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