Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye to South American Asylum Seekers: Drop Dead

The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.  —Martin Luther King

My understanding of the universe was physical, and its moral arc bent toward chaos then concluded in a box. —Ta-Nehisi Coates

When it comes to the arc of the moral universe, I confess I was in the Ta-Nehisi Coates camp decades before he riffed off MLK in his 2015 bestseller, “Between the World and Me.

And here we are now, in a state of chaos, confined to a box we might call Schrödinger’s County. We’re not binary liberal/conservative, left/right, Democrat/Republican. We’re all over the place, hundreds of chaotic collisions. It’s complicated.

The quantum calculation becomes: What’s in the box?

One person opens the box, and Shasta County is the wonderful place most of us know it to be, with its cities and towns and boroughs where most people are just trying to get by before the inevitable.

Another person opens it up, and Shasta County District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye’s head pops out like a Jack-in-the-Box to the tune of Smash Mouth’s greatest hits.

“The asylum seekers are coming! The asylum seekers are coming!” Jack-in-the-Crye exclaims. “Just ask our Constitutional Sheriff Michael Johnson.”

Crye and Johnson have rigged today’s Board of Supervisors meeting against asylum seekers from our war-torn hemisphere. This especially includes asylum seekers from South America, fleeing whatever government the United States has destabilized lately.

Johnson has been touting his November trip to the California/Mexico border, echoing the Trump campaign’s claim of a border in crisis with drug-dealing sex offenders spreading meth, fentanyl and violence up and down I-5 from San Diego to Seattle.

They’re not here yet, Johnson claims, but they’re coming.

Wrong. The drugs are already here, no matter who brought them; just check the bodies dropping like flies in our cramped county jail. Who the hell drives around with four pounds of fentanyl anyway? People from the Bay Area, that’s who. And Shingletown!

We’re going to need a bigger jail. Sheriff Johnson pushed for a larger out-of-downtown facility with treatment services, but was overridden by our penny-pinching MAGA board majority consisting of Crye, District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom.

Sheriff MIchael Johnson

Sheriff Johnson has never denied that he’s not the supreme law of the land, as held by fringe groups such as the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association. The sheriff has allegedly attended at least one meeting of this right-wing organization.

It doesn’t bode well for law enforcement in Shasta County.

But suppose someone else opened the box labeled Schrödinger’s County?

For instance, me?

The first thing I’d point out is the second paragraph of the resolution, R3, where Kevin Crye (or his sycophantic ghost writer) declares Shasta County “will continue to insure (sic) that individuals in Shasta County receive emergency services when needed, both to protect their welfare and the overall welfare …

“However …”

That “however” was a long time coming.

“However, Shasta County does not have sufficient resources to provide long-term housing, medical or other critical needs of Asylum Seekers and/or noncitizen migrants,” the document insists.

Is that true? I suppose the lack of long-term housing is accurate, since we can’t provide housing for a substantial chunk of the people who live here now. But withholding medical treatment and other critical needs from people fleeing Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as Crye’s resolution appears to call for, is beyond the pale.

These are hellholes the United States made, and we’re obligated to help these refugees out. Turning our backs on them is fascism, which is exactly where Crye is heading.

“The county has determined that it will not seek or accept any state or federal tax dollars in support of Asylum Seekers and/or noncitizen migrants, and it will not utilize its taxpayer-funded reserves,” the resolutions states, before offering asylum seekers a bus ticket out of town to a county that hopefully has a soul.

Keep in mind, Kevin Crye’s six-figure income comes directly from the federal, state and local government. His Ninja Coalition scam is nothing short of a glorified baby-sitting service funded by COVID-19 relief programs designed to push up average daily attendance numbers at public schools, whether or not the kids actually learn anything.

That’s what happens if it’s me opening the Schrödinger’s County box.

I’m still hanging with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Chaos it is.

Meanwhile, Crye continues his domination of impressionable county workers, using the county public relations officer as his own personal mouthpiece. The poor flak was forced to spread Crye’s false claim that his resolution to eliminate new development impact fees in the highly flammable unincorporated wildland/urban interfaces of the county is somehow related to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision involving one man, a house and impact fees.

Supervisor Kevin Crye requested Shasta County’s information officer send out this press release to tout Shasta County’s impact fees decision.

I guess that’s better than being fired.

According to my DNA profile, I’m as white as a god damned ghost from the Isle of Man and Dresden. So I reached out to someone with slightly more connections to South America than me, local restaurateur, bull breeder and former rabble rouser Carlos Zapata.

Zapata’s family immigrated from Peru; he’s a second-generation immigrant, or more appropriately, an American. I asked him his thoughts on this dichotomy in relation to Resolution 3, as it’s labeled in the agenda. Here’s his response, lightly edited by moi:

“As the son of immigrants, I have always strived toward applying common sense to my views on immigration. As Americans, we have an obligation to lean toward compassion for our fellow humans, and to find the most effective and efficient methods of offering the American Dream to those who seek it, legally.

“At this moment, if I am to apply my most common sense to the situation, I would ask that our federal government address the very serious border crisis and take a much-needed pause in immigration in order to take the best look at each individual coming into the country.

“We must assess our own resources and only offer what we are able to at the least cost to the already overburdened American. If our county has made the assessment and determined that our resources are insufficient at this time, then we must turn away good seekers to counties where they can be better assimilated in their journey toward becoming an American.

“We can only give what we are able to and this is a foundational principle that we can and should apply when dealing with resources and people.

I don’t think this is an issue of race, culture, or prejudice. I believe it’s simply a matter of resources and security. Unfortunately, the left has always made the immigration issue one of race and prejudice, when in fact it is about taking care of those that are here adequately while maximizing quality of life for all Americans.”

Well done sir! With a touch of empathy!

On short notice I reached out to multiple local sources from across the political spectrum, which is always a recipe for polarization. To wit: Besides Zapata, only well-known local progressive activist Christian Gardenier answered my call. Here’s his take.

“Google what services immigrants and asylum seekers can receive in California,” said Gardenier, a longtime local mental health therapist. “It is my understanding that if you deny anybody that’s eligible for social services under California law you risk trouble with the state which can include clawbacks.”

Lawsuits and losing money, a familiar theme with Los Tres Pendejos. Touché!

“Usually there is a reference that County Counsel has looked at a resolution,” Gardenier added. “I did not see that in this case. My conclusion is legal counsel might not have been able to give a response because of legal problems with the resolution itself.”

There’s an acronym for this anyone who’s ever served in the military knows very well.

SNAFU. Situation normal, all fucked up.

Smells like chaos to me.


R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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