Is Redding Dying?

If you’ve not seen the documentary, “Seattle is Dying” then you’re one of the few who’ve missed watching the film that’s been viewed nearly 5 million times, produced by Seattle ABC television station KOMO.

Screen shot from “Seattle is Dying”.

It tells the story of Seattle, whose citizens are falling out of love with their city because of the skyrocketing crimes, tent cities, garbage everywhere, out-of-control drug use and increased numbers of mentally ill, criminals and addicted people living on the streets.

Screen shot from “Seattle is Dying”.

One Seattle resident in the documentary said he’s embarrassed about his hometown city, a place for which he once felt pride for its natural beauty, a place he said now looks like “shit”.

Screen shot from “Seattle is Dying”.

Seattle’s public spaces contain feces, urine, needles, as well as the source of the mess; people who use those spaces as their bedrooms and bathrooms.

Ring a bell, Redding?

Tuesday evening the Shasta Builder’s Exchange hosted a free community meeting moderated by Shasta County Supervisor Joe Chimenti at the Cascade Theatre where the audience watched  the hour-and-a-half long “Seattle is Dying” and then listened to three north state speakers: Dr. Greg Greenberg, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett and Anderson Police Chief Mike Johnson.

The theater’s balcony was closed, but most of the seats were filled on the lower level, at least during the film. Some people left when the documentary was over, and didn’t stay to hear the speakers.

Who knows whether the documentary will ever actually help Seattle, but I have no doubt it’s causing communities like ours around the country to freak out and pay attention, lest we end up like poor Seattle. At the moment, Seattle’s troubles are serving as a spectacularly good – bad – example of a once-grand American city on the skids.

Joe Chimenti

Chimenti described the meeting as a community “intervention”. He acknowledged that mistakes had been made (some of which Chimenti said he was “partly sorry” ) and all we could do is move forward to find solutions.

The evening’s not-so-subtle message: Act fast so we don’t end up like sad-sack Seattle.

The film, which I’ve seen four times now, had the audience’s rapt attention. There was one segment, where someone in the film defended Seattle’s city council as feeling overwhelmed by the city’s problems, to which the person in the film became angry and said the council members were idiots, which elicited a round of applause and laughter inside the Redding theater.

Harsh? Perhaps. But clearly, when it comes to Redding’s nearly decade-long decline and decay, citizens who’ve chosen to stay are fed up and want solutions. When do we want them? Yesterday.

Documentaries like “Seattle is Dying” leave us feeling as if we can see legions of walking dead gaining on us in Redding’s rear-view mirror, and we’re scared shitless that we can’t outrun them and they’re going to eat us alive.

The speakers

Greenberg went first, and talked about the science of addiction, a topic he’s shared here at length here on ANC.

Greg Greenberg

Greenberg explained how, for many addicts, it’s not that they’re using various drugs so much as to get high, but that they’re “chasing the dragon” — that elusive unattainable first-time-never-to-be-repeated euphoria. Greenberg said that for many addicts, they’re nearly powerless to stop using drugs because they’re just trying to feel normal.

Greenberg is a proponent of medically assisted treatment – MAT – for addicts, something that was touched on as a potential solution in “Seattle is Dying” when it highlighted a program that’s achieved some measure of success in Rhode Island that’s helped break addiction cycles and restore lives.

For Greenberg, breaking cycles is his ultimate goal; if not in that particular addicted patient, then to prevent the patient’s children and grandchildren from a lifetime of suffering; battling the same ancestral addiction demons.

DA Bridgett began her remarks by ostensibly putting minds at ease with, “We are not like Seattle,” and assurances that Shasta County was “not as bad as what we just watched”.

Still staying positive, Bridgett said the north state has an opportunity to not be the next Seattle, which is just another way of saying that if we miss this opportunity, we could very well end up Just Like Seattle. No pressure.

Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett.

She talked about the north state’s assets, such as easy access to outdoor wonders like lakes and mountains and waterfalls. But she also said that our region is manifesting changes that have befallen us for the last six to eight years – and not for the better: addicted people living on the streets, hundreds of thousands of pounds of garbage collected in encampments each year, a revolving door of criminals arrested and released, sometimes dozens of times per perp.

Bridgett referred to various legislation that she said contributed to and exacerbated what we’re seeing on Redding streets, such as AB109 and propositions 47 and 57. She said something must change, because her department cannot continue handling 10,000 cases a year with just 26 prosecutors.

As an aside, she said there are plenty of resources available for help and treatment, but many people — often those most in need of help — will not avail themselves of those services.

“We’ve got to do something different,” she said. “We need to be proactive and create more beds.”

By “more beds” she’s talking of her dream of the 900- to 1,000-range.

But Bridgett acknowledged that solutions extend beyond jail beds. She said there must be resources available during incarceration so those with addiction issues can receive life-changing help while they’re serving time. And, by the way, if Bridgett were queen – and here in Shasta County, she pretty much is – those resources would not be optional.

“You receive treatment while you’re there, or you stay in jail,” Bridgett said, to a round of hearty applause.

“We need to come together and support a solution,” she said. “And we cannot wait for the state, because they’re not going to help.”

She said if anything, the state only makes things worse with regard to help with law enforcement.

Speaking of law enforcement, there was no representation from the Redding Police Department, which seemed rather odd considering Redding’s the county seat, and it has the lion’s share of issues with regard to homelessness and crime.

At any rate, Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson was up next. He told how the city of Anderson was previously characterized as the “red-headed stepchild of Shasta County law enforcement” — a perception he’s worked hard to change in his department, starting with his staff.  Duly noted.

He said Shasta County faces “a huge problem if we don’t come up with a plan and get everyone on the same page”. He added that the issues that vex Shasta County are about more than homelessness.

Like Bridgett, he drove home the point of the ideal link between incarceration and rehabilitation.

“It’s about our quality of life,” he said. “We need incarceration and enforcement. We need to have the hammer to get them into programs or they stay in jail. Accountability is crucial.”

Anderson Police Chief Michael Johnson. Photo source: Anderson Police Department website.

He said that Shasta County’s current environment lacks accountability for those who break the law, which explains why the criminal element has flourished.

Even so, Johnson said that he’s an optimist, and said that even while preparing his speech and giving it a title to save on his computer, he changed it from his initial, “Redding is dying” to “Save Shasta”.

The 1-penny pitch

Chimenti returned to the stage, and reiterated the evening’s prevailing philosophy: “Incarceration provides opportunities for rehabilitation.”

He then introduced a series of slides that appeared on the massive theater screen that offered a way for citizens to participate in their community as “shareholders” and “investors” to fund exactly the kinds of resources and programs mentioned by the evening’s speakers.

The slides spelled out the details:

The ongoing funding of this plan is a 1 cent (1%) Countywide, Specific Transactions & Use Tax.

In compliance with the law, these funds can only be used in the investment areas of specifically designated in the ballot measure to mitigate criminal behavior.

These funds will be used exclusively for renovating, maintaining and building new jail space and new personnel in the Criminal Justice System. 

These funds cannot be used for any existing expenses, unfunded liabilities supplanting of exiting budgets or any other purposes.

Next came the breakdown for the annual “investment areas” list:

$8,751,600 for building, renovating and maintaining detention facilities; and a target of 500 jail beds, including the Transitional Rehabilitation Facility and an inmate work camp.

$5,834,400 for staffing detention facilities (approximately 51 new staff).

$3,207,151 for sheriff patrol deputies (approximately 21 new staff).

$4,183,240 for Redding police officers (approximately 25 new staff).

$464,804 for Shasta Lake City deputies (approximately 3 new staff).

