Angry Residents Continue to Hammer Redding City Council Over Crime Concerns

Another day, another dollop of abuse.

That pretty much sums up life these days for the Redding City Council, whose members endured another fusillade of criticism during Tuesday’s meeting. And just like the June 6 meeting, the gripes centered on crime and just what, exactly, the council intends to do about it.

Chris Mesker said he built his dream home on five acres in Palo Cedro because he had always wanted to live near Redding. Now, though, “I’m embarrassed to bring friends to this city. The crime is rampant; it’s scary.”

He described himself and his wife as “ultimate consumers” but lamented that shopping in Redding has become too dangerous. “I had to buy a handgun and I’m not a big fan of that. Thank god for Amazon,” he said.

Also addressing the council during the public comment period was Patrick Carpenter, head of the Shasta County chapter of the Guardian Angels, who cited a variety of studies that indicate Redding residents are at significantly higher risk of being victimized compared with almost every other community in the country.

Patrick Carpenter, right, offered to lead council members on a walk around town. Photos by Jon Lewis.

Patrick Carpenter, right, offered to lead council members on a walk around town. Photos by Jon Lewis.

And yet police staffing is at 1980s-era levels despite the fact that Redding has doubled in size. “The community is outraged,” Carpenter said, before repeating an invitation to council members to join him on a walk around the city “to see what’s really going on.”

“You failed to act and that’s why we’re coming after you,” Michael Roberts said, referring to the fledgling recall effort aimed at council members Francie Sullivan and Kristen Schreder. Anje Walfoort, a frequent council critic, said the council simply isn’t tough on crime while Robyn Carpenter said it seems as if citizen’s concerns “fall on deaf ears.”

Francie Sullivan, left, and Kristen Schreder, right, are targets of a recall effort.

Francie Sullivan, left, and Kristen Schreder, right, are targets of a recall effort.

James Crockett was the lone speaker out of the 15 who offered support for the council, calling the attacks “misguided.” Crockett suggested the bulk of the public safety issues stem from Shasta County budget woes. “Why blame the council for the jail, which is full?” he asked.

Nonetheless, he said citizens are “hurting and afraid. They need leadership.”

“We do hear you,” Councilwoman Julie Winter said, adding that the council is interested in increasing communication with the community. She received consensus from her colleagues for a meeting in a different venue or setting where council members can respond. (Topics brought up during the public comment section are not listed on the agenda, which prohibits council members from discussing them.)

Mayor Brent Weaver said he has been working with new City Manager Barry Tippin on holding a town hall-style meeting. Weaver said he expects the first such meeting will be held in August and a date will be announced soon.

Commercial project OK’d

In other action Tuesday, the council voted 5-0 to OK Redding developer Marcus Partin’s plans for a mixed-use commercial complex on 6.4 acres on Hartnell Avenue just southeast of the Veterans Administration clinic.

The 80,500-square-foot project will consist of two buildings. Building A, at 28,500 square feet, will hold medical offices and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant; Building B, at 52,000 square feet, will house medical office space and a 22,000-square-foot fitness center.

The mixed-use commercial project will include medical offices, a restaurant and a fitness center.

The mixed-use commercial project will include medical offices, a restaurant and a fitness center.

The project, which received unanimous support from the Planning Commission, represents three years of meetings to produce plans that would complement the topography and existing uses, Partin said.

“It looks like a great project and it will be a real asset to the community,” Schreder said. “I’m thrilled,” Sullivan added. “I love that piece of property and I can’t wait to see it go up.”

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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34 Responses

  1. Virginia says:

    My understanding is that Shasta County takes money from San Francisco City & County to take their released prisoners into our County is asinine, if true.   Is the money worth the cost to have these released prisoners here in our community?

