Letter to the Editor: ‘What happened to Redding?’

Photo by Doni Chamberlain

One Saturday last month my wife and I took my 2-year-old son down to the Grasshoppers baseball, a toddler baseball program that runs for a month.  It was located down by the city hall and library.  It was a beautiful day outside, a little hot, but still a nice Redding day.

But the one thing that completely bothered me was the presence of large groups of transients.  I counted three different circles of eight or more transients sitting in circles in the park.  Each one was drinking either 40-ounce bottles of beer, or shared from a 1.75 liter bottle of liquor.

It was absolutely disgusting and absurd. Granted, they were not bothering anyone, at least not that I saw in my limited time down there.  But how is it OK with law enforcement in this town for transients to be able to take over larger parts of the park like this?  It’s not even noon, and they’re drinking in broad daylight, not even trying to hide it.

The farmers market was in full swing, there were groups of young children playing all around, and it seemed to me like a recipe for disaster.

I know this town has gone downhill as of late, and the times have changed, but is it too much to ask that the park be cleared on the weekends so tax-paying families can enjoy it?  Where was RPD?  How can they be OK with this kind of display on a weekend?

What’s the point of funding more downtown projects if the lands will just be treated as outdoor bars?

I’m 33, I’ve lived in Redding 20 years and I’ve seen it change a lot, and for the most part it has changed for the better. But this current situation is just out of control.  What reason do young families like myself and my friends have to stay in this town if it will one day just be overrun with a transient populace without a care in the world?

It quite frankly saddens me. I want to raise my child here, I really do.  But I’m not going to invest time and money into a town that my family and I can only use during certain hours of the day, if even that.

Just for a start, can RPD at least clear the park on the weekends so that families can feel safe bringing their kids out on a nice day?  Can the civic leaders of this town please address this mess?

Safety is the biggest concern for my friends and family when we talk about Redding.  This problem did not happen overnight and I know it will not be solved overnight, but the populace deserves some answers about what will be done to fix these problems.

I call on the local news organizations to do stories on what is being done on a daily basis to fix the problems in this town.  Hold the city accountable for what is happening to this once great little town.  At least make RPD answer as to why large groups of transients are allowed to drink in the park on a Saturday before noon.

Thanks for your time,
Jason Watts

Jason Watts lives in Redding.

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66 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Archer says:

    I agree with your letter and comments 100% Jason. I too am fed up with the homeless taking over public areas and most of our beautiful city/area. Countless times a day I try to keep my inner rage under control when these complete losers walk out in front of your vehicle in the middle of block, high and drunk they stagger around the entrances businesses and lay around in groups leaving mounds of trash. Just about everyone of them has a Pit Bull, backpack or a ripped of grocery cart . It appears they always have money for cigarettes & alcohol but not for food(?)

    I have found that Kim, the director of the Redding Parks is more than helpful with cleaning up the parks and dealing with the abusers hogging the parks so residents can’t use them. She has done an outstanding job working with me cleaning up my nearest park, Lake Redding & Caldwell park. She has strong contacts with RPD and gets the job done. Lake Redding park had a solid group of over 20 living in the park. They took over picnic tables for months and where the new kids playground was, they were shooting drugs, drinking and letting their Pit Bulls run loose messing all over the playground. Residents couldn’t use the park, it was unsafe to put any child in that danger zone. Kim got rid of all the riff raff with the assistance of RPD. 4 Arrests and 3 vehicle tows and constant patrolling of the park and they finally got the message, get out of OUR park. Now, people are using the kids play area, having weddings and walking where the losers “thought” they owned for their illegal party grounds.

    I attempted to take a picture of the losers controlling the park to email to Kim and had 2 of them come after me with a hammer and a Pit Bull. It can be done with the help of city employees but they have to be notified because they can’t be everywhere all the time. Every complaint was handled in a professional way and taken care of with a positive result. Give a try, call the parks dept. let them know how you feel because trust me, they feel the same way. They want the parks for the citizens NOT the abusers.

    Patrick

  2. Avatar mrmike says:

    It makes me sad that not only do my wife and I no longer feel safe in Redding, and that so many share our concern. What an incredible change has come to our city, with its beautiful river trails, friendly atmosphere and small town optimism. Sadder still is that young people like you see no future here.

    One has to wonder what is on the minds of our civic leaders. How can they continue to fail to address the deteriorating quality of life in our community? There is a lot of back and forth about money; how much there is and how much it costs to be effective, and then there’s discussion about what’s legal and/or humane and on and on. Meantime, people feel less and less secure just shopping and being in public places.

    It’s an election year – wouldn’t it be great if one or more of the candidates came forward with solid proposals to restore Redding to the town it was, not so long ago? Better yet, it would be fantastic if one and all agreed that this was The Issue – there’s no point trying to attract individuals or businesses to a city where you can’t take the kids to the park.

