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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