Redding Council Gratefully Accepts Bethel’s $500,000 Gift to Fund Neighborhood Police Unit

With a unanimous vote backed up with expressions of gratitude, the Redding City Council accepted Bethel Church’s $500,000 gift—and the church’s promise to raise $740,000 more—to fund the highly effective Neighborhood Police Unit (NPU) for two more years.

Councilwoman Julie Winter, a Bethel Church elder, recused herself from the discussion and vote.

The success of the 2-year-old NPU has been well documented: it’s been credited with building cases against two of downtown Redding’s most crime-plagued hotels; on the streets it has seized 3.3 pounds of meth, 1.3 pounds of heroin, 61 grams of cocaine, 61 opioid painkillers, 115 pounds of pot and 74 weapons.

Of the team’s 903 arrests, some 321 were for felonies. In its first year, the NPU contacted 697 people on probation, 100 on parole, 133 who were on an AB 109 release and 24 who had gang affiliations.

The NPU was formed after the council listed public safety as a top priority, City Manager Kurt Starman said. Four temporary police officer positions were created and they have been paid with one-time resources from the General Fund reserve.

City Attorney Barry DeWalt, left, and City Manager Kurt Starman.

City Attorney Barry DeWalt, left, and City Manager Kurt Starman. Photos by Jon Lewis.

Although the NPU remains a top-priority program, the city cannot continue dipping into its reserves for the $620,000 a year to fund it, Starman said.

With its current funding set to expire June 30, directors of Bethel Church stepped forward earlier this month and offered an immediate $250,000 contribution to fund the NPU in the 2017-18 fiscal year and another $250,000 for the 2018-19 fiscal year. Church leaders also committed $50,000 to fund a marketing campaign to raise the remaining $740,000 from other churches, businesses and the community at large.

“At Bethel, we have a passion for our city and we want it to be a noble city,” said Kris Vallotton, a senior associate leader at the Redding-based church. Referring to objections, questions and criticism that have recently surfaced in social media outlets, Vallotton added with a smile: “We’ve never had this much problem giving money away.”

Bethel Church's Kris Vallotton.

Bethel Church's Kris Vallotton.

Vallotton acknowledged that some are questioning the church’s motives, given that it has submitted plans for a massive 171,000-square-foot complex on 39 acres just north of Highway 299 on Collyer Drive. Those plans have been with the city for 18 months, Vallotton said, and there “are no strings attached” to the church’s NPU funding offer.

Instead, Bethel wants to be “the catalyst—the Good Samaritan” and help Redding during these challenging times, Vallotton said.

Cory McCandliss, the general manger of the Civic Auditorium (which the city leases to Bethel’s Advance Redding), said he views the church’s offer “as an invitation to the community to support public safety.” Following the defeat of Measure D, a half-cent sales tax hike intended to generate $11 million a year to fund public safety measures, the offer to fund the NPU is a “Plan C, and ‘C’ stands for community.”

Bob Belgeri, the only speaker out of four to oppose the offer, questioned the wisdom of basing a financial agreement around a single letter from the church and he urged the council to reject the offer to avoid the suggestion that Bethel was buying support for its proposed church project.

Councilwoman Francie Sullivan scoffed at that suggestion and noted that all five council members have accepted donations. Speaking for herself, Sullivan said she tells her donors that their contributions ensure they’ll receive extra scrutiny if they appear before the council. “No one will ever say they bought my vote, and if you have documentation that that happened, it needs to be reported.”

Sullivan said she was grateful for Bethel’s offer and said it merely served to deepen her appreciation of the generous nature of the Redding community.

“We’re lucky to have a dedicated community partner,” Councilwoman Kristen Schreder said, noting that Bethel deserves credit and thanks for stepping in and keeping the Civic Auditorium open. She cautioned against “passing judgment on a simple act of generosity.”

Mayor Brent Weaver said the NPU has been a key player supporting a series of “base hits” including the closure of the Americana Lodge, the shuttering of three illicit massage parlors and the recently approved plan to lease Carnegie Park to a food court operator.

In other action Tuesday, the council:

Chopper Junior winner honored

Mayor Brent Weaver and Joshy Altamura.

Mayor Brent Weaver and Joshy Altamura.

