Police, Levees and Pot: A Big Night at City Council

chambers

Empty here, the Redding City Council Chamber was packed on Tuesday night.

I haven’t been to a Redding City Council meeting in years, but I decided to reverse that trend on Tuesday night. It seemed like there were plenty of interesting and important items on the agenda.

I was right!

What follows is some news from Tuesday night’s meeting, mixed with some personal observations.

Because blogging is the new journalism, I trust that this mix of facts and comments will be monitored by keen readers who will correct any inaccuracies and add needed information. We’ll all edge closer to the truth together.

••••••••••••
One of the biggest actions of the evening was the approval of Mountain Lakes property (former KMS plant) as the preferred option for Redding’s new police station. The approval authorizes city staff to negotiate purchase of the facility and develop a plan to retrofit the building.

The motion passed 3-2, with council members Missy McArthur, Patrick Jones and Rick Bosetti voting for buying the 22-year-old building, and Dick Dickerson and Mary Stegall voting against it.
It’s a former shampoo (and cosmetics, I believe) plant located in north Redding near Caterpillar Road (west of the I-5-Highway 273 interchange).

Stegall and Dickerson seemed to favor the option of waiting and keeping the door open to building a new police station near City Hall. Stegall raised the point that because the city may not have the money to retrofit the building for at least three to five years, why rush into purchasing the building at this time.

Redding Police Chief Pete Hansen seemed to favor the retrofit option. For one thing, it met the council’s request for a less expensive alternative — the projected $21 million retrofit price was some $8 million less than other options for a new facility adjacent to City Hall. Hansen and other supporters seemed to like the size of the KMS plant – it’s nearly 113,000 square feet (not all of which would be immediately retrofitted).

I was thinking, “It’s so far north and away from downtown. Why not build the new Redding police station in Lakehead or Ashland, Ore.?” (Here’s where observations start kicking in, in case you were confused.)

But Hansen addressed the point by saying response times to crimes would be no different, because officers are out on patrol patterns. Residents might have to drive a little further north for counter service. For the record, Hansen said he considers a brand new police station as still the best option, but considering the council’s request to cut costs, the big shampoo plant of Mountain Lakes Boulevard was looking good.

Perhaps the new slogan will be, “We’re gonna wash that crime right out of your hair.”
By the way, UJB Investments/RHS NorCal Investments, the current building owners, are in bankruptcy, Assistant City Engineer Chuck Aukland told the council.

The retrofit option would have some big natural light corridors built into the new headquarters. I’m not being flip here, I think that’s a fabulous idea. Redding police have been cooped up in that little box on California Street forever. Give ‘em some natural light. Give ‘em some space. Let ‘em breathe a little bit. (Gosh, I hope that pays off in karma points with the police.)

Next item…

••••••••••••

Man, some 650 homeowners east of the Olney Creek levee in south Redding sure seem to be getting a raw deal. The city council agreed. The homeowners face much higher flood insurance premiums next year, because the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is showing the area to be in a new 100-year flood plain.

Homeowners are facing increases of $800 to $1,600 a year in flood insurance premiums because of the FEMA recognition. The double whammy is their homes will also take a hit in value because of recognition. The triple whammy is, hey, this is a recession and who can afford to pay $1,600 more a year for insurance – especially if the levee remains inadequate?

That’s something Stegall brought up. Why lump higher insurance premiums on homeowners, while at the same time not fix the levee problem? (And then there was a big round of applause.)
There was a lot of missing information on this topic. How much would it cost to fix the levee?

And, here’s a kicker, who really owns the levee? Redding city attorney Rick Duvernay was kind of stammering that maybe the city really doesn’t own it. (You see if you own the thing, you might have to fix it. I don’t own it! It sure ain’t mine!)

The levee was build around 1980 when a new subdivision was put in place in the area.

The council agreed to get answers and fix the problem.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that Led Zeppelin song, “When the Levee Breaks.”

“Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Got what it takes to make a Mountain Man leave his home.”

Moving onto the medical marijuana items…

•••••••••••••

The council voted 5-0 to extend a ban on new marijuana collectives until June, and voted 4-1 to impose permit fees on collectives.

Collectives will be charged $710 for a new permit and $624 to renew each year. The fees are supposed to cover the costs of conducting criminal background checks and inspections on the business, according to Chief Hansen.

The council also voted in favor of a variety of regulations on collectives, including allowing the police chief to access the records of collectives (to make sure the businesses are run legally); requiring doctors to specify amounts for patients; limiting patients to belonging to no more than one collective in Shasta County; and limiting sales to only dried bud.

All in all, it was a bad night in Marijuanaville. The green rush just slammed into brick wall in Redding.

These regulations will hammer the collectives. It should only be a matter of time before lawsuits are flying against the city. This was something medical marijuana supporters alluded to on Tuesday night. They contended that the council regulations were in deep conflict with SB420 and the state Attorney General.