  3. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Interesting aside last Thursday from Chief Paoletti, a youthful offender was arrested fourteen times in five days of September. Just imagine the police frustration and lost time. On the final the arrest, the Perp said he was tired of all the harassment and he was leaving as soon as his truck was released. Chief got him the keys and suggested he never return.

    Keep fighting, call, complain, support the police, do not allow anarchists to take over this village.

  4. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    Jason Watts, Patrick Archer, and mrmike have all identified where the problem lies: with the City Council. If the elected officials don’t make this a priority and direct the Chief of Police to make it the department’s number one priority, Redding will continue to deteriorate. The town hall meeting in July about this issue was held in an auditorium that held 750 people. At least that many more were turned away for lack of space. Transients, panhandlers, vandals, criminals, and homeless are Redding’s number one problem. The current and past City Councils have had enough time to address the problem. This should be an interesting election.

  5. Avatar david kerr says:

    Young people are some of the most mobile Americans. Places like Redding, Chico, Eureka, Stockton, Fresno, Bakersfield are rapidly losing taxpayers and gaining welfare cases. In five years, expect it to be even worse. It is an unstoppable trend.

    The best and brightest young people should be moving to NV,AZ, TX, OR. They can still call mom on their unlimited cell phone plan.

    Redding and Chico have gone over the cliff. They are past the tipping point. Young people can raise a family, save for retirement, and live a good life in one of the business friendly states. Young people face a bleak future if they stay in welfare friendly California.

    Young people who move to Reno might just find they like Sierra skiing and Lake Tahoe. Young people especially should be working on their exit strategy.

  6. Avatar Beth Brunner says:

    This problem also directly affects business. On a recent trip back to Redding (my husband and I, taxpayers, moved out of the state for the very reasons stated by Jason), we were eating dinner with friends at Famous Dave’s BBQ. After dinner, we planned on heading over to Trader Joes to stock up on some of our favorites, when we were accosted by a transient right in front of our car. When we wouldn’t give him money, he proceeded to verbally assault us while demonstrating his anger with some very specific hand gestures. We decided to stay in our car, rather than wander over to Trader Joe’s. Suddenly, TJ’s didn’t have anything we wanted badly enough. After giving us the riot act, the transient went to the entrance of TJ’s and proceeded to follow the first couple he saw right to their car, verbally assaulting them as well.

    Nothing is worth this.

    • Avatar Derral Campbell says:

      You know what? That’s where you stand up. That’s where you get OUT of the car and go buy something you don’t even need. I’m sick of the aggressive zombies too, and I won’t let them intimidate me for a second. Raising your voice works. Sure, some bug-eyed meth-head might pull a knife, so you don’t challenge the guy with the jailhouse tats. But you don’t let yourself get afraid to walk right past him, and most of these unfortunates are all frustration and bluster anyway. That’s my opinion.

  7. Avatar Tyler Shuster says:

    Jason and anyone else in this thread,

    We all know that Internet comments are not a productive platform for discussion. It’s hard to tell who’s just venting steam, who has a solid rationale behind their statements, and who is just out to troll. Please email me at tyler.herrshuster@gmail.com if you are open for a dialogue on this subject.

    • Well, Tyler, I have to disagree with your premise that online comments are unproductive.

      That’s not true here at aNewsCafe.com, where we have a seven-year history of community-minded, civilized comments.

      We’re have a fine dialogue right here, thank you. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

  8. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Several years ago when I played softball at Alta Mesa drinking alcohol was banned. The police would come by and if soneone, player or spectator, was drinking a beer the officer would take it away and drain the contents. At that time drinking alcohol was banned in all Redding city parks although special events could get a permit if they followed restrictions. I doubt the group of transients drinking in a group have a permit.

  9. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    I need to add something to what I wrote above which was, “If the elected officials don’t make this a priority and direct the Chief of Police to make it the department’s number one priority, Redding will continue to deteriorate.” Chief Paolotti and his officers can do nothing if not given the resources necessary to do their jobs. Throwing money at a problem generally does not solve it. However, funding more officers is absolutely necessary in order to solve this disaster. Camps on public property are illegal. Get rid of them. Drinking and shooting up in our parks should be illegal if it isn’t; scatter them. Send them to Sacramento where so many of them came from. A one-way ticket out of Redding would be cheaper than jailing them.

  10. Avatar david kerr says:

    Shasta County is losing population (Bruce Ross wrote a blog about it) according to the State of California. School enrollment has declined since 2008 (look it up for yourself). California is turning 65 even faster than the rest of the country. The “silver tsunami” is causing retirees with little net worth other than social security to move from cities to rural California.

