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Eureka City Council Candidate Interviews

Fourth Ward

[Connie Miller]

Connie Miller

 [Chris Kerrigan]

Chris Kerrigan

Interview with CONNIE MILLER Oct. 4, 2000

Q. Why are you running?

Because I've live here in Eureka for 30 years. I came here as a young adult. This community has been wonderful to me and to my family and supportive. Our business has thrived here. I am at a point in my life where I am ready to give back in a major way. I have the knowledge and skills to be a council member. I was asked by the mayor to fill a vacancy. I said yes. I think I have done a good job for the city and I would like to continue for four years.


Q. Where do you see the city in 5 years?

I think we need to take the best things that we have and make them better. I been heavily involved in (the committee) Keep Eureka Beautiful because I think creating a beautiful community for the people who are already here is one of the major component of economic development. If you have a community that people love to live in, business will follow that, economic development will follow that. So I am involved in green space improvement, preservation, making the city a more beautiful place which will attract jobs.

I think we need to push for the infrastructure to have 21st century jobs high-tech wiring. I think we need to continue to improve the infrastructure of the city, which we are working very hard on. A lot of our sewer lines and water lines are very old and we continue to replace them, upgrade our streets, look at traffic problems in the city. All of these are being addressed.

I think we need more open communication. I think we need to grow up as a city and the council needs to grow up as a council and to learn management techniques that will move the city forward. So in 5 years I see all those things that are being worked on right now.


Q. What type of industry is right for Eureka?

Light industrial, what people call non-smokestack industry is perfect ... hopefully companies that need to ship on the water or bring products in by the water and take them back out be water, would be perfect.


Q What about Industry outside city?

We absolutely have to look at this as a regional economy. The idea that if a business leaves Eureka and moves to Arcata or Blue Lake is a net loss, I don't see it that way. As long as the job stay in the county and Eureka remains the urban city where people come to do commerce, to do retail business, we will thrive as a system. We are a system, Eureka is just part of a larger system. So I think Eureka's role is when we get a call from someone interested in coming here, or a developer interested in doing a project wants to come here and do a project and it doesn't work in Eureka, we send it to the other entities, to the county, to try to keep it here. If it can't be in Eureka, let it be in the county.


Q. What is the role of retail in the Eureka economy? Should Eureka be the retail center of the county?

Absolutely. It has to remain that way.


Q. Are you concerned about the mini-boom of chain stores (other than Walmart)?

They are going to keep coming because that is the retail wave that this whole country is going through right now. And people obviously like to shop in them. People leave this area and drive hundreds of miles to find those kinds of stores. I think we need to control how many come. My in-laws live in Fresno and I don't want to do what Fresno's done six-lane streets lined with big boxes with concrete parking lots. But I think a few well-place chains are fine.


Q. What was your position on Measure J?

I could not come out publicly against Walmart because of restraint of trade. You can't pick which one (chain) you want to come and which ones you don't want to come without being involved in restraint of trade. I had my reservations about the placement. Really, nothing even came to the council to vote on other than to look into Walmart coming. I voted no. But as a council member, I didn't speak publicly about it.


Q: Is tourism a major player in economic future?

It has to be only part of the picture. I have relatives who live in a town dominated by tourism and it's a different way to live your life, off of tourism.

I think good quality jobs comes with the kind of light manufacturing we talked of earlier. I would never want us to be totally dependent on tourism. Because we live in such a beautiful area, we are always going to be sharing it with tourists. Q. How do you feel about Dave Tyson's requirement for a 4-1 vote to replace him should it become necessary? Based on the history of the City Council of Eureka, it's an excellent step forward because it makes it more difficult to replace him. Someone can't just have a snit-fit one day and easily gather the votes to get rid of the manager because I would guess on any city council, there is always the no person, a person who votes no on everything. That's how they live their life and you usually have someone who sits the fence on everything, the person people go to to try to influence. And the person who gets angry, as we've seen. We have one city council member who has fired three city managers.

Eureka has a history of not doing proper management of that key employee. So until the council learns proper management, that's a safeguard so that this can't continue. What you don't fix, you repeat.


Q. What are your thoughts on the Prosperity document?

I regularly attend the (Business) Leadership Roundtable sessions, so I am very familiar with it. I've been to 3 or 4 presentations to different groups. I think it's fabulous. I think anything that draws everyone in the county together in one document and approaches economic development from the key areas that they are talking about looking at industry clusters, looking at quality of life, looking at what we have already have here and how do we build on it without ... None of us wants to dramatically change the character of the North Coast. This document helps us preserve what we have and yet has the ... it's the infrastructure mentally, psychologically and now, physically to go forward. I think it's a wonderful document.


Q. What about parking?

I call it the "P" word. Parking is interesting because there are so many facets of it. I think a lot of business people look at it as, "My business isn't doing well because there's a parking problem. Gosh, there's not enough parking for people who want to come to my store."

I have a feeling there's plenty of parking. I think right now all the studies prove to us that there's adequate parking. We're not managing it always as well as we could. I think to build a parking structure right now would be insanity because it costs $15,000 a space to build a space.

The council gets a lot of pressure. When are you going to build a parking structure? Until Old Town/downtown is in-filled with shops and restaurants and hotels, are we going to build a structure? In the meantime, what we are doing is using all the surface parking we can and moving it around to fit the needs of what we're doing. The latest thing we are doing with H and I streets. Any of us who drive I Street into town and come home H street know that from 4th Street over, there are giant parking lots. There are very few cars that use those sections of the street, so we've added diagonal parking. We can put an extra 40 cars on each street. We're trying. We've gotten to be very creative with parking problems and parking solutions. That's what we need to be until this town is a little bit more complete.

None of the parking right now is set in concrete. If something doesn't work, we'll change it. Our new city engineer is wonderfully creative. He thinks out of the box extraordinarily well. And if the things we come up with are not working, we'll change it. All we're doing right now is painting stripes.


Q. How about the Headwaters money? Should it be kept in an endowment or spent? What for? Is there any resentment on the city's part for, as some say, ignoring the original MOU on Headwaters?

The MOU was pretty clear in saying, if this Headwaters thing goes, it's going to hurt the whole regional economy and we need to act together. There's a lot of resentment between the city and the county. I haven't heard that talked about specifically with the staff. The city we were talking about earlier (in Washington state) has two full-time people out selling their harbor and your comment ... They have $22 million, and the county, in my mind, is not taking a leadership role in economic development. Economic development has pretty much fallen into the lap of the city of Eureka. We don't have access to that money, yet we're the engine driving economic development. I think that they should .... Q. What agency is not doing its job? I think what happens in this county is that we have so many people doing the same job that we don't get a focus. We need to have a focused presence at so many levels at the state, at the federal level. You know, the little old city of Eureka with 28,000 people, we are a pimple. We get a little bit more powerful when we get the 125,000, whatever, people countywide together. I think the county has to provide that kind of cohesive, one-voice leadership. I think RREDC, those places, does a wonderful job, but again, we are fractured off into so many little pieces and I think we should use that money in one cohesive voice.


Q. Then, two questions: an endowment and what to spend it on?

Personally I don't like endowment money. Because when you have endowment money people begin to say, use the endowment money and they begin to lose interest, being part of problem-solving, (saying) we don't have to do it, just use the interest.

I think we should come up with a plan for economic development or whatever we're going to use it for and go on not keep it. You have to spend money to make money. That's the first thing you learn in business.

I have tremendous respect for the HAF, but I've noticed a big trend in my outside reading of philanthropists giving money saying I want it spent in 20 years, putting a timeline. How long is it going to sit there? A hundred years? The world will change. If I had millions and millions of money to put into an endowment, I would say, this is what I want to accomplish and the number of years I want it spent. Putting it into an endowment gets us off the hook for having any plan. So we come up again with little fractured plans year after year.


Q. What about a convention center and the city's role in financing it?

A couple of meetings ago, we authorized money to be spend on that piece of property that we have set aside for a convention center the piece between the performance park east of the Adorni Center and the Samoa Bridge. We have that site picked out, hopefully for a public/private partnership. And so we're going ahead and doing the CEQUA studies, all the studies so that basically when someone wanted to do a project, all they would have to do is walk in and it would be ready to go after public hearings. We are doing the groundwork. We recently had an interested party, but the city was not able to come up to the plate with enough on our side. ... It wasn't my favorite project. I would have supported it because someone wanted to go forward with a project, but I would actually, personally, prefer to see the city do it on its own.


