A former mayor, a consultant, three previous candidates and a Cal Poly Humboldt student are all seeking a single open seat on the Arcata City Council, making for a crowded field on the June ballot.
The top vote-getter of the six candidates — Chase Marcum, Humnath Panta, Dana Quillman, Edith Rosen, Alexandra Stillman and Kimberley White — will serve out the term of former Vice Mayor Emily Goldstein, which runs through November of 2024. Goldstein stepped down March 1 for family reasons.
The four current councilmembers had three choices for filling Goldstein’s seat: call a June special election, appoint a replacement to serve until the November election or simply wait until the November election to have the seat filled as a two-year position with two other four-year terms also up for a vote.
In unanimously selecting the first option at a Feb. 9 special meeting, several cited a sense of urgency to have a full council with major projects in the pipeline, including the controversial Gateway Area Plan, coupled with perception concerns about having two out of five seats appointed rather than elected.
Two of the hopefuls come to the table with current Cal Poly Humboldt ties.
A double major in anthropology and international studies who is active in student government and serves in the Academic Senate, Marcum says in a statement to the Journal that he wants to give back to the community “that offered their hand to help me up when I needed it the most,” believing now is the time for new leadership and there’s no limit to the good that can be done when “the heartbeats of Arcata are beating in unison: the students, the university and the great people who make up this wonderful city.”
Panta, an assistant finance professor who sits on the city’s Economic Development Committee, describes himself as “a volunteer, an active scholar, a dedicated teacher and an effective mentor for students with diverse backgrounds and career goals” in his candidate statement, which cites his academic, public service and corporate experience in planning, budgeting, capital improvement plans, policy formulation, strategic implementation and team building. He also currently serves as secretary of the North Coast Co-op’s Board of Directors and submitted his name for consideration when the council appointed a new member back in July.
White, a city Planning Commission member who previously ran for a council seat in November of 2020 and also applied for the appointed position this past summer, says she’s most passionate about affordable housing, long-term housing solutions for the unhoused, children and families, rebooting the economy and protecting the environment. A volunteer for causes ranging from Food for People and trash cleanups to Relay for Life, she says in her statement that “we can no longer continue ‘business as usual’ and must now focus on rebuilding our community” amid the global, environment, economic, unemployment and unhoused crises.
The only candidate to previously serve on the council, Stillman broke boundaries by becoming Arcata’s first female mayor in 1974 and returned to the dais in 2006, serving a total of 16 years. In her candidate statement, the local business owner who has also served on the Godwit Days Festival Committee and Humboldt County Aviation Committee, among others, says she’s “proud to have been involved” in positive changes to the city over the last 50 years, including the establishment of the Arcata Marsh and Arcata Mainstreet, and “will continue to work hard for Arcata.”
Rosen, a business management consultant, says she too wants to give back to the Arcata community. In her candidate statement, Rosen cites her experience in both the private and public sectors, including overseeing the city’s Commercial Cannabis Activity Permit program, as well as her “strong commitment to the betterment of our community.” She describes her “service mentality” as a “driving force” in wanting to be part of a renewed vision for Arcata, with “a safe inclusive community, sustainable growth through thoughtful planning and a thriving economy.”
Rounding out the list is Quillman, who last ran for a council seat in 2006. In her candidate statement, she says she doesn’t like “what Arcata and the world have turned into” and that she will do locally “whatever [she] can to stop the globalist agenda referred to as The Great Reset,” a plan she says includes “eliminating currencies, digitalizing all money, implementing dangerous 5G technology, forcing everyone to use a smart phone and taking away body sovereignty from humans in order to force mass vaccination at any time, without liability.”
The election takes place June 7.