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Redding Record Searchlight
A movement to recall three Shasta County supervisors has raised about $20,000, according to a review of electronic campaign disclosure filings. But a supervisor who supports the recall says the most recent fundraising efforts hauled in double that figure.
District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones was the co-master of ceremonies for an April 10 recall fundraiser at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Anderson.
The event happened four days after recall notices were served to District 1 Supervisor Joe Chimenti, District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty and District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert at the April 6 Board of Supervisors meeting.
Recall proponents believe the three supervisors have violated the constitution by not protecting their rights in large part because they’ve followed state and local COVID-19 health guidelines.
They are critical of how Shasta County Public Health has spent money amid the pandemic and believe that more of the $22.7 million in Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act money the county has received should have gone to businesses.
Shasta County Supervisor Patrick Jones attends a special meeting Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, inside the board chambers while other supervisors attended virtually. (Photo: Mike Chapman/Record Searchlight)
The county has used the CARES Act money to pay for its emergency response to COVID-19 and to ease the adverse effects of the pandemic on the county’s most vulnerable populations and businesses. The money also is used for mental health expenses. To date, $4 million in COVID relief grants have gone to businesses.
Jones said about 150 people attended the fundraiser and approximately $40,000 was raised through ticket sales, a raffle, auction and personal checks. Tickets were $40 apiece. Dill’s Deli, whose owner has contributed $1,000 to the recall, catered the event.
Another fundraiser is planned for May.
“I see this as an opportunity to change the makeup of this board, but I didn’t start it. I like what’s happening, but this group did this on their own,” said Jones, who also will emcee the next fundraiser.
Meanwhile, the Shasta General Purpose Committee established in January in support of the recall as of Friday had received $19,100 from 13 separate contributors, according to Shasta County election fundraising records. All but $4,000 in contributions were recorded on April 10, the night of the fundraiser in Anderson.
The Shasta County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding on April 20,2021. (Photo: Mike Chapman/Record Searchlight)
Here are the donations to the Shasta General Purpose Committee:
- Ralph Barkley, retired, $3,200
- Edgar Schanuth, retired, $2,350
- Little Doek’s Custom Backhoe, $2,100
- Rachel Harpham, retired, $1,550
- Kimberly Pullen, retired, $1,475
- John Langum, retired, $1,225
- David Johnston, salesman, $1,200
- Rod York, $1,000
- Chad Phillips, real estate broker, $1,000
- Ray Eliante, retired, $1,000
- Bruce Anderson, Northern Valley Investments, $1,000
- Dill’s Deli-Michael Dill, $1,000
- P.E.C.A.N., $1,000.
Elissa McEuen reads a statement to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors of the intent to recall three members: Leonard Moty, Mary Rickert and Joe Chimenti. (Photo: Damon Arthur/Record Searchlight)
Shasta County recall organizers will not pay signature gatherers
Supporters will not say at this point how they plan to spend the money.
Elissa McEuen is leading the recall effort. A Millville resident, McEuen used a bullhorn to protest a May 2020 supervisors meeting, urging the board to ease restrictions on businesses and public gatherings.
McEuen said they are “actively” seeking people to run for the three seats should the supervisors be recalled.
She referred further questions to Janet Chandler, whom she called Recall Shasta’s public information officer.
Chandler said they don’t anticipate paying somebody to collect signatures.
“Our plan is to have local people involved. It does not involve payment of any outside agency to collect signatures,” she said Thursday.
Janet Chandler (Photo: Andreas Fuhrmann)
Ironically, Chandler supported Rickert in 2016 when she ran against and beat incumbent Pam Giacomini. Chandler lost in the primary, then endorsed Rickert in the November runoff.
But she said Rickert has let her down because she has not followed the constitution. Emphasizing that she is speaking for herself, she said it’s not Rickert’s job to protect her health and safety.
“It is her duty to protect my rights,” said Chandler, who also has been involved in the local tea party and State of Jefferson movements.
Chandler said she will not seek Rickert’s seat in the event she is recalled.
The worst months of the pandemic in Shasta county
Jones won the District 4 seat in November and was seated on Jan. 5. In mid-December, about a month after the election, supervisors passed a resolution to hold virtual meetings because of concerns over spreading COVID-19
It came around the time that COVID-related hospitalizations in the county, which was in the purple tier, were at their highest point since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Public health would report the deaths of 31 residents from the contagious respiratory illness in December and 64 in January, more than double any other month.
Jones maintains the resolution was passed to keep him out of the chambers, and specifically calls out Moty. Meanwhile, Jones and District 5 Supervisor Les Baugh defied the order and opened the chambers to the public on Jan. 5. They were later censured for their actions.
Asked if he has any proof, Jones said, “I guarantee it. They did it and I know Leonard Moty. I’ve been around … and I know Leonard and I know exactly what he did, and so if he wants to play that kind of nonsense, bring it on.”
Moty declined to comment.
Both Chimenti and Rickert refute Jones’ allegation.
“I just know myself, personally, we were a hot spot in the administration building. We were in the purple tier. That was what my position was based on,” Rickert said.
Chimenti, who with Baugh voted against the resolution last December, said he had a plan to re-open the chambers after he became chairman in January.
“We had a severe spike in cases but the numbers were starting to come down,” Chimenti said. “My plan was at the first meeting (Jan. 5) to put it on the agenda and by the second meeting to open the chambers.
Tim Saunders of Redding hands Shasta County Supervisor Joe Chimenti a notice of intent to recall him from office Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at the supervisors meeting. The other two supervisors in the recall effort are Leonard Moty and Mary Rickert. (Photo: Damon Arthur/Record Searchlight)
“I got sideswiped by Patrick and Les that I didn’t appreciate, but nevertheless we got it open and we are moving forward.”
‘A distraction and it comes at a very unfortunate time’
The three targeted supervisors said the attempted recall has been a distraction, but they are determined to keep working collectively as a board.
“Our board of supervisors is working together every day to move our county forward,” Moty said. “Anything that gets in the way of supporting our local businesses, public safety and prepping for fire season is a disruption and not my focus.”
Rickert said Jones “is going to do what he’s going to do” but she has to keep working for residents in her district.
“This is what I was elected to do and I’m trying to do the very best for everyone,” she said.
Shasta County Supervisors Mary Rickert, left, and Leonard Moty attend a Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting behind plexiglass as a COVID-19 precaution on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Photo: Mike Chapman/Record Searchlight)
Chimenti agreed that Jones has the right to do what he thinks is right, but he will work with Jones on county business “because he’s a fellow board member.”
“We are trying to minimize the impact. Personally, I look at it as a distraction and it comes at a very unfortunate time: we had the Carr Fire, snow-mageddon (February 2019 snowstorm) and now a worldwide pandemic,” Chimenti said. “We are working diligently to bring the community together.”
David Benda covers business, development and anything else that comes up for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He’s part of a team of dedicated reporters that investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.
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