Arcata Councilmember Brett Watson issued a statement this evening saying he was entering "a 30-day residential rehabilitation program to focus on depression and personal issues."
Watson, who was replaced as mayor at a special meeting earlier this week, states that he informed the council and staff on Oct. 11 that he intended to step down from the position and seek treatment. He did not say whether he was resigning from the council.
"My goal is to get myself better before making any decisions on how I can continue to best serve my community," Watson's statement reads. "I'm very grateful for the outpouring of support I've received and I’ll inform the community of my decision as soon as possible."
The Arcata City Council voted unanimously Wednesday evening to appoint Stacy Atkins-Salazar to replace him as mayor and selected Emily Goldstein as vice mayor before following up the decision with a no confidence vote on his ability to serve as a councilmember.
“We have no legal ability to remove him from the city council. However, I believe we owe it to the people of Arcata to make it clear — we do not align ourselves with the actions of Councilmember Watson," Goldstein said before the no confidence vote
. "This last week, information came to light regarding alleged behaviors of Councilmember Watson that negatively affected the city and some of its staff members."
Watson was first appointed to fill an open seat on the council in 2017 before being elected to serve. In August, Watson was arrested for driving under the influence at a controlled traffic stop conducted by the California Highway Patrol on L.K. Wood Boulevard.
He later released a statement saying he was having a difficult time dealing with the year anniversary of his father’s suicide.
Read Watson's statement below:
Arcata, CA, October 22, 2021 – Over the last 4 years I've worked very hard to serve the people of Arcata and it's been the greatest honor of my life. On Monday October 11th, I informed the City Council and staff I would be stepping down as Mayor and entering a 30 day residential rehabilitation program to focus on depression and personal issues. My goal is to get myself better before making any decisions on how I can continue to best serve my community. I'm very grateful for the outpouring of support I've received and I’ll inform the community of my decision as soon as possible.