Half a Million for Redding Garden of Lights Project: Wasteful or Worth it?

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Editor’s note: this opinion piece was originally published in the Redding Record Searchlight.

Here’s something to remember the next time you read about the parolee arrested on Redding streets for the 30th time. Or when you see the plywood bandage on the broken window of your favorite downtown restaurant. Or, God forbid, when your car is stolen.

Remember this: We will soon have a half-million-dollar “Garden of Lights” courtesy of your City Council. That should make us all feel better.

The idea, and request for $500,000, was spawned by the Redding Chamber of Commerce and the Redding City Identity Project, an initiative to, among other things, improve the “quality of life of the people who live in Redding.” The project is “an opportunity to tell our story: it will establish our city’s image and reputation by defining who we are and intentionally building toward what we will become,” its website says.

That’s all good stuff of course, and so, from hundreds of ideas from the public, a list of 20 was chosen, including the “Garden of Lights,” which will be constructed in the Arboretum of Turtle Bay Exploration Park. It is patterned after others sprinkled throughout the United States that delight locals and attract visitors during the holiday months. According to a preliminary design paid for by the Chamber, the initial price tag for this new piece of identity would be $500,000. This clearly is not in the same league as your cousin Harvey’s front yard holiday light display. But then again, we’re talking about an identity here, and those apparently don’t come cheap.

By a 4-1 vote, the City Council gobbled up Mayor Julie Winter’s proposal that the City divert $250,000 of transient occupancy tax (TOT) revenue each of the next two years to allow Turtle Bay to create the attraction. TOT is money paid by visitors staying in city hotels and totaled nearly $7 million this past fiscal year. Most goes into the City’s general fund for things like cops, firefighters and roadwork. A little over $1 million is paid to the Convention and Visitors Bureau under a contract to promote tourism — something it has done exceedingly well despite the Great Recession and the Carr Fire. Thus, the Council’s action will cut nearly a quarter out of whatever is paid to the operator of the CVB in the next two years, reducing its ability to continue increasing TOT.

While the others gushed about the idea, lone dissenting Council member Michael Dacquisto rightly noted that the request came with no budget, business plan or pro forma, and no evidence that private funds had been sought before grabbing for the public purse. And he’s correct that while the proposed funding comes from tourism, it is still general fund money and technically can be used for any purpose — not just tourism. In fact, TOT is the third-highest source of revenue for the City’s general fund, and it’s virtually all paid by out-of-towners. That’s the best deal you’ll see this side of free flu shots.

When was the last time the City handed a half-million dollars to a non-profit, no questions asked? Kool April Nites? Big Bike Weekend? Multi-day youth sports tournaments? Not a chance, and these are events that have proven to bring thousands of tourists to our hotels for many years. They are doing good to receive City traffic control and other support, let alone a $500,000 gift.

Council members see a nexus between the Garden of Lights and tourism. True, but here’s another nexus: crime and tourism. Visitors tend to stay away when they worry about their cars being broken into in a hotel parking lot. Or having to fear city parks because of the parolees. Or avoiding downtown because of transients.

Our community — solid law-minding Redding residents — has been frustrated and angry over the quality of life issues in their neighborhoods, their downtown, their businesses. Despite a heroic effort by the Police Department to stay on top of things, everyone agrees more must be done. If the City has “free money,” which the Council seems to think this is, it ought to go to solving these problems first and foremost. That applies to every penny, from discretionary TOT revenue to the nickels in the City Hall fountain.

Sadly Redding’s quality of life has lost its luster, and, as much as we hate it, that is our identity right now. Throwing half a million dollars at a Garden of Lights won’t make it any brighter.

Greg Clark is a longtime Redding resident. He is a former journalist and the retired Redding deputy city manager.

