City, County Leaders Stress the Positive at Redding Merchants Crime Watch Meeting; Loss of 64-bed Jail is Lone Negative

There was a lot of talk about the glass being half full on Tuesday when the Redding Merchants Crime Watch met for the first time since Redding voters in November defeated Measure D, a proposed half-cent sales tax hike that would have paid for more cops, firefighters, jail cells, mental health services and treatment for drug and alcohol addicts.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t pass D, but that’s OK,” said Ed Rullman, the hotelier who founded the crime watch group six years ago. The question now, he said, is “where do we go from here?”

Ed Rullman.

Ed Rullman. Photos by Jon Lewis.

To help answer that question, Rullman invited to the meeting Redding Mayor Brent Weaver, Redding City Manager Kurt Starman, Shasta County Supervisor (and former Redding police chief) Leonard Moty and Shasta County Executive Officer Larry Lees.

Larry Lees, left, Kurt Starman, Brent Weaver and Leonard Moty.

Larry Lees, left, Kurt Starman, Brent Weaver and Leonard Moty.

A lot of the same obstacles remain, including a still-recovering economy and new laws that shift more of the public safety burden from the state to the county, “and now we need to find a way to get around those without the extra money or the extra manpower,” Rullman said.

A new obstacle emerged last week when the Board of Supervisors voted to cancel construction of the 64-bed Adult Rehabilitation Center. On Tuesday, Moty said he still supports the medium-security jail, but that in good conscience, he and his fellow board members could not sign off on a project the county simply can’t afford.

Leonard Moty.

Leonard Moty.

Four years ago, Moty said supervisors were looking at a $22.5 million jail, with Shasta County responsible for $2.5 million of that total. Operating costs were projected to be $2.1 million a year.

Not only did the projected operating costs increase to a whopping $3.95 million a year, Moty said supervisors learned only a month ago that the county would be on the hook for $1.1 million in equipment and a cost of $2.2 million for the hiring and training of deputies to staff the jail.

Magnifying those increased costs are flat sales and property tax revenues (exacerbated by the loss of potential developments like the 3M quarry at Moody Flats and the voter-rejected commercial development on Knighton Road), and increased expenses passed on by the state in the form of a higher minimum wage and in-home support services (IHSS) costs.

“It (the jail costs) went way beyond what we can afford,” Moty said. “We’re not going to spend money and put us in bankruptcy like some counties and cities have done.” The cost of building the jail would translate to 30 fewer deputies in the department, he said.

Weaver, who pushed hard for Measure D and made public safety a cornerstone of his campaign, said its passage would have been “close to a home run.”

Brent Weaver.

Brent Weaver.

Without Measure D’s projected revenue of $11 million a year, government leaders will need to switch their focus from home runs to base hits. Taking the glass-is-half-full approach, Weaver listed some positive developments on the public safety front:

–Two of downtown’s biggest problem hotels, the Americana Lodge and the Redding Inn, have been dealt with. The Redding Inn has been shuttered and the Americana is now slated to be transformed into student housing that will add some much-needed energy to downtown.

–Hilltop Lodge, long a magnet for police calls, has been torn down.

–A new ordinance aimed at limiting sex trafficking and cracking down on illicit massage parlors serving as brothels has resulted in the closure of three businesses.

–Carnegie Park (the former Library Park behind the Lorenz Hotel) is a “base hit in progress,” the mayor said. A proposed bike park (between the Aquatic Center and North Market Street) is expected to spruce up Caldwell Park.

–Tiger Field, thanks to the work put in by former Mayor Rick Bosetti and his Colt .45s baseball team, has helped make South City Park a safer place.

Jonathan Anderson, left, and Matt Morgan show new anti-panhandling street signs intended to funnel support to the Good News Rescue Mission.

Jonathan Anderson, left, and Matt Morgan show new anti-panhandling street signs intended to funnel support to the Good News Rescue Mission.

