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November 9, 2006

In the News

The Town Dandy
Weak signals

Election Results

Short Stor

I'm acu-perfect!

photo of Virginia BassSplit non-decision
Uncertainty hangs over Eureka races -- Arcata: Stillman, Wheetley, fluoride


Right: Bass/Jones headquarters at the Vance Hotel breaks into a cheer as Bass' lead is announced. Photo by Bob Doran.

If one thing became clear on election night, it was that nothing would be clear for weeks. Most of the races in the City of Eureka's most important, and most hotly contested, election in recent memory were too close to call as the night ended, and were destined to be decided by the thousands of absentee ballots left uncounted in the county election office.

photo of Nancy Flemming, Gailey Browning and Beverley WolfeIt was unknown how many of those ballots pertained to the Eureka races.

"It's really exciting, but we've got to have patience," said Nancy Flemming, who was seeking to replace incumbent Bonnie Neely as the city's representative on the county board of supervisors.

Left: Nancy Flemming and Gailey Browning listen as Avalon's Beverley Wolfe explains that absentee ballots make the race too close to call. Photo by Heidi Walters.

Only two Eureka races seemed to have a clear outcome, and they were split between the two factions contesting the election. In the Fifth Ward City Council race, incumbent Mike Jones appeared headed to an easy victory over challenger Nan Abrams, who was allied with the left-of-center slate. The reverse was true in the First Ward -- challenger Larry Glass had a wide lead over incumbent Mary Beth Wolford at the end of the night.

Everything else was too close to call. Flemming trailed Neely by 133 votphoto of Supervisor Bonnie Neelyes in the supervisorial race, with two precincts left uncounted in addition to the large uncounted absentee vote. The remaining, uncounted precincts were from the more conservative Myrtletown area, suggesting that the conservative candidate -- Flemming -- had a chance to make up some of her deficit before the night was over.

In the Eureka mayoral race, City Councilmember Virginia Bass led incumbent Peter La Vallee by only 92 votes at night's end. In the Third Ward City Council race, incumbent Jeff Leonard led challenger Ron Kuhnel by a hair's breadth -- only 81 votes separated the two. Both Leonard and Bass were cautiously optimistic that their lead would hold.

"We feel fairly confident at this point that we won, but we'll wait and see how that comes out in the final count," Leonard told KHUM radio.

Right: Supervisor Bonnie Neely discusses her lead in the last tally of the night. Photo by Heidi Walters.

Leonard said that however the count came out, Eureka would come out on top -- both he and his opponent, Ron Kuhnel, are "great candidates," he said -- but he looked forward to serving the city again.

"Eureka is by far the most diverse community in Humboldt County," Leonard said, adding that just about any issue will have split opinions in the community. "As a councilperson, it's been very important for me to build bridges between the two sides."

The vote for Measure U, an initiative to extend the city's utility user's tax was likewise too close to call, with the "yes" vote leading the "no" vote by only 124 votes.

photo of Larry Glass with Mike DronkersWith only 75 percent of the vote counted in the Arcata City Council race, two candidates looked nonetheless to be cruising to an easy victory -- '70s-era councilmember Alex Stillman and incumbent Mark Wheetley. The two candidates were favored by the business community and the "liberal" faction in city politics. Stillman had a commanding 26.2 percent of the vote; Wheetley with 23.9 percent.

Victorious Larry Glass talks with Mike Dronkers of KHUM radio at Lost Coast Brewery. Photo by Bob Doran.

The main figure in the city's "progressive" community, incumbent Dave Meserve, was running a distant fourth at 11 p.m., behind Stillman, Wheetley and planning commission member Michael Winkler. Talking with KHSU radio at the time those votes came in, Meserve said that he was throwing a "victory or emancipation party." He didn't quite concede defeat, but he said that he expected to still serve an active role in the community.

Arcata voters soundly defeated Measure W, the anti-fluoride "clean water" initiative on the ballot. Again, with 73.7 percent of the vote counted, the "no" vote stood at 62.67 percent, seeming to indicate that fluoride would be staying in the Arcata municipal water supply for the time being.

The two school bonds on the ballot had a split result. The Fortuna initiative, Measure X, seemed to be heading to big victory, with 73.75 percent of residents voting for the bonds with 62.5 percent of the vote counted. Measure Y, in the Jacoby Creek School District was defeated -- 54.79 percent voted no.


Nov. 7, 2006 Election Results (Nov. 7, 11:00 p.m.)

Candidate Name - Number of Votes - Percentage of Votes
* = Winner.


Supervisor District 4
Bonnie Neely - 3026 - 50.99%
Nancy Flemming - 2893 - 48.75%


Arcata City Council
Bobby Harris - 226 - 2.78%
Dave Meserve 1550 - 19.07%
Mark Wheetley - 1942 - 23.90%
Michael Winkler - 1628 - 20.03%
Dana Quillman - 242 - 2.98%
Nick "Eeyore" Page - 163 - 2.01%
Jeffrey Dean Schwartz - 229 - 2.82%
Alex Stillman - 2134 - 26.26%

Eureka Mayor
Virginia Bass - 3608 - 48.55%
Peter LaVallee - 3516 - 47.32%
Jerry Droz - 163 - 2.19%

Eureka City Council Ward 1
* Larry Glass - 3553 - 49.43%
Mary Beth Wolford - 3137 - 43.64%
Patricia "Tish" Wilburn - 492 - 6.84%

Eureka City Council Ward 3
Jeff Leonard - 3561 - 50.55%
Ron Kuhnel - 3480 - 49.40%

Eureka City Council Ward 5
* Mike Jones - 3702 - 52.44%
Nan Abrams - 3351 - 47.47%


Measure U. Utility User Tax -- City of Eureka
- 3,724 - 50.85%      no - 3,600 - 49.15%

Measure W. Fluoridated Water -- City of Arcata
- 1715 - 37.33%      no - 2879 - 62.67% Fail*

Measure Y. Jacoby Creek School Bond
- 561 - 45.21%      no - 680 - 54.79% Fail*



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