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Board Chair Kevin Crye Earns ‘F’ for Failed First Supervisors Meeting

Dist. 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye photo by Alan Ernesto Phillips

Today Kevin Crye gets a second chance to preside over the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting as the new board chair. Expectations of success are low since Crye flunked from the start of the last meeting, his first as chair.

“Ready to rock and roll?” Those were Crye’s opening words as the new chair, followed by two firm raps of his gavel. Things went downhill from there.

His statement expelled an inflated air of bravado, like a hopped-up wanna-be celebrity ready to wow the crowd, rather than an elected leader charged with conducting important government business during one of Shasta County’s darkest hours of unrest and instability, a reality that Crye and his fellow board majority fellows helped create.

At times Crye conducted business less like a board chair and more like the vice president of a Pee Wee football boosters club, once calling out across the room with a laugh to KRCR TV reporter Mike Mangas to draw Mangas’ attention to the fact that Crye had just used a sports term.

Mangas used to be KRCR’s sports reporter, so maybe Crye was trying for an inside joke to show he’s buds with a media guy. Whatever. It felt weird.

Shasta County Board of Supervisors majority, from left, Dist. 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones, Dist. 1/chair Kevin Crye, and Dist. 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom. Photo by Alan Ernesto Phillips.

Crye’s assertive demeanor on January 9 did not reveal any awareness of the spectacle that took place on the sidewalk beyond the board chambers, before the meeting started. Outside, in front of the County Administrative Building, more than 70 citizens stood in the frigid rain to protest Crye, and promote Crye’s recall.

More than 70 citizens flanked Court Street in the rain prior to the Jan. 9 board meeting to protest Crye and promote his recall. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Dozens of the protesters were retired people, while others had taken time off work to voice their desire to remove Crye from office. Many vehicles honked their support. One woman said she’d seen waves and thumbs up, and just one middle finger.

Such a vocal protest against a new board chair is not business as unusual here in Shasta County. Of course, Shasta County has never had a supervisor quite like Crye before, someone who’s managed to wreak so much damage upon Shasta County and its people in such a short amount of time.

The meeting inside

Even the opening prayer contained a Crye cronyism move. The invocation was conducted by Pastor Todd Skinner of Pathway Church, which is Crye’s church.

Crye led the flag salute.

As covered by journalist R.V. Scheide, the meeting’s lowest point was when the board majority rammed through the removal of county impact fees. They did so despite pleas from their board-minority colleagues, District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert, and District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman, to not make such a hasty, short-sighted decision. Rickert and Garman beseeched Crye, Jones and Kelstrom to first consider studies, look at comparisons of similar-sized counties, and research hard data before moving forward to ditch the impact fees.

Rickert, after delivering a detailed explanation of why it was a bad idea to do away with impact fees, asked Crye about the genesis of his impact-fee dissolution idea.

“And I’m confused, why did you bring this forward, I mean, who’s pushing for this?” Rickert began. “I haven’t talked to anybody …”

Crye cut her off.

“Supervisor Rickert, I started my meeting by reading this,” he said, holding up a sheaf of papers, “I could provide you with a copy explaining …”

Rickert forged ahead. “No, who, who?”

Crye talked over her. “What I’ll do right now is I’ll go to Supervisor Kelstrom and then I’ll weigh in in a second.”

Rickert continued. “I want to know, who wants this?”

Supervisor Jones saved Crye from answering by piping up, “I do.”

Later, when Rickert again tried to address concerns about the impact fee debate, Crye stopped her from speaking and said it was time to take a vote.

This following video offers a treasure trove of details, such as when Jones seemed to forget that he was no longer board chair, and Crye had to reel him in. Two votes were taken that illustrated the current state of majority rules: Crye, Jones and Kelstrom have the votes to do whatever they want, no matter what anyone says.

Crye’s shut-down of Rickert was no doubt enjoyed by Nick Gardner, who later suggested that Supervisor Rickert’s speaking time be limited.

