Speak Your Piece: Reckless Board Majority Destroys Fiscal Stability

Shasta County has a long, sad, sordid history of improper land use practices. These hurtful decisions date to over a century ago. Jurors deliberating effects of the “Smoke Wars 1896-1917” were paid by local mine owners. ”Experts” gave testimony that sulfur dioxide from open coking of mine ore had nothing to do with fruit trees dying as far away as Happy Valley. Federal 1940 mitigation suggestions for improving salmonid species habitat after building Shasta Dam are largely ignored by county officials in the new headwater area below Keswick Dam. Boise, Everett, Redding, Tehama County, many other places did not wait for help. They made valuable improvements by partnering with various agencies and organizations.

Sara Frost was dismissed from the Shasta County Planning Commission in 1978 for calling attention to illegal septic system percolation testing being performed and permitted during August in Shasta County. The California Attorney General said to follow the law and do the testing in months when ground saturation was high as in January. A countywide building moratorium was the alternative. Likewise, large areas of Shasta County, now part of Redding like Enterprise and Bonnyview, were allowed to be developed for residential use without curbs, gutters, sidewalks, proper street widths, alignments and surfaces, no parks, no sewers and other needed infrastructure were not provided.

To this day, we lose over a million dollars a year in lost Transient Occupancy Taxes collected from houseboats. However, we pay for law enforcement, fire protection, sanitary and solid waste disposal, potable water, emergency medical care evacuation and other public services these visitors require.

So, it should be no surprise that twenty years of hard fought development fees were recently reversed at a single meeting without thorough replacement funding transfer or adequate public notice including an Environmental Impact Statement. Repealing this badly needed funding source is a return to substandard, business as usual. The fact that population growth has not met predictions does not mean new people are not coming to Shasta County. It does mean when they get here what infrastructure they left behind will not be here. And developers are not going to pass on the cost of these improvements to the new homeowner nor will they share any savings in fees.

This recent activity says nothing about Supervisor Jones voting for the measure adopted this week. His new gun range faced at least $20,000. of impact fees which are now not being collected. Board Chair Kevin Crye is not bringing a better future by returning to irresponsible growth and a blighted past. We are on the edge of a funding crisis in Shasta County. Not providing for an improved future is a selfish and ruinous Neanderthal way forward.

Lastly, like the corrupting influence of long ago mine owner money, “Revenge” Anselmo’s outside fortune is devastating us. Dollars totaling hundreds of thousands funneled through the Water Users Committee and other means directly supports candidates and issues without local constituencies. This money is designed to advance Anselmo’s sworn agenda to ruin our county and the effect is catastrophic.

A broken government is incapable of meeting needs which other places maintain. It is our responsibility to have services here which welcome visitors and newcomers and elevate the standard of living, not reduce it.

Randall R. Smith

Randy Smith is a retired physician, morphed into a full-time professional volunteer. He is a former member of the Redding Planning Commission and Cal-Tip Advisory Board. He is an active member and the founder of the Allied Stream Team of Rotary Club of Redding. He lives in Redding with his wife, Judy.

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