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81 Responses

  1. Avatar Patricia Bay says:

    This project absolutely baffles me. It is a beautiful project but how can $500k be thrown at something so unnecessary when our city is falling apart? Why not make this a goal for AFTER the transient/homeless issues are resolved. When our police, firefighters, jail beds and downtown issues are fully funded, then we can all work toward pulling off this fun project. It is frivolous to put money toward fun stuff when hard-core necessities are going unfunded.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…Why not make this a goal for AFTER the transient/homeless issues are resolved.” Because the transient/homeless problem will never be resolved. SF spends a billion dollars a year to try and resolve the homeless problem and they have more than ever.
      Why not spend money to make our city more inviting and more attractive for the citizens and taxpayers?. We heard these exact same arguments when the Sundial Bridge was proposed, I think everyone can agree that the Sundial turned out to be a successful project. I walk my dog there almost daily and see hundreds of citizens and tourists enjoying the bridge, the view, the trails. This is what makes a city vital. Or we can have a city that is little more than a fast food and gas station stop for I-5 travelers.
      So I submit to you, Ms Bay, projects like this are NOT unnecessary, they are an important part of making a city worth living in.

      • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

        Doug, you are being deliberately disingenuous. SF manages to successfully house thousands of people every year. However, because it has the highest housing costs in the nation (which continue to rise), there is a steady infusion of new homeless people.

        In addition, SF still has a national reputation as a gay mecca, and fully one-third of its homeless population is comprised of gay people. Many of those are young people (who are most likely to become homeless) hoping to find the acceptance they couldn’t find in their places of origin.

        By contrast Redding officials have done nothing to speak of to address local homelessness. In fact, they even refused to accept the challenge from national Housing First experts to house just five people, to test whether that program would be right for the area.

        And as I mentioned below, the City of Redding has spent many millions of dollars on beautification projects, which changed the perception of the City very little. Redding has a homeless crisis due in good part to its extreme lack of adequate facilities and services, and shortage of affordable housing (a situation we can credit to a great extent to Bethel Church, and its refusal to provide any housing at all for the thousands of supernatural students and other of its adherents who have flooded the area in recent years).

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          BTW Doug – most of the “tourists” you mentioned are simply Bethel hangers-on, who patronize Bethel-affiliated businesses (there are now many of those. Bethel attendees are well on their way to taking over the local business community, per its “7 Mountains Mandate”). They have also contributed greatly to local poverty and homelessness, not only in their monopolization of the area’s more affordable housing (which raises local housing costs) , but in creating a demand for high-priced short-term rentals that were once part of the local rental market. These people aren’t just “tourists”, and in my opinion cause more harm than good.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Doug: The McConnell Foundation paid almost all of the cost of building the Sundial Bridge, not the city. The city now maintains it – but their total cost was less than if the city put in another cheap ribbon bridge.

        This is more like the stupid fish sculptures and custom manhole covers that the city did pay for.

        Patrecia: I’m sure the homeless will appreciate it as they squat and poo on the trail under an array of lights.

        • Avatar FixIt says:

          The city “maintains” the Sundial Bridge?
          Wow. Never would have guessed it. Not sure I’ve seen much of any ‘maintenance’ done there.
          As our centerpiece, it’s almost as depressing as the ‘centerpiece’ River Trail that still has storm damage, closed sections due to bridges out, and spooky 1970’s era bathrooms, that no one in the city seems to want to fix.

        • R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

          Hey! I like those fish sculptures. They’re whimsical!

  2. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    This seems to be an ideal project for Elder Winter’s church to foot the bill for.

  3. Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

    This half-million-dollar project proposed by Bethel Church bigwig and Redding Mayor Julie Winter will primarily benefit the McConnell Foundation’s pet project, Turtle Bay. McConnell (a heavy promoter of this project for obvious reasons) was instrumental in getting Bethel’s upcoming $148 million 39-acre mega-church complex approved by offering to sell water to Bethel when the inevitable water shortage occurs in surrounding residential neighborhoods following its construction. And of course the Redding Chamber of Commerce is loaded with contruction industry bosses, developers, and real estate agents who support any type of new construction, regardless of its impact on the general population.

