Candidates for the First Congressional District should publish their economic development program. Those ideas should be an important part of the debate. When Rep. Herger was on the Ways and Means Committee, he was one of the most powerful people in congress. He failed to “bring home the bacon” to his district. My suggestions:
1. Federal prison on the Federal land near Coleman fish hatchery. It could employ 200 correctional officers and 50 others (dentists, teachers, counselors, clerical, nurses, etc.) That would generate at least 500 other jobs in the county at the airport, motels, restaurants, and healthcare. Correctional officers would enjoy hunting, fishing, boating, quad cycling, etc. Prisoners need a lot of healthcare. Many are hepatis B or hepatitis C positive and will need hospitalization for complications. Many smoke. Methamphetamine and cocaine users have premature coronary artery disease from the sky high blood pressure those cause. Many are from ethnic groups most susceptible to type 2 diabetes and its complications. The Bureau of Prisons is one of the best payors. Doctors and hospitals can afford to lose money on Medicaid patients if they have enough payors to cover the losses. Federal prisoners could be fire fighters and trail builders on the national forests, park service and BLM land in the region, like the state prisoners on state land.
2. Turn over 5% of Lake Shasta’s 400 mile shoreline and 5% of the Shasta part of the Shasta Trinity National forest to one of the tribes. The Apache tribal land in Southeastern Arizona was much better managed for fire, shown by the Rodeo–Chediski fire. The tribe would probably do an excellent job, with the expectation that there will be more land added in the future.
3. Legislation should authorize turning over 500 acres or so of federal forest land to a demonstration forest managed by Shasta County with other partners. The demonstration should be exempt from environmental lawsuits for a limited period of time and the land should revert to the federal government at the end of the experiment. The forests are in worse shape than they were in 2008 and air quality disasters and loss of life will happen again.
4. Legislation should require Whiskeytown and Shasta to develop RV sites with full hookups. There are no camping sites with power at Whiskeytown. A trailers and fifth wheels park in paved parking lots and run noisy generators if they want air conditioning. Shasta has only a few sites with power. RVers who have a wonderful experience at Whiskeytown or Shasta could come back year after year, like they do at Lake of the Siskiyou and Collins Lake. They don’t compete with the houseboating operations, because someone with a $50,000 rig is not likely to rent a houseboat for a week. Some RV campers rent party boats for a day.
5. Legislate a feasibility study of quarrying the Kennett formation limestone. Much of the lake geology is Kennett formation. The rock removed or pushed above the waterline adds to the storage capacity. Roads built could be used for boating and camping. Limestone could be shipped from the Lakehead where I-5 and the railroad are close.
6. The candidate should say he has met with the administrator of Mercy Hospital and perhaps the physician recruiter to plan for the physician shortage. By 2050 America will have twice as many people over 65 than it does today. Shasta County needs many more physicians and it can’t recruit to replace the ones retiring now.
Shasta County issues more death certificates than birth certificates. School enrollment, including home schoolers, is falling. It is dying as is much of the First Congressional district. It needs investment and younger people. Many people in Sacramento and the Bay Area never travel north on I-5. They go north or south on 101 or 1 or east on I-80 for recreation. Recently, the Department of Finance issued its population estimates, which said Shasta is not growing. The 2010 Census showed California overestimated population by a large margin.
David Kerr is a retired hospital laboratory supervisor from Scottsdale, AZ. He’s been an avid gardener since 1954 in Dearborn, MI, Ann Arbor, MI, Reading, PA, Oakland, Scottsdale, AZ, and finally, Redding. Ann Arbor Farmers Market is his favorite place on Earth.