A Safer Tomorrow is Better Than a Perfect Never

safe-streets-now-revive-redding

Laura McHaney opposes Measures D&E and has authored an opinion piece that has appeared in the Record Searchlight and now on ANewsCafe.com. While her statements are factually correct, she leaves important information out that would help reasonable people conclude that voting YES on Measures D&E is the only way to see an immediate change in our future. The omission of details, in my opinion, is not only unfair, but dangerous and could set our community back years before we start to see real changes in the safety of our streets and neighborhoods.

Laura contends that Measures D&E should be a special tax, rather than a general tax so that the money raised would be legally required to be spent on public safety taxes. This sounds good and I think we would all agree that if we could pass a special tax for public safety funding, that is what we would do. However, Laura does not mention the political reality that the special tax must receive 66% of the vote in order to pass.

In my professional opinion, achieving 66% of the vote on any measure is the political equivalent of a pitcher throwing a perfect game – it happens, but the chances are incredibly slim. Our community tried to pass a special tax in 2014 and failed. We are all experiencing the negative realities associated with not having adequate police and fire protection in our city at this very moment. Do we really want to gamble on our future by expending years of effort to place something on the ballot that has a narrow chance of winning?

Given that, the city council made the prudent decision to create the tax in the same way that Anderson did in 2014. Anderson has seen a marked decrease in crime and the citizens have been pleased. They are two years ahead of us in Redding. Just like Measures D&E, there was no legal requirement for Anderson’s funds raised to be spent on public safety, but the city found ways to make it work. Anderson is enjoying a better quality of life right now, and they have not experienced any negative outcomes due to rogue spending decisions – decisions that Laura implies will happen without a legal requirement.

Also not mentioned in Laura’s opinion pieces are the ways the Redding City Council understood the risks associated with not having a legally binding tax and went above and beyond to ensure they earn the public’s trust.

First, the city will store all the revenue from Measure D in a separate bank account. The budget will then be audited by a licensed accounting firm on an annual basis and then turned over to a citizens advisory committee to review the city council’s spending decisions. This three step process ensures that there will be an enormous spotlight on the funds and how they are used. If the funds are used improperly, I guarantee the press will have a field day and recall efforts will be mounted. This type of transparency in our government’s spending is unprecedented. Again, after the years of effort, all the meetings of different departments and interests, town halls, consultants and discussions, do we really want to take a bet on something that has a narrow chance of winning?

Those who oppose D&E are forsaking the right-in-front-of-us fix for our dystopian present based on the remote possibility that we may have a dystopian future where officials make high profile choices against the will of the people at the expense of their own political careers. To me, this is silly.

If Measures D&E don’t pass, do you think the busy mother of three who is cleaning up shards from her broken passenger door window after a smash and grab is going to say “I am glad we held off fixing our problems to wait for a perfectly crafted measure that has little chance of passing”?

If Measures D&E don’t pass, do you think the downtown business owner who continues to struggle daily with petty theft and vandalism will gladly tell her customers “Our community voted to trust the status quo over our elected leaders years ago, but I hope things change soon”?

If Measures D&E don’t pass, what is an acceptable timeframe for when the perfect solution can be found and implemented? And who will the decision makers be? All our current leaders came up with this plan.

While the perfect solution is being worked out, how many more break-ins, river trail assaults, sprints from the Safeway parking lot to the front door, teens trying heroin for the first time, bad tourism outings, creepy massage businesses opening, individuals struggling with mental illness not receiving adequate treatment, vehicle thefts, littered shopping carts, desecrated parks, graffitied undersides of bridges, and national publications citing Redding’s public safety crisis can we take?

We are all for government accountability and not a single one of us wants to see any money misspent. But at what cost?

Measures D&E will set the right plan in motion for us to take local control of our public safety challenges. We want enhanced police and fire protection, increased jail space and mental health services, and a restored quality of life. It is time to realize that we cannot continue to overlook the better in pursuit of the best. Let’s not cut off our nose to spite our face. We want Safe Streets NOW. Please vote YES on Measures D&E.

