Dear Redding, Love Us or Lose Us

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I didn’t choose Redding. I arrived here at the age of 5 via train from Vancouver, B.C., along with my mother and three sisters.

Redding was not my New-York-born mother’s choice, either, and she vocalized her deep hatred for this city that she proclaimed only fit for “mad dogs and Englishmen” (no offense to dogs or Englishmen).  So I inherited a hefty portion of my mother’s knee-jerk disdain for Redding, but it didn’t help that we were poor, and without a car or a father figure, except for two tumultuous years. Because of that, the Redding of my childhood was not filled with happy family excursions to our region’s surrounding outdoor wonders like Mt. Shasta, Lassen Peak or Whiskeytown. Rather, the Redding of my youth consisted of all we could cover on foot to and fro one of our string of old downtown rentals: Butte Street, East Street, Trinity Street, South Street and finally, Chestnut Street. In that order.

I daydreamed of growing up and moving away, but hadn’t a clue where or how.  The only years I departed Redding were the three when Husband No. 1 needed to attend school in Stockton, but we returned to Redding after his graduation to raise our family. Oh, and there were those years in Igo with Husband No. 2, but other then that, it was only Redding.

And I’ve been here ever since, trying to find the silver lining in this sometimes pathetic city, especially when defending it to outsiders or visitors. All my adult life, when I enthusiastically listed Redding’s attributes, I was mostly trying to convince myself. I was both a Redding apologist and cheerleader who did my best to present the glass as half full, even when the truth was, that full glass contained some unappetizing pond-scummy stuff.

Let’s face it. The last decade or so in Redding has sucked. Our city and county does such a lousy job dealing with its homeless and the addicted and street people and crime that We, the People, often feel we’re in it alone and on our own to stay safe and buy the security cameras and carry the weapons and blame ourselves if our cars are broken into on river trails or movie theaters or residential driveways. Here, business is booming for fence companies and glass companies and alarm companies, but where I cannot have mail or packages delivered to my home because they’ll be stolen. There’s no need to recite the boring laundry list of Redding’s deplorable examples. You know.

But at least we had our surrounding nature to which we could escape and marvel at Mother Nature’s blessings and forget about unmarvelous Redding. And then came the Carr Fire that wiped out great gorgeous swaths of west Redding and beyond, including much of precious Whiskeytown National Forest.

Last month – happy Valentine’s Day to us – Redding got a special delivery of an epic snow storm that didn’t just immobilize the city, but left thousands of us powerless for days.

Broken branches and trees still litter streets and sidewalks, like old Christmas trees that are put curbside in April, that the city ignores, as if oblivious to branches that still encroach into traffic lanes.

Then came the rain, remember how we prayed for rain during the drought? The rain came with a vengeance, which brought with it flooding. Poor Redding and its terrible sense of timing. Can we just get a freakin’ break here, please?

The last year or so, I’ve felt simultaneously happy for and jealous of people who’d fled elsewhere – anywhere. Lucky dogs. Good for them. I guess.

No segue but I decided a long time ago to not publish the majority of crime press releases we receive, both for space and morale. Likewise, I don’t publish Shasta County’s Most Wanted weekly press releases at all, mainly because the photos are such a sad spectacle of humanity at its saddest, lowest, sickest point … lots of dead-eyed, toothless, tattoo-and-sore-covered people, some of whom I recognize. I look at them, and they make me feel like crying every time.

In short, this city is depressing the shit out of me. Yes, Redding and I have been together for a long, long time, but any remaining love I felt for this place is rapidly slipping away. It wasn’t as if another place had turned my head, or that I was fooling around with another city. I was just profoundly disappointed with this one. You know you’ve fallen out of love with your city when you’re embarrassed by mere association. Outsiders are like, What? You live there? Seriously, you can do better.

Have you seen that license plate holder? Redding – You have to live somewhere. 

I’m not making that up.  And more and more, just living in Redding is its own geographical I.Q./income test: Those with enough brains and money have already left or are planning to leave.

