McArthur Proposal: Ticket the Homeless

Recently we learned that Redding City Council member Missy McArthur will be bringing a proposal before her council colleagues to discuss an eventual ordinance that would ticket and fine those who ‘Sit and Lie’ on sidewalks in the City of Redding.

This apparently stems from the record number of homeless in the City who are being charged with holding ‘help me’ signage.

Speaking for myself, as someone who’s lived in the north state for more than 68 years, I’ve seen more than one homeless-like era. I remember my mother pointing out countless ‘hobos’ in the 1940s on the trains that would come through Anderson.

Here we are in the 21st Century and driving around the city from west to east I can only come up with around 20 individuals at any one time holding their cardboard signs asking for help.

Photo Café photo by Armando Mejorado.

I challenge those businesses, especially along Hilltop Drive that have financially suffered because of one, or more, of these so-called pan-handlers: If the businesses and the City of Redding were truly interested in solving what they see as a blight on the City, they would come together, form a study committee on the homeless and allocate, or seek state/federal and local funding to alleviate this phenomenon.

It’s well known that Redding, Shasta County, is the other “homeless capitol” of California, along with Sacramento and Santa Monica.

Giving transients and the homeless one-way tickets to another area is not going to solve anything. Giving them tickets – warnings for sitting/lying on the sidewalks of Redding – is only going to add to the overload of our understaffed police department and courts.

Not to mention the likely unconstitutionality of such a proposal/ordinance and the fact that the tickets won’t get paid. I would propose that McArthur suggest a committee be formed made up of stake-holders, business owners, homeless representatives, city and county legal minds and other community leaders to develop a plan that will help get these truly homeless folks off the streets and into some kind of transitional housing, apartment units or a homeless village of sorts.

In fact, I envision Bethel Church reaching out, buying and rehabilitating one, or more, of the decrepit motels in Redding and providing a place that’s well-managed with social workers and 24/7 staff.

Let’s remember that the homeless are made up of several sociological groups: veterans, mothers with children, mentally and physically disabled, substance abusers and, of course, a few who seem to want to live the life of a gypsy.

I’m sorry, but the Homeless Continuum that meets 1-2 times a year is simply not getting its intended job done. It is going to take this village, named Redding California, to solve its own problem, and this is one that’s way overdue and needs fixing.


Frank D. Treadway, Redding

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50 Responses

  1. Avatar St_Jude says:

    Spot On Mr. Treadway !

    Homelessness is not a Crime ! Where are they supposed to go?

    PROTEST Redding's McArthur proposed Sit/Lie ordinance

  2. Yes, let's fine the homeless because you know they just haven't been punished enough by life. Let's pile on another obstacle.

    That proposal is not only ridiculously impractical, it's heartless and downright cruel.

    If there is an abundance of people living on the streets, maybe we need more homeless shelters. Or mental health facilities…thanks a lot, Ronald Reagan.

    My mother, when she was alive, worked at a huge homeless shelter in Las Vegas and a smaller one in Palmdale, CA. There were never enough beds for everyone and that was before the economic downturn in 2008. I can only imagine how full these centers are now…thanks a lot George Bush.

    Thanks, Frank, for calling attention to this senseless act.

  3. Avatar Sean says:

    Waisting tax dollars to fine people who can't pay the fine. That is totally logical and financially sound thinking. NOT. Morons.

  4. Avatar Kathleen says:

    How about a plan that will focus on compassion. Hopefully we're better than 1 politician's misguided and dare I say, cruel proposal. I'm reminded of the quote, "There by the grace of God go I". You never know when you may need the kindness of strangers.

  5. Avatar Larry says:

    Do you really believe that giving someone a handout is really going to help? Ever notice how many of the “sign holders” are young able bodied young men? Remember the guy who bragged he could con people out of $500 a day. Ever wonder how the guy with the “I’m hungry-Please help-God Bless” sign, almost always seems to have enough cash to buy cigarettes, but no money for food ? At $3/4$ a pack you can buy a Mickey Burger. Before all the bleeding hearts start yelling, yes I know that there are those out there that genuinely need a “hand up” but not a “hand out”. Especially those individuals with families. There are any number of agencies that offer assistance in those situations. I’m old enough to remember when local churches were there to help those in need. Remember, “You can give a man a fish…..”

