Editor’s note: I enjoy examining how other inland California regions are dealing with some of the same problems we face here. I often see parallels. Redding and its surroundings is a case in point. Here’s a column that ran in the Redding Record Searchlight this past week, “What’s wrong with Redding: The politics.” No doubt about it: The region that could become our new Congressional district is openly discussing change.
“Silas Lyons (Editor of the Record Searchlight) is right: Redding has a bad attitude. I am a native, born and raised here in a “pioneer” family, so have lots of history.
This is why we are down:
1. The county swung right about 1970. We elected a conservative congressman after years of Democrats. Rep. Wally Herger has done nothing to help the economy of the region for 30 years. He has pandered to big drug companies, and has blithely become a multimillionaire while his district became one of the poorest in the state. The amount of federal money he has courted is a pathetic fraction of what we used to get in the 1950s and ’60s. Have you seen any “Herger Dams” lately? So, strike one: lousy congressional representation.
Strike two: A suffocating economic policy based on discredited conservative principles. The city of Redding has spread out all over the county; of late the city has made the horrible mistake of allowing Costco to relocate (in trade for a police station of all things), which will decimate what is left of downtown. Big-box megastores will sit on Highway 44 and Interstate 5, drawing people out of the city.
Urban sprawl while gas prices skyrocket! What are these people thinking?
The same lunacy almost built a auto mall in Churn Creek bottom, which would have been an economic disaster.
Where does this behavior come from? From the host of Southern California transplants who have moved here who worship automobiles and urban sprawl.
Redding lost its charm thanks to them. Redding is poor because of them.
Strike three: An unbelievable string of horrible decisions surrounding economic development. We have courted retail and service (restaurants on every block), while ignoring educational institutions and government projects that could have brought technology industry to the region.
Shasta County is hostile to progressive ideas, so progressive industries stay away. If you are an MIT graduate and want to do a start-up Internet business, you don’t come to Redding, where right-wing fanatics run the town.
Finally, imagine if Herger would have pushed for a highway improvement on 299 west to Eureka, and while he was at it pushed a railroad extension as well. We would have become the gateway to the west for all of Northern California and Southern Oregon.”
The rest of the article is here.
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