    Also, let’s not forget Turtle Bay’s controversial, taxpayer-financed luxury hotel. Who is actually patronizing this over-priced hotel in an out-of-the-way location? Is its clientelle comprised of what largely now passes for “tourists” in the small, isolated city of Redding – moneyed marks who come from around the world for Bethel’s healing scam and other money-making “miracles”? This project will add to the minimal allure in the immediate area of Turtle Bay and its hotel, if nothing else.

    Conjecture? Maybe. But one thing anyone who has followed Redding politics knows is that one hand washes the other, and powerful special interests are served far ahead of any consideration for the average citizen.

    • Avatar Joe says:

      Why not put a 100 foot gold leafed Jesus standing on the top of the old bridge cement foundation in the middle of the river. I can see our shiny gold Redeemer bringing them in by the thousands . On a sunny day the shine could be seen from the top of mt. Shasta.

    • Avatar John says:

      You forgot to mention chem trails that turn frogs gay!

  4. Avatar Paula says:

    Funding a beautiful unnecessary project such as this, can also wait until all of our neighborhoods have the potholes and horrible streets replaced. It seems to me that maintaining what we already have would be a priority.

  5. Avatar Dan says:

    I know things can get a tad incestuous in Redding, but is it even legal for Public Tax revenues to be gifted to a private entity that collects admission fees? (One of those pesky things called laws).

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      The admission fees charged by Turtle Bay are something I also wondered about, when it involves a taxpayer-financed special interest project like this. Turtle Bay will obviously be making money from this display, in one way or another.

      In addition, is a massive electrical project the best choice in a heavily fire-prone area? And who will assume the expense of running this display and its upkeep? I suspect the taxpayers will be on the hook in some manner for that as well.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Patrecia, admission fees are for the museum only, not for the bridge or trails. I’m assuming they will be LED lights with very little electrical consumption and no heat produced. Again, as I stated above. Projects like this make a city more inviting. We need more projects like this.
        With beliefs like yours…maybe we shouldn’t have 4th of July fireworks displays…or the Christmas Santa parade..or the Redding Rodeo…or the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, or the many other events that the city funds.

        • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

          Doug, the article states that this display will be constructed inside the Turtle Bay Arboretum. I have no idea whether admission fees are required to get into the Arboretum. However, the fact that it’s being made part of Turtle Bay means that TB will be the main beneficiary of this project.

          And the City of Redding has funded a vast number of “beautification” projects, which have cost the taxpayers many millions of dollars The things you listed above are mainly community events of the type you would find in nearly every city of any size. Your comparison between more beautification and long-standing community events is a blatant straw man argument.

          • Avatar Doug Cook says:

            Admission fees are NOT required to enter the Arboretum, they ask for donations. What’s wrong with beautification projects? That is part of having pride in the city we live in. My comment is not a straw man argument as a few posters here said we shouldn’t spend money on, as Ms Bay put it, “…It is frivolous to put money toward fun stuff when hard-core necessities are going unfunded.” Fun stuff, whether it be parades, pedestrian bridges, lights, Christmas trees and other fun projects are important to make a city livable. Or as I said, we could just be a fast food and gas stop for I-5 travelers.

          • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

            The City of Redding has spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars on “beautification” projects and big city frills, which are now basically just under-used tax drains deteriorating for lack of maintenance.

            Meanwhile there is an over-sized per capita number of homeless families and individuals in the Redding area due to its extreme shortage of adequate facilities, services, and housing, and the area is in flames during long months every year (which this latest frivolity will take money away from combating).

            Everything is not all about your “fun”. No doubt the two local super powers (Bethel and McConnell) appreciate the many millions of dollars the City has spent prettying up their world-wide base of operations. However, enough is enough – it’s time to start addressing the real issues that adversely effect EVERYONE’S quality of life.

