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Board Majority Retaliates Against Recall Crye Supporter; Removes Her From Public Health Advisory Board

Charlie and Judy Menoher.

Judith Menoher, a 77-year-old retired educator and highly respected lifelong community volunteer, became the latest casualty of District 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye’s grudge-fueled mean streak, assisted by District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones during Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting.

“There was one name on this that did give me some pause, and that’s Judith Menoher,” Jones said when the board got to agenda item C6: Reappoint the following general members to the Public Health Advisory Board for three-year terms to expire March 31, 2027: (1) Laura Baynard; (2) Kay Kobe; (3) Mike Mangas; (4) Judith Menoher; and (5) Jennifer Snider.

Originally, C6 was listed with other items on the Consent Calendar, all expected to be routine and non-controversial. But Crye and Jones abruptly removed C6 from the Consent Calendar. It eventually became the last item addressed before the board meeting adjourned. By then the board chambers were nearly empty, leaving few witnesses to observe the board majority’s blatant retaliation against a citizen who’d supported the Kevin Crye recall efforts.

Supervisors Jones and Crye took turns verbally demonizing and slandering Menoher and her husband Charlie for their involvement in the Recall Kevin Crye campaign, which failed in the March 5, 2024 primary election by just 50 votes.

Before the C6 vote, District 3 Supervisor Rickert pushed back and directed a question to county counsel Joseph Larmour, Crye’s hand-picked county counsel selection, whom Crye has boasted that he’d “poached” from Yuba County.

County Counsel Joseph Larmour looks across the board chambers as CEO David Rickert reads. Photo by Doni Chamberlain for A News Cafe.

“Is that appropriate?” Rickert asked. “Doesn’t a person have a right to free speech and their political views, and that they shouldn’t be punished for that?”

Larmour responded yes, people have the right to free speech and political views, but the discretion of a county board appointment is left up to the board.

Rickert said she was bothered by the vote to remove Menoher from the Public Health Advisory Board. She speculated whether the vote to remove Menoher from her volunteer county board position because of her political views could put the county at risk for potential discrimination liability.

“Judith Menoher is a dedicated volunteer in this community with a lifelong commitment to Shasta County,” Rickert said.

“I find it reprehensible that as a vendetta you’re going to dismiss her from a board that she’s put many years into. And she’s one of the more qualified people to be in this position. I am just appalled. And I’m so sorry that our county has come to this. It’s nothing but about personal vendettas.”

Rickert made a motion to accept the agenda item as is, which would leave Menoher’s name, among the other proposed reappointments, intact. Supervisor Garman seconded that motion. But before the motion could progress any further, Jones and Crye took another stab at their justifications for dumping Menoher from the Public Health Advisory Board, and made a motion to exclude Menoher from the other four reappointments.

“I, too, have a long history in this county with a lot of years of dedication and volunteering,” Jones claimed. “So I’m not just going to simply give my vote away. … They spent lots of money and they spread misinformation, and so I’m having trust issues with her. I’m not feeling comfortable about her on a board where I don’t approve her behavior from earlier.”

Then Crye perused aloud the list of other board members, naming which ones he liked and knew personally, including KRCR anchor Mike Mangas.

“This Judith Menoher person, I’ve had probably four interactions with, none of them positive, all filled with lies,” Crye said. ”

No telling if it was intentional, but Jones’ first pronunciation of “Judith” was “Judas”.

With that, the power-drunk board-majority voted against what would have been — during civilized times led by rational supervisors — a noncontroversial, nonpartisan customary consent-calendar approval of Judith Menoher’s routine reappointment to the Shasta County Public Health Advisory Board. Menoher has been with that board since 2018.

Supervisors Rickert and Garman were the minority votes. Once again, they were powerless to stop the runaway train of an ego-powered dumpster-fire of county destruction powered by MAGA board majority members Crye, Jones and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom.