Q. Even if a convention center loses money and are run just as a draw for other businesses?

I'm not calling it a convention center. I'm calling it a community center. We need a place for the community  and again, the North Coast community, not just the city of Eureka. Look at how popular Riverwalk is (in Fortuna). It seats 350. We'd like to seat 500 and I think there are definitely enough times when we need to do that. If the building is designed properly, it could be designed properly, you could have two weddings at one time, you could break it up in smaller pieces so you could be having three events. But there is a great demand. Look at the Wharfinger Building. It's beyond what we thought the demand would be for it. We don't have a space where we can seat 500 people for dinner. And so I think it could at least break even. I don't know if it could make money.

My idea is Riverwalk and beyond. It's got to be stunning with soaring ceilings, a place where you want to walk in all dressed up and have a party and also have a convention center.


Q. Concerning the city's relationship to other entities, the county and harbor commission. Any ideas on how to improve?

The city of Eureka does a staff retreat each year. I think that we need facilitated workshops with the Board of Supervisors, and the city council members of all the cities, where we get together and we work on learning how to work together because it isn't something we necessarily all bring to the skill mix when we're elected. As just a concerned community member I've been a volunteer my whole life, I've run a business but I don't know how to now go out and bring the Board of Supervisors into the fold and have the city of Arcata...

There are terrific facilitators out there who know how to bring people together and find your common ground and help you get a plan together. I would like to see us do facilitated retreats.


Q. It's not a city matter directly but what about the tobacco funds?

I am furious about that. The (Eureka) Chamber board just had a presentation about that from the tobacco education people and I remember Lee Brown with the meth task force standing up and talking about cigarettes being the point of entry for future drug use. And look at the new numbers on children and poor nutrition and obesity. And they (county supervisors) took $2.3 million dollars (unclear amount) and put it into the general fund.


Q. And the Harbor District?

I think that we need to get together and come up with common goals. We don't need to like each other, but we need to be on the same page as to where we're headed. I honestly couldn't tell you where the harbor district is headed.


Q. Where are we headed ... and who's doing the planning? The county? RREDC?

I like to do jigsaw puzzles and I look at the county like a 1,000-piece puzzle. Have you ever tried to do a puzzle upside down where you can't see the picture? That's what I feel like we're doing. "Prosperity" is the first document that gives us a picture. That's what I say to the people who want to bring the Midway to Eureka. What is it going to look like? It's seven stories tall. It's bigger than the Bayshore Mall. Do you have a picture? Or are you doing the puzzle upside down? You've got this great idea, but you don't know how it's going to turn out in the end. I think we need to sit down and say, OK, 20 years from now, what is Humboldt County going to look like and be specific! We've got a bypass around Eureka? What is it first, so we can then structure the map on how to get there.

As far as I can see and it's one of my big frustrations in coming on the council  was, we don't know where we are going. How do you get there when you don't know where you're going. And you fire your city manager for not doing what you want, but you've never told him what you want. It's not brain surgery. It's where do we want to go and how are we going to get there.

It's not that RREDC doesn't do a good job, it's that nobody every said to RREDC this is where we going. We sit around and talk and talk, but we have the puzzle upside down and we don't know what the picture is.

There was a wonderful article, Alaska Airlines had it, about Portland and (former) Gov. McCall. He sat down and said, whatever we do, we need to keep Oregon livable. So Portland sat down and said, OK, this is what we want our city to be like. They drew a picture in great detail of what they wanted Portland to be like. They wanted open spaces, they wanted green, they wanted beauty, they wanted livability and they wanted development. And that was in the early '70s, and in 30 years, (and) they've accomplished it. Now they are refining those goals and going into the next phase of it. And now they are going to work really intently on their schools. They want to have the best schools in the nation.

But we've got $22 million. We could draw a picture. When you drive the border into Humboldt County from any end and we have a picture, what do we want this county to be like. What are our strengths, what are our weaknesses. I think we could come together liberal, conservative, ecologist, forester. I think we could come up with a picture. That's what I would find exciting to work toward.

You know, I started that trails committee, people are coming up to me everywhere I go, they are so excited about that possibility of making this county a place where we could be outside enjoying it, but there's not a whole lot of places we can be outside and enjoy it. There aren't a whole lot of place for moms to take their little kids. And I think we could gather together, like Portland did, having planning charrettes and, kind of what the general plan (process) is, and I understand a lot has come out about trails and outdoor amenities and keeping this place beautiful and building on that.

Look at the economic development attracted to Portland. They're thriving. And if we don't start today, it's not going to exist in 20 years. It's still going to be factions and fractured. We need to draw a picture. And I mean an actual picture. We have great artists. Draw a picture! And then, When I sit in a City Council meeting and I'm going to make a decision, in the back of my mind  I've got this picture.

I remember coming on the council and saying, where do we go with this, where is the city of Eureka trying to head. and where does this issue fit in with where we're trying to be. It's very frustrating not to have that. As a council, we don't have it. We don't have a 20-year plan for the city that the citizens have said, this is how we want out city. So what we're becoming is an east side, west side. It makes me very sad.


Q. So this 20-year picture. What are you going to do about it?

In my next term, after I get past this election, Dave Tyson and I have already talked about it, I know of one facilitator who would be wonderful who has done this for other cities. I think we need to talk to Portland and find out how they did it. We need to talk to cities like Fort Collins, Colo.. that in the '70s didn't have at trail, didn't have any economic development. They were a city that was dying and now they always make it into the top 10 livable cities in the U.S. with economic development, good hospitals, good schools, outdoor amenities. I think we need to have dialogue with cities that we like, areas that we like, places that have accomplished.

I don't want Silicon Valley. Let's look at Silicon Valley and say, that's what we don't want and let's look at areas that we do want to be and find out how they got there.


Q. And how about the homeless?

We just got another extension. The city's willing to pay $900,000 and the guy (property owner) wants $1.2 million, so they've asked him to come back with a counterproposal.


Q. Does the City Council has the will to do it?

It's not the city. Our job is to provide the building. It's the county's responsibility to provide social services. I don't think there is a conscious effort on the part of the city to delay. Finding a location has been tough.


Q. How are you financing your campaign? How much will you spend?

So far I have collected $5,282 in cash and $703 in nonmonetary contributions. I still have all my media buys to do which I think will cost another $5,000. My budget $10-12,000 which appalls me, the 4x4 signs are $57 each.

... I get asked if the Arkleys are financing the Miller campaign. Rob Arkley gave me a check for $500. Anyone who wants can stop by my house and look. The lowest is $5, the highest $500 from Rob.

I'm having an event, Oct. 15, Sunday, Sequoia Park event. Free hot dogs, drinks. It's a picnic in the park.


Follow up questions Oct. 9


Q. Why didn't you announce publicly your opposition to Measure J?

I don't think it's appropriate for sitting council member to attempt to influence an election. The same as the recall committee, I am taking no position. Regarding Measure J, we had nothing to vote on yet. For a council member to take a position before something is brought to us is not appropriate.

Walmart was in town principally to deal with a private landowner. I made nice with Walmart because they made it perfectly clear there would be a lawsuit for restraint of trade if we (the council) said no Walmart. Also, I am not opposed to big box stores. (end interview with Connie Miller)


Interview with CHRIS KERRIGAN Oct. 4, 2000


Q. What is your background and why are you running?

First of all, I graduated St. Bernard's High School. I've attended ... (I was) born and raised in Eureka, grown up in this area. I attended College of the Redwoods. I am currently attending Humboldt State, getting a degree in political science. I'm a youth basketball coach ... have been a youth basketball coach at St. Bernard's High School. I decided to run because I felt people needed to have a choice in this election.


Q. What do you mean by choice? You are not happy with incumbent and are offering different ideas?

Yeah, there are different ideas between myself and my opponent. I thought people needed a choice to see the contrast between those views and have a choice ... And, you know, the change of direction of the city council.


Q. What change of direction, specifically?

I think the City Council in general has not been looking at the issues of the future. I think there's a lot of things they could do better. And one of the things is ... I'll be 21 the day before the election and what I'm concerned about, and people my age are concerned about, and people in general, is bringing in good jobs to the area and not having to leave the area. Too many of my friends, too many people I know come up to me from the day I graduated high school to today and say they are leaving the area because there is not any opportunity here. And I think what we need to work on is getting those good-paying jobs that give us good wages, good benefits.


Q. How aware are you of the current efforts in economic development, of the people working to attract industry here?

Some of it. Because for too long the city council ... has been attracting, or business they have been trying to attract, is retail business. I have a difference of opinion with my opponent because I don't believe simply retail business can keep this area afloat. Fishing and timber are not going to be what they once were, they're no longer what they once were. We have to bring in the good-paying jobs. To simply bring in retail business that pay minimum wage jobs with no benefits that's not good enough for people in my age group.


