9 Months Until Birth of Rational, Stable Shasta County Governance

Post-election here in Shasta County, it’s the worst of times and the best of times, both making for some extremely crazy times.

On the one hand, for those who toiled to recall District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye, the worst election news was when Crye avoided recall, albeit by a squeaker of a 50-vote lead.

What a Crying shame that Shasta County is stuck with Crye and his horrible behavior and even worse decisions until his term ends in December of 2026.

Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye avoided recall in the March 5 election.

Crye already demonstrated in his first few months of office in 2023 just how much damage he could do in a short amount of time. Just imagine how much additional destruction Crye could wreak upon Shasta County until his term expires. Terrifying. Let’s not go there.

On the other hand, good news arrived for Shasta County’s moderate, rational folks of all political parties when Allen Long won his new District 2 seat outright, without a November runoff in his future. Even so, as with Crye, Long’s win was by a skimpy margin. Additional good news came when Matt Plummer pummeled District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones.

However, it’s a murky, good-news/bad-news situation in District 3 for incumbent Mary Rickert. The good news is that Rickert received far more votes than challengers Corkey Harmon and/or Win Carpenter. The bad news was that Rickert lacked the required 50-percent-plus-one vote criteria to skip a November runoff. Consequently, she will face off in the fall against Harmon, who had the next-highest vote count behind Rickert’s.

Still counting county blessings and votes, Shasta County dodged a few major extremist bullets when voters denied both election-denier Laura Hobbs and Crye-fan Dan Sloan a shot at the District 2 supervisor seat.

In similar fashion, District 3 voters soundly rejected State-of-Jefferson devotee Win Carpenter.

9 more months of turmoil

Hold the celebrations, because no matter how good the news about outright wins for Long and Plummer, the most horrible news of all is that Jones will remain in office until December of 2024, while Long and Plummer will not be sworn into office until January of 2025.

The only hope for the return of Shasta County’s stability is if Rickert wins in the November runoff election against Harmon. If not, then Long and Plummer will serve on the board against Crye, Kelstrom and Harmon, and an ultra-conservative majority will continue to carry all the power and all the votes.

Either way, until the end of December, hard-right supervisors Jones, Kelstrom and Crye will make up the board majority. Rickert and Garman — both Republicans, but referred to as RINO’s by the extremists — will remain on the minority losing side of endless 3-2 votes. In that hobbled position once again, Rickert and Garman will be unable to stop Jones, Crye and Kelstrom from doing whatever they please.

The  nine-month-long hard-right majority rule could continue to hire unqualified or previously unwanted key staff members. They could blackmail select unwanted employees into quitting. They could gut the public health department’s budget. They could even attempt to alter the personnel makeup of the elections office.

Short of a legal miracle that would remove the board majority from office for untold criminal violations, or unless one of the three voluntarily resigned early, we’re facing nine months of continued chaos and calamity, here in Shasta County, one of the most conservative, contentious and unstable of all California counties.

Mad about Jones

If you thought Jones was an unhinged, self-serving supervisor before he became an election loser, just wait until we see in action a pissed-off, suffering-from-rejection Jones in retaliation mode from now until the year’s end.

Jones is not just a lame duck, but he’s a lame, enraged duck packing heat, loaded for bear. He’s literally shameless, the kind of supervisor who wore his former colleagues’ censure of him as a badge of honor. He’s the kind of crooked, opportunistic supervisor who blatantly uses his county seat and elected-official privilege as his private ATM machine for personal projects, like his lifelong dream of a shooting range on his property.

Now that Jones is approaching the sunset of his supervisor term, he has nothing to lose than to double down and push for his dark heart’s desires, such as the day when his family’s gun-store customers and potential customers can freely strut around Walmart, and even inside the county board meetings, adorned with visible firearms.

But Jones must prioritize. Before he can make open carry a reality, Jones must first deal with the latest election results. By “deal with” I mean that Jones has been vocal about keeping his option open to not certify the election results this morning during the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Jones, and such fellow patriots as Terry Rapoza and Richard Gallardo have been talking for weeks on various alt-right podcasts and radio shows about not certifying the election.

For example, in this March 10 conversation on Rapoza’s Jefferson State of Mine podcast Richard Gallardo lays out the entire plan.

Jones seems confident that the board majority will agree to not certify the election. There’s no need for Jones to risk a pesky Brown Act violation by whispering his wishes to his fellow board majority members to not certify the election. Instead, Jones literally broadcasts his plans on conservative radio programs, likely monitored by the board majority, who can hear Jones state his prediction that the board majority will not certify the election results if they suspect issues.

It’s a waste of time to entertain drama and discussions about not certifying the election. The Registrar of Voters office doesn’t need the supervisors to OK the election results, because the ROV officially certifies the election, not the supervisors. The ROV doesn’t need the supervisors’ official stamp of approval on the election results, any more than a couple who’d obtained a valid marriage license needs a fancy wedding ceremony to make it official.

That’s why it could be a win-win for Crye to go along with Jones to not certify the election. Crye could stand in symbolic solidarity with Jones and any other board members who might refuse to certify the election, all the while knowing full well that his recall results were safe and sound, officially certified and locked in place by the ROV.