$464,804 for Anderson Police officers (approximately 3 new staff).

$1,768,000 for District Attorney (approximately 9 new staff)

$618,800 for Public Defender (approximately 3 new staff)

$530,400 for Probation case workers for mid-level risk (approximately 6 new staff)

$176,800 for yearly 3rd-party audit. 

Total: $26,000,000

One more thing …

Chimenti concluded the evening’s presentation by encouraging people to attend Tuesday’s 9 a,m, Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting and support the presentation of the 1-cent-tax proposal.

He left the audience with one parting slide that gave the website address for a quick survey.

Audience reactions

Outside the theater, I spoke with some people who’d attended the presentation, some of whom agreed to chat, but declined to give their names. It reminded me of a time many decades ago in Redding, when a library measure was on the ballot, and during phone surveys, the majority of voters said why yes, they’d vote for the library measure, of course. I mean, who wouldn’t vote for a library?

The measure failed.

Unpredictable things sometimes happen in the privacy of a voting booth.

Some people’s reluctance to go on the record for this story made me wonder whether this was a reverse situation, where perhaps many of those people personally approved of the sales tax for this go-round, but they were keeping that desire close to their chests, because that proposal took such a controversial beating before, that it might still be deemed unpopular now.

Just speculating …

But I digress.

One bashful man said the evening was interesting enough, and he found Greenberg’s information about addiction especially captivating. But he said he left feeling manipulated by fear to comply with a 1-cent sales tax, and the implied threat that without it, Redding is doomed to become like Seattle.

Another bashful person, a Palo Cedro woman, was pleased she’d attended. “I thought it was great information,” she said. “It gave me a lot to think about.”

Would she support a 1-cent sales tax?

“I need to think about that.”

I rest my case.

Janice Powell, who’s a member of the Shasta Lake City Council, was there with friend Rose Smith, also of Shasta Lake. Powell said that Shasta Lake residents are fortunate because they don’t face many of the unsavory issues that Reddingites encounter every day. However, although she was proud to say that the city of Shasta Lake boasts the county’s lowest crime rate, she said Redding’s problems are Shasta Lake’s problems, too.

“We may not live in Redding, but a lot of our citizens come here to shop,” she said. “We want to feel safe here, too.”

Regarding the proposed sales tax, Powell said she’s keeping an open mind, with a caveat.

“I like the numbers,” she said.  “But there must be accountability.” She said that it’s a given that people don’t like to pay taxes, but when they do, they want oversight. They want to know where the money’s going and how it’s being spent.

One Redding couple, who also declined to give their names (because they said they’re Chimenti’s friends), were upbeat.

“I think it’s a half a step forward in the right direction,” he said. “I like the strong message that incarceration leads to rehabilitation.”

His companion agreed, and said that she sensed the audience was receptive to the information, and that they seemed to exude a positive vibe regarding being open to the proposed 1-cent sales tax.

Finally, I met a mother and daughter who enthusiastically described the evening as “wonderful” – and who spoke on the record.

“What I liked about it is it addressed the core issue, about treating people’s problems,” said Jean Murillo, of Redding.

Murillo, who’s lived in the same Redding home for 50 years, said she’s noticed many unwelcome changes in her city: Crime. Transients. Shopping carts piled high with trash and left on the side of the road. And in her neighborhood, she’s aware of car break-ins,  property theft, and even homeless living in barns and other out buildings for months on end.

Her daughter, Michelle Murillo of Redding, was especially heartened by the concept of seeing the homeless, mentally ill and those with addictions through the lens of kindness, compassion and humanity, as whole, complex individuals.

“I could get behind this vision,” she said. “I like what I heard because it treats the person as if we, as a community, care. It’s about more than putting them in jail, but it’s an opportunity to help save people, and it doesn’t have to be a jail, either. It could even be a detention center. I’d like to see another aspect, that it would treat the entire person – body, soul, and spirit.”

As much as Jean Murillo felt hopeful after the presentation, she also expressed profound frustration to think that Shasta County can’t rely on help from the state.

“Some of the laws stink, and it really upsets me that the state isn’t here for us,” she said. “We need to stand up to the state and tell them, ‘Guess what? You need to help us! No more telling us what you can’t do!’

Exasperation with the state aside, overall, the Murillo women were hopeful that perhaps help is on the horizon, and with any luck, perhaps Redding won’t sink as low as Seattle.

“It’s a good start,” said Jean.

Meanwhile, yesterday, as I do nearly every weekday, I visited the downtown Redding post office to collect my mail (because, you know, mail would be stolen from my home’s mailbox). As I drove down the post office alley, I saw a filthy young woman and dirt-covered young man slumped on the side steps of the Veterans Hall. She had his outstretched arm in one of her hands, while her other hand pushed the lever of a syringe that was attached to his forearm.

Just another day in Redding.

The good news is, at least we’re not dying, like Seattle.

Yet.

 

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. 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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91 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    First off, Seattle Is Dying, could be the same portrait of any large city if one focused only on the bad stuff. The focus should be on what Seattle and other cities are doing to alleviate the problems. What works in Seattle or Phoenix or Denver will not work in Redding because a city has to have businesses and people that want to move there. From what I read on here is the only businesses and people that want to move to Redding are Bethel members. While posting links to other California newspapers also read the comments and see how the rest of the state views Redding, it is not pretty.

  2. Steve Steve says:

    The program was an eye opener. I use to live in the Seattle area and loved it up there. I’m shocked with what’s happened. Even with my love for Seattle, I don’t want to go back for a visit. We can’t let that happen to Redding.

  3. Avatar Mimi Moseley says:

    I was there last night and thought it was AMAZING! I was filled with hope, although my heart broke for these poor souls consumed with addiction. The doctor mentioned that after the first high, most addicts just “use” to feel normal. They never get that inital high again.
    So strange that some did not care to be named as you interviewed them. Perhaps they have felt the harsh comments of some people who do not want citizens to have a voice if it is different from theirs. (And there seems to be a LOT of that.) I am glad to go on record as a supporter of this one cent tax increase. I had a brother in Atlanta who was an addict for over 15 years. It did eventually kill him.

    • Mimi, I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. I’m also sorry to say that I can relate. Addiction is a such horrible, horrible condition.

      Listening to Dr. Greenberg speak and discuss the genetics of addiction, and the predisposition for addiction for those with traumatic childhood events, I’m shocked and amazed and grateful that I’m not an addict. I’ve seen firsthand the toll it can take on not just the addicted person, but their loved ones.

      Regarding people not wanting to have their names included for this story, I can also understand that if people didn’t know me, they didn’t know whether they could trust me to quote them accurately.

      But you’re right that there is a lot of harsh disagreement going on online in general, and it’s getting worse. Generally speaking, ANC readers are a civilized bunch (with a few exceptions), and we work really hard to have this be a safe place to express views without personal attacks.

      Sorry I missed seeing you last night.

  4. Avatar Linda Cooper says:

    Thank you for this excellent reporting. My friend in Portland writes that “it’s happening there as well. My book group at the Redding Library once explored the best book I have ever written on this subject. “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” by English writer and journalist Johann Hari.

    The prize in the Cracker Jack box comes in the last chapter. Basically Portugal decided to allocate their funds towards rehabilitation instead of enforcement. This solution didn’t require more money, it required re-directing the money. This has worked, and the statistics prove so. But, try selling that to all the people and institutions who are in the enforcement professions. And add the icing on the cake where others have a moral code that people should not be given a hand up, they should be punished. As I recall, one woman left the book group after the discussion. Sigh.

    • I am in your camp regarding rehabilitation. And one thing I’d like to have seen in this funding wish list is a huge chunk for mental health services.