    • Avatar Dan says:

      I will try this again. My earlier post with a link from the League of California Cities didn’t get approved. This gift of public general funds from the general fund to Turtle bay may not be even legal.
      Gift of Public Funds (Spoiler Alert: It’s Illegal)
      a. Set forth in Cal. Const., art. XVI, § 6 b. Prohibits the giving or lending public funds to any person or entity, public or private i. Prohibition includes aid, making of gift, pledging of credit, payment of liabilities 1. Encompasses the giving of monetary funds and any “thing of value” ii. “Legislature shall have no power to give or to lend, or to authorize the giving or lending, of the credit of the State, or of any county, city and county, city, township or other political corporation or subdivision of the State now existing, or that may be hereafter established, in aid of or to any person, association, or corporation, whether municipal or otherwise, or to pledge the credit thereof, in any manner whatever, for the payment of the liabilities of any individual, association, municipal or other corporation whatever; nor shall it have power to make any gift or authorize the making of any gift, of any public money or thing of value to any individual, municipal or other corporation whatever”

  6. Greg, it’s always an honor to feature here on ANC the writing of my former boss and journalism mentor. You’ve still got it! Thank you for allowing us to publish this piece. You are welcome back any time.

  7. Avatar Katie says:

    This seems like something the citizens should have a vote on. That’s a lot of money to divert away from the general fund, without what Michael Dacquisto mentions, no budget, no business plan or look to private funds. Thanks for your analysis of this recent decision.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      No Katie…that is why we elect city council members, we are a representative government. We elect leaders to make these decisions. Any government would grind to a halt if we had to have a special election for any spending proposal.

      • Avatar Rob Belgeri says:

        Absolutely. And when they come up for re-election and hold forth about how they’ve been effective stewards of public funds, remember all this. File it away. Go to candidates nights and ask them about it. It’s up to voters to hold them accountable. Then it’s up to voters to actually show up at the polls.

    • Avatar Emily says:

      You can vote stop letting the system fool you guys we all need to come together to make progress

  8. Avatar James Montgomery says:

    Do you know, there are actually people who think that the City of Redding is run by self-serving, short-sighted businesspeople who have their own secret agendas, rather than concern for the good of the citizens they serve? How could anyone think that?

  9. Avatar Tim says:

    Just about everything at Turtle Bay celebrates nature – how do these $1/2 million Christmas lights fit in exactly?

  10. Avatar Candace says:

    I agree with Patricia Bay’s comment and like Doni I’m happy to see Greg Clark here.

  11. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    This was voted on by the city council. Doesn’t anyone read the council agenda, this wasn’t done in secret. When I worked at SUHSD, as I suggested on another forum, I always read the board agenda. Mostly it was boring but sometimes the District would try to slip something in that would harm us. If you don’t pay attention then don’t complain when the council has done something you didn’t like.

  12. Avatar Blake Dorsey says:

    this might be the straw that broke the camel’s back for Kim and I to sell our house …move out of Redding… and move out of state…when WinCo where I shop uses cobalt blue lights in the bathroom so addicts can’t see their veins to shoot up…. We’re just about done

  13. Avatar Blake Dorsey says:

    In a state currently having blackouts is it really wise to plan a festival based around electricity and lights??¡!I think it’s a real up yours to the people who have food rotting in their fridge with no power

  14. Avatar Blake Dorsey says:

    With the current blackout situations were having all over California having a festival of energy and lights really seems to be just an up yours to those who have food rotting in their fridge

  15. Avatar DJVee says:

    Question: where does everyone think the money the city is spending to fix the homeless/transient/parolee problem we have comes from? It comes from projects like this that bring tourism to the city. If you had $5 today, would you invest $0.50 to make it $10 tomorrow? This piece is leading from the start, poorly written and his use of quotations is laughable. Just like the bridge project, remember all you haters out there to remember your words when holding hands with your family and basking in the glory of lights. While your children/grandchildren create memories that last a lifetime at the new Garden of Lights next year. Out of town families visiting more, bolstering our economy, remember your words then. Relax and believe. It’s going to make Christmas time magical and bring millions in.

    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:


      Do you really believe that this project (located inside a private admission-charging venue) will bring any new people to this small, isolated city? At present the area’s biggest attraction is a raise-the-dead mega-cult that sells “”miracles” to the desperate and gullible – an element which has basically monopolized local places to stay, and is making the City a national laughingstock. The City of Redding has spent a considerable amount of money on “beautification” and other frivolous projects, while basic need have gone unaddressed.

