Environmental Group Poses Questions to Redding City Council Candidates: Part 1 – Julie Winter

Redding City Council member Julie Winter seeks re-election to the Redding City Council.

Editor’s Note: The following questions were submitted by the Shasta Environmental Alliance (SEA) to all November 2020 Redding City Council candidates. The responses are being published in the order in which they were received.

About Julie Winter, Redding City Council member, candidate

Julie Winter grew up in Southern California. She and her husband Mike moved to Redding in 1989. They have two children and five grandchildren. Winter’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in genetics from UC, Davis, a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from CSU, Sacramento, and a master’s degree in nursing from UCLA. Winter has been a family nurse practitioner for 31 years and currently works for Dignity Health Medical Foundation. Winter was elected to the Redding City Council in 2016 and served as mayor in 2019. She is seeking re-election. Her website is www.juliewinter.com

SEA: Redding is losing its tree canopy. Do you support a new tree ordinance for Redding requiring mitigation fees for removal of our native oak trees, similar to those enacted in many California cities, including Chico, Santa Rosa and Roseville, with the funds used by the City to plant and maintain more street and park trees?

WINTER: I would be supportive of looking at our existing tree ordinance, which has not been updated since 2006. The City of Redding needs to do a better job of enforcing our current tree ordinance so that existing trees survive surrounding development. We also need to make sure that new trees being added are appropriate for the conditions, and that they are planted in a way that they can thrive. I would also support enforcing any conditions of development that require trees to be maintained and replaced.

SEA: Homeless camping along the Sacramento River and other riparian areas are damaging our natural areas and polluting our waterways. Past City efforts at removing homeless camps over the last 10 or more years have only resulted in the return of people days later. What solutions would you support to end this problem, whether providing supervised camping places, other housing, or your own ideas?

WINTER: This is a frustrating problem due to limited resources and problems with mental health and drug addiction that go far beyond the City’s scope of service. I’m supportive of the current microshelter project being reviewed by the Planning Commission, as well as the new Square One Homes County project that will house 13 unsheltered folks. The City of Redding is limited as it has no structure or funding for social services; a county function. The City of Redding was supportive and involved with Shasta County’s plan for the Navigation Center (the COR provided the funding for the initial design). I would support a temporary camping area, if there was security and case management and the County was willing to manage the site. Whatever we do we need to have an end-goal in mind, moving people into permanent shelter, and getting them mental health/addiction treatment.

SEA: Being available to hear the concerns of your constituents is important. What will you do to meet, or otherwise make yourself available to hear the concerns of all the citizens of Redding, not just real estate developers or others with money? Do you feel it is important to hear the concerns of all sectors of your constituents, even though you may not necessarily agree with them?

WINTER: It is important that elected officials are available to their constituents on all sides of an issue. I make myself available to all constituents and can usually respond in a timely manner. The easiest way to reach me is via email: julie@juliewinter.com.

SEA: Wildfires and fuel loads are of concern in Redding’s greenways and open spaces. Are you aware of and/or would you be supportive of fuel reduction treatments that are also sensitive to protecting habitat for birds, wildlife and native flora? (Note: These questions were submitted prior to the Zogg Fire.)

WINTER: Preventing another disaster like the Carr Fire is critical, not only for humans, but to protect our valuable green spaces. This is a big area of concern as global warming, drought, and poor forest management have created a state-wide tinderbox. I have pushed heavily for the city to move on developing a fuel-reduction plan. We live in a WUI, and we cannot ignore the danger around us. I am supportive of fuel reduction treatments that are sensitive to protecting natural habitat. I would certainly be willing to talk to SEA leadership about current wildfire fuel reductions that are in process or planned for the city.

SEA: To help counter the effects of climate change and save costs, do you support efforts such as the gradual conversion of the fleet of City of Redding cars, trucks and equipment to electric as new purchases are made? What other suggestions do you have to reduce Redding’s greenhouse gas emissions?

WINTER: We need to do more to reduce greenhouse gases. One of the largest sources of greenhouse gases are gas engine vehicles. The city has provided funding for rebate programs for electric vehicles and chargers. I wholeheartedly support the conversion to electric vehicles for the COR fleet, and 20 electric vehicles have been purchased for several city departments, as well as mowers and side-by-sides, not to mention the new addition of an electric RABA bus.

The City of Redding has just completed the installation of 10 charging stations for both city fleet and employee use. Additional charging stations are planned at REU, the Redding airport, and the Sundial bridge. I support this growing trend. After hiring a professional consultant, the city is moving forward on making recommended changes in HVAC systems, filters, LED lights, and many other options that will make city facilities more green. The cost of the program will be covered by the resulting energy savings.

SEA: Would you support an increase in Redding’s tree canopy on streets, parks, and in residential areas to counteract the increasing heat of Redding summers and the consequent heat island effect?

WINTER: Increasing our tree canopy not only makes our city more beautiful, but offsets our heat and makes our streets more comfortable. resulting in less use of air conditioners. Redding has received awards for our trees, but many of our downtown trees are in poor condition. This past year we planted over 100 trees in downtown, and more are coming with the new Marketplace project. It always comes down to limited funding sources. I’m certainly willing to look at projects and community partnerships that can increase our tree canopy.

About the Shasta Environmental Alliance, and background about this series

The Shasta Environmental Alliance (SEA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in 2017 to fill the need for a strong, united, and organized voice to advocate for the environmental integrity of the Sacramento River Watershed. SEA is composed of various local individuals with 19 supporting organizations ranging from Wintu Audubon, Sierra Club, Trails and Bikeways Council to California Native Plant Society. SEA’s website is www.ecoshasta.org.

In 2018 the SEA conducted a Redding City Council Candidates Forum at the First United Methodist Church that drew about 100 people, and that aired live on local FM station KFOI 90.9. In 2016 SEA organized another candidate’s forum, which had about 160 people in attendance. This year, due to COVID-19, SEA asked candidates to answer a questionnaire on issues of interest to our supporting organizations and individuals. Each candidate was asked to provide a photo and a 50- to 100-word bio. Candidates were asked to keep their answers to 25 to 150 words per question.

Part of the mission of the Shasta Environmental Alliance (SEA) is to educate citizens of this area about environmental issues. This year, six candidates have filed for election to the Redding City Council and SEA has sent each candidate identical questions on environmental issues that SEA is concerned about. Two emails and one letter were sent to each of the six candidates. Julie Winter, Mark Mezzano, David Robbins, Monique Welin and Adam McElvain responded. Candidate Jack Munns did not respond to our inquiries via email, letter and phone.

Each candidate was limited to 150 words per question. Responses were proofed and edited only for misspellings and are, otherwise, identical to the original answers received from the candidates. First-person bios were changed to third-person.

As SEA is a non-profit organization, it will not be endorsing any candidates.

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