Q. I assume you are talking about last year's Measure J. Are you aware that Connie Miller voted against Measure J?

It was my understanding that she did not vote, that she was absent when the City Council voted.


Q. I don't believe it was ever brought before the council for a vote. I'm talking about the ballot measure, not a city council vote.

I wasn't aware of that. I don't recall her making that a matter of public record. I'd like to see that. I remember her being absent from that meeting and I have a letter that said, you know, she'll leave it up to the voters.


Q. So, in general, you believe the direction of the council, and the incumbent, has been going after retail jobs?

That alone is not adequate.


A. Are you familiar with Prosperity document and what is your opinion of it?

I think it's a good idea. I especially like the idea of us operating as an economic region, of not competing with each other, allowing small businesses to grow, you know, to produce more jobs and grow within the community. And one of the things that concerns me is that we are fighting for tax revenue with Arcata, Fortuna, other cities in this area and I don't think it's the healthiest way to go about it.

I think we should be focusing and working together to attract business, not simply fighting against each other for retail business, for sales tax dollars. That's why I'm opposed to tax increment financing, not on every case.


Q. Tell us some more about your background. Isn't it unusual for someone your age to be running for such a prominent office?

I've been class president, a member of the associated students through high school. Politics is something I've always been interested in. My grandfather was a judge (Dominic Banducci), my great uncle is superintendent of Humboldt County Schools (Louis Bucher). I grew up in a family where politics were discussed, where service was seen as an honorable profession I want to enter and I think I can do a good job, especially when it comes to representing all citizens.


Q. Specifically, what ideas do you have to bring in these good-paying jobs?

I think having the land available for light industrial and high-tech ... high-tech businesses to support them. With high tech business, it's going to take a professional marketing task force to go out and sell this area to businesses looking to relocate. We have an advantage over a lot of areas because our quality of life is very high. It's a beautiful area and the cost of living is low. So to these companies looking to relocate, it can be an attractive area. But they have to know about it, it has to be sold.

And the technical infrastructure is beginning to become in place. With our lack of transportation, that's the type of business we can bring in and can thrive in this area.


Q. Are you familiar with the Pac Bell cable, what they are doing and what it will mean to this area? Are you familiar with other economic development efforts? And, what type of industrial?

Light industrial. Industry that can coincide with our environment. That's why it was important for that balloon tract to be saved for light industrial use.


Q. Were you in support of the Arkley proposal and gift?

I believe 13 acres were for industrial and another 14 for a park.


Q. And parking.

Right. I wasn't opposed to it. It was unfortunate that something couldn't be worked out. That the problem with the City Council not getting along and acting in a divisive manner. It's unfortunate that that offer has been taken off the table. It takes both sides, to give and take.


Q. Why did that deal go sour?

Besides the instability on the council and the perception that they can't get along and that nothing could be worked out. How are you going to work together to hammer something out when you can't get along? That's no doubt, it hurt.


Q. By replacing Connie Miller with you, it would make a difference?

Oh, absolutely.


Q. Are you running in conjunction with Virginia Bass-Jackson?

We have the media buyer, the same person. We both hired him. He's also working for Walt Giacommni. I'm a Democrat, she's a Republican.


Q. Other campaign workers or advisors in common?

Oh, yeah. ... (Patty Berg). I choose Rick (Brazeau, MTC Assoc.), I learned about him because of my campaign manager. He worked with him pretty closely on Measure J. Edie Young, I met her in high school when she was president of Rotary, I was guest of Rotary. ...


Q. Were you active on No on Measure J?

Not at the committee level. I was opposed to Measure J.


Q. Other supporters?

Peter La Vallee and I were both endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee. Support seems to come from both ways. I like both those candidates, they both would do a good job (La Vallee and Bass-Jackson).


Q. What is your vision for Eureka in 5 years?

I would like to see an area that has economic opportunity and that I'd like to see that people who graduate from this area, who grow up in this area, can go to work and get a good-paying job and raise a family.

I think another thing I'd like to see is this city's water infrastructure, the road infrastructure, to be soundly in place and that's my vision. And to have the harbor working, the railroad working. There's a lot of opportunity.

What's it's going to take is an active city government to pursue these. And divisiveness and political bickering going on is just not going to do it. We just can't continue to fight over the issues of the past. We have to work on implementing our general plan, staying consistent with that, and reaching where we can be.


Q. Are you concerned with and mini-boom in chain stores?

(interrupted) I was opposed to Walmart in that location, not particularly in general opposed to Walmart. Simply bringing in a big box retailer was not going to provide the jobs we need.


Q. Some people believe the city is and was actively recruiting retail stores

... Oh, a lot of people do! I mean with the city manager. I don't know what he was up to ... what he was or wasn't doing to recruit business. I'm concerned ... that we seem to be going into ... retail business.


Q. What part in economic development do you see for tourism?

A good industry, but I don't believe it can be a primary industry. The jobs it brings are primarily low-paying jobs. I believe Eureka is at a crossroads. It can't simply be a retail and tourist economy. We have to bring in the good-paying jobs, develop the good-paying jobs that will keep our economy flowing and raise people's incomes and that will in turn lead to more sales tax dollars when people have more money to spend.


Q. What do you see as obstacles to business and what can we do to promote economic development?

Like I talked about, the professional marketing task force. That's something...


Q. Is that something for the city to do, or the county, or both?

I think that's why it's important to have a good operating relationship between the city and the county. I don't think we do right now.


Q. Are parking needs being addressed?

Not entirely. What I'm concerned about is selective enforcement. And that's where the city is cutting certain people special deals when it comes to parking required for buildings. I think that's one thing ....


Q. Who is getting a special deal with parking? Who specifically?

Oh, I'm not going to name names because ... I don't know all the names, but I know it's a concern of many people.


Q. We deal in facts. When someone makes a claim like that, I have to ask, who?

I don't know the specifics, the names of the projects. I think that parking is a problem, especially in the downtown and Henderson areas. I don't think the city should be giving deals to certain developers. I believe it should be enforced all the way around. City spots should not go simply for one business. I'd like to see the issue ...


Q. Do you know of a case where city lots have been handed over to a developer?

Yeah ... I'm aware that was done, I believe that was done about a month ago in a City Council meeting. I'm not sure right now what the name of the project was or who was behind it, but I think 40 city spots went to a project. (Editor's note: The Journal later learned the project was 40 spots designated to Vance Hotel developer Kurt Kramer which were replaced by 40 additional street parking spaces in the area.)


Q. Are you in favor of public-private partnership, such as on the waterfront?

You know, I think that ... not necessarily. I really think the city should stay out of dealing with private property, generally.


Q. Just stick to infrastructure?



Q. Should the city do something more about high profile, derelict buildings?

I think one of the things we can do is helping with the parking, some kind of public parking. One of the things that's going to keep developers from coming is a place to park.


Q. Specifically where?

I'm not sure. I haven't gotten to the point where I've looked at specific lots.


Q. How can the city improve the entrance to the city visually? What about billboards?

Billboards are up for businesses that are not even in existence, in some cases. I haven't driven down there lately. That's one thing to look at.


Q. How about the Headwaters money? Should it be an endowment earning interest with just the interest spent or should it be spent on a specific economic development project?

I'd have to look into it before I can give you an answer.


Q. How about endowment vs. spending it?

Haven't thought about it. It's a county issue ...


Q. If someone put $22 million on the table for the city and said, spend it!

I think it should go to the city's water infrastructure, the road infrastructure. We continue to see skyrocketing utility taxes. I'd like to see ... I don't know about the railroad. It would take a lot more than $22 million. I think, park maintenance to bring the parks up to speed.


Q. What about parks?

Do we have too many, not enough? Not the right kind? I don't think we have too many. I don't think we have not enough either. I think the real problem with the parks is deferred ... maintenance. Some of them are underfunded.


Q. Which ones?

The Hammond and E park, on E streets. The maintenance is not there. It's on the West side of town, basically. It hasn't received enough attention.


Q. Is there a dividing line between the east and west? The haves and the have nots?

I think they (the west side) are concerned about ... youth homes always going in their neighborhoods, (and) not in the better economic areas.


Q. Is this a class race?

For instance, people getting angry about the mayor going off to Florida to promote tourism or to encourage ships visiting? There is that sentiment. What you have to look at is whether or not it (the mayor's trips) is really beneficial to Eureka. In some cases, it's necessary, in some cases it may not be. I do think, you know, ... One of the thing that we should look at as a city is that these trips should be talked about at city council meetings, they should be public so we know and are aware that a certain city council person is going and what direct benefit it has to the city. That kind of openness will help... But when people hear that the mayor or a certain city council person is out of town for a week on the taxpayers dole, they're obviously going to be skeptical because the reasons have not been in the city council meeting.


