Former Redding Resident: ‘It is Time to Stop This Madness’

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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As a past long-term resident, and current property owner in Redding, I have been asked to share our experiences regarding transients and homeless individuals– as they have profoundly impacted our lives.

In addition to our “story” we have recommendations to share that may help in resolving this growing, perplexing and controversial problem.

As professionals, my wife and I had the opportunity to choose the community in which we would raise our family. We studied all of California and moved to Redding with our family in the summer of 1986 because we found it to be a friendly, safe community with many qualities not found anywhere else. The river running through town, mountains for camping and hiking as well winter activities, lakes for fishing and water sports were conveniently close. We enjoyed walking through the mall in the evenings and felt very comfortable and secure. The community offered many opportunities for us to give back as well.

It was a wonderful place.

After renting houses for five years, we were able to own a home. And were provided a dream come true … to have an office on the Sacramento River at the end of what is now called Smile Place.

A physician had built a beautiful office at this location after the city required him to deed the frontage between his office and the river to be an extension of a proposed park. North of this location was a “community garden” where Vietnamese folks grew vegetables. Getting to know them was special as they were hard-working people and did a good job of maintaining the area.

In time, the City ended their agricultural activities. The City designated the garden area, the land below our offices and the land extending to the Cypress Street Bridge as a park.

Over the following years, the park lay dormant and weeds, bushes, and trees grew– acting as great cover for transients. For the most part, the transients were fairly discrete in their activities and were tolerated. As time went by, however, both the number of transients and their impactful behaviors became more public — to the point of where they are today.

During this time we maintained the “City-owned park” land below our property by keeping it clear of brush and cutting the weeds on a regular basis. On occasions, we would clean up the adjacent park area as well but were told by the City that they did not want us doing so because of liability. We understood and did everything we could to encourage its maintenance and development, including paying for the surface paving over 200 feet of public street at its dead-end to improve its appearance to discourage unwelcome visitors.

One Saturday night, while out of town, we received a call from our daughter who lived in the small house next door to our offices. One of the buildings was on fire. It turned out that it had been doused with gasoline and torched. To this day, no one knows who committed the crime. Needless to say it cost a very significant amount of money, time and emotion to rebuild.

After several years of doing everything we could to encourage the City to maintain the park, in addition to our occasional maintenance contributions, the transient problem continued to grow.

On a Friday morning in 2008 my daughter, her husband and I were in the office parking lot when a transient was smashing a car window of one of our tenants who had parked his car at the end of Smile Place. Being 50 feet away, I yelled “hey” twice as he continued to smash the window. Since he did not stop, I gave my phone to my daughter and told her to call the police while her husband and I took off after the criminal. We ran through the park and were able to point the police to where he was hiding.

Following this event, my leg ached for two months at which time it was revealed to have a clot extending the full length of the leg. This ended my professional career, as sitting or standing aggravated the damaged vein and valve, resulting in swelling and additional clotting. We moved to a climate that supported year round activity to remain active … a necessity to keep the leg healthy.

Since then, the transient activities have increased. For many years we left our building’s water spigots and electrical outlets available for folks to use. After several incidents of water left running all weekend long and stealing of electrical components and emptying the Freon from the air conditioning units, we decided it was time to erect a 6 foot iron fence. Although this has reduced trespassing on the property, there are more transients and much more aggressive behavior in the park area, as well as throughout the city. Needless to say, the homeless and transients have had a profound impact on our lives.

It is time to stop this madness before it chases more folks out of Redding by tolerating more and more homeless, transients and expelled criminals.

Prior to moving to Redding, we lived in Carson City, Nevada. With a number of concerned citizens, we formed an organization to serve homeless men, women and children– as it was becoming a significant problem, especially during winter. We were able to use two large vacant school buildings. We cleaned the buildings, provided beds, etc. and cleared the surrounding area and even tilled a large patch for the folks to garden. We had clear expectations, including a maximum 30 day stay limit, hygiene requirements and required them to report to the unemployment office on a regular basis to actively seek work.

After six months we realized that we were enablers and had attracted an overwhelming number of transients. The word had spread far and wide about what we were offering. There were fights and other personal issues as well. We could not get folks to leave who refused to conform to the established rules. This great idea turned into a nightmare and the facility was shut down within the year. What we learned was that, by offering better opportunities for homeless than elsewhere, the system became overwhelmed. It seems to be happening in Redding today.