    Maybe it is time to check into the County before “hanging” Redding council members.  I may not be fans of them, but are you hammering the wrong people, possibly?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Virginia, I have so far found no evidence that Shasta County takes prisoners from the Bay Area and receives money for them. Before AB 109, nonviolent felons convicted in Shasta County were sentenced to prison in say Folsom or San Quentin or Susanville. Upon completion of their sentence, they are generally paroled to where they were convicted. After AB 109, nonviolent felons convicted in Shasta County are now sentenced to county jail time instead of prison time. There’s not enough jail space to hold these low level offenders, who nevertheless are committing quite serious property crimes.

       

      onvicted in Shasta County and sentenced to San Quentin

      • K. Beck says:

        Thanks RV. Some of your writing seems to have disappeared. At any rate, I, too, have heard the prisoners for money spiel. Glad that is not true. However, that solves no problems!

        I think we should hammer Gov. Brown. I know he is following federal law, sort of, due to overcrowding in CA jails. However, he needs to find some other solution besides dumping all these people on cities that have no funds to do anything about it. How about the STATE building “rehab” facilities to everyone who gets out of jail free must be in a job training program of some sort. Training for FUTURE jobs not jobs that will be gone in 6o seconds. See my other post below.  As an aside I find it difficult to believe Redding is worse off than Stockton. I think most of the cities in the Central Valley are in the same boat. All the press goes to the wealthy areas, SF Bay Area, LA basin, where everything is hunky dory.

  2. Carter Slade says:

    In regard to the OK’d commercial project – Pay attention folks because here we have, the revealed measure of what Redding has to offer now and in the future in terms of potential business and it’s not Stillwell Park industry.  Its medical facilities for-wait for it…retired folks. Yep, a hub for Del Webb, Sun City retirement community-like services to serve the elderly.  Perfect, don’t ya think? 2 things old folks love= medical facilities and places to eat. No wonder the city council chased the greenhouse company away. Should have been a walker manufacturing company. One thing tho, the city of Redding better get busy reducing the crime stats here ’cause we all know retired folks don’t like to be robbed, beaten or raped any more than the younger generation…

    • Common Sense says:

      Yes Carter Slade….. ” Walt’s Whispering Walker” Manufacturing Co. would have been promoted as the Company brought from “Heaven” in Stillwater!……in the meantime….let’s chase off the one and only company that actually Wanted to build in there and provide some Jobs!

      The one thing….the one thing that can help CHANGE Everything….is the One thing….they fight So Hard Against!

      Just say Yes….Yes to Prop 64….Yes to allowing businesses in that will Provide Jobs!….Just say yes to the Millions in Tax Revenues!…..is it THAT difficult to set the Cognitive Dissonance aside?…..apparently…..it has been to date!

      Now where’s that new Smorgy going in?……

  3. Beverly Stafford says:

    The recall effort will be interesting – if misguided.  The cost is prohibitive, and I can’t/don’t understand why these two council members are targeted.

  4. Bob says:

    “Redding residents are at significantly higher risk of being victimized compared with almost every other community in the country.”

    NONSENSE!  — Do the people who spout this nonsense actually believe it?  Perhaps they have never lived in a real city, with real crime, and real urban problems.

    • Ann says:

      I completely agree with you.  Go visit any city in the Bay Area and you will see crime like you can’t believe. We moved back to Redding from Antioch in 2014 because of the crime in and around my neighborhood.

      If you think the homeless problem is bad here, which I agree, it is, just drive through Oakland and San Francisco and you will see tarps and tent villages along busy roadways.

      There is a lot of annoying petty crime here driven by the need to fund drug addiction.  It’s really sad to see the people walking around like zombies.   I’m not convinced the city council recall is the right way to go, spend those funds on trying to clean up the drug problem.

      Its too bad personal accountability and consequences are not part of these druggies lives.   When I see them, I see someone’s son, daughter, aunt, uncle, etc….I’m not a bleeding heart liberal but I do have compassion but not enough to give them my hard earned money.

      At the end of the day, the homeless problem, drug problem, and crime problems are everywhere and we have to use our resources the best we can to keep our citizens as safe as possible.

