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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107 Responses

  1. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    How in the world did this get printed here? I think you're looking for http://www.wretchedflashlight.com.

  2. Avatar Brandon says:

    Well, JJ Brown, you sure know how to speak your mind. As ugly as your article is, there is truth to some of what you say. Redding is what it is, it's a beautiful place to live because of its setting. It's rural here, as opposed to your urban Bay Area home. Rural areas are often times replete with under educated people with different values than upper educated folks, but what you are seeing is not just isolated to Redding, CA. You are experiencing what I believe is a solid chunk of American Culture; the under educated, drug/alcohol addicted, the broken, the poor and the hopeless. It's people like you, the educated, open minded and healthy who should do something about it besides just complaining

    • Avatar Troy Hawkins says:

      Brandon, exactly.
      As a native of Redding I actually take issue not with the words but your tone. I recently moved back to Redding after more than 10 years away. I see many voids and are working VERY hard to correct some of them. I've sat on various Boards, donated countless hours to local events that enrich our community, donated my artwork to fundraisers and raffles such as Turtle Bay, NVCSS, Renaissance Redding and MANY others.
      I have never heard of J.J. Brown assisting Turtle Bay, promoting the arts and culture, working towards a vibrant and prosperous downtown or even get off his/her highfalutin ass to lend a helping hand.
      So, J.J. before you pick up your silver saber and slash through a community, highlighting its faults. Try being part of the solution. A little elbow grease and some positive thinking might actually be better than a big fat kick in the stomach.
      If you just want to complaint…call Ann Landers!

  3. Avatar Joel Stratte-McClure says:

    Want to sell your house?

  4. Avatar ocwar says:

    Your exactly what we need in our community. The tumor from the south has metastasized and is growing north.

    Go to the rodeo and talk to some of those ignorant cowboys…tell them how much you love all of Reddings old west culture. I'm sure they would love to help you go somewhere else! I

  5. Avatar Mrs. Beans says:

    My family came here about 20 years ago from L.A. It was somewhat of a culture shock, but now we embrace the "tradition" of this town such as the Rodeo, Kool April Nites, etc. Now we've never actually been to a rodeo, but hey, Redding is a gold-rush town.

    Yes, there is still quite a bit of blight around here. But how can one justify making someone move off of the property they have owned for generations just because it doesn't "look" nice to others. If there are no code enforcement violations, then it's a home to someone.

    I recently traveled to So. Cal. to visit family. And although we have our share of toothless, tattooed people, they have their share of the same. So does San Francisco. The Safeway downtown, I go there from time to time because I work in the area; always have even before the remodel. It beats the Safeway I went to in Hollywood when we lived there.

    One of my favorite times of the day is on my way to work at 6:45. I turn onto the top of Miracle Mile from Lake Boulevard. I can see over the entire city, down Market Street, the sun rising, sometimes the light fog swirling off the river. What a beautiful sight Redding is. There's a lot to do to improve it, but a mixture of funky and the beautification over the years makes for a great hometown.

  6. Avatar Mrs. Beans says:

    Oh, and by the way, the above picture looks like one of the trailers City workers used to call an office before the "Taj Mahal" was built. So next time someone says why do we have such a grand palace for city hall, remember that's what it used to look like; a cluster of those trailers where the new building now sits. An eyesore, you bet it was!

  7. Avatar Loves to Eat says:

    I'm thinking this is a joke. How can anyone be so judgmental of common folks? So tell me, if I were toothless, tattooed, or pushing a shopping cart would I be a lesser individual? Man, I hope you can sleep at night with your so pure/ perfect picture of the Redding area.
    You can always try to change things you find distasteful….volunteer, pitch-in, clean-up or better yet….MOVE.
    I happen to love Redding and find our faults human.

  8. Jennifer Jewell Jennifer Jewell says:

    I am all for balanced opinion, and all for the idea that not much is gained by a blind or unreasonable rosy view of a world that has many deeply rooted problems and conflicts. But, your opinion seems to me to fall under a category of "people see what they want to see" and you clearly see your glass – and Redding – as half full. Coming from Chico, where I have lived just two years now, I see Redding and the entire North State for that matter, as a place of active engaged people doing an amazing amount with what they have and working hard to help people and causes that might need help. I see it as a diverse population of politics, religions, socio-economic levels and aesthetic lifestyle choices all trying to get along, be inclusive and tolerant for the most part and work together to create a community worth living in and working for the betterment. I see an amazing nature center (Turtle Bay) and arboretum (McConnell), a wonderful river walk (Sacramento River Trail), a library worth envy, a community college (Shasta College) doing its damnedest, a dizzying number of well maintained and cherished outdoor recreation sites (can't list them all), and – again – a community of people celebrating what's great and working hard to improve what is less than great (AnewsCafe). As the saying goes, If you are not part of the solution, you may indeed be part of the problem. I would consider putting your discontent to work towards something productive and constructive. As you point out, there's plenty of need. Here and ANYWHERE you and your family may choose to live. Good luck.

  9. Avatar Carol & Rex says:

    We have been in the Redding area since the 1950's, and we would say to those who disagree with redding, faults and all, "this is our piece of heaven on earth": LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT! No matter where you are from, what your wallet size, what your race, or what your religious beliefs. Learn to love REDDING, it is here to stay! Thank GOD!

  10. Avatar Bruce Greenberg says:

    When I first read this story I thought, oh great, another negative person moves to Redding. But after I reread what was said, I realized there is real value in seeing this place we call home through the eyes of a newcomer.

    Some of the comments J.J. Brown makes I agree with, mostly I disagree.

    Regarding the homeless and those he paints as undesirable, Every city struggles with a fringe population. Redding is not special that way.

    Tattoos, get over it. Some of the best and brightest young people I know have tattoos.

    I moved to this area 34 years ago. I came from the Bay Area and went through the school system in L.A. before that. At first there was culture shock, but as I grew to know this area I absolutely fell in love with it. It is a natural paradise. Something no big city in California has to offer. The roads are not clogged at rush hour, the people- in general-are very friendly and when a someone hits a personal rough spot, it's the most giving community I've ever seen. But for me personally, I love that in a community the size of ours, one person can roll up their sleeves and really make a difference.

    And that's my challenge to J.J.Brown. Welcome to the North State. Find something that you would like to see improved and do something about it. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly you too fall in love with what you discover.

  11. Avatar Canda says:

    Perspective is a funny thing. Twelve years ago I packed up and moved from Redding to San Diego. I was quoted in a RS article as saying, "Redding is boring. Maybe I'll be back when I'm 90." Well, I'm far from 90, and I moved back 2 years ago. My daughter was having babies, and the lure of the ocean, fine restaurants, and perfect weather were nothing compared to grandchildren, and being close to my daughter again. I feel like I've come home. All the things that turned me off 12 years ago, are now endearing. I heard that my article many years ago pissed off some people, and after reading this critical article, I can see why. Assuming this is not a joke (does seem over the top), maybe Redding isn't the place for you to retire, JJ. I'm with you, Barbara. I'm surprised this was printed here.

  12. Avatar stasia says:

    I think this is a joke, too. But I do have to give a shout-out to the downtown Safeway. When my twins were newborns and I needed to shop (pushing the stroller and pulling the cart), the wonderful people at Safeway helped me so much. I will always appreciate their kindness. Yes, sometimes the shoppers there are a little rough around the edges, but it takes all kinds to make a world. Open mind, open heart.