      Yes, much of our addicted population takes up a lot of law enforcement resources. But how much addiction boils down to a mental health disorder?

      In my perfect world, and if I were a wealthy queen, I’d fund a HUGE state-of-the-art teaching hospital that specializes in mental health issues. This place would also deal with addiction issues. Remember Napa before it was known for wine? It was known for its mental health facilities. Redding could do that – be that. It would give citizens jobs to build it and staff it, and it would provide comfort, care and treatment to some of our most vulnerable members of society.
      Another missing piece of this puzzle is to include vocational training for those incarcerated. After all, how do they support themselves after they’re released?
      One of my favorite parts of this particular plan is reinstating the inmate work camp, which, if memory serves, was a highly respected, highly successful program.

      • Avatar Anna Strait says:

        Dr. Johann Hari does address the depression, untreated mental health issues, as a main driving factor of addiction. If anyone hasn’t watched his TED Talk on the issue, I highly recommend.

        https://youtu.be/PY9DcIMGxMs

        • Avatar Linda Cooper says:

          Anna, yes, thank you. I will for sure watch this video. Delighted that someone else knew of Fr. Johann Hari.

        • Oh my gosh. What a great video. Thank you, Anna.
          I highly recommend this TED Talk.

          I love what he says about how Portugal has dealt with drugs and addiction.

          “Disconnection is a driver of addiction.”

          The key is helping people connect, or reconnect. It’s social recovery that involves us all.
          “You’re not alone. We love you” … The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection…”

          Powerful stuff.

      • Avatar .Linda Cooper says:

        Doni, I love your vision! Yesterday, someone asked me what I would do with money from a lottery win. You just described it, “wealthy queen.” And to add, I would keep measurable statistics to monitor the success, or not success, rate. Accountability. In fact, in my present hopeful state of mind, I’m looking across the board room table at you, and Dr. Greenberg. And Mimi Mosely is there as well. Just because she provided me the down to earth interpretation of what Dr. Greenberg had said at the mentioned event regarding addiction. Something about after the first high, most addicts just use to feel normal. Although, I’m thinking it’s not just one or two highs, it’s the withdrawal from habitual patterns of using. And, Mimi, I too am sorry for your loss. Seems to me you have pursued understanding and exploring this loss. My best to you for this. I think I just might buy a lottery ticket tonight. Why not?

        • And I like your vision, too! And about accountability, there was much talk last night about making addicts and criminals accountable; but I add that the accountability goes both ways, too. Our leaders have accountability, too.

      • Avatar Sharla Adkins says:

        I agree Doni! Along with rehabilitating those who need it, there needs to be a re-directing of those energies that provides self-worth and confidence. Vocational training to help them succeed needs to be a part of that!

  5. Avatar Brandon Rogers says:

    If we zoom out, way, way out – this is a nationwide problem. People are suffering everywhere in America. It feels like a crisis of the soul.

    • “A crisis of the soul” … gives me chills.

      At some point what society needs to ask is WHY we have so much addiction in America. I know Dr. Greenberg explained how many heroin users started out as regular citizens who got hooked on opioids, which led to cheaper heroin.

      I personally think that much of the addiction and substance abuse boils down to people feeling unfulfilled and unproductive; insignificant members of society who are counted on by nobody. I believe that without a reason to get up in the morning, a reason for living; the development of skills that give a sense of purpose, life has little meaning, and people seek artificial ways to feed that void.
      That’s why I like the plan my sister and I dreamed up a long time ago, where this vulnerable segment of society can have access to activities that give them a sense of accomplishment and pride: raising animals, growing a garden, learning to build or sew or weld or can fruits or do wood-working.

      I know I sound idealistic, but for me, it’s not enough to jail people and force them into treatment. Once they’re clean, they need a life purpose as incentive to stay sober.

      • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

        One of the biggest surprises when I started practicing addiction medicine (I hope to get it right some day) was the answer to the question, “Why do you use?” The most common answer is boredom. People need a purpose. A big component of recovery is working and finding things to occupy your mind. This is me agreeing with you. 🙂

        • Avatar Eleanor Townsend says:

          Wow, Doni and Greg, this is such a hugely unaddressed aspect of this situation. Definitely, we all need a purpose. To be ‘counted on by nobody’ is a terrifying condition indeed, and maybe we can check in with ourselves as to whether we give the people around us a ‘counted on’ feeling. And put ourselves in the position of being ‘counted on’, even when it’s work we may not wish to do.

          • Eleanor, what a good point you make. I know that my tendency is to not trouble people, and to go it alone and do things myself (well, I also confess that it’s partly because I can be a bit of a control freak with some tasks). But when I do that, I might be robbing someone else the opportunity to feel useful and counted on. When done right, we can all engage in a good mix of give and take; of being both helpers and receivers.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Greg Greenberg,

          What is your opinion about the claim by some experts that an outsized percentage of homeless people have experienced severe childhood trauma, and that a considerable number also suffer from traumatic brain injury?

          • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

            I don’t have any data to speak to the TBI issue with homelessness. Just remember that correlation is not causation. History of abuse as a child increases your risk of substance use disorder and homelessness. Many of our homeless population are assaulted frequently. I would be surprised if there wasn’t an association.

        • Bingo. So, I guess the question is, how do we raise children into human beings who have a developed sense of purpose, who can find ways to engage, occupy and entertainment themselves other than substance abuse.

          I think, too, there’s the component of delayed gratification, back to that ’60s marshmallow test with preschoolers. Decades later when looking at those kids, the ones who were able to self-soothe, and come up with ways to distract themselves and NOT give in to the marshmallow, did better in life, while the kids with impulse control were more likely to be divorced, have trouble keeping a job, and even ended up in prison. I know it’s not 100-percent sure, because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that had I been that 3-year-old alone in a room with a marshmallow, I would have eaten it.

          We humans are so complex, but in some ways our needs are pretty simple.

        • Avatar Monique says:

          When an individual falls into addiction it is the first high being chased, so the cycle has been started….to share my minds eye….people use, not out of boredom per say but because of an idle….when the mind is mentally ill or crippled by a substance the feeling idle becomes intense for lots of reasons…but to idle in the mind and in the spirit….the body follows and it becomes “undisciplined slacking” the idle of a soul will also manifest in different secondary symptoms if u will….i am an alcoholic that is social and isolation has led me to become idle…because I feel unworthy and that I can’t do anything worth my time or my effort….these are the most difficult negative words i will tell myself and then this will become the hardest time to overcome my addictions….it is easy to drink, and harder to fight or struggle with myself….so I do agree with Dr. G…..we need to occupy our minds and our souls so we don’t fall for the reasoning to get high!!! Sobriety and temperance are so much healthier too!!!!

  6. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    The “experts” in this movie blame their homeless problem as 100 percent driven by Heroin addiction.

    It amazes me that a very inaccurate picture of Redding homeless is attempted to be portrayed by Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett , several retired law enforcement agents, and others as they host a “Seattle is Dying” video documentary trying to sell the criminalization of our local homeless residents and the development of a forced treatment facility not far from Anderson police chief Johnsons ideas.

    Lots of money available for homeless it seems, and like in 2006 when a huge project like this was proposed by Little Country Church and others in law enforcement it was amazing who wanted to participate when the funding ideas ran out

    Nobody…

    Private prison mentality must be stopped

    Forcing addicts to take an addictive substitute “Suboxone” is not the answer. Redding has double the alcohol problem as other cities, the dynamics are just not the same. In fact, LETS GET REAL “There are double the amount of people dying of alcohol abuse than opioids in Shasta County.”

    https://krcrtv.com/news/addicted-northstate/there-are-double-the-amount-of-people-dying-of-alcohol-abuse-than-opioids-in-shasta-county

    Lets clear up some misconceptions about this film and how its preposterous to compare Seattle’s homeless problem with Reddings…

    See any Meth addicts in that movie???