Donnell Ewert, former Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency Director, worked for the county for more than 20 years before he stepped down in 2022 in the midst of the county’s accelerating political unrest. He said he was deeply troubled by the news of how and why Crye, Jones and Kelstrom had voted against Menoher’s reappointment.

Ewert, who’d worked closely with Menoher for many years, has the utmost respect for her, not just as a board member, but a person.

Judith Menoher.

“Judy Menoher faithfully served as a volunteer and sometimes chair of that board. She attended meetings, and she was a member in good standing,” Ewert said.

“In all my years with the county I’ve never seen someone who wanted to continue serving not be reappointed.”

Leave it to Chair Crye and his fellow alt-right board-majority comrades – Jones and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom –  to commit unprecedented acts of politically charged retaliation and cruelty to punish any citizens, staff and even county volunteers the MAGA board majority perceives as enemies.

In their book, an “enemy” is anyone who disagrees with them.

For the record, Jones lied when he claimed the Menohers said they wanted control of the board. And according to Judy Menoher, Crye lied about the alleged exchange in the parking garage.

“That did not happen,” she said in a recent phone call.

Meet the Menohers

Of all the Shasta County couples for Crye to attack, Charlie and Judy Menoher are among Crye’s worst choices ever.  They are valued, beloved community members. Both retired from long, distinguished careers in education, including Charlie’s time as Shasta County’s Superintendent of Schools. Over their decades in Shasta County, they have served on countless boards, from hospitals to non-profit organizations, and donated untold hours and generous financial contributions to worthy causes, all to make their community a better place.

They are both especially dedicated to causes that benefit children and families.

To outsiders looking in, they’re an upbeat, friendly, well-adjusted couple. They enjoy life. They travel. They laugh and smile easily. Anywhere they go within Shasta County, they’re recognized and greeted warmly.

 

But behind the smiles and their impressive list of good works exists deep, painful personal wounds of loss and grief. The Menohers had two children — Tom and Holly — but eventually they lost them both. In 1973 their then-16-year-old son Tom took his own life. In 2016 they lost their remaining child, Holly, who died of of a deadly brain tumor called a glio blastoma multiforma. Holly survived for 11 months after her diagnosis.

Despite the deaths of their only children, the Menohers have kept living, kept working, and most of all, they’ve kept giving back to their community, however and whenever they could.

Evidence too damning to ignore

District 1 Supervisor Chair Kevin Crye

And in 2023, drawing from their lifetime of experience working with quality leaders, recognizing positive, superior traits of ethics and excellence in others, the Menohers saw in Supervisor Crye a dishonest man, someone woefully lacking in character, someone who seemed intent on ruining Shasta County.

They’d seen the evidence of Crye’s character, going as far back as when he was in high school and he openly cheated to win a game. They heard about his keys to entrepreneural success, which included identifying the smartest people, using them, and then taking credit for their work.

All that evidence and more inspired them to step up and join nearly 100 other volunteers who invested time, money and energy to ensure Crye’s recall.

Despite Crye’s bogus claims that his recall was led by an evil governor, supported by lawless Democrats who didn’t believe in God, country, flag, church or family, the truth was that the recallers were a mix of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Green and/or No-Party Preference voters. Despite their different political affiliations, they were united in their intent to recall Kevin Crye.

Charlie Menoher joins other Recall Kevin Crye proponents on a blustery winter day at a downtown rally. Photo by Doni Chamberlain for A News Cafe,

Why serve the community?

Judy Menoher explained the philosophy behind the Menohers’ tireless involvement and community service. She said they believe that they are not just meant to be “human beings”, but that they are meant to be humans not just “being” but “doing”. They believe that in order for society — government, social services, education, etc. — to operate successfully, it must have volunteers. They walk and work their talk. They’ve both participated in a variety of boards, and mentored many children over many years, and have been involved in countless school and sports activities during their careers as educators.