      • Richard Christoph says:

        Well said, Ann,

        San Diego, L.A., San Jose, Oakland/San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle are all more affluent, have far more financial resources, and are politically well to the left of Redding. Yet each city has crime and homeless problems which far exceed ours.

         

        • Anita Lynn Brady says:

          Contrary to what we hear, a recent visit caused a friend to remark to me that Salt Lake City had some scary areas.

    • Dick says:

      If you are referring to Patrick Carpenter, the Guardian Angels guy, y’all need to listen to what he actually said. He provided the sources all his crime statistics .

      • Bob says:

        The article provided no such sources.  What is more, reliable sources with statistics like that simply do not exist, whether he cited them or not.

        So I will challenge you: post them here so we can all see what you see.

  5. Anonymous Heckler says:

    He described himself and his wife as “ultimate consumers” but lamented that shopping in Redding has become too dangerous. “I had to buy a handgun and I’m not a big fan of that. Thank god for Amazon,” he said.

    Seriously?  What planet does this guy live on?

    Stuff happens.  Redding needs some cleaning up.  Downtown business owners and resident have too much crap to deal with from the junkies and ne’er-do-wells that the state doesn’t put in prison anymore.

    Afraid to go shopping in Redding?  Based on what?

    • Richard Christoph says:

      Anon,

      I agree. We have lived in the Downtown area for decades and frequently walk  through town during the day and at night and never once have we been threatened or felt unsafe. The best antidote to crime is for ordinary citizens to be present and visible, and the worst thing we could do would be to abandon our public spaces to those whose sole contributions appear to be misbehavior and the trash they leave behind.

    • Anonymous Heckler says:

      I mean, apologies for insulting the guy, but does this reflect anyone’s lived experience?  Is there actual cause for fear in a Redding shopping district?  Or does “it bleeds, it leads” local news just skew our judgment?

      • Jim Briggs says:

        No, it doesn’t. These people have no perspective, proportionality, or judgment. Remember when someone was killed in the Costco parking lot over a parking space? Why didn’t they lose their minds about that?

        These people were probably statistically more likely to die in a car accident driving to the council meeting than being attacked downtown. Or from heart disease.

      • Barb says:

        I personally have shopping areas I will not go to after dark alone.   Even in daylight I am approached and aggressively panhandled.  There are oftentimes certain places I would like to go I simply dont because I dont want to do the obstacle course from my car to the front door through the transients and the threat of my windows getting broken out in the parking lot.

        I was BORN here.  I am not afraid of shopping, but I am sick and tired of being accosted.  I am also quite able to defend myself, but I have had several situations where I was almost injured from walking by an altercation between two groups of homeless who were throwing things.  I also have had them group up and circle behind me when panhandling.  None of this makes me want to shop.

        It simply should not feel like this.   period.

  6. Carter Slade says:

    I agree that crime is where you find it which is to say, local crime is not any better or worse here in Redding than anywhere else in Ca. That said, I don’t find fault with the council in regard to local crime. Where I get a bit on the ornery side is when the council does things seemingly without regard to community welfare, image and or public input and then expects us to praise them like they did something good:

    The Bethel shenanigan is a classic example. No thought to our city image and certainly the council careed less as to what the locals might think. The Bethel Elder and at the same time council member Ms Winter, who bragged about helping to broker the deal was made a non issue by the council as nothing to see here peons, move along. That whole deal still sticks in my craw.

    The disregard or nonchalant reaction from the council after our Grand Jury raised serious questions about the Stillwell park debacle. What was it Mayor Weaver said about the inquiry? “It’s worth looking under the hood…? What does that mean?

    The council chasing potential businesses out of town (Emerald Kingdom).

    The council’s refusal to display forward thinking and create much needed revenue by allowing a few cannabis dispensaries even tho the success is being proven daily 2 miles north in Lake Shasta City and yet they chastise the voters for letting Measure D fail. How dare us voters be so narrow minded.

