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Christian Valdez’s Intern Report: Supervisor Patrick Jones’ Recent Campaign Fundraiser Dinner

Center: District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones chats with guests at his Feb. 23 fundraiser. All photos by Christian Valdez for A News Cafe.

Please join me in welcoming editorial intern Christian Valdez, and his first story published here on A News Cafe. – ANC Publisher Doni Chamberlain

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As the charismatic Shasta County District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom took center stage as the evening’s auctioneer, he did not hesitate to poke fun at a fellow supervisor for bidding on an item.

“I know how much you make; it ain’t much,” said Kelstrom jokingly to Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye, whose name is on the March 5 ballot for potential recall.

Crye and the rest of the room erupted into laughter.

Kelstrom kept his tone upbeat and humorous throughout the evening. Kelstrom and Crye were two of nearly 200 people at the Feb. 23 fundraiser for District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones at the Anderson Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall.

The doors opened to the public at 4 p.m. Those in attendance paid $40 per ticket in advance to gain admission to the event. To keep track of the people permitted to attend the event, somebody at the entrance had a list of names of those who’d purchased advanced tickets.

Upon entering the VFW hall, the aroma of barbecue filled the air.

A few weeks earlier, on Feb. 10, Jones had been working the grill at a free barbecue event for the community. This time, however, the grilling situation was a bit different as Rockin’ P Barbecue catered the event. At his Feb. 23 fundraiser, Jones was working the room instead of operating the grill.

At the start of the fundraiser Jones showcased his charisma as he worked the room and spoke with people individually at tables; speaking easily with those he knew and those he did not. Jones, who is up for reelection for his District 4 supervisor seat in the March 5 election, did not give an elaborate campaign speech at any time during the evening. Instead, Jones took a more personal approach, walking through the hall, table to table, meeting and interacting with as many people as possible.

Jones talked about the campaign trail, and how he has had to adapt his campaigning methods to the social media dominated times. Jones also discussed the controversy concerning voting machines and hand counting in Shasta County. The District 4 supervisor came across as personable and friendly, much as Jones did at his previous community barbecue, where he manned the grill and placed free burgers and steaks on people’s plates.

The layout at the fundraiser included long tables decorated with American flags.

The VFW hall’s large room comfortably fit 10 tables that could seat up to 18 people per table. The tables were draped in white tablecloths topped by neatly folded black cloth napkins, utensils and plates. Small American flags served as the tables’ centerpieces. Some tables had reserved signs on them for people such as Jones’ sister — Jacque Jones — and Dick Wilkinson.

The tables also displayed several copies of a list of the items that would be featured in the live auction later that evening. The 23 live auction items varied from desserts, art and alcohol, to quilts, knives and lots of guns. The latter made sense considering Jones manages his family-owned gun shop, Jones’ Fort. There was even a canon-shaped tequila bottle holder and an air conditioning unit up for bid. The auction items were displayed on tables that were lined up against the walls.

Toward the back of the room near the bar area were more tables that contained pamphlets with information about Supervisor Patrick Jones. The table also had “Jones for Supervisor” signs. Copies of the U.S. Constitution were available, too.

A trio of tables on the right side of the room were designated for the raffle that took place later that evening. The first table was covered in a red tablecloth, where the raffle tickets cost $100 each. This table consisted of smaller items, like coffee cups, small and medium sized paintings, and photos. The next table had a white table cloth where the type of items met the increase in ticket price.

The second table’s tickets were sold for $200 each. These items ranged from large paintings to a s’mores maker. The third table was blanketed in blue and included seven guns. This final table had raffle tickets going for $300 each. It appeared that the majority of the people in attendance bought raffle tickets.

The three raffle tables held a variety of items, including guns.

A cornhole game set-up was popular with the younger people and children. The cost was $20 for a round of cornhole, and the ticket price included being placed in a raffle for a gun. Kelstrom and Richard Gallardo engaged in some funny interactions with the kids who were playing cornhole. Kelstrom even offered to pay for kids to play.

