Public High-Speed Internet in Downtown and Solar Power Highlight Adam McElvain’s Council Campaign

McElvain outlines his campaign during a noon rally at the Atrium in downtown Redding.

McElvain outlines his campaign during a noon rally at the Atrium in downtown Redding.

A municipal Internet service, a beefed-up police force and an emphasis on solar energy will be the focus of Adam McElvain’s campaign for the Redding City Council, he said Tuesday at a rally in downtown Redding.

McElvain, 36, envisions an Internet utility that would start with the downtown area and eventually encompass the entire city. Using existing fiber-optic cables and the Redding Electric Utility distribution network already in place, the taxpayer-owned Internet service has the potential to transform downtown into a magnet for tech-related business, he said.

More importantly, the fiber-optic Internet access can be financed with regional, state and federal grants, he said. Fiber-optic Internet, which uses pulses of light, offers the potential for 1-gigabit speed, which is up to 20 times faster than cable or DSL.

The Shasta College Health Science & University Center, the new courthouse, a possible five-story apartment building where the Dicker’s building now stands and other downtown businesses would benefit from the service, McElvain said.

“Downtown will become extremely desirable to businesses … the city can give downtown a powerful economic boost,” McElvain said.

Approximately 90 braved Tuesday’s steady rain to attend the noon rally in the Atrium at the south end of the Market Street Promenade. McElvain was introduced by his campaign chairman, Bob Brennan, who noted the candidate’s work with the Community Services Advisory Commission and the now-dissolved Redding Electric Utility Commission as well as the Active 20-30 Club and Friends of Whiskeytown.

McElvain, left, confers with campaign chairman Bob Brennan, center, and KRCR-TV News anchor Mike Mangas.

McElvain, left, confers with campaign chairman Bob Brennan, center, and KRCR-TV News anchor Mike Mangas.

Brennan said McElvain’s upbringing on a Nebraska farm, the leadership skills acquired during his service with the U.S. Air Force and California National Guard and his experience as a business owner combine to make him well qualified for a seat on the council.

McElvain began his campaign outline with a vow to improve Redding’s public safety by transforming the Police Department back into the proactive force it was a decade ago before the Great Recession decimated its ranks. He said he’s eager to work with Shasta County on improving mental health services and he also supports the gathering communitywide effort to solve homelessness.

Economic development, the other principal component of McElvain’s campaign, can be spurred with a large-scale investment in solar power. With its abundant sunshine and its own municipal electric utility, Redding is perfectly poised to capitalize on clean, low-cost solar power, he said.

“We should be up to our ears in solar power,” McElvain said. “We need to create a new Shasta Dam, and we can do it with clean solar energy.”

McElvain met his wife, Courtney, while attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. Courtney McElvain was serving in the Army at the time. The couple moved to Redding in 2005. They have two children, Rook, 7, and 4-year-old Pepper. All three joined McElvain on the stage.

McElvain holds his daughter, Pepper.

McElvain holds his daughter, Pepper.

“I love Redding. I love it here,” said McElvain, noting that he’s had the opportunity to live in several cities. “Redding’s the best. I’m very optimistic about our future.”

McElvain joins candidates Lea Tate, a Redding psychologist, and Julie Winter, a nurse practitioner, in a race for two seats on the council. Mayor Missy McArthur has already announced she will not seek re-election and freshman Councilor Gary Cadd has yet to decide if he will seek a second term.

The election is Nov. 1.

Photos by Jon Lewis.

Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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