      • Avatar DJVee says:

        I do believe it. I think that it will capture the thousands of people that pass up Redding on their travels normally and give them a reason to stop for a night and stay in town. I see kids in the car bored on their road trip seeing billboards and marketing, then asking their parents if they can please stop and see. That’s how I feel about it and it’s not as far fetched as your pointless rant on Bethel, wrong discussion. Side note: I have zero affiliation with Bethel. Also, Redding is not isolated. Do you have to take a boat to get here?

    • DJVee, of course this is piece is “leading from the start”. It’s an opinion piece.

      But to your point about “the haters” – presumably a reference to those who criticize this project, I have no doubt that the lights will be pretty, and yes, even those who aren’t Garden of Lights supporters may bring their children and grandchildren to see it.

      It’s possible to appreciate the concept of the Garden of Lights, while also believing that it’s a questionable use of public money, especially at a time in our city’s history when we have so many glaring problems. I kind of see it like blowing all my money on a trip to Disneyland while my house is on fire.

  16. Avatar Darlene Bartels says:

    I think it’s one of the stupidest, misguided, ideas the city of redding has come up with!!! No, we don’t have any crime, or homeless and hungry, or any kind of infrastructure (street or sidewalks, ect) needed! Shoot, we have the McConnell foundation and the damn sundial bridge! Sure, we can half a million dollars of F’N lights!?

  17. Avatar Doug Cook says:

    The reason there are blackouts is because of PG&E and the corrupt state government. Redding has REU, we don’t have blackouts. So should we all in Redding turn off our power so those without don’t feel bad? Good grief.

  18. Avatar Joe says:

    The lights will confuse all of the wild life, bugs and the fish in the river. There needs to be a impact report done first.

    • Avatar Ann Webber says:

      I agree with you about this! It seems to be moving in the absolute wrong direction for our community and world to perpetuate something that, although beautiful, is a drain on our resources and as you said, quite possibly have a negative effect on the wildlife that Turtle Bay is supposed to support. Regardless, the funds could be used for something that is available year round, like jail cells.

    • Avatar Viktoria Peterson says:

      One of the reasons I like Redding is that it is dark at night, not filled with neon and other flashing signs, which do confuse wildlife. A good percentage of wildlife is nocturnal and depends on it being properly dark. Also, to be located in an area dedicated to nature, it seems totally inappropriate. I agree with Joe as well on having an impact report. Looks like I need to start going to council meetings.

  19. Avatar Dan says:

    A lot of our ToT taxes come from the victims of the CARR Fire (1200 local families) and other local disasters and weather-related road closures. It is a LONG drive to Redding from most places, and in the last 20 years here and previous 30 in the Bay Area, I have never heard of ANYONE traveling to Redding for vacation except to sleep in a Motel while they spent the day at #1. Boating on the lakes #2. Visting/hiking/fishing local federal lands #3. Attending Bethel #4. Passing through on the I-5 as a stop between LA/SF & Seatle/Portland. I can’t imagine ANYONE driving 3-5 hrs each way to see Christmas lights. Councilman Daquisto was correct. Where are the numbers, studies and a business plan to support this expenditure?

  20. Avatar Anjelia Martinez says:

    I think it’s a beautiful idea and I can’t wait to see it! Thank you Redding chamber of commerce.

  21. Avatar To rob Peter to pay Paul says:

    Here is what I want to know! Who is it that is going to put up these lights? A bethel shell company? Or someone who will just come in “magically” but be aligned with bethel and give jobs to all the traveling students of religious magical mystery? Then, who will intern give tithes back in gratitude? Then this person who apparently comes in “donates” massive amounts of the money to bethels coffers? As good ol lady Winters ensures the money flows back to bethel yearly she gives a contract to put up and care for this sham to the shell company or this “mystery”person? This all stinks of the Seven Mountain Mandate! If you haven’t read it you should! You would see what is happening in Redding more clearly.