  13. Avatar Erin Friedman says:

    I made the same trek Bruce did – LA, Bay Area and, 12 years ago, Shasta County. The very best part of living here is that one person can make a huge difference. Employ, invest, volunteer. Redding — like every place on earth — is not perfect, but the community is filled with hard-working people hellbent on making it better.

  14. Avatar Derral says:

    wow. I guess you could go find someplace you LIKE.

    It's a mark of disrespect and stubborn snottiness to move to a new location and then proceed to tear it down. It would help go gain an understanding of the vicinity, of the working class that has supported it for decades, and the various sociological manifestations attendant to this large working class, as they are manifested in the community.

    Of course the town in full of don't-know-don't-want-to-know's – they are doomed to vote against their own best interests until they check out, leaving future generations of their braindead spawn to continue lowering the bar. You're as bad as them, mister, with your nearly hateful disregard of people who are, in a very real way, your brothers.

    I see you "dabble" in tennis. Great. Probably ashamed to admit to your golf habit. Why don't you go try to "dabble" in some humility. Yuppie swine are as bad as Okie scum – 2 sides of the same coin, equally offensive. Don't think that by separating yourself from the local common people you are establishing some sort of superiority, or inhabiting it. Malarkey. Take your elitist perspective and cram it.

  15. Avatar Doug says:

    If I was more AR-Tic-ulate I could write a whole lot of crabby, bad stuff about you and your McMansion lifestyle, instead I will look at the bright side of this GREAT place, accept and enjoy those who live here and ignore the like of YOU, JJ.

    If you can't find anything nice here, GO AWAY! YOu won't be missed.

  16. Avatar Charlie says:

    My sister with those TATOOS is one of the smartest people you will ever meet. My brother with the missing teeth lost them busting his hind end logging trees which provided the wood that built your So. Cal homes. Yes the bum on the corner is a sad sight, find a way to help instead of hiding your head and complaining. I can't believe how people complain over things that they can either change or have no control over. My favorite saying "shit or get off the pot". Make a difference or shut up.

  17. Avatar Derral says:

    To elaborate:
    The rodeo mentality may be hard to assimilate, but one needs to understand that if you're BORN to something, if you grow up with a thing like rodeo and horses as part of your life, it's a valid cultural entity. No apologies necessary. Now YOU may not have an appreciation, but you can at least have enough respect to understand the importance of a cultural marker like rodeo.

    Nice house. Is it somehow Redding's fault you bought it?

  18. Avatar Ginny Hibbard says:

    My first trip from San Jose to Redding was to visit my aunt and uncle over Labor Day Weekend 1941. My uncle joined the Army Air Force, 1942 from Redding. Returned here after WW II, where he died in the 1960s.

    So much has changed in Redding through all of the past years. This is something to think about. Where else can one find the beauty as Mrs. Beans wrote of seeing the valley in all it's glory or looking out of my dinette and kitchen window and seeing a piece of Mt. Shasta.

    What the author needs to do is what has been suggested. Get out and try to fix something that doesn't appeal to him. BUT, remember thought, he moved from where he was which has changed, so don't gripe so hard about where you moved to that was one's own choice. Of course, the road always goes back to where one came from.

    The main thing is to enjoy the life you do have now. Each day is a precious time in one's life. See the beauty in the area and the people who live here, and thank God you woke this morning to a new day.

  19. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    I was about to reply to this post, but I see it's started raining, and I need to throw a tarp over the car that's up on blocks.

  20. Avatar J P Adams says:

    A lot of what you are saying here, I am not in total agreement with. Well, actually about two thirds. However, on a couple issues, I couldn't agree with you more.

    As you say, "take what I say with a grain of salt". I do and at the same time, filter out the truth.

    One example: "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. Spot-On True!

  21. Avatar Michael Allison says:

    Whoa Buddy!

    Take all the horrible things you just said about Redding, multiply them by 1000, subtract Whiskeytown Lake, and the view of Mt. Shasta and Mt. Lassen, and the river running through town, and you have LA, or La Mirada, or Riverside, or West Covina, or San Bernadino. Dude, Redding is a country town, dig it. Learn to love it. This town has CHARACTER to spare.

    You are probably one of those people who loves the brand new look of Huntington Beach, with its new pseudo-fancy hotel rows, BMWs, bleach blondes and boob jobs everywhere. But I remember Huntington Beach, and other towns like Whittier, Redondo Beach, and Laguna, when they were FUNKY little towns, with real people living in them, used book stores, and individually owned record shops that had been there for years.

    Heres to Redding! Real people having fun, surrounded by nature. We're not overgrown — yet. We havent bought into the lie of appearances, completely. We're not completely taken over by new stucco buildings, big box retailers and strip malls. You want to see ugly? Take a look at Orange County, say, Buena Park, or South Gate. I'll take funky West side Redding, with its tattoo shops and vintage stores ANY DAY. And it would be a shame to replace Redding's funky West side culture with another Best Buy, or Bed Bath and Beyond, or PetSmart.

    Kudos to whoever is trying to revitalize Redding THE RIGHT WAY, by restoring the few old structures we have left, and supporting the Arts. That approach will keep Redding's uniqueness alive. Dude, old restored cars are works of Art. Anyone who cant see that should keep their opinions to themselves.

  22. Avatar Gerrine Peckenpaugh says:

    Most of the replies above have covered the topic. I am a Bay Area transplant, so I understand the culture shock of moving to the northstate. That said, I encourage you to become part of the solution to any of the problems. Rodeo? Do you realize this is a sport like any other? The riders in the Redding rodeo are competing for the top money awards in Las Vegas. Dig a little and learn to appreciate this sport. Don't like our waterfront? Many people have worked for years to recreate the area. It's a work in progress. Cross the Cypress Bridge and envision a shopping and eating venue built along the river bank to the south. It's all coming!!!!!! Jump in and participate.

  23. Avatar Doug Mudford says:

    A grain of salt may not do the trick…Im thinking the whole shaker. I have some questions:

    What's the significance of the photo of the house?

    Have you walked across the Sundial Bridge at sunset?

    Have you contributed time or money to the Good News Rescue Mission or Women's Refuge?

    Do you know the time and effort it took to take the roof off the old downtown mall?

    When was the last time you talked with others about their problems, not just yours?

    • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

      Hey Doug, just so you know, we usually select the images to accompany stories (unless a contributor submits photos, which many do).

      I chose the single-wide image to accompany J.J.'s post, but wasn't that comfortable with it, either. I was stumped about what image would best express this piece, since it was kind of all over the place. Sheep? Ostrich? A river? Mt. Shasta? A megaphone? …?

      To Doug and everyone else, your articulate comments to this post are the reason I love anewscafe.com today. You're smart, funny, earnest and loyal to to this place we call home. You know that the North State isn't perfect, but you do your best to make positive changes.

      I look at the names (real names!) of people who've commented this morning and I recognize some of the North State's best and brightest – the cream of the crop. I see dedicated people who work hard to improve this region, to help the needy, promote art, culture, education and bring a spirit of compassion and community to everything you do.

      Are we lucky, or what?