    But the most important demographic shift is that few young college graduates go to places which have few young college graduates. A pediatrician, general internist or family physician out of residency with hundreds of thousands in debt is not going to go to a place like rural California, of if she goes there, won’t stay long when she finds out that there a few college graduates in the community and the case mix means she will be earning less than a fire captain when she is 20 years out of residency.

    Adios taxpayers and young college graduates. Bienvenidos welfare cases.

    • Avatar Ron says:

      And I can name a great person who has left as well. Former RPD chief Hansen. Been here most of his life and be has said audios as well…

  11. Avatar name says:

    The cops do not care, or have time to deal with this. There are many camps around, with tons of trash and illegal campfires.

    If I posted up somewhere and started camping on public land in town, they would arrest me immediately – yet the transients get a pass…

    At some point it will come down to vigilante justice, and it will not end well.

  12. Avatar Pearl Brady says:

    I was born and raised in Shasta County. I was born at Mercy and went to Rother, Parsons, and CVHS. I left as soon as I graduated high school because I saw absolutely no future in Redding, and for what I wanted to do, it was true and continues to be true. I’ve lived in a big city in the Northeast ever since, and I only come back to Redding to visit family.

    Until Redding has an infrastructure to support the lives and careers of young college graduates such as me, I don’t see much improvement coming to the area. Options are limited for young people, and simply getting a four-year degree means leaving the area for most people. Until there are reasons for people to come to Redding (or to come back to Redding) that would allow for college-educated young people to build their lives and have families in the area, the decline will only continue. Many other small towns have this figured out, but for some reason Redding hasn’t.

    As for the specific problem of homelessness, instead of kicking people out or moving them to other places, Redding should seriously consider simply housing them. Many communities have done just that, and it’s turned out to be cheaper than having people living on the streets. Don’t believe me? Here are the facts: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/03/24/3418140/charlotte-homeless-study/. Such major initiatives require strong buy-in from local electeds, and it seems as though those in Redding and Shasta County don’t have the stomach to make real change.

    It’s sad to me that Redding has declined so much since I left twelve years ago, but nothing will change until those in charge stand up and make real progress toward attracting young people and their families. Shasta Lake and the Sundial Bridge won’t cut it. People need jobs, supportive communities, and the possibility for progress. Right now, Redding appears to lack all three.

  13. Through collaboration of County, City and local organizations and community support we as a community can work together to develop new options and improve existing services and options for the homeless in our community. Yes Law enforcement needs funding and support to deal with the criminal element. But there are many that simply are not criminals that desire a hand up and those whom if were offered a hand up with support would make changes in their life for the better. One option but not the only one being suggested is
    The Shasta Humanity Project. a hand up for Local residents who have fallen upon hard times for whatever reason. http://www.shastahumanityproject.org

    • Thank you, Doug. And readers, watch for a story that features the Humanity Project.

    • Avatar David Encore says:

      With love & compassion, understanding and hard work, all the answers can be found. This group is finding the answers right here in Shasta County. Here and around the country people like them are reaching out to OUR brothers and sisters who have lost their way and shown them hope and a light on their path to recovery and renewal. So much thanks go to these generous dedicated people for what they are doing to make a real difference. http://www.shastahumanityproject.org/

  14. Avatar Knowledge is Power says:

    I agree with most of what I read of others’ comments, however, with 52 do-gooder agencies in this area, what is City management supposed to do? Council cannot say “don’t give food, money, clothing or shelter to THOSE people.” Redding sits in the eye of the perfect storm: (1) State of CA dumped criminals on Redding – AB109; (2) anyone who criticizes homeless or transients is vilified; (3) five years of budget cuts to police; (4) it’s not my problem; (5) exponential growth of Bethel, the Mission, and 52 other agencies serving “those with less.” The Mission now even has corporate sponsors. Do you honestly believe they are only helping people from Redding?

    We are literally killing our city with kindness to criminals, transients and homeless. They don’t want to “live in a box” like most of us do. 99% want to roam freely, drink, take drugs & live their lives their way. I recently talked to someone from Santa Cruz. They built a large homeless shelter there AND THEY CAME AND CAME AND CAME. Redding does not have the money to support the numbers.

    We must get a grip on the crime/transients/homeless or we will become the next Stockton/Chico. Spend some time with people who are in the know. They come here from all over. Think homeless/criminals/transients don’t talk to each other and say how pleasant it is here and how willing people are to look the other way.

    If enough people are outraged, City management will have no choice but to react. Tell you City council. Stick your neck out before it’s too late. You can pay now or pay later when you are a victim. A quarter cent sales tax would certainly help. More cops would deter and send a message that citizen taxpayers are fed up.

    Just sayin’.

    • Avatar S McCall says:

      amen!

