach to put the county into debt by firing the hard-right’s horrible choices, which would result in huge severance payoffs.
Regarding these massive financial gifts to the board majority’s favorite people, Joshua Brown, a frequent speaker at Board of Supervisors meetings, recently addressed the elephant in the room with regard to what he deemed “the most corrupt item on the agenda”.
Supervisor Rickert followed up with a scathing rebuke of the board majority’s extravagant severance packages and perks.
“I think this is ridiculous,” an obviously perturbed Supervisor Rickert said.
“We’re throwing money at these very high-level people that you’ve hand-picked; that are your people. I’m just outraged by this preferential elitist treatment.”
Supervisor Rickert concluded her statement with an apology to all county employees who would not receive such generous compensation packages.
Jones, never one to miss an opportunity to pierce Rickert with a patronizing retort, responded, “You may apologize if you like, Supervisor Rickert.”
Garman agreed with Rickert.
“We’re supposed to be stewards of the county’s money, and here we are with the possibility of giving them this money,” Garman said.
“We’re not protecting the county. We work for the county. We work for everybody in this county. We don’t work for one person.”
Since taking office nearly a year ago, Crye has behaved like a human wrecking ball intent on destroying Shasta County. He’s been aided by his fellow far-right board majority members Chair Patrick Jones of District 4, and Chris Kelstrom of District 5.
Crye flew to on the county’s dime to visit My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.
Crye even corresponded with Lindell via chummy texts during one of the board’s most historic votes, to cancel the county’s Dominion Voting system.
Later, Crye delivered a far-fetched explanation regarding his trip to meet with Lindell.
Crye gets mad, AND gets even
Crye has a reputation as an eternal grudge-holder, someone with a nearly savantish gift for remembering not just who’s done him wrong, but how he can pay them back, get even and cause the maximum pain and suffering, you know, as any hypocrite Christian is wont to do.
Take Crye’s recent punishment of Supervisor Rickert and Jeff Gorder, for example.
Gorder, Shasta County’s former public defender, has been a thorn in Crye’s delicate flesh since the board majority cancelled the county’s Dominion voting machine.
Gorder is everything that Crye is not: brilliant, ethical, articulate and laser-beam focused.
Gorder has delivered blistering criticisms about Crye and Jones many times. Here’s a sample.
This is a good time to mention that Crye will be the new board chair come January. In that capacity, he has a lot of power over not just board meeting decorum and process, but he has the power to appoint and change the 2024 Chair’s Appointments.
If this sounds benign, consider that of the dozens of possible committees, commissions, boards and councils, in an unabashed show of childish vindictiveness and favoritism, Crye assigned 12 to himself, 10 to Jones, nine to Kelstrom, 20 to Garman and 21 to Supervisor Rickert.
Do you see what I see? On average, Crye has given Garman and Rickert twice as many assignments as the board-majority supervisors Crye, Jones and Kelstrom.
Crye obviously hates Rickert, who’s the oldest supervisor, who lives 80 miles from Redding, and who is running for a 2024 re-election, details all known to Crye. But what better way for Crye to stick it to his arch enemies than to saddle Rickert and Garman with the lion’s share of assignments.
But Crye wasn’t done. For Crye’s ultimate act of retaliation, he removed Jeff Gorder from the Public Law Library Board of Trustees — a position he liked — and replaced him with Rickert.
Rickert was outraged when she heard the news about Crye’s move against Gorder, which she called a travesty.
“Jeff should still be on that board,” Rickert insisted.
Of course, Rickert is correct. But as long as Crye’s the board chair and drunk on power, you can bet that he’ll continue playing high stakes games that allow him to heap misery upon Crye’s most despised detractors.
What kind of supervisor does these things? Kevin Crye, that’s who
Settle back, get a beverage and behold the laundry list of Crye’s additional blatant missteps, mistakes, lies, deceptions and general bad behavior.
• Crye conducts personal, private business during county board meetings. Once he even forwarded a letter of complaint from his employee Carolyn Gomes, upset at the county employee who expressed unwillingness to help Gomes facilitate Crye’s personal business, as if all county employees work for Crye’s Ninja Coalition.
• Crye verbally eviscerated a Shasta County senior citizen inside board chambers, but was so lacking in discernment and intelligence he didn’t recognize (until later) that the woman he victimized — Judy Salter — is a highly respected community member, a former Citizen of the Year.
Friends in all the wrong places
• Crye is backed by a host of uncouth, sometimes unhinged supporters, including Nick Gardner, who referred on his radio show to the pronunciation of political activist Dolores Lucero’s first name as “rhyming with a female body part” and described specific recallers as “two men and a fat chick”. Gardner recently designed a T-shirt with the message, “Don’t be a recall retard”.
Other Crye fans include Richard Gallardo, who terrorized a man who suffers from mental illness.
By the way, Crye, as well as his assistant Gomes and Supervisor Kelstrom were there, too.
Also in Crye’s crazy camp is self-described “citizen journalist” Lori Bridgeford, whose frequent camera flashes punctuate every board meeting, with nary a published photo or story to ever show for it.
Then there’s ardent Crye fan Kimberly Moore, who regularly screeches insults at Rickert while fawning over Crye.
She recently went after Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen, who’s demonstrated the ability to think and knit at the same time during the most tortuous board meetings.
Bridge also chimed in about knitting, and with a straight expressed that needlework in the chambers could lead to diabolical “stitch craft”.
Still on the topic of Crye’s fans and followers, one Crye bruiser verbally assaulted a group of older recall proponents — including retired teachers, a former Shasta County Superintendent of Schools, and a retired Shasta County Public Defender — in a parking lot near the bully’s barbecue business.