    • Avatar DJVee says:

      Pretty sure it’s a company that does this all over the nation. Probably not affiliated with Bethel. Sorry you had to waste your time typing all of that. You’re off topic and ranting.

  22. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


  23. Avatar Joe Cullis says:

    So a nice project with no budget. Taking money from a project, just shows that the transient/homeless problem is not as important as pretty lights.

  24. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


  25. Avatar A Bailey says:

    The money would be better spent on helping the homeless , clean our streets of trash and fires that cost the city. plus lower the crime and encourage more tourism. A win win for everyone.

  26. Avatar Take back our town says:

    Nobody is going to come from all over the country as stated in the council meeting…
    These are not uncommon in cities… clean up the city first. Redding is known for being bad with transients and drugs. Park your car and it will be gone when you get done walking thru the lights. Walk to nearest place to call cops…. get accosted by aggressive homeless.

  27. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    All I can say about this is….I wonder how this makes our first responders feel? Putting myself in their place and having worked and retired from RPD, I can only say that I would feel unimportant, that our work was not that important to direct those funds to hire more help to protect and serve our community.

  28. Avatar Seymour says:

    Well, I spoke out against the garden….it isn’t the garden persay….I have been at city council meetings and have heard them crying or whining about PUBLIC SAFTEY…with the Mayor in her position seems to be all about beautification….u can’t beautify something when the heart of it is ugly…..and Redding has serious quality of life issues….I watched a meeting where she named specific people for helping with the NPU…..specific people gave money so we can battle our issues…that is roughly 1000 per person….this is backwards….500000 should pay for 4 more officers and that money raised could have gone to the garden of lights….who knows we may not have lights because PGandE may shut them off….who knows what the weather will be like….if some unknown anomaly happens and we spend the money with no garden…it will infuriate me….I think Julie Winter needs to go away, and I don’t want moniker man as mayor….so I am gonna announce….I am seriously gonna run for city council….Julie winter admitted she is to busy working to go to county meetings….as a mayor, this was one of the dumbest things she could have said…..seriously 3 council members are noobs and minions….I am sure u can figure out who I mean….bad move by city council….bad bad move

  29. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    Another thought….the last time we visited Sundial with out of town friends, I was embarrassed by the lack of maintenance on the bridge and surrounding area. It is too late now, but I wonder if anyone gave any thought to how much maintenance the Sundial would need?

    When I was working for the City, and had an idea for a new project, my Sergeant would say, “that is a fine idea, have you thought it through, how much is it going to cost the City, what will happen in five years, etc, etc.” It really opened up my mind to thinking things through a little better, and I have used that good advice since then!

  30. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    I can tell you with all certainty Redding has a reputation in Washington DC National homeless organizations of being very cruel when it comes to our homeless population. If you think God will tolerate half a million for a Bethel light show while homeless sleep in gutters, die of multi colored oozing staph infections, and vigilantist groups going out beating shooting and robbing Reddings homeless population its just not possible..

    How can ONE HOMELESS SHELTER cover a multi county homeless problem with a 30 day in 30 day out policy?

    Homeless folks die here from extreme weather


    Check it out for another half million can we get hidden jets to shoot feathers and gold dust at the new garden of lights?

    How about clowns going around uncontrollably laughing ?

    How about a garden of lights that leads to a fire tunnel?

    How about colored lights shining on folks falling on the ground and convulsing ?

    Oh we already have that ?

    Bethel Church School and Supernatural Ministry….

  31. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    “We got a thousand points of light

    For the homeless man

    We got a kinder, gentler,

    Machine gun hand

    We got department stores

    and toilet paper

    Got styrofoam boxes

    for the ozone layer”

    Got a man of the people,

    says keep hope alive

    Got fuel to burn,

    got roads to drive.

    Keep on rockin’ in the free world…….


  32. Avatar Chris Solberg says:

    Oh just this morning local news media and Redding chamber of commerce better hide this quick because this kind of thing gets news stories that go international…..

