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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. Redding City Council candidate is the second in this series of Redding City Council candidate Q&A’s.
About David Robbins, Redding City Council candidate
David Robbins is a father, student, worker, community organizer and volunteer. He says the requirements and responsibilities of each of these roles are vast, and he has the insight, patience and empathy necessary for the job. He describes himself as the person to bring the fresh outlook and new solutions to desperately needed old-city politics.
Robbins says that as a father, making ends meet and putting food on the table is an ever-present worry and responsibility, one in which failure is not an option.
He says that as a college student he has firsthand knowledge of Redding’s lack of educational and employment opportunities. His website is www.robbins4redding.com.
Shasta Environmental Alliance questions
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?
ROBBINS: I support a new tree ordinance. I also would like to create a Green Public Works Program. Our city needs to become sustainable and also create new jobs. We can make this happen by expanding public works with a green public works program, including; mass-scale weatherization of commercial buildings and residences to reduce energy consumption and maximize efficiency, establishment of public neighborhood gardens to increase community self-sufficiency and food security.
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?
ROBBINS: Housing is a human right. As such there are several things which need to be done: One: Housing First Programs have proven effective in similar-sized cities, saving taxpayer dollars while also greatly reducing homelessness. Once individuals have housing, they are able to heal from trauma, get motivated to keep and maintain their living situation, adopt a healthy lifestyle, and seek work training or employment. On average cities spend about $15,000 per person to keep individuals homeless, whereas cities with Housing First programs spend about $7,500 per person to simply house them. Some factors that make criminalizing poverty more expensive include emergency medical services, law enforcement and incarceration costs.
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?
ROBBINS: I am willing to meet or talk to anyone. Too many politicians don’t make themselves available to the general public. People can reach me on my cell or by email. A good idea is a good idea no matter who it comes from. I also believe that we need a city that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.
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.)
ROBBINS: Year-round fire essential fire protection work, including but not be limited to clearing out brush, dead material, and other hazards, replanting native trees and plants, and restoring burn zones would also be a part of the Green Public Works Program.
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?
ROBBINS: I support undertaking a mass-scale weatherization program of commercial and residential buildings. This would greatly reduce our energy consumption. I definitely support the conversion of Redding’s fleet to electric. I also believe that by supporting local, mid-level sustainable agriculture that we would also cut down on packaging, distribution, plastic waste, fossil fuel usage from transportation, while at the same time, revitalizing and localizing our economy.
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?
ROBBINS: I always think about this any time I walk around town. There are large swaths of pedestrian routes, sidewalks, etc. that have no shade cover. Climate change will continue to worsen as the years go by, making this a key issue. We need cooling centers open to the public, and we need to plant more trees along our streets. I would also support planting drought-resistant fruit trees along public avenues.
About the Shasta Environmental Alliance
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.