A vote for Measure A will ensure that the city of Arcata's trails, parks and open spaces will continue to provide users a healthy natural environment. The citizens of Arcata are extremely fortunate to have had city staff, elected officials and citizen volunteers over the years that have had the foresight to have a strategy for providing these spaces.
These outdoor opportunities are recognized internationally as characteristics of a healthy community and add value to both our lives and property. The true value of these community investments cannot only be measured by numbers of users but also by type and quality of uses; environmental education, art and photography, aesthetic landscapes, encounters and closeness with nature, and many others.
The heavy use of outdoor spaces during the COVID pandemic has emphasized the value of these spaces for both exercise and stress relief. I urge you to vote yes for Measure A and help maintain and improve our outdoor spaces.
Bob Gearheart, Arcata
This election is a perfect example of why we need ranked choice voting in Eureka and why we should vote yes on Measure C.
The number of candidates running for city council is exciting. More candidates means different points of view, and voters get to hear a wider range of ideas. Unfortunately, because of our current system, there is a very good chance that we will end up with winners who got less than a majority vote. In Ward Four, five people are running, so we could have a winner who only receives 21 percent of the vote, meaning 79 percent of people didn't vote for them.
We can have elections with multiple candidates and majority winners. Measure C will allow us to vote for the candidates we truly support, rather than voting strategically against ones we don't like. It's still one person, one vote, but better. Vote yes on C!
Caroline Griffith, Eureka
My name is Liza Welsh. I am a candidate to represent Ward Four on the Eureka City Council but, today, I am writing in support of Measure C, the ranked-choice voting initiative in Eureka. Ranked choice voting is good for democracy. It gives voters the option to rank candidates by order of preference, reducing vote splitting, something that may affect us in the Fourth Ward this election. The winning candidate ends up having the support of more voters, avoiding the weak plurality effect. Ranked-choice voting has been in effect in Oakland since 2010. While working on my master of public policy (MPP) degree, I voted in two Oakland elections, and I found the ranked-choice system to be intuitive and sensible. I strongly support ranked-choice voting and, frankly, I wish that we already had it! I hope that Eureka voters will agree!
Liza Welsh, Eureka
Two days ago, a friend had a medical emergency in McKinleyville, the kind of health crisis that requires a response within minutes if there is to be minimal damage. I'm asking everyone to vote yes on Measure F so that our friends, relatives and community do not have to worry if that station is fully staffed on the day there's a medical crisis. There's a reason we have three stations to serve a large geographical area that includes not only Arcata and McKinleyville, but also Jacoby Creek, Bayside and Samoa. You may not ever have an emergency caused by health issues or a fire, but your neighbor might. Please consider everyone who might be, already has been or will be affected. Don't short change our service providers.
Pamela Ann Brown, Arcata
Arcata Fire Department claims that 44 percent of its vehicles are out of commission due to deferred maintenance. Perhaps AFD should manage its money more wisely. According to Transparent California, the chief's salary (total pay and benefits) was $186,983.00 in year 2016. Year 2017, it increased to $195,962.00. Year 2019, it increased again to $212,693.00.
His brother's salary, along with all battalion chiefs and captains increased substantially, too. Instead of using funds for maintenance, it went toward substantial salary increases. To review the exorbitant salaries received by the AFD, please enter Arcata Fire Department Salaries in California on the Yahoo page. Scroll down and click on Transparent California. Scroll down to Fire Protection, then click on Arcata Fire Protection District. Search records for years 2016, 2017 and 2019. State employees have had a 10 percent reduction in their salaries. Why not the Arcata Fire Department?
Vote NO on Measure F (another tax).
Linda Palmrose, Bayside
With a pandemic, unprecedented wildfires (neither of which are going away any time soon), and a ratings-obsessed president (who, hopefully, will be going away soon) – we cannot dispute that we live in difficult times.
Measure F funds the real heroes in our community — the firefighters who put their lives on the line every time someone calls 911. In an emergency, seconds count. A simple fire can easily escalate out of control. We all know this. Measure F is not perfect, but at times like this we need to give our real heroes the resources they need to do the job. And this will cost the average household less than a couple of bucks a week. That's a bargain.
"F no," no. "F yes."