Rocky Slaughter
Co-Chair of Revive Redding, Yes on D&E

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22 Responses

  1. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Not supporting Measure D&E will only alert the transient, vagrant pipeline, and believe me one exists, that ReddingCA is the best place to come and grab your favorite item from the shelves of Safeway, those dark glasses in the car seat in your neighborhood; go through your City grey and blue garbage container to find important papers/credit care info that you did not shred and the continuous scamming at your front door, or on the phone. Redding is in the spotlight, scammers are at the gates ready to go forward with their thoughtless schemes. Now, if you are 1 in 27 residents in Shasta County/City of Redding that have a Concealed Weapons Permit (most per capita in CA) and a pistol in your purse or strapped to your ankle, then you have nothing to worry about, take the law in your hands (and I’m not recommending such) and shoot away….but think of your personal consequences, not only legally, but the fact that your life and family will be ruined from the simple act of killing another human being. Let the law enforcement agencies handle these matters with adequate staffing.

  2. Avatar Karen C says:

    Frank, your comment (suggestion) regarding one who has a Concealed Weapons Permit to take the law into their own hands and shoot away is  rude and uninformed.  Those  who have CCW’s must take classes every two years to renew their certificate.  In class it is never suggested that one do what you suggested.  We are told to retreat to a safe place if possible as our first choice.  Get out of the house first and go to a safe place or safe room.  Never to shoot first.

    Now, on the other hand, if a drug addicted crazy is at ones front door, trying to break in, or manages to find an unlocked door, barges in and  threatens ones family, we have every right to shoot that person.  He is a threat to us and one would be in fear of their lives, so at that point, it is OK to shoot.  CCW carriers are not out looking for trouble, nor do they every want to pull their weapon on anyone.  If a threat does happen, they will know how to respond in a legal way, and maybe one day that trained person will save your life.

    As far as letting the law enforcement agencies handle the matters, what is one supposed to do, if ones life is threatened?  Ask the perp to “hold on just a minute while I call RPD!”  I don’t think so.  How would you protect your family, if a serious threat happened out of nowhere in the middle of the night?

  3. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    Back on the focus of this article, right on, Rocky!

  4. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    The only points that I have to add to Rocky’s comprehensive statement are:

    1.  2014’s public safety proposal not only required 2/3 passage, but was asking for approval of only 1/4 cent, and it still achieved slightly less than 57% of the vote. A majority to be sure, but far less than required for passage.

    2. The proposed half cent tax is relatively painless. It  would cost the average Redding household less than $4.25 per month, and the average single retiree less than $1.50 per month.

    That represents a large return for a very small cost and is an excellent return on investment.

     

     

     

  5. Avatar Rod says:

    I see the pinnacle of stupidity in measure D.  Proof is in measure E.

    Somebody declares the present as being dystopian which increases into a dystopian future based upon an imaginary politician doing his job as he was sworn in to do?  OK that’s better.  I’ll go along with that one and pony-up $$$ to the chief.

    Poor ol’ Rocky just couldn’t help but throw in everything wrong under the sun that D will “fix”.  Mindnumbing lies.

    I can’t figure out how bribing officials to execute great police work is in anybodies’ best interest.  There’s enough money available now supposedly earmarked for public safety.  Get back to basic enforcement and trash the endless requests for “Fix my problem first”. Extorting a little more money from city hall by the enforcement union is the “silly” part.

    Measure D passes debt on to the next generation.  We can’t do that.

     

    • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

      Rod,

      As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once stated, “Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”

      Perhaps you could run your household just as well on the equivalent of RPD’s 26% reduction since 2008 in sworn and community service officers, but that is highly unlikely. Adequate funding to restore adequate staffing is hardly “bribing public officials to execute great police work.” Additional jail beds,  increased RFD staffing, a sobering center, and  mental health crisis intervention would also be funded by proceeds from Measure D.

      And your contention that “Measure D passes debt on to the next generation” is completely erroneous. In is a pay-as-you-go proposition, rather than the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” plan that raiding the City’s general fund reserves to fund public safety  (supported by two of the four City Council candidates) would be.

  6. Avatar Sound of Reason says:

    How can a sales tax directed to the general fund be put into a separate account? Is this the same thing as the Social Security ‘lock-box’? Is such a financial arrangement legal with a tax going to the general fund?  If this is part of the plan why was this moist important tidbit not included in either measure. Why does measure E never once mention this finanacial audit?