    The Seattle movie states their homeless problem is 100 percent heroin drug generated, Redding is not a port town , there is not a huge heroin problem here.

    And only ONE homeless shelter in all of Shasta, Trinity, Tehama, Lassen, Modoc, and Siskiyou county leaves Redding wide open to a civil rights law suit that 4 Federal Judges would be happy to enforce.

    And when homeless possessions are confiscated by California law they must be held for 90 days and every attempt should be made to return those possessions to their rightful owners.

    Indeed jail space is needed to lock up misguided police, city officials, and folks who want to incarcerate people whos only crime is not having a roof over their head.

    “Confiscating my property, targeting my demography
    Making the poor commodities, profiting off of poverty
    Enforcing policies supporting prison economies
    You better just, learn to dodge or box
    Cuz this is what happens when you call the cops”

    • Avatar monique says:

      Hey Chris, how u b? I didn’t get the perspective it was 100% Heroin…as a root cause…Please, here me out….You know I am on your side, the side that means to do right by those that are in a place of suffering….those that are homeless, like my mommy and Brenda’s daughter. I as a small child was homeless with my mother, and when we weren’t homeless, we were on a relative’s couch, in a car, or in a motel paid for by men….they would feed my sister and I, and then give my mom some sort of drug, have sex and we would have a room for a few days…sadly, I would never have been counted during a point in time count for the most part….I did do my time in parks with my mother….it was Ripple in a brown bag being shared by all sorts of other suffering souls. I watched this very real “train wreck” if you will, and back then I had no experience, I had no platform, I had no education to better understand….I want a place to house individuals that might be contrary, or defiant, but they are not “BAD” people. My mother used to be real mouthy when she felt she was being challenged…I watched my mother argue with police, and people over her issues….I now know it is Paranoid Schizophrenia…so at 13 or 14 she was raped by a 28 y/o man, and her home life sucked donkey balls in the hot sun…..she got caught stealing food and was detained and I was born in some sort of juvenile detention center down south. So, my 15 or 16 year old mom tried to stay in school….however; the stigma of a young lady with a baby was too much for the school to bare, then it was too much for my grandma to deal with…so my mom did what she did best…she ran…..before I was 5 I hitchhiked across America from California to Buffalo N.Y. My mother was stuck in the revolving door of the criminal justice system, and she was always running from something….always to nowhere….we fast forward 2019…..I fight so my mother’s life wasn’t lived in vain….I fight for people to see that individuals that choose to live in squalor and filth and without law and order…………they are lost souls, and our job on behalf of Jesus, is to plant the seed of salvation and mercy…..When addicted to a drug or to drink, reasoning becomes so easy….I can reason to pick up a drink to bury my issues in a million different ways….but you see, I am a fighter…..and this fight is the hardest, most calculated fight ever……and I love to fight….I have a better understanding of myself during this journey… Chris, this is my opinion alone….but as I said before, we need civility to help solve this very large and real societal issue we face, here in Redding, Ca. I hope you know I am trying with all my herculean strength to truly help individuals that are lost spiritually, that have fallen down a mental health chasm….people need to have just one day without a single barrier or obstacle to problems….we need a place, where an advocate can aid with the bureaucratic bullshit, we all face!

  7. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    An interesting evening indeed. First, viewing “Seattle Is Dying” at the Cascade with subsequent presentations by Dr. Greenberg, D.A. Bridgett, and A.P.D. Chief Johnson. Two hours well spent.

    Then later, Anderson Cooper’s excellent 30-minute interview with Megan Rapinoe, who will undoubtedly have an illustrious career in broadcasting once her participation in professional sports comes to an end. Available at CNN.com and highly recommended.

  8. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Notably missing from this presentation were representatives from local social service agencies and medical providers who work with the entire spectrum of the local homeless population, and who could have told us exactly what percentage of the homeless are substance-addicted (fewer than this presentation implied), what percentage are mentally ill, and how many are simply victims of the area’s extreme shortage of affordable housing and low-wage jobs.

    Aside from the fact that these proposals would forcibly incarcerate the mentally ill (a poor substitute for actual mental health treatment, which is in short supply for the mentally ill homeless), I’d have to question where we would find the wealth of drug addiction services mentioned in this presentation that don’t require private insurance or a considerable amount of cash. We have the hellfire-and-brimstone Rescue Mission, which relies heavily on religious guilt and magical deliverance from addiction by “accepting God”. When last I heard, even Empire Recovery doesn’t accept Medi-Cal for inpatient drug treatment.

    While expansion of jail facilities would be desirable to keep what appears to be a relatively small number of repeat offenders off the streets, why aren’t we talking about providing actual housing (however minimal) with supportive services for the homeless, of the kind that has worked so well to dramatically reduce the homeless populations in other cities? (and has saved partcipating cities millions of dollars a year in the process). A string of national experts have recommended this alternative to local officials, who have done everything in their power to ignore those recommendations.

    https://endhomelessness.org/resource/housing-first/

    • Greg Greenberg Greg Greenberg says:

      Patricia,

      I appreciate your questions. I work quite a bit with our homeless population and treat people with substance use disorder regularly. I disagree with the sweeping characterization that all homelessness is from substance use disorder. There are many who are homeless who start using because they are on the streets — especially methamphetamines to stay vigilant as the homeless are often robbed or assaulted.

      We tried mass incarceration in the 1980’s and it didn’t fix the drug problem. When we do incarcerate, the key is offering treatment. I have had many patients with substance use disorder where incarceration and treatment saved their lives. Once drugs hijacks their brains, many people with substance use disorder lack the ability to help themselves get help. I’m simply proposing that we actually treat those who we incarcerate.

      There are actually plenty of outpatient resources for those with MediCal and substance use disorder in Shasta County. When Partnerships Health Plan (our manager care for MediCal) takes over Drug MediCal, residential treatment will be available as well. We have a long way to go but the outpatient piece of the puzzle is robust in our county.

      I will also say, without statistics but with 15 years of direct observation in our community on the front lines, the increase of homelessness is related to the explosion of our drug problem.

      • I enjoyed hearing what you had to say last night, Dr. Greenberg.

        I wish there was more of a balance in the population of problem-solvers so the solution scale is tipped more equally between incarceration AND treatment. We need more of YOU!

        And I hear you about the potential life-saving aspects of a blend of incarceration and treatment. I know of two Redding families with young men who were off the rails and on the streets, and the intervention of law enforcement coupled with treatment has turned them both around.

        Regarding the explosion of society’s drug problems, I’m curious why – other than what started as opioid addictions – we’re seeing the high addiction levels. Or maybe that’s it in a nutshell. If so, I wonder how long it will take to right the ship again, or have we passed the point of no return?

        • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

          Doni,
          The drug problem isn’t just Purdue’s deceptive marketing of OxyContin or the Mexican drug cartels bringing in cheap heroin. We check our phones over two minutes, we need a pill for every ache and pain or twinge of anxiety. We glorify mind altering substances and we normalize this behavior in childhood. At the same time, we have many barriers to mental health treatment, substance use disorder treatment, and we are unwilling to address the increasing disparity in income that plagues our country. We make ourselves victims because someone used the wrong word or looked at us funny. We lack accountability and shame as a society. There are so many factors at play but we still don’t understand it.