    Finally, the council refuses to show even a basic transparency when it comes to our public safety. We take $500,000 from a local church for the RPD special unit but in the meantime the new city manager, claiming he wants to go in a new direction, fires the Police Chief without even a bye your leave to the public and then hires the ex police chief who btw, told the council to stick it years ago when he quit. But we are not supposed to question the entire thing because the new chief is just a temp Chief. Meanwhile, Mayor Weaver wants to light up our hiking trails. Somebody got the Bank of Bethel’s phone number?

    Yea, crime isn’t the only crime around these parts. I dare say if this council continues on with their “We will do what’s best for you whether you like it or not” attitude, more heads could roll. At least they should…

  7. K. Beck says:

    I recently read an article, sorry, I didn’t keep the link, that listed the companies the writer predicted would not be around in the next year. On that list: Macy’s, JP Penney, & Sears. Penney and Sears have been in trouble for years. I am surprised they are still around today. So, say bye bye to Mt. Shasta Mall! Those 3 stores are the “anchor” stores in the Mall. As they go, so go the rest of the Mall.

    If people want to fight with the city council, which appears to be a full time sport in Redding, they should start hammering HARD on getting businesses into Stillwater Business Park. I don’t know what the contract says with Colliers International, or how long that contract has existed, but perhaps it is time to find someone else to hire to get businesses in that park. How much does the city pay Colliers?

    That and MANY job training programs to help keep yet more people from ending up on the streets…start with the people on the street already. Train them for jobs in other cities, if you must, because there are NO JOBS HERE! That is the main problem in Redding.

    To all the people complaining about retirees: They buy houses, they keep the MDs in town, they shop (i.e. spend money in what is left of the stores here). In other words they keep the city taxes coming in. Taxes are the ONLY income cities have. Like it or not. If retirees stop coming here, Redding will be in worse shape than it is in already.

    • Common Sense says:

      K.Beck- The City is not paying a penny for Colliers….they are a real estate company that gets paid like the rest of them ….when they Sell something….Commission….

      The reasons that Stillwater has not been filled out can be attributed to the following…. 1. the City is not overly Friendly to Businesses!. #2. Redding in not close to any Major City…..Transportation costs can be prohibitive for many companies…# 3 If the business needs lots of Air conditioning…Redding is probably not the best place to keep the AC bills down!

      Yes, Retirees are definitely helping the local economy! A quick survey of local area restaurants and smorgasbords will verify that!

      There is One logical Solution, that so far, has not been Seriously considered down at city hall….that’s the Cannabis Businesses…..they would provide millions in sales tax revenues….and hundreds of jobs…..

      The Fact that the City has not taken this Bull by the Horns and come up with a plan by now shows one of two things- #1. They have NO intention of doing this….regardless of the jobs and revenues it could bring in ( Millions of tax dollars and hundreds of jobs )! or #2. They will finally see the light-

      ( highly unlikely because of their religious beliefs and other bias) and they say….OK…we will now do it….in December sometime…now we need ANOTHER YEAR to put it all together! Game is over by then….that would be like entering a football game in the 4th quarter hoping to win against a team that has 30 points on their side of the score board!

      If the City Council is Seriously going to consider this Option….the time to DO IT….is NOW……or another Missed Opportunity can be put on their side of the scoreboard!

      There are always costs involved with the “NO attitude” and missed opportunities…..I am guessing that might have something to do with enough frustration and the recall? There are much better ways to spend $200k in my opinion…..heck…that’s two firefighters or police officers for one year right there….

       

      The root of the Problem has not changed…..they Need More Money to work with…..but are they willing to change their Beliefs to make this Happen?….That’s the REAL Question in this debate!

  8. Gary Tull says:

    It seems the City of Redding has positioned itself into a rather mundane corner. The newest big commercial development is apparently earmarked for yet another medical office space facility, adjoining restaurant, and ample parking spaces to accommodate fleets of precious cargo vans. (Nice for the grandfolks but not exactly inspiring to the rest of us.)

    Meanwhile, Stillwater is withering away in the heat because they won’t strike a deal with anyone proposing to build something even mildly progressive like greenhouses out there.