--Presented a Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition to 12-year-old Joshy Altamura of Redding for winning the Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” cooking game show. The Bethel Christian School student bested three other young cooks in the reality TV-style show by wowing the judges with a duck stew with sun-dried tomatoes and an apple strudel dessert.

Proud parents Fabiano and Claire Altamura.

Proud parents Fabiano and Claire Altamura.

He had 30 minutes to prepare his meal and did not know what ingredients he’d have available until the moment the contest began. Joshy’s parents are Fabiano and Claire Altamura.

High-speed internet in downtown Redding

--Voted 4-0, with Weaver recusing himself, to allow Councilman Adam McElvain to make a 10-minute presentation at the May 2 council meeting. McElvain wants to discuss his ideas on facilitating the delivery of high-speed internet service to the downtown area. Weaver recused himself since he owns property in downtown Redding.


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
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31 Responses

  1. Beverly Stafford says:

    Thanks, Jon.  I always look forward to your reports of Council meetings.

  2. Common Sense says:

    “Councilwoman Francie Sullivan said criticism of the donation lacked evidence and anyone with other options to bring the city $250,000 were welcome. “Bring it,” said Sullivan.”

    It was presented….many months ago to Julie Winter…….a Solution that would bring Millions into the City of Redding……But we have not heard about this solution? mmmmm……Perhaps a cover up in making?

    I would hope any Reporters out there would ask Julie Winter if anyone had emailed her a proposal approx within 2-3 days of her being elected….Give her the Chance to come Clean..……..

    This simple proposal pointed out how the City of Redding Could Open up their Minds and start Receiving Millions of Dollars per year……But that would probably mean….a Change of Opinions….a Change of Beliefs……Is not the Community of Redding Entitled to have More Money to fix the problems it has?…..The Question we should be asking our elected officials is this…….you have the option to have millions to work with by saying YES to Prop 64 and allowing that and understanding that this is what the people want and will bring the money that you so Desperately need!….or you can continue to say NO and not have the Millions……and if you say NO…What is your Plan to offset the lost Millions???…Hit Bethel up again??

    So Francie’s statement above either means that Julie did NOT share this email with anyone……OR it means they are AWARE that this is an OPTION….but are choosing to say NO to it-regardless! Or possibly her statement above could be….bring us your ideas….and we will only approve the ones that fit into OUR little Box….our Box of Beliefs and our Religious box……?…..Hey, let’s do something different shall we… about we set aside our own preconceived notions and religious beliefs and do what is in the Communities best interest! Does it mean some opinions or beliefs could have to change…..sure….OBVIOUSLY…..but then I think they call that Growth….. So simple Question…..will the City of Redding Benefit from an extra 2/3/4 Million per year? Yes or no?……..I find it really had to believe NO One has stood up and expressed on Record in front of Hundreds at a City Council Meeting…..that Millions could be had in taxes by enacting prop 64… saying yes instead of NO……

  3. Rod says:

    COR took the bait.  They gulped it down with gratitude for the flavor and bulk.   Please, please, please give us some more!  Can anybody taste the hook?

    Leaders who refuse to learn from history, should be hung in the public square.  They’ve failed us, we the people who need their wisdom and knowledge to fight corruption.  A bribe is a bribe, no matter it’s source.

  4. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    “You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” — City of Redding

    “You might want to rethink that.” — City of Troy

    “You reap what you sow.”  — Galatians 6:7

    Regarding that last one:  Redding is in this position because we voted down the public safety tax—that’s the reason for the City extending its beggar’s hand.  If you voted against the public safety tax and you don’t like the City taking a big donation from Bethel to fill the $$ vacuum, go pound sand down rathole.

    • Virginia says:

      Some voted against the initiative because the money directed was not set in stone!  City could have used for whatever they wanted and not what the purpose was supposed to be!  City next time make the imitative explicit next time!

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        As explained endlessly at the time, an earmarked tax increase measure would have required a 2/3 yes vote, and the thinking was that there are too many Reddingites who will never vote for a tax increase under any circumstances to obtain 2/3 yes vote.  Getting that 2/3 supermajority is assumed to be deader than fried chicken before the ballots are even printed.

        Not to argue that concern that the revenues would eventually be funneled toward pensions is completely unhinged from the realm of possible outcomes.