On a happy note, something happened all last week that made me feel a bit better about Redding. For one week,  I pretended as if I were new here, or a visitor looking for fun, simple stuff to do. For starters, I often meet people over coffee or for lunch, but for a change I went out to dinner three times at three different places. All were good experiences.

I walked the river trail with a friend. I also walked my neighborhood, then pushed beyond my usual route to take in streets I’d not seen before.

Saturday I attended the Methodist Church’s monthly thrift sale for the first time, located downstairs in the big fellowship hall. I found some cool stuff.

Immediately after that I went to a place a friend had talked about called Gather Marketplace, a kind of groovy little indoor Saturday-morning market located on State Street (on the back of Living Hope Ministries). It’s a funky, tiny space, but it was crammed with local produce, cheeses, wine, bread, nuts, flower arrangements, eggs, meats and even goat-milk ice cream. I bought some cheese. My sister bought a gorgeous flower arrangement. One friend bought honey, and another friend bought cheese. A musician softly played the guitar in the corner.

It was so lovely I forgot I was in Redding, and of course, in that context, that means it was a delightful enough place that it helped me forget all that’s crappy about Redding, at least for a little while.

Next I went to the antique store on the corner of Pine and Placer, because the print shop next door that had an order waiting for me was closed, but what the heck, I was out of the car, so I went inside. I spent an hour there and found a hat rack that was perfect for my living room.

I went to the Salvation Army down the street, and found more cool stuff. And then to People of Progress thrift shop, where I got things that brought me joy, like a vegetable spiralizer, never taken from the box, and a cotton candy machine. I’ll give you one guess which one I’m the most excited about.

I went to the Oregon Street Antique Mall to work on the booth my twin and I share as vendors, and then did what I usually forget to do there: I shopped. I found some cool old cookbooks.

Monday morning I met a friend for coffee at a new place in my neighborhood, The Old Shasta Coffee Company, which surprised me, because it was cute and hip and had good coffee. Plus, it’s so close that I can walk there, when it stops raining. Do you know how rare it is in Redding to live within safe, short walking distance to a restaurant or coffee shop? Very.

This week came just in time, because no doubt about it, Redding has been pretty damn unlovable lately. And as much as I’d like to go all Pollyanna here, I can’t turn a blind eye to Redding’s most obvious weaknesses, or pretend I don’t see this city’s deep flaws and shortcomings.

But this single week of acting like a Redding visitor reminded me that the best things about our city aren’t the city, but its engaged, enterprising, optimistic people who create interesting spaces, experiences and places; reasons that make us not regret we live here. It reminded me that it’s easy to leave town, to find the good in somewhere else.  It’s harder to stick around and find the good in the place that’s struggled for so long.

That said, I’m at a turning point with regard to this city. I don’t want to just tolerate Redding, but be proud to admit it’s my hometown. I don’t want to close my eyes and pretend I’m not in Redding, to say about nice places, “This doesn’t feel like Redding”. I want to live here on purpose, with my eyes wide open. I want to choose Redding. I don’t want to just live in Redding. I want to love Redding.

The thing is, I can want what I want, but Redding is in this relationship, too. It has to show us the love, too. It has to choose us, too. When it’s a choice between making life easier or more difficult for its people, it must choose us. When it’s a choice between tying us up in red tape or rolling out the red carpet, it must choose us, demonstrated by common sense, kindness and compassion. When it’s a matter of giving us safety or giving us excuses, it must choose us. When it’s a choice between helping government or helping us, it must choose us. Every time.

Redding, are you listening? Your people are weary, and our patience is wearing thin. We’ve hung in there with you, in sickness and in health; in good times and in bad. But now, it’s your turn.