  24. Avatar Jeff Avery says:

    Amen Doug, I love your comments. I moved up here nine years ago. I've lived in twelve counties in California and have lived/travelled to over half of our United States. There is good and bad in every area.

    J.J., you relocated from the bay area. My grandparents lived in a part of Richmond that was a beautiful neighborhood with views of the Golden Gate and Richmond-San Rafael bridge. Less than a mile away was some of the worst areas you'd ever want to see, much less live there.

    Some of the "good ol’ boys and old-fart power brokers" helped to shaped and plan for this town and attempt to make it an even better place to live than it is now. I like Doug's suggestions of getting involved to make our community better. I've helped numerous non-profits and serve on a handful of boards. My children and wife volunteer their time as well. Get out and make a difference. You can also enjoy all the natural beauty of the area. Go hiking, fishing, kayaking and you'll see how great this area can be!

  25. Avatar Laurie C. says:

    In a perfect world there would be no blight, poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, judgemental nasty people…..but being a native of this area, I have to wonder why you would stay here if it's so horrible….we don't want you any more than you seem to want us. There is so much good in our area that people like you refuse to see…..and I bet you wouldn't see good in ANY place that you lived.

  26. Avatar J P Adams says:

    If you all will notice, the very first word at the top of this piece is OPINION.

    Everyone is entitled to their observations and opinions, controversial as they may be. I'm sure most of us can agree on that.

  27. Avatar Ron Chiodo says:

    We grew up in Shasta County and moved to Washington DC area after marriage. We've always traveled back to Redding to see our families. We were in the Redding Hometown Buffet for lunch one Sunday. Guy close to use wore a Hawaiian T shirt. We spoke. "How do you like Redding." He leveled us. "Redding is the Arm Pit of the world. I'm getting out of here and back to Hawaii as soon as I can." Well, we've been to Hawaii. It has it arm pits. It has its highlights. In Redding we have our arm pits highlights too. In Redding traffic jams do not last for days as here in Washington DC this week. In Redding you will occasionally recognize someone in your local market as a neighbor. A chance in 10,000 here in the DC area. In Redding if you are in trouble someone might stop, not anywhere in our area. In Redding you can see the weather developing as you look toward a horizon. Here you see the weather when a tree drops on your house. In Shasta county as you cross paths with someone coming from the other direction there likely is a wave. Here there is a honk if you are on the road in front of someone. In Shasta County if you see a cow out, you call your neighbor or in a strange neighborhood you stop and knock on doors. Last time I did that after 3 doors, the response was Oh, S**t. I knew I found the right door. In Redding if a neighbor is in trouble you come out of your house bare foot and in your shorts with frying pan in hand. Here if you hear a noise you check the door locks and send your wife out. Warts and all I'd rather be in Redding.

  28. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    I guess the welcome wagon missed you, JJ. Grew up in LA, 20 years in SF and 20 here. I too had a bit of culture shock. Redding has come a long way in 20 years. The changes here have been pretty much positive. Can you say that for the place you left?
    My greatest disappointment for Redding would be for it to assimilate with the places I left.
    Although I am not a big Rodeo fan, it does not get under my skin as it seems to with you. Tattoos are not at all unique to Redding, nor is homelessness. My guess is that you are now in a smaller fish bowl and you are subjected to seeing more aspects of humanity. Perhaps you were able to live an insulated environment previously, i.e. from you pristine home to the tennis courts and on to the country club.

    Roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, look into the eyes of the homeless, become more human.

  29. Avatar Barbara says:

    gosh, no tattoos in San Francisco, eh? And no homeless people either?! And no ugly run down parts…hmmm…Yes, I would really wonder why you moved here!

  30. Avatar Lana says:

    What a sad existence!!! To be so negative about everything is such a waste of time and of your "newscafe"……..

    Pls, with all the other "really" important news, pls spare us any more like this one!

  31. Avatar Mary says:

    "J.J. Brown is a Bay Area native "…… You're nuts! The last time I was in the City by the Bay to visit my daughter a drunk homeless man urinated into the street in front of my grandchildren, my car was keyed and I spent most of the visit stuck in traffic. Go back where you came from & try to clean up your own city before you come here and criticize ours.

  32. Avatar Doug Mudford says:


    I forgot to mention the Art Walk. It's free. It's wonderful. What's not to like about looking at art (many watercolors), talking to the artists,.. sometimes watching them create… and helping downtown businesses.

  33. Avatar Tim says:

    Puhleese JJ? If you were only as cosmopolitan and enlightened, as you submit. You chose to move to this area. If you did not do your own research, oh well, your bad!

    While far from Eden, I find Shasta County and its inhabitants to be "salt of the earth." I travel for business, extensively, all over Northern CA and you could not pay me enough to relocate into the Bay area. Did you ever leave your house down there? While San Francisco is a beautiful city, there are pockets of the worst human elements throughout the region, far more "white trash", than offered here

    I wish you well, but have to admit, I am enjoying your misery!

  34. Avatar Veoniqque says:

    Wow J.J. it seems you did not research the area very well before moving here. Did you happen to notice that you have to drive through 3 hours of farmland to get here? That should have been a major clue.

    Not everyone on Redding has a love for the Rodeo or Kool April nights, but at least we do not criticize them. These events bring people and money to the city. No one is forcing you to participate in them.

    That downtown Safeway was just completely redone. I suggest you take your visiting friends and relatives to a Safeway in San Francisco, or perhaps Oakland, or Richmond. Perhaps you will be more at ease there.

  35. Avatar Chris says:

    You're a jackass.

  36. Avatar Deb R. says:

    Redding is Smalltown, USA, for better or worse, provincial warts and all. We might be a very different place if a small group of greed driven businessmen had not gutted the heart of our beautiful historic downtown for their own financial gain in the early 70’s. We could very possibly look more like other old gold rush towns that attract tourists with restored historic buildings, housing a mix of quality chain and locally owned art shops, kitchen stores, cafes and boutiques. Tourists flock to our north state paradise for the outdoor recreation; it is a no-brainer to provide commerce and culture to enhance the experience. If Grants Pass can reinvent itself, why can’t Redding. We have a head start with the Sundial Bridge, Cascade Theatre and finally removing the roof from our beige mecca we call downtown. Perhaps we could woo a downtown anchor store that provides outdoor enthusiast with all their needs for north state trekking like a Cabela’s or L.L. Bean and begin to build a vibrant destination area as they have done in Freeport, Maine.

    What we do have are really great people, tattooed and toothless as some of us may be, incredibly beautiful surroundings and a mighty river snaking right though it all. OK, there is that summer thing that pushes the tolerance envelope to the absolute limit, but hey, escaping for a couple of days is as close as Arcata or Dunsmuir.

    I grew up here and have since lived many places, they all have their problems. For now, it is as my son tells his kids, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” Instead, as one reader suggested, pick one thing and work on fixing it.

