The wave of voter anger that swept brash-talking Donald Trump into the White House on Tuesday apparently splashed into Redding as well as voters issued a resounding “no” to a proposed half-cent sales tax that was intended to improve public safety.
In the Redding City Council race, Julie Winter and Adam McElvain captured the two available seats, besting Lea Tate and incumbent Gary Cadd.
A larger-than-expected voter turnout had Shasta County elections officials and volunteers working late into the night. Updated results should be available here.
With all 56 precincts reporting in, Winter was the top vote-getter with 12,637 (30.7 percent), followed by McElvain at 10,751 (25.7 percent). Lea Tate was in third with 9,431 votes (23 percent) and incumbent Gary Cadd trailed with 8,379 votes (20.4 percent).
Measure D, the “Safe Streets Now” sales tax hike, went down to a 63-37 defeat with 16,052 no votes and 9,536 yes. Measure E, the companion nonbinding advisory measure calling for all Measure D proceeds to be spent on police, firefighter, more jail space and mental health services, was approved with a 65-35 margin.
Measure D would have generated an estimated $11 million a year during its 10-year lifespan, with the money earmarked for additional police officers, firefighters, jail space and mental health services.
Opponents cited the nonbinding nature of the advisory Measure E and noted the City Council would be free to spend the extra revenue on unfunded pensions and other programs.
“I’m disappointed,” said Rocky Slaughter, a Redding-based marketing consultant who led the campaign for Measures D and E. He noted half-cent sales tax increase was backed by the Redding Chamber of Commerce yet appeared to suffer from a lack of awareness.
“It’s a wakeup call for the community,” Slaughter said. “Everybody wants to do something about public safety, but people didn’t make the connection” about the need for more law enforcement and Measure D’s ability to fund more positions.
McElvain said the measure’s failure amounted to a referendum on the council’s leadership and a sign from the community that it “expected a different style of management at City Hall. Leadership is going to have to work hard to regain that trust.”
Vice Mayor Brent Weaver, who has made improved public safety the focal point of his tenure on the council, said he was disappointed at the measure’s failure, “but at the end of the day, we live in a democracy and we have to stand back and let the voters decide. We’ll wake up tomorrow, roll up our sleeves and go to work.”
Winter said improving public safety—now a bigger challenge without the money Measure D would have generated—will be a priority when she takes a seat on the council. Safer streets, parks and trails go hand-in-hand with making Redding more attractive to job-creating investors and entrepreneurs, she said.
Both Winter and McElvain said job creation and economic development were at the top of their respective to-do lists. “I’m hopeful for the future of the city,” said Winter, adding that she wanted to forge a connection between the government, business and the workforce.
“Ultimately we need to make a bigger pie and we can do that by increasing jobs and capitalizing on our natural resources,” Winter said. McElvain said he’ll focus on programs and initiatives that will lead to the kind of high-paying jobs that attract young professionals.
In other races, McArthur resident Mary Rickert will represent District 3 on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors after defeating incumbent Pam Giacomini in a runoff. Rickert received 6,313 votes (62 percent) to Giacomini’s 3,821 votes.
In the District 4 supervisorial race, Steve Morgan edged out incumbent Bill Schappell, 5,142 votes to 4,609.