    “Man suffers serious burns in early morning fire in Redding”

    Come on Doni, lets all come together to get a roof over these poor vulnerable souls heads …


    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      This fool started an illegal campfire on a day that thousands are without power for fear of fires. Sorry ..no sympathy here

      • Avatar Larry Winter says:

        Classic Doug Cook uninformed comment. From the link Chris provided but Doug didn’t need to read to make a disparaging comment about someone he doesn’t know anything about.

        “Firefighters say the fire started in a transient camp. The cause was determined to be an illegal campfire that escaped while the burn victim was sleeping.”

        He was fu****g sleeping and received 3rd degree burns!!!

        • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

          Not only that he extinguished himself in pools of Reddings gutter water that flows through and dries up to into stagnant late summer / fall ponds in Redding most populated homeless area… Talk about nasty infection.

          Perhaps if Doug had his way this poor soul indeed qualifies for a 1000 fine and or up to 6 months in jail for the crime of homeless sleeping or keeping warm by a survival fire should he survive…

        • Avatar Doug Cook says:

          That makes him even more foolish, he was sleeping and not monitoring the illegal campfire. I learned not to do that in the Boy Scouts when i was 12 years old. While he was sleeping the campfire could have gotten out of control ( which it must have if he got burned) and started another wildfire. I have no sympathy for irresponsibility.

          • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

            Impossible everything is green in that creek bed plus fire burned up steep bank and was stopped by the wind speed and direction itself and lack of fuel.

            People are camped in that ditch to avoid bitter cold winds

            It appears he was on fire and ran all the way across the street to find a pool of water deep enough to find relief.

            Go look at his little camp site tent and plastic cover left a perfect melted square


            A new low barrier homeless shelter would greatly reduce the likelihood of another future event such as this

            And as far as your misrepresentation of the Boy Scouts and homeless ?

            Like Christians, you will know true Boy Scouts by their Love…


        • Avatar joe says:

          More likely drugged or drunk and passed out ! He could of killed the whole town.

  33. Avatar Randy says:

    What is a town without adequate participation in the, ‘Great American Energy Orgy”? This display is certain to bring the, “right” kind of people to town.

  34. R.V. Scheide R.V. Scheide says:

    I sort of like this goofy project. It’s a great roadside attraction for stoners–maybe a retail marijuana business could be placed near the entrance? Naturally, the New Agers at Bethel will gravitate toward the pretty lights. Maybe we can add gold dust and feather cannons along with a laser light show? Psychedelic trance music? I think Julie’s got a winner here!

  35. Avatar Karen Calanchini says:

    Chris, just which group of homeless are you speaking about, that our community is so cruel to? If you are speaking about the criminal element, who trespass, steal, start fires, threaten innocent women, think we owe them everything, then yes, some of us may be cruel and for good reason. If you are speaking about the folks who lost homes, or jobs and are in need of assistance, while they are working hard to find a job and are willing to do anything for a few bucks, then you are wrong. These folks get a lot of assistance and many on on their way to a better life.
    Can you provide a few links with statistics and other information on who/and why in Washington DC think Redding CA is cruel to the homeless. I would like to read this for myself. Thank you

    • Avatar Chris Solberg says:

      Is Redding Cruel and Unusual?


      National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty Letter to City of Redding


    • Avatar Patrecia Barrett says:

      As just one example – linked below is a letter from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty in Washington D.C. to the City of Redding, warning City officials that it’s unconstitutional to arrest and/or harass homeless people who have no alterantive to living on the streets (true of the vast majority of homeless people in Redding, due to lack of space in Shasta County’s only homeless shelter, an extreme local shortage of housing, and totally inadequate local services in general). It also addresses saddling the many disabled and elderly/infirm homeless people with a criminal record, when the Mission doesn’t even accept those people.

      In addition, housing in some form needs to come before employment, since it’s virtually impossible to hold down a job for long enough to save the thousands of dollars required to access permanent housing when you have no safe place to sleep out of the elements, are severely sleep deprived, malnurished, often ill, frequently a victim of violence, have no place to shave, shower, or maintain clean clothing, nowhere to store your belongings, etc. etc. etc.

