The Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce, Humboldt Association of Realtors and the Humboldt Business Exchange held a candidate forum for the 1st Ward candidates for City Council and for Eureka Mayor. I will rate and comment on the 1st Ward candidates but I will not rate the Mayor race as I serve on Virginia’s campaign committee and so it would not be fair. I will make some observations though. Start the arguments!
1st Ward Candidate’s ratings:
1. Larry Glass: He seemed loose and personable and cheerful when in an open audience. He answered the limited time residence question well and pointed out the need to focus on public safety. He felt a lot of local issues flowed through safety. He has been studying the budget and wants to cut waste, but not for the sake of safety. He said he wants the public to be part of the process on the balloon track and if the public wants a mall or a polo field, he will go with the public majority. He has not felt city government has been readable at times, and promises “transparent” processing. He would like to once again address the parking problems of old town. Is for small business incubator plans to give direction to those businesses. Wants to promote tourism and would like the removal of Dams to help fishing on the North Coast. Unabashed tree hugger. His words. Democrat.
2. Mary Beth Wolford: looked great on the KEET debate, and not so good in the open forum. She made a comment on the majority of the police and fire department calls going for the balloon track and had Larry shaking his head no, and Peter LaVallee later saying there were very few calls out there. She also made the comment about parking not being a problem in old town. And she lives down there? She did not really touch on real issues at all. She likes the energy of our people and wants a healthy community. Liked the Meth film on KEET. That was about all as a message. She was not prepared for this venue. Democrat.
3. Tish Wilburne: Less government is the message from Tish. “Government has failed.” She does not like handouts given to people and says people should get off their butts and go get jobs. She would like to see old cars racing in the Redwoods to bring in people. She is soliciting yacht builders currently. Felt Humboldt County attracts some of its problems through government handouts. Libertarian.
Observations of Mayor Candidates:
Jerry Droz: Says the crime rate of Eureka is double the national average and brought graphs to illustrate. Felt people lived in fear and confusion in Eureka. Feels public process was important on all issues. Jerry said we needed to capitalize on a Redwood tree theme by planting them along Broadway and to have Redwood theme area with a huge stump. (Good days of the old Stump house remembered by us old timers here. Jerry is new to the area.) He said he will take no bribes and it isn’t who has the most or biggest signs.
Peter LaVallee: Felt that he had been a good leader and facilitated a huge public process forum of 1,100 at the municipal auditorium about the LGN plans successfully. Talked about how the rail was important, but was not going to happen in the next four years. Felt the homeless problem was “multi –faceted” but did not elaborate. He thinks we need to repair infrastructure to create jobs. He commented we do not have a competitive or prepared local work force. Peter then made a comment that 1 out of 4 high school students in the area graduate with a degree. And claimed he was given this information from city schools. 25%? C’mon, that is not even close. I think the figure is under 10% so one of us is way off. So, we should just give up and go on the government dole? What is he saying or trying to say? He made a claim about making the deciding vote to not give LGN exclusive rights and was corrected by Virginia and Mary Beth that he did not understand the motion he voted on. Peter also made claim on helping the Steamfitters garner prevailing wage on a public works job. No, by law they are assured prevailing wage. Peter did not serve as their agent to secure that. Sid Berg of the Steamfitters would have to do that. You can not take credit for union workers getting what is do them by law! Virginia challenged him to state what he has done the last for years, and he came up with no answers.
Virginia Bass: “We need a can do attitude and local businesses need to grow! We need to remove barriers.” Virginia said she would never take sides to an issue until she had all facts. She pointed out that 91% of the residents in Eureka can not afford to buy a home and would like to reverse that trend. She also would like to see code enforcement and more police available to hire. Virginia is concerned about the local political division and says we need unity to reach our potential. She also spoke of her long ties to the community.
There were plenty of others who saw this forum. Comment away. Please identify who you are if you do comment.