    Of course, there is the ongoing transient problem and related crime that goes with it. Still, a rigidly conservative city council seem unable to produce a solution plan for that — at any level. Other Northern CA cities have.

    Nowadays, the only real driving force of influence in town happens to be a “supernatural ministry” called Bethel. They control the city’s largest capacity entertainment venue in town, provide audio/video coverage for council meetings, have a sitting member in city council and have donated a half million dollars to the city — a so-called  “gift.” I’m pretty sure favors are in order for such generosity. They usually are.

  9. Common Sense says:

    It’s the same old thing over and over again….we don’t have enough money….but we Won’t open up our Minds and allow Cannabis related Businesses come in and rake in $3 Million a year…….We don’t have enough money….so we have to lay off 6 firefighters soon…..but We don’t want to do anything like open up our minds to some Alternatives to new Tax Money…..We have no money so we start laying off some Police officers…..you get the point!

    The closing of Malls around the Corner is a result of “Amazon”…….they are shuttering Brick and Mortal Businesses all around the country…..and it will get worse!

    Will allowing Cannabis Manufacturing fill every vacant lot up in Stillwater?….probably not….especially if they give them a hard time like the greenhouse Manufacturing company! But will having 2-3 manufacturing facilities going and hiring 100+ employees and then allowing 5-6 Dispensaries in and they hire 50+ employees….and then add that up in Taxes and you get anywhere from $3-8 Million….depending on who you talk to!

    So…WHAT could the city do with an Extra $3 MILLION the first full year-2018?……any guesses?…let’s see….Permit fes……Taxes…Money from the STATE because they said YES instead of NO….and last but not least….GRANTS….there will be NO grants if they say NO….Zero…..Ziltch…….so if you guys say NO in Dec….Have a Plan to Offset ALL this lost money and Opportunity!!!! or you will be hearing about this for Years to come! That is IF….you are still in there…..and the people have not gone stir crazy by then…….

    Shasta Lake City took in approx $450k last year in Cannabis Tax money…..it is 10X smaller than Redding……some quick math will show….there are some decent numbers involved here…..They have had NO issues yet in SLC with the Cannabis…..none…….so what is the EXCUSE to not allowing it come into REDDING? Anyone have any ideas on that?

    I am still waiting for just ONE idea on anything Better to bring in Millions? Just one……

    You have two Logical places to allow Manufacturing go in…..Stillwater and Caterpillar area……and sense Stillwater is VACANT…..that might be an excellent place to start….yes?

    Nothing Changes…..if no thing changes……

  10. Art McBride says:

    Whao is us. Victims we are. Crime there is. Homeless there are. Mini trash trucks that look like shopping carts prowling the streets. No new industries came to our water park. Not many jobs. And we take charity from a church. What to do? Ah “The City Council Blame Game”. It is fun – for me. Not for them. Do I have easy answers – yes. Does the Council have an easy job – no. Do I answer to anyone when / if I tell them what they should do – maybe some others who think like me. Does the Council have to answer to anyone  when they make a decision – yup 90,725 someones. Aren’t we glad the Council member don’t come to our jobs and act like us when we go to theirs.

     

    • Carter Slade says:

      Art…Ummm they are public servants/employees. They campaign to get their positions. If they can’t handle questions or criticism regarding their responsibility of city leadership, they need to find something else to do. Or do a better job. Until you have a council chambers built at your job, I don’t think you have to worry about the council showing where you work.

      • Art McBride says:

        Admittedly the City Council members seek the position. They do recognizing that it is not an easy job to do and that not everyone will agree with the decisions they make. That is the politicians lot.

        And we, those of us who vote, do in effect hire them. We can also discharge them through the same voting process. That is our political system.

        We have the right to and do criticize their decisions, question their ability to lead and even their fitness to hold office.  At the same time we have the right to agree with and applaud their decisions and support their efforts. We can even assist them in a variety of ways.

