Meet Ian Hill For Redding City Council

There are three seats open for this November’s election for Redding City Council. Candidate Ian Hill says he’s running to to shine a spotlight on city needs and bring together resources and people to act on what’s important.

This story is part of Shasta Scout’s citizen-powered election coverage. For the November 8, 2022 general election, we’re focusing on three races: the Redding City Council, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors, and the Shasta County Board of Education.

Ten candidates, including one incumbent, are running for three open seats on the Redding City Council this fall. Our elections reporting flips the script by asking candidates to answer questions from the community. We’re conducting long-form, in-person interviews that last about an hour each and utilize questions drawn from you, via our Scout reader survey. Candidate responses have been curated and paraphrased for this format. Candidate statements have not been fact-checked.

What should we know about you?

I moved here with my family in 2002 and went to middle and high school here before going away to college. I now work for Shasta County as a County Clerk which means I help with marriage licenses and other similar things for the public.

Why did you decide to run for city council?

I want to be a bridge between disparate groups to help get things done. I also want to shine a spotlight on things that matter and bring together resources and people to act on what’s important. 

What is Redding doing well and what could they do better?

I think the city is doing well in some regards, with some of the programs for the homeless and with trying to work on housing. But they’re also not helping those people really find a space of their own in the city. They have the end-goal programs but getting people to begin to access them is lacking and meanwhile they have nowhere to go.  

I also think sometimes the council doesn’t push hard enough into the nuance of what they’re discussing. We don’t see many debates. But they could be having some of those in closed sessions.

I do want to say that I appreciate the way city leaders are investing in the arts to beautify the city. 

How would you help local government become more open and honest with the community? Do you think this is a problem right now?

I think it’s important. As a member of government, you are a public servant, so your job is to help the public and put them first, listen to them and work to understand where they’re coming from and what they want. 

There is quite a bit of transparency with the city council already, because the meetings are recorded. But even though the information is available, I don’t think it’s digestible. If people can’t make it to the meetings, it’s hard to be engaged. And I’ve noticed that when information from those meetings gets re-shared on social media or through conversation, it sometimes loses nuance.  So I think we could do more.

If you are affiliated with a religious community how would that affect your role on the City Council?

I’m not personally associated with any church but I understand many people have concerns about Bethel. The Bethel community does seem somewhat insular, and with that comes assumptions and people drawing conclusions. Also, especially in the last few years, conservative movements have become more closely associated with religious movements, so I can understand why people would have questions about religious affiliation. But from what I’ve seen, council members are able to separate what church they go to from their job as a council member, which is important.

What is the Redding Police Department doing well and what can they do better?

Part of my privilege is that I rarely have any interaction with the police. What I most often hear about is other people’s negative reactions or what’s in the news. But when it comes to how the police handle housing and homelessness I do have concerns.

Recently about a dozen homeless people came to a council meeting to talk about how abusive the displacement at Nur Pon was and one of them said the police referred to them as cockroaches and said “let’s watch them scurry away.” Hearing some of those stories was heartbreaking and sad, and frustrating. The police are supposed to serve and protect all residents and clearly, they’re not. And I think that some of these issues are also frustrating to police officers themselves, who often want to do good work. 

I also dislike how there is little real inquiry or serious questions when the police request additional funding from the city council. It seems like everyone has already agreed ahead of time to give them the money, which is a stark contrast to the way a lot of other presenters are treated. As a council member I would definitely want to ask a lot more questions about police funding and ask for data about why it’s needed. I’d want to see evidence that hiring more officers and using them in this area will help crime go down. 

I have a background in criminal justice and you really need evidence-based policing.  

What do you see as the most important issue or issues facing Redding right now?

One would be housing. The continuum of housing is broken and a lot of our local problems are related to housing. The single best thing you can do for homelessness is to give people access to shelter because that stability makes it a lot easier for them to access other kinds of help. 

But also, the median house price has gone up $100,000 in the last year or two which makes it harder and harder for people to make the jump from being renters to being homeowners. We need to address that with more small stepping stones in housing: duplexes, townhouses, condos, studios. And we need to ensure residential zoning supports that. 

I think the second biggest issue we’re facing is climate, including water and wildfire. Part of my education is in geology and one of the major things I learned was that the past 150-200 years have been the wettest among the last 2,000 years in California. This means that we’ve unfortunately developed our water infrastructure based on assumptions that what we’ve seen during this recent time period is normal. There’s not enough recognition of what normal rainfall is, or will be, in California, which would allow us to switch our focus to being a more drought-resistant community.

How would you address the significant number of people living without housing in our community?

I would like to have an immediate place for them to go. Creating space for the homeless would facilitate providing resources, which is one of the biggest challenges. Obviously we also need to help people access housing. Some people are homeless by their own volition but most aren’t. And honestly, most of us are closer to being homeless than we are to ever being a millionaire. 

How would you address concerns about our community’s access to water during a historic drought?

As I said before, we really have to rethink our relationship to water in this area. We’ve gotten used to wet weather over the last hundred years that really isn’t normal for California. Continuing to bank on the idea that another wet year is just ahead isn’t good for long term growth and stability. And water insecurity is obviously a huge issue because it’s a life sustaining resource. 

How would you address how we use and develop land in our community?

One important thing is to densify our housing. I really love learning about urban design and development and unfortunately, car-dependent suburbs, on the whole, use more money in terms of city services than they generate in tax revenue. The more urban sprawl you have, the more drain on your city, especially long-term.

You’ve addressed the issue of housing and you’ve also talked a lot about climate concerns, so are you okay with jumping to the next question?

Yes.

How would you help our community prepare for and reduce the risk of wildfire?

Well, my cheesy catchphrase is “Chill with Hill.”  The “Chill” part stands for Climate, Housing, Infrastructure, Learning and Labor.

Climate is connected really closely to concerns about fire and water. I want to make sure people are more informed about what our local policies and plans are when it comes to wildfires. Making sure people really know how and when to evacuate and where to go. I think we keep acting like wildfire is not really going to hit us or we’ll act when it gets bad enough but there would be a lot of security gained by doing a survey and letting people know the plan and where they should go in case of wildfire.

Thank you for your time! How can people learn more about your campaign?

They can find me on Instagram @citycounciluponahill or they can email me at [email protected]

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