    • Tom Tancredo says:

      ” If you voted against the public safety tax and you don’t like the City taking a big donation from Bethel to fill the $$ vacuum, go pound sand down rathole.”


      Maybe it is just my limited understanding ;however, you seem to be implying that Voting against the tax (which i did) CAUSED the council to accept this bribe. This is patently false. Correlation does not equal causation. If we follow your logic it seems to say that this was the only way to fill the budget gap which is also patently false. Off the top of my head here are three ways to fill that gap:

      1) Imposes a tax on all churches

      2)Cut the police budget and let the position go unfilled

      3)Apply for grants there are many availavle to fund drug warriors

      You frequently imply that you are employed in some sort of science profession so put it to work man.


      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Tom — Sorry but your trite use of “correlation is not causation” isn’t compelling.

        Let’s do some informal path analysis….

        1.  A measure was put on the ballot to increase the sales tax in order to fund public safety.  It was put on the ballot as a general tax hike so that it would only need 50% approval.  A second advisory measure was put on the ballot to instruct the city on how to use the new funds.  The latter passed; the tax increase did not.

        2. In response to the defeat of the tax measure and resulting looming budget constraints, RPD said that funding of the neighborhood police unit (NPU) was in jeopardy.

        3.  Bethel came forward with a donation to fund the NPU positions that would have been eliminated due to lack of funding—funding that would have been there had the tax measure passed.

        As every schoolboy knows, Aristotelian efficient cause is the carpenter swinging his hammer at nails to build a house—the “git’ ‘er done” part.  The final cause is the need for a house.

        The final cause here is the need for funding of the NPU positions.  The efficient causes are voters rejecting the tax hike and Bethel writing checks to pay for those NPU positions.

        Bethel would not have offered up the donation but for the rejection of the tax increase.  It’s not, as you correctly state, the only possible outcome in the face of the rejected tax increase—the City could have looked over the pool table and taken a different shot (final cause)—but there is a clear progression here of the cue ball hitting the 12 ball, which then knocks the 8 ball into the corner pocket (efficient cause).

        You can scream CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION! at the top of your lungs all day long, but these are not illusory correlations—they are causations.  The Bethel donation, and the City’s acceptance of it, is what happened as a consequence of the rejection of the tax hike.

        Thanks for getting my juices flowing before 8:00 am, though. That little left jab in your penultimate sentence did the trick.

        • Tom Tancredo says:


          I see the problem now. You actually believe that redding needs the NPU. I hate to bust out more trite phrases but how about when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Redding has far to many cops in my opinion and when you have a bunch of bored cops guess what looks like crime yeah everything. I submit that we dont need the NPU and would be better off without it if it means we dont have to accept a bribe from bethel. Further i submit that our city would be in better shape with a reduction in police driving around.I find your path analysis correct as far as it goes but irrelevant. Pull back from the situation a little. We dont need this many cops.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Tom — I didn’t say anywhere that Redding needs the NPU—you’re employing misdirection as a diversionary tactic (“I see the problem now…”) and doing it by putting words in my mouth.

            When I wrote, “The final cause here is the need for funding of the NPU positions,” I meant from the perspective of the City’s decision-makers.  Since I’m not one of them, I can in no practical way be the agent of identifying and prioritizing that need—I doubt that anyone on City Council gives a scheisse what I think.  I’m not the final cause.

            I don’t know whether we need the NPU or not.  I agree with you that we don’t need more cops if they’re just going to be cruising around town, engaged in catch-and-release pseudo-policing.  We need treatment centers and holding facilities, or else having more cops is a joke.  If it were up to me, Bethel would spend it’s money on an opioid addiction treatment facility.

            My office is in downtown Redding.  After 7 years free of incidents other than having parked vehicles dented by people who don’t leave notes, we’ve been hit by crime 4 times in the last 6 months, with thousands of dollars in losses—vehicle break-ins (twice) and catalytic converter thefts (twice).  We’re relocating to Palo Cedro, where I live, at the end of the month.

            The final straw  was the defeat of Measure D by Redding voters. In the words of Danny Glover’s character Roger Murtaugh in “Lethal Weapon”:  I’m to old for this sh*t.