Choose us. Love us or lose us.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    My first glimpse of Redding was when my future wife took me to Hayfork to meet her parents. Topping the hill from Cottonwood and seeing Redding area surrounded by towering mountains I fell in love with the area, love at first sight. This was where I wanted to live, despite the four hours my first trip to Hayfork took.
    The few times I had to leave, for economic reasons, there was never any doubt that I would return. I raised a family and eventually found a good job with the school district and planned on staying until I died. But Redding area just never made a long term economic boost after the timber died. And I could see jobs like mine with the school district were not going to last forever. When all my kids left, they tried making a living in Redding but it wasn’t possible, I retired to be close to my grandkids.
    Now I look at Redding and see how much has changed and don’t think I could return. If I did I would bypass Redding and head to Trinity County where I would fit in with my redneck family and friends.

  2. Avatar Kris Hegland says:

    My wife and I moved to Redding in October of 1996 from the Bay Area. We have never truly regretted it. It’s a somewhat larger town with a small town feel and small town problems for the most part. I love all of the outdoor opportunities that surround us and while the burned areas won’t look the same in our lifetime they will turn green again very quickly. The problems that you talk about are definitely issues that our city hasn’t solved but neither have a lot of other places. I travel up and down the West coast all year long and see many different places, with many of the same problems. A example would be Portland. Most people I talk to speak of Portland as a vibrant, fun city. And for the most part it is. But their homeless problem is as bad or worse than ours. Traffic is horrendous. Rents are incredibly high. There are problems everywhere but we can find the cool, fun, enjoyable things about our community and continue to do our best to solve the issues that so many cities and towns face. My wife and aren’t going anywhere. This is our home and we are proud to live here.

    • “There are problems everywhere but we can find the cool, fun, enjoyable things about our community and continue to do our best to solve the issues that so many cities and towns face.”

      Absolutely.

  3. Avatar erin friedman says:

    We passed through Redding while heading to Lassen Park 22 years ago – we didn’t know a soul here, but we were struck by the kind, generous, friendly people we encountered. A year later, we had packed up our kids and bought a business in town. Redding has her flaws, but her salvation will always be the many good people, making a difference.

    • Always, it’s our people who make this place as good as it is. You, your husband, and every north state person who’s commented here today is on that list of extraordinary people.

  4. Avatar Andrea Winters says:

    Greg and I have just moved back to Redding after a 9 year absent. During that time we have lived in San Francisco, Oakland and Shingle Springs (east of Sacramento). We have moved back to be with our family: both sons gainfully employed in the area and four grandchildren. As Kris wrote, every area has similar problems in varying degrees. But I am happy to be back to again enjoy the mountains surrounding us and the many lovely, interesting and creative people that live here. I have been a constant visitor over the last 9 years so I never lost touch with what was happening in the area. Now with the downtown plan beginning to take shape, the California Cultural District designation, ongoing biking improvements and much more, I am feeling confident of a bright future for my happily adopted hometown of Redding.

  5. Before we grew too old to leave and coming originally from Michigan and three years in San Francisco, we made a point of taking our two children to all fifty states. Redding is far from the only place sustaining a decline in living standards. Nor are we alone in having government look the other way at substantive problems. Yet there remains much of value besides a matchless physical surrounding. Next time you are thinking about how bad things have become go stand and watch the energy at R&R Meats, have coffee at From the Hearth, dine or take out from New China, Country Kitchen, visit Tugwell Roofing, McHale Sign Company, Halcyon Solar, spend a minute with Jake Mangas at the Chamber of Commerce. The list is endless composed of people working hard to provide goods and services to our people and area. Redding has never been Poverty Flat, but it has suffered from extraction industries built without thought of a time when resources played out. We desperately need the long term, the visionary, the Sheraton, Sundial, Turtle Bay type of lasting business and cultural economic promise with a government and people who find a way to say “yes” rather than “no” to Costco, 3M, WalMart, Evergreen and on and on. Look in the mirror for Redding’s hope of tomorrow.

  6. Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

    Redding may not always be the Belle (or Beau) of the Ball of Northern California but she’s still got a lot of kick in her step. It’s so easy to see the darkness but I’m looking for the bright spots too, and there are many. Thanks for reminding us of this.

