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Letter to the Editor: Turtle Bay Hotel and Land Sale – What’s Wrong With This Picture?


(Note: This letter to the editor first appeared in the Redding Record Searchlight, March 18, 2014.)

I read with great interest your lead articles in the paper of Saturday, March 8th. One article, “Revolt…” talked about the Union and their intent to prevent the Hotel construction project at Turtle Bay.

The other article talked about the Shasta County Unemployment Rate rising to double digits for the first time in four months. Then I thought back to the meeting at the City Council where we heard Union reps stand up and say they would not work on the hotel project unless they got “prevailing wage”, even though it was very clearly pointed out that between one-third and half of the jobs on the project would be with union tradesmen. So, other than this obvious “breakdown in communications” within the union trades, what are the issues surrounding this project should this ever come to a referendum on the ballot for a public vote?

First, I am very disappointed in the so-called union reps position on the project. They are clearly thinking only of their own particular union interests, excluding those many union members that would in fact be involved in the construction. In addition, they are totally disregarding the fact that there are many other non-union jobs in the construction field that would be given good jobs from this project, as was testified to by these construction folks at the City Council meeting.

Secondly, as stated in the above referenced unemployment article, we need jobs in Shasta County and the North State. The hotel project will not only provide a large number of good high paying jobs during the construction phase, but the finished project ( the hotel) will employ a large number of both service and management employees. New jobs for our area.

In addition, this hotel will be, along with Turtle Bay Park , more of a destination resort, whereby many folks from out of the area will come here to visit, stay at the hotel, eat at our restaurants, and shop in our stores. All of this is a significant benefit to our overall service economy. And, the hotel will give us a 4 star hotel in close proximity to both the Civic Auditorium and the Mt. Shasta Mall, as well as direct access to the River Trails and river recreation. Convention organizers are very sensitive to these factors when choosing a convention site.

Thirdly, the hotel will benefit Turtle Bay Exploration Park, a most unique North State attraction. Both Turtle Bay and the Sundial Bridge are becoming more and more accepted as a major tourist attraction for both the Bay area and the entire west coast. And, over the past few years, thousands of our own school children have significantly benefited from a “field trip” to the Park. Combined with the Bridge and the Trails, this is a very desirable, safe, and most interesting and vital part of our great north state community.

Fourthly, I was surprised to hear the union rep state in the article …”several other groups are coming forward”. Specifically, the Tea Party was mentioned, and I find this very inconsistent with what the original Tea Party was emphasizing, namely private enterprise, private job creation, and private property rights. This project is getting the City of Redding (the government) out of “funding Turtle Bay”, which use to be a “bone of contention” for the Tea Party group a few years ago when I attended. It is almost as if the Tea Party is now against any private project that is going to create jobs and emphasizing the future of our economy. Sad.

Lastly, there are really no negatives to this project. Claims that the price is not right are totally unfounded. The fact that the city is being “given a gift” to get out of the business of running a private enterprise venture is a very positive development. Our taxes cannot continue to go for these kinds of projects, and this hotel is a way to change what has been going on for years. Let the private sector take the risks and get the rewards….the nature of free enterprise.

The thought that the McConnell Foundation is doing anything other than changing and improving a very awkward situation with the City and Turtle Bay is absurd. Redding, and the North State, can be very appreciative and proud of what the Foundation has done over the years and will continue to do. We, the citizens of the north state, are the beneficiaries of a very caring and giving philanthropic organization. Anyone that does not know or realize this is just unaware of the many projects in our area that they have been involved with.

Redding is a great place to “work, live, and play”. This project will be a great addition to our great area.

Ron Largent

Anderson, CA

Ron Largent is a Realtor, business owner and longtime Redding resident. He can be reached at ronlargent@yahoo.com or ronlargent.yourkwagent.com.