My Letter to the Red Bluff Daily News…

I decided it was finally time to write a letter to the newspaper in my hometown, as there are some dire mistakes being made. I know some of you won’t know the background to this letter, and I apologize. But this had to be said. I’m slightly passionate about certain issues, if you couldn’t tell. πŸ™‚ Just in case it isn’t published in the paper (because my letter goes against the city’s plans), here it is for your reading enjoyment:

Dear Editor,

I lived in Red Bluff for 13 years, and I will always consider Red Bluff to be my hometown. It has saddened and frustrated me to see what has happened in the past few years in regards to the city’s economic decisions. A few years ago, as part of my degree requirement, I wrote a thirty page “city study” on Red Bluff, for which I was required to speak with the city planners and council, and I made several recommendations back then for making Red Bluff a better place for business. Though I no longer live in Northern California, I have continued to pay attention to the politics in Red Bluff–and as a “political scientist”, I think real change is needed in city leadership. I have been constantly amazed at the choices that are being made by the city council and the planning commission. What do you want Red Bluff to be–a “great place to live” or a “great place to be on welfare”? Red Bluff has the potential for true economic growth based on our natural resources and our talented and willing workforce. But by continuing to suppress growth, I feel that the city is writing its own death certificate. An economy can not be entirely based on consumerism–it must have some production element to create sustainable growth. I have heard about several companies that attempted to bring their factories to Red Bluff–only to be denied by the city council for ridiculous reasons. What is your motivation? Why do you continue to drive business away?

Let’s take a look at how many restaurants/coffee shops are in Red Bluff. Red Bluff has become a “pit stop” on I-5 to travelers–but is it a place where long-term economic investments are being made? What are we producing, selling, manufacturing? Not much. We have an economy solely based on people spending money. And that’s not a healthy economy.

You won’t allow Wal-Mart to build a supercenter, and then lease out its current building to clothing and retail stores (which the city desperately needs) for what reason? My question is this: why did you allow Starbucks (not one, but two stores) to come in? That did more harm to local businesses (Bear Flag for example) than Wal-Mart ever has.

Lake Red Bluff is a perfect example. Each year, the Nitro Nationals bring spectators from all over the country–which is a huge boost to the local economy, and brings national exposure to Red Bluff (which increases tourism). What will replace that event and the revenue it brings in? Another point: look at what happened in the Klamath River Basin (Oregon) in 2001 when the environmentalists shut down a crucial water source for farming all due to a stupid fish that scientists even admitted had no real effect on the food chain or the environment! The local people and their crops suffered to protect a worthless fish. I believe that we should take care of God’s creation; however, humans should come first. Lake Red Bluff brings in millions of dollars to this fairly poor community–why on earth would you even consider taking down the Diversion Dam (which would cost millions of dollars)? According to Tuesday’s paper, the additional cost to install the pumps is $160 million dollars! Are you kidding? There are millions of other ways those dollars could be spent, so why should we ask for a handout? Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. Isn’t there another way to accomodate the fish? Haven’t they been just fine for years? And,don’t you think the citizens and the economy of Red Bluff are more important than a species of fish? How do you propose to supplement the lost income? Higher taxes? I’d like to hear your ideas on that.

Wal-Mart is another issue altogether. I think it is entirely ludicrous to continue to make life difficult for a company that has done nothing but great things for the city of Red Bluff! Look at the jobs it has provided–along with the positive effects on the economy! People from all over the county come to Red Bluff to shop; imagine how many more will come once the Supercenter is up and running! Change is good–and necessary. And I think the City Council is fighting this change because they don’t want Red Bluff to grow and become an even greater place to live. Are they so hungry for power that they must keep fighting this issue and spreading lies? Wal-Mart is going to be doing so many things–including making the building smaller to accomodate the city’s parking requirements–at the councils demand, to improve the city, and yet the council still fights it for seemingly no good reason. And, council members, the Supercenter will not take away customers from the other grocery stores in town; everyone is very aware of the “loyalty” that small town people have for their stores. People who shop at Raley’s will still shop there.

Can a city that has already allowed environmentalists to destroy the economy (i.e. the spotted owl and the ensuing effect on the mills) afford to allow another incident? Can the city of Red Bluff afford to continue driving away new industries and businesses? Citizens of Red Bluff–I sincerely hope that you think long and hard about the effects the decisions being made by this city council and planning commission will have on your future. Don’t merely take what they say as “fact”–but research it for yourselves and find the truth. I think it’s time for fresh faces in city government–people who actually care about the city, and not just the “good ol’ boys” of Red Bluff who want control.

Lesa Close

Harrisburg, PA

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