    • Avatar Kath Surbaugh says:

      I was born in Santa Cruz, dear Power. According to my mom & grand-mom, Santa Cruz was a mecca for “bums” in the ’20s, weirdos & free thinkers combed the beaches and lounged in cafes. What is different is that there is no alternative, now, to perennial failure for many of these down-on-their-luckers.
      Ronnie (Reagan), dumped a huge number of today’s senior citizen homeless out of our old mental hospital system, back in the ’60s. It was, he claimed, a way to reduce a public costs: “Families will take care of their own & church charities will help.” How’s that worked?
      Criminals prey on old & ill homeless; these, the “volunteer” homeless, predators hunt the weak and the vulnerable wherever they’re to be found, whether under a bridge or inside an old lady’s riverside home! Add to this the fact that most dead-enders self-medicate, whether they’re predators or prey!
      So, for these past 50+ years, we’ve already tried kicking “these people” out or putting them in jail. Now we are dealing with second and third generation homelessness, child abuse, sexual exploitation, habitual thievery and younger beggars who have never known routine or stability.
      Isn’t it time to admit “We are our [siblings]’ keepers?”

      • Avatar Mary Brunziger says:

        To Kath: Sorry to tell you….the Lanterman Act (1976) was before Ronald Reagan (1981). Get your story straight.

        • Avatar Kath Surbaugh says:

          I’m referring to Reagan’s stint as California Governor, beginning 1966, not his Presidency. Try paying heed to the gist of what I’m saying, if you can. Let’s not get sidetracked over Reagan’s lack of training as an insightful leader, please! Ronnie was a “catch phrase” man; that’s what made him appealing. He’d dismiss a problem and then back up that dismissal with B-Movie shows of force: “Call up the cavalry!” “Fire the bums, if they dare to strike!” In real life, those easy answers haven’t worked. Instead, they’ve spawned multi-generational homelessness, as discussed above. “When we were wrong, promptly admitted it” is a maxim that applies — even if not “promptly!”
          For my part, I’ve been a case manager for developmentally delayed adults (Santa Rosa area,) where I was active in both the faith and state-wide public agency network that’s been grappling with these demographics, including the “predator/prey” setup.
          This sociopathic criminal (predatory) element among the homeless can be pretty candid about the way they see anyone who is vulnerable, if you are in a role where they feel it is safe to talk about their philosophy & way of life. They see themselves as “realists” in a cruel & heartless world (“the streets.”) They see themselves as role-models to the homeless — to kids, especially . They hold themselves up as “smart” or “strong” or even as “caring and wise,” in the context of “the street.”
          We do need to discriminate between this predatory element and those who are simply the unfortunates upon whom they prey. We need to identify and remove the criminals while, at the same time, we act to provide a leg up to the needy. This can be done, using programs like those we’ve been citing in this discussion, but only if we stop lumping all these people under labels that don’t fit.
          I’m sincere in wanting to contribute to this dialogue. I’ve got to go, now, but I’ll be back with more input. Thanks, Doni & friends, for creating this open forum!

          • Avatar Mary Brunziger says:

            You “lumped it” when you make an incorrect assumption by blaming Ronald Reagan. Once you did that, the rest of your comments didn’t hold water. Wow…..you are one mixed up kid.

      • Avatar Anonymous says:

        “Isn’t it time to admit “We are our [siblings]’ keepers?”

        No, no it isn’t. I’m so tired of this mindset. So done.

        I have a brother that is an alcoholic. He has been an alcoholic for 20 years. Over these 20 years, I have given him thousands of dollars. Hundreds of items of personal property. Attempted to give him a job (it was “not his thing”). A roof over his head. Even a car. I’ve gone to AA meetings with him. I’ve picked him up from the hospital, nearly dead, after a night of binge drinking. I’ve nursed him back to health, only to have him begin drinking again.

        You know what was gained from all that “assistance”? Zero. My brother is *still* an alcoholic.

        Those people must reach out on their own. They *must* be ready to change–and from experience–most of the time they are not. You would throw out assistance like breadcrumbs to a flock and watch them take it. You think this is help? It is not. You’re feeding their illness. The only person it is satisfying is yourself: You can sleep knowing you “helped” people. You are not.

        I will make you a dare: Attend an AA meeting. Watch how they work. Hint: They don’t do handouts. People that are still drinking are shunned. You have to WANT to be there.

        Trust me as a brother of an addict: There is no. other. way.

