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Re: Parking, Housing and 'Arkleyville'



Rob Arkley has been in the news lately as the head of a coalition of citizens and business people protesting the loss of 640 parking spots in downtown Eureka to satisfy housing requirements ("Initiative Pits Housing Against Parking in Eureka," Aug. 17). They say they are not against housing plans mandated by the state, but have a better location that will satisfy the pressure for housing the city is under without compromising hundreds of parking spots downtown.

As an unabashed conservative, he is swimming upstream against increasing progressive sentiment in Humboldt County. I would remind folks that Mr. Arkley has made many contributions to civic life in this area. Among others, generous donations to Eureka High School, the zoo, the waterfront area, the performing arts center, etc. We should acknowledge that Mr. Arkley has made Eureka a better place for citizens of all political persuasions. Now, let me elbow my way to the front of the line in criticism of some of Mr. Arkley's political stances.

 John Dillon, Eureka


Your recent article on Rob Arkley›s cynical and misleading «Housing for All» initiative accurately portrays it as pitting «housing against parking.» It would be more honest to call the initiative «Housing for Cars But Not People,» because it is designed to make it virtually impossible to build already planned, affordable downtown housing — along with a long-needed transit center — by banning the conversion of even a single public parking space.

Let's put this in some context. The Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP) recently mapped off-street parking in downtown Eureka, and we found that more than a third of developable land is covered by parking lots. (Readers can explore the map at transportationpriorities.org/parkinglotmaps.) And that doesn't even include street parking!

In other words, if you're having trouble finding parking downtown, it's not because there's not enough of it. It's because the parking supply hasn't been well managed (although the city is starting to address this problem). And it's because we haven't invested enough in systems that allow people to get downtown easily without a car. 

Parking doesn't make downtown vibrant, people do. Nearby housing and convenient public transit are the most effective, equitable and climate-friendly ways to get people downtown. But instead of supporting affordable housing and a transit hub, the initiative would block these investments permanently.

Arkley's initiative is anti-housing, anti-transit and anti-walkability. It's bad for downtown, for the community, and for the environment. CRTP strongly urges Eurekans not to sign it.

Colin Fiske, Arcata


Thanks for the update on Rob Arkley's latest effort to convert Eureka into Arklyeville — this time via his parking-versus-housing campaign. It reminds me of the scene in the movie It's a Wonderful Life when the angel shows George Bailey what life is like in Pottersville, named and controlled by the richest man in town. Pottersville is a place filled with corruption, misery and meanness, just like its namesake. 

In his most recent quest, Arkley champions the need for parking because he has safety concerns for employees who must walk past the unsavory multitudes to get to work. He cited "female employees" as potential targets. In Arkleyville, women are delicate and helpless creatures, needing protection (and convenient parking); they must be spared the ordeal of mincing too many steps to work in their fragile vulnerability, (which happens to be in broad daylight, aka "working hours").

Arkley has yet to learn Eureka is not for sale. He didn't have to shake his piggy bank too hard to fund a campaign complete with door-to-door canvassers, flyers in the mail, yard signs and petition-signing tables. Over time, his tactics change but his strategy has been constant: He wants to own Eureka. When it comes time to vote, I am confident Eureka will once again reject this millionaire's obsession. 

If, as indicated by his spokesperson, he won't hang around to see it, I have to admit, it will be a snarky pleasure to say, "Bye Felicia."

Sheila Evans, Eureka

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