One young man who asked to not be named in this story vividly recalled what happened when he and his young daughter went to buy groceries in a Eureka Way shopping center.
He noticed a large pickup parked sideways along three parking spaces. The truck displayed a sign in support of Kevin Crye, and blocked shoppers’ view of the recallers’ booth.
Later, another obnoxious Crye supporter parked his pickup in front of the Recall Kevin Crye booth where he taunted and challenged the people under the shade structure.
The young man described what happened next:
“I walked over and talked to the recall people about the truck. They said it was owned by the owner of the Whiskeytown BBQ Company, and they had already called the police about it.
My daughter and I got in my car to drive home, but before leaving I decided to take some photos of the situation. I didn’t have a plan for what to do with the photos, it just seemed like a bizarre situation which I wanted to have some photos of.
I got out of the car and took two photos of the white truck and one of the front of the Whiskeytown BBQ business, all from the parking lot. My daughter was still in the car.
A man came out of the Whiskeytown BBQ business. I didn’t know him at the time, but I now know he is the owner of the BBQ business. He asked why I was taking photos of his business, and I responded that this is a public space and I can take photos here. His voice and body language seemed aggressive and hostile. He said something which I can’t remember or didn’t make out, and I said back that I love BBQ, but I won’t be coming to his business.
He responded, ‘We don’t serve faggots like you anyway.’
At this point I stopped talking and started getting in my car to leave. The man followed me to my car and continued yelling at me and called me a ‘liberal bitch’ and said, ‘I’ll fuck you up.’
He was very big, and was either trying to threaten/intimidate me or start a fight, and I didn’t want my young daughter to see or hear anything ugly, and also didn’t want to be involved in that myself.”
The $1.85 question
• Supervisor Crye recruited Chriss Street, one of the worst possible CEO candidates imaginable, a proponent of New California State, and other illogical notions.
(Sidebar prediction: If Chair Crye has his way, Street will end up employed by Shasta County.)
But after Street wasn’t chosen, it appears that Crye has remained in touch with Street. Crye recites Street’s information, right down to parroting identical numbers. In this clip listen for when Street and Crye both mention $1.85 per ballot. Not $1.84. Not $1.86. Coincidence? Not likely.
• Shortly after being sworn in, Crye had delivered to his office a PacMan machine that required taxpayers’ money for installation.
• Within a few short weeks in office, Crye quickly amassed a list of recall-worthy violations.
• Crye hosted a joke of a so-called “townhall” meeting where attendees were asked for proof of District 1 residency, where a militia member was called upon for security detail, where A News Cafe staff were hassled about filming (other media were left alone) but most stunning of all, Crye arranged for his friend Susan Taylor (see the 41:00 mark) to be planted in the audience so she and Crye could feign being strangers.
‘I crafted them. I crafted them!’
• Crye is so allergic to the truth that he routinely evades Supervisor Rickert’s questions about everything from whether anyone helped him write a letter of complaint to California Attorney General Rob Bonta, or whether he solely “crafted” 11 bullet points of that letter?
Although Crye, like his fellow supervisors, ostensibly serves in a non-partisan position, he hobnobs like a jetsetter politician up and down California and across the country where he spreads his far-right political malarkey to gullible extremists.
Speaking of Anselmo, on Dec. 20 Anselmo contributed more than $117,000 to Crye’s anti-recall campaign, cleverly referred by Crye as the “STOP NEWSOME (sic) NO ON CRYE RECALL”.
“Clever” because Crye’s upcoming recall election has nothing to do with Governor Gavin Newsom, but everything to do with Crye being unfit for office. Newsom is Crye’s perpetual straw man, and for good reason. It would be impossible for Crye to fight the recall on his own merits, naming all the wonderful ways that Crye is an awesome supervisor. The truth is, Crye is an absolutely awful supervisor. He’s arguably one of the most destructive, mean-spirited, vindictive, manipulative, selfish and dishonest supervisors in Shasta County’s county history.
So no wonder Crye trots out his trusty Newsom dog whistle and ties it to the anti recall campaign as hoodwinked people from near and far foam at the mouth in indignation.
Everything here today relates to just one year of Crye’s behavior as a supervisor; actions taken since he took office.
These infractions barely scratch the surface.
We’re saving for another day previously unreported damning details about Crye that will make everything revealed here look like a walk across the Sundial Bridge under fluffy marshmallow clouds and Skittle-colored rainbows.
There’s so much we don’t know about Crye, but there’s a lot we do know. We know Crye has no patience for reading long board reports. We know he’s complained since almost his first week in office that his supervisor job is so dang demanding that he often isn’t there to help his son with his homework, and that he frequently misses his son’s sports events or holiday programs.
We know Crye loves the limelight, but only when it bathes him in rosy hues of praise.
We know Crye’s thin-skinned and can’t stomach one iota of criticism. For a fun activity during upcoming supervisors meetings, glance at Crye when Supervisor Rickert calls him out on deception, or when someone criticizes him during public comment and you’ll see the liver-red face of a man who’s on the verge of implosion.
Giving Crye the benefit of the doubt, maybe all Crye’s blunders are intentional, a way for him to use his guaranteed ouster from his county seat as a springboard to higher office. Maybe he’s hoping he’ll be naughty enough that he will be recalled, because once sprung from Podunk Shasta County, he’s free to run with a winning campaign speech loaded with gobs of MAGA appeal about the evil, Newsom-loving liberals who removed innocent Crye from office because we hate God, country, the American flag, family and a conservative way of life.
Those are all lies, of course. But if a successful recall can quickly propel Crye up the political ladder and far, far away from Shasta County, then we know what we must do to help Crye reach his preferred political destination.
The win-win solution is clear: Recall Kevin Crye.