Q. How about the budget. Have you reviewed it? What concerns you?

I think the deferred maintenance. You know, I think in some cases it may be necessary, but ...


Q. Streets? Sewer? And water?

I think one thing... We put a lot of money into street development, into the redevelopment agency. That can be a good thing but it is also ... The most important thing is to look at police, fire, safety essential services, road maintenance. Those are the items in the budget that may be underfunded ...


Q. As a young person, what other ideas do you have for parks now and in the future? Skateboard? Aquatic center?

I think it was a lot of money. ($7,000 for a study.) In that case, it might have been worth looking into. But ... our police and fire have a tremendous retention, ah ... You know, they're having trouble keeping officers and firefighters because of the low pay.


Q. How about the convention center? Should it be a priority?

I think a convention center, I can see it playing an important role.


Q. Are you in agreement with the city's focus on waterfront?

Do you support developments such as the boardwalk? It's important. I just think we should not lose focus on what we should be doing, creating light industrial jobs to sustain our economy and give us a step up. Bringing in simply retail business, I believe, is just a band aid.


Q. What about the city's relationship with other entities? County? Harbor Commission?

The communication between city and county is poor. I've been talking with lots of people. They have to work together.


Q. What can be done?

I think first of all, a city council that is not as divisive and bickering with each other.


Q. Was Jim Gupton correct in making the motion, in cutting off debate on the city manager's termination?

I don't know. All I can say....


Q. Pretend you were sitting there that night. You're on the council, how would you vote?

I don't know. They (the public) had opportunity to speak before... I really think the whole Harvey Rose thing is an issue in the past. We can't go back to change that.


Q. I assume you support David Tyson. How about the 4-1 firing clause in his contract?

It's pretty interesting. You know... Yeah, I support the contract. (Laughs.) It's a great deal for Dave.


Q. What about the homeless and the MAC (proposed multiple assistance center)?

I think it's something that we have the HDBG, how do you say it? (CDBG) grant for. I think homelessness is a problem and it needs to be dealt with.


Q. Is it a city priority or is the city avoiding it?

Should they get on it? Absolutely. It's not being dealt with because, it's so divisive on the council right now.


Q. How do you feel about the mayor and the job she is doing?

Is she a factor in this race? I think there's ... she's a good ambassador. I know, I've had that conversation with people. I think she excels in that area. We have a difference of opinion on where the city should be going on ... retail business. That's a disagreement. I've seen her work with people, entertain people from out of the area.


Q. Are you drawing support that might be anti-mayor?

I knew all along that once I got into this, there are people who are drawn to me because they don't like my opponent or what my opponent has done. It's perfectly naturally that they also don't support her (the mayor). A lot of the people who are unhappy with Connie may be unhappy with the mayor.


Q. Are you opposed to the recall?

I support a citizen's right to recall. My concern with the recall effort is I don't believe their reasons are serious enough to warrant a recall. The proper effort ... would be to do it through reelection. Recall should be reserved for problems that are serious.


Q. What about annexation to gain industrial land or for other purposes, someone even mentioned marketing?

To be honest, I don't know how you'd go about doing that. Some people who live just outside the city want to have a vote, a say...


Q. What is your campaign budget?

I think we've raised ... about $10,000.


Q. How much will you spend?

I don't know. Maybe $15,000. We try to be as cost effective as we can. MTC, we use them only when we need them.


Q. $10,000, that's a lot of money to have raised in a short period of time especially for someone 20 years old?

Well, I worked hard. I went out and worked hard. I have friends and families members who are very supportive and have helped me out in fund-raising. There are a lot of small contributions.


Q. Is youth an issue?

I think people may see it as an issue. I am committed to this area. I don't think it's necessarily a disadvantage. I'm a citizen of Eureka. I care. I know the issues. I'm a hard worker. I've worked with kids. I think I can do an effective job. I'm old enough to die for my country.


Q. What do you see as a career when you're out of college?

I went to a year at CR (College of the Redwoods) and a year at Portland, Mt. Hood College (community) to try to play basketball. I hurt my ankle. I like basketball. I love coaching. Then I came back to go to HSU. I have to have surgery at some point. Right now, I'm just taking one class ... to focus on this ... to be able to give this my best shot. I'll probably take a little bit of a reduced load if I'm elected and probably go during the summer to catch up.

I'd like to teach, to be active in the community and do public service.

Second Ward

[Virginia Bass-Jackson]

Virginia Bass-Jackson

[Peter La Vallee]

Peter La Vallee

[Brent McCoy]

Brent McCoy

Interview with VIRGINIA BASS-JACKSON, Oct. 2, 2000

Q. How much do plan to spend on this election and who are some of your supporters?

(Judge) John Morrison, Harvey Harper, Myron & Abrahamson (customers and the restaurant) Bill and Sandy Weier. Mostly $100 and below. I plan to spend between $15,000-$20,000, hopefully closer to $15,000.


Q. Are you running in conjunction with Chris Kerrigan?

Not really, but we tend to be in a lot of the same circles. At first, my understanding he wasn't going to use an agency because he had his own campaign staff. I talked to Chris. I think he's a very energetic young man. He's a real go-getter, has some great ideas. He's obviously shy on experience side but my personal thought is that people gain experience as you go along and if you've got energy and want to learn, you'll get that experience. I've been impressed with his ... tenancity.

On other hand, Connie's husband has been my dentist forever.

But I have more of a business-type aspect or belief that there are certain core things the city should take care of and Connie comes from the aspect that you of fix the outside the parks, the trails and then people will come and the other will be taken care of. From a business perspective, I just am the kind of person that things are in order. Like the chicken or the egg. Do people come because you got the parks and the facilities, or do those come after people come for the jobs.


Q. What is being neglected?

One thing that came to mind is the building of the grand park at the balloon tract. It looks like a wonderful park but I've spent time in our parks. I had my wedding in Sequoia Park and I think the existing parks don't get the attention they deserve. I was wondering how we were going to take care of such a magnificent park if we can't take care of what we have.

I live by Ross Park, I'm not even comfortable walking there because I think there are some unsavory types that hang around. I just think that's one area that needs help. The roads need help, but all of a sudden, the city is doing a lot on the roads. They've been doing road work for three weeks straight. It was funny, when David Tyson was appointed. I think he's already done a great thing for the city as far as communication goes. At least the media, the Times Standard, there's articles on positive aspects of what's going on, things are being taken care of.

I think the communication didn't get out to the public. One guy said we're like a bunch of mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed bull. The general resident feels they're not in the loop. Sometimes things came out like there was some back-handed or underhanded deal. Maybe some communication thing ... might have made it easier to understand. There's a line between what the public needs to know but I think they need to know more than they're having given them.

A lot of people don't go to do the research, don't feel comfortable. That doesn't mean that the city has to offer it on a platter, but I think some enhanced communication will be helpful.


Q. What are you ideas about how to do that as a council person?

Dave Tyson, I just mentioned, I don't know if it's him, or if things are just coming out. I sure would like to accentuate the positive but people need to know the negative as well. There might be rules of what you can and can't say that I don't know yet. I'm learning every day. I'm meeting every day, but I sure don't have all the answers.

I talk to someone today who said, you know what I want? The one thing I want is the roads cleaned up in town and out of town. So what can you do about that? Well, I can go out with my weed-eater, I guess, or I know what my Kiwanis Club can do we do projects but as a council person, I'm not sure how much influence on one item one has. I believe if you bring it to the attention of the council and it gets taken up (that's one way).

One way to get enhanced communication is to involve the community more whether it's committees or whatever.


Q. Another candidate suggested community forums away from city hall to improve communication, if there is enough interest, at a place like the Wharfinger Building?

That's what I said about increased communication between both ways. Same thing about the budget process. They have to have one public hearing (per year on the budget), but I think they should have more. It's difficult, I know, but they could get someone to moderate it, to hold it all together. If the Wharfinger Building is a better venue so that people can speak their piece, I think it's a great idea.


Q. What about existing advisory committees parks and parking. Are they doing a good job solving problems?

Right now a lot of the committees ... They are very smart, savvy folks that know how to get things done and that's great. I think the general citizen over on Henderson Street who wants to get involved in a project, doesn't know how to get involved.

I'm big on things ... A friend mentioned "adopt a park." That a great thing. Get some different clubs, citizens who want to clean up. But, I guess you run across things like, maintenance people for the city. It's their job. There was a different group that wanted to help the schools and when it comes to building something for the school, it was hard for them to do it because that's their job. ...