          I feel strongly that this is societal problem and neither the left nor right has the answer. I don’t know what can change the course of this ship but I see a huge iceberg straight ahead.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Greg Greenberg,

        Thank you for your response.

        The area’s lack of affordable inpatient services is where Housing First programs with supportive services come in, since it’s extremely difficult – if not impossible – to effectively treat someone living on the streets, who is likely suffering from extreme sleep deprivation, malnutrition, myriad illnesses caused by constant exposure to the elements and lack of available sanitation, and who is often deeply traumatized from violence. The safety and security of housing in some form is the first step. When these people no longer need to spend every waking minute trying to access the very basic elements of survival that “housed” people take for granted or in fearing for their lives, change then becomes possible.

        Inpatient drug treatment can meet some of that need. However, I believe that still leaves a considerable number of homeless people for whom substance abuse is not a factor, and falls short for people who are severely mentally ill (many people are substance addicted BECAUSE they are mentally ill).

        I also believe that society needs to be very careful about forcibly incarcerating people just for the “crime” of being homeless, based on knee-jerk assumptions about their situations that may not be accurate.

  9. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    People: keep comments civil.

  10. Avatar Stephen says:

    Vision and Perspective. I struggled with Alcoholism for years. Countless AA meetings. Incomprehensible demoralization. Then the miracle happened. Sobriety for several years. Grew up in LA. Traveled the world. Lived in Charlotte, NC. Came back to Redding to get a storage unit in Chico and check out Bethel. Started a business. I volunteer at the Good News Rescue Mission. The Point. We can discuss social commentary about the breakdown of culture and Redding Crime 2.0 and the problems. Homeless are everywhere in this country. Addiction, drugs, or just a series of unfortunate events. In the grand perspective of places to live Redding is good. North State beauty. The concrete slab on the hidden gem of Clover Creek preserve is undefiled by gang graffiti. The DMV is easy (i.e. San Bernardino, Pasadena). Hard to compare Redding with Seattle. Redding Chamber’s Jake Mangus compared Redding to the similarities in Bend Oregon. Funding more jail beds isn’t going to help. Look. What fascinated me when I first came to Redding is that earlier, at some point, there was some kind of city planning vision on Park Marina Drive. Those round shingle sided “Gilligan’s Island” buildings, The Round Cinemark Movies 8, the spanish tiled buildings around Orchard Nutrition and Benton Electronics. Some city planner though up how cool it would be to build a round street and a round theater. What happened to the vision? Imagine Park Marina with a boardwalk with cafes, art gallerys, book store, knick nack stores….like Mt. Shasta… What is happening with that prime real estate motel just across the 44 from the new Sheraton? Back to the topic. There is a lot happening – Bethel, Shasta Venture Hub and EDC, Angel Investors, new start ups. When I came to Redding three years ago I lived in my car for 4 months and worked at Walmart. Because I was drug-free and sober and had a mission and a vision. Redding is worth the investment. I never felt or saw myself as homeless because I knew where I was headed.

    • Stephen, I think you hit the nail on the head about having a vision, and knowing where you were headed made all the difference between seeing yourself as homeless or just a guy living in his car until his plans panned out. Good for you for getting sober. It’s not easy.

  11. Steve Steve says:

    I’m sorry I missed you last night, Doni. Thanks for including the link for “Seattle is Dying”. There’s no easy ‘fix’ for any community, is there? I drive around Redding a lot. I see homeless people everywhere. It amazes me how many I do see that are hidden for the most part. They’re out there. And it might not be long before the swarm of them come out of the bushes making themselves known. I think greed from those at the top has done a lot to create this problem and will keep it going. But something has to be done. At this point, I’m reluctant to vote for another tax. However, I probably will. Accountability for the tax money helps me feel better, as long as homeless aren’t just being locked up, and do get the life changing rehabilitation that is so desperately needed. I do see that as a step in the right direction so we can reclaim our communities. One thing I don’t want, is to see that portion of the homeless population who are dead-beats, wanting to live off the system, enabled, so they can do so. Not an easy ‘fix’.

    • Yeah, the part that makes me nervous about the focus on incarceration first is that, as reporter Annelise so wisely pointed out in her excellent column recently, many people, just by virtue of being homeless and living on the streets, are criminals.

      • Steve DuBois Steve DuBois says:

        I hear you, Doni I definitely don’t believe all homeless are criminals. My reason for supporting the tax, is to hold accountable those true offenders. I wish that could be done without a tax, and I’d ultimately love to see that happen. However, there’s a BIG problem with the cockiness of some offenders. Travis Berge in the documentary is my example. He had 34 criminal cases in 4 years. They included disturbance, assault, trespass, and attempted rape. And he since has started stealing. Travis is happy to be on the list of known offenders and gets overly excited at the idea of being high on that list. That’s scary stuff when anyone feels that way. Travis revels in causing disturbances and spitting on police. Shocking to me, an officer in an attempt to calm Travis down during a disturbance, asked him if he wanted a cigarette or candy bar. That blew me away. The officer asked, because he was powerless to hold Travis accountable. And trying to be compassionate with Travis doesn’t help. Travis doesn’t strike me as someone you can get through to. It would be nice to hold out your hand and do something with compassion to help. But Travis doesn’t want it without Meth. He’s excited he hasn’t been arrested in over 15 months. Boldly, he stated that he’s confident he’s conquered the criminal justice system. The documentary points out, sadly, and with frustration, that Travis is probably right. At least, in Seattle. There’s no easy fix.

  12. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    “Bridgett referred to various legislation that she said contributed to and exacerbated what we’re seeing on Redding streets, such as AB109 and propositions 47 and 57.”

    What some people, particularly prosecutors and law enforcement, forget about these legislative measures is that they were enacted because the state’s prisons were not only unconstitutionally overcrowded, the entire system was bankrupting the state. No one wants to pay more taxes to build new prisons. So the state decriminalized drug use, and encouraged counties, by providing money, to turn to rehabilitation instead of incarceration.

    Since the passage of those measures, the county has twice failed to take advantage of this money. Now instead of building a rehabilitation center, it seems like the idea is to turn the jail into a rehab center, with the emphasis on jail. I humbly suggest this will not work.

    • Thanks for filling in the important back story. You’re absolutely correct about how we got into this mess.

      Personally, I’d like to see less focus on the hammer, and more focus on rehab and humanity.

  13. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    The absence of the RPD was most notable, the ones who face the downtown scene 24/7. Was that planned or is their some feud going on between the organizers and the RPD, if so, too bad. Because the mantra was we all need to work together on this social phenomenon. Once law enforcement starts rounding up those on the streets, without specific charges, the ACLU will pounce. And the statements that the State of CA, the fifth largest economy on the planet can’t be trusted, won’t help us or whatever trash talk about our leaders in SAC is pure bunk. All our Shasta Co. leaders have to do is apply for grants, lobby legislators, take a detailed plan to legislative leaders and they will listen. Get out of this mode that they need to come to us, it’s we who need to present plans like presented and lobby for such. If the North State had a few Democratic representatives, which are in the majority and will be for eons, we’d see some action, but the current office holders tend to vote no on everything before them.

    • Greg Greenberg Greg Greenberg says:

      I don’t think anyone was suggesting that we just incarcerate the homeless. There are quite a few homeless people with substance use disorder who are arrested for property theft, assault, etc. who are just released repeatedly. I would argue that our community and those individuals would benefit from incarceration and treatment with an opportunity to break the chains of their addiction. I’m concerned about the citizens of our community when people who are so deep in the throes of addiction that they physically fight the police and are back on the street the next day. It doesn’t help our community and it sets those individuals up for failure. The key is that we need to ensure that treatment and the connection to outpatient resources happens. Joe, if you’re reading this, is that something that will be included in the proposed law for the sales tax increase?

      • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

        “The key is that we need to ensure that treatment and the connection to outpatient resources happens.”

        At one time California prisons had classroom space to offer these treatments and programs but due to overcrowding every square inch has been taken up I understand.

        Prison reformation should start at the state level not criminalization of homeless on the local

        I watched a homeless man slowly die on the streets of Redding. Everytime the hospital released him another body part was cut off and hospital dumped him off at Safeway parking lot.

        If I understand the law since Jan 1st a patient can ask even though he has no where to go to have hospital dump him off on sidewalk and it would not be considered patient dumping anymore.

        So the cycle continued until he passed away…

        Would forced incarceration and forced “Antabuse” treatment be part of this plan as well?

        And is the Seattle is Dying an accurate documentary to begin with ?

        https://crosscut.com/2019/03/man-used-proof-seattle-dying-tells-his-story

        • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

          Chris,
          The documentary clearly had an agenda but much of the information is accurate. Addiction is not the cause of all homelessness but it definitely plays a large role. A part of the puzzle in the homelessness crisis is appropriate treatment for substance use disorder (not Antabuse). In Redding, we can’t change our society’s issues with distribution of wealth but we can try to address the problem in front of us.

          As far as the hospitals, they do what they can, often keeping people for weeks or months because they don’t have a safe disposition. We can’t expect the hospitals to fix societal issues however. We have thousands of homeless and only a few hundred hospital beds — if we kept everyone who was homeless with chronic medical disease, we couldn’t meet the medical needs of the community.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            Greg Greenberg,

            Then perhaps the community should prioritize a facility to shelter/treat the many homeless people with chronic medical conditions. Shasta County’s only homeless shelter – the Rescue Mission – admittedly often doesn’t accept elderly, disabled, and infirm homeless people, which represents a very large segment of that population.

          • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

            Patricia,
            I agree that additional housing as well as a medical respite are badly needed. The county is looking into this (I attended that committee a few times) but so far no results.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Frank,

      This presentation was hosted by the Shasta Builders Exchange, which is primarily concerned with property values and growth that would justify new construction. SBE’s main interest would be in making Redding attractive to prospective residents from outside the area.

      In addition, Anderson’s Chief of Police has been openly against adding a low-barrier homeless shelter or other facilities/housing options that don’t involve incarceration in some form, or that offer the homeless a choice as to whether or not to participate. Perhaps that’s why he was included.

  14. Avatar Ginny Hibbard says:

    In San Jose in 1970, I volunteered at an addict run facility.  The addicts had cleaned themselves up and were trying to clean others up.  I remember one time a woman said how can you volunteer at “that” place.  I was introduced to Chrysalis by a well-to-do father.  His son had become a heroin addict.  What I found were people, most in their 20s who were addicted.  The woman who felt I had lowered myself by volunteering, didn’t realize her on child was on drugs.  My son would get so disgusted when I would point out the  teens in our neighborhood that had gotten into drugs.  Later, he said, “Mom you were right!”  The parents who said their kids weren’t on drugs then were wrong not to look into what was happening around them.  Those children are the drugged Grandparents of today, their Children are drug users, and their Grandchildren are today new users.  I have known people in the Redding area since moving here in 1999, who think it is OK to smoke pot to feel better.  NO, pot is not the answer.  The answer is the need to face one’s problems, and rise above them.  There is no easy answer, but to ignore the mess the drugged addicts and the mentally ill is itself a crime…..  One must do more.  Do I have an answered?  No.  Wish I did.   Yet legalizing the use of Pot is not the answer.  The addicts said one couldn’t handle Pot any better than any other drug.  And, now the legal drugs are so bad.  The doctors should have had more training and to know better today.  I once asked for a half dozen pills.  I was given 150!!!!  If I had taken them, I would have been legally addicted! But one way today is to begin in schools beginning with grammar and start there to stop another generation from thinking drugs are great!  Chrysalis would send out a team of three recovering addicts to schools every school day to talk with the kids in their classes beginning with the grammar through high school.  They could get through to some of the kids.  Just saying drugs are bad is not the answer.  Nor is letting the addicts and mentally ill lay in the dirt with the garbage, drug paraphernalia, etc. all around them……  The main thing is do begin doing something now, before we won’t have a Country that is worth living in….. or a World, either………. for that matter……

  15. Avatar Matthew Grigsby says:

    I am totally behind the sales tax increase. It’s not going to cost me very much, mostly nickels and dimes I wouldn’t notice, and I’m willing to pay for a safer town to live in. People complain about the tax increases all the time in California but we need something to fund our own community.

    I hope, hope, HOPE this doesn’t pull me into a tax debate.

  16. Avatar Alice Bell says:

    As I look over the list of how the tax money would be used and reflect on the comment by Donnell Ewert in today’s RS about the rise in homelessness in Shasta County (“…a more realistic number … is between 3,000 and 4,000 individuals.”, I wonder if the current local availability of affordable rehabilitation, mental health services, housing and other services comes anywhere near what is needed to handle even 25% of that number. There is nothing included in the list to address those services.

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      In Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the nation, the count for unsheltered homeless was close to 5,000. If Shasta County is close to that number than there is real trouble in River City regardless of the reasons.

  17. Avatar Dan says:

    Doni, thank you for covering this meeting and allowing open discussion on the subject. I hope everyone commenting will WATCH the video 1st. I shared the video with my FB friends two days after it was aired in Seattle.
    Most people have a relative or friend who struggles with some addiction and we have all formed some opinions. Mankind has struggled with addiction to drugs and crime, mostly without success since before the Bronze age. Experts at Universities around the world disagree on solutions to crime, addiction, and mental health and can’t even solve these issues on their own campuses.
    Based on per capita statistics some Cities just seem to deal with these issues better than others. No one has SOLVED these issues (without draconian measures). I doubt these issues will be solved within my lifetime. I think what readers need to consider is: What can be done per in SHASTA COUNTY within the current framework of existing state and federal laws NOW, (imperfectly) at a reasonable cost? As most readers are aware the state takes the bulk of our sales tax revenue, a 1% increase is about $5 a month for our household. Personally, I will hold my nose, and vote for a $5 tax increase to keep my wife safer shopping in downtown Redding.

  18. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I remember, not long ago, how I posted Doug Craig’s column in the RS was taken over by a blogger who posted every few minutes and hoped it didn’t happen to Anews. I was wrong, it wasn’t Dr. Craig’s column that was taken over, yet, it was Doni’s.

    • Avatar Larry Winter says:

      Here’s how I look at it Bruce. I don’t see it as “taking over” since I have the option to ignore posts. What I see as a problem though is that this site only shows the last 5 comments on articles, so if one or two people put in a lot of 1-2 line comments, it becomes difficult to follow any other conversation that progresses at a slower rate.

      I find myself refraining from continuing conversations because it becomes too difficult to scroll through all comments to see if the thread I’m on is still active.

      Anyway, I don’t like continuous 1-2 line comments where 1 comment could cover them all. But I’m not willing to abolish someone for what you call “taking over”.

  19. Avatar Lita ViCo says:

    I keep wondering why it is that nobody seems to ask, “Where Is The Money The State Gave Shasta County For The AB109?”
    Where is that money?
    Why is nobody looking for it?
    That money was’is supposed to help Shasta County pay for programs that help “Street People”!
    “According to the grand jury report, more than $45.7 million has been received by Shasta County to compensate it for the additional costs of public safety realignment.”
    Where is the money?

