I’ve been thinking a lot about your election, specifically the races for City Council, Mayor and Harbor Commissioner. While I don’t live in Eureka (I live in Manila), Eureka is the city I spend the most time in and have since we first moved to Humboldt 21 years ago – what happens in Eureka impacts my world more than any other city in the county.
As has often been the case, Eureka is a place where many of the issues that face our country are on full display. Homelessness, drug addiction, health care, a changing economy, cultural rifts – a lot of people are worried not only about the future, but about their day-to-day existence.
And it’s natural when we’re scared to seek comfort in the familiar, to respond to reassurance. But so much of the current “reassurance” is offered in the form of tearing down other people, so much of the “comfort” merely a desire to go back in time to some theoretical way-it-used-to-be as if the Eureka of yore didn’t have any problems, but was just a clean, shiny city.
Now, I’ve only been in Humboldt a couple decades, but in all the stories the locals tell me, downtown Eureka has always been a wild place. I’m pretty sure the old Schooner (now the lovely North of Fourth) still boasted strippers in my time here. I definitely remember Jimmy Dunn’s being shut down, something to do with trading food stamps for drugs if I recall correctly. Which is not to detract from the wonderful parts of Eureka that have existed in tandem with the seedier side, but to point out that the city’s always been a mix of class and culture, and the idea of “taking it back” isn’t the same as making it better.
And I’ve been trying to think of any leader throughout history that we admire who used tearing down other people as a winning tactic. Any victories won by going backwards instead of forging ahead. Any examples of treating other humans as less-than-human that improved things. Certainly not the way Jesus handled things. Not the manner in which American independence came about. Not what my children learned growing up on the Little League fields in Cutten, where they took a knee if someone was hurt and high-fived the opposing team players at the end of the games no matter who won and who lost or how badly.
Nope, the fact is, if you want a safe, happy neighborhood and thriving community, you need elected officials skilled at bringing people together. Bringing people together takes a willingness to listen to everyone’s concerns, the skills to be able to come up with solutions that fit where Eureka is now, and a sincere desire to make Eureka better through honest and positive steps. Fortunately you have a whole bunch of qualified candidates!
- Mayor: Susan Seaman (Fighting for all Eurekans! Transparency in government! More economic growth!)
- Ward 5: Kim Bergel (Proactive with law enforcement! Civil! Supportive of local youth and businesses!)
- Ward 3: Natalie Arroyo (Eureka Proud! More housing! Fair, kind and courageous!)
- Ward 1: Leslie Castellano (Important for people to feel safe in Eureka!)
- Harbor District: Richard Marks (Shipping up! More jobs! Cleaner Bay! Healthier district!)
So, as someone who doesn’t live in, but does love Eureka, I hope you’ll do us all a favor and vote for the brightest, most promising choices as listed above.