Weaver pointed to other projects, including Dignity Health’s wellness campus at the Henderson Open Space and Costco’s plans to expand, as more examples of positive progress. Redding’s future, he said, will require high energy, passion, intelligence and the ability to follow through.

Starman, who recently announced his plans to retire in May, said that he, too, was “bullish on Redding” and wondered aloud if too many residents are “fixated on the negativity” and fail to realize that “we live in a really beautiful place.”

Kurt Starman.

Kurt Starman.

The negatives shouldn’t be ignored, Starman said, but “I wish we’d have a little better self-appreciation.”

Starman’s Shasta County counterpart, Larry Lees, also extolled the positive developments in the county, including a pair of successful Superior Court programs that are reducing recidivism rates; mental health clinicians that are staffing emergency rooms; and a program that has taken 200 homeless veterans off the streets and placed them in permanent housing.

Larry Lees.

Larry Lees.

The programs don’t solve every ill “but we’re going after it and not just sitting back,” Lees said.

Jake Mangas, president and CEO of the Redding Chamber of Commerce, said his group recognizes Redding’s problems but also sees the need to get the city’s positive story out there. For its part, the Chamber is relocating downtown to the White Building (the former Greyhound bus depot on Pine Street).

Redding Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jake Mangas.

Redding Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Jake Mangas.

The new location will be adjacent to College OPTIONS, the 13-year-old organization that helps prepare high school students for vocational school, community college and university educations. Mangas said the side-by-side relationship symbolizes the Chamber’s belief that education and workforce development lead to economic development.

The next Redding Merchants Crime Watch meeting will be held at 2 p.m. March 1 at the Red Lion Hotel.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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12 Responses

  1. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    “Magnifying those increased costs are flat sales and property tax revenues (exacerbated by the loss of potential developments like the 3M quarry at Moody Flats and the voter-rejected commercial development on Knighton Road), and increased expenses passed on by the state in the form of a higher minimum wage and in-home support services (IHSS) costs.”

    Sounds like more than one negative to me!

  2. Grammy says:

    Bring businesses Redding. Whole Food in the old Raley’s on Hartnel. Dos Coyateo, (anywhere! They are that good.) Bigger Costco!! Major discount grocery store on the west side of Placer Street. A fast food place on Placer St. Nursery on the west side of Redding, The land is available across from Holiday on Placer St. Would be no conflict because people go to Holiday for a different reason that a discount store. A new large adult mobile home park. More gated housing developments. More businesses/homes, more taxes earned. More money available for just this kind of thing.
    Encourage more doctors to come to SC. Have you been looking for one lately?! No? Because you are union and have the best care out there I bet. It is a complaint of all us that are searching for an Internist, main doctor, Rheumatologist…
    273 is ripe for development as a lot of the run down areas of Shasta County. Getting our county looking good again is a good step forward. So many areas are run down with building falling down on them. There “seems” to be no pride in many areas.
    Many many people come to Redding to retire but Shasta County is not catering to us. We have lots of recreation for when the kids come to visit but the bike lanes on the roads are lousy for them to get out and exercise.
    I love Shasta County but it has warts that need to be addressed. Being in more taxes (and not by raising the %) is a big step forward. Taxing pot at a high rate would be a big one also. Same as Cigarettes?

    • Anita Lynn Brady says:

      Granny– Wake up. It is 2017, and you are still in Shasta County.

    • Easy street says:

      I agree and would also like to add that placer street has huge potential as a major bike commute road west of the jail. Redesigning the road as a two lane road instead of four, with bike lanes and parking stripes and a suicide lane for accessing the residences and side streets,  as well as a bit of beautification on the curb side could really turn placer into a street that facilitates healthy living, safety, and a larger sense of community.  Also, leave the park by the planetarium alone

      • Grammy says:

        Would love to see more bike lanes all across SC.  We have so much beauty everywhere but people are risking their lives to bike out in the country.  But the county has a hard time keeping the roads rideable (patch jobs seem to be their answer to it).