  37. Avatar Carolyn Aguiar says:

    Brings to mind something I once read. A happy, smiling women approached an old man, a native of Maine. She said" we are thinking of moving here, how are the people that live here? Are they good or bad? Happy or sad?" He replies, how were you neighbors where you lived before? She said they were the salt of the earth, happy, giving, all in all just great people. He said "yep, that's how they are here" Not long after another person asked the old man the same question, that they were thinking of moving there and just wanted to know in advance what the community was like. He asked how they were where he came from. The women replied "They were greedy, unhappy, selfish and if they had a home, it was rundown and filthy" His reply
    "Yep, that's how they are here, too"

  38. Avatar Henry Challe says:

    Wow. This is pretty funny. I've got to say, I am still not convinced that JJ Brown's septic dribbling is in earnest. I don't think that I would admit to having placed a giant bet on my future, actually selling out, picking up my whole life and moving, without first being completely aware of the nature of my new home. I mean, it sounds like most people put more thought into switching tooth-paste then JJ has given to where he will live the remainder of his days.

    Sad rather then funny really…if this is truly a legitimate letter, then I fear that JJ has something much deeper wrong with his life. Perhaps a looming divorce, or a deeply disturbed depression is bringing Redding into the scape-goat role as the avoidance measure needed to stall a looming confrontation with the true realities of life…been there.

    Honestly, all that is good, and bad, can be found in most every corner of God's universe if it's looked for, or sought. As my friend Bruce told me the other day when I mentioned my desire to move to a desert island…"brother, you've got to make your island wherever your at". So true Bruce…JJ, I hope you find some peace and reconnect with the beauty that got you to Redding in the first place.

    • Avatar JeffG says:

      I can't help but imagine a retiring yuppie sipping cappuccino in a crowded cafe while browsing real estate listings with a laptop perched precariously on the knee. A young intern dances by attempting to protect the product of his office coffee run, yet still manages to bump JJ's leg. With cat-like reflexes, JJ saves the treasured Macbook Pro from impending destruction, but at the cost of a coffee-stained 220 thread-count shirt. The intern, already 20 minutes into a 10 minute break, scarcely has time to utter "sorry" before hitting the door.

      JJ, still futilely dabbing at the cherished shirt, looks back to the monitor and falls in love with a creatively photographed Redding home. A wailing siren provides the extra nudge and JJ clicks "buy it now."

  39. Avatar Adam Mankoski says:

    JJ – Thank you for the gift to all of us who love this place. You have made us realize just how much we love it and how intolerant we are of those who criticize it.

    My challenge to you: put your money where your mouth is and join one of the many organizations in this area trying to revitalize downtown, promote arts and culture, preserve our natural spaces or help those who don't have the luxury to criticize the state of those things.

    It's just too bad that your article doesn't expound on those things that you elude to in the first paragraph – those things that you feel have a lot of potential – and instead went on a tirade about many of the things that give this community its history, its sense of community and its character, whether you enjoy attending them or not..

    Last month, I hiked at a spectacular National Recreation Area, saw Joan Osborne live at the Cascade, went wine tasting, ate an amazing steak dinner, visited a world-class glass maker in her studio and slept with my doors and windows wide open. Gee wiz. I did all of that in Redding.

  40. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    Create the world you want to see, my friend.

  41. Avatar Why Not says:

    What a bummer you're so financially invested in such a horrid place! It sounds as though you had NO IDEA what you were getting yourself into. Tsk Tsk…I feel sorry that you must avert your eyes when approaching a homeless person or a trailer park. Surely it is worth the financial loss to pack it all up and sell your home for less than you bought it for! I for one would be happy to help you pack!

    • Avatar Neighbor, TC says:

      I agree… you need help? I am sure, J.J. that in the 'glorious' Bay Area that you don't see the horrifying trailer parks or the homeless person walking the street, and I know you won't Bay Area merchants offering someone with age a part-time job, to help them keep their house, or even put food on their table, because this STATE is in such a financial 'dingo crap' because of the "those old has-beens did something worthwhile, aside from rubber-necking at the country club or walking in women’s shoes?" to help the smaller counties survive…

      We, up here in the north, do what we can to help one another… unlike those of you that wish to complain, rather than assist…. please do us a favor and PACK UP.

  42. Avatar Susan Daugherty says:

    Wow. I just got over to a newscafe.com and what a morning I've missed. I think most everything that should be said, has been…very well by many of you….and very succinctly by others. Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't have a bit to add.

    I love Redding. When I first moved here from Santa Cruz in 1980, I wondered how I could possibly survive here. I took some time off work and spent it learning the roads, meeting people, and finding things to love about my new home. It took all of 2 weeks and I was hooked. Maybe if you took some time to search out the positive, JJ, you would find it too.

    I sincerely hope that you do find it. You see, I am moving to the northern coast next year. The fact that so many Bay and LA area people have moved to Redding in the past 5 years, and that so many of them want to turn Redding into the places they left, helps me to make this move. The "dog-eat-dog" style of driving they bring with them is not to my taste either. The very, very last thing I need is for you to decide to leave Redding and head to the northern coastal area!

    Redding has been very good to me. It is filled with the kind of people that took a deep breath and answered your article courteously. Those people deserve to be appreciated along with this beautiful, though imperfect, city.

    • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

      Susan, we miss you already! 🙁

      We hope you'll tell us before you move so we can say goodbye, and that you'll keep up the North State via anewscafe.com.

      • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

        … keep up with the North State

        • Avatar Susan Daugherty says:


          I'm hear until August and I plan to do at least one final show before I head for the coast. I imagine I will always keep up with Redding, through trips, calls, FB and, of course through anewscafe.com. After 29 years, this place is a part of me.

          I have been reading Crescent City's 'Triplicate" online for the past 2 years in preparation for my move and already found a friend in one of the columnist there.

          Thanks for the kind words.


  43. Avatar Spa&TheDancer says:

    Great news JJ!

    Bob and Patty Wilson. They own Don Hemstead’s Moving & Storage.

    (530) 246-2729.

    They are truly a world class service provider.

    Their customer service, reliability and dedication to excellence will amaze you.

    Bob can be out at a moments notice and will give you timely, fair and thorough estimate.

    The crew at Hemstead’s will pack your belongings with the utmost care. Rest easy, your possessions will make the trip in one piece.

    I think your experience with Hemstead’s may actually restore your faith in our sleepy little town.

    Send us a post card.

  44. Avatar Lulu says:

    News Cafe?

    Ok guys, what gives? To me, this article is a little Jerry Springer-ish? We all know this article is so rediculous that we really shouldn't be waisting our time defending. I'm sure the writer is getting exactly the response he/she hoped for.

  45. Avatar Cindy Martinusen Col says:

    Venting perhaps? But JJ, everyone is able to change his or her perspective and find beauty and value in everything. Maybe this opinion piece, the venting that it provided, and the responses here will help turn that around – I hope so.

    I've lived in the Redding area since 1977 since I was 7 years old.

    My uneducated mother worked 26 years from being a school cafeteria secretary to the highly respected executive assistant for the superintendent of a local school district.

    My uneducated father is a veteran and has been a roofer for over 30 years. He’s not a big businessman, but he’s always doing work for nearly free for elderly people in our area. He’ll be on the roof, solving emergency leaks this weekend I’m sure. People trust him and know he’ll go above and beyond what is necessary to do the job right.

    I graduated from West Valley HS in 1988 and am another of your uneducated locales. I've worked hard, educated myself at home while raising children, and I am now a multi-published author, speaker and working freelance writer. I’ve volunteered monthly at a writers group for the past 12 years. I’ve traveled nationally and internationally for pleasure and for business. Though once I wished to move away, I absolutely love it here.