    • Avatar Anonymous Heckler says:

      If you are interested in the answer, the budgets for the Community Corrections Partnership are all quite public. Mostly probation and supplementing the county’s jail capacity. It’s not a secret

  20. Avatar maureen linde says:

    Redding is dying….it has been for a very long time. I moved there in 2000 and left in 2014. It was good for about two years and I could see the tide changing and change it did. Our home was robbed twice, once while I was in it! Our cars were broken into, I never felt safe running on the river trail, I didn’t feel safe at night downtown. Forget about parking your car in the parking garage. We left when our middle child graduated from high school and we have never been back. I knew once our kids graduated and went to college, they would not return to Redding. Jobs are the reason the City is dying….there is nothing there for the young, bright, vibrant job seekers. That is what keeps a City alive and functioning. The retail industry does not sustain a City. It is a catch-22 at this point, though. Businesses don’t want to move to Redding because of the criminal element and so it remains in the dregs. The Lakes and Rivers are beautiful, but they don’t create jobs.

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      There are other reason that major employers might avoid the Redding area other than just homelessness and crime (which according to RPD has actually been going down steadily since the 1990’s in all categories but car theft). A few of those reasons could be its isolated location in an under-populated part of the state, its lack of a real 4-year university, and the fact that Redding has become synonymous with a highly controversial raise-the-dead mega-church which is taking over everything in sight (that’s a big one, in my opinion),

  21. Avatar Larry Winter says:

    Redding started dying when the mills started shutting down. The attempt to grow out of the loss of jobs that used to last a lifetime was just a bandaid and made the City look prosperous. The annexation of Enterprise, the building boom and retirees moving up from Orange County which in turn created the retail haven of the north valley for the surrounding areas all contributed to the idea that all was well. Well it isn’t.

    I surely don’t have the answer as I left years ago to a county that has lost population and has been scraping to get by for years. Sustainability is key and our society has yet to define what that is in any meaningful way.

  22. Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

    Mr. Scheide refers correctly to the absolute unwillingness of Redding and Shasta County residents to get out of “victim” mode as to the two voter propositions, 47/57. I’m surprised the AB109 boogeyman hasn’t been trotted out. Local people’s eyes glaze over when you explain the problem with the prison system goes back to Three Strikes and a state correctional officers union that put millions into that law. Why? It spiked their numbers and drove up their pay. Then, less than ten years ago, when the US Supreme Court took over the state prison system because it was an ongoing 8th Amendment violation, the legislature was forced to pass AB109 to implement SCOTUS’s wishes. See Brown v. Plata 563 US 493 (2011) and Coleman v. Wilson 912 F.Supp. 1282. Once that didn’t do it, the follow-up propositions became necessary. People in this county act as though Jerry Brown inflicted all of that on them personally. AB109 was necessary to keep the state out of contempt as regards SCOTUS’s rulings. The follow-up propositions were enacted by *voters*, not Jerry Brown or the legislature. To have local citizens then follow up their self-defined victimization by refusing to fund the necessary rehabilitation services (a la Portugal) while favoring criminalization tells you all you need to know about the authoritarian-and-not-my-wallet mindset of local voters.

    Did anyone mention the proposed tax increase would require a 2/3 plurality? That’s never been done (except for a few school bond issues) in this county. A 50% plurality approval would leave new money open to raiding for the payment of the absolute gift of public funds that is the legacy liability of 3%@50 PERS public safety retirements, of which there are many recipients still tugging at public purse-strings.

    Mr. Greenberg, as I understand it, no citizen, no matter how needful, is required to avail her-/himself of any medicine or medical treatment. How do any of the treatment-based proposals plan to get around that? Wouldn’t such a change have to be mandated at the federal level?

    • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

      Rob,

      The way local jurisdictions “get around” that is by passing local laws that criminalize homeless people for unavoidable activities like sleeping (pretty much anywhere). They then enforce these inhumane – and likely unconstitutional – laws, which Redding is doing despite a warning letter City officials received from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in Washington D.C. that their actions violate a recent 9th Circuit Court decision. I’m sure City officials are hoping that Redding is too small and obscurely-located to inspire actual legal action by a national organization (and so far they’ve been right).

      It’s just a hop-skip-and-jump from incarnating people who have no alternative to living on the streets (in this area of negligible services and facilities) to making drug treatment part of their sentence. If you’re already violating the law, why not serve your entire agenda by going all the way?

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        You can’t have a society where we allow people to sleep anywhere. Businesses and citizens have rights too. What is a business supposed to do when a homeless person is sleeping in front of their door? I go to Portland 3 times a week. My one mile walk to my favorite restaurant I pass no less than 30 homeless people in various stages of intoxication. It is disgusting smelling the urine and watching them shoot up. Patricia, you mentioned awhile ago that those in the 70’s hanging out at South City Park were drug addicts and criminals. Guess what? There are more drug addicts and criminals now. Coddling these street people has not worked, it is just adding to the problem. Cities like LA, Portland, Seattle and SF have turned into Third World countries. You can have compassion, but with compassion you need discipline. Let’s take care of the needy… let’s expect some personal responsibility to the bums and street people

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…the legislature was forced to pass AB109 to implement SCOTUS’s wishes.” The legislature wasn’t forced to implement AB 109. The legislature chose to ignore the prison crisis, as they do with just about every other infrastructure issue, i.e. water storage. The courts held the governor in contempt of court for exactly that, ignoring the issue. Yes, I blame Gov Brown and the rest of the incompetent legislature that would rather build a $100 billion choo choo train to nowhere than fix the the problems with this corrupt state. Brown took the easy way out by doing nothing but releasing criminals bacl on our streets.

      • Avatar Anita Brady says:

        The choo-choo train was a proposition voted on my CA voters. Gov. Brown didn’t have any part of the “BLAME”.

        Hmmmm who was Governor in 2009 when judges ordered prisons to reduce prisoner counts? Let me count: Brown left Governor job end of 2018 so that means he started in beginning of 2010. Hmmmm, who was governor the years before him……hmmmmm, A FREAKIN’ Republican. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/10/california.prisons/

        Doug likes changing history and mis-stating truths but facts are facts!

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          First of all…Arnold was never a Republican. What you missed in your link is that in 2006 Arnold declared a state of emergency because of “severe overcrowding” in California’s prisons, saying it had caused “substantial risk to the health and safety of the men and women who work inside these prisons and the inmates housed in them.” What did the legislature do? They ignored the problem, as a matter of fact, the legislature slashed the 2010-11 prisons $11 billion budget by $1.2 billion. So no…I am not changing history…as I said in my comment, it was the legislature and Brown that dropped the ball. Brown took over in 2011 and nothing was done. At least Arnold identified that there was a problem…but he was a horrible governor…and we have had a horrible legislature for decades now. As far as the choo choo train, yes..the stupid voters of Ca voted for it. However, they voted for a $35 billion high speed rail. It turned into a $100 billion slow speed train. Now, if you want to discuss the scam that is the proposition process in Cal…that is for another time and day. By the way, I am honored that you chose to respond to a comment from me, it’s been awhile, lol…

  23. Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

    Doug,

    The court decision I referenced above states that cities can’t arrest, fine, and criminalize the homeless if there isn’t enough shelter space to accommodate them, which is certainly true of the Redding area (and you don’t have to be sleeping in someone’s doorway to be arrested). As R.V. Scheide very aptly proved right here in this forum, Shasta County’s only homeless shelter – the Rescue Mission – has nowhere near enough space to accommodate most of them.

    A whole string of City Councils have spent decades doing everything in their power to keep more adequate (and better) homeless facilities out of the area, with the help of the self-serving Rescue Mission. In addition, social and human service agency representatives have pointed out – time and again – that the area’s extreme shortage of affordable housing is responsible in good part for local homelessness. The flood of thousands of Bethel Church adherents into the area in recent years has certainly contributed greatly to that situation.