        My point is not these issues for they are well established. It is that while you and others may feel that any one or more of the Council members is not acting in a way you would prefer they would that is only one opinion in 90,725 opinions. And loudly and aggressively expressing your opinion at Council meetings will not change the minds of the majority of those who hold different opinions. In fact I would think the opposite would be the case.

  11. Dog and Pony Show says:

    One of the benefits of the internet is the ability to do research on millions of topics. Searching for “redding ca crime” produces many interesting,  independent reports.  There are still many places in Calif. that are safe to walk around, day or night.  The vagrants, homeless, bums, tweekers, et al. in most parts of Calif.  may ask for money, etc., but they are NOT pushy, rude, dangerous or threatening. Redding has a special group of vagabonds.  

  12. Dick says:

    Another downtown business closes “Owner says transient issues to blame”.

  13. Common Sense says:

    One can complain all day long until they are blue in the face….one can blame the city council for all the problems….but unless one has some Ideas on how we can change for the better and provides an idea of HOW the City Council Members Can make a change….no thing will change……so lets say we get two new council members in there….they will face the same problems! Lack of Revenues to work with! It’s a Dog chasing his own tail….why get rid of two and then another two next year etc?……All or Nothing!…..Clean the House and start fresh or don’t bother…..because Two WON’T make a Difference…that’s a Minority!

    If you  WANT to actually Change the way things are done….you don’t get rid of a Minority of narrow-minded thinkers….you get rid of ALL of them and replace them with people that are Open Minded! That will say yes instead of No…that WILL help the city take in Millions in new tax dollars!…Then ….and only then…..you make Wise Decisions with that new money!…Imagine that……more money….more JOBS…..mmmm

    Nothing can change…..if no thing changes….

    No new Tax Revenues =Nothing will or can change……but it may cost $200k!

    My idea has been presented…..and Your Idea for Millions?

  14. Dan says:

    It’s 2017 folks and due to the magic of Google I suggest you simply type “Redding, Ca Crime rate”. This 2-minute exercise will give you an immediate reading list from national publications. TIME, Forbes, LA Times and specialty sources that ANY potential major employer would certainly read before locating to Redding.  You can also see FBI and Cal DOJ per capita stats for crime in Redding vs 52 other counties in California with the exact SAME LAWS.

    Constructive ideas? City council members have been receiving a steady supply of them for two years. Some free ideas and proven ideas that actually have worked in other lower crime communities for many years and in communities that have successfully implemented turnarounds with crime rates and local economies.

    The two members being targeted for recall have been in office far longer and have been resistant to any change or dialog.

    The cost of recall? ZERO, if either council member resigns, or takes action to change the status quo.

    Is this a splinter or fringe group? No, 7,000 local residents and business people have joined together on Facebook and hundreds have met during the last two years at sponsored question and answer “town halls” with local City and County leaders.

  15. Frank Treadway says:

    Recall will do nothing to stop whatever crime citizens see, think and believe is going on in the City or their neighborhood.  Each of us have to be responsible, in a law abiding manner of course, to deal with our own surroundings. When you see trash, weeds, abandoned vehicles or appliances on private property in the City of Redding, you call the Code Enforcement officers, they do respond.  When you see animals being mistreated, you call the Haven Humane Animal Control, they do respond. When you see shopping carts abandoned, call the store manager, when you see transients begging, call the store manager and the RPD, they respond. Some folks in our fair city are engaging in Henny Penney Syndrome and not dealing with actions on their own. And I’m not talking about using your CCW to take action, I’m talking about using our law enforcement, even the CA Highway Patrol can sometimes act within the City. Further, recall will only get you a set of persons who will bankrupt the City of Redding. So far I haven’t heard one intelligent, committed or responsible person spewing their rant from the council dais.  And as far as businesses closing, it’s more likely that they didn’t have a minimum of two years worth of credit or back-up money to sustain them through tough times. It’s amazing how most businesses don’t have a proforma that outlines their projected expenses and income for two plus years.

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