Monday, October 06, 2014

Eureka Rotary hosts Eureka City Council Forum!

The Eureka Rotary club with help of the League of Women Voters (LOWV) hosted a Eureka City Council candidates forum.  Challengers Kim Bergel (KB) and Natalie Arroyo (NA) were present as were incumbents Mike Newman (MN) and Chet Albin (CA). Questions were filtered by the LOWV. The first question was:

What do you see as the biggest problem or Challenge in Eureka?
 KB said there were three problems, homeless, addiction and the economy.  She pointed out solutions such as streamlining permitting processes, developing the port and build on strengths. MN pointed out problems doing business in the county.  Spoke about homeless solution through Community Homeless Improvement Project (CHIP).  CA spoke of a recent 4million dollar budget cut. Need to find revenue sources. NA said we need to focus on a diverse economy and not put all our eggs in one basket. She is running on jobs issue. Would like to see a ten year strategy including medical residency, tech jobs and beautifying the area while using targets of opportunity such as using the General Plan for industrial development.

Measure R may send businesses out of town, what will you do?   
MN “This is the elephant in the room and the question of the day!” Pointed out the movement was driven by Occupy Eureka and it was already hard to do business here. NA said there was a need for higher wages and added the need in the county. KB completely supports Measure R and said it would take people off welfare, creates more taxes and empowers people. “What we are doing now not working!” CA “What if they leave? Not much we can do.” Said it could cost hundreds of jobs and lower the tax base and close more businesses. 

Did you or would you have agreed to give Eureka Department Heads a raise considering Eureka budget issues?
NA “We need a talented staff.” Said there was a need for system upgrading.  CA said there was research done several years ago on how to attract department heads. Not many apply to Eureka. He said he would have reluctantly voted for the raises. MN reiterated the need to attract decent workers. That has been the goal the last few years. Said there was police reporting upgrades. KB “Look at what we got!” Said the city was forward thinking.

Do you support crisis training for the mentally ill?  
CA “Yes, we need intervention” Brought up homeless issue and CHIP. KB “Absolutely.”  She said this subject was a black eye to our community for improper training. “Treat people with dignity and respect!” NA “Absolutely.  Need to deal with the challenges and the gaps between County Mental Health and Health care. Don’t put ill people back out in the street! “ MN Was in agreement and said Mental Health working with patrol officers in training important.

Do you support Measure Q?
NA “Yes. It is only an extension of existing tax.” Does not want to see elimination of city jobs. MN “Yes. In 2010 we thought we wouldn’t need to, but we didn’t get new business.” He said that 71% of the Measure “O” money went to law enforcement. Also said that not having the extension would eliminate “POP.” KB “Absolutely.” She has done ride-along with both Police and Fire. Pointed out leaky roofs and need of turnouts. Not a new tax. CA “I support “Q. If it fails we will lose POP, 9 traffic officers and 6 Firemen. Response for services will be slowed down."

What can you do strategically to solve homeless?
MN “We are working on the problems, and now implementing solutions such as Motel Ordinance service calls.” NA Pointed out that Homeless sometimes comes in stages such as living in a car as first step. Need to examine substance abuse element.  CA “CHIP has come a long way.” Need to look for solutions to long term hospital stays with alternate medical housing.  KB “Never going to eradicate the homeless.” Advocates use of Betty Chin programs and rapid housing programs.

Will consolidating Fire Department help?
NA “I need to know more. I thought we were already. Said she will do more homework.” KB Said she was confused by question and would do homework. MN “It has happened and has saved the city $185,000.” CA “Yes. It has happened already and the savings is helping the Fire Departments.

Closing Statements
NA Identified Labor endorsements and other individuals and the Democratic Central Committee. Respectfully asked for peoples vote. CA Lived many years in Eureka and wants to continuing giving back and has served on the Planning, Housing and Parking commissions. MN Wants to keep moving forward and provides “More bang for the buck.” Has been the leader in consolidating departments and promotes more business through developing a deep water port with living wage jobs. KB Promotes change with 21st Century thinking. Wants to break barriers that separate the community. She says she works well with others and points out the need to work together.  


Anonymous said...

All four are good people but only two of them seemed to recognize that jobs is the number one problem and understand what businesses need to provide those jobs.

Mike Newman & Chet Albin were the only two who seemed to get it.

John Fullerton said...

All four are obviously good people running for the right reasons.

But only Mike Newman & Chet Albin seemed to recognize that jobs is the number one problem and understand what businesses need.

liberal jon said...

RM: The LWF moderated questions and allowed this whopper..."Measure R may send businesses out of town, what will you do?"

Is that a question or an advocacy stance?

Where do you stand on R? Are you with the all the unions that I can count, HCDCC, wisdom, etc. or good folks like MO, VB, JF, the Chamber of Commerce, etc.

liberal jon said...

John - What magic accounting did you use to earn 77% of No on R's princely sum of $13K in donations under $99. Any hints to your secret? Did the request letter state something like "please be generous but DON'T donate over $99 - we don't want you all to waste money that should be stockpiled in case this darn R passes."

samoasoftball said...

John: Action speak louder than words. People that work for me, (Political phonebankers, Mad River Softball staff) are paid at minumum $12 an hour. MRSA staff (Over 10 in the last couple years) more like $15. I support "R" becuase it is the "Right" thing to do. It will be fought in court though is my prediction. Not perfect legislation but a start. All workers deserve a fair wage. $12 an hour is a good place to start.

liberal jon said...

Good on you Richard. Just wish you and your workers would have been paid to elect someone who doesn't want R to pass, oh, and disagrees with you on the GPU (which is fine b/c the people don't care about it anyway), etc.

BTW j...o...n... I don't mind, but it gets confusing when there is a John and Jon in the conversation.

John Fullerton said...

Liberal Jon. The Committee to Protect Eureka is a community based organization. It includes Liberals & conservatives, Republicans, Democrats & Decline to States

The only thing we all have in common is that we love Eureka & understand that Measure R will cost Eureka hundreds of jobs & price increases for everything.

110 people have donated so far and four to five checks a day are coming in now. People choose what they want to donate.

John Fullerton said...

Richard, all my employees make a lot more than $15 per hour. But none of my positions are for people starting out as experience is required.

I believe a minimum wage is necessary and I favor raising it. But it must be raised gradually and at least be county wide although state wide would be better. That way our economy isn't disrupted.

Measure R discriminates against Eureka and has a radical increase all at once. In order to survive, Eureka businesses will have no choice but to cut payroll costs by laying off employees, raise prices or move out of the area. It is simple math.

Pacific Seafoods (with 200 jobs) has already said they will "reasess their decision to move out of the area". HCAR has now publicly stated they can not survive if R passes.

John Fullerton said...

I support an increase in the minimum wage Richard but there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. Measure R is the wrong way.

See my letter in the North Coast Journal tomorrow or on my Facebook page right now on how to do it the right way.

Measure R is a job killer. A lot of people expecting big raises if it passes will be getting pink slips instead.

samoasoftball said...

John: It would have been better if the Measure R folks recruited you to help in the first place. It might be less than a perfect measure, but it is the only one on the ballot and I think it will pass. I can not vote on the measure myself, but if I lived in Eureka, I would. We will most likely witness the ramifications. How do you feel about "Q"?

John Fullerton said...

Richard I support Measure Q.

Heaven help Eureka if Measure R wins & Measure Q loses.