No matter how much we care or do, if this trend of increasing numbers of homeless intermixed with criminals, is allowed to continue, the city of Redding will be overcome.

Good folks will leave, property values and tax revenues will diminish, police and community programs will be overwhelmed and transients will increase until the vicious cycle ruins this amazing community. No one wins, including the homeless.

It is time to “man up” and put on “big boy pants” and make hard decisions.

There is a limit to how much any one community can handle … period. No amount of compassion or care can change that fact. Indeed, the more we allow, the more inhumane it is for folks to live in our parks, river banks, canyons and doorsteps who not only require safety but also hygiene facilities. During one clean-up of the river-front property, a human latrine was found to be 75 feet long and only a few feet from the river. This was not only inhumane, but a serious health problem and huge pollution disaster for the Sacramento River.

The bottom line is Redding must determine what its limits are, what services it can provide and how many homeless it can serve. The city must determine how to firmly move the excess capacity along. Frankly, this has been a problem for an extremely extended time and the solutions will most likely come from outside the realm of the politicians and bureaucrats who have had authority and opportunity to correct this for many years prior.

Who will step up to address this crisis? If the community does not come together, unified in resolve and focused on direction to work out this problem, it will be a disgrace to Redding and its citizens and certainly impact its ability to serve even a modest number of this needy group of folks.

Conclusion: An assessment needs to be made of [1] the current available community services, [2] what (if any) can be added [3] identifying the various needs of the homeless, [4] how many can be served, and [5 ] what to do to help the remaining folks move on.

How this comes to pass may necessitate a residency requirement, psychiatric care, participation in humane programs and a call for civil (self-manageable, respectful) behavior to be part of the mix. In addition, an ordinance should be established defining what and where caring citizens can serve. This should eliminate any feeding or passing out clothing and sleeping materials in parks, neighborhoods and public places.

Citizens of Redding: A major change must transpire in order to limit this dilemma to a controllable level. Just as it has become worse over time, it will continue and possibly overwhelm the community.

Respectfully submitted,

Dennis Mihalka, DDS, Retired

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45 Responses

  1. Avatar david kerr says:

    I would like to hear from criminologists and sociologists about the reasons so many transients, drug users and petty criminals chose to be in Redding, Chico, Yuba City, Marysville, Eureka, and Stockton.

    Social scientists can interview welfare case workers, deputies in the jails and long term welfare cases as to the attractions which bring people here and keep them from moving elsewhere.

    Arm chair speculation and anecdotal observations have limited usefulness.

  2. Avatar Liz A. says:

    This man has first hand experience w/ not only helping to run a homeless shelter but being victimized by this population. I personally know a family man here in Redding who was hit over the head and seriously injured by a metal bar wielding transient on his own property in front of his wife and grandchildren. Our car was broken into 3 times. During a day time burglary of our home, the criminal hid in our shower (muddy footprints and carpets crumpled up) as I unlocked our front door- thankfully he thought better of it and ran out the back door unfortunately with some of our valuables. Oh, and last night, a car was stolen under the noses of the owner and the fire fighters of the Win River area fire…..”Anecdotal observations” is a euphemistic term– too many of us are living it.

    • Avatar EasternCounty says:

      I, too, questioned the term “anecdotal observations.” What can criminologists’ and sociologists’ views add to our already-known, real-life experiences. My observation is that they come here because Redding is on the I-5 drug corridor; the temperatures here are mostly mild so camping is relatively comfortable a good part of the year; AB109 has allowed easy entry; unemployment is high; illegal camps are ignored due to an understaffed police force; and the City Council seems not to be particularly inclined toward being tough on crime.

  3. Avatar rob says:

    They stay here because they KNOW the police wont arrest them. I have been told by several business owners they dont because they have to deal with all the crap they are toting and its EASIER to make them just move along then actually deal with them. They know this and use it to their advantage..

    What going to happen sadly is people will start taking it into their own hand and dealing with it themselves…

  4. Avatar Easily manipulated says:

    You lost me at the 75 foot “human latrine.”

  5. Avatar Mike Fisher says:

    Eugene/Springfield, OR is doing a much better job at helping/managing their transient population & keeping them from camping on the Willamette River or under overpasses!