    • Avatar Dana Rose Crystal says:

      I agree, it is what I have said for years, that you give a person a fish they eat for a day, teach the to fish they eat for a lifetime, yet the Churches in the Fullerton, California area prefer to treat the homeless as if we are overgrown children, because food and clothes are the easiest things to provide for us.

      My husband and I fall into a different category, the type that fits NOWHERE, and for which no shelters will take us: he is a veteran, but we are a couple. When I was alone, I was unable to get a job anywhere though I tried. Ugly middle-aged fat women don't get hired in this shallow town. Displaced homemakers who haven't worked in years get cut no slack from such rancid shelters as WISE women who turned me down because I had not a big enough work record, and left me to die in the cold winter. My husband's dirty kids stole our car and our money in the coldest winter Orange County has seen (down past freezing temperatures), and no one cared, the Fullerton PD left us to die,

    • Avatar Earl Allen Boek says:

      What do you care what they buy?. If I was living

      on the streets of this town I'd buy a few beers

      now and then myself.

  6. Avatar Pamela says:

    Yes, I do really think that giving someone a "handout" will indeed help–it will help me, develop my compassion.

  7. Avatar `AJacoby says:


  8. Avatar Alan Ernesto Phillip says:

    "It's" another 'flesh trade' if you ask me. It's no secret that the largest store(s) in the world, Walmart Corp, is also THE largest clearinghouse for EBT/SSI and/or welfare income.

    Traffic tickets, fines and court fees, etc., can be a never ending pay-scam put upon the poor and middle class. "Can't pay? No problem! We'll have the courts set up an interest-based payment schedule for you…" That revenue partially funds the courts which in turn support the lawyers whom in turn collude with mediators and therapists to "legally" abduct children from protective parents, predictably protracting litigation for the most desperate and vulnerable parents for years… and on and on "it" goes.

    How can so many worship a homeless Man on Sunday,

    and ignore the homeless ones on Monday?

    Is this a type of modern day apartheid? Or just another "inconvenience" that can also be a Cash Cow for those agencies, courts and individuals whom themselves rationalize and theologize such indulgence as a sport – under the color of sociopathic-law and feigned "community service?" I wonder…

    "Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human (humane) beings."

    ~ Nelson Mandela

    Thanks Frank.

  9. Avatar Don says:

    Missy must have fallen on her head. This is the craziest idea I've heard of, at least on a local level.

    Thanks, Frank

  10. Avatar Dominic says:

    Obviously this proposal by Missy McArthur is without merit, or common sense.

    Truly I blame her political advisers. Who in her office suggested this policy? To that person I say back off homeless people with policies that don't help.

  11. Avatar EasternShastaCounty says:

    Hummm. An understaffed, overworked police force is supposed to stop doing important work to write tickets to people who won't or can't afford to pay them. Genius.

  12. Avatar `AJacoby says:

    I believe that "homeless man' from 2000 years ago also said, 'The poor you will have with you always." That same man gve us charge to help the 'beggars and widows.' I don't recall reading anywhere in His book that we need to grade people and sort them out before we decide who is deserving. I believe that falls under His job description.

    I wonder if the Good Samaritan had the beaten man he helped fill out a questionnaire in triplicate before deciding it was o.k. for him to help.

    • Avatar Teresa says:

      Great comment. Back then beggars had to have a permit to beg. just sayn…..something to think about.

  13. Avatar Sam Allen says:

    I am one of the business owners in downtown on Yuba St. I witness the transients all day everyday. For the most part they sit quietly on the benches drinking their booze and sharing their pot. Then there are some that pour off the greyhound bus and seem to come in a swarm. They smoke their crack,drink hard liquor, fight with each other and swear loudly. If they are asked to " Please I 'm trying to run a store here", all you get is a middle finger or a smart remark. I can clearly see the serious problem our beautiful city is facing. I have read it costs 40,000 a year to support one homeless person. Maybe we need to build a low cost camp with public restrooms, drop off stations for food and clothing. This is like any other task that seems overwhelming. It is easy to complain but sometimes we need to come together, roll up our sleeves and get this taken care of before it is so out of control that we lose our city streets to those less fortunate. We also need to realize the health issues. A man came in to ask for money and told me he had Mersa on his arms. I have cleaned urine from my front step, picked up garbage, cleaned blood from my floors from a man barefoot and bleeding. Please stop the polarized point of views. I will be the first to sit at a table and brainstorm for a solution. We can make this work so we can take our children to our parks again. I don't have a customer ask me to make sure she gets to her car. I should not watch three people get arrested in one day only to see them again before closing time. I think the little elderly lady upstairs has the right to sit on her bench without fear. And I think a young girl should be able to pass on the street without some man making lewd remarks. Lets make this happen!