  7. Avatar Koen says:

    It is not sarcasm when I ask that someone educate me on AB 109 et al. Why is it that the ‘dumping’ of the criminal element in Redding even takes place? Can cities/counties/states not fight to end this practice? All D & E can accomplish is to not heal at the source. At best D & E can do no more than mask the symptoms of what is the real problem which is that we are a ‘dumping’ ground.

    Are there financial incentives involved for local governments?

  8. Avatar Kallie says:

    Well written, Rocky.

  9. Avatar Bob Paget says:

    Hey Richard, With regards to your frequent statements about facts and audit, can you share the data supporting the $4.25 figure you cite in your posts? If “leaders” are the ones to develop this plan, where has the leadership been to get us where we are? Please don’t make sales tax the scapegoat, and more money ain’t going to solve crime or fix society’s challenges no mater how some might spin it. Please give me more money so I can take care of you – really?

  10. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Bob,

    Good question. First, those figures are based on the median household income in Redding of $43,706 (http://www.deptofnumbers.com/income/california/redding/) and the fact that grocery food, prescription drugs, rent/mortgage payments, insurance payments, utilities and medical devices and services are exempt from sales tax.  Best estimates are that the average Redding household would pay an extra $50.00 per year ($4.17/month) on taxable items, though of course it could be either a bit more or a bit less depending on the types of taxable expenditures.

    Granted, more money certainly can’t fix all of society’s challenges, but the lack of money can make a bad situation worse.  The sales tax proposal offers a pragmatic and cost-efficient approach to addressing our difficult problems and though not a panacea, it is  probable that significant improvements in funding for RFD, increased jail space for repeat offenders, a sobering center, mental health crisis stabilization, and additional RPD staffing will bring benefits similar to or greater than what Anderson has achieved.

    The current leadership had little to do with the Great Recession, overly optimistic investment return projections by CalPERS, or the Prop. 47 and AB109 issues.

    Full disclosure:  I am retired, on a fixed income, and have no relatives working for RFD, RPD, or Shasta County. I simply believe that Measure D is the best potential solution to the underfunding that has exacerbated the problems of our community, and that Measure E will provide the transparency to ensure that the revenues will be spent as promised.

     

     

     

    the extra half-cent sales tax will add a mere nickel to a $10 taxable purchase, and because food, prescription drugs, rent/mortgage payments, insurance payments, utilities and medical devices and services are exempt from sales tax, the average Redding household will see a monthly cost increase of less than $4.25 per month. Single retirees will likely pay less than an additional $1.50 per month.  Those figures are derived from the median household inco

    • Avatar Bob Paget says:

      Thank you for the response Richard. There was a lot of fuzzy math, or no math at all (best estimates), to get from the $43,706 median household income in 2014 to the $4.17 cup of coffee. Using your link the annual per capita income for Redding is $24,373 and $30,441 in CA. In  2013 the per capita sales tax data for CA was $1,159 as noted at this link to the Tax Foundation  http://taxfoundation.org/state-tax-climate/california.

      Using simple math $1159/$30,441 is right at 3.8% of per capita CA income paid in sales tax. Apply this rate to Redding per capita income of $24,373 and you come up with per capita tax of $928 per year / 12 is $77 per month /  15 for for each .5% and you come up with $5.16 for each .5% in sales tax per month per capita for Redding. For a family of 4: $5.16  x 4 is $20.64 per month x 12 months is $247.68 per year.

      There is no such thing as perfect in these types of endeavors, for who would get to define perfect? What the heck is going to happen if the measure does not pass – no action??? It seems many people think or pretend law enforcement presently does not exist in Redding and criminals are walking the streets with free rein. Then their view is once the tax passes every child, house, car, and business have an armed guard and crime is cured. All the bad folks go in hiding. This is utterly irresponsible representation, and extremely wishful thinking.

      I would be up for a 1% tax increase if I thought it would do away with crime and homeless, not just for my family’s sake but for the community at large. I would even be all in for 2% if there was more than a generic I/we “guarantee” with something to back up such a guarantee like a cancellation of the 10 year tax if certain goals are not achieved. What are the goals, timelines, measurements relative to accountability or do these metrics not exist?