    • Avatar Richard Christoph says:

      Patrecia,

      From: https://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2019/02/19/redding-starts-enforcing-revised-anti-camping-rules-but-work/2914920002/

      Anderson doesn’t believe the mission will reach capacity.

      “There is a reason why they are not going to the mission and I don’t think giving them tickets is going to make them want to go to the mission. I could be wrong, though,” Anderson said.
      Anderson reiterated the need for an alternative homeless shelter to take the burden off the Rescue Mission.

      Contrary to what has been previously claimed, GNRM CEO Anderson is NOT attempting to prevent or discourage other shelters from being opened.

      Additionally, individuals camping illegally will NOT be cited if the GNRM is at capacity.

      • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

        Richard,

        Until about 6 months ago there was a statement on the Mission’s website admitting that it has been at or above capacity for years, and that many people had been sleeping on the floors (of course that statement disappeared at about the time the City needed the Mission to pretend it has plenty of room). That lie was exposed by R.V. Scheide in the article linked below.

        As to the “alternate shelter” – Mission directors have admitted they don’t accept disabled and elderly people s a rule, and have been willing to allow a shelter to serve that element (which is totally useless to the Mission, since its focus is healthy people they can trot around to fundraising events to claim “god” and the Mission healed them of their addictions).

        And of course the Mission has done its part to keep more adequate homeless facilities out of the area, by pretending it does far more than it actually does. Currently it has a virtual monopoly on emergency shelter services in the area, and isn’t willing to share those scarce donation dollars with another ( and likely better) facility. The article below is an example of just how far it will go to pretend it can do it all.

        Awhile back there was a interview with Mission Director Jonathan Anderson, who said he would basically only approve of allowing transitional housing into the area if it served as an extension of Bethel’s religious drug program (he clearly implied that anything else would be “bad for the community”).

        https://anewscafe.com/2019/02/12/redding/good-news-rescue-missions-capacity-revealed/

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      I know you want to blame Bethel for everything wrong with our city, but how does that explain just about every other city up and down the west coast? I see it in Medford, Eugene,Portland, Merced, Lodi, Bakersfield, etc. The homeless population jumped 17% in LA last year. This is not unique to Redding. almost half of the homeless population in the country lives in Ca, Or and Wa. I know you don’t get out much anymore as you have stated before, but it isn’t a lack of housing keeping our streets littered with street people. We choose to turn our heads to abhorrent behavior. We allow these people to use drugs out in the open, to be drunk 24/7, to pee and defecate on the sidewalk. Just the other day while I was walking in Portland…a young lady came up and asked if she could walk with me because she was nervous walking alone. Afraid to walk alone 9:00 in the morning because of the harassment she was getting from the bums littering the sidewalks. That is not how a society is supposed to operate…and Portland has a LOT of housing for the homeless.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        I just got off the phone with my accountant, a long time Redding resident and business person, who said Bethel brings a lot of money into Redding. He is not and never was involved with Bethel Church. I will believe someone who actually lives and has a business in Redding before I believe some keyboard troll posting from hundreds of miles away.

        • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

          Bruce,

          Are you claiming that R.V. Sheide is an “internet troll posting from hundreds of miles away”? He’s offered us hard proof in article after article as to the detrimental effects Bethel has had on the local community.

          • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

            No, Patricia, I’m claiming you are. RV backs his claims up with personal contact while you make claims with no proof but wild accusations that, mysteriously, disappeared from sight.

          • Avatar Patricia Barrett says:

            I’ve posted all kinds of links in this forum in relation to Bethel, but of course there’s no way to convince people who are determined to remain uninformed.

  24. Avatar Dan says:

    I think the conversation is getting a little off topic. Doni’s story is; “Is Redding Dying”, not Seattle, Sacramento, the USA, or California. My wife and I LIVE and shop in Redding (for the last 20yrs), on the West side a few blocks from Doni near Shasta High. We have lived in other areas of the USA. I also commuted to Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton, Stanford, and every north-state small town before retiring (we haven’t lived in a bubble).
    Let’s look at this issue logically, using numbers. California has 58 Counties and 482 Municipalities who all operate under the EXACT same laws, and have similar budgeting rules, taxes, and police training (P.O.S.T.).
    Every police department in the U.S.A. submits crime data annually to the FBI, who in turn spits out annual crime stats that are public domain. Every Insurance company spits out data on car theft and general losses per city. You can Google “Redding Car theft rates”, “Redding crime rates” yourself or simply use the free tools many businesspeople and potential home buyers use. “REALTOR.COM” or “Neighborhood SCOUT” COMPARE Redding’s PER CAPITA crime to that of the other 482 California communities (you will see we are in the worst 5% http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/redding/crime) Then ask yourself WHY? What are we doing differently than low crime cities?(There are not 400 Cities with Universities, LumbermillsGiant Psych hospitals, or Silicon Valleys) What are we doing the same as the high crime cities? What can we CHANGE… NOW, within the framework of current laws?

  25. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Is America dying?

    If it is, then Redding, Seattle, San Francisco, and everyplace else in the USA is dying with it.

  26. Joanne Snyder Joanne Snyder says:

    Redding isn’t dying. It’s changing. I believe the changes have to do with a lack of good mental health resources, lack of liveable wage jobs for young people and service workers, and building regulations and contruction of housing geared to the many retirees who move here from the cities. Doni, you once wrote that everyone needs a reason and purpose to get up in the morning. No one wants to be unsuccessful.

  27. Avatar Sharon says:

    I would not support the tax. The high taxes in CA is part of the existing problem.

  28. Avatar Monique says:

    I love all the thoughts…i am an individual that believes in accountability…i have been speaking at the boards and council since Sept 19th, 2017 open public time….the lack of inaction on the part of our civic leaders is killing me….For 2 years I have brought up our crisis’s…homlessness, mental health, addictions…blah blah blah blah….that said, we need sustainable, real substantial changes in the manner of reform…reform the criminal justice system to better help those incarcerated, reform the mental health system to have WHOLE PERSON CARE….every single soul has a “diamond mind” if u will…it is multi faceted and unique….and life is about potential to be able to utilize that diamond mind! I believe we face a community crisis, and a national crisis…..when Ronald Reagan put my mother a 20 year old paranoid schizophrenic woman back out on the streets, I went with her as a 6 y/o child…homless on the streets with an addicted and mentally ill mother….we need to b open minded to see the creative ideas for this change we NEED! I AM PISSED at city council for waiting to act….i am a pragmatic relevant individual that wants to see my civic leaders act to make positive changes….i applaud Mr. Chementi, Mr. Chief Johnson and our D.A. Stephanie Bridgett….keep pushing to make these changes….i only aspire to inspire, before I expire…..like the county of SHASTA!!!!

  29. Avatar Linda says:

    Redding’s City and County Representatives have failed the Citizens in the past with Taxes that weren’t used as intended. The library tax was one you mentioned, but the councils just about that time they voted themselves a pay raise.
    I, for one don’t trust the Council with extra tax money, they would find a way to rob it.

  30. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I was discussing another issue on WAPO with a Seattle poster. He said “Seattle is Dying” was an untrue version of Seattle homeless made by far right Conservatives who hate liberal Seattle, sound familiar.

  31. Avatar Dan says:

    Thank you, Doni. Looks like this story is getting lots of views and S.E.O. – 2,921 Views in just 5 days. Glad to finally see some productive discussion, and folks actually reading, watching, and thinking for more than a 30 seconds.

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