  6. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Denver has woke up to what is bringing the homeless, vagrants, transients and, yes, criminals to the frontrange cities. Marijuana. This is not speculation or armchair guesses it was documented in the news, Denver Post and TV as well as the newspapers and TV in other front range cities.
    While there have been some families that moved to Colorado to access the medical aspects of marijuana the largest immigration to the state from other states has been young people that told the reporters they are there to access marijuana or work in the stores. Some were criminals with felony records which would prevent them from working at pot stores. According to the news these marijuana immigrants are overwhelming the social aid services.
    Marijuana advocates always say legalize and the illegal activity will go away. California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, that was 18 years ago. I would like the advocates to tell how the illegal part has gone away in 18 years.
    I believe medical marijuana is a good thing if real doctors, not quacks, write prescriptions for it and real pharmacies, not fake storefronts, dispense the medical prescriptions.
    Marijuana advocates like to point out all the violent tendencies from alcohol and how that doesn’t happen with marijuana. That is true. Marijuana smokers don’t start fights. They also don’t look for work or work if they are lucky enough to find a job. America has a younger generation, not all but a large group, developing that are in Lala land and not reality.
    Colorado Board of Health has actual statistics on medical marijuana on their website. The average age for medical licensed patients is 40 for males and 43 for females. That puts a lie to all those who say grandma and grandpa are being denied marijuana medicine.
    As I said this is not armchair speculation but actual reports by news in a state that actually legalized marijuana in January and has had unintended consequences show up. Not just the increased homeless but deaths from illegal honey oil explosions as well as marijuana edibiles. Colorado Public Schools state that a third of student suspensions is for marijuana possession.
    But at least Colorado is aware of the problem and is dealing with it, something California hasn’t done in eighteen years.

    • Steve Steve says:

      I read the articles in the Denver Post. The “documentation” entailed quotes from a couple of people who provide support services to the homeless. It was absolutely not a systematic study. It didn’t even really qualify as good investigative journalism.

      And even if it had, it’s not clear how that’s analogous to our situation. Shasta County and Redding — in a state that has legalized medicinal marijuana — are not playing it loose with the rules when it comes to the availability of medical marijuana. The suggestion that our transient/homeless problem is because Redding is a magnet for stoners seems ludicrous to me.

      Our problem is that the Redding area is a relatively cheap and hassle-free place to slack.

      • Avatar cheyenne says:

        Wyoming is considering legalizing marijuana and I pay much attention to marijuana news in Colorado as well as Redding. The Denver Post as well as other Colorado news sources have done excellent, continous reports on marijuana, medical and recreational, in Colorado. The reports are not biased and point out the good as well as the bad such as homeless being attracted to the state.
        As far as saying Redding and Shasta County don’t play loose with the rules that is not how the news sources there say. My wife has family and friends in Hayfork that will be glad to tell you about how playing loose with the rules has resulted in devastating the community.
        All the busts made by LE of people from eastern states getting marijuana in California. Those same people drive right past Colorado on their way to California. Why?
        And I have to agree with PB and Boek that the truly homeless are not causing this problem in Redding. The truly homeless that want to better themselves have already left the area just like many of the people who post on here. What is left are the vagrants, panhandlers and criminals. That is who the locals have to deal with.

  7. Avatar Darcie says:

    Excellent piece Dennis. We too have moved after raising our children and investing much in Redding. Our building was also set on fire, two other professional businesses suffered losses and were forced to relocate. Meanwhile the people responsible have never been arrested (even through neighbors told news sources they knew who did it).

    Transients/homeless people continue to trespass, dump trash daily and complicate the rebuilding or selling of the property. We pay to try and keep it secure and clean but it is not enough. The problem is ignored by authorities while responsible citizens continue to pay financially and emotionally until they give up or move. Wake up Redding!

    I truly fear for the safety of my friends in Redding. Luckily, our children and my sister have also moved – thank God.

  8. Avatar CouldBeTrouble says:

    With “new blood” coming across the “secure ” Southern Border you can multiply this scenario about 50,000 times only they will not be hiding nor running away from you. The jails are full so police departments will not even be “catching and releasing” and those things you left out in the yard? “There’s something happening here…”

  9. Avatar Gerrie says:

    Excellent article Dennis. This transient problem must stop NOW! After reading the recent RS article interviewing homeless folks in the Mercy “camp”, it seemed that all of them suffered from some form of mental health and “impulse” control problem. Mental health support is needed for those who will accept it and carry through with their program. If not, it’s time to move on.

    Well meaning citizens don’t help by making their the transients’ life easier through handing out food and bedding. Redding has become known for support of their life style by well meaning groups. We are NOW on the verge of losing our town to transients and panhandlers.

