Molly Davis, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/07/2011 05:49:38 PM PST

REDLANDS – Regardless of what their views are, Redlands has a number of different vocal and visible political groups giving opinions on the country’s problems, and solutions.

But why Redlands? What makes this city so attractive to groups like Occupy Redlands and the Redlands Tea Party Patriots?

Renee Van Vechten, associate professor in the University of Redlands’ Government department, speculated that “you tend to see more activity in cities with higher education and income, and disposable time.”

She said that Redlands fits these tendencies, and that the city also has people “ready and willing to organize,” another key to political activism.

Education, income and time in particular were the factors that members of Occupy Redlands and the Redlands Tea Party Patriots both credited in trying to explain why people in Redlands tend to get politically involved.

When asked what makes Redlands a place that has seemingly so much political expression, Eric Shamp, a member of the Occupy Redlands Movement, said “I suspect it’s because Redlands is relatively affluent, compared to surrounding communities.

“When you earn a living wage and don’t have to work too much more than 40 hours a week, it’s much easier to participate in community activities,” he said.

Philip Naman, a member of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, said that “in areas where you find people who are more civic-minded…people have the time, possibly, and the passion” to get involved.

Naman noted that Redlands has a lot of pride, and many families have been here for generations.

“Redlands is a really patriotic city,” he said, noting the 4th of July Band, the parades and other community events as examples of the city’s patriotism and pride in community.

Shamp nearly echoed those remarks, explaining that he became involved in Occupy Redlands because it is “less focused on protest and more focused on direct action and community involvement.

“Protest is still a vital tool for raising awareness, but the Redlands group backs it up with community-building efforts,” he said.

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