        • Avatar Kath Surbaugh says:

          Do you ever reflect on what role you play? There’s a pamphlet, an Alanon publication, called, “A Merry-Go-Round Called Denial,” I think, that diagrams the frustration you describe. I’m one of many co-founders of a 12-Step program for children of alcoholic/addicts, circa 1986, Anonymous. Shunning is, in the end, “a half-measure,” I agree! Until, unless, we settle down and stop being reactive to the insanity of others’ failed coping-strategies, we, as a community, not just as individuals or family-members, don’t see ourselves clear of these pitched battles.
          There is a Step in the 12-Step program that contains the phrase, “. . . and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” Mary Brunziger’s dismissal of what I’ve offered (because I’ve broached the facile weakness of Reagan’s approach to problem-solving) is a prime example of how unwillingness to ever admit mistakes perpetuates
          a problem. Triggers, like defensiveness, are coping-mechanisms, too!
          How does “carry[ing] a bat when you leave the cave” calm down the situation? That’s a real question.
          As for me, I live 15 miles outside of town, next door to mostly cows; I’ve set up to maintain that distance for the past 25 years or so. Is this a universal solution to the problem of dealing with the dispossessed? No, of course it isn’t; it just puts me where I need to be in order not to be so reactive that I’m just another element within the problem.
          Venting has its place, but so does getting back to being realistic and detached enough about what’s going on, don’t you see?
          Reagan’s strategy of cutting the safety net has failed, is still failing: Objectively, we have a greater problem now than we did in 1966 (when Reagan was elected CA governor,) and he was then (and his adherents remain) of those who favor reactive “solutions” to “other people’s” issues. Jailing, shunning, “carry[ing] a bat” hasn’t worked.
          I have some ideas about what we can do. But, as a “1st thing 1st,” let’s agree to allot maybe 10 minutes of a meeting scheduled for an hour & a half to venting, and no more, so those of us who believe social & interpersonal problems, as well a all sorts of addictions, can yield to sanity and good will, can work. How’s that for a beginning ground rule?

    • Avatar Mary Brunziger says:

      I agree. And, you can add Santa Cruz to that list of cities. They bent over backwards for the homeless and street people, also gave way to bicycle riders “rights-of-way”, and look where that got them. The streets are no longer safe after dark, like Redding is in the 4-corners. However, there is a solution if you carry a bat when leaving the cave.

  15. Avatar Ron says:

    I’m also with you Jason 100%. I live part time in another state and travel back and forth ever couple months. After living here for a very long time I see a huge decline in self responsibility. I know it’s not just here but everywhere. When I’m here I no longer call the police when I see a crime being committed. It just not worth my time knowing nothing will get done. I have called before and nothing gets done. The worse part is when the call taker gives the RP (reporting person) attitude. No wonder no one wants to call.

    On another note I no longer go to local events, parks, etc. I also take my grandkids out of county to better places to enjoy my day. What goes with it? My money. I spend it elsewhere.

  16. Avatar cheyenne says:

    The parks here in Cheyenne have a geese problem. They have taken over the parks and are sometimes aggresive toward people. A bigger problem are the droppings which anyone who has been around large gatherings of geese can tell you how disgusting and unhealthy that is. Cheyenne has hired a Colorado company, Up And Away Goose Control, that uses border collies to rid the parks of geese. The dogs use non-lethal methods to get the geese to leave and the company has been endorsed by PETA.
    Maybe somebody should start a Up And Away Transient Control company in Redding using pit bulls.

    • Avatar Ginny says:

      If you fined anyone who fed the geese, they would not eat there and move on! Simple. Did that in Western WA. It worked! The poor geese don’t migrate. Shame

  17. Avatar S McCall says:

    Don’t put blame on RPD and the Chief of Police. Their hands are tied. They are working bigger crime(s) than someone sitting in a park drinking beer.

    Is there a City Ordinance that doesn’t allow alcholol in the Park? Is having alcholol in the park an arrestable offense?

    Blame the the Courts. Blame Jerry Brown. Blame AB109 and the lack of space in local jails. Non violant offenders are booked and released.

    Blame Mother Nature and God because Redding has great weather and is a beautiful place

    Tax paying citizens should band together and take back to the park by out numbering the transcients. Go to the park with your family and take back the park!

    • Avatar Christy says:

      I’d love to take my family to the parks in town… but, last time we went to the park, we came back to find people sitting right next to our car smoking pot and loitering… I am not fond of exposing my kids (2, 3, and a baby) to marijuana as we get into our vehicle. It sucks! I wish there were an easy answer. I get so mad when I see people hand money to the sign holders on the street! They think they are doing a good thing… they are just feeding the problem!

  18. Avatar Lee says:

    Drugs are cheap, no jail space, less funding for the DA, less funding for parole and probation, easy social services in Redding and the Mission on Market does nothing but attract trouble.

    Having said that, people who are homeless still have the right to go to the park and hang out. Many of those in the park are not bad people, though there are many who are bad guys and make the rest look bad.