    Why do people drive to Redding to stand on a street corner and beg for money? It WORKS! So now we have a town covered by panhandlers. It’s a very unsafe feeling to be out with a panhandler on every corner. How about a community wide campaign to educate our citizens to stop handing out money?

    When I have the opportunity to move, I will do so. This is not the town it used to be. It’s time now to take back our city. Please everyone, let’s do it. Now is the time.

  10. Avatar Michael A says:

    I too am concerned with uprising of homeless. My main concern is the drug vaccuum that’s being created, forget pot, that’s the least of our worries, the larger gangs that will move in to fill it and the associated problems that are created by it. If we stop donating to everyone that seem to be on every corner, will they then start breaking in to everything with value? Do we start a one-way bus ticket drive that so many other cities have done. I’m as confused and concerned where this is leading.

  11. Avatar david kerr says:

    Jail guards and welfare workers are apt to overhear unguarded conversations about the pros and cons of living the welfare life in Shasta County compared to Yuba or Butte county.

    When I was a front line manager, I walked into employees’ conversations and overheard and saw things they would never tell me to my face. Many people think they know about them, but there are others who are in a much better position to know more.

  12. Avatar Bob says:

    I have known Dr. Mihalka for many years. He is a fine man of great integrity. However, he is on this issue rather misguided.

    1. The Asian people gardening in the vicinity of his former office are not Vietnamese. They come from elsewhere in S.E. Asia. Even a limited cultural sensitivity is necessary before anyone can understand those from another culture. Considering all S.E. Asians to be “Vietnamese” does not express the necessary cross cultural sensitivity to speak authoritatively about other cultures, including the homeless culture.

    2. There was a fire on Dr. Mihalka’s property for sure. There was also a prime arson suspect with an ax to grind against the building’s occupant. This suspect was not a transient, homeless person. Why this incident appears in an article about homelessness is a mystery to me.

    3. Dr. Mihalka should reflect on his high school course in American civics. Allowing some homeless to stay in our community until some arbitrary number has been reached and then telling the rest to “move on” would be overturned on Constitutional grounds after a three minute court hearing. Ditto for forbidding people to hand out food or clothing.

    The problem of homelessness is a complex one. Homelessness exists because of the breakdown of many social systems: the family system, the mental health system, our economic system. Thinking we can set a quota for our homeless and ask the rest to “move on” is a simplistic solution to a complex problem. It is also unconstitutional.

    I support dialog on this issue. However, dragging extraneous issues into the discussion like unsolved arson fires and one’s blood clots fuels the emotions and not the intellect. It is time we gave this growing problem our best problem solving efforts. In doing so we need to stick to the facts and propose solutions that are workable, effective, and expressive of our nation’s Constitutional values.

    • Steve Steve says:

      Well said.

      Many of the “solutions” being offered up are fantasies at best, and illegal at worst. But I travel, and other communities in California appear to do a much better job of making their towns less attractive to rapidly expanding populations of riffraff. A good starting point would be to find out what those communities are doing that’s working for them.

      Color me cynical, though. The political climate around here always seems to steer us in the direction of doubling down on whatever we’re already doing—regardless of its effectiveness—because we’re so constrained by certain political orthodoxies.

    • Avatar Chris thomas says:

      So instead of telling everyone how wrong Dennis is and how we need solutions, why don’t you propose a few yourself. The problem is the vagrants, criminals and homeless not Dr. Mihalka’s politically correctness.

  13. Avatar Marsha says:

    As a life-long Redding resident, I’ve seen it go from bad to worse to disgusting.
    I have left my home for Southern CA. Where the population is bigger but, without nearly the homeless issues that Redding has.

    What will it take before the City opens it’s eyes? Rape, Murder, Child Assault, etc.

    I’ve actually put my Redding Friends in contact with an attorney that is looking into what liability the City will bear if a Citizen is a victim of the transients that the City FAILS to control.

    We owe these people nothing. Not a home or job or food. But, we continue to condone, if not encourage their behavior.

    Don’t blame the current LE Administration. This mess was here long before Chief Paoleti took over. It’s been a growing problem for years and the City Council and former LE Administration turned a blind eye to the problem with a “It would never happen in our town” mentality.

  14. Avatar Brian D says:

    The situation is out of hand. My family moved here from Detroit in 2006 to get away from the cold winters and raise our kids in a better place. I’m a local business owner and part of the Chamber.