Charles Davy, Bayside
I am a Fortuna resident and fully support Measure G on the Nov. 3 ballot. Measure G extends Measure E for eight years, at which time the voters can decide if they want to continue the measure. Measure G is not a new tax. It extends current Measure E, an essential services ¾-cent sales/use tax. All proceeds will remain in Fortuna.
Fortuna voters passed Measure E in 2016 with the promise by the city to use all proceeds on: police services, programs for youth and seniors, parks and recreation improvement, streets, sidewalks and drainage, city hall administration, nuisance abatement and infrastructure improvement. A community oversight committee was formed by the mayor and city council and meets on a regular basis. The promises have all been kept.
Fortuna is a safer, cleaner, better city thanks to funds derived under Measure E and Fortuna residents deserve to continue to enjoy these benefits into the foreseeable future.
Please vote yes on Measure G on Nov. 3.
Walt Wilson, Fortuna
Your Oct. 8 article on Measure H talks of negative COVID-19 economic impacts and the $4.65 million cut in general fund spending for Eureka. A March 8, 2019, Times-Standard article talks of how Eureka's unfunded pension liability payment was $5.4 million in 2019 and how these yearly pension debt payments will increase to $8.4 million in 2029.
Eureka needs Measure H funding to restore police funding and provide services. These increasing yearly pension debt payments will slowly diminish financial gains made by Measure H.
Dec. 10 and 19, 2019, articles in the Mad River Union about Measure Z explain how increasing personnel costs are diminishing services provided by Measure Z.
When will government move beyond raising taxes, increasingly a partial and temporary fix, and bring forth and implement serious pension reform?
Patrick Cloney, Eureka
Proposition 15 requires reassessment only on large commercial and industrial properties paying property taxes at market values set when purchased, decades ago. Big corporations would pay property taxes based on current fair market value — just like the rest of us!
Exemptions: residential property, including rentals; agricultural land including timberland; land trusts, refuges, dedicated "open space"; and business property valued less than $3 million.
The money, about $8 billion to $12 billion annually, must go to a "dedicated" fund, not the state general fund. It can only be paid to schools and communities. Local governments could use the funds to reduce the need for bond issues and assessments.
Our schools desperately need more funding! There already is a budget shortfall, due to pandemic costs, forcing cuts to school funding. What further cuts will be forced by the cost of fires? The need is urgent — please vote yes on Proposition 15!
Margaret Dickinson, Eureka
For California voters the single most important vote this election may be a yes vote on state Proposition 15.
You'll correct almost 40 years of injustice in property tax law that has allowed the wealthiest corporates to benefit from a law that was sold as protection for individual homeowners (Proposition 13 in 1978).
These corporations have pocketed what should be their fair share of our collective tax burden to the detriment of our schools and our communities' safety. Homeowners and small businesses are exempt (in fact it cuts small business taxes!), as are all agricultural and timberlands. This tax will be levied on just 10 percent of our most expensive commercial properties.
Proposition 15 will close property tax loopholes benefiting wealthy corporations, cut small business taxes, reclaim billions every year to invest in our schools and local communities, exempt homeowners, renters, small businesses and agricultural land so they continue to be protected by Prop 13, and prioritize transparency and accountability by requiring public disclosure of all new revenues and how they are spent.
Just 10 percent of California's most expensive nonresidential commercial properties account for 92 percent of Proposition 15's loophole-closing revenues. Learn more at: www.yes15.org.
Richard Salzman, Arcata
I will be voting for Estelle Fennell for Second District supervisor.
I have watched Estelle work very hard to bring many projects to fruition over the years, and believe she wants to bring many more to the finish line.
Estelle is not an ideologue. She listens respectfully to all sides and is capable of changing her mind when the facts support it. She is a kind, sensitive person who I believe has had to develop a thicker skin to serve our diverse, outspoken community.
Cannabis legalization was always going to be messy. It is a work in progress. She has my support and admiration.
Lisa Cyrek, Whitethorn
There are times when we have "people treasures" among us, like Dr. Fauci, who is a national treasure guiding us on our coronavirus behavior from his many years of experience.
Likewise, we have a local treasure in Estelle Fennell, serving on our Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.