Q. What prompted you to run? You said you considered running for mayor two years ago. Is this election a referendum on the current mayor?

I get it from both sides. Someone said the other day, you were seen talking to the mayor. OK. You were seen talking to someone on the other side. Therefore da-da-da-da-da-da... Someone else asked me if I was a lackey for the mayor. or, are you Jim Gupton in a skirt?

I don't see it like that. I've got a lot of energy, I've got a lot of good ideas and I get things done.


Q. So what are the issues? The balloon tract? Harvey Rose?

It's not just the dissatisfaction, Harvey, not moving forward or the divisiveness. There are things, just the way people behave in public that I have not been real fond of. When Jack McKellar stands up and his comment about not wanting counseling or that was a waste of money or the time. Connie Miller told everyone to leave if they couldn't come forward to speak about Harvey Rose.

I just think outbursts like that don't serve the council well. That can be done behind closed doors.


Q. What are the different issues? Where did you stand on Measure J last year?

Measure J, I look at it as a zoning issue. I can't imagine saying no to it because it's a store. There's a lot of people, Friends of Humboldt ... I wasn't so much against it from the standpoint of the big box coming to town. There are also the restaurants that come into town. We may squawk when a new restaurant comes in but that's what business is. We learn to survive. We find our niche, our way to do it.

So as far as it being a big box issue ... my basic thought is that I don't mind Home Depot. I shop at Home Depot when I go out of town. I don't think it belongs on the balloon tract. I'd like to see it cleaned up put into 2/3 industrial park, 1/3 park. I don't mind some park down there that makes it a nice comfortable place for people who work there. But I don't think it's a place for a big store.

The decision was right not to put Walmart there. When it comes to the Arkleys offer regarding the balloon tract, it's a wonderful offer, my questions are probably the same as many other people. Off hand, the clean-up, I would hope ... There is an estimate for the cleanup, I don't know how accurate that is. I've never dealt with clean-up. I would just be concerned that it could grow bigger knowing that the Costco was quite pricey. But that one had an estimate and I could deal with that. The cost of the park, I never saw anything outlining where the money would come from to build the park. I would assume it would come from the city, but I don't know how much that would be. Then there's maintenance of the park that I was concerned about because, can we maintain what we have already? And I also heard... there was also new information that I heard that could have played a part. I recently talked to somebody who said that it didn't have to be a park along that grand scale, that the Arkley would have been happy with something much smaller. ... I never heard that before.

If additional information comes in that's difference, I can understand changing my thought. As far as industrial goes, my thought is that that would be the perfect place to put it. I'm not talking smokestack industrial. I don't think anybody is.


Q. So what type of industrial development do you see?

Well, everybody's talking about industrial high tech and ... I'm not sure how realistic that is at this time. I talked to a friend at Intel. I'd love to see it happen, but... He's a VP and he moved up to Washington, Tumwater. I asked him why can't you move to Eureka, what are the drawbacks? In his estimation, he mentioned, perceived lack of workforce, lack of education and the airport. They want to be within an hour of an international airport.

The airport issue, we can kind of stretch that. There's charters. We can take care of that. I was surprised by the fact that there is the feeling that there is a lack of an educated workforce. I said, There are all sorts of masters that are waiting tables. He pointed out that those are masters in forestry. ... Well, that's not right. we've got a couple of great institutions up here. One thing that would be important to bring those kind of jobs up here would be to partner with HSU and try to work on ... it used to be CIS (computer information systems) technology school ... and get it up to a standard where businesses seek employees who graduate from HSU and CR and maybe those businesses would think about coming here.

Something on a smaller scale, I talked to ... Peter Schickley, who's trying to develop a tech hub. I don't know all the particulars... I know there's interest. His complaint is we are very slow in our response time. When someone comes and says they'd like to relocate, Eureka, in his estimation, responds very slowly. It takes several months if not longer and he says, we need it in, you know, in weeks. ... I'm thinking there has got to be some way to get some parcels of land ready. When someone calls up, can you help us. and the city says yes, these are the parcels and these are the restrictions, this is what you have to do.

I don't know how much space we need. I understand that (the balloon tract) is the last piece of industrial land, and there might be more. So I'm not someone who has a determined agenda ... I've sat in on different meetings on the (Eureka) Chamber board and I know that when when O&M was looking for a place to go, I know it was very difficult to find a place and they ended up going to Arcata.


Q. We're you upset Eureka lost those industrial jobs?

It was a disappointment that they couldn't find what they want in Eureka. They go there ... I don't have any personal upsettedness. I was just disappointed that they wanted Eureka and they went to Eureka first and Eureka couldn't do it. That's where my concern on that issue was...

Q. Should Eureka be the cultural and retail center of the county?

I believe in a balanced approach to growth and development. I guess my thoughts are that retail and service dollars don't provide the kind of income to drive the area. Granted people from out of Eureka ... would come in here and spend their money some here. But generally when you're dealing with the retail and service business, most people live in the same town where they work and make minimum wages (up) to $8 an hour. It's not a real high-paying segment.


Q. You don't think Eureka is the primary retail center of the county?

I've heard people say it. I think I heard Connie Miller say it at a Chamber meeting. I'm not real comfortable with it. In my mind it means bring all the retail and don't bring anything else into Eureka. I just think we need some of those industrial dollars in our town as well. Being in a service business, I know my employees don't get to go out and spend all their money. I'm just saying, I don't think retail dollars can drive an economy. When you talk about regional, it's a different issue.


Q. Should the city's approach to economic development be city economic development or regional?

Overall, you have to have regional, too.... But I don't think that everything else has to be outside. I don't think anyone is saying, all industry and no retail and service in Eureka, so why should we say all service and retail? Why block out any new business.


Q. What type of industry do you envision?

Light industrial. I don't think anyone's advocating smokestack industrial.


Q. Walmart was last year. This year's hot-button issue was the council failure to accept the Arkleys offer. Did they blow it?

In going door to door, I don't get an overwhelming sense of, they should have done it. I hear things like, well, there were the conditions attached. But there we go again on communication.

I think a lot of us ... thought that was the way it was going to be, those were the conditions, and if it wasn't going t be that way, then the offer was withdrawn. And then when Jim Gupton ... when they wanted to put the advisory measure on the ballot, I wasn't real comfortable with it on ballot. It comes from the thought of land use issues and zoning being so easily challenged. I think the way that should have been handled was a more open dialogue with the community (where) they had a town hall meeting ... a forum, where (citizens) had a chance to come in and say, yes we really want this.

They have a City Council meeting and you get an hour where people can say it, but It's not a real good overall feeling from the whole community. There's a lot of people who don't go to the council meetings because it's on tape. I have someone who works down here concerned about something and I say, you know, you can go before the council. She goes, It's on TV. I can't do that.

Calling something a town hall forum and making it a more comfortable atmosphere, saying we want your opinion, I would have been more comfortable with that that putting (the balloon tract gift) on the ballot making it an advisory measure.


Q. But the council voted to put it on the ballot and then the flip-flopped on it.

And that's something else I don't agree with. ... when they said only three people could speak for Harvey Rose. I think, you know, if you're going to have open dialogue and open public dialogue, you have to be really careful about placing a limit.


Q. How about the homeless and the MAC center?

We need to deal with it. ... I have a friend who went up to Ashland and they have a program that the police come along and say, you've got to move along. But is that enough? You can't patrol all the streets. I talked to one business owner and he said we don't have a homeless problem here. But guess what? I went out to my car and there was this guy asking for money. We are soft-hearted people in many ways. It would be great if the multiple assistance center would get up and running.

... This is like one big cram session! Even as a resident for 38 years. I spent a lot of time, I'm involved in the community and community groups, but there are areas that I hear ... I've talked to three different people about how redevelopment works, and I got one person who said this, someone over here with a real strong view, then someone on city staff and you say, hmm, but it's not quite the same as either one of these.

I'm trying to (take) it all in ... (mentions Dan Walters' column on redevelopment abuse)


Q. How about Eureka mini-retail boom? And, Walmart?

I know many people have disagreements with Walmart, but I don't know the facts. If I knew the facts, I may not shop there. But as the mother of four teenagers, when I go to Crescent City, I shop Walmart.


Q. What is your opinion on the Prosperity document?

I'm still going through it. It sounds good. I question the implementation. You obviously have to have buy-in from many different groups, the clusters throughout the county. I just know that in the past many things that we say we are going to do we haven't really put into practice, some of the studies. It sounds good, but could it happen?