    In the 8 years I’ve been here, the town has gone south incredibly fast. I’m sure much of it had to do with the economy. I’m not a social scientist, but it’s obvious the rise in crime has correlation to the amount of “transient” people on the streets. Whether it’s linked is another matter, but it does seem awfully suspicious.

    I too have been a victim of multiple crimes since living here. I say this with complete confidence: Currently, Redding’s real crime rate is worse than Detroit. Read that again and let it sink in.

    I was raised in the Detroit area and lived there over 30 years. During that time a couple garage break-ins occurred, but that’s about it.

    Since I’ve lived in Redding:

    * Car has been stolen and totaled
    * Numerous (5+) car break ins, shattered windows and items stolen
    * Place of business broken into
    * Multiple attempts to break in to my home
    * Threatened personally (for money) in Downtown

    Sure that’s anecdotal. But it sure is real to me.

    I truly do love this area and town. The region is beautiful and offers so much outdoor activities compared to that flat, frozen place I used to call home. But honestly, I’m not sure I want to raise my son in this town now. As someone else commented, unless we clean up this mess the “good” folks will leave and that will only make the situation worse. The “good” folks don’t want to live in fear of having their property stolen or their person violated.

    We need twice the police force we have now, in my opinion. We residents need to stop being passive and take a proactive approach to self-policing our neighborhoods. To me, it’s as simple as this: Make the environment inhospitable to criminals and they’ll leave. And to me, the things that make criminals uncomfortable are Police and people who care. I’m not exactly a fan of too much Police force either, but at this point I think we need to stop the bleeding and get things fixed and then strike a balance after.

    I’m a technical guy, and I have the means to support any type of collaborative efforts via the Internet or related technologies. Whether that means something as simple as a website to share information or something as high-tech as a neighborhood watch camera & alarm system, I’m in. I’m open to ideas and will get it done if a group of people can help.

    I feel like I need to be part of a solution before giving up and leaving. Let’s fix this!!

  15. Avatar OZ says:

    Good read and can relate… car window got smashed for no apparent reason near Caldwell park one morning when I went to do an AM run along the river… so many bums over there and by the library.
    Agree that we need to do something about this problem because as mentioned, this will only cause people to leave and drag the community down.. they got rid of the geese problem in Bend by allowing people to use their paintball guns 🙂

  16. Avatar Dee says:

    This article is very informative on what has been a successful solution in Salt Lake City.

    • Avatar Bob says:

      The success of the Salt Lake City approach is well known among homeless advocates. This is an approach that works! It also demonstrates that those most critical of the homeless among us are wrong when they assert that if you treat the homeless with dignity it will merely attract more homeless folks, and one’s community will become a magnet for the homeless. That has not happened.

      The Salt Lake City approach has demonstrated more success in attacking this problem than any other approach. But it works because the people of Salt Lake City had both compassion and common sense. These two elements seem woefully lacking here.

  17. Avatar R.R.R. says:

    Bob and Steve, you sound pretty reasonable on this sad subject…suing someone and doubling down with brutality does not make much sense. As the world turns we are just one more fish in the sea..right next to the homeless undesirables..Try going without a few pay checks, warm house and people who love and helped us and lets see what type of homeless person we might be…..Again a community is judged by the treatment of the weakest members..So how are we doing?

  18. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Could be interesting an interesting exchange tonight at Sequoia. Parkview has been a problem place for too long. Many residents there are fond of getting others to help: clear the rubble, undo the sanctuaries, kill the non native vegetation, reduce the fire danger. There are solutions from other places. 1) Neighborhoods have simply got to stop depending upon others to do work they can do themselves. 2) Stop enablers by preventing people in motor vehicles from handing money or objects out the window while the car is in traffic. Medford, OR has this ordinance and cardboard signs are not seen there. 3) Require labeling of all items given at support locations. Items then found can be returned, the prior recipient noted by recorded number and description of the item which must be kept at the donor site. Feeling good about providing shelter or clothing is paid for by those who must pick up this abandoned litter. 4)Lobby for change so that something of value is received for monthly support payments. China’s “no work, no eat” works. 5)Become involved in taking back our village. Come tonight and stand with those who are tired of business as usual.

  19. Avatar Michelle says:

    Touch of sarcasm here, but I live in the county and pay a $117.00 fire tax fee. How about a City Homeless fee of $117 a parcel?