Menoher said she was originally attracted to serve on the county’s Public Health Advisory Board because of its involvement with ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), which caught her attention when the board put out a call for new members. She’d previously worked with the 21 Developmental Assets, which is similar to ACES.

Community outrage: ‘These men must be stopped!’

Following Tuesday’s supervisors meeting, news of Judy Menoher’s unfounded removal from the Public Health Advisory Board reverberated throughout social media, and resulted in messages of support for Judy Menoher, combined with outrage and disgust at the board majority in general, and Chair Crye in particular.

Here’s a sample of Facebook posts that reflect some opinions about the board majority’s baseless dismissal of Menoher.

Bev Hudson Stupek: “How AWFUL!!! BOTH Menohers have dedicated decades to community service in this important arena. Dr. Judy Menoher epitomizes INTEGRITY! How unfortunate we cannot say the same about the majority of our county’s supervisors, with their blatant partisan vengeance in what is supposed to be NON-partisan work on behalf of the people they are elected to serve.”

Judy Salter:  “Today Supervisors Crye and Jones basically called Judy Menoher a liar. I have never met a more reputable, compassionate, and intelligent woman. These men must be stopped.”

Amy Andrews: “That is so upsetting. We should be thanking citizens who are willing to serve as volunteers, not treating them poorly.”

Stasia Scarborough Pringle: “Judy Menoher is a gem, a treasure to anything she supports. And she understands the issues. This action is a step backwards from reason.”

Crye’s history of bullying blunders

Dist. 1 Supervisor/Chair Kevin Crye.

The Menohers join a growing list of people who’ve been targeted by Crye. In Crye’s 18 months as a Shasta County Supervisor he’s demonstrated a demented pattern of going after some of the community’s most stellar, highly regarded citizens. He verbally accosted one of the North State’s most popular, well-connected, politically savvy dynamos, — Judy Salter — when he called her old, and basically said she was past her prime.

Then he denied it, and all but called Salter a liar.

From the dais, Crye is known to publicly mock, insult and use sarcasm against those who criticize him, a technique that’s had a chilling effect on the average person’s willingness to comment, because citizens who aren’t accustomed to public humiliation dare not risk Crye’s wrath. It’s common for Crye to interrupt public commenters, or inject a statement as they finish their comment, but when they attempt to respond, he orders them to be quiet and sit down.

He has multiple private platforms to reach the public, and routinely makes snide comments on his radio show, or during his Coffee with Kevin time, or during his post-meeting videos about everyone from colleagues Rickert and Garman and former ROV Cathy Darling Allen, to citizens who’ve criticized him, such as Jeff Gorder, former Shasta County Public Defender, someone who delivers whip-smart public comments that often criticize the board majority, but especially Crye.

Crye has a long memory for those who’ve ever uttered a disparaging word about him, and he’s known to use his power as a board chair to enact punishments. For example, Crye removed Gorder from his previous volunteer post with the county law library, a position Gorder liked, and as as a former public defender, Gorder was the perfect fit. For Crye’s double pay-back pleasure, he not only removed Gorder from that position, but he assigned it to Supervisor Rickert, someone who’s not a lawyer, and was already bogged down with as many as three times the assignments Crye had given himself, Jones and Kelstrom.

Adding insult to injury, Crye has repeatedly lied to his followers during his Coffee With Kevin meetings, and on his radio show, and during his post-meeting videos, by saying that Supervisor Rickert requested ALL those assignments, and now she’s “complaining about them”. The fact is that Rickert had a couple of board assignments she had hoped to receive and requested, but not by any stretch of the imagination did she request 20 additional assignments.

The pattern seems to be that the more articulate, informed and fact-based the speaker who delivers negative comments about Crye, the more outraged, rude and vindictive Crye becomes. He’s especially nasty to well-educated citizens, such as the Menohers, each of whom have earned doctorate degrees.

In perhaps one of his most questionable moves of all, he’s even targeted the most powerful elected law enforcement individual in the county, District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett.