        To much going to retirement rather than the work.

        Have lived here for  38 years and love it here but know SC warts.  Redding is going downhill but the powers that be do not notice.

        Not going to move but I do adjust my life to the crime.  Cameras all over our property.  Gates locked.  Shop only during the day.  As soon as I get out of the car, get a basket and clip my purse in the seat belt.  Do not go shopping on days that aren’t popular so that I can park close in to the stores.  Very careful driving on Pine, Market St, Cyprus, 273 for homeless walking out in front of me.

  3. Just a totally unrelated observation: I was struck by the lack of women leaders at this meeting.

    • Richard Christoph says:

      Doni,

      Though not on the panel, Council Member Francie Sullivan (one of four females on the 5-member Redding City Council) was in attendance, as she is during many community meetings, cultural activities, and cleanups.  Incidentally, her monthly “town walk” to which all are invited, begins at the Senior Citizens Hall near the Diestelhorst Bridge at 7 AM tomorrow morning.

      In my opinion, Redding is privileged to have the talent and leadership that this current council displays. Considering that representing our citizenry is often a thankless task (per the many unfair and outrageously uncivil attacks upon council members and city management), it is remarkable that any sane persons would subject themselves to that level of abuse while trying to manage the myriad complexities of running a mid-size town with scarce resources. I applaud their efforts.

       

       

       

    • Richard Christoph says:

      Correction: That should read “one of three females…”

  4. Anita Lynn Brady says:

    Once again, there is a source of income for the county and city that could be used for medium-security facility. Our “concerned” leaders have shut the door on it, again.

    It is sales tax income from legal pot dispensaries and commercial cultivation. Sadly, our county’s whiners are getting the upper hand while their complaints being the only thing our elected leaders listen to.

  5. Frank Treadway says:

    Why bother blaming the 3M Quarry and the Knighton Rd development for lack of funds when they were both rejected by wide margins of the public, they were just going to ruin what’s left of the I-5 corridor. The downturn in sales tax is simply due to folks coming into Downtown Redding and the Library to be faced with parking lots and streets filled with substance abusing vagrants and doorways littered with human excrement. Consumers are simply scared or turned off. I’m quite positive about Redding and love 90% of what we have, it’s that critical 10% that messes up the 90%.  Until the Board of Sups and the City Council take’s the transient/vagrant segment of the population in to account, Downtown will not flourish. I hope I’m way off the mark, but that’s the reality I see every day.  And, please, don’t blame folks for wanting a raise in pay, they will only turn around and spend it in our community.  Where are the grant writers for the County, I suspect there’s plenty of funds out there for projects like the jail.  For housing, it’s still not too late to expand a motel like the Capri and get more folks off the streets of Redding.

  6. Karen says:

    It’s easy to have “self appreciation” when you’ve participated with other leaders in exploiting the finances of the citizens for your personal gain. When do these leaders step up and take some responsibility for the economic disaster that is Redding and Shasta County? Bike trails don’t employ people, quarries do! Refusing to allow development that generates tax revenue for the County is foolish. Leadership in both the County and City are sorely lacking. Shameful.

  7. Russell K. Hunt says:

    But what they are not telling you is the existing jail can be expanded by another 128 beds if the courtrooms are used as originally planned. The Old Sheriff’s Office would need slight remodeling to handle the minor courts: traffic, small claims, non-jury civil matters. Additionally , new facilities can be built over the jail yard, with the yard going to the top. That was part of the original plan as well. It maybe possible to also build over the  courtrooms one and two but a study will need to be done to see the specs and costs. Everything in the jail is centralized through the bottom floor, so only one additional C O. per shift is needed to watch the 128 beds. The jail was built by a jail funding authority which can be re-instituted to build the 128 add-on with a bond issue of $7,000,000 over 30 years which ends in total cost of $14 million. This does not require a vote of the people. This proposal is in front of Larry Leeds and others. Will they do what is necessary ?

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