The majority of the evening’s guests began arriving about 5:30 p.m. By around 6:30 p.m. there more than 200 people. There were plenty of familiar faces from the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meetings, and from Jones’ recent free barbecue. For example, Mark Kent and Jon Knight were there. Lori Bridgeford was present, and her camera flashed frequently brightly throughout the night, as it does during supervisor meetings. District 2 supervisor candidates Dan Sloan and Laura Hobbs made appearances, too.

Left photo: Lori Bridgeford and District 2 Supervisor candidate Laura Hobbs gather around a man’s phone screen. Top right: District 2 Supervisor candidate Dan Sloan speaks with a woman. Bottom left: Mark Kent and Richard Gallardo mingle.

Katie Gorman and Leslie Sawyer run a Mountain Top Media podcast called “We the Parents”. Gorman and Sawyer approached every table and every person to discuss a ballot initiative, which they also did at Jones’ free barbecue. The women were trying to convince people to sign a proposal preventing males being able to play in female sports, and vice versa. Another part of the proposal dealt with being 18 years old before gender altering surgeries could be made.

The bustling room quieted down and everyone bowed their heads in reverence for prayer before dinner was served at 6 p.m. After the prayer, Jones invited Korean war veteran Dick Wilkinson to the front. Wilkinson honored the veterans in the room by having them stand up first as the crowd applauded them all. Then Wilkinson guided the audience’s eyes toward the American flag at the corner of the room as he led the pledge to the flag.

The national anthem was then sung by Margaret Hanson. Jacque Jones was handed the microphone as the anthem concluded and she dismissed people by table to eat. Rockin’ P Barbecue provided Caesar salad, tri tip, green beans, toasted bread, and potatoes.

The attendees seemed to have enjoyed the food since most of them went back for seconds. Friendly volunteers picked up people’s plates when they finished eating.

Jones confirmed during his Feb. 28 board report that about 250 meals were served at the fundraiser.

Kelstrom disappeared from view for a few minutes after dinner, but reemerged a few moments later dressed in an American flag button-down shirt as he prepared to embody his duties as the evening’s auctioneer.

When the auction began, Jones announced what the items were and provided background on each one. Kelstrom and Jones often joked with one another during the auction.

District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom embraces his auctioneer role at District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones’ fundraiser.

For instance, Jones introduced and guided the audience’s eyes toward a lamp that was in the shape of a gun. There were lots of guns at this event. Kelstrom provided some humor after Jones introduced the item.

“It will be illegal in California next week,” joked Kelstrom.

Laughter filled the room. Another example of the joking during the auction was when the attendees were bidding on studio time at the Mountain Top Media’s facility. Studio time also included Red, White, and Blueprint apparel.

“Liberals hate the Red, White and Blueprint,” quipped Kelstrom.

The evening continued in similar fashion. Kelstrom displayed his skills as an auctioneer. The District 5 Supervisor spoke rapidly and clearly, as if he had done this plenty of times before. Gallardo, Jacque Jones, and other volunteers spread out across the room and helped keep track of the bids by raising up a red handkerchief every time a new bid was made.

Quite a bit of the items sold during the live auction were sold for a few hundred dollars each. The bidding jumped into the thousands when guns were being auctioned. One attendee was so invested in the bidding that he was hollering his bid from the bathroom, making for an entertaining sequence of events. People began to leave as the live auction concluded at about 8:45 p.m.

Jones and his volunteers then moved toward the red, white, and blue raffle tables. The raffle items were read out loud quickly as the evening went on. The volunteers started clearing tables during the raffle. Most of the attendees had gone by the time the raffle had ended at 9:30 p.m.

The event ended after 10 p.m. Kelstrom and Jones’ chemistry brought plenty of laughs and entertainment to the evening, while familiar faces filled the room. Kelstrom’s jokes and professional auctioneering experience made for a relaxing, enjoyable evening, combined with good food and lively conversation among Jones supporters.

This event could be called a success since every item was sold and every seat was filled.

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If you appreciate journalism interns like Christian Valdez, please consider a contribution to A News Cafe. Thank you.

Christian Valdez

Christian Valdez is an aspiring journalist. He is a junior at Simpson University majoring in Communication and minoring in Business. Valdez is an intern at A News Cafe.

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