  19. Avatar CouldBeTrouble says:

    I have lived in Redding and Shasta County since 1965. I moved here with my parents from Manhattan Beach. Part of what you are seeing is the standard, normal Redding lack of culture that has existed due to the economic level, pay scales and education of third and forth generation locals. This is not a put down, just a fact and an observation that the classic Shasta County resident is content with a basic and gritty lifestyle and most have moved here to get away from the glitz and order of the large urban areas. Those who have more recently come to Shasta County may be shocked, but like most impoverished areas in the world, things do not change real fast. The bums have always been here and in fact we used to use them to buy booze for us before we came of age. It’s just now they are younger, have tattoos, do not hide their slovenliness and have attitude which scares the orderly suburbanite. Suggestion, find another park. South City has always kind of been “their home” and is a convenient place for law authorities to have them gather all in one place for control purposes. The new PD location may change things, but I have a hunch that my gut is right and they will continue to be “corralled” there. The Rescue Mission is their connection to the rest of the world and anything to help them help the homeless will alleviate the problem.
    My larger point: This problem has and always will be related to the larger problem of what is happening to our nation on a moral, economic and political basis and as you may guess things are not going too well in that area right now. Some people need help and some need a kick in the pants (in an appropriate manner) by way of work programs and education to help get them on the right path. These are our brothers and sisters who need help while big government is more concerned with allowing illegal immigrants to “amnesty” thereby creating more dependents on the system to insure their job security and pay scale, which is way more than even above average Americans make. When you go to the polls locally and nationally I would hope you not look to see a democrat or a republican, but rather an American who values our heritage, Constitution and values that created this magnificent country that is deteriorating before our very eyes.

    • Avatar Barbara N. says:

      Redding has come a long way since the Poverty Flat days…never give in. South City Park is not theirs. The ones who need the kick in the pants are the ones who don’t want help, for the others, definitely, help get them off of the streets. I live here, see it, and quite frankly, just about had enough of the punks littering our parks, open spaces and businesses. Basically anywhere and everywhere they can get away with it.

  20. Avatar Amber Asaro says:

    Redding has changed. The entire state of California has also changed. Funds have been drastically cut and that ripple can be seen in police departments, schools, and various community services. I lived in Redding for 18 years and eventually left in 2009. Each time I come back to visit, what I see saddens me. Shuttered business, lots of transients in parks, at intersections, parking lots and underpasses. Redding needs some hope and some responsibly used funds. Until then, it will continue to be a place that you leave, or you gas up your vehicle and head to your primary destination.

  21. Avatar LK says:

    I just wanted to make the observation that I have recently traveled to San Diego and was there for a week, visiting many areas of the city. I saw fewer homeless/transients/beggars there in that week than I do in one morning in Redding. San Diego has city signs all over discouraging hand outs to the homeless, because it fosters addition. Those signs must help.

    Every morning I drop off packages at the downtown post office. I’m there very early in the morning, and the transients around the post office are getting very bad. I am asked for money at least 3x out of the 5 days I am there.

    I was in Red Bluff this weekend, and also noticed very few transients – only saw one, standing at the entrance to the Wal-Mart parking lot.

    I don’t have any absolute answers, but if I could move, I would. As a lone woman, I don’t enjoy walking around the city any more, and when I do go out, it is with a walking cane as a weapon, my dog and mace.

  22. Avatar Sean says:

    Each week I take my children & feed these, as one ignorant individual called them, “losers.” Granted, as with any socioeconomic class of people, there will be losers amidst the rest. As I’ve become friends w/many of “These” people I’m often struck by who they are & how other people’s choices (as well as their own) have led them to where they’re at. The homeless population is growing everywhere within America; why? A highly simplified thought: As we demand cheaper products, companies (Think shelves at Wamart) outsource jobs, which then limits industrial jobs (Think Detroit, Buffalo, Watts-L.A), which increases the poor, who raise children in a high degree of financial stress; liquor is cheap, kids are raised in abusive families & they run away w/a very limited & survival oriented world view. There are always going to be drop-outs, but when you see homelessness increasing exponentially you have to look beyond the individuals & ask why? Priest Heldar Camara: “When I feed the poor, people call me a saint; when I ask why the poor have no food people call me a communist.” “They” are people, Americans, Vetrans, Daughters, & Sons.

    • Avatar Patrick Archer says:

      While I agree with many of your statements one issue that seems to be overlooked is, where are the families of the homeless? When I worked with the homeless and asked that very question time and time again the same answers. They burned all their bridges with family and friends as their addictions over ride family or friends.

      They ripped of family, borrowed money and never paid them back, took precious family heirlooms and sold them for drugs & alcohol without giving one ounce of care to family. The families are forced to close the door on helping them. For some, they really bleed the families others wont enable them and cut them out of their life right away as they cannot & will not accept help.

