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KimGreat news for Eureka.   We now have the first progressive majority since the socialists were elected around World War 1.  And it’s an all-woman council now, excepting the Mayor.

Mostly, this is a great opportunity to turn some big problems around.

One note of caution – the margin is 46 votes.  A recount is within the realm of reasonable possibility.

KerriganRyan Burns reports that he’ll be running for Mayor of Eureka next year.

He’s run two election campaigns for city council and won both times, actually trouncing Rex Bohn the last time around despite the plastering of Bohn signs all over the city which had some Kerrigan supporters demoralized until election day – which is when I learned that the frequency of signs in Eureka aren’t a good measure of support given that more conservative landlords on the main arteries seem willing to impose their politics on their tenants by placing signs on the lawns.

Kerrigan won each time by walking every neighborhood in the city, and I hope he repeats that strategy, because we don’t just need progressive wins.  We need a discussion.

It bodes well not only for local progressive politics.   Kerrigan’s campaign could represent the last gasp of any efforts to prevent Humboldt County from defaulting to a retirement community.

Now we need some candidates for city council.  And we need to talk district election reform.

Photo comes from the NCJ, and they got it from Facebook.

Addendum:  He was interviewed on KHUM today.

I’m just catching up with the story over the past day or so, but Police Chief Garr Nielsen’s unceremonious firing by City Manager Dave “Lightening Rod” Tyson has whipped up a bit of a storm and talks of recalls.  I don’t have the time right now to devote much to analysis, but Heraldo has all the links.  There are even some videos.

“Don’t blame me, I voted for Larry Glass.”

This is of course in response to what is being viewed as a sleezy move by the majority of the Eureka City Council which has made activists of a number of Westside residents.

The bumper sticker is probably intended as a play on a famous sticker distributed circa 1973 which read, “Don’t blame me, I’m from Massachusetts.”  Massachusetts was the only state to have delivered its electoral votes to McGovern in 1972.

This is a letter drafted by Tom Peters and forwarded to me by Richard Evans, former Sohummer now residing in Eureka these days.  Much of the history of the controversy has been posted and discussed at Heraldo’s, and people I trust say that the City of Eureka blew an excellent opportunity for the Northcoast Children’s Center’s purchase and conversion into a daycare center and multi-use project as an alternative to a CR project the neighborhood objected to. Since then an alternative plan is in the works involving the city’s purchase of the property.  The group backing the project say that some in the city government want to play games with the plan.  Richard asked me to post this letter.

Jefferson School Project needs your help!

It was a done deal. The Eureka Redevelopment Agency has the money. A plan is in place for finding funds to rehabilitate the building. Potential tenants are lined up. A 503c nonprofit is being created to manage the project and be a conduit for funding. Escrow was due to close this week. It is the very model about how a neighborhood can come together to make things happen.

Then newly elected Eureka Councilman Mike Newman, in an apparent Brown Act violation, told staff during Council Reports to postpone closing escrow until at least the next meeting so the council can “discuss it”.  Newman has expressed great doubts about the project and appears to be trying to revive College of the Redwoods earlier bid for the property.

We need your support to tell the Council in no uncertain terms that the agreed upon purchase by the redevelopment Agency, approved by a unanimous vote of the previous council, must be honored. It will take a ‘show of force before the council to be sure this will happen.

PLEASE Come to the Eureka City Council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 6pm . The meeting is on the 2nd floor at the  council chambers. You will NOT be required to speak unless you choose to, only to be there to show support.

The Jefferson Community Center Project is the definition of redevelopment. It will turn a potentially blighted site into a neighborhood park and a thriving center for businesses, nonprofits, and other potential tenants. And it is what the neighborhood wants. Don’t let Mike Newman or any other councilpersons circumvent the will of the very people they were elected to represent. Come to the meeting. Let them know where you stand. Wherever you live in Eureka, the Jefferson School Project sets a precedent for all of our neighborhoods. Please come and support this project.

From Redwood Progressive


What: Peter LaVallee for Mayor Reception & Fundraiser

When: Saturday, October 9, from 5 to 7 pm

Where: Main Lobby of The Eureka Inn

Cost: $25 Suggested Donation

Further Info:

Locally made hors d’oeuvres, local wines, local microbrews
Jazz piano by Darius Brotman
$25 per person

more info:


Friends of Larry Glass will be hosting an event on

Saturday, October 16th

The Eureka Women’s Club at 1531 J St.

The fun will begin at 6:00 pm, we will have a wide array of local foods, beer, wine, and a silent auction with some great items. There will be music, so bring your dancing shoes! Show your support for Larry and help us to raise the funds we need to finish off our campaign and get Larry Re-Elected!

Tickets are on sale at The Works in Old Town Eureka.
$10 donation in advance or a $12 donation at the door.

If you have any questions about this event, or would like to volunteer to help out please contact campaign manager Julie Frink at 707-498-1464 or at See you there!

Ron Kuhnel, candidate for Eureka City Council 3rd Ward, will hold a fundraiser

The Eureka Theater

Friday, October 15 from 5:30 to 9 pm .

The evening will include food by Mity Nice Bakery, beer and wine, entertainment and a silent auction with items from many local businesses.

A $25 donation is suggested.

Come out and support Ron and his vision for a better Eureka!

For more information contact:
Silvia Mazzone-Clementi
(707) 268-8753


Much as I just haven’t had the time to keep up with the rapidly moving story due to the volume on my plate, I’m starting to get drawn in.  As you’ve probably read or heard, the Eureka City Council approved a development permit allowing, among other, things a clean-up  site.  An appeal has been requested with the Coastal Commission on the basis that the EIR was inadequate and that the proposed clean-up plan is inadequate.