Q. What to you see as obstacle to business? Are you the business candidate?

I don't know who Brent McCoy is. But ... between Peter and I, I would be the business and he would be the RCAA ... the non profit. Among the small businesses in the community, I would be the one.


Q. What about waterfront development?

Obviously waterfront development has its particular, peculiar problems, having to deal with all the different agencies. I need to have someone still walk me through. ... I think as far as waterfront development, that's problem for a small person ... without an unending supply of capital. That's an impediment. I don't know. Imagination is one of the biggest obstacles. There are people who make a business out of something out of something nobody else would consider.


Q. Do business have problems with permits or delays?

I've heard it. There's that perception. I asked Dan Johnson (DANCO) that. He said the times he has done things with the city, there hasn't been roadblocks there, it was just, in his case, there weren't hunks of land big enough. But he didn't give me the impression that he had any trouble going through the building and planning process.

I asked Gary Barker. He said it'd be useful for the city to have an inventory (of available land) and a list of things that would be required to develop, what needs to be done. Some kind of guidebooks for every property so that a person knows ahead of time what they're getting into. That would make it more user friendly. But I now understand that Marie Liscomb, she's the person that you can go to and say, this is what I'm looking for and she has the resources to say, well...

At first I heard we don't have a list, but then I found out we have a person.


Q. How do you feel about public/private partnerships? Should the city purchase land and do cleanup and infrastructure, for instance?

I don't know, but maybe that's what the city had in mind when then bought all those waterfront properties. They got redevelopment funds and bought some properties, so they're there, but I don't think the city finished the job. It's like the EIRs haven't been done.

There are ways to make it easier. I even hear about people wanting to build their homes and having problems.


Q. How about Broadway?

Traffic is unbearable at noon, I know that. I go to CalCourts. There's that Waterfront Drive that I hear from people, this is going to go through and then you hear, this isn't ever going to go through the PALCO marsh. That one way of looking at clearing up congestion. ... Other projects, the bypass through Eureka. It is definitely a problem.


Q. How about billboards?

They don't help with the beautification of a city. To people who advertise on them, I know they have their usefulness. I don't use billboards. Myself, when I travel, I kind of enjoy someplace like Reno when the billboards start popping up as you're getting closer. But that's like their promotion of the city, to get people revved up before they get there. Ours are kind of ... not attractive. ... But how do you tell people to take them down?


Q. How can we improve entrances to the city?

I know we've done a lot to improve the entrance from the north. To the south is still pretty ugly. They could clean up weeds, but if it's Caltrans land, we can't make them do anything. The billboards going out of the way would definitely open it up.


Q. What about derelict buildings or unreinforced masonry. What is the city's role?

I know of one brick building ... with no windows. (laughs)

There is an abatement proceeding. I know they send letters out. I know because one time we had tall weeds and we got one. I don't know if they are followed up on. As far as buildings, I know with weeds you can cut the grass and send them a bill, but I don't know what you'd do. You can't just come in and start knocking down buildings.


Q. What about parking in the city?

Some people believe in parking structures, multi-level ... (but they are) pretty pricey. I'm one who doesn't always expect to find parking when I go to San Francisco. I park in a centralized lot and I walk. But a lot of people in Eureka want to be close to where they're going. Some are advocating more surface lots ... We brought up the buildings that are falling down, perhaps we could look at the issue, for instance the lot on 7th. I think multi-level structures can be done very attractively. Obviously the cost will be a concern, and crime. At this point in time, perhaps surface lots would be better.


Q. Should the city be looking at annexation?

I've heard it a lot. People living on fringes. Obviously some think it's a good idea. My understanding is that at certain levels (of population) you start qualifying for more federal funding. One person says ... a real estate friend ... ... a company wanting to come in would want to see bigger (population) numbers. And, some people just outside the city feel they are being left out of having a say. They wish they could vote. They could still come to council meetings and voice their thoughts. ... It might be an interesting time to look (at) how beneficial it would be to the city.


Q. How about the Headwaters money?

I don't know. I'd like to look at the different proposals and options. I know they are discussing it at the (general plan) meetings. There was some talk about tobacco education... I hate to sound like a dunce.


Q. Parks?

We talked about maintenance and taking care of parks. I talked to someone who said that they don't see enough usage of parks except for soccer. It's hard to estimate usage. I'm concerned about maintenance.


Q. Do we need other types? Skate? Aquatic?

How about ice skating? I love ice skating. I know they are looking into fixing the Eureka High pool.


Q. How about the convention center?

I think we need one. Not to make money for the city but to bring in people to help the business. Obviously the people come, they stay and eat in the restaurants. That sounds great to me! The city's not making money, but the businesses do. Fortuna's center is making money.


Q. What about the city relationship with other entities?

I think it could be better in relation to the county. Part of it is due to personality differences. I think people sometimes are forced to deal with someone they don't necessarily like. Nothing gets done.


Q. Are you still interested in running for mayor?

I'd like to get on the council, see what 4 and 8 years holds. It might be I decide that 4 years will be plenty, like my dad, he served his 4 years and that's was enough in 1974, I think. I've always question candidates who intermediately hop from one to the next.


Q. What do you think about the harbor commission?

I don't know a lot about the harbor commission. I know Jimmy Smith and David Hull.


Q. How do you compare to the other candidates? How are you alike or not alike?

We're on a lot of the same lawns (as Chris Kerrigan) but I'm also on a lot of the same lawns as Connie. I think it goes back to being support from people, I hate to say, from the same sides. It seems that's what it's been drawn to sides. I think that we are looked as as being similar, obviously he is younger. Kind of the novices

I'm a little like Connie, she is a positive thinker, she is energetic. I definitely have energy. I am perhaps different because I think I try to root myself little more in kind of the business aspect of before we make this leap, can we do it? (Connie's experience is with) a different kind of business, a professional office situation. I see her as a very position person who has lots of energy. In areas where I am different...

Cherie? I didn't know she was a nurse. I thought that was very cool. I see both of them as very positive and upbeat.


Q. What do you think of the mayor and her duties as the city's ambassador?

The mayor is the ambassador of the city. She does a good job... of being the cheerleader of the team. She speaks very well and is always upbeat .... unless it's during the council session where things are going ugly. That's the part, the hard thing, when the it seems like the council members were coming out against each other. Maybe not coming out right in front saying things, but sideways, little reminders of thing that people had done in the past, done wrong... I don't like that kind of stuff.


Q. Is this race a referendum on the mayor?

I hear people say, you need to be mayor. I say, in two years you'll have a new mayor one way or the other. She can't run again, right. Actually, she can do a lot of good in the next two years if somehow. if some of the personal differences that seem to exist ... I get people calling me up saying, she's manipulating you, she talking to you. I say, "I talk to everybody, that's my job." and that's what a councilperson does, you've got to take everyone's perspective. You don't have to like them. You don't have to agree with them. I have no personal problem with her. I have no personal vendetta...


Q. Does the city have a role to help with, for instance, reinforced masonry?

... Businesses should take care of their own, but there are some beautiful buildings, how do you decide what to preserve and what not to. Isn't that something that redevelopment funds can be used for? I don't know. Dan Johnson was called in to look at the (Daly) building. Maybe the Daly building can qualify. I heard Kurt Kramer with his professional building found another method (to do seismic retrofit). City might have a part. There are so many unknowns. I want all the information.


Q. What organizations are you associated with?

The chamber board, Kiwanis, State Board of the California Restaurant Association, PTA. My husband is a letter carrier in Arcata. He's got the good steady job.


Q. Are you worried about raising money for the race?

I've got $10,000 already. some from out of town. $100, $50 from my association members. They don't have anything at stake, but they believe in me.


Interview with PETER LA VALLEE, Oct. 2, 2000


Q. What is your background and how did you come to Humboldt County?


I came of age in Michigan in the '60s, I was a product of that generation. I moved to Humboldt County after the Detroit riots in the '70s, transferred to Humboldt State University, got degree in political science and a teaching credential. I was a substitute teacher, but never got a regular teaching job. There weren't any jobs here because there was a surplus of teachers. I had job offers out of Humboldt County, but I wanted to stay and I did a lot of subbing and I did what a lot of people did if they want to stay in this community a little bit of everything.

I left for 5 years. The County of Trinity offered me a job running a youth program. It came out of legislation, AB 90 ... I went over and was interviewed and hired as a director of a new department that got me into youth services which i have been doing the rest of my life. That was from '80 to '85. In '85 I came back and accepted the position I've been in every since.

Our general mission, we're part of the Redwood Community Action Agency, is to work with young people to help them become productive and capable members of the community, to divert them away from our justice system or our welfare system.