      Think about it, if someone in your own family was going to be homeless because they lost their job or couldn’t get one, would family turn their backs on them? I doubt it. UNLESS, they have a history of abusing the family with their addictions. Most have chosen their paths and are fine with begging and stealing, those who are not, accept the help and CHANGE for the better get off the streets and at try to better themselves. The majority of the homeless I worked with though Shasta County Health Dept. CHOOSE NOT to help themselves but TAKE everything that’s handed to them and still continue to rob,steal and beg to feed their addictions even after FREE help to clean up is offered. It is, what it is.

  23. Avatar Kath Surbaugh says:

    Well, Doni and all, for the discussion to be productive, I think it has to be realistic, not just rants expressing frustration, disgust, fear –although those are certainly real feelings!
    I think we need to face the fact that California, all of California, is physically a kinder place to live outdoors, year around, than most other places! So, as more people lose their grip, financially or mentally, they show on the coast or along the I-5 corridor.
    Drifters do and will drift in! Hating that reality isn’t going to change it and venting frustration isn’t much of an outlet. It sounds like an admission that we feel defeated and hopeless, displaced, run over and no longer the owners of our own communities.

  24. What happened to Redding??…. a great question that many have asked over the years….one thing is for sure….it’s not the Police Officers fault!….without enough help (budgets) they are doing the best that they can! That I am certain of.
    The problem is a combination of lack of funding for the jail, lack of funding to put More officers on the streets and someones great idea to give the released parolees a free ride to “Redding”……if the residents are Not willing to pay more in the form or taxes or otherwise the place we have known and loved will continue to slide……when the “word on the street” is that you will get out in an hour….then there is really no incentive to move on to another city when the pickings are so good here!
    The problem is obvious…..the solution will take $$….and the residents need to be willing to fork out some more $$ or its not going to change on its own!

  25. Avatar Liz A. says:

    Bend, Oregon, St. George Utah, Salt Lake City, Boulder/Longmont, Colo—- wonderful places for a young family- the kids should come first—- leave as soon as you can. So many of us would like to.

  26. Avatar Michael says:

    Don’t disagree with your comments, but where have you been? This is one of the biggest issues in this council election. The Chief held a town hall meeting. Were you there? Why do you think we have a tax increase on the ballot? Hopefully you vote!

    Don’t mean to sound crass, but everyone complains, and wants RPD to do something, but they simply don’t have the resources. And this has been all over the media.

  27. Avatar Sally P says:

    I heard about a community (wish I could remember which one) in which the Mayor announced the city is serious about homelessness and cracked down. In order increase the resources needed to give a hand up to local people who fell on hard times, they focused services and help on the families and individuals from the community (who could prove they had last had residence in the community, last job was here, had attended school here, etc)….while at the same time turning ‘out of towners’ away from services. It’s such a hard issue – so many people are truly in need yet the direction things are headed are not good for anyone in Redding. Would all the agencies, non profits and groups who reach out to help be willing to limit their services to people who are ‘local’? Would this help prevent more people from moving here to get free services? Would this better help the local people who are struggling to improve their lives?

  28. Avatar Anonymous Heckler says:

    We have all heard about the large number of Americans who have dropped out of the labor force amid the chronically bad economy. Redding has more than its share. What do we suppose happens to these people? Not a few crash-land. Yes, we don’t ship them off en masse to prison for petty crimes as we did before AB 109. Is that really the only solution we have?

    How many commenters are aware that housing subsidies are frozen in Redding? That there are no new Section 8 vouchers no matter how broke you are? Remember when the Congress ended long-term unemployment benefits?

    Chronic high unemployment. Insufficient help for the down-amd-out. Winters that won’t kill you if you sleep outside. What do you think will happen?

    Me? I would like to see a more prosperous town and fewer bums in the parks. But how about a little humane thinking?

  29. Clarification to why Shasta Humanity Project services would only be offered to locals and not those who our not Shasta County residents. If we offered our services to those who were not locals with a history of being a resident we would attract non locals to come to our community and that is not what our goal is. We desire to open our community and service locals and once we have done this successfully we can demonstrate to other communities how to do the same in their communities for their local homeless. We believe if this is practiced throughout the country there would be fewer transients as people would be able to remain in their home communities and receive the services and or assistance they require to get back on their feet.

  30. Avatar Anonymous Heckler says:

    Great piece in The Washington Post that might sound familiar.

    “Barriers to employment are particularly important in the neighborhoods to which formerly incarcerated people return. Every week, 6,000 people in America return from jail or prison. Because policing tends to be geographically, socio-economically and racially skewed, many who come out of incarceration are likely to return — jobless, indigent and with debts to pay — to neighborhoods that already suffered high unemployment rate is before their arrival.”