Earlier this week two of the three council members (Jeff Leonard and Mike Jones) accompanied a couple of city staff to the Coast Commission meeting in San Francisco.  Bonnie Neeley, generally seen as on the opposite side of the controversy, now chairs the commission.  The decision to hear the appeal based upon the finding of “substantial issue” was decided without input from the public, including the city representatives.  Councilman Larry Glass (who did not vote to approve the permit) and others had called the trip a political stunt.  From the other side comes criticisms of Neeley, accusing her of preventing input from Jones and Leonard, though another commissioner made it very clear that public input is not generally solicited for the mere issue of whether there is substantial issue to justify an appeal.  You can access the video from a post at Heraldo’s.

The Times Standard’s editorial of today politely slams Leonard and Jones, while wagging fingers at everyone else in the debate as well.  The TS lamentation about the discussion seems to be underscored by the thread attached to the article as well as the many threads over at Heraldo’s (Heraldo has been covering the issue extensively since the Eureka City Council took up the matter).  There is also an article which pretty much sums up the story to date.

Heraldo has covered the events from one perspective.  You can find another at the Humboldt Mirror.  This will likely become the next polarizing issue for the county, and will no doubt play prominently in the 2010 Supervisor elections, particularly in Neeley’s district with rumors of challenges from Leonard and Mayor Virginia Bass (rumors of challenges from the left are greatly exaggerated at this point, but there’s plenty of time).

Hank Sims has also weighed in.

Here’s a virtual tour of the proposal.  Notice the intact railroad tracks!

And more to the point of the moment, Phase 1:

Addendum: An emailing reader corrected my misspelling of Neely (I think I’ve been spelling it wrong for some time) and the number of City Council members.  He also states that Neely’s position on the project is ascertainable through more than mere perception.

Bonnie Neely was the former spokesperson for C.R.E.G. (Committee for Regressive Economic Growth), whose one and only purpose was to stop the Marina Center project.  Don’t know how else you can spin that.

Second addendum: Ryan Hurley uncovers the smoking voice mail!

I just haven’t had the time to follow up on the story, but after a couple of years of doldrums the Marina Center project has heated up in recent weeks.  Heraldo has covered it extensively.  Last night the Eureka City Council met to discuss approval of the EIR.  It looks like Heraldo, Tom Seaborn, and others were there to “live blog” it.  I’m trying to picture this meeting with so much clicking of laptop keyboards in the audience.

3-2 vote in the end.

Times Standard coverage

Mayor Virginia Bass had nominated HumCPR leader Lee Ulansey to a spot on the Eureka Planning Department, but a nominee who is not a city resident requires 4 City Council votes.  He received only three, with progressives Larry Glass and Linda Atkins voting against his appointment and several others.  Larry Glass said he felt that the incumbents were doing fine, and Linda Atkins doesn’t think it’s a good idea to fill Planning Department positions with non-residents.  Heraldo has a long thread with many comments made before everyone knew about the 4/5 rule.

Eureka politics reminds me of Santa Cruz when I was in school there in the early 1980s.  At that time the “conservatives” (by Santa Cruz standards) had been removed from power, but maintained 3 of the 7 spots over several split decision elections.  The progressives could never quite consolidate their power, and the conservatives could never quite turn the corner.  I learned that later in the 1990s politics took an odd turn when it appeared that progressives had finally consolidated, but then all of the sudden the mayor Mike Rotkin, a former SDS leader who teaches UCSC’s famous “Introduction to Marxism” class, became a best friend of developers.  Santa Cruz has (or had) and odd term limitations provision which allows you to hold a seat for two terms, then you have to take two terms off before running again.  Rotkin, with much union support, gets elected every time.

Eureka’s last few elections have been split as well, with conservatives (by modern Eureka standards) maintaining a one seat majority.  Since the elections for each position are all city-wide you have exactly the same voters putting both into office, which suggests that there are a large number of Eureka residents, at least enough to swing elections, who favor a slightly hands-off development policy tempered with at least some progressive oversight and regulation.  But trying to interpret mandates can be tricky, especially when the rest of the city is polarized around an issue like the Balloon Track development proposal.  At some point progressives will probably flip the council break down, especially if the conservatives are successful in pushing development which brings in more liberal baby-boomers from the south – the perennial irony of coastal California rural and suburban politics over the past few decades.

Personally, were I a Eureka resident, I’d have no problem tapping non-residents for positions so long as the nominee’s policy priorities reflected those of the voters of the city, however that can be gauged.  Ullansey is a nice and passionate guy with a lot of talent, but do the voters support a private property rights oriented libertarian approach to planning policy?  Maybe one of these years Eureka’s election results will tell us.

District elections are a product of the Progressive Era, though it’s taken a century for it to catch on in Eureka.  It’s a great boost for grassroots candidates for obvious financial and organizational reasons.

It has been vehemently opposed by entrenched powers in the history of the 20th century, as the reform undermined urban machines across the country, from the Daly machine in Chicago to Willie Brown’s in San Francisco.  The “downtown” interests in the latter city managed to use the Moscone/Milk killings as an excuse to overturn district elections, but the progressives managed to get it reinstated in the mid-1990s and they haven’t looked back.  In Chicago during the 1950s the Catholic Church regarded district elections as part of a communist conspiracy and suggested that it might be at least a venial sin to support them.

The discussion has arrived in Eureka with two Times Standard articles (onetwo) and a public meeting to be held in June sometime.


July 2020