Q. Are these troubled kids? How do they come to your programs?

They are identified by teachers, parents, community members at large. We do a lot of ... The kids call us, kid friendly. There are posters all over town. They are identified troubled, but we're trying to change that point of view (because then) not only do they think of themselves as troubled, but that's how the community view them. This is a pet peeve of mine, somehow in our culture, we have become terrified of kids.and I don't know why. I think it's because we have a Littleton, Colo. episodes on our minds and it scares the hell out of us.


Q. Do you have children?

No. I've worked with kids all my life. so that's like having kids! The kids we see are in trouble, but they're really not bad kids. Most of them are just going through the rocky times of adolescence with the disadvantage of not having a strong family. These are roughly junior high through high.

We have three residential programs. We now have 90 employees. three residential programs, three thrift shops that generate revenue for the programs. Our house is for runaway homeless. It's like rescue crises, where they can stay up to two weeks. It requires consent of both kids and parents with goal of reunification. It's a curious thing, often they go to school but they don't go home. Kids stay up to two weeks, usually as a cooling off period. We work with kids and parents separately and them bring them together and make a plan, build resources around them.

Launchpad is another program. The kids named it. We bought the old Swings (?) upholstery building on Clarke and (?). We used redevelopment money, state bond funds, and we put older homeless teenagers in it. These are teenagers whose family have abandoned them. They are the throwaways, the ones merchants see hanging out on the street. We say we will give you room and board if you will do some things. One is to enroll within 30 days in school and they have to agree to work at least part time and save, and do community service. giving back to the community. It's not a handout. Kids can stay there up to 18 months, although nobody stays that much, the average is about 6. By the time they leave, we work with them to give them some skills so they can live independently and not rely on the welfare roles (so they) feel important to the community. That's what Launchpad is about.

Then we have a new residential program. Hopes (?) house, it's new, not a voluntary program, for kids in the system where a judge places them. There are some pretty troubled kids in there. It's fairly new.

Then we have a big program, RAVEN (?), program for teenagers through young adults and contracts with public health. We go out and do HIV testing with teenagers and young adults, using a peer system to somehow bring them back into society. These are truly the dropouts. Then we have whole cadre of ... outreach to the schools. We go to school board attendance board meetings in the high schools and get referrals for kids who have truancy issues. That's like the first flag, kids not going to school.

The biggest challenge to me is ... As kids misbehave in the classroom, as a teacher it was a behavior management issues, but it's always more than that, I thought, what's going on in that kid's life? As a teacher I'd reach out and then you find out all incredible stuff is happening in this kid's life. We operate mostly populated areas of the county.


Q. Why are you running?

I've been interested for a long time. What made me decide to do it now, two things: One, when I saw Gupton wasn't running. I thought now is the time to put my vision, my energy into it. I love this town and I don't like some of the direction it's taking. The challenge for Eureka is maintain its quality of like as a small city, and yet develop it so that the people who live here can earn living wages and benefits and be healthy. And we haven't done that.

There's been so much bickering about things that the progress hasn't been there nothing's happening the balloon tract being one. I think the council blew it. I don't think the city's following the plan. I think it's like a ship without a rudder. I think there some well intention folks here, but I don't think the map is the city's general plan.


Q. You supported Gupton?

I supported him. I wouldn't support him again. He was very disappointing. He became very wishy-washy. I've met with him about it. I don't know if he's afraid to make a decision and stand firm, saying I'm doing this because I believe this. I don't think he has the fortitude. The hardest thing as a candidate is to take that information and say, OK, it is based on this and just do it.


Q. What is your vision for Eureka in five years?

I'd like to see the west side zone ... currently zoned industrial. I'd like to see it developed into light, non-polluting industrial. That would be a perfect use for the balloon tract, something that pays some decent wages. I'd like to see a small port in here. We've got $60 million for the railroad, (but) the estimate I hear is we need another $180.

I'd like to see our waterfront developed, too. Not as heavily as Monterey, that's overkill, but certain it can be interspersed with .... restaurants, parks. I like some of the "Prosperity" stuff, about building the businesses we have and supporting them because they can provide jobs and they're already here.

I don't want to pretend (to having an answer to economic development)... This city has tried to attract jobs for 30 years I've been here and obviously it hasn't done a very good job. But I don't know if the CC ever said to its city manager, that's your job.

Some things I don't want to see I don't want it to be a Santa Rosa strip mall with big boxes all over town. Those compromise our quality of life.


Q. Are you concerned with the retail mini boom? How do you feel about Walmart and other big box stores?

I was opposed to it on that property. I told Bill Pierson, I am really torn if I don't want them here at all or not. One side of me says, we lose our small-townness and we lose our charm and quality. The other side, i understand there are good people who say why shouldn't we have the benefit of shopping where we want. Generally, I don't favor (big box stores). If we are going to have them, we could at least have controlled growth? Costco has been generally good for Eureka. I see merchants using it. I went to a Friends of Humboldt meeting, then I see them down there shopping. Costco treats their employees better than Walmart, that's important to me.


Q. Other chain stores?

If they're controlled, where it goes, and ... look at wages.


Q. What type of industry?

The reality for our community is that the two primary industries have declined dramatically. Those were good paying jobs. I worked pulling greenchain in the early '70s as a student in Orick. I was making almost $11 in 1970 pulling greenchain. Those people are the people who are losing jobs, there aren't jobs to replace them with living wage jobs. the retail can't provide them. Bien Padre was a good start-up, Yakima, until he sold out, that was a great business.


Q. How important is tourism?

Important, but I think we're blowing it on that. I think Mark Carter's right when he routes people off Broadway to get to his hotel. It's terrible, it's ugly.


Q. What ideas do you have for Broadway?

I talked to Michele McKeegan (Keep Eureka Beautiful). We need to get some trees, we need to encourage merchants to do something in front of their properties. Les Schwab, it's just a little lawn, but it's nice, with a little shrubbery goes a long way.


Q. What about billboards?

Get rid of them. I don't like them. There are other ways to get information out. There's the web. People who travel use the web now. We can do more with printed material, there are other ways. It should be kind of like a boulevard, with a tree-lined center. It could be landscaped. ... Something nice, like RCAA did at the tail end of Henderson. I think we should develop downtown. I was a proponent of downtown mall as opposed to the Bayshore, but we're past that point. ...


Q What did you think about the Harvey Rose exit?

Don't like way it was handled. If you make up your mind to have personnel issues closed, can't have them open a little bit. I don't know any more than everyone else does. Harvey said he preferred it to be open, but it wasn't


Q. And Tyson?

I like him. I met with him twice, once as a candidate to go over the budget. I wanted to understand the budget. He was very helpful, very open and friendly.


Q. Any comments on the budget?

Nothing really stuck out. It's a pretty small but and there's no discretion. Couple things did strike me. Some employee wages seemed low, relative to wages I'm used to seeing. Clerical. I met with the employees association, One woman worked 19 years in the police department and she's making $1,900 a month. That's pretty low for 19 years.


Q. Compared to private industry wages?

Secretaries at HSU get more than $30,000. I worked in private retail all through high school, so I know it usually pay very low. But $7.50 an hour? You can't live on that.


Q. Do you back the 4-1 firing clause in Tyson contract?

I'm OK with that. I don't like the fact that Eureka has been bouncing City managers out like they have.


Q. Do you see specific obstacles to bus or what would you do to encourage business?

The permit process that needs to be simplified. One person suggested it, a how-to manual, a simple document, if you're a person wanting to develop or even put a sign up like a checklist What do you need to do to get a conditional use permit. Who do you need to talk to? So people could understand the process.


Q. Is this from personal experience?

Absolutely. I understand some frustrations. If you don't know the questions to ask, you're going to struggle. I don't think the staff are there to be against anybody, but you have to know the questions to ask. I think a guide would be helpful. It's a practical and simple approach.


Q. What type of light industry? What should city's role be?

There seems to be a shortage. City doesn't have enough property. One thing that probably needs to happens is the city needs to look at annexation. It's been talked about before. There isn't that much land left. This is newer stuff for me because I'm coming from social services to this development issues, but there isn't enough land. From my reading of the general plan, looking at maps shows most of (industrial land) on the west side.


Q. So the only answer is bus goes elsewhere? Is that a problem?

Maybe that's OK, The revenue base is obviously of interest to the city, but we do have to look at the economic issues of the region as a whole.


Q. Any thoughts on unreinforced masonry?

I don't know. I know we've got them. There are some plans for them, there is this new material. I would like to see them preserved obviously because they have historic value. There is some kind of thing to put on brick to create a sheer wall. The city should have a role.