Easy Street

Although Crye never answered Rickert’s questions about what precisely caused him to endorse the end of the county’s impact fees, one frequent speaker, Dawn Duckett, suggested a plausible reason. She pointed out that Chriss Street, Crye’s golden pick for CEO who flunked out because of a failed background check, had decried impact fees at a November online New California State meeting. What’s more, he specifically addressed Shasta County.

Screengrab of a November 2023 New California State meeting where Chriss Street, introduced in the video as the organization’s CEO, discusses Shasta County impact fees.

At the 25:17 mark Street begins with, “Over the weekend we discovered …” as he goes on to discuss Shasta County.

Could Supervisor Crye have been part of Street’s royal “we” with regard to that weekend’s discussion about Shasta County?

We may never know.

Street is worthy of watching because it appears that despite being rejected as Shasta County’s CEO, Crye still consults with Street. For example, as we’ve reported before, Crye and Street used the exact same guestimate of how much each vote would cost to tabulate in a hand-count election: $1.85.

If you believe that those identical hand-count numbers were a coincidence, then I have a full-price Mike Lindell pillow to sell you.

Street was a horrible CEO candidate, but for some reason, Crye has kept him unofficially involved in Shasta County governance. It begs a single question: Why?

Street’s backstory provides myriad reasons to keep an eye on him, because this reporter’s hunch is that one day, if Crye has his way, Street will work for Shasta County.

Here’s a sample of Street’s history, excerpted from R.V. Scheide’s story here on A News Cafe:

  • Street declined to run for reelection in 2010 after a federal bankruptcy judge ordered him to pay $7 million for mismanaging the bankruptcy trust of a trucking firm he operated before he was elected treasurer. According to the LA Times, Street appealed the decision twice and lost.
  • Street then successfully sued his original attorney on the trucking case for malpractice and was awarded $10 million in 2017. His new attorney said the award vindicated his client, although the original bankruptcy decision has not been reversed.
  • According to the now defunct Orange County Weekly, in 2018 Street sued “Marriott International and its Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland for causing him ‘the loss of sexual relations’ with his wife following his injury at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).”
  • Since leaving his post as Orange County treasurer, Street, in addition to remaining a financial consultant, has carved out a career as an economic commentator in print and on radio, appearing on FOX News, earning an author’s page at Breitbart in 2018, and as a contributor to HuffPost.
  • That same year, he joined the fledgling New California State movement, which aims to split California’s 40 million population in half by carving out the inland rural counties and forming a 51st state. Street serves as vice president of the organization. An outspoken North State hard-right couple, Patty and Ron Plumb, are key figures in that organization.

On January 9, Street attended Crye’s maiden meeting as chair, and although Street didn’t speak, his companion — real estate agent Scott Swendiman — did speak during the public comment period about why he supported Crye’s idea to suspend impact fees.

From left, real estate agent Scott Swendiman and New California State CEO/and former Shasta County CEO candidate Chriss Street attend the Jan. 9 supervisors meeting. Photo by Alan Ernesto Phillips.

King Crye’s mean streak

Now that Crye’s king of the board, he can blatantly wield his power to make life easy for himself, Jones and Kelstrom, and miserable for Garman and Rickert.

Rickert made it public during the meeting about how Crye had unequally stacked the deck when he dished out far more assignments to her and Garman than Crye, Jones and Kelstrom. She eloquently took the high road, thanked Crye and accepted the duties as additional opportunities to serve the public.

Crye shot back with excuses and arguments against Rickert wrapped in gaslighting as he scolded Rickert for “politicizing every single thing” and it’s the taxpayers who suffer.

In the end, Crye failed to address Rickert’s point: the glaring inequity of how Crye had doled out a mere 12 assignments himself, 9 for Jones, 6 for Kelstrom, 20 for Garman and 22 for Rickert.