    • Avatar Darlene says:

      Yes, I am a business owner in DRBA. We have over 300 + owners who can do something about this! If and only if the DBRA & ViVa will stop using almost $20,ooo a year on beer parties and address the real issues in the Downtown. I speak openly about this at the meetings: DRBA 2nd Thursdays in the Bank ( upper level )on Placer and Market 2pm.

      I really hope there will be a change to create a safer Downtown.

      (As a native of NorCal and Redding I remember shopping with my grandma and mom at JCPenny's here as a child. Then, as a young teen Artist going to the mall to participate in a free Art Faire to sell my handmade crafts and art. Next, as a mother living on Pine Street my husband and I took in the homeless. Now, our family has had our business in the Downtown for 3 years. )

      There IS a growing problem and we need to face the music.

  14. Avatar mkren says:

    man i cant wait to take a walk in town forced to stop and take a break park my ass on some grass in the shade .. im not homeless nut man really cant even kick back ..

  15. Avatar Patrecia B. says:

    What an outstanding article.

    Mr. Allen,

    Aren't you exaggerating just a bit? "Swarms" of men pouring off buses, smoking crack? What is the attraction? Redding has far fewer services and facilities for the homeless than most other cities. We also have a city ordinance making it illegal to camp anywhere in the city limits, and – most notably – we have more people living in poverty than most of the cities up and down the west coast, which means less money available to panhandlers. Why would they make Redding a destination?

    Shasta County has ONE homeless shelter – the Rescue Mission – which operates primarily as a drug rehab for men. By comparison, the City of Chico (less populous than Redding) has at least four emergency shelters serving different segments of the homeless population, and four transitional housing projects. This includes a 26-unit transitional apartment complex for homeless families with children, which came about through the efforts of a Chico City Councilwoman.

    I listened to a radio interview with Missy McArthur during her first campaign for City Council. A caller asked her how she would address the homeless situation in Redding, and her reply was that she would demolish the downtown motels. Uncaring and unaware.

    Finally, I think the City of Redding should ask for formal proposals from the community at large as to how we can meet this need. To date the standard practice has been for city officials to ask the opinions of one or two "official" homeless advocates, who seem to be far more interested in promoting the city's agenda of criminalizing the homeless in return for the government funding the city administers than in actually helping the homeless. I've done extensive research into various successful facilities and programs in other cities, and I'd be happy to submit mine.

    • Avatar Sam Allen says:

      It breaks my heart to see these folks sitting for hours on the benches in temperatures over a 100 degrees when I am but ten feet away inside an airconditioned storefront with ice water in my fridge. And yes, when I open my doors at 10:00 am and there are nine new faces, some sharing a crack pipe, some with alcohol, it does seem like swarms. I am trying hard not to complain but to offer my help with this growing problem. I research other cities and look at their plans.Portland has Camp Dignity that gives the people self repect and hope without much cost. We might start with something small that works and grow as we need to. I admit I sometimes stuggle with my compassion when I am trying to run my business and there at my front door everyday are people that seem to have no respect for anything. Everyone has a story and we need to listen.