    My favorite things about this town:
    The Cascade Theater
    Multiple breweries and taprooms
    Lots of great wineries in the area
    The Sundial Bridge never gets old
    Fratelli’s pizza and beer combo special
    The downtown is almost all small businesses
    Gerlinger’s Steel steam whistle at 8:00, 12:00, 1:00 and 5:00
    The Lorenz Hotel
    That view driving west on Hwy 44, right after the I-5 overpass. That gets me every time.

    The more we look, the more we see.

    • It’s a love list. I love it! (And I agree with you about the view on 44 coming into Redding. I always want to just stop and take it in.)

    • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

      Yes to all the above, and the Cascade is walking distance for us. Nice to see Sharon Randall there last night.

  7. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    THE PEOPLE . . . . I LOVE THE PEOPLE . . . . even the ones I don’t like!!
    Well, and then there’s the music community. I don’t think there exists a town of this size with so much music and performance available. Cities many times larger than ours don’t have multiple elementary and highschool string programs. We have TWO, count ’em, TWO symphony orchestras. We have an active jazz scene and over the years we have sent more championship fiddle players to the National Contest than any other single area. We have community theater (Riverfront) and various performance entities that make their home at the Cascade . . . .and we, by God, HAVE THE CASCADE. Okay . . . I’ll stop now.

  8. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    Believe it or not, I love Redding. I love writing about our region and its various extremes. But we live in Whitmore, so our mail never gets stolen. Sometimes it doesn’t get here, but it never gets stolen. I dream someday we’ll move to a cool apartment in the city near Maxwell’s. Hopefully they’ll have the crime problem solved then.

    • I could see you in a cool downtown apartment, RV.

      I’m jealous that you live in a place where your mail is safe.

      • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

        Doni – it was your comment about safe mail that got my motor going! I now live in the burbs, where mail is delivered to locked, community mailboxes. And even then, there have been problems the neighbors informed me. I now have to squish my outgoing mail into a tiny slot. And these burbs are considered to be fine burbs in Chico. Further, nothing will match the customer service at the Shasta post office, or mail delivery in Whitmore it seems! And your fine article points out the self-consciousness some of us have had to put up with about living in Shasta County. Yeah, right down to me sensing some of my “friends” seemed so happy for us that we could move away after “the fire.” I let it go, because as someone told me, “nobody gets it unless they have been through it.”

    • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

      R.V. Scheide – I keep reading your post, and it makes me have a good laugh each time. I lived in old Shasta, up a long, shared driveway. With a seasonal creek on under an acre. So quiet one could hear a pin drop. Six miles west of Redding, and a mile south of Whiskeytown National Recreation area. And finally, Ultimate Pizza started delivery about three years ago! My husband liked to tell me I never had to worry because nobody with wrong intentions would brave coming up the hill.” They wouldn’t know if there are guns or dogs that would greet them!” We had neither. Just a cat and Mister Bear who would knock the garbage container over. Yet the potential threat of guns and dogs were present I suppose. Because we never had a problem in the twenty-six years of residence. Always left the doors and windows open, and the cars unlocked. No Jehovah’s Witnesses or solicitors (not that there’s anything wrong with…). There is a charming post office in Shasta where we picked up our mail. With beer at J’s Market next door. J’s is the kind of place where the football pool chart could be left on the counter without any authority making an issue. Additionally, a California State Park is located in Shasta, that includes a significant art collection. Wow! I think I just wrote the real estate ad for our now empty lot.

  9. Avatar Gayleen Gorder says:

    I hope you get to see The Carr Fire documentary. It portrays what a great community we live in.