    My family is very close and wonderful, but we aren’t particularly special for the Redding area. There are MANY MANY wonderful people of EVERY variety. Maybe you haven’t had a good first year or so. Take it from someone who has lived here and who also had a negative eye toward it for years – seek the good here and you’ll find it. That’s a truth in everything. Or seek the bad anywhere and in anyone and you’ll find that too.

    My initial response was to say you should be quiet and head out of here. We ARE defensive over Redding. But instead, I want to challenge you to set aside your criticism, maybe just for 6 months and seek what’s great here. Hawkman Studios started the wonderful 2nd Saturday Art Hop (thanks SO much for that!). Do you read Enjoy Magazine? Attend some of the Cascade performances, take a class, visit some of our excellent and varied churches, volunteer at the Red Cross or Good News Rescue Mission and see the how much YOU gain from giving to those you dislike seeing at Safeway — it might just transform your life if you’re willing.

    Now I want to move every July/Aug too, but what a great autumn we’re having right? So here's a belated welcome to Redding! I hope you are able to discover its wealth. Do you have plans for Thanksgiving? I’m serious – we're having a large one this year and inviting a lot of extra people. I mean it!

    • Avatar Susan Daugherty says:


      Please feel free to use my driveway for your Thanksgiving overflow. I sure 3 cars can park there easily. Let's chat about it before then.

      Your neighbor,


      • Avatar Cindy Martinusen Col says:

        Hi Susan, it'll be at my mom's in Cottonwood, but thank you! : ) What are you doing for it? Yes, let's talk beforehand. Do you have my email address?

  46. Avatar Neighbor, TC says:

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

    Before you come to Northern California to actually get a breath of fresh air, remember that you are not only spreading ill of one's hometown for most of their life, you are spreading the so-called, 'dingo crap' that most of us can say about the Bay Area. Where I spent two years and will still call it 'hell'. I would live in Redding before I ever go back to a place where four of my friends were shot in a close 'high society' neighborhood…

    Living in the neighboring county, yet another Rural Community, if the Southern part of this silly state were not stealing from our resources to pad its own pockets… then maybe our communities would not have to face the obstacles they do.

    And if you are so displeased with our Redding Community, by all means, feel free to simply sell and leave, and take with you any other Southern California negatives that move here and gripe…

    I have seen a great deal of growth with the beautification of Redding, and those responsible are those who really do see the 'potential' that Shasta County has to offer our growing Northern part of this silly state.

    Thanks for coming, now SEE YOUR WAY TO THE DOOR!

  47. Avatar Frank S. says:

    I moved here with my family 16 years ago. Best decision I ever made. Yes, there is always room for improvement, but the generosity and caring of the people here, and the level of volunteerism, is unprecedented. I consider myself very fortunate to be here after spending most of my life in the SF Bay Area. Frank Strazzarino

  48. Avatar J. Gibbs says:

    I've only visited Redding, but found the area beautiful and homey in its homliness. That said – JJ warned you to take salt and it is an opinion piece.

    Look at this if nothing else – it got a lot of people talking about the good things in the community and improvement potential. In all, I think the column stirred (mostly) civil debate and a lively discussion. Wish more communities (physical and online) would do more of this: community journalism at its finest. Thanks, anewscafe, for providing the forum.

  49. Avatar Doreen Olson says:


    I am really wondering which part of the Heaven-on-earth Bay Area you moved from, because I spent more than a month in San Francisco a couple years ago (all my other numerous visits had been less than a week in length). There is not a single place in Redding (even within touching distance of dumpsters) that is as gross as some of the places we saw in SF. We have our homeless and ugly people, but we don't generally trip over them walking down the street like my son did in SF. We don't generally have to worry about whether the sidewalk is wet with urine or water. We don't have to dodge nearly as much airborne trash on windy days, either.

    Your comment about an elderly woman doing security at Safeway is way out of line and I will be looking for your public apology soon posted here at News Cafe. Elderly people can do all kinds of jobs and are entitled to do so. It's certainly more constructive to take a security job to augment one's retirement check than to join the ranks of the homeless. Make up your mind which one you want more. A cousin of mine twice-removed died this spring at the age of 102. Until about a month before her death she still went to work at the family business four days a week. Every one at the office loved her. Usefulness has nothing to do with age and a lot more to do with attitude and experience.

    As for your opinion of rodeos (to which everyone is entitled), you are showing a touch of that dreaded trait of ignorance by voicing the same. A huge portion of your beloved Bay Area started out as a mostly-cattle ranch. Cattle ranching and farming is a lot of what made California what it is and provided the funds for ranch owners to sponsor some of California's first artists. Ranching and farming provide a lot of jobs so people won't be homeless. An added benefit, in case you hadn't noticed, is that they provide food, even for their critics. And you obviously forgot to check out a rodeo in person, because even if it's not something you enjoy, it can hardly be classed 'boring' to have several hundred pounds of steer running straight at you as fast as it can–there is always a slight possibility the fence won't hold. There is always a possibility the clown won't be able to rope a bronco as quickly as he would like, etc. You would be very strange to not use up any adrenalin at all at a rodeo.

    Instead of being someone who does watercolors, writing and tennis, maybe you should try enhancing the community by helping in an art class at a local school, writing encouraging notes to the infirm, and teaching special olympians how to play tennis. It is much better to volunteer past the time of life that most people do than to drag down the volunteers with negative comments.

  50. Avatar Karen says:

    JJ, you say you retired here, and on the advice of a realtor, bought a house. Is that all you did….take some realtor's advice? A smart person studies the community they are thinking of living in. Did you not subscribe to a local newspaper, spend a few weeks here, experiencing the local flavor, talk to locals, visit city hall and talk to the planning dept? Did you not visit the police dept. and talk with the Neighborhood Watch officer, or inquire about crime stats? Did you not study the myriad of neighborhoods, in which to live? If you are so unhappy, it is your own fault for not doing your homework.

    You seem to be part of a self-absorbed populace that blames everyone and everything you are unhappy with on others. My best advice for you is to get out….OR get out and volunteer with all the rest of us folks who over the last 50 years have made Redding what it is….a new and upcoming city, with growing pains, eager to expand our cultural offerings, not afraid to take chances, invest in our future, and the most important thing of all – the best folks you will ever meet. I hope one day, I will read your name running for city council, with a reversed attitude which includes great passion for our beautiful area, and some solutions to the problems you think we have.

  51. Avatar Lulu says:

    Lots of press here for you JJ. No witty retort?

  52. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    I was gonna give ol' JJ a piece of my mind too, but I'm too upset right now. The refrigerator on my porch bit the dust. Dang.

  53. Avatar Kelly Brewer says:

    Hal made me laugh out loud here twice today. Spaman added a third (classic of him). And I was touched by Cindy Coloma's reaction.

    As for how this piece ever got published, well, Doni and I have always said anewscafe.com is not an echo chamber and that there is room for dissenting opinions. We feel we must practice what we preach, even if we have to hold our noses.

    Good to see so many philosophical readers out there, not to mention local loyalists. I can't help but wonder if we'll hear from this writer again.

  54. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Dissenting opinions are one thing… the ranting, blatant venom, and venting of a deeply unhappy and angry person are another.

  55. Avatar Les Baugh says:

    As I was reading this article I truly thought it was a café news “editorial” in disguise – something you wrote just to test our reaction. I expected either Doni or Kelly to jump in and fess up once there was a broad sampling of responses.