      • Avatar Lee Riggs says:

        Thanks Sam I don't know what business you are, but I can see your plight, and I appreciate your viewpoint. It doesn't sound like what I have hear from other businessmen. Yes there has always been groups of homeless people, but they were mostly men who lived in hobo jungles by the tracks. If they came up town, they would have been arrested for vagrancy by the cops. I don't believe that there were as many as there are now. It is societal. We have shipped most of our good jobs overseas. The rich are richer than ever before, and there is a great sense of hopelessness. So we shouldn't be surprised about the number of homeless and attendant drug abuse etc. If we don't start dealing with this on a societal level, we are doomed. But in the meantime we should make some attempt to deal with this in a compassionate, rational way. I do think homeless camps with facilities that would be monitored would be a start. Also while I know the city is strapped, a couple of beat cops would go a long way to stop some of the behavior

        Not to arresting people for sitting down, but their presence would probably be enough

        • Avatar Teresa says:

          Homelessness is not just about jobs & housing. Many who are homeless are unable to cope with the idea of anyone (utilitie company, landlord, caseworker) knowing where thay are. Often there are mental issues that are way beyond a job or an apartment.

  16. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    I would like to see a local non-profit run kibbutz of sorts set up…basically a large camp ground with toilets & washing stations, food prep & eating areas. To stay, one must contribute. Camp duties like cleaning &restocking toilets & washing stations, assisting with meals (prep, cleanup, distribution), yard maintenance, childcare, etc. And then the additional people can be put on community work crew teams to help better the community they are choosing to stay in, for example cleaning up litter, weeding, or cleaning up restrooms in local parks, or working in the camp's garden.

    Everyone pulls their weight to the best of their ability for the luxury of having their basic needs provided for, while agreeing to basic behavior requirements (like no fighting, drug use or panhandling). There's no way to force people out of homelessness, but I believe this, while perhaps not a perfect solution (is there one, really?) is an idea that will provide for basic needs while demanding some accountability & help people to help themselves. This could be a program that also employs students working towards social science or sociology degrees, as well our public health agency. I had the incredible experience of being acquainted with the folks who started and managed the Sisters of the Road Cafe in Portland, OR, dedicated to feeding the homeless without resorting to handouts or forcing religion, but instead requiring work in return and teaching legitimate work skills. Check it out:

  17. Avatar Darlene says:

    We already have enough laws on the books!

    Last week I almost hit a guy on Hilltop & Cypress because he was laying on the street corner. If lives are in danger, than a ticket is called for, but only if there is a real life and death issue.

    Last week I walked a young man to Taco B for a meal. He was very polite and grateful.

    Over the years in Redding my husband and I have taken in many many homeless families, men and women and teens ( over 18). Now, we still receive thank yous from some.

    My own family was homeless with 5 kids but a family took US in. Then, during that stay with this Vietnam Vet. family, my husband saved the dad's life!

  18. Avatar c says:

    Like they are going to take the time to go to teh courthouse and pay a ticket fine – yeah right, and with what money. McArthur is a disgrace to this area, she needs to retire and rest her addled mind.

  19. Avatar St Jude says:

    I truly believe if Redding City Council Missy McArthur's proposed Sit/Lie ordinance is not defeated then the next ordinance created to criminalize homelessness will be to make it a crime for groups like the Lunch Bunch and Church groups to go out into the public and feed the homeless and give them necessary survival gear… ( Tents, Sleeping Bags, Tarps, etc.. )

    I also believe if this passes homeless folks like Tony who sit and live on benches downtown across the street from the Redding Memorial Veterans Hall will have nowhere to go and get night time cover from the freezing winds and rain, or shade to sleep in from the extreme summer heat as we all know the bus station next store is one of Redding's un official homeless shelters.

    If this is un acceptable to folks here and would like to discuss viable solutions and alternatives to homeless criminalization please contact Heather Johnson –

    National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty


    Phone: (202) 638-2535

  20. Avatar Ann Corrin says:

    Excellent comments. It is time to get our heads together to create an efficient and effective center that addresses the needs that people in Redding have. We all have needs around this situation, business owners and those who find themselves without a home in this time and place alike. We are a community. There are many successful centers we can use as models. Let's do it! If you are interested in really helping to make this a reality in Redding e-mail me, .