  20. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    Yeah, Michelle. I, too, pay that illegal tax which was raised from $115 to
    $117 this year. In our area, there are five fire departments within a 20-mile radius; so paying a tax for part-time CalFire coverage is ludicrous, but the powers that be in Sacramento passed the law anyway. I’d be happy to pay $117 down here toward solving the crime problem. Several stores allow customers to add an amount to a their bill for breast cancer, prostate cancer, pet foundations, etc. Why not allow customers to add an amount toward real security for their stores and parking lots? I’d like to see really physically fit and armed security guards and K-9’s in evidence during store hours. It’ll never happen.

    • Avatar Beth Brunner says:

      Gotta love that fire “fee.” Cal Fire proceeded to add 50 jobs to their workforce with the proceeds from that retroactive tax. Taxes from the citizens result in increased bureacracies. The increase of $2 is just a test to see how citizens react to raising it. Can’t wait to see what it is next year. And because Cal Fire assists all local fire depts inside city limits as well as outside, it won’t be long before everyone is paying it.

  21. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    The Howard Jarvis organization is suing, but it’s going to be a very long, drawn-out process grinding its way through the courts. The hope is that all of us who have paid the tax and have sent protests to all three bureaucracies will be receiving refunds plus interest. Even though the forms don’t indicate it, it is required to send protests to three bureaucracies. If we fail to do that, even though the forms don’t instruct it, a refund will not be forthcoming. Most of us were blaming CalFire for this brouhaha, but it’s not CalFire who did this; it was urban legislators who passed the legislation literally in the dead of night. I listened in on a teleconference, and that was the information given by a member of the Board of Equalization.

  22. Avatar Mary Ann says:

    I work on cypress at one of the fastfood establishments and everyday I have to deal with them running in and stealing soda or any condiments they can get their hands on. We catch most of them and tell them not to come back but there seems to be no end to them. They are all on drugs. You can see the scabs on their arms and we even find their syringes and crack pipes just lying on the ground. They have even been caught shooting up in the parking lot! They get in our dumpster and make a mess and even use it as a bathroom! It’s become so bad all the restaurants have a monthly meeting about it. I don’t feel safe when I walk to my car and I especially worry about my young coworkers. No one leaves alone but anything could happen. I have no idea what should be done but I thought I would share what many people on cypress are dealing with while we work.

  23. Avatar Ginny says:

    John 12:8 NKJ
    For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.

    Food for thought………..

  24. Avatar Larry Sparman says:

    What is wrong with this picture? Numerous homeless people hanging out on the back lawn of Redding City Hall. It is tolerated…so it continues.

  25. Avatar Darrell says:

    I come from Johannesburg, could not agree more. I think redding men are not manning up to the problem. I cycle to work and there are days I specifically cycle in the green belt area to show my presence and to report every illegal camper. If we do that enough times, and let the police know and our neighbors, something has to be heard. Men, we need to rise up together and claim what is ur ground.

  26. Avatar CoachBob says:

    Re: Homeless shelters…..” feed a stray kitty at your back door and you’ll “own” a kitty forever”

    • Avatar Bob says:

      But if you take the kitty to a proper shelter, what happens then?

      And if you let the kitty starve, what does that say about you?

      And if you transport the kitty to someone else’s town because yours has its “quota” of stray kitties, how does that solve the problem?

      And if you ignore other communities’ successful solutions to stray kitties, how will the problem ever get better?

      And why do you see homeless people as animals instead of people?

  27. Avatar Tyler says:

    People buying guns because they’re afraid of the poor then sighing use their credit card to pay back the rich

  28. Avatar Marvell says:

    So many things contribute to the homeless/transient problems in Redding. Everything from the milder weather to lack of funding to be able to house them somewhere. Shasta County itself as a whole needs to find a way to improve the mental health facilities to help those that are in great need of it. That is a first step. Since we can not seem to keep the criminals in jail perhaps we could implement a (Tent City) type of situation like in Phoenix Az. Anyone using that facility should be put to work. Make the criminals,homeless and transients that want to stay here work for it.. If they are able bodied with no physical and or mental health issues they could be put to work keeping the city clean..clearing away dead brush and picking up broken bottles etc etc. . Make sure they do not collect General Assistance, Food Card or Medical for free ..they must earn it. With strict rules perhaps they will decide to leave Redding or who knows maybe just maybe they will start feeling better about themselves and want to be a functioning person in our society instead of a freeloading loser…just a thought ..thanks

  29. Avatar Sara Crayne says:

    While it is a pity Dr. M. had such dire consequences from his experience with the homeless, I don’t think it is sensible to conclude that nobody should serve transients and the homeless. Homelessness is a complex problem in any town. I live in Mount Shasta, 60 miles up-canyon from Redding. I’m sure it is worse in Redding since the economy went south. Here we seem to have (-unscientific personal observation here-) three sorts at the feeding programs in town: local residents of marginal income, local homeless here for a period and “sleeping rough” , and summer transients of the sort locals call “rainbows”- hard core hippies en route to summer encampments.

