In Shasta County, moderate Republicans and union organizers push back on ‘far-right extremism’

Moderate Republicans involved in ending honest elections?  It is the issue of honest elections that has caused Bat Area radicals to try to cause a Recall.  The Supervisor targeted, Kevin Crye, supports honest elections.  The so-called moderates and unions, financed by radical oppose honest elections, they prefer machine generated results, accurate, auditable, or not.

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“The board has five members, but there was really only one Duckett wanted to address — Kevin Crye, the target of a recall campaign launched by residents angry and embarrassed over what they think is an extreme far-right turn their county has taken.

Yup, honesty in government is right wing extremism.  How pitiful that radicals are so open to corruption and the media makes honesty a bad trait.

In Shasta County, moderate Republicans and union organizers push back on ‘far-right extremism’

Jenavieve Hatch, Yahoo, Sacramento Bee,  5/19/23

Dawn Duckett sat in the Shasta County Board of Supervisors chamber for more than three hours Tuesday night before she got a chance to speak.

The board has five members, but there was really only one Duckett wanted to address — Kevin Crye, the target of a recall campaign launched by residents angry and embarrassed over what they think is an extreme far-right turn their county has taken.

It was 9 p.m. when she reached the microphone.

“It’s a little past my bedtime,” said Duckett, who worked for the county for 22 years. She explained that she was also there for her husband, John, who couldn’t attend.

“We’re both Republicans, we’re both conservative, and we both support the recall,” she told them.

”We are the silent majority, we’re hard working, we’re law abiding, we’re fiscally conservative, and we are outraged. Outraged. We want our county back.”

Crye, owner of the local Ninja Coalition gym who also runs several summer camps and team sports, was elected to the board last November. He was the decisive vote in the board’s 3-2 decision in January to scrap the county’s contract with Dominion Voting Systems, infamously accused by Trump supporters of flipping votes and having links to Venezuela. The company recently won a $787 million defamation award from Fox News for spreading the lies.

County fiscal analysts say the replacement, a time-consuming manual ballot tally, will cost about $4 million.

In an interview with The Bee, Crye bristled at being labeled “far-right” or “extreme.” He also said “those predictions have 1,000% been overestimated.”

“The recall committee is painting me out to be something that’s entirely not me,” he said, countering with the Kramer poster on his office door. He still cries when he watches “The Notebook” or “The Shawshank Redemption.” While training for triathlons in college, he started to shave his legs — a practice he continues to this day.

“How many far-right militia extremist men shave their legs at 46?”

His critics are less concerned with his office setup and personal grooming habits than they are with his voting record and political allies.

One is Mike Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, who is being sued by Dominion for $1.3 billion. Lindell offered to financially support the county’s pivot to a hand-count system after meeting in-person with Crye earlier this year. The supervisor said reaching out to Lindell “was a hail Mary attempt to try and reach somebody” for information on voting security and fraud. Crye said he reached out to “so many people, so many legislators, senators, congressmen, other boards of supervisors.” Lindell was just the person who responded.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” Crye said, when asked if he thought the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. “This is why I think it’s important for the regular Joes and Jills to get involved (in local politics) and ask questions.”

“If I can’t see, touch, hear, taste, or smell it, then I don’t believe it.”

Crye’s vote to cancel the Dominion contract and meet with Lindell “opened a lot of eyes,” said Jeff Gorder, the recall committee spokesman, who worked for decades as a county public defender before retiring in 2018. “He never campaigned on that at all … that was a red flag right there.” In the months since, he says, more red flags popped up.

Crye supported Chriss Street’s appointment to be the county’s CEO despite his ties to the New California movement, which wants to separate the rural north from the liberal coastal cities to form the 51st state.

“I didn’t know anything about that,” Crye told The Bee. He said he largely supported Street because of his experience in the public and private sector. (Street is a Southern California entrepreneur who also served as the treasurer of Orange County.)

When word of Street’s appointment made its way through the community, residents, including Gorder, urged the board to look into Street’s background. The offer was rescinded after he failed his background check, although it isn’t known what exactly compelled the board to back away.

Another red flag, the recall committee says, was Crye’s abstention on a Second Amendment measure from Jones. In an effort to undermine state gun regulations, Jones proposed a resolution that would allow the Board of Supervisors the final say on firearms. The county’s legal counsel warned that board would likely would be sued if it attempted this.

Moderate conservatives are mortified by what they see as thoughtless spending of taxpayer dollars and increasingly extremist views. Many feel they’re being unfairly depicted in statewide and national coverage of California’s “far-right” North State. Shasta Democrats have long battled uphill in the state’s most conservative county, where Trump won in 2020 by 66%. But a group of voters across the political spectrum are united by the belief that Kevin Crye misrepresents the needs and wants of his county.

Duckett has lived in Shasta a long time, and her husband has deep roots in the region. He retired as City Manager for the City of Shasta Lake in 2021. Both of his grandfathers worked on the Shasta Dam.

“We know what being a fiscal conservative is, and we’re pretty sure that they’re not,” Duckett told The Bee a few hours before she got to speak. “They’re throwing around these terms that sound good, like ‘I’m a fiscal conservative!’ And they’re not following through with it. I’m not quite sure what the agenda is here. Is it to bankrupt the county? Because that’s what it looks like.”

Another recall supporter, David Halligan, told Crye that, as a voter for 49 years, he has “never been involved in a campaign” and never thought it would be with a recall movement.

