Were Kamala Harris and Gavin Newsom trespassing when they viewed a burned out home during a campaign stop yesterday in Auberry?

The son of the owners says so, and does not appreciate his family’s misfortune being turned into a political prop.

As California senator and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom toured Creek Fire damage yesterday, they visited the remains of a home across the street from Pine Ridge Elementary School in Auberry.

In a Facebook message posted later that evening, Trampas Patten criticized Harris and Newsom, accusing them of using his family’s tragedy for political gain.

“What has me really frustrated right now is the fact that these two politicians used my parents loss for a photo opportunity to push their political agenda! Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!” Patten wrote.

The home on Auberry Road is still under an evacuation order as of Wednesday.

Neither the Biden/Harris campaign nor Newsom’s office replied to requests for comment.

Harris, Newsom Blame Climate Change

During remarks to the press pool, both Harris and Newsom blamed climate change for the devastating effects of California wildfires.

Harris called the climate a “public health crisis.”

“Sadly, these wildfires and the devastation they cause are utterly predictable,” Harris said. “Especially in residential areas, and you’ll see where the fire has just swept through. Everything is gone except the chimney… Those chimneys remind me of tombstones,” Harris said.

All that was remaining from the Patten home was a chimney and a truck parked in what was the driveway.

“The hots are getting hotter. The dries are getting dryer. Climate change is real. If you don’t believe in science, come to California and observe with your own eyes and not be in denial about this reality,” Newsom said.

Newsom praised Harris for her leadership in efforts to “decarbonize the economy.”

Harris called for more investment in solar panels and wind turbines.

Permission Not Granted

Patten wrote that Harris and Newsom visited the property without permission.

“For the record, my parents haven’t even been let back in yet themselves, to sort through what is left of their lives, but these two felt the need to go traipsing around my parents property without permission. I guess those property taxes my parents pay allow politicians to do this! Private property doesn’t exist in California anymore!” Patten wrote.

A Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said the exact letter of the law isn’t clear.

Voting records show that Patten and his mother, Bonnie Patten, are registered Republicans.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris tour a burned home in Auberry. (GV Wire/David Taub)

11 Responses

  1. bethany

    This states Politicians think they can do as they please. They are not and should not EVER be above the law. To use this family’s home as their backdrop is sickening. It wasnt “climate change” it was the refusal of proper wilderness maintenance. This States leadership is trash

    • Ashley Hutchings

      You might be interested to know that in California about 60% of the forests are publicly owned by the National Park Service and USDA Forest Service – that means it’s under control of Federal Government, not State.
      The remaining 40% is privately owned except for about 2% which is owned by the State of California.

      Unless these fires are burning in only 2% of the forests owned by State, then, the main responsibility for maintenance must be laid at the feet of Federal Government.

    • D T

      1. As BS as the “wilderness maintenance” is, the bulk of wilderness in the state is under Federal purview. Meaning that Trump’s administration is responsible for that “maintenance”.

      2. They’re as “above the law” as, well, the law, and other agencies that are allowed such access. You don’t complain firefighters are on a property without explicit written permission. A Governor and Senator are public servants, and in official capacity have similar access as other agencies of emergency responders.

      A Representative of the state *not* surveying natural disaster damage would be a serious rejection of representation.

  2. Jane

    Yes they traspassed. Doesn’t matter if the owners are Republican or Democrats. What a way to see your property for the first time after a fire. Shameful.

  3. Jesse LeMaster

    Was is really necessary for you to end the article with what political party they are associated with? In what way does that have anything to do with what happened?

  4. Karen Curtis

    Politicians across the country routinely tour disaster sites to assess damage firsthand, speak to first responders, and meet with displaced and injured people. Newsom and Harris were elected to represent California and I would be dismayed if they did not visit the region in the aftermath of the Creek Fire. The visit was not a campaign stop; it’s important to keep the event in perspective.

    • Gayle Strope

      They weren’t there to meet with displaced people…it was a photo OP. If they cared about anything or anyone, they would have contacted the property owners and at least asked permission to show their property, if they wanted anything they found, and at the very least, if they needed anything. To see your home destroyed is devastating when you do it privately with family, but to see it on social media is disgusting I don’t care WHAT political party you belong to.

  5. Ashley Hutchings

    Until I read Trampas Patten’s post and comment, I had no idea who owned the property. But he did say “For the friends of mine that don’t recognize the fireplace in the background, that is what is left of my parents house! ”
    Now, apparently, his friends, the world and his wife now do know.
    Does his attempt to enlighten us all make a difference to the way I feel about the devastation left by the fire? ummmm… nope. I’m not a heartless person, but setting Trampas aside I cannot help but wonder what his parents – the owners – feel about it.
    If Trampas himself did not live there, does he have the right to identify the property as his parents’, and to complain about two people who are public figures visiting the site and commenting upon it?
    Is it, in reality, what he claims it is? Using a fireplace as primary identification seems a little thin… just as it seems a little thin to see two people standing in a driveway and imply that they strolled through the remains of the property to see what was left.
    Does his admitted partisanship (climate change denier, etc), and the political leanings of Harris and/or Newsom have any bearing on his comments? I’ll let you decide if his outrage is righteous or indignantly tinged with a little agenda.


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