A City-wide Living Wage – $20/hr. – The majority of people in Redding cannot afford to live on the current minimum wage. As such, I support setting a city-wide minimum wage, loosely based off of the MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. http://livingwage.mit.edu
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. 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.
Housing – 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. Two: Rent Control. In recent years, local rental rates have skyrocketed while wages have stagnated. This is simply unsustainable for most of our working families. The answer is city-wide rent-control. We need to have tenant’s unions represented. Three: Rent & Mortgage moratorium. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to freeze and forgive all rents and mortgages. People should not have to worry about losing their homes because of a crisis that is completely outside of their control. Four: Affordable housing. We need more affordable housing, specifically Section 8 approved without the 2-year waiting list. Collaboration with both the county and state resources will help us gain momentum on this challenging issue. Five: Ordinance preventing individuals not living in Redding from becoming landlords or purchasing multi-residential apartment complexes. Investment speculating is one of the factors that is responsible for rising rents. We must stop the influx of out-of-town speculators who are making it even harder for our working families to live.
Creation of City-backed Neighborhood Councils & Chamber of Workers – To encourage economic democracy and find solutions for the people’s immediate needs through active participation in the democratic process, the City of Redding should support and back the creation of official Neighborhood Councils in which people have a direct say on city policies that affect their lives. The City should also create a Chamber of Workers to advocate for worker’s rights city-wide, and convene the city’s workers consisting of both trade and industrial unions, as well as currently non-unionized workers, and co-operatively owned businesses into a democratic chamber where information, strategies, and collective bargaining can occur, acting as both a clearinghouse and a general assembly officially recognized by the City. Essentially, we must put power in the hands of the people. Who knows better how to get their jobs done than the workers themselves? Who knows better how a neighborhood’s economy should be planned than by the residents themselves? In the 21st Century, facing eroding democratic institutions, the pandemic crisis, and subsequent disaster capitalism, it’s time that democratic assemblies of the people are created and given political power. The owning class understand its class consciousness and actively advocates for itself– we, the working class, must do the same.
City-wide Free Public High-Speed Internet – In the year 2020 it is absurd not to guarantee people free and fast Internet access. Students and workers — many of who have been made to work remotely– parents of school-aged children, especially in the shadow of COVID-19, cannot do their jobs if they don’t have Internet access. It is high time that the City establish a free, public, high speed Internet for all.
Free to Affordable Public Utilities – Public utilities should be free to households making under $60K/yr, rates would increase progressively along with income. At a city-wide minimum wage of $20/hour working 2,080 hours (a year of full-time work per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the annual wage of $41,600–for a family of 2 adults and 2 children– is less than twice the poverty guideline). It is absurd that anyone making such a minimal income should be expected to pay for utilities. We have a responsibility as a community to structure these payments in a fair manner to working families.
Expanded Public Transportation – Anyone who has used Redding’s public transportation system will tell you how restrictive the run times are, so that “you’re either 5 minutes late or an hour early to anywhere you’re trying to go”, as one RABA rider noted. We need more bus routes that cover more territory and the buses need to run past 7:30 pm. A lot of businesses are open past that time and people need to be able rely on our public transportation.
We can pay for these things without raising taxes! – Did you know that our police department uses up 37.9% of our city’s budget, dwarfing both Public Works and Community Services which are at 10.7% and 7.2% respectively? This is absurd. We have criminalized poverty and homelessness with the passing of 2019’s “Anti-Camping Ordinance”, which charges homeless persons with a misdemeanor for “illegal camping”. If we decriminalized poverty, expanded community and medical resources, enacted a Housing First Program, and employed people through our Green Public Works Program… we would see a substantial drop in crime while also actually solving the problem instead of trying to sweep it under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist.
Incentivize the CSU system to build a Redding campus – As a student, I can tell you that the prospects of commuting to Chico to finish a 4-year education or enrolling in an expensive private university are daunting. We need to do our best to attract a CSU Redding Campus. This would not only create jobs and expand local education opportunities, but it would also keep families together. I can’t tell you how many parents and grandparents I talk to who lament their young family members moving away for school and careers. We should be able to provide people the option of staying in town with their families and neighbors.
Incentivize local, union businesses, co-operative businesses, de-Incentivize out-of-town corporations – We need an economy that is local, sustainable, and that is worker-friendly. We need to do more to attract union businesses and co-operatively owned businesses. When people have a say and representation in the way the workplace is run, they’re more invested in their work. Big-box corporations pay their employees next to nothing, are not locally owned, and do not positively contribute to our local economy. By returning production and distribution of goods and services to the local and regional scale, we’ll be doing a huge part in reducing carbon emissions and plastic waste significantly, as well as working towards a sustainable economic and localized worker-owned economic system.
Support the Tribe – As Settlers who have displaced our community’s original residents, we have a duty to support the Redding Rancheria and other Indigenous tribal entities making their own decisions regarding the use of their land and resources as they see fit. We should support their construction of a new casino. Redding Rancheria is Redding’s 6th largest employer and a major funder for many low income groups, programs, and entities throughout the area, as such we should be doing every thing we can to support and encourage their good work. The Winnemem Wintu are not federally recognized, but we can and should do everything we can as a City to not only recognize, but actively support and integrate Wintu leadership and stewardship over our community’s natural resources. To that end, I support the creation of a Planning Committee in which the Wintu community is represented and involved in the economic planning of our city. A reparations plan must also be formulated.
Citizen’s Oversight Committees – We need a Citizen’s Oversight Committee with legal teeth to oversee the operations of the Redding Police Department.
Separation of Church and State – The First Amendment, ratified in 1791, established the cornerstone of our democracy; the separation of church and state. We must maintain this separation. To protect our city’s independence from religious domination, I support forming panels to reclassify certain religious organizations, including churches and megachurches in town, as taxable entities. Our city should be receiving funds in the form of regular taxes rather than in the form of “gifts” from local megachurches. This would secure power in the hands of the local citizenry instead of religious leadership. The Civic Center should be returned to the City of Redding, and all donations to RPD from religious entities should be returned. Because the people of Redding respect religious freedom and independent democratic governance, we don’t want churhces to control civic buildings, own unlimited blocks of real estate (both commercial and residential), or call on favors from city leaders. It is because of our City that they have such assets and power, so surely they can pay their fair share in the form of taxes, just like we citizens do.