“All of you were elected with these Dominion machines, were you not? Were you not, Mr. Crye? Was it a free and fair election with the Dominion machines for you?”

Crye maintains that he’s “very fiscally conservative,” and that despite some vocal right-of-center voices, the recall movement is just an attempt to replace him with a leftist Democrat.

The moderates behind the recall

Politics in Shasta County grew more extreme in reaction to public health restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crye himself was motivated by the shutdowns to become active; his son was in elementary school at the time, and Crye said they’re still struggling with the consequences of pandemic isolation.

But until November, the Board of Supervisors had maintained a 3-2 majority in favor of “rational Republicans on the board holding the line against the tide of really extreme thinking,” said Gorder.

There were concerns about Crye, who Gorder said “portrayed himself as more moderate” during his campaign, almost immediately upon his election.

He has largely fallen in line with the two members of the Board who veer further right: Patrick Jones and Chris Kelstrom. The other two supervisors, Mary Rickert and Tim Garman, are more moderate.

By late March, the movement to recall Crye came together. The county clerk approved the language of the recall petition on Monday. On Tuesday, the committee held its first signing event outside county offices in downtown Redding. It will need to collect 4,151 valid signatures from District 1 voters in 120 days to get the recall on the ballot by the county’s next election this coming November 7. If the recall is successful, another election could take place in March, where voters will decide on Crye’s replacement.

Gorder and Tim Hill, the committee’s chairman, hope the movement will appeal to “silent majority” voters like Duckett — fiscal conservatives who don’t want to see the county dragged into extremes. Seeing Shasta make national news as a “hotbed of far-right extremism” feels concerning to Gorder, who doesn’t think it’s an accurate assessment.

“There are some with power, obviously, that are trying to make Shasta a model for extreme views throughout the country,” he said.

“They see themselves in that way, in wanting to push Shasta in the direction of being the vanguard of this far-right movement. If Shasta moves to this (hand count) voting system, it’s a model for everyone else. There is that effort going on, but I do believe that it’s a minority view. We are unfairly targeted along with that. I understand we’re Republican and conservative, but I don’t think we’re crazy.”

Hill was a lifelong Republican until he switched to No Party Preference a few years ago. His father worked in the Reagan Administration and was the Chairman of the Republican party of Marin County.

Politics are “in my blood,” he said, at the signing event Tuesday. He called the board takeover “extremely alarming.”

“This is not normal,” he said. “They canceled Dominion based on lies and falsehoods … This is not conservative. This is crazy. This is extremism.”

Crye: ‘Stop Newsom’ from meddling in Shasta politics

“Do you want to see liberal Democrats who are upset they lost, recall an elected Supervisor?” the Shasta County GOP asked its followers in a Facebook post. “Obviously, Sacramento Democrats are unwilling and unable to vote for the best solutions in rural California communities,” they wrote in another.

Tickets to a Thursday night “No On Crye Recall” event asked supporters, “How do you feel about Governor Newsom selecting your next supervisor?”

The Governor does have the authority to appoint a replacement on the Board of Supervisors before the county formally elects one. But even if the appointed replacement was an “extreme leftist” like Crye says it would be, that person would have little influence in such a red county.

“They’re running on the bogeyman Newsom that’s going to appoint,” Gorder said. “It’s really not the reality at all. Certainly, we haven’t had any communication with Gov. Newsom about this.”

“We’re fine if a moderate, true conservative Republican would take the place of Mr. Crye,” he said. “We know we’re a Republican and conservative county. We don’t have any interest in trying to promote an extremely liberal Democrat.”

Union workers support the recall

Lost in the fog of culture wars over Venezuelan voting machines and a 51st state is a fomenting labor movement. Members of the United Public Employees of California have been on strike since May 2, protesting increasing costs of health care benefits and low pay.

Local 792’s 850 members, who administer crucial services like Cal Fresh, MediCal, and foster care, are among the lowest paid public employees in the state. They see their livelihood as collateral in the board’s Dominion drama, as evidenced by the $4 million it may pay for the hand counting system. They walked out when the Board of Supervisors failed to make what they considered a reasonable salary offer.

Crye, Jones, and Kelstrom “claim that they couldn’t provide more than a two-and-a-half percent raise to the hardworking UPEC members, and yet they’re willing without the bat of an eye to throw away $4 million on a harebrained hand-count scheme promoted by a pillow salesman,” said Gorder.

Catreena Johnson is a Redding resident and lead worker at the call center that handles CalWorks, CalFresh and MediCal recipients and helps applicants get access to those programs. She and dozens of other UPEC members have spoken at board meetings about the county’s failures to meet the needs of workers and the residents who rely on county services.

Over the last three years, UPEC workers have struggled to make ends meet as their health care premiums continue to go up. Raises offered by the county — their most recent offer was 2.5% cost-of-living adjustment — would not change what workers are taking home if the cost of health care continues to rise.

“It feels like a slap in the face,” Johnson said, about the board’s decision to spend millions on changing the voting system while, in the same breath, telling UPEC it can’t afford to pay them.

She said she “very much” supports the recall of Crye.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.


  1. Marty Ferguson says

    ‘…Bat Area…’? Definitely an apt term for the ‘BATS’ in the BAY AREA BELFRY.

    Reading about this and that stupid ‘BUS STOP FOR WOMEN’ ONLY in L.A. tells me how the two former GEMS of the WEST COAST have mutated into even larger piles of fecal matter since the Bi-DEMs stole the election. Those places are lost and no one should have any reason to visit them anymore. Just my honest opinion, of course.

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