    Apparently the article is the real thing… and I love it. No, not the article itself, it is over the top.

    Like Doni, I have enjoyed the responses.

    After all, it’s not the “things” that make this place special; it’s the “people”.

    This community is full of amazing people. I see the results of people going the extra mile every day. People loving, giving, sharing – people who care.

    God bless you all.

  56. Avatar Chill says:

    J.J., I hope we hear from you again! I appreciate ascerbic, pungent observations. Some remarks were less than kind, but I also noted some unkind responses to J.J's observations. Redding needs dissenting voices. Anewscafe could use a little more dissent as well.

    My husband read J.J.'s post with no visible expression while I chuckled throughout! Redding has plenty of room to improve and like alcoholism, the cure cannot be accomplished by denial. I'm not ready to christen J.J. king, but his one-eyed observations are better than being blind to Reddings less attractive aspects……….

  57. Avatar Karen Whittaker says:

    Well, I couldn't believe I read what I did! I thought it was a hoax. Then real life hit me, after reading all of the comments. Yes, a true "letter" from a "true" person. At least I gather that is the case. I didn't realize anewsacafe had an opinion space to write on. But I guess that is a good thing after reading all the comments. We are a diverse group, aren't we? And that can be a good thing!

    I do feel bad that JJ feels he got a bum rap. His made his mistake for moving here (according to him), and his negative opinion has made many of us defend our terrritory, and that turns out to be a good thing, for those of us who LOVE our territory! Our hard core, local values are now shining!

    JJ, I am trying to understand your point, but how can you make points when you slash our community, people, stores, recreation, beauty, etc? If you feel lonely, it is because YOU brought this on yourself… please do not blame our community, and all you bashed. This is a great place to live, and no place is perfect. Acceptance and tolerance are great virtues. Try some of these traits on, they might look good on you!

    By the way, JJ, if you feel so lonely and blue about being here, perhaps you need a campanion to lift your spirits. I know that little dogs can be the best cure! Please check out Pet's Without Partners (Redding) (go online) to adopt a very special dog that would have otherwise been killed before being rescued. We adopt out dogs at Pet Smart (Hilltop Dr., Redding) on Saturdays.

    God Bless you, JJ, as you try to find peace and happiness in our very dear city, loved by many.

    • Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

      Karen, we welcome and value submissions that express readers' opinions. It's as easy as emailing us at anewscafe@gmail.com, which is how many contributors reach us with their posts and photographs. In part, anewscafe.com's Village Voices section was created just for this purpose. As Kelly said, we welcome all kinds of viewpoints, even those opposed to ours. We only ask that you provide us with your name and city.

      • Avatar Karen Whittaker says:

        Thanks for the info, Doni! Your clarification is appreciated. I honor different opinions, and I am glad the forum is here. I just didn't realize anewscafe took "outside" contributers and opinions; I had not made the connection about Village Voices, and what you just explained. Keep up all the good work with anewscafe!

        Kudos to the gang! You are all awesone, and I am a dedicated reader and enjoy it so much!

  58. Avatar Marvin says:

    To Mr. and Mrs Brown welcome, to Redding…….I am one of those old timers you are talking about……77yrs. ago i was born right here in this beautiful town of Redding, it was not a city like the bay area…at that time Redding was just a neigh fight town, not even really on the map, populations about 3,000 to 5,000…I sold the Courier Free Press for 3 cents a copy….then later the Redding Record Searchlight for 5 cents a copy……I loved it then,and i love it now……and i can tell you,we have came a long way since then, maybe not to your liking, but i could give you a whole lot of history from then until now….

    My Parents taught me the culture of Redding, and my good teachers, taught me history before my time….In the old days,good or bad,we made the best of what we had….our culture then,,,,and still..is more of the western style of life…..and once a year we have a week long activity of western living, You mentioned not having been to our Rodeo in May…..Mr. Brown i am inviting you and the misses to our Rodeo Breakfast in the month of may….which has been going on for over 55yrs……where over 10,000 people gather, tattoos,long hair, short hair,rings in their noses, beards,cowboys,cowgirls,all walks of life come to enjoy Rodeo Week….can you Mr. Brown imagine what a crowd of over 10,000 people all together having fun, I know Mr. Brown its not like the Bay Area….but we don't want to be like the Bay Area……if you do come, you and the misses can then see why you really moved to good old Redding….then also come to our fair this summer… and watch the Future Farmers of America, sell there Sheep,Goats,Hi Prize Bulls and Heifers,and of course Hogs, and Pigs, ."..No ,,Mrs Brown you don't need to wear cowboys boots," but come and watch ….and see how proud are kids are after raising them from when they were first born, be aware …..some will be crying…..I know this is not your life style, and neither is it for a lot of people in Redding…but it will show you why we are not uppity ups, as you think we ought to be….again Mr. and Mrs. Brown welcome to "Little America" and please look around you and get involved, then write to " anewscaf'e next yr. and tell us what you think…..///WELCOME//////

  59. Avatar Joel Stratte-McClure says:

    "What's Wrong With This Place" has made its author Redding's hottest early November celebrity. We're now eagerly waiting for his/her response to the hullaballoo he/she provoked. And the diatribe has encouraged me to postpone a trip to Sicily and get a seat for the rodeo next Spring. Who is this guy/gal? Ya gotta love it!

  60. Avatar Louis Vonderscheer says:

    I came to Shasta County (barely as in Cottonwood) 54 years ago from Los Angeles. I was 5 and immediately loved country life. We moved up to the big town of Redding 5 years later. I have to say I don't like the changes so many here have praised. In 50+ years I have watched the area transformed. It is a poor representation of all the places the "newcomers" came from. They liked the "charm" of Redding, as long as they could have a McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell, like every other corner in L.A. Now all the great old stores and restaurants are gone; Tubby & Ann's, Doc's, Garden Market and Riverview Market. All destroyed by the Big Box or Super Store frenzy. Sadly Redding has grown too much.
    I agree with Susan Daugherty, the old Redding is gone, it's time to leave.

    • Avatar Karen Whittaker says:

      So, where you can you live that a place does not change? I read today in the news that a small town lost their zipcode and only post office. The commnunity cried tears.

      Yep, the "OLD REDDING" is gone. Was it really that great to begin with? With the help of many, perhaps it will be revitalized, and made better. We can't expect the old horse and carriage sidewalks, nor the 1940's cars. We are all living now, in the year of 2009. Many people do NOT like the fast food joints: we would prefer the oldies, yet will be happy with the quality and charisma of the new joints to satify our souls…

      Funny thing is, I woke up this morning wondering how 100 years have made a difference in our lives. Even 200 years… I cannnot fathom that even 50 years ago, when I was just born (almost), life was so different as far as technology goes. I could go on and on, but the gist is that everything, and every place will change~ whether good or bad.

      Who knows, maybe in 20 years LA will be the best place to be, but I highly doubt it. Who are we to judge the best place to live, as every place has its pros and cons? And then, how do we know how safe we may be? Even the smallest, cutest, most rural areas have their unexpected crimes, or shocking events.

      There is no guaurantee about anythting, regardless of where one lives. So, with this being said, I will continue to live in Redding, look forward to new things and accept the things I cannot change. The beauty, and the people in this area are all I need to truly enjoy our wonderful community!