  10. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    Doni, I share in your sentiments, and even our shared story of childhood, except I stayed away much longer, for the duration 1980 to 2002, due to husband Jeff’s education and subsequent practice that kept us in South Lake Tahoe 15 years. Prior to Tahoe, we lived in Sacramento, Costa Mesa, Poway/San Diego and even 3 months in Kokomo, Indiana.
    We returned in 2002 for Jeff to expand his psychology practice, and much because I petitioned to return to my home town of Redding.
    Fast forward, a series of tragic life events, finding myself as one, with twin sister, her son & family in Redding.
    I’m sentimental about Redding, as the town I grew up, went to Pine St school, Shasta High & Shasta College. I’ve carved a new solo life that engages with so many Reddingites, as a kayak guide/volunteer at Whiskytown, connecting with fellow artists and last year, joined a local backyard bee keeper group. I believe in being the change you want to see, showing up in speaking out at City Council pro backyard chicken (we won!) and pro Airbnb hosting (we won!) Incidentally, we 300+ Redding Airbnb hosts are ambassadors of promoting the best of Redding to visitors.
    This past December, I got to spend a week in Pacific Grove. I had such city envy, and decided, were it not for expense, I’d move there in a minute. This charming town (affluent, to be sure) had a downtown hub, where locals all seemed to know one another. I think Redding was ruined in early 1970’s when the downtown was destroyed for a shopping mall. I’d like to believe in the new plans for rebuilding downtown.
    I agree with those celebrating the many Wonderful aspects of Redding, but I bristle when these are referred to as “out-of-Redding-experience”. This Is Redding, and her people and natural resources are what make her special.
    That said, I admire those who read the vitals of Redding in decline, and like our immigrant forefathers & mother’s, set out for a better place.
    Then again, also like our immigrant forefathers & mother’s, I can stick around to be the change I want to see.

  11. Avatar Shelly Shively says:

    Oops, I was on a roll: didn’t mean to go so long!

    • Not to worry. I think our family’s long writing is in our genes. 🙂

      (And yes on the backyard chicken win, but I say boo to how Redding has handled the Airbnb issue. Some cities just collect an annual registration and business-license fee for short -term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO. Redding scalps 12 percent of the earned income, while Airbnb only takes 3 percent.)

      I put the city’s stance on Airbnb in the same category as the red light cameras, since the crack-down on short-term rentals does nothing to address citizens’ original complaints about the explosion of BSSM rentals … where homes are crammed with as many as 12 renters, not to mention the traffic and cars parked on streets. But the BSSM students are long-term renters, not short, so they can carry on as before with no hassle from the city.

      Don’t get me started. Grrr. 🙁

  12. Avatar Russell Hunt says:

    I think the homeless situation is the numero uno problemento. Downtown can’t come back alive. Especially, if the poop map is published. The Mission needs to be moved to the edge of town where it will infect the fewest. The poor people of the Parkview neighborhood are extremely imposed upon. Yes, the Mission does good work, but their policies, and they are private, effect the whole of the old town. An official homeless camp needs to be established on Metz Rd. with sheds, potties, security, water, electric, etc. Those with SSI, which most of the homeless are, can pay rent and utilities. Development fees are 3 times more here than in Chico, so the building industry shuffles around. Much of the City government can be privatized, relieving the excessive taxation needed to fund pensions. And then the 1% sale tax comes along, if approved, will go exclusively for pay raises and pension funding. Our leadership is weak. Pandering to special interest groups. But Redding is all what you make it.

  13. Avatar Judith Salter says:

    I saw a new Redding emerge at the March 5 city Council meeting —despite public opposition from two wealthy businessman, the council voted to increase support for parks and to rebuild the soccer park. We voted to invest in the future and invest in our kids. I’m sick and tired of the city and the county kicking the homeless issue down the road. I am however really encouraged to see both Hill Country Clinic’s Center of Hope and the County’s navigation place addressing the mental health and homeless needs in our community moving forward. We must demand progressive leadership in the County to bring TheNavigation Center on line. This is truely the time for civic engagement. We have new leadership on our Council which is determined to lead with . Our assets not our burdens. Not giving up yet!!

