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Joshua Johnson Joins Redding City Council as November Election Comes into Focus

Joshua Johnson.

Opting for a note of grace in lieu of a distraction, Erin Resner bowed out of Tuesday night’s interview process and cleared the way for Joshua Johnson’s fill-in appointment to the Redding City Council.

Erin Resner.

Resner’s concession surprised council members, who had expected to interview both Resner and Johnson before voting on who should complete a five-month portion of Council member Michael Dacquisto’s term.

Redding City Councilman Michael Dacquisto

Dacquisto, who was the top vote-getter in the November 2022 council election, resigned his seat effective June 30, citing a health concern. Voters on Nov. 5 will decide who completes the remaining two years of Dacquisto’s term.

Johnson, a Redding developer and general contractor who was recently appointed to the Redding Planning Commission, was appointed to the council on a 3-1 vote. Council member Mark Mezzano cast the dissenting vote.

Resner, who served on the council before unsuccessfully seeking a seat on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, said she would be a candidate for Dacquisto’s remaining two-year term.

“I am looking forward to a very exciting election cycle,” said Resner, co-owner of Shasta County’s Dutch Bros. franchises.

Voters on Nov. 5 also will be asked to fill the seats held by Council members Mezzano and Julie Winter. So far, Mezzano has indicated he will seek re-election. Mayor Tenessa Audette is in a runoff election for the California Assembly District 1 seat; if she prevails her council seat will be available.

Dacquisto had requested that his seat remain vacant until the Nov.5 election, but at its regular meeting on July 2, the council voted to appoint a member to serve for the five-month gap. Mezzano and Winter favored Resner, while Council member Jack Munns and Audettte wanted Johnson.

Tuesday’s special meeting was lasted about 90 minutes, and was attended by just a few dozen people. The meeting was intended to be a formal interview and appointment process. Former Council member Kristen Schreder had also been asked to interview, but declined the offer.

Several speakers expressed the concern that whoever was appointed would have a built-in advantage when the Nov. 5 election rolls around.

“It’s likely this appointment will be for five months and four years. It bypasses the will of the people and really kind of pisses me off, to tell you the truth,” said Steve Kohn.

“I would rather see it unfilled. He isn’t experienced and the only reason to appoint (Johnson) is to give him a hand up and it’s not right.”

Bruce Russell agreed, noting that Dacquisto was a solid conservative while both Johnson and Resner “are more liberal.”

Russell said he wanted to know where Johnson stood on granting the Redding Rodeo Association a long-term lease on the rodeo arena and his thoughts on the Riverfront Specific Plan update.

When questioned by Mezzano about the rodeo arena and the possibility of adding housing to riverfront property near the arena and Civic Auditorium, Johnson said it’s important to listen to the will of the people.

“I am in favor of the rodeo grounds and the Civic always being accessible to the community. I support what the community wants.

“What’s important is to get more information. I’d love for the (rodeo) to stay where it is and keep the name, but what will the future look like? What will be the size of it? I favor a market study to see what the community can support,” Johnson said.

Tim Marinello, a Johnson supporter, said the council had two “great options” in Johnson and Resner. He said Johnson would be a valuable addition to the council, based on working with him on construction projects and watching his involvement with the Good News Rescue Mission, Little League baseball teams and civic workshops organized by the Redding Police Department and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. “I have seen him handle things with integrity.”

“We are here this week because we had a 2-2 vote last week,” noted Jonathan Anderson, executive director of the Good News Rescue Mission. “That’s why we need a fifth council member.”

Johnson may not have a lot of government experience “but I don’t know anybody who has spent more time with the city,” said Anderson, adding that he has worked with Johnson on seven different Mission-related projects.

With sales tax proceeds expected to come in $1 million below projections, Winter asked Johnson how he would approach adjusting the city’s budget to handle such a shortfall.

“It’s just like in business. There are ebbs and flows … we’ll have to listen to the people to find out where to tighten the belt. We’ll have to listen as best we can but there will not be a consensus,” Johnson replied.

The filing period for Redding City Council seats begins July 15.

UPDATE: Joshua Johnson posted a video the morning of 7/10/2024 that explained more about his appointment.

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Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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