So many questions: If Jones knows he’ll gain nothing by not certifying the election, why go through the moot exercise of such a powerless gesture? What do Jones and his followers think will happen if the board majority refuses to certify Shasta County’s elections? Is this a setup so Jones could refuse to leave his seat come December? If Jones says the election was so filled with fraud that he can stay, does that mean Crye should go?

It’s impossible to guess, but there’s no disputing the fact that many citizens agree with Jones, and believe Shasta County elections are tainted.

During today’s meeting, don’t be surprised if Jones pontificates, grandstands and insists Shasta County elections are dirty and unworthy of certification. Likewise, expect more bloviating and chest beating during the public comment period from Jones’ followers, who’ll recite variations on Jones’ claims about tainted Shasta County elections.

In contrast, expect District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman and District 3 Supervisor Rickert to vote to certify the election.

However, there is one potential wild card; District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom. Prior to the March 26 supervisors meeting, the general consensus was that Kelstrom always votes in lock step with Jones and Crye. Therefore, if Jones refused to certify the election, then it was a fair assumption that Kelstrom would rubber stamp whatever Jones wanted.

Not so fast. Kelstrom may not be as predictable after all, because on March 26 Kelstrom inexplicably voted against Garman, Jones and Crye, yet with Rickert against Crye’s code of conduct version. The look on Crye’s face was sheer shock, matching similar expressions throughout the board chambers from both sides of the aisle.

If Kelstom votes with Rickert and Garman to certify the election, then the election certification will proceed without a hitch. If Kestrom, Jones and Crye vote to not certify the election, the certification’s authenticity will not be in jeopardy.

Either way, once again, Jones will be the biggest loser, but perhaps not in his mind. To hear Jones speak about the end of his time on the board, he talks like it will actually be better for him, because although he’ll be off the board, he can wield power and influence over supervisors, but this time as a regular citizen.

Jones explained exactly that during a March 17 Sovereign Minds radio interview.

Crye me a dictator

District 1 Supervisor/chair Kevin Crye.

Of all the unknowns, one thing known for sure is that Crye was not recalled, and he’s still the board’s chair, a position he rules with an authoritarian fist.

He’s issued recent warnings about changes coming to the public comment period on April 9. These changes require citizens who wish to comment to fill out a speaker request card either online, or prior to the meeting’s start.

Several speakers — even Rapoza — have questioned Crye’s strict public-comment rules.

Potential speakers who lack a computer cannot fill out the online form. Potential speakers who have difficulty finding a parking space and arrive past the 9 a.m. start time will be punished by having to wait until the end of the meeting to speak. Potential speakers who arrived at the meeting, but were not inspired to speak until they heard the board discussion, will also be put at the end of the speaking queue, which could take many hours before their turn.

Frequent public commenter Dolores Lucero voiced what many citizens felt about Crye’s new public-comment rule. She called him a dictator.

For about a year, Crye has been under threat of recall. Now that his seat is safe, he’s receiving congratulations from well-wishers, such as Shasta County citizen Ian Smart.

Smart is a co-founder — along with Jesse Lane — of Stake in NorCal, a North State militia group.

“Kevin W. Crye the people have spoken! You’ve weathered one hell of a storm and we’re proud to call you our supervisor!”

Crye responded: “Ian Smart thanks man. Been a wild, wild ride. However WE (all of us) are just getting started.”

Smart concluded: “Kevin W. Crye excited to see! Tear the roof off this mutha, brotha!”

Supervisor Kevin W. Crye has retained his seat in a district where 4,666 voters wanted him recalled, and 4,716 did not. So close.

Will Crye be a supervisor for all 9,382 citizens who voted in the recall election, and those who didn’t vote? Will Crye continue his trend of being rude, nasty and sarcastic to those who dislike him? Perhaps Crye will carry on as he’s been before; charming to fans and followers, friend of militia members, hobnobber with Mike Lindell, promoter of secessionist Chriss Street, insulter of elderly women, groomer of new employees, bully to minority board members, and king of cronyism, ageism and sexism.

Time will tell.

Meanwhile, as Crye said, we — all of us — are just getting started. It’s going to be a long nine months. Even if you’re weary, and even if you’re discouraged, all the more reason to stand up and speak up.

But remember, to speak up at board of supervisors meetings, make sure you fill out a speaker request card online. And leave your home extra early to jockey for a parking place. And show up early to fill out a card in person. If not, you might not speak for many hours. Bring a sleeping bag, pillow, cell phone charger, water and snacks. If Crye says the break will last about 90 minutes, return at 60 minutes in case he starts earlier than he said.

Crye is in charge. Like it or not.


Tuesday afternoon update: The Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted 4 – 1 at this morning’s meeting to approve the Shasta County Elections Department’s election results.

First, Patrick Jones spoke at length about his belief that fraud had taken place inside the elections office, which justified his recommendation that the board vote against approving the results.

Although supervisors Kelstrom and Crye both voiced doubts and disparaging words about Shasta County elections, they nevertheless voted with supervisors Rickert and Garman to approve the election results.  


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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 Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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