Most recently, Crye reneged on his promise to District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman to appoint Garman’s nominee to the elections commission, Nathan Pinkney. Crye said he wouldn’t vote for Pinkney because he lacked moral character.

This is an absurdly ironic pot-calling-the-kettle-black position. From the day Crye first announced his intent to run for office, up until now, his questionable behavior has earned him the reputation as one of the most shady, dishonest, self-serving Shasta County supervisors ever to be elected into office.

For a recent example of unethical behavior, when it came time to choose a Registrar of Voters/County Clerk, rather than base his decision on facts, recommendations and experience, Crye said he relied upon his “gut feeling” to choose Thomas Toller over the more qualified Assistant ROV Joanna Francescut.

When it came time to vote, Crye then strong-armed his fellow supervisors into choosing Toller, a former deputy DA with an axe to grind with regard to current DA Stephanie Bridgett. On a recent Crye radio show that featured Toller, the new ROV admitted that before the interviews, the last time he’d been in the ROV/County Clerk’s office was to apply for a passport.

And although Crye claims he’s open and transparent, when it came time to look at the supervisors’ ROV interview scoresheets, Crye concealed his work. He left boxes blank that were intended for ROV applicants’ names, leaving the public to guess which candidate received which scores. He made scribble marks over any notations he’d made during the interview.

For comparison’s sake, here are supervisors Rickert, Garman and Kelstrom’s score sheets.

Supervisor Jones did not submit any scoresheets.

It’s noteworthy that on Supervisor Kelstrom’s ROV interview scoresheet, Assistant ROV Joanna Francescut received  20 points less than Kelstrom’s top pick, Clint Curtis. That makes sense, because Curtis was Kelstrom’s (and Jones’) favorite all along. However, note that Kelstrom scored Francescut 10 points higher than Tom Toller, Crye’s pick, whom Crye ultimately tricked Kelstrom and Jones into choosing. Once again, Crye got his way.

Take that ‘base’ language and pound sand

As much as some of the most unhinged people are among Crye’s most passionate supporters, there are increasing criticisms of Crye, even from his extreme-right base, such as election-denier Laura Hobbs. She chastised Crye Tuesday for not listening to his base, and for strong-arming Jones and Kelstrom into voting for Toller, instead of her pick, Clint Curtis.

That set Crye off into a red-faced tirade in which he said he didn’t care about his base, a convenient position now, since his base helped him avoid a recall in the March 5 election, and helped him win the 2022 general election, which he won by a paltry 90 votes.

“For the record, I could care less about a base,” Crye said as Hobbs left the lectern, which caused her to stop and turn back around to respond. Crye told her to sit down.

“It’s we the people!” Hobbs shouted.

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” replied Crye dismissively.

“I get so tired of people talking about base,” Crye said. “Who freaking cares? … Take that base language and pound sand.”

Hobbs’ rebuke of Crye was followed by dedicated Crye fan Kim Moore, someone who doesn’t always demonstrate a firm grasp on reality. It’s not uncommon for her to shout insults at this reporter, as she did during Tuesday’s break, when she yelled that I’m not a real journalist, and accused me of carrying “Satan’s water”.

Considering the source, it explains why only someone like Moore could put a positive spin on Toller’s appointment as the new ROV, even though, as Moore observed, nobody else wanted Toller. Nobody. Except Crye.

Who’s lying? Supervisor Crye or Supervisor Kelstrom?

One of the most explosive moments in Tuesday’s board meeting involved the topic of whether or not Crye was or was not trying to get his hands and eyes on the recall petitions to see the names of those who wanted him recalled.

Crye’s proclivity for retaliation is precisely why it’s so important Crye never sees the thousands of names on the Recall Kevin Crye petition, documents that are considered confidential.

California Government Code 6253.5(a) stipulates that the only people who can legally view the petitions are the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Fair Political Practices Commission, a district attorney, a school or a community college attorney, or city attorney.