    Speaking as a follower of Jesus, it doesn’t matter to me why they are here or why they follow their sad lifestyle. I’m happy to help serve a meal once a week. Most seem to have emotional and sanity challenges, sometimes compounded by substance abuse.
    Whatever. That part is out of our control.

    I think our response must be a combination of personal caution and a helping hand. Sometimes what the Gospel looks like is a cup of coffee, bread and a salad.

  30. Avatar Feline Sapien says:

    If you can’t tell the difference between cats and people, the moderator should delete your post.

  31. Avatar VoiceOfReason says:

    As with so many demographics in our world the homeless community gets a black eye and a bad reputation because of a minority of their numbers chooses to be lawless. Often gang members, delinquents and career criminals, are mistaken for homeless because of the way they choose to dress. As a matter of fact homeless are the number one easy prey for drug dealers, pimps and punks who prey on the weak and disenfranchised. Fact is most homeless people are regular folks caught between a rock and a hard place. I say those things not because I am some bleeding heart with too much time on my hands, but because I was a homeless person.

    I had cancer and got so sick I could not continue to work. In a matter of a couple of months my savings were gone my insurance was useless because I could not pay the huge co-pays for the expensive treatments. I lost my home, my job, my car, most of my friends talked empathy but didn’t walk it. In no time I was sick on the streets, getting robbed for what little I had my first day on the street. Never once took what was not mine. Nver once trespassed on anyone’s car or home or business. This was true for the majority of homeless I met. What I found were three major demographics among the homeless. 1. Those who like me had lost everything due to some catastrophic illness, injury or other loss. 2. Formerly middle and lower middle class people who lost jobs and could not get re-employed before their funds ran out. 3. The third and most painful to observe were the mentally ill. Many of these were veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental issues related to their service. A smaller minority in the homeless community were drug addicts and those who prey on them.

    The money we spend chasing them out of places, locking them up in jails and reinforcing our security against them could be better spent. Our country needs a national network of transitional housing for people in crisis. Run properly these places offer shelter, access to hygiene facilities, access t medical treatment and mental health counseling. Job hunting resources and a safe place to work out a transition back into society as a contributing member.
    An awesome example of this type facility is the Aloha Inn in Seattle. They supply all of the services I mentioned and more including helping with preparation for permanent housing search and acquisition. They got me access to health care, mental health counseling and helped me get into public housing while I recovered. Eventually I got work and in just a couple of years started my own computer repair business and am off the system and contributing to my community. Mine is one of thousands of lives helped and improved by the Aloha Inn. We need 100’s of these places in every state. Most Americans are one paycheck, one major illness one major accident, one catastrophic loss from being one of those “awful people” that get ignored, insulted, told to get a job, and sometimes assaulted by supposedly “good, working, contributing people. The answer is not more patrols, more jails, more abuse. The answer is organized well funded assistance. Be blessed.

  32. Our farm makes farmstead cheeses and sells state permitted raw milk at the Redding Farmers Market on Saturdays at the site on Cypress. We have been a vendor for several years there. We have a wonderful employee who works the market for us. She is now being “hassled” by the aggressive and emboldened homeless as they have some sort of encampment proximal to where the Saturday market is. Our company is considering leaving the Redding Market because of this and many of our customers have told us they are going elsewhere as well. I also know of other businesses in Redding who have to “come in early” to clean up the trash these people create during the night (which includes urine everywhere, syringes, used condoms etc.) before they can open their doors. This is an outrage as well as the crime rate in Redding. None of it is being addressed and rest assured the problems have risen to the level that there is no time for the leadership to sit around and “talk about it” for a couple years and maybe decide to do something about it. The best and the brightest are leaving in droves as are the people of means. Soon Redding is going to be left with the criminal element who has no fear of prosecution or consequences and the poor souls who can’t move out and will become their prey.