    • The Old Pretender says:

      If the vote of the people turned down the tax increases to pay for a service, why would you think the majority of people would be OK with a private entity funding it?  Perhaps you don’t trust the vote to be representative of the will of the people.  There are many other programs to cut before an efficient one gets the axe.  This was just a threat that worked to bring forth a donor who shouldn’t be allowed to contribute directly to the city anyway.

      If Bethel wants to help, let them start another soup kitchen or fund mental health or rehab organizations.  The city council was played, you were played, and this sets a very bad precedent for the future.  I can understand the council, who have placed themselves in a position of losing the voter’s trust, but you Steve, should know better.

  5. kerr, david says:

    The Statement of vote for the last election and for the elections over the past decade shows  Shasta county voted 2/3 Republican and the trend is showing no change.  The two sides differ strongly in attitude toward crime, religion, taxes, music, entertainment, media they read, etc.  Driving around Redding, I see many well attended churches, quite different from cities like Chico Eureka.

    One of the most profound differences is the view toward how California became a wealthy tech economy.  The Republican view is that California was once a leader in capitalism.     I investment in institutions like Stanford, banking, insurance, port of Oakland caused the semi-conductor revolution to happen near Stanford instead of any of the other top 20 science and engineering universities where it could have happened.

    Many liberals believe that tech has to stay near Stanford and will not move to other university cities, no matter how bad the California business climate becomes and how bad the trend.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      I’ll  just chucking this chum into the water…

      A couple of years back the National Chamber of Commerce named Mississippi as the state with the best business climate in America. I’ll leave it to others to look up where Mississippi ranks in the U.S. on just about every single metric of economic vitality, quality of education, and standards of living.

      Suffice to say that they should rename the state “Assbackwardsistan.”

      David, one important factor you left out of your list of reasons for California’s tech success is the tradition in the Bay Area of absolutely balls-out venture capitalism.  It’s like nowhere else in America.  In the world.

    • K. Beck says:

      Tech happened at Stanford because Stanford, as an institution, valued tech, still does. Stanford is a private university. The state of CA does NOT fund Stanford. You have the Professors getting research grants, which brings in high level PhD students to do the research. They stay in the area because that is where the research is being done. Not to mention, aside from the horrible traffic now, and the outrageous cost of housing, the Bay Area is a nice place to live. Stanford has built the labs on campus in which to do the research. It has nothing to do with what “many liberals” believe. Stanford is a REALLY conservative institution.

      I worked at Fairchild Semiconductor in the early years. I was there when the semiconductor businesses first started. I worked at Stanford for 30 years.

      You are WAY off base here.

      • K. Beck says:

        AGAIN, my response was to kerr, david not Steve Towers.

        IRT Steve’s post: the Bay Area’s “balls-out venture capitalism” happened because THAT is where the research is done and THAT is where the companies were built because THAT is where the genius scientists were located.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          If we’re talking chickens or eggs, I don’t dispute that the research and geniuses came before VC……but that wasn’t my point.  My point is that VC was one of the big factors in Silicon Valley’s explosion. Because the ROIs were so huge if you hit a home run, particularly in software, venture capitalists were making mountains of money and throwing that money at start-ups developing the digital equivalents of electric dog polishers and fur-lined sinks.  That’s slowed quite a bit, but there’s still something of a roll-the-dice mentality in the Bay Area’s VC arena.

          Of course, I’m talking out of my @$$ compared with you, K. Beck.  Most of what I know on the subject is from watching HBO’s “Silicon Valley.”  I went to UC Davis, and I’m just a biologist with dirt on his boots.

          However, regarding your statement: “State of California does NOT fund Stanford.”  Not exactly true.  State of California provides grant funding to Stanford researchers—about 1/6th of what the science and engineering departments get from government sources.  There are also Cal Grants and California Dream Act grants for students.

          • K. Beck says:

            Being a biologist is a good thing!

            With all due respect, HBO’s “Silicon Valley” is a TV show. My niece, a retired Stockton PD Deputy Chief, is now teaching at San Joaquin Delta College. She teaches in the Police Officer Standards and Training – Basic Peace Officer Academy department. It drives her crazy when one of her students quotes something they saw on one of the CSI shows. She said she just responds, “That is a TV show, that is NOT real life.” Having said that, I have never see “Silicon Valley.” It might have some facts sprinkled in.

