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June 15, 2006

15 Questions for Andrea Arnot


Last weekend Eureka Reporter society columnist Andrea Arnot celebrated her 40th birthday, so we chatted on her cell to see what the sultan of swank was doing for her big day and to shamelessly finagle an invite to what we figured would be the year's hottest martini-laden bash, chockablock with HumCo glitterati and gossip aplenty. Unfortunately, she wasn't having the classy affair we envisioned. (Either that or she was just fronting because she didn't want us to come.) At any rate, we went ahead with the Q&A to find out what is on the mind of the woman with her finger on the pulse of the North Coast's upper crust.

Above: Andrea Arnot and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the gathering to announce his gubernatorial re-election campaign.


1. First things first. What are you doing for your birthday, and are you going to cover your own birthday party for your column?

I'm spending it with my husband Steve and my three children and we're going to the Ritz restaurant in Eureka and we're going to get a tempanyaki table and celebrate it there because it's great for children.

2. Your clothes are going to stink afterward from the grease.

[Long pause.] And I think we'll top it off with a big cake from a fabulous North Coast bakery at home.

3. So it's not going to be a big bash with the Who's Who of Humboldt County?


4. Did you consider it?


5. OK, then. The best thing about your column is that it's all about having a good time at a classy party. Why else do you think people enjoy About Town so much?

I get a lot of positive feedback from About Town and I think what people like about it is that it highlights all of the wonderful things that generous, generous North Coast residents are doing for their community, and they're doing it every single week. I can't even go to all the events that happen, and it isn't just the Who's Who. There's a lot of folks that have one cause and they do one big event a year, they're not in everything. I think that's what people like. There's so much negativity, just as we've seen through this political process, that it's neat to open up the paper and see that everyone is coming together to make this a better place.

6. Yeah, that's the thing. A lot of Eureka's news is depressing. It's all about the homeless, stabbings, drug addicts, violence, etc. If your column wasn't around people might think Eureka was a complete hell-hole. Do you think that, in a sense, your column gives a voice to the community that puts up the money to fix this town?

Let me think about that.

I think that it certainly highlights that there are a lot of people that love Humboldt County and they want it to be the best it can be and they're constantly putting their best foot forward. I guess I don't know if it's a "voice," but it definitely lets people know that if they want to be part of helping Miranda's Rescue or the Redwood Memorial Ball or diving into the bay for kids for the Discovery Museum that they can do that and they don't have to sit around and complain about all the negative things about the town. They can make it better and get involved. I hope it encourages people to do that.

7. You're from L.A., so you know what the city scene is like. Would you say that in your 13 years here that there is better nightlife locally?

Oh, this is a much nicer place than it was 13 years ago. There have been new restaurants, new development, new shops. Just the gifts I received this year were from all types of great new shops.

8. What shops?

Alirose — I got a beautiful little sort of piece of jewelry from Alirose. I received a lovely scarf from Plaza Design. I received a darling...[Cell phone reception cuts out.]

A lot of gifts were from Eureka. What I see different is the renovation of Fourth and Fifth streets, the renewal of Old Town and I think the Marina Center will be a fabulous addition to Eureka.

9. But the shops you just mentioned are little boutiques. You don't think the Marina Center will detract from that vibe?

Not at all. I think the Marina Center is going to bring more people to the area to spend the afternoon to dine in the restaurants, pick up specialty items and I think we're going to see good things happen in Old Town. I think the Arkley Center is also going help Old Town. I think you're going to see many more restaurants pop up that are open for post-theater and pre-theater menus. Right now, Old Town closes at a certain time and I think you're going to have all those people stopping in the antique stores, having dessert after a show and coffee. I think it's going to be a fabulous addition.

10. As for restaurants, people wear jeans and T-shirts to Avalon. Do you wish there were more glamor to the nightlife here?

Well, our nightlife is very similar to the nightlife in Portland; it's not like L.A. You can wear Gore-Tex® anywhere and you fit in. Gore-Tex® and jeans and you're ready to go and that's Humboldt County. A great pair of clogs and jeans and, you know, Gore-Tex®. Portland is like that. I think a lot of it is the weather. Then there's the Redwood Memorial Ball every year — people wear black ties and evening gowns.

11. I Googled you. The first article that popped up was from Worth Dikeman's announcement last July that he was running for district attorney. You called Dikeman "Lincolnesque." I love that. What does it mean?

Lincoln was known for never giving up. And despite obstacles he always pushed forward and he was a president for the people. And Worth's slogan was "Ready for the People." And I thought that was appropriate and that's where that came from.

12. Also in that article you called Richard Salzman a new age politico-wannabe? You're harsh, but funny, too. Does anyone ever try to censor your thoughts?

Now they do! [Laughs.] It's true, I no longer cover politics. I actually wanted to do an About Town endorsement column. That got the axe. So.

13. You donated to some political candidates this time around. Most journalists think that's a no-no. Did you consider that readers would detect a bias on your part?

I didn't think they thought there would be a bias because I don't cover political events. That was the first and last one. I've written others that weren't published. [Laughs.]

14. Your husband is a successful attorney. You probably don't have to work, but you do. What motivates you?

I love working for the Eureka Reporter. I am actually an attorney by trade but I am taking a break. So I love the people and I love reporting about all the great stuff in Humboldt County.

15. What is Humboldt County's greatest asset?

The people. We have hard-working people who love the community. They come here and start a cottage industry or cottage businesses. A good example is Robert Goodman, who's opening up a winery in Arcata off the Plaza. We have Holly Yashi, Fire and Light, we have that wonderful chevre cheese company. We have great restaurants. So, the North Coast — it's the people that come here because they want to be here and make it the best it can be.


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