      • Avatar Louis Vonderscheer says:

        There are many places in this country that have not changed much in the last 50 years. I suppose one can say their economy's are stagnant, but it does have the benefit of being stable.
        I miss the days when Redding was a small town, and I lived in Enterprise, which hadn't been annexed yet. when the population sign (12,000 IIRC) was on highway 44 next to where PacOut and Taylor Motor's would be built. All four of my children were born and raised here, two still live here (along with 4 grandchildren). I have invested my life here, and have loved it most of the time, but while I was busy with my family and a career, something changed, Redding got big. Then the middle class blue collar jobs disappeared when all the mills closed.
        I now work in Sacramento, because my job here died along with much of the timber industry, so I have developed a different perspective on Redding now; It's much like the Sacramento suburbs.
        I doubt I will ever find my Shangri-la, and with family here, I will always be connected, but in my opinion, change has not improved things in Redding.

        All the above is personal history and opinion, take it for what it's worth. This discussion is, as most I see today, not about understanding or compromise, but the I'm right, you're wrong kind. For which I am partly to blame, so I will herewith cease. 🙂

        • Avatar Karen Whittaker says:

          Hi Louis, I understand what are are saying… And, I am tickled to say I live in Enterprise!! This doesn't mean anything, I am just referencing what you mentioned! I truly do hope you find your Shangri-la… My husband and I just bought ours today, seriously! A used 26' travel trailer, good condition and great price! Looking forward to our Shangri-la's getaways on the cheap side! I don't want to come across " I''m right"… I am just say'n!

  61. Avatar Linda Samuels says:

    Reading these responses to JJ Brown's tirade confirms our move to Redding was the right decision. Besides all the beauty Shasta County has to offer, the people here have great perspective. Thanks to anewscafe for the article.

  62. Avatar Theresa says:

    I am not from Redding. Redding had never been my choice of places to live. My husband's parents were elderly and needed help. We packed up our kids and moved up here 7 years ago.

    In the last 7 years we have watched both of his parents pass away, our children progress in school and have made incredible friends.

    In September on the way home from Hawaii. My family stopped at a Denny's in Emeryville (SF Area). While minding our own business eating a group of teenage guys came in. They were loud and disrespectful. We told the kids not to look at them or say anything to them. At that point one of them threatened to take my SL*TY *SS outside and gut me.

    I am in my 40s, have 2 teens and am far from being Sl*ty.

    So may I request that you "packed our bags and run screaming from this place" and go back to the BAY AREA and fix the mess you left behind. We will try and hold done the fort up here fer ya pardner.

  63. Avatar Jim Warnemuende says:

    I’m more surprised that A News Café published this piece than I am that someone would have the point of view expressed by the writer. I’ve met people like JJ Brown in all walks of life. They are constant complainers. They see the glass as totally empty. When I hear them speak or write their opinions, I feel thankful that I am different from them.

    I would like to see A News Café offer those opinions where the writer has some suggestions for improvement. Better yet, I would like to hear that the writer is already engaged in making things better and would like the rest of the readers to get on board. Otherwise, it’s just pollution.

  64. Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

    Jim, I realize it's painful to read such negativity on anewscafe.com about our hometown, so we hear you.

    Even so, we accept all kinds of contributions, not just positive ones. As Kelly said, this is not an echo chamber … nor would we want anewscafe.com to become one. While we're positive-thinkers, we also value diversity and variety.

    Also, notice what happened with J.J. Brown's negative observations: Readers rushed to the North State's defense.

    Brown's article unwittingly became a springboard to a highly charged, highly engaged dialogue that made me proud of the caliber of folks who come to anewscafe.com: Smart, humorous, civilized, articulate, curious, community-minded and brave enough to speak their minds and post comments with their real names.

    What's more, I recognize that many of the people who commented on this opinion piece are also those who give greatly of themselves, their time, their money and their talent to improve and enrich our community.

    Yes, generally speaking, it's true that a minority of folks do much of the heavy lifting in most any community – including ours. And I suppose that leaves more time for uninvolved, half-empty folks to sit back and gather negative observations. But we'll never change those people, or convince them to become positive thinkers, any more than we can entice or shame them into getting involved and be – as GrammaLyn said – the change they want to see.

    While, as many readers pointed out, this kind of article was uncharacteristically negative and nasty compared with what usually appears on anewscafe.com, if anything, it helped clarify our thoughts and feelings about this place we call home.

    OK, I'm off to bake Kelly's birthday cake and Bruce is going shopping for cowboy boots. Carry on. 🙂

    • Avatar Ken D says:

      My two cents: The best response to people like J.J. is no response at all. Imagine how devastating it would be for (him?) to lay all that out, only to be met with absolute, yawning, silence.

      I say, let him and others speak — it's not something to get all hand-wringing-knicker-twisted over.

      There are, of course, limits. But J.J. doesn't come close in my opinion. Anyway, he's more pathetic than hateful.


  65. Avatar Ken D says:

    J.J. —

    I feel your pain. I'm so sorry this happened to you — it's heart wrenching to hear your story. But, there may be hope. I think it's possible that your neighbors may just be able to pull together enough scratch to help you with a bus ticket. If they're smart they will. I'll contribute a few bucks. Anyone else want to help J.J.?

    But, Cowboy, while you're waiting for the funds to develop, here's a question for you: What exactly did YOU bring to the party?

    I'll check back for your answer. But gotta go now — need to tarp off my single-wide afore the rain comes and get to the laundry room less some redneck steals my wife-beaters outta the dryer. Maybe we'll talk again in another life, Kimosabe, but I kinda hope not.

    Anyway, best of luck to you! Have a nice day! Don't let the door hitcha!

  66. Avatar BinHereAWhile says:

    Negative? Heck, I thought you were writing promotional material for the Chamberpot of Commerce. I'd call your story a white-wash.

    You didn't mention even half of the crap that coats the nether regions of the leading citizens of this town, and the crap that coats the lips, cheeks and noses of the other leading citizens. But you are new here. You will learn, Grasshopper.

    Wanna go have some dinner? I know where they serve up some real good sacred cow. Oh, wait. They went outta bidniz.

  67. Avatar Teresa Norman says:

    Remind me… why are you here? Go away if you don't like it here.

    If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Either step up or shut up.

  68. Avatar Margaret Vincent says:

    Let me be the one to agree with Mr. Brown without reservation. He's right, its the land outside the city limits that provides the greatest appeal to Redding. It's unfortunate that the best endorsement any of the previous commenters could provide is that Redding isn't the worst of the rest of California. That locally-owned startup businesses almost always fail because Redding residents are unwilling to pay a little bit more money to support restaurants or services that are just as good or better than national chains, but that don't have the volume of these to allow them to charge lower prices. That they condemn the endless development of southern California, yet don't elect city representatives that will fight to keep Redding from becoming that. That the city promoters perpetually promote Shasta College as a superior community educational institution when in fact (with the exception of the Health Sciences Department?) the bar is set so low for most programs that kids are in no way prepared to make the transition to a 4-year university.

    So all you folks that just scrambled to the defense of Redding, perhaps you are the ones who need to examine your rationale for thinking it is so great. At least JJ Brown had the courage to step up and state an opinion that isn't exactly like 99% of Reddingite's; a behavior we don't see often enough in this town.