  21. Avatar Patrecia B. says:

    Having spent some years working with the homeless, I have serious reservations about homeless camps. The only segment of the homeless population that could benefit from an outdoor camp are able-bodied adults. This is not an option for the much larger group comprised of homeless families with children, since it is impossible to screen effectively for sexual predators. In addition, people with disabilities and the elderly couldn't tolerate constant exposure to our extremes in temperature (below freezing temperatures and frigid wind/rain in the wintertime, and life-threatening heat during the summer). Camps are actually not a humane solution for anyone. The minor – although highly visible – element who are drug and alcohol-addicted panhandlers might attempt to avail themselves of a camp, but they would have no interest or ability to conform to the rules or contribute to the camp's operation

    This area has an extreme lack of facilities for the mainstream homeless (predominantly women and children), who are "out there" strictly for economic reasons. However, we do have an over-abundance of drug treatment facilities for single adults, particularly for men. Shasta County's only so-called "homeless shelter" (the Mission) is devoted almost entirely to the drug-addicted/criminal element, as are most of our smaller programs and facilities. Even the 12-unit Faithworks transitional housing project (heavy on the religion) caters to families with drug addictions and criminal histories, and prioritizes people recommended by the Mission who have embraced the Mission's religious dogma. Requiring that people have a drug-addicted/criminal past and prove they are enthusiastic about submitting to a particular type of religious indoctrination hardly makes this an inclusive mainstream facility.

    The City of Redding can't afford to devote whatever limited resources it has to people who have no interest in changing, and for whom there is already help available. Those people would make up a large portion of a camp's inhabitants. As other cities have done, we need transitional housing facilities that cater to people who can actually benefit from the help they receive – preferably SECULAR facilities. I've toured transitional housing facilities for homeless families (typically apartment complexes) in other areas that are baiscally self-supporting beyond an initial investment. Participants can stay for up to two years while they avail themselves of higher education or training, and child care is provided. They also receive individual counseling, classes in handling their finances, nutrition, parenting, and job preparedness (among other things). These types of facilities have very high long-term success rates.

    I don't know what the answer is in regard to agressive panhandlers (many of whom are not homeless). However, sit-lie ordinances have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts in other cities, particularly when there is nowhere for the homeless to go. And unless they City of Redding can prove that there is enough emergency shelter space, etc., to accommodate every single homeless person out there (which is not the case), this ordinance will likely to declared unconstitutional here as well.

    • Avatar Why You're Patr says:

      Why you're Patrecia Barrett, aren't you?

      Don't you post as "SilenceIsNotGolden" or something like that on another newspaper?

      You don't even live in Redding!

  22. Avatar Kaarin says:

    I agree 100% with Ann, while I appreciate Missy's idea to do SOMETHING, this will never pass. It can't pass, Chief Poaletti made a good point, that if we criminalize the homeless it will only open the door to years of legal battles between the city and the homeless advocates around the country. Legal battles, mind you, that our city cannot afford. I really like Valerie Ing's idea, that is definitely something worth considering.

  23. Avatar Earl Allen Boek says:

    Thank you Frank for your thoughtful article.


    "Not to mention the likely unconstitutionality of such a proposal/ordinance and the fact that the tickets won't get paid. I would propose that McArthur suggest a committee be formed made up of stake-holders, business owners, homeless representatives, city and county legal minds and other community leaders to develop a plan that will help get these truly homeless folks off the streets and into some kind of transitional housing, apartment units or a homeless village of sorts."

    Actually there has been a "committee" of sorts, set-up to deal with the homeless

    problem. A group of Hilltop Crime fighters with their own email list was formed

    to attack pan-handlers. They are very careful to call them pan-handlers because

    the know the public takes a dim view of direct attacks such is McArthur is drafting

    on the homeless.

    It became clear how out of touch with the problem these folks were when their

    first poster, taken around and hung on the windows of local businesses, showed

    a fellow holding his sign saying "Don't Feed My Addictions". The ideas that

    pan-handlers are all addicted to something, besides the same things were all are,

    helps to marginalize them. Are you addicted to food and shelter? Gee Me Too!

  24. Avatar No Homeless In Reddi says:


    Homeless people are the people God threw away.

    The people he does not want in his kingdom.

  25. Avatar Get Out Homeless Peo says:


    Homeless people are the people God threw away.

    The people he does not want in his kingdom.