Just on a side note, there were some dudes really reeking inside the chambers. I was thinking, “Dude, did you just climb out of King Kong’s bong?” I’m not sure you’re helping the cause, bro.

OK, I’m ready. Weigh in!

Avatar
is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com
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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Phil "Philbert& says:

    Ah, to be a cartoonist in such times! Stay tuned!

  2. Avatar Derral says:

    Led Zeppelin, hell. Those song-stealing Brits may have covered it, and may have claimed it, but that's a Memphis Minnie song!

  3. Avatar Ron says:

    You forgot the recognition of Gini Holmes for her years of service working on the Shasta Council Arts Council. Just thought it was important.

    • Avatar Jim Dyar says:

      I did stop in to say hello to Gini. She said she's onto making art and spending more time with her husband. And, of course, I asked her, "Where's the free food?"

  4. Avatar Skip Murphy says:

    Jim, thanks for the report. I enjoyed your perspective. My only comment about the PD relocation to the KMS building is that while the argument about a central location carries weight, the (hopefully) unusual economics of the times provides us with commercial property available for far less than build cost. That's more than enough justification to sway a budget mindful city to move them a few minutes drive north as a valid tradeoff. Hardly Ashland, but I get the rhetoric. It's lemonade from the civic lemons we have been given, even if not as sweet as one might like.

    And then everything was going fine until the King Kong bong imagery. Yikes. Thanks for that (I think!). I'm trying to un-read it now. 😉

  5. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    Wasn't King Kong Bong a ska band back in the nineties? Maybe not.

  6. Avatar Kerri says:

    Haha… all city council meetings should be covered like that. Great read, Jim.

  7. Avatar robert says:

    Hats off to the mayor for having a pair.

    When I voted to support madicinal use of pot I had no idea how many folks wantedt to get in on the money end. It Seems that it has always been about the money,

    As far as I am concerned the whole mess should be controled like liquore stores or phamacies and heavely taxed. If folks need more than the six plants they can grow in their bath room they need to be in rehab. Don't let anybody kid you it is all about the money.

  8. Avatar Ron says:

    You right, Jim. The food was excellent and worth finding.

  9. Avatar Duane says:

    I like reading the goings ons at City Council when you are the moderator LOL

  10. Avatar Viki says:

    Great perspective Jim, except you didn't mention the amazing (snicker, snicker) idea of Kent Dagg to have the city run a marijuana co-op!! Now I can't wait for Phil's cartoon…….

  11. Avatar Jim Dyar says:

    Yeah, you're right Viki.
    The issue I didn't write about from earlier in the night was a special committee's presentation of "Redding's Radical 10 in '10" to the council. Kent Dagg, CEO of the Shasta Builders Exchange, appointed a committee of eight business people (City Manager Kurt Starman was on it) to come up with 10 job generating ideas over a period of 28 days.
    The council voted 5-0 to hold a workshop in January to study the ideas.
    The new ideas included opening a city-owned medical marijuana dispensary that would generate tax for the city (kinda radical), and imposing a 1 percent sales tax increase to pay for new infrastructure and team up with developers to build on city-owned property (not so radical, but I can see why it would appeal to the local development community).
    I missed this portion of the meeting, but according to Record Searchlight city reporter Scott Mobley's story, there were some "testy" exchanges between Dagg and the council, after the council failed to immediately embrace the ideas and, instead, study them further.

  12. Avatar David Palin says:

    Unedited & Almost Live: Redding City Council is shown 9PM, Thursday on CH 11.

    • Avatar bob sorensen says:

      Heya Dave!
      It's Bob Sorensen, How Ya Doin?

    • Avatar Bob Sorensen....Redu says:

      Hey Dave!

      Did you try to call me last nite & left a message?

      You got my Folk's place….

      Here's my # 275-5327

      Hope to be talkin' with ya soon, Buckaroo!

      Bob

      P.S.

      I live now on my Parent's rancho off of Oasis, past the Old Oregon turn

      off going to the college. Been here over 9 years now, so your message at the Folk's place was only meters away, Compadre!

  13. Avatar Mari says:

    Unedited and you can watch only the section that interests you (or might bring you the most laughs):

    http://www.ci.redding.ca.us/cclerk/granicus.htm

    • Avatar Jim Dyar says:

      Mari,

      Thank you for the link. Certainly this is an excellent resource for north state residents to be aware of — being able to scroll around or watch the entire meeting. I think a shout out to Derek Moss and the production team is in order.

  14. Avatar ElleBough says:

    The most glaring reason to sue the City of Redding for its stance on the medical marijuana co-ops is violation of the HIPAA laws. A patient has a right to privacy. If the POLICE DEPARTMENT (of all agencies!) has the right to know who has a prescription for a medication that they disagree with, I can see problems with profiling and harrassment right off the bat. Good luck City of Redding. There will never be common ground on this one, I'm afraid.