  11. Avatar Julie Winter says:

    Well said Rocky.  We can not have our cake and eat it too.  I’m willing to spend the equivalent of a Starbucks coffee every month to ensure that I’m not accosted in the parking lot of my grocery store, that elderly women aren’t beaten on the river trail, that young swimmers aren’t groped at the Aquaric a Center.  In the scheme of things this tax is peanuts in my budget, but the up-side is huge.  Think of the story we can tell a year from now of cleaning up our streets, of making neighborhoods and downtown safe.  Imagine the story we tell of being able to recruit skilled workers and economic growth.  I want my parks and river trails back. I want my downtown back. Sign me up!!

    • Avatar Boojum14 says:

      Julie, it seems a large leap of logic to assume that paying for some additional police officers, firefighters, etc. will “ensure” that certain crimes (as you listed them) will no longer occur in Redding.  In theory, crime may be reduced if the measures pass (if you believe that more police = less crime).  But our safety being “ensured” by their passage seems like a Trumpian fantasy to me.

       

       

       

       

  12. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Rocky’s right: The status quo blows. Sitting around and waiting for someone to come up with the perfect solution dooms us to more of the status quo. The answer to concerns about the promises tied to Measure D (including some new ones unveiled by Rocky regarding separate accounts and audits) is simple: Accountability. If elected officials get a win on Measure D and funnel the resulting revenue stream sideways, vote them out and put a new measure on the ballot rescinding Measure D. If Chief Poletti gets the additional cops and jail space he desires and the ineffectual policing continues, find a new chief.

    Maybe I’m not paying close enough attention, but I think this essay should have hit the streets weeks ago—it put details on the table that I’d been unaware of until now. Again, maybe I’m not paying attention, but it would also be nice to hear some of our elected officials explicitly sign up to the promises described by Rocky.

  13. Avatar Kevin T. says:

    What we have going on here is that the citizens of this city and county are tired of the city and county not doing enough to fix the problems we have.  Very similar to the Trump movement.  They ask for more, but don’t seem to wisely use the tax money they are already getting.  Giving them more money to spend seems like rewarding them for not doing the job they are supposed to be doing.  Now, I do not mean the law enforcement officers on the street.  I mean the council members and administration.  They are at fault here.  If they wanted to get these measures passed, they would make an all out stand on crime, hire more officers and seriously combat the problems that seem to be plaguing our area.  Take the money from some other (less necessary) part of the budget and promise to backfill that fund when the measures pass.

  14. Avatar Laura McHaney says:

    To Rocky Slaughter, 

    In response to your 10/2 letter posted in aNewscafe where you began by stating I was basically trying to fool voters by not providing “all the information” I would begin by saying I am merely a private citizen.  I do not have the wealth of political experience you outlined in your response to Mr. Bills on Take Back Redding, and I am not trying to trick voters by leaving information out of my opinion letter.  Although, if you want to discuss leaving details out, and being unfair to the voting public, lets do this!  

    First, while looking at your Revive Redding webpage which promotes Measures D&E, NEVER does it state, anywhere, what the real circumstances are with general fund money.  Revive Redding pretty much guarantees that D&E money will go to public safety, while in reality that cannot be guaranteed; nothing, not advisory measure E, not advisory committees, secret bank accounts, audits, not even Oprah – NOTHING can bind a current or future City Council to spend D&E general fund money the way Revive Redding claims.  

    The “reasonable citizen” you mention might never have the foresight to go to the city of Redding web page and find the city attorney’s unbiased opinion where they will learn that since the money goes into the general fund the City Council can do anything they want with the funds.  Does Revive Redding advise reasonable citizens to read the unbiased opinion so they can really decide for themselves?  

    Yes, Anderson did pass essentially this same measure and so far it has benefitted the city – I applaud Anderson.  Personally I don’t know any of their council members but I would hope that they give their constituents more thoughtful answers than City of Redding Council member Brent Weaver did when I asked him how could residents be certain D&E money would be spent as it is being advertised, and not on pensions.  His response to me was “That’ll never happen.  I’ve heard that same argument made.  It’s totally ridiculous.  Some amount of trust will be needed.”  Uh – no – that’s almost as good as Bill Clinton saying trust him because “(He) did not have relations with that woman.”  Ummm, really? 

    In my reasonable citizen opinion,  Mr. Weaver’s “reassurance” falls short on the reassurance scale as does Ms. Schrader’s decision to flip on her campaign pledge to not use reserves on ongoing expenses.  You have picked apart my letters but have NEVER addressed this real issue which was kind of the apex of my argument – how can any reasonable citizen trust the council when they flip on their promises and provide flimsy excuses in lieu of real answers?  