Crye is none of those, but according to recently revealed text messages from Supervisor Kelstrom, Crye has expressed a desire to see the names on the recall petitions, something addressed by Supervisor Garman during Tuesday’s board meeting. An angry Crye denied Garman’s accusations. He even demanded one shred of proof.

“Explain to me when,” demanded Crye. He went on to claim that others — like supervisor Jones — had wanted Crye to look at the signatures, but Kevin hadn’t wanted to see them.

“I said, ‘I could care less,’ ” Crye said, concluding with a challenge to Garman.

“I challenge and dare you to find any shred of evidence or proof or person I’ve spoken to about that,” Crye said.

Moments later, much more than a shred of evidence arrived, delivered by public speaker Benjamin Nowain, community activist and creator of the North State Breakdown. By the way, Nowain works for Shasta County as an analyst.

Shortly after Nowain’s comments that disclosed the bombshell contents of Kelstrom’s texts, frequent speaker Dolores Lucero revealed that Kelstrom had sent those texts to her last year.

One text from Kelstrom to Lucero said, “We are coming back into session now. Kevin is interested in how he goes about filing to get a look at those signatures.”

Another text from Kelstrom to Lucero said, “Kevin would like your paperwork or process on getting to see your recall signatures. You gave me a paper but I think you said to keep it confidential so I wouldn’t share anything without your permission.”

Considering Crye’s denial minutes earlier that he’d never wanted to see the recall signatures, Kelstrom’s text messages indicate one of of two things: 1. Kelstrom lied, and texted false information about Crye’s interest in seeing the recall petitions. 2. Crye lied, and he will throw Kelstrom under the bus to keep himself out of trouble.

At the moment, there’s no gauging the truth about the text messages. But what we do know is that the way Crye and Jones retaliated against Judy Menoher is indicative of how they could treat others who go against them.

Will Crye remove Mike Mangas from the Public Health Advisory Board if Mangas reports about Crye in a way Crye finds unflattering? Will Crye fire a county employee for participating in the Kevin Crye recall campaign?

Anything’s possible.

What’s known is how Judy Menoher feels about what happened Tuesday, when she was removed from a volunteer board position she loved.

She says that if anything, their actions only confirmed for her why so many people wanted Crye removed from office.

“With the appointments of Jon Knight over Donnell Ewert, Tom Toller over Joanna Franchescut, and replacing Karen Ramstrom with Dr. Mu, and other similar examples, it is obvious that the board majority is decimating county services,” Menoher said.

“Jones was a failed member of the Redding City Council, and is a failing member of the Board of Supervisors. No wonder he was defeated in the March election. It was an expected decision for them not to approve my continued service on the Public Health Advisory Board.

I have been a member of the Public Health Advisory Board since 2018. Crye, Jones, and Kelstrom have proven that their goal is to be a national model on how to weaken and destroy our county government and the services they provide.”

Judy Menoher still has a difficult time believing that her political participation led to retaliation and eventual removal from the Public Health Advisory Board. Even so, she hasn’t given up hope that perhaps one day, the board composition will shift, and she can return to the board again, and resume her work there.

“Being on the board really made me aware of the true breadth of activities this department provides,” Menoher said. “I was the chair for two different years during my tenure, and was on the PHAB for six years. I hope I might be able to participate again in the future.”

Meanwhile, Supervisor Mary Rickert — someone who’s been on the receiving end of Crye’s sarcasm, misogyny, vindictive retaliation and bullying — had strong words about Tuesday’s incident involving Judy Menoher.

“I was absolutely stunned that Judy Menoher was removed by the board majority from the the Public Health Advisory Board. Their reason for removal — because she had donated and worked on the recall campaign — seemed extremely petty and punitive,” Rickert said.

“It will be difficult trying to attract qualified candidates to fill county board positions moving forward. The citizens of Shasta County will suffer from this kind of decision.”

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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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