  31. Avatar Sam Allen says:

    Redding has been slow to catch up with other cities regarding homeless, transient issues. It’s everywhere. How we choose to deal with this is up to us. We have to be pro active and speak up. Our city officials are listening. A lot of cities practice Greyhound Therapy. Sending some of the cronic mentally ill to other places solves their problems. I am pretty sure quite a few have ended up here in Redding. Having a storefront across from the bus station gives me a pretty good window. I see the mentally ill spend weeks walking like zombies not leaving the bus station. It makes me sick to watch them like animals that have been dumped but wait for someone to come and rescue them. Add drugs and alcohol to the mentally ill and you have a disaster in the making. I talk to homeless every day. They are terrified by the thought of change. After a few years on the streets, they are get comfortable. After research I personally feel that the sooner housing is made available, the faster they can get turned around. Most of Europe has found housing is the answer. Then a case worker is assigned and follows the person through the process. It costs less to the tax payer and gets them off our streets and out of our greenbelts. We need to control what we cannot control. This will cost us money. This is the choice we have to make.

    • Avatar Bee says:

      Sam, you did such a great job with the silent protest. Perhaps you could urge someone to hold a forum on this transient issue. The Record Searchlight is doing a forum on Measure B, but this issue is far more critical. I would love to hear a presentation by the candidates on what they plan to actually do. Maybe we could all place neon green ribbons all over town to voice another protest…that we want our streets, parks, trails, and the illegal campsites cleaned up NOW. And while I’m on a roll…. we need a protest to demand a tent jail NOW.
      I’m just soooo frustrated. Couldn’t walk out of Joann’s tonite at 7pm because of the bike dudes, right there in the entrance of the store.

    • Avatar Beth Brunner says:

      Perfect solution, Sam. It is working in other places. You cannot deny the problem and it will cost taxpayers either way. Get housing and caseworkers involved and quality of life will return to all.

  32. Avatar Liz A. says:

    Solution: Transients picked up for pan handling (after Redding passes that ordinance) sent to a Sherriff Arpaio style camp- beans and rice 2 minute shower, segregated men, women they work the garden at the camp, get evaluated and work up to the next level camp that serves dessert after chores are done…… third level camp and they are ready for help. Jail is too full, we could cut the policemen’s hours if they didn’t have to arrest this population 12 plus times EACH. You have to realize how many decent gun owning volunteers/newly deputized there would be to make sure no one gets past the wired fencing until they have been cleared. When word gets out that Redding plays tough w/ transients, fewer will come. By the way, the Weed fire may have been caused by transients according to some news reports. The town you save from transients may be your own.

    • Avatar Bee says:

      Amen. Good post with ideas, not just ranting and complaining. We need a blog or website where every single idea can be brainstormed, including what has been successful in other cities. It seems to be pretty evident that the citizens need to resolve this problem themselves. How can we demand a tent jail now? County supervisor meeting?

  33. Avatar CouldBeTrouble says:

    I have posted and I have read and it appears that no one wants to look within themselves. This problem is nation wide, it’s not caused by Walmart and it’s not caused by God, it’s caused by our lack of understanding that we need to stop what we are doing and do what needs to be done. We expect our politicians to do this for us and guess what? How has that been working for you? If blame and buck passing is the best we can do then we are going down and it will be a long long way to the bottom especially for those who have no idea how bad things really are in this country. Has it been so long since we came from the farm to remember that the farm is where we all came from? We grow and build all our stuff on the farm with plenty to share and if we can’t grow it or make it then we don’t need it. Guess who is making millions off the “homeless unaccompanied illegal children?” While our American homeless are ridiculed, condemned and hated because they don’t “pick up their trash.”

  34. Avatar Rustin says:

    some of you all judge these people way too harsh. They are homeless for a reason. Figure out that reason and you will have a solution. If only you all knew what is actually going on.

  35. Avatar Helen H. says:

    It is sad that Redding’s long time congressman Wally Herger did not fight to get us a University of California campus.

  36. Avatar Randy says:

    What is needed is an option to begging for money. I was being hounded for work and handouts by some locals in my neighborhood and found a couple of jobs that always seem to be waiting. Picking up trash from the road way and hand pruning blackberry vines to bare dirt. Payment is based around $10 an hour and it goes hour by hour. If someone is not earning their pay they get paid up to that point and the job is finished if someone does good work they get more work. This has worked somewhat for me and the “homeless” in my life as it is much easier to respond to the “sluffers” and a work relationship is established with those who want to work.

  37. Avatar Former Magnolia Neighborhood Resident says:

    Housing is key. Just a tiny room. A shared bath down the hall. A place to make a meal. A phone. A place to receive email or mail. A job paying a living wage. Work two jobs, if needed, to get out of the mire. Why is it okay for homelessness to even exist in this wonderful, abundant nation of ours? I’ve seen it too often in train stations and elsewhere in Third World countries……..