    Yes, we need more officers and jail beds and a sobering center and money for mental health and….   Especially if the Avengers: Age of Ultron style doomsday scenario you outline in your letter comes to pass.  (eeek) Many of those new officers and professionals will be employed by the City which will make them eligible for City pensions and benefits.  (cue the real doomsday music)

    Now i’m not sure that even Einstein could succinctly explain the pension doomsday scenario, which IS coming to pass, but suffice it to say, we are all in for BIG TROUBLE when it does – more and more and more money will be needed to pay the retirement salaries of the City employees – money the City does not have.  Hummmm, I wonder where it will come from…… 

    Before I did my own research I publicly supported D&E – I wanted this to be the answer as I agree we need help!  In fact, I was at the rally and on the news, grinning and holding D&E signs.  But when I went to the City of Redding’s webpage and read summaries done by the supporters of and opposition to D&E, and then the unbiased summary, I, as a member of the reasonable public, not a campaign manager, made my own decision to VOTE NO. 

     
    City of Redding election information page http://www.cityofredding.org/departments/city-clerk/election-information/ballot-measures-2016
     

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Laura — You keep asking the same question:  How can the City Council be trusted?  That question has been answered multiple times: The mechanism for holding the City Council accountable is called “the ballot box.” Council members and Measure D can be recalled and reversed if the City Council breaks its promise.  Get sideways with the people, and nascent political careers of ambitious people can suddenly end (e.g., Patrick Jones).

      You’ve made it clear that your standard of trust is that trust doesn’t exist under any circumstances, and thus the only choice is to reject any covenant built on a foundation of trust. That level of cynicism is your burden to bear. It’s a cynicism that leads you here: If the City Council has the latitude to break their promise, it means they WILL break their promise, so let’s vote “no” and do nothing. 

      I’m a fellow cynic and skeptic, but I balance that against the knowledge that the worst way to address a growing problem is to sit on your hands and do nothing.  It’s the most sure-fire way to fail.

      • Avatar Kallie says:

        Excellent response, Steve.

        No voter can guarantee that “read my lips: no new taxes” or “I’ll close Guantanamo prison” or “I’ll build a wall and make Mexico pay for it” will come to pass, so there’s an arrangement: you say you’ll do X, so I’ll vote for you. You don’t do X, well, you had your chance and now Panda Express is hiring. Go with God.
        There are city council meetings twice a month, with open comment periods where citizens can line up en mass and say, “We voted for public safety monies, so don’t even THINK about getting shifty.”
        I for one rely heavily on that precious $4 latte; I’ll not let my sacrifice go gently into anyone’s pension fund. Maybe if Laura can’t trust Schreder, Weaver, and the rest, she can trust her fellow citizens. Isn’t that the famous quote anyway? “Never doubt that a small group of uncaffeinated, cranky citizens can change the world.”

  15. I applaud the astute, bright, engaged people who’ve responded and continue the conversation here about this hot-button issue, which has the potential for searing personal attacks and flame-throwers.

    Thank you all for responding with civility and respect, even when we disagree with one another. I know it’s difficult at times.

    Carry on.

     

  16. Avatar Bob Paget says:

    Where does this “do nothing” talk come from? Aren’t there funds, programs, and people who already are responsible for these various areas of concern? Are you saying they are doing nothing with the resources they have? I would hope this is not the case. If this is what is going on, no wonder why things are going in the wrong direction in Redding. I have found when people simply do their job rather than groveling for more, or coming up with excuses, a heck of a lot can be accomplished. Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. I believe good money is already being spent in these areas, so is this money not being spent and managed competently? Part of the problem is government has grown so large with a constant expansion of rules at the federal, state, county, and city levels that government is now getting in the way of government which is one reason why jails cannot get built due to excessive building costs due to governmental requirements. The feds are suing the state, the state is suing the city, law enforcement’s hands are tied, judges see the revolving door of criminals due to state sentencing mandates, federal government polices with lack of enforcement on others have played a large part in creating the homeless problem, and the list goes on, but I sure hope all of these people are not doing nothing. Is government the solution, or has it in many ways created the problem? What else has changed that has created this situation? Treat the cause, not the symptom.

  17. Avatar sam allen says:

    Oh! But a comedy of errors!!