Opinion: What’s Wrong With This Place?


I’ve been called negative, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Maybe I’m just bitter because I listened to my realtor and bought a house at the peak of the market when I retired to Shasta County, a place I first visited in May, when everything was green and attractive.

We moved here in August. If we weren’t so financially committed here we would have packed our bags and run screaming from this place within the first few weeks.

To be honest, the longer we stayed the more we found reasons to stay. We like the mountains, nature and trails and there’s less traffic and crime here then the place we left.

But we can’t ignore the fact that Redding, a place with so much potential, has so much wrong with it. We are even more amazed at how the natives either refuse to smell the crap under their noses or they’re so in love with the image of their hometown that they’ve gone blind.

Redding is filled with lots of dumb sheep and ostriches. If they aren’t following the flock they’ve got their heads in the sand. They don’t see that Shasta County looks poor and tacky. They don’t seem to care that ancient eyesore trailer parks hog valuable riverfront property. Riverfront property! A smart city would put something spectacular along its riverfronts. Not here.

It’s embarrassing to take a visitor to some stores because of all the filthy, scary people, people covered in tattoos, people missing teeth, people who set up begging stations with children in the same parking lots or sidewalks day after day, or that push shopping carts full of cans.

The downtown Safeway is the worst. Don’t know if she’s still there but for a while Safeway had an antique uniformed woman security guard. Old! White hair, the works. Old!!! Maybe Safeway’s logic is the shoplifters will be reminded of their dead grannies when they see Safeway’s geriatric law enforcement and they’ll be guilted into putting everything back.

And what’s with Redding’s downtown ghost town? Supposedly it’s got a new name, but it’s still empty and it’s still ugly. What’s in a name? Nothing, if it’s given to a corpse.

The good news is that year by year the good ol’ boys and old-fart power brokers disappear one by one.  Some die, some lose interest but most turn into such has-beens that nobody cares what they do or say anymore. Big guts. Big mouths. Big do-nothings. But what’s scary is some of these old has-beens have high-level jobs in places like commerce promotions and job creation. Apparently if someone isn’t screwing someone in a city stairwell that’s a good enough reason to let folks keep their jobs forever.

When was the last time those old has-beens did something worthwhile, aside from rubber-necking at the country club or walking in women’s shoes? The best thing these deadwoods could do for Redding is to check themselves into whatever nursing home will accept them and let the younger people take charge.

Not that the young people have everything under control. Look at a few of those hyped-up downtown Redding restaurants. Unimpressive. They’re swirling the drain, and no wonder. Who wants to eat at a place run by punk kids covered in tattoos and piercings? Who wants to spend a fortune on five stuffed olives in the name of a rip-off of a cuisine disguised as small Spanish plates? What morons would continue to fall for that? Rich ones, probably. In this economy? Be serious! A bunch of those restaurants will be lucky if they last the year, and if they fail, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

And what’s with the love affair Redding residents have with the rodeo? Boooooring. And what’s with their infatuation with that April car show? Double boring. Face it. Redding has a bad case of white-trash entertainment mentality. No wonder the museum is in trouble.

Museum. What exactly is Mikey doing to help Turtle Bay? The place is empty most of the time, staff has been whittled down to bare bones, but Mikey has a tight grip on his fat paycheck. Look how hard he works to keep the museum alive. Riiiiggggghhht. Actually, the current shit exhibit seems an ideal metaphor.  (What yahoo designed Turtle Bay’s billboard of the dingo taking a dump? Classic Redding.)

Depressing.  Time for a hike.

J.J. Brown is a Bay Area native and North State retiree who dabbles in watercolors, writing and tennis.

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