It centers around the closure of the skilled nursing facilities. Allison has been present at protests and Fullerton sees it as pandering because the issue doesn’t deal with an issue which is within the scope of ordinances which can be passed by the Eureka City Council. Fullerton argues that there’s nothing a city council member can do about a decision which was made at the state level.
It made it to KHSU this morning where Allison’s campaign manager Tamara McFarland was quoted as saying, “You never know what you can accomplish if you’re not even willing to try.” It also made the Lost Coast Outpost.
It’s an ideological contrast between visions of civil leadership – Allison believes that part of the job is to respond to and rally for community concerns which aren’t strictly within the power of the job to rectify by ordinance. Fullerton has focused on his experience and knowledge of the city and his emphasis on management.
I like John Fullerton. I’m FB friends with him and he has chimed in on this blog a number of times, beginning with our differences of opinions as to the school board. He’s a smart competent guy and has an excellent reputation as an accountant. If he was running for a management position – say Assessor or Controller – I would have no problem supporting him. And if he’s elected he would probably have much to offer in terms of his understanding of how things are run and how to accomplish goals within the power of the position.
But Eureka has immense problems which call for a more grand vision and a broader view of leadership. We need a broad vision of economic development and out-of-the-box (literally as well as figuratively) thinking about homelessness. I think one of the limitations we have to investment is the suicide-inspiring sprawl appearance of Eureka at the south end of the 101 entrance – delivers a horrible first impression, and sorry, but that lit up sign by the brewery doesn’t improve anything! We can’t be resigned to the fact that it’s all private property and up to each individual business owner to make its own property look nice. There has to be some rallying, coordination, and discussion as to what we can do about that entrance – and yes, I do see it as a problem. (Fortunately I can avoid that entry altogether to get to my home via Herrick Ave.).
We need a visionary and young energy in what is fast becoming a retirement community of cranky old people yelling at the increasingly diverse population of kids to stay off their lawns. We need to abandon the pipe dreams of returning to some golden era by clasping firmly to the defunct train tracks. We need to think development of small business and attracting high tech, and that means coordination with county and region to talk about the sorry state of our internet service. It means encouraging culture. Creating opportunities for kids to play. Schools. Libraries. Finding the money to repair and finish the waterfront. Fixing the pedestrian traffic light at the K Street Market, which has been broken for months.
If it didn’t mean giving up a visionary majority on the Council, I could see Fullerton playing a positive role, providing cautionary analysis – making sure the younger less experienced council members don’t get carried away with their vision while reluctantly supporting the goals and finding practical ways to help them along – I actually see a positive role there. But we need the vision and with Atkins termed out we lose that vision if Allison loses. The woman who has won the other seat by default is an unknown quality but will probably side with Marion Brady and Fullerton in staying the course which has driven the Council majorities since forever.
Allison is young and smart – will probably make some mistakes but will learn from them. He’s passionate. And he has much needed energy. That’s why I’ll be voting for him.
Update: It appears that two of the skilled nursing homes will remain open.