  14. Avatar James Montgomery says:

    Its nice to read all the optimism in the Comments. I hope you are all right, and the City Council and Bd. of Supes actually focuses on making life decent for the responsible citizens. We will see; talk is cheap, but law enforcement (with actual consequences), building permits, red light cameras, etc. are not.
    Personally, I moved back to Trinity County a little over a year ago. Thank God, I managed to get out of there! Frankly, it is a relief to finally live somewhere I actually like.
    Of course, there really are a lot of great people there, and I have friends and family, so I still spend more time down there than I would choose to, otherwise. Sure hope the powers that be decide to help the people, and not just themselves, for a change!

  15. Avatar Candace C says:

    Thank you for not publishing the Most Wanted pics. I’m not a fan. It feels voyeuristic, like watching misery porn. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone stealing or assault or burglary but I see those photos and wonder what happened in that person’s life to bring them to their current state of misery and brokenness. The Redding thing? My issue isn’t with our recently battered environment, my issue is with a lot of the people. The close-minded, racist, homophobic people scattered around my neighborhood. The misogynistic bumper stickers. The refusal to pass taxes to help with the crime, homeless, etc. that everyone bemoans. Bethel Church people dominating our local businessess. I don’t care if their businesses are hip (most of them are), I care that my dollars don’t go to support business owners who support Bethel which actively promotes anti-LGBTQA+ laws. I was born and raised here; I raised my children here, Redding is my home both physically and emotionally and when I sit still and realistically think about where I’d move I feel undecided, off kilter, sort of “lost”. Having grown up here I know many lovely people and for that I’m grateful. The “meanness” I’m encountering more and more? Not so much. I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on and focus on how my own actions affect others
    because push-come-to -shove, there’s no place like home.

  16. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    I admire the optimism in so many posts here. There are some good things about Redding – the Cascade Theater, the taprooms, the Sundial Bridge, the Cascade Theater, the lakes, The Cascade Theater…. Like so many folks, it was my home and I didn’t want to live anywhere else… until I’d had enough. The heat, the redneckery, the government that won’t make a concrete move toward fixing the problems unless they are assured that Bethel will haul them out of their financial holes/the increasingly blurred lines between church and state. There wasn’t a place for me and it wasn’t the town I used to know.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      Barbara, I had written a comment very early this morning, but just as I hit the Post Comment button, our Internet went down; so it disappeared. You echoed what I had written which is why we are contemplating a move. We would be leaving not just Redding and Eastern County but my once-beloved California. The legislature in Sacramento and the Redding City Council seem unable to make reasonable decisions. The legislature passed a midnight-hour, behind-closed-doors fire “fee” that only rural residents were forced to pay. The funds were supposed to go toward equipment for CalFire, but as I understand it, it went toward debt. And the three recent devastating fires weren’t in rural areas but in Santa Rosa, Redding, and Paradise, urban areas that weren’t required to pay the illegal tax masquerading as a fee.

      Like you, I find the City Council’s relationship with Bethel to be troubling. The mayor is not only a Bethel elder, she also works for a doctor who won’t treat Medicare patients and who is anti-choice. Not a great combination.

      So we’re eying Washington state. There may not be a Cascade Theater nearby, but there are no 115 degree temperatures either.

      • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

        I paid that fire fee four years when living in Igo, during which time we were affected several times by fires wild enough to force evacuations. The money clearly didn’t go toward clearing for firebreaks or other prevention (as a sign on Placer once promised before it was overgrown with manzanita). I like Jerry Brown (please, no snark) but that one really got my goat.

        I can’t see myself leaving California but I’d had it with Redding and Shasta County.

  17. Avatar Candace C says:

    Barbara, after reading your comment I’m changing my “There’s no place like home” observation to “There may be someplace like home, only better.” I just haven’t figured out where that is yet.

    • Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

      Well, it’s easy to get caught up in romancing a place beyond the reality and looking through a glass darkly and hoping it’ll be the way it used to be. I didn’t want to be in a place only because it was where I had always lived; I wanted to really enjoy being there, and Redding wasn’t that place any longer.