  26. Avatar Brian Shaw says:

    I think if the city would designate an area that the homeless could use that was governed and ran by them under supervision. Look into what the city of Ontario does. They have a mobile bathroom, kitchen, and showers. A fenced area, with security and all this provided by the city. I know that times are tough, and hard but a lot of these folks would appreciate the security and social programs that could be implemented. Everyone that is part of this community could go through a background check, get a resident card, and be involved in the responsibility of this community effort. Jobs could include, trash pickup, yard clearing for people with disabilities or seniors,community recycle programs etc. they already have their hierarchy and ruthless pecking order, and they are very resourceful when they need something. They are faithful at "showing up to a food line, or work (holding signs). There are companies that pay $10 per hour for this kind of service. We just need to organize, get creative and pull together to make this a community example! You can do it Redding. Or you can hold on to the philosophy of… "Bless my 4 and no more".

  27. Avatar Teresa Davis says:

    A hand out doesn't work. The underground railroad of homeless people quickly communicate which towns have what to offer & their laws. If the homeless are peritted to sign it's a hand out & that doesn't work for anyone except the guy needing a beer. It's not compassion it's enabling. A "Homeless Village" will not work. I served for a year at one called Skid Row in L.A. & it's a melting pot of the hopeless & the ones who prey upon them. Still, I pray we can do better then fineing those who meerly want to sit on a public sidewalk.

  28. Avatar pmarshall says:

    All the pros and cons have been submitted. The problem is still there. I do find that business people need to be able to conduct their business without having homeless people next to their places of business. We don't have enough police to take care of the problem; the problem is bigger than can be solved very simply. Instead of trying to solve the problems of other countries, we need to solve our own, and keep the money here!

  29. I think a good solution for the homeless would be to house them. Imagine that, then they would not be on the street bothering anyone. Ticketing them has got to be the most ridiculous proposal I have heard to date. Thanks for shedding some light on the topic Frank, as usual your are a voice of reason.

  30. Avatar CoachBob says:

    I just don't understand why virtually everyone on this blog calls someone with a sign "homeless"?

    • You're right about not assuming everyone with a sign is homeless.

      Maybe "street person" is a better term. Even the term transient requires knowing if the person is a local or just passing through.

  31. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    This was an excellent article. I loved reading all of the responses. This is a very complex problem. Frank's article mentions that there are different types of people in dire straits in Shasta County. I am know several "homed in a tent" people who don't drink, do drugs or beg on the street. These are not the people who are creating problems for business owners. You can't get blood from a turnip. Thank you Frank for an great article.

  32. Avatar Tahkzin says:

    I just have one question: "What do you propose be done about the drunken and drug-addicted homeless?"

    It's been proven countless times over that people will only gain from assistance if they truly want it. And if you've ever been to downtown Redding, you know that there is a mass of homeless people that don't truly want it.

    For all of the well-researched, carefully thought out proposals you made in the article, it changes nothing. There are homeless people there that make $100+ dollars a day, buy themselves cartons of cigarettes, giant bottles of alcohol (and not bar-well brand either), and can afford to walk into a Taco Bell and easily purchase a 12-pack ($13-14) and a large drink ($2.30 +tax) nightly.

    Homelessness, for most of those people, isn't being down on their luck. It's about taking advantage of the generosity that people like you never grew out of. And cheers to you for that, but be a little cynical so you can at least have good judgement to go with it.

    TL;DR – This cause is pointless.

  33. See, this is the deal. They allready know that the ticket it'self is not the deterrent. It is the resulting actions against the homeless individual (dare I say human?) – that will result when the ticket, obviously goes un-paid – it does not just go to "revenue recovery". It becomes a warrant and then they "arrest" the individual and extract even more money out of an unfortunate circumstance.

    As we are all (that are enjoying this blog) – aware – the two primary causes of habitual homelessness are 1. mental illness and 2. drug/alcohol addiction – both of these things are beyond the personal unassisted control of the individual, thereby – creating a cycle of crime profitable to the city through the incarceration of the mentally ill and the drug addicted. Not to mention the displaced individuals and families that don't have either one of these issues – yet all are simply a victim of circumstance and reap the benefits of social irresponsibility of those that profess themselves to be above saints.

    It's a cruel trap – it's not just a ticket. It's a lock with no key – an obstacle to getting on ones feet.

    Instead of ticketing these people, they should do needs assessments and offer them positive life-changing services. But I am sure there are no churches in the area to provide any radical "barn raising".

    But there is a lot of money to be made. So your city can pave the roads with homeless blood money.