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Oct. 28, 2004


The Journal endorses


Last time around we started with the toughest decisions facing voters and ended with the easiest. Let's start with the "easies" this time:

For the U.S. Senate -- Barbara Boxer. Yes, Boxer is a passionate advocate for all causes liberal, but she operates as part of a large body of mostly conservative, male colleagues, and her clear, articulate voice is most welcome.

The Journal continues to enthusiastically back Mike Thompson for Congress. He is a fiscally responsible, moderate Democrat and that is why there are plenty of Republican-type business owners who back Mike. Plus, he and John Kerry -- two distinguished veterans of the Vietnam War -- believe this country was rushed to war in Iraq prematurely and that it was wrong to do so.

For the state Assembly: Patty Berg again. She's smart and super organized. (Have you seen her meticulous note-taking?) Berg is a strong leader on senior, health and education issues, and she is an all-around bundle of energy. We are lucky to have her.

We're happy to see some strong competition for two seats on the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. We are recommending Javan Reid in Division Two, a strong leader of his church and the community of McKinleyville. In Division One, we recommend incumbent Vern Clooney.

We are urging a yes on Measure Q, College of the Redwoods facilities. It will be tough to get the 55 percent needed for passage from throughout the CR district, but we are hopeful that those in Del Norte, Trinity and Mendocino will join Humboldt in this important effort. The Journal is reluctantly supporting Measure L, the temporary sales tax for local services. And voters should reject the fatally flawed GMO Measure M.

We are not making recommendations to voters in the small cities of Ferndale, Trinidad and Rio Dell, but we urge citizens there to study the candidates and vote next Tuesday.

In the Arcata race (see the Journal's coverage in this edition), we are backing Michael Machi for the much-needed continuity; newcomer Harmony Groves, who we hope lives up to her name; and Rob Amerman, whose experience at city hall should give him an edge.

That leaves the Eureka City Council Ward 4. First, the citizens of Eureka should be thankful that both these men are willing and most able to serve and there really is no wrong choice. However, of the two, we are backing Rex Bohn as the stronger candidate.

The last 3 ! / 2 years on the council Chris Kerrigan has demonstrated that he is hard-working, articulate and a good listener. He is on the right side of many issues we support -- quality of life issues such as beautification and trails, for instance. However, there were several instances in this campaign where issues of character arose and Chris came up a little short.

In campaign literature, Kerrigan takes credit for being "instrumental" in "saving and creating hundreds of jobs in our community." Well, not exactly. As a member of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission, he is one of 18 people who represent cities and agencies throughout the county. About 80 (full-time equivalent) jobs have indeed been "created" since Chris joined the board in 2001, most outside Eureka. In addition, there are a number of local businesses reporting jobs were "saved" because they received RREDC loans, a claim that is always open to some skepticism.

In addition, Kerrigan has exaggerated his role in the effort to bring direct air service from Los Angeles. (Some credit goes to the Humboldt County aviation director and RREDC staff for doing the legwork, in conjunction with the city of Redding, which initiated the entire effort.)

Exaggeration is not all that uncommon, especially in politics. However, Kerrigan made a serious misstep when one of his supporters, activist Richard Salzman, sent out an e-mail using Kerrigan's phone number soliciting funds. In it Salzman wrote that challenger Rex Bohn was "out for himself a greedy oil executive bent on revenge." It is a failure of leadership that Kerrigan did not act in the wake of the controversy by publicly condemning Salzman's comment and by apologizing.

We are backing Bohn because he appears to be a man of strong character with a lifetime of real-life experiences to bring to the council, and he has a track record of getting things done.


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