Q. Hog about high profile derelict buildings? Slums?

I can think of a particular landlord! I don't know what the city can do, you can't really force somebody. There are abandoned buildings, like the old Lazio building, that should have been torn down. Of course, it burned. It was a liability to the city. As a manager, I would be worried about the liability. ...I don't think it's that huge an issue.


Q. What about the Headwaters money? How should it be managed and for what uses?

I'm glad it's not being just spent. I'm delighted it's not put into the general fund, like the tobacco money. ... It's probably smart to just use the interest.

Relative to the city, things city needs to do is improve infrastructure. If we want businesses to come, we need to have infrastructure, whether for retail or light industry. On west side, it doesn't have sewer, hookups, roads, electrical. That's what the city staff is saying. I think they're right. It's like the planning they did in Fortuna. They thought about it and it was ready. That seems to generally work.


Q. And so Headwaters...?

The county's in driver's seat.. Process I'd like to see, either a competitive process, or a forum process so the community is involved. Not behind a closed door like when John Murray says, look, we have a loss of revenue over here so we'll replenish the general fund. But that means opening the process up.


Q. How about the balloon tract donation?

You probably know how I feel about that.


Q. Parks? Too many, too little, maintenance?

What I like about parks is what they offer in building communities. If they are maintained, they are indeed places where communities can gather. In that respect, I support them. I go to Sequoia Park because I live fairly close. It is wonderful to see families using the parks. The park over by 11 and F, there's not a day I go by there where I don't see kids or adults shooting hoops.


Q. Other parks? Skateboard park? Aquatic center?

You could find funds for stuff like that. There's always maintenance, but... I don't pretend to know the costs, but just for the sake of having open space in the community, it's healthy. Look at what's happening down on the waterfront. It's not even developed, but look at the space where they have Blues by the Bay and the Jazz Festival. It's good that space is there. It's not just bums that hang there. I'm pro park. You can always say, how is it going to be funded, but I'm not going to be negative and say we can't do something because we have enough already.


Q. Should the city focus economic development on the waterfront?

I think so. One of the main attractions is the waterfront, it's one of our strengths, our charms as a community. I'd like to see it developed more ... parks, restaurants, retail, it could extend out to the rest of the downtown.

This is a city with some real charm. Most of my employees live in Arcata and I say, "Ha, I really like it here more." This city is a cool place. I was so sad to see the jail do in there... You could see the waterfront, but now... But that aside, this is a very charming city.


Q. How about a Convention Center? Is it OK not to make money?

If we have a plan that says, here is generally preferred uses, if convention center falls in a certain area and a developer comes along, we should look at it seriously. City shouldn't necessarily finance it. That gets back to the city having a map, a plan. But I wouldn't be automatically opposed to it. I can see (one like) Riverlodge in Fortuna, a community center, I could see city supporting something like that.


Q. How about the city's relationships with other entities?

With the county, it needs vast improvement. ... One of my strength is, not ... building bridges, but getting people to talk about issues. I'd just go over and start talking about joint interests. A good example is joint access (??) This thing has been dragging on, how long? and the city and county aren't together on this and we're throwing money away.


Q. What about parking?

It needs work. They say people will walk several blocks to get somewhere, but I don't know. In our climate. I'm in favor of a parking structure (eventually).


Q. Harbor Commission relationship?

I've heard they're like two separate governments.


Q. Campaign budget?

It'll take more than I've got. Realistically, I was hoping to do it with $6,000. If going to do it right, probably cost $10,000, but I don't think I'll have that. the signs alone will cost $2,500. One targeted mailer, people with histories of voting, cost $4,000-5,000. My alternative, I'm going to hit 8,000 doors. I've hit 1,500 so far. For me it's going to be door to door. I'll keep costs $5,000-6,000. Probably no TV, can't afford it. Endorsements in print ad.


Q. Who are your endorsers?

Lot of people, playing all sides of the fence.... I'm registered Democrat, so the Democratic Central Committee, labor council and the operators union. My website is

... I think the race is going to be between Virginia and me. Gupton said he was not going to endorse, but two days later, she's in his office, her sign is at his house. She has a lot of support from the business community, the chamber. Some behind the scenes and supporting both of us. She jumped in to this race sooner than I did. She got to a lot of people early.

From 1,500 household I've hit so far, the No. 1 thing I've heard is the city council is embarrassing, I've been keeping a checklist. and I've heard a lot of stuff about the mayor and how the mayor is representing the city. If I were the mayor knocking on doors, I'd been a little nervous. ... I'm hitting the main arteries, looking for place to place my signs. ... People are fed up with it. That's what I'm hearing. When this race came up, people were saying, well, you're Nancy's candidate because it's pretty clear Virginia is the anti-mayor candidate. I'm pretty neutral.


Interview with BRENT MCCOY, Oct. 4, 2000


Q. Why and you running and what is your background?

I was interested in a job in politics.


Q. Your background?

As far as politics, nothing.


Q. School? Work?

I've been through 3 years of college. Oregon State University and College of Marin.


Q. Studying?

General studies. After that I've been working out, doing jobs here and there. Retail sales. Just working in supermarkets, not in supermarkets, but ... I used to do the hotel front desk at a place ... down in Marin County.

I'm originally from Massachusetts. I've been about 7 years in California and up in Eureka and about two and a half.


Q. Worked in Eureka?

I haven't had a job. I've just been living in my house. I have a house. I'm on social security disability. I was in real estate development and then I ended up homeless for about a year then I moved up here. My grandfather died and I inherited some money. I put all that money into a house up here with my parents investing with me. I'm looking for a job right now in retail sales. It's what I've done before and what I keep doing, working in department stores here and there, maybe the Christmas season.


Q. Do you have volunteer experience?

Yeah. St. Vincent de Paul down in San Francisco. Why run? I was interested in a job in politics.


Q. What is your vision for Eureka?

I think everything's fine the way it is. So, just keeping things going the way they're going.


Q. What is fine about Eureka, why do you like Eureka?

The price of homes here. I was staying in hotels here and there, spending a lot of rent.


Q. Other reasons?

I can't really say. Everything's fine here the way it's going.


Q. Who are your supporters? Who signed your petition to run for office?

Yeah, I got a bunch of signatures, neighbors and friends. They don't have to be one party or the other.


Q. How about your campaign effort? What's your budget?

Not much campaigning. If someone will help me I'll take their help.


Q. Fund-raisers?

Nope. Don't have that.


Q. Will you be participating in the debates?

I'm not sure. I got a letter from the Rotary Club in Arcata and I had to refuse them because I don't have a car.


Q. Campaign contributions? The first filing is tomorrow. Did you take in any money? Have you spent any?

Nope. I filed bankruptcy years ago. That's how I ended up homeless. They took my house away. I just want a job in politics. It's a paying job. It pays $500 for (meetings) maybe twice a month. I'll try and see if I get the votes and get in there.


Q. What about industry for Eureka? What type?

I think we should have all the industry we can. All of that. It's a free market society, capitalism. People should be able to open anything they want as long as it's not on a polluted piece of land. Even if it is, I think, which is why they got the donation to clean up the land from one of the members.


Q. Rob and Cherie Arkley? The offer was withdrawn.



Q. Where do you see Eureka in 5 or 10 years?

I see more stores, more chains, more street lighting. I live down by the Red Lion and there are cars backed up.


Q. How about the balloon tract?

It had toxic contamination and had to be cleaned up.


Q. Are you concerned about the mini-boom in chain stores?

I think that's fine.


Q. Tourism role in future?

Really not that familiar with that.


Q. "Prosperity" document ?

I'm not familiar with that.


Q. What does a city council member do?

He reads over the minutes and proposals. They meet twice a month and goes over new material. And they vote.


Q. How about billboards?

It a free market if they get a permit.


Q. How should the Headwaters money be used?

They should put a new entrance out there on Elk River Road, for the park.


Q. How about the Arkley proposal for park, parking and light industrial for the Balloon Tract?

That's fine if it cleans up the land.


Q. Convention Center?

Yeah, I'm not familiar with the proposal. but it's OK if it cleans up the toxics.


Q. Eureka's relationship with other entities?

I don't see any rivalry.


Q. How about the MAC homeless center for Eureka?

There are no homeless shelters in Eureka. But yes, I'm in favor of one. I'm familiar with what's going on at the Ranchotel. But that's for families.


Q. Have you reviewed the Eureka budget?

Haven't had a chance. I'll wait until I get the job.


Q. Annexation?

Eureka is fine the way it is.


Q. Will you participate in the candidates forums like the one on KEET TV?

I don't have a vehicle. I ride the bus and they only run til 9 or 10. I will if I can take the bus to get out there.



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