I am old enough to recall the opening of our Humboldt radio station, KMUD. It included a news program that I never listened to until Estelle took it over and provided a half-hour of significant news and interviews. I was so impressed with the quality, I was sure she must have had experience with CBS, which she did not.
Dedication, intelligence and reliable information was part of her enormous ability to contribute. A welcomed treasure. We need to retain this high level of dedication, intelligence and ability to provide reliable information by re-electing Supervisor Estelle Fennell.
Lee Becker, Redway
Estelle Fennell is the right choice for the Second District supervisor. Estelle has worked diligently on the local, regional, state and federal level to bring needed resources and services to our rural district and county.
Estelle was a key player in helping to consolidate the operations of the Rio Dell, Scotia, Redcrest and Shively fire departments. This will make a strong and efficient regional fire district to help protect our Southern Humboldt area.
Estelle has proven herself for the last eight years in developing many working relationships, not only for the Second District but for the entire county.
We urge you to vote for Estelle Fennell for Second District supervisor.
Walt Giacomini, Rio Dell
I want to put in a plug for Scott Bauer for Eureka City Council. Though I don't live in his ward, I live nearby and I've known him for many years. He is thoughtful, passionate and very hardworking. He wants a future for Eureka that enhances opportunity for everyone and embraces families, a city that builds on our unique natural environment and small town qualities.
In the short term, we know that tough times lie ahead and being on the council will require a skill set that champions innovation, thoughtful assessment and the ability to balance competing interests. It will require being a good listener, a desire to engage citizens with different points of view and working well with fellow councilmembers. Scott holds these qualities in abundance and he wants to keep moving Eureka forward — to help local businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID, improve city streets and parks, add trails, protect and encourage a thriving arts scene, bring new good-paying jobs, build new housing and address neighborhood blight. Scott's enthusiasm and can-do attitude is right for Eureka now. If you live in the Fourth Ward, please consider casting your vote for Scott – he'll be good for all of Eureka.
Elizabeth Murguia, Eureka
I am endorsing Kati "Texas" Moulton to represent the Second Ward on Eureka City Council. I've known Kati for more than 15 years and we have worked together at North Star Quest Camp for Girls for eight years. Kati brings out the best in people with amazing projects, like the beloved Kinetic Grand Championship, which showcases creativity and brings positive recognition to our region.
As camp director, Kati has helped empower hundreds of young campers navigating adolescence, and coached camp staff to be safe, fun, inspiring adults. She has shown humility in studying racial equity to open her own heart and mind to the challenges communities of color face and reminded us that we can all learn and do better. Eureka is a microcosm of the issues affecting the state and nation, a place where we can do things differently when the same old things no longer work. Vote Kati!
Julie Ryan, Eureka
I have worked with Kati Moulton for more than a decade through North Star Quest Camp and have witnessed her leadership and efficiency firsthand. From her work with the Kinetic Grand Championship to the Ink People, Kati has spent her life working hard to serve and improve our community and wants to continue to do so as a councilmember. She wants to celebrate what is remarkable about Eureka and help improve what needs to be addressed.
Kati is a natural leader, a nurturing mother and a downright fantastic human being. She has an innate way of bringing people together — something we could all use a little more of right now. If there is anyone I trust to shoulder the complexities of Eureka, it's Kati.
Let's elect Kati for Ward Two!
Natalia Nelson, Arcata
Liza Welsh has been and always will be a person of the highest integrity. I have seen her fight for the rights of others for the entire seven years I have known her. When she was attending university in Oakland at Mills, she went before the city council there in support of equity for small cannabis business owners. When she worked for music festivals, I saw her organize workers and assist peers who had been taken advantage of.
Recently, I see her working hard to protect the benefits and pay for her fellow county workers. She spent her quarantine days this year diving head first into assembling, distributing and helping with a project to provide face shields for medical providers. Liza would go above and beyond for the people of Eureka and would absolutely be the hardest worker that the City Council could hope to have.
Matt Stephenson, Eureka
Write a Letter!
Please make your letter no more than 300 words and include your full name, place of residence and phone number (we won't print your number). Send it to [email protected]. The deadline to have a letter considered for the upcoming edition is 10 a.m. Monday.