Redding City Council appoints Joshua Johnson to temporary seat

Joshua Johnson was appointed to fill Michael Dacquisto’s vacancy on the Redding City Council Tuesday in a meeting that took a surprising turn when former Mayor Erin Resner announced during her opening statement that she was withdrawing her name from consideration.

However, Resner said she will run in November to serve out the remaining two years of Dacquisto’s term.

The council voted 3-1 to temporarily appoint Johnson rather than leave the seat open until the Nov. 5 election, with Councilman Mark Mezzano the lone dissenting vote.

Dacquisto, who recently resigned due to health issues, encouraged the council at its July 2 meeting to leave the seat open, echoing others who said appointing someone would give that person an unfair advantage if they ran in November.

Instead, the council decided on July 2 to invite Johnson, Resner and Kristen Schreder, also a former mayor of Redding, to interview for the open seat. All three had expressed interest in the temporary appointment to the council.

But Schreder said in the days before Tuesday’s meeting that she would not attend.

That left Johnson, who serves on the Redding Planning Commission, and Resner, who served on the council from 2018 to 2022, to compete for the open seat.

But Resner began her opening statement by saying she spoke with city staff, council members and community members and with Johnson on Tuesday afternoon and “as a result, I think this meeting will probably go differently than most people expect.”

Resner said this is a critical time for the community, alluding to the often chaotic and circus-like atmosphere displayed at Shasta County Board of Supervisors meetings, which has notoriously brought national attention to the North State.

Resner did not run for re-election in 2022 as she was running for the District 1 seat on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. She narrowly lost to Kevin Crye.

“Many eyes are watching and many ears are listening to see and hear whether we will uphold the beacon of decorum, respect and reverence for local government that our community desperately needs right now. After careful consideration and much dialogue, I will decline to participate in the public interview process and would like to express my support for Joshua Johnson for the interim position on the City Council,” said Resner.

She said Johnson would bring a fresh perspective to the council, but it would also ensure voters will have a voice in the Nov. 5 election.

“Also, let this serve as my official announcement of intent to run for the general election sub-term. This decision reflects my continued commitment to serving our community and ensuring that we have experienced and dedicated leadership to guide us forward. This approach is a testament to what it looks like to work together, find practical solutions and avoid unnecessary chaos or division,” Resner added.

Johnson said he will run for one of the two four-year seats in November. Both Mezzano and Deputy Mayor Julie Winter are up for re-election. Mayor Tenessa Audette’s seat would also be vacated if she wins the state District 1 Assembly election in November.

Winter said she was moved by Resner’s speech and her willingness to step aside and support Johnson.

“These two express what leadership looks like in a community,” Winter said. “I was really moved and as I’ve seen other scenarios play out in the county lately, this is such a remarkable reversal of subduing ego to do what’s best for the city and I commend you both.”

In voting against Johnson’s appointment, Mezzano echoed a resident who addressed the council during public comment by pointing out that Johnson ran for council in 2022 and did not win.

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“Mr. Johnson, you came fifth when you ran for the council. You were not the people’s first choice. They will make a decision in November. I think it is a mistake to put you in the temporary position, I am for the should be open, so I vote no,” said Mezzano.

Several people who spoke in favor of keeping Dacquisto’s seat open until November called the deal between Johnson and Resner a political ploy.

“I hope the council would have made the decision not to fill this position and let the voters make the call. Because that didn’t happen, and we decided to move forward with these procedures to try to get someone into this, we now see the the full political standing of two individuals who are now doing insider trading, said Speaker Dave Backues. “That’s exactly why you shouldn’t fill this position and you should let the voters speak.”

After Tuesday’s meeting, Johnson told the Record Searchlight that he spoke with Resner the Tuesday before the meeting and that there was no “inside deal” and that he came to Tuesday’s meeting with an open mind.

“At the end of the day, it was her decision to make the call and I was kind of ready to respond and just listen to the council and see how they decided,” Johnson said. – This was not something anyone planned. I’m sure Mike Dacquisto didn’t plan for it when he won in 2022, but here we are and all I want to do is serve the people of Redding for this five month period and if they think I’m doing a good enough job, then I will to earn their trust in November.”

Johnson is a business owner and developer who also serves on the board of Good News Rescue Mission, a local Christian nonprofit that operates Shasta County’s only homeless shelter and provides programs to help homeless people and those struggling with addiction.

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Johnson supporters at Tuesday’s meeting told the council that Johnson should be applauded for becoming even more involved in his community after losing the 2022 election.

“He has continued to move forward with what he believes in and what he wants for the city,” businessman Tim Marinello told the council.

Johnson told the council that serving on the Good News Rescue Mission board has changed his life.

“After the election, I took a ton of time off because I thought I was going to win. I didn’t run for city council thinking I was going to lose. I just had in my mind, ‘I’m going to win,'” Johnson said. “And then after lost, I thought “where can I spend that time?” And what moved me the most was our homeless population and the problems in the city there. One of the organizations that impressed me the most was the Good News Rescue Mission.”

David Benda covers business, development and everything else for the USA TODAY Network in Redding. He also writes the weekly “Buzz on the Street” column. He is part of a team of dedicated reporters who investigate wrongdoing, cover breaking news and tell other stories about your community. Reach him on X, formerly Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 530-338-8323. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today.

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