  18. Avatar Carla Clark says:

    I’ve been here since 1973 and there are things I really love about this city. The trails, the Sundial Bridge, the Cascade, friendly people, the outdoors…the list goes on. However, last summer when a tornado made of fire entered our neighborhood, took our home, our family traditions and memories, our chickens and cat, we had enough. We’ve been on the fence for a long time but 5 months of hellish, hot, smoky summer is a deal breaker.

    And – thank you for not publishing the Most Wanted pics. They are just sad.

  19. Footnote: if you seek a solution only government can bring, your chances of success are limited. There are fewer ideas and programs than fingers on your hands of good things brought to us solely by government: National Park Service, WWII success, Interstate Highways, CDC, Civil Rights Act a hundred years late. Keep faith, Remain calm, Carry on!

  20. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    My picture of Redding changed when we contested a double billing for the rural fire tax and had to go to the county to prove that there was only one residence on our property. The next thing we knew was that we were threatened with $1,ooo a day fine if we didn’t respond to an anonymous complaint about a public nuisance on buildings that were built years ago and were not visible to any one. The complaint was based on a Google Earth photo of our property. I , in time, learned that complaints like this to various county agencies earn money for the county. The county is full of old properties with barns and outbuildings that can be “tagged” at any time. And they are. I’m done. I loved your article Doni and connected with the positive experiences you shared. I wish the City and County would make a greater effort to understand that the majority of people in Redding are the working people whose wages and best financial planning will never match those of the retirees from the cities.

    • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

      I know many people don’t agree with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, but they have tried from the very beginning to void this illegal tax and have the state return the money to those of us who were forced to pay it. They did succeed in stopping it; however, so far, refunding the money is anybody’s guess since the suit has been tied up in court for years. About the county: it seems that every person running for Supervisor or Council states that one of the planks on his platform is to cut the red tape in dealing with the city and county offices. Just another forgotten election promise.

  21. Avatar Paul Lehman says:

    You’ve asked that Redding chose us, the people. But my thought is that Redding IS us, the people. Yes the surrounding backyard is amazing, the region is centrally located and it’s wonderful on its own but if you go to Paris or Yellowstone or London and have bad experiences because of the people then those amazing places are defined by the people.
    I hail from Montana where the last month has been nothing but snow, extreme cold and windchill reaching 51 degrees below zero. It’s not hospitable in any sense for many months of the year. But the people…salt of the earth. It’s not the setting or city that has the option to choose us, it’s the spirit of the people who reside there and that holds true no matter the longitude and latitude.

    The statement, “And more and more, just living in Redding is its own geographical I.Q./income test: Those with enough brains and money have already left or are planning to leave“ is detrimental to the sentiment of Redding choosing us because it insinuates that those of us left are poor and dumb. I counter that those of us left are spirited and love Redding not only for its location but for its people. Want Redding to chose us? Then let’s be the examplary citizens that define the city we want it to be and become…because the mountains, lakes, shops, streets and homes don’t make choices…the just are what they are.

  22. Valerie Ing Valerie Ing says:

    “I want to live here on purpose, with my eyes wide open. I want to choose Redding. I don’t want to just live in Redding. I want to love Redding.” – Right on, Doni.

  23. Avatar Johanna Anderson says:

    The affordability of housing, though mostly sad housing, compared to the rest of CA, cant be overlooked. That said, this article resonates deeply with me. If we could move, likely we would, but for now we are here for the remainder of our childrens’ schooling. Beyond all the typical issues that many cities like ours face, I find Bethel’s influence is deeply troubling. Coupled with a lack of compassion, I can firmly say that Redding does not have my heart. I spent most of my free time leaving town.

  24. Adrienne Jacoby Adrienne Jacoby says:

    I have no reason to live in Redding. I have no family here. . . . BUT . . . . ahhh . . . but I have a life here. Life that is defined by friendships, contacts, business dealings built over the past 50 years. Moving anywhere else would necessitate my starting over with my personal connections. I just don’t wanna. It takes years of nurturing to build a personal connection with the people in a community. That takes time and energy . . . . of which I have precious little. Like I said above, IT’S THE PEOPLE!! I LOVE THE PEOPLE!!