      Add to that the harmful fallacy many people promote that every homeless person is a drug-addicted criminal, and that pretty much guarantees there will be no help forthcoming.


  36. Avatar Jennifer says:

    There are homeless mothers with children that are hungry with no place to live because of lack of funding for help yet redding can spend a half a million dollars on a fkng light garden but not help women that are trying to seek refuge struggling. to survive and protect their children because they are victims of domestic violence i think that money could be spent on thing that should be more important

  37. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    Hey peeps – this is just an FYI and nothing to do with this story.

    The WordPress spam detector goes into overdrive when it sees active links in a comment. The more links, the more likely it is that your comment will go straight to the spam folder, where it may or may not be noticed by ANC staff. If you could see the actual spam in that folder, you’d understand why it does this. This is not the only way WordPress ferrets out spam, but it’s a major factor.

    Feel free to insert links in your comment but be aware that your comment may not see the light of day.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      This explains my missing posts. Unfortunate situation. There are so many trolls and liars I like to include links to my sources of information.

  38. Avatar Jist Cuz says:


  39. Avatar Joe says:

    Cheap LED lighting made in China don’t cost 500k. ! Where is the $450k really going to?

    Remember steal water no business Park or Field of bad dreams.

  40. Avatar Brandon Rogers says:

    This is an awesome idea. People need to be delighted by things to do outdoors, away from their homes – in a community space. Homelessness is a problem all over America and it has more to do with conservative politics than anything else. The rich focused on hoarding wealth at the expense of everyone else in America.

    So, donate your time to help the homeless, donate money or food when you can, and take your friends and family out to see the twinkly lights in the garden, enjoy the beauty and community. People need to be inspired by beauty in a community space.

    • Avatar Randy says:

      I like all of what you said but I thnk public funds should go to the homeless problem and the lights should be funded by personal donations or churches.

      • Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

        I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for saying this, but I feel the same way about the space program. Let the Bill Gates and Elon Musks of the world explore space to their hearts’ content, but spend all that tax money on “Earthly” projects like infrastructure, forest thinning, clean water, health care — the list goes on.

      • Avatar Doug Cook says:

        Why should public funds go to the homeless? Let’s learn from the mistakes of other cities. What do you get when you spend more money on the homeless…you get more homeless.

    • Avatar Doug Cook says:

      “…Homelessness is a problem all over America and it has more to do with conservative politics than anything else.”

      No… homelessness is not a problem all over America. Half the homeless live in liberal California. Most of the rest in liberal Washington state, Oregon and other liberal concaves. It is not conservative politics.. it is liberal policies that have caused the spike in homelessness in the Western States.

  41. Avatar Jist Cuz says:

    I have a great idea… lets create unconstitutional local so called laws to mobilIZE police spin the jail door get sued and create mayhem while we bueatify the city… YEA LET’S DO THAT +!+

  42. Avatar Walter Spohn says:

    It is curious that the City Council can only find $25,000 to spend annually for fire hazard reduction on City owned property that untreated endangers the lives and property of thousands of residents, but can find a half million dollars to fund a light show at Turtle Bay.

    The green belts scattered around town used to be a desirable feature in many Redding neighborhoods . No longer. You can tell where the bums are camping by the used toilet paper scattered around and blown by the wind where it hangs up on bushes and tree limbs. The fire dept. claims it puts out transient caused fires on a daily basis. We have been evacuated six times, each time but one due to a transient caused fire. Once, a wind blown fire was headed directly toward our neighborhood, but a fluke in the wind pushed it across Market St and it blew all the way to the river at Turtle Bay. Last year a fire starting somewhere near Masonic blew across the canyon to our back gate in approximately 10 minutes.

    A note to the Council: good luck with your proposed “public safety” tax increase. You need to demonstrate an ability to responsibly manage the funds currently at your disposal before you ask for more.