            As an aside, we called them “Vulture Capitalists.” : )


          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Silicon Valley is a parody.  The characters are based on recognizable high-tech personalities, as well as stereotypes of the groundlings (fresh out of college geeks, FOB Asian coders, etc.). Garage start-ups and huge tech corporations are both skewered.  Like any good parody, the jokes aren’t funny unless they’re poking fun at the real deal—the jabs have to be on target, or they don’t ring true.

            And of course, to fully enjoy the parody, at some level the viewer has to have an a priori familiarity with Silicon Valley.  I had a fellowship at NASA Ames in Mountain View for a few years during the early years of Silicon Valley’s boom.  I was only very indirectly a part of the tech scene, but I’m a keen observer.

            These days, I’m just grumpy about all those young Richie Rich tech-types running up the cost of VRBO rentals at Tahoe, Mendocino, and San Francisco.

        • kerr, david says:

          I don’t believe tech has to stay at Stanford.  The auto industry did not have to stay in the Detroit area. Tech, like capital, is highly fungible.  The semiconductor revolution happened at Stanford, when California has a great reputation as a place to invest.

          There is no secret to what happened in Stanford and why.   Itt is happening at a number of the best tech and science universities.

          This exchange illustrates the point I was making.  One side believes tech will never leave California.  The other side, reading other sources, knows that it is already happening and the trend should be alarming to California liberals.

          • K. Beck says:

            I never said tech will not leave CA. Tech Cos started leaving CA in the early 80’s for Asia. First they went to Taiwan, workers there demanded better working conditions & pay, they moved to S. Korea, same thing happened there. Now they are in China. I was living in Santa Clara Co. back then, remember? The main reason the Semi Cos left CA, aside from slave labor, is the tech Cos didn’t like CA’s toxic substance regulations. Regulations, that were needed. When IBM & Fairchild left their labs behind, CA had more superfund sites than any other state in the union.

            I am not a fan of soil and water contaminated with an alphabet of toxic chemicals. If you don’t like the EPA, move to China where no one can even breathe!

            When I went to work at Fairchild in the late 60s there were NO safety rules. I walked into that lab and thought I would certainly die there. Toxic/flammable/corrosive gas cylinders were chained to the walls (with only one chain, bad idea given the earthquake faults in that area) and zero gas cabinets to exhaust anything that might leak from the tanks. Most of the equipment (containing a mish-mash of solvents, which were nephro/hepatic/neuro toxins) had no exhaust systems either. People may complain about the EPA but I am a 100% backer.

            Tech there now is Google, Facebook, Yahoo, et. al., essentially a bunch of people sitting in cubicles hacking away on their computers.

            I am more than tired of this “Conservatives all think this” and “Liberals all think that,” all assumptions in the writers mind. “Other sources,” would that be the same as “alternative facts?”

            I am not speaking about what I have read. I am speaking about what actually happened when I lived in Santa Clara Co.

            What exactly “happened in Stanford?”


  6. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Well, that was easy enough.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Wie Scheisse durch eine Gans.

    • Carter Slade says:

      LOL RV…Now the fun begins…COR will lay awake keeping an eye on Bethel for fear of being made to look like fools, Bethel will chase COR’s financial books from pillar to post to make sure the gift loan isn’t being secretly funneled and meanwhile, Bethel Elder/councilmember/Bethel mole Winter won’t be able to vote on ANYTHING for months to come without fear of being accused of being a Bethel puppet. God works in mysterious ways….


  7. Larry Winter says:

    “Vallotton added with a smile: “We’ve never had this much problem giving money away.””


    From their website…

    “BSSM does not currently offer any Scholarships for students. We hope and pray that in the near future we will be able to setup a scholarship fund that students can apply for.”

    Apparently prayers aren’t working out so well for the Don Johnson Ministries.  They can’t clean up the city without some good ole fashion cash, nor help their cash cow students with financial aid.

    And is it true that Don Johnson (I know his real name is Bill) drive around in a $200,000 car?

  8. cheyenne says:

    With the NFL season only a few months away the Denver Broncos are still looking for a sponsor for Sports Authority Field.  With the only response so far coming from a pot store maybe Bethel could co-sponsor.  Then we could have God’s Team, The Flying High Denver Broncos.

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