That’s a total of 42 combined assignments for Garman and Rickert, and 27 for Crye, Jones and Kelstrom.

Sound fair? It is in the land of Crye.

Loose lips sink excuses

One recurring struggle Crye faces is that sometimes he gets so excited that he forgets his audience and the potential consequences of blabbing when his own words could come back to bite him.

In this clip below, when Garman tries to make sense of Crye’s claims, at the 2:03 mark Crye delivers a thinly veiled insinuation that Garman is ignorant.

“I know the agenda packet comes out and you have two or three days to do that homework,” Crye said to Garman in a pot-calling-the-kettle-black jab since Crye has been caught several times during board meetings asking questions that were thoroughly addressed in the board packet.

But Garman — who was in line as the board chair heir apparent in succession after Jones – got the biggest laugh and most hearty applause of the day when he asked Crye, “How did you know you were going to be chair three months ago?”

There were hoots of approval in the audience as Crye was clearly caught off guard.

“What’s that?” Crye said, as if he hadn’t heard, desperately looking to buy time for a plausible answer. “I’m just waiting for it to calm down.”

Sure. OK.

Jones waded in to save Crye, and chimed in that Crye didn’t say that, that Crye said he’d been working on the plan for six months, a statement that only dug Crye deeper into possible Brown Act violation quick sand. (For more about this, see Benjamin Nowain’s latest North State Breakdown episode.)

Crye squirmed and stuttered before providing a lame non-answer, followed by a personal attack against Garman.

“The reason why I knew I was going to vote for one person and one person only?” Crye said. “So in my mind, there was no way I was following you.”

Behold, a classic Crye move: attack those who question him, especially if the questions put him on the spot, or make him look stupid.

Moments later, Crye borrowed a page from perhaps a Battered Garman Syndrome manual. He apologized to Garman, then later delivered a suck-up comment to Garman, that Crye had expected when he first joined the board that he would be closest to Garman, and gee, Crye and Garman had even prayed together that first day.

The only thing missing was a box of chocolates, a bouquet of flowers and promises to never beat up on Garman again. Cue the honeymoon. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Make no mistake: Bullies gonna bully, liars gonna lie, and batterers gonna batter. It’s their nature.

Crye will attack Garman again. Crye will lie again. Crye will interrupt, shutdown, demean and disrespect Rickert again.

But if you thought Crye was a terrible supervisor during his previous year in office, that was nothing compared with what fresh hell and childish games he can bring to Shasta County as the new board chair.

Speaking of games, Crye’s assistant Carolyn Gomes took to social media to rally his supporters to show up at today’s board meeting to defend Crye from the briar patch of critical recallers.

He’s actually promoting the waste of taxpayer time during official government business so his followers can line up and say nice things about him.

It’s similar to when he put a shout out on social media on January 8 to contractors, builders, landscapers, carpenters — “anybody in the trades” — to show up en masse at the next day’s meeting.

Dist. 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye.

It doesn’t remotely pass the sniff test for a board chair to place an item on the agenda, and then turn to social media the day before the vote to rally the public to show up and support his pet agenda item.

“If you’ve been impacted by impact fees I want you to come to tomorrow’s board of supervisors meeting at 9 a.m.” he said into the camera. “I want you to share your story.”

Yes, that’s our new board chair. So embarrassing.

On March 5, fed-up Shasta County voters can rise up and stop the insanity.

First, Shasta County District 1 voters can overwhelmingly recall Crye on March 5.

Second, Shasta County District 2 voters can reject extremist candidates Laura Hobbs and Dan Sloan.

Third, Shasta County District 3 voters can re-elect Supervisor Mary Rickert, the voice of reason, dedication, ethics and stability.

Finally, Shasta County District 4 voters can send Supervisor Jones, his pigs and his shooting-range fantasies packing, and elect intelligent, civilized, informed and educated candidate Matt Plummer.

If not, kiss the best parts of Shasta County goodbye, and say hello to total anarchy.

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.

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