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Shasta County Supervisor Moty may lose seat, unofficial recall tally shows

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The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Wednesday, Feb. 2. 

Unofficial voting results show Shasta County Supervisor Leonard Moty being recalled, though mail-in ballots are still being counted

Yesterday was the last day to cast ballots in the recall election to remove Shasta County District 2 Supervisor Leonard Moty. The unofficial results reported by the Shasta County Registrar of Voters Office show Moty being recalled as supervisor.

The Redding Record Searchlight reports there are still ballots to be counted and final results won’t be tabulated for several more days. As of this morning, nearly 7,000 votes have been counted with 52.78% of voters in favor of recalling Moty. Supervisorial candidate Dale Ball is leading the race as Moty’s replacement.

Moty, who describes himself as a Reagan Republican, said yesterday he was apprehensive about the outcome of the election but appreciated the support he’d received from people who were alarmed by the tenor of the recall.

“It certainly has taken a toll on me and my family, even my extended family has felt the impact of this,” he said. “My makeup is such that I don’t quit in the middle of something. I see it through.”

The county elections department reports there are just under 22,000 registered voters eligible for this election.

— Ken Devol and Adia White, NSPR

More on the election: Shasta County voters share their thoughts

Supervisor Moty was initially criticized for upholding state mask and COVID-19 mandates, but some voters said they had other concerns.

“I just feel that he's a roadblock for the county to be able to move forward, both as a community and the things that we're going to need to do going forward,” said resident Ben Swim, who voted to recall Moty on Tuesday.

Other voters, like Sylvia Link, opposed the election.

“I believe it's a waste of taxpayer money,” Link said. “And when the people have spoken and the people have elected someone … they should serve their entire term.”

As they cast their ballots, multiple voters referenced the tense political climate surrounding the recall election.

Alec Stutson, NSPR

Interview: Shasta County Registrar of Voters discusses challenges of contentious recall election

Tuesday’s election to recall Moty has been fraught with tension, with proponents claiming he should have done more to push back against COVID-19 restrictions implemented to protect public health.

Despite the growing divide and mistrust of public officials in many departments, Shasta County Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen is working to ensure a fair and free election. NSPR’s Adia White spoke with her about the challenges. Read the full story.

Adia White, NSPR

Yuba City changes how it elects City Council members

The Yuba City City Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday establishing district-based elections for city councilors.

The move does away with the previous at-large system where city voters could vote for all members of the City Council.

City Attorney Shannon Chaffin addressed an accusation from the public that the six-month process lacked transparency. He said five public hearings were held and tools were provided for the public to submit district maps.

“Whether or not we have met transparency requirements – that’s up to the individual to decide,” Chaffin said. “But from a legal perspective, we have met all the requirements of the California Voting Rights Act.”

Yuba City joins other cities that have moved to district-based elections in recent years. In some cases, the transitions have followed threats of lawsuits under the California Voting Rights Act.

Yuba City officials reported last year they received a letter from an attorney claiming the city’s at-large election system diluted the ability of Latinos and other minorities to elect candidates of their choice.

City voters will start electing City Council members by district in November.

— Andre Byik, NSPR

PG&E says its rate hike is largely driven by escalating natural gas prices and infrastructure improvements

Pacific Gas and Electric customers began to see higher utility bills last month; over 9% higher for the average customer. Company spokesman Paul Moreno said the utility has received a lot of complaints from customers, but the rate hike was due to factors outside of the company’s control.

“Across the country, and in parts of the world, natural gas prices have risen dramatically in the past year," he said. “Production was down considerably during the pandemic. What that means is gas prices are about 90% higher for our customers than they were a year ago.”

Moreno said rates are also increasing to pay for the utility’s improvements to its infrastructure to reduce wildfire hazards.

— Ken Devol, NSPR

In other news

  • California snowpack dwindles after a dry January: "California’s second snow survey of the season arrived on the heels of one of the state’s driest Januarys on record, and officials are warning that a third dry year is possible unless more rain and snow arrive soon." — Los Angeles Times

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Sarah is an award-winning reporter, producer and editor. She’s worked at North State Public Radio for six years and was previously the station’s News Director before leaving to study at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
A graduate of California State University, Chico, Andre Byik is an award-winning journalist who has reported in Northern California since 2012. He joined North State Public Radio in 2020, following roles at the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico News & Review.
Angel Huracha has been a part of the journalism field since 2006 and has covered a range of topics. He is a graduate of Chico State with a Bachelor's degree in news-editorial and public relations with a minor in English.
Adia White is a broadcast journalist and producer with nearly 10 years of experience. Her work has appeared on WNYC, This American Life, Capital Public Radio and other local and national programs. She started at North State Public Radio as a freelance reporter in 2017 before leaving for a stint at Northern California Public Media in Santa Rosa.