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?
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
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
What can you do strategically to solve
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.
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.