  69. Avatar L. R Watson says:

    Like anything in life there are trade-offs. Mr. Brown can find exactly what he wants elsewhere but at what price? Higher real estate prices make for high property taxes.. The probability of being knifed, shot at or mugged after a night on the town. Grid-lock traffic. Car jacking. Home invasions. Your home – thugs breaking and entering. Graffiti galore. Long lines at any sporting or cultural event. Poor air quality make for restrictions on fire places and wood burning stoves.

    In our neck of the woods it's anything but those things. People crab about traffic on Cypress. Compared to elsewhere the notion there's gridlock here is laughable. Boating and hiking is less than 10 minutes out anyone's doorstep. Fresh air – all you can inhale. This list could go on . . . but the bottom line: The quality of life is vastly superior here as compared to anywhere else.

    Count your blessings Mr. Brown. They're right under your nose.

    • Avatar J P Adams says:

      Hey L. R… For a second in your first paragraph, I thought you were describing Redding.

      Just kidding.

  70. Avatar Budd Hodges says:

    Well hell J.J., ya sure stiired them up. Those folks who love this beautiful part of California are fighting mad and rightly so.

    Maybe you should spend more time with your water colors.

  71. Avatar D. Nethery says:

    I love this site, but some of you people sound like Rush Limbaugh or Hannity. Do you remember when many of us were against the war and the radio "stars" told us, to leave the US, because we did not see things the way they did.? I was told I was unpatriotic, because I did not see things their way. I am with Bruce and his comments. Some of what J.J. said is food for thought. We do have problems in Shasta county including a very high suicide rate. And some of our "glorious leaders" have made bad decisions, money wise. We all love the surrounding area. Mountains, lakes, walking trails, etc. J.J., if you are stuck here because of money, enjoy what Redding has to offer. Just don't listen to the local radio station, or you really will go mad!!

  72. Avatar joejoe says:

    Go back to the bay area that people like you ruined. Take a couple of the locusts like you that fled their ruined home to try and colonize Redding. There is a reason people are leaving the bay area in droves, nobody here is going to miss a bay area locust or two.

  73. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Maybe J.J is like Rush Limbaugh. He provided entertainment by stirring things up with his ill-formed opinions as a rank newbie to town with the intent of garnering attention. He sounded, in his article, as though he was sharing important information. He wasn't.

  74. Avatar Maria Sudduth says:

    As I write this I have people in this town that I love who moved here in good faith and are struggling because THE JOBS AREN'T here. I hate to see the personal attacks against those with whom we disagree. Whatever happened to listening to a dissenting voice and then POLITELY stating a differing opinion. Why is it we go straight to "If you don't like it here, then get out!"
    My husband and I moved here as a young couple in 1978. We put down roots, made life long friends and raised our children here. Neither of my children settled here because of jobs. We are blessed with the bounty of nature here, the goodwill (for the most part) of the people. Every community however has room for improvement. So does Redding. There ARE issues with drugs, homeless, etc., as we suffer through growing pains. Putting our heads in the sand serves no purpose. We need jobs, we need to have better social services for those less fortunate, we need to be forward thinking. We need to realize that even though the message may be rough around the edges, it is still a message.

  75. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    I've made a couple of tongue-in-cheek responses prior to this, because it was really kind of hard to take ol' JJ seriously. I thought it likely that he or she was just trying to stir folks up for fun. But, assuming JJ was sincere, remember that his or her comments were prefaced by "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 . . ."

    Most of us haven't been in JJ's shoes: trapped by a down real estate market. Feeling trapped can make it dang difficult to look at one's circumstances through rose-colored glasses, y'know?

    That said, if I'm to take JJ's comments in earnest, a couple of his statements gall me. One is his comment about the Safeway security guard. That just rings as mean. The other is, "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." That rings as elitist horse manure–perhaps suggesting that people of limited means don't deserve to live in a nice setting–and I'm in touch with my redneck lineage enough to feel the impulse to suggest to JJ that he find a way to get his or her candy-ass the hell out of Dodge. Er, Redding.

    But, after throwing a few darts at a photo of Donald Trump to facilitate a more level head, I agree with Maria, above: "We need to realize that even though the message may be rough around the edges, it is still a message."

    But, take what I say with a grain of salt. After all, I enjoy seeing an old toilet turned into a flower planter.

  76. Avatar Olivia says:

    This was the last thing I was going to do this morning, but is very medatative to journal my feelings. I have listened to the trashing of Redding for many years now and some are a valuable points, I made a few myself. . I came here for the sun,not the sunny dispositions. I found wonderful jobs to raise my 3 boys and then a wonderful man with a wonderful history in this town. WOW , what a different perspective heh Mr Brown? His family was here for many generations a matter of fact the 1st home built in Redding and are honorable people, yes they were old but it was what I remembered I loved from my home town of PETALUMA! I don't miss out on any culture, I don't subcribe to the rodeo (too cruel) but the asphalt cowboys they do alot of good. The historical Society will tell you all about the founders of the area I believe ROGUE is the word for the day. I see people all the time putting down the area, but we come to heal here. I has that kind of vibration. Perhaps Mr Brown you try to heal your heart and see what came here to do.So good for you, you let it all out , feel better (well that is healing you know) There is no such thing as an accident and YOUR HERE! Welcome home.

  77. Avatar pmarshall says:

    I have never seen so many responses to a negative story. Yes, very negative. There is no place on earth that is perfect, Mr. Brown. We have been here for 45 years, heat and all. But we have met many wonderful people, and will never leave. We remember all the old stores that have since gone and now replaced by the big box stores, but some of the charm is still here. The only thing I don't like is the rude drivers (probably came from the Bay Area). And we came from the Bay Area, but, oh boy, can't go home again.

  78. Avatar Raoul says:

    Dear J.J., there is an old saying that "One sees what he or she is looking for".

    "I’ve been called negative", I take that and up you one sir as you are also a Bigot ("filthy, scary people, people covered in tattoos, people missing teeth, people"). The worst type of bigot I will add also. I assume you have a drip or two of affluence so one would reason some knowledge would come along with that, WRONG!

    JJ you move from a rarefied area socially speaking and believe that anyone different to that standard is not normal. I believe you suffer from baby boomer me, me, me issues as the years haven't been too good for you relative to wisdom.

    Got time for a short story JJ? Ever heard of the dog(s) in room? The first dog enters a room and sees nothing but a bunch of other snarling, growling, tail tucked dogs that look ready to fight. After that dog leaves another dog enters to find many dogs waging their tails and slobbering with smiles on ready to play.

    Any idea what is in that room JJ?

    Mirrors, JJ mirrors. You get what you give in this life and brother I expect Redding along with many other places have nothing for you~

  79. Avatar Modoc Molly says:

    Ha! JJ Brown has obviously never been east of Redding where an odyssey along Hwy 299 with a turn around after a tour of Modoc County would send him screaming back over the passes and through the canyons for the relatively uncluttered sophistication of his adopted home town. We keep it scary and tacky out here so we don't get too many people stumbling through our beautiful countryside onto our secret fishin' holes and hunting grounds…MM

  1. November 5, 2009

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by joelsm: Do Redding, CA, sheep have a white-trash mentality. Yup. If you believe