Behold The Eye Issue Scrutinizers’ Bold Ballot Choices – October 30, 2010

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nicole Barchilon Frank

Voted for Dave Meserve, Gallegos, Wilson. Not sharing publicly more of my choices as I don’t have time to go into details. My ballot is already in the mail.

Thought about writing a poem, but don’t have the time to craft one. So this is a poem-like, prose-like conglomerate of my thoughts in a short form (rare for me).

O’ so much to wale about

Folks behaving poorly not my thing

I care about the WAY

we do what we DO

So, if you are mean spirited, damning and politically savvy you may not be my choice

That said, I am also swayed by friends and the choices of others.

If you are a planned parenthood supporter, a feminist, gay-friendly, spiritually inclined and open minded and support the North Coast Resource Center I will probably vote for you. If I have to choose between two candidates who fit all these qualifications it gets a little trickier.

In terms of Ms. Wilson. Damn, she knows her job, why oust her? Math is my nemesis, numbers and figure cause me pain. Seems ridiculous to me to move someone who is doing her job out of it?

Gallegos, he’s already doing his job too, not a lunatic or a criminal, has his own way of doing things, cares about our community. I don’t have to agree with all his choices, but I HATE it when folks lambast others and blame them for the ills of the universe. I prefer personal responsibility and honesty and if you make a mistake and admit it, you’re more likely to garner my support than if you act infallible.

Dave’s a friend, cares about many of the same things I do, has the best signs (AND ART MATTERS) and he’s a fellow wildly inclined person, meaning likely to feel strongly about things, make mistakes, get lots done and help folks and have his HEART absolutely in the right place.

He might offend a person or two as well, something I can relate to. I trust he and I will continue to work on that and I’ll hold him to a high standard of personal conduct.

Robin Hashem

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a bit tired of “politics” this time of year, especially the posturing and distortion of facts that seemingly must accompany running for office. Even our nonpartisan Arcata City Council race has fallen prey to this stuff, from distasteful political jockeying at the Democratic Central Committee (’scuse me, remember this is a non-partisan race? Big deal, let the Democrats endorse who they want to endorse) to some candidates pandering popular ideas without backing them up with cold, hard facts.

Some candidates rely on the inconvenient truth that the voting public doesn’t always pay attention to what’s going on or have the historic background to make a truly informed decision.

Public bathrooms, who wouldn’t want one? BTW, we did have one down at the Arcata Transit Center. It was trashed in unspeakable ways and had to be closed. And the public bathroom down at the Marsh? Burned to the ground. Porta-potties behind Plaza Design, same deal, quickly not suitable for general public use.

It used to be simple. Most local businesses used to let you use their bathroom if needed, but now will not either because they became trashed or the financial constraints of having to make them handicapped accessible if used by the public. Ask former Councilman Bob Ornelas what he thinks about public bathrooms, you will get an earful, if you can even get him to talk about it anymore.

Got Bike? Vote Dave. Or Mark Wheetley or Alex Stillman or Geronimo Garcia or Mark Sailor. Every year I see Mark Wheetley with his kids and our Public Works Director giving their time down at the summer Bike Rodeo on the Plaza. This event includes giveaways and provides instruction on proper bike maintenance, safety and more, all to encourage kids to ride bikes. The Arcata Police Department started an incentive program to encourage kids to wear helmets (kids “caught” wearing helmets have been awarded gift certificates donated by local businesses). Geronimo hauls his home by bike and Mark Sailor makes his living with a pedi-cab. Alex Stillman literally is a cheerleader for the Arcata Ridge Trail. The City continues in whatever way it can to encourage bike and pedestrian transport.

Should we make Arcata a charter city so we can have a police review board and make our own rules? As noted in the council debates, the city of Bell was a charter city and we know what happened there. Becoming a charter city or looking into it will take much time and money that would be better spent on things our community really needs. I don’t think Arcatans have been shy about speaking their mind, doing things our way or looking outside of the box for solutions.

Perhaps we need to be more concerned about preserving the Arcata Marsh as our wastewater treatment facility or making sure we get the most out of the money we do have than looking into becoming a charter city.

I guess what I am saying is it is necessary to have vision, but it’s also imperative to be able to make those visions happen. As a voter, consider each candidate’s history, look behind the words to their ACTUAL record of how they have served the community and how well they work with others to accomplish things. Right now we have a functional, effective council that is able to listen and consider all points of view and make decisions based on facts and budget constraints that are good for all of the community without throwing compassion to the wind. They have figured out how to work well together despite personal differences or styles. Real change is happening with the current council.

Considering that, I suggest voting for continued, real change by electing Alex Stillman and Mark Wheetley to serve with Michael Winkler, Shane Brinton and Susan Ornelas, a good, working council.

I look forward to seeing the other candidates participating (or continuing to participate in some cases) at the council meetings or on the many committees and commissions has that the City and council use to get things done.

Paul Hooker

My choices for City Council are Alex Stillman and Mark Wheetley. They have been accessible during their current terms as councilmembers.

Mark and Alex have always had their listening ears on whenever I spoke to either them or while addressing the council. I haven’t always agreed with them, or the council, but still they accepted my input. I think the current council is the best council we have had in years. They have focused mainly on local issues and not grandstanding about some special interest issue.

We need councilmembers that are willing to listen to the citizens of Arcata, and act according to the input received. I think Mark Wheetley and Alex Stillman have shown time and again that they are concerned about our city and its citizens. So, Alex and Mark get my votes.

Kevin Hoover

I didn’t expect this column to be so uniform in its City Council recommendations. Frankly it’s a little discomfiting, and I wish more of the Scrutinzers had responded. But maybe that HSU poll is indicative.

Alex Stillman is not only in her prime, but seemingly on an upward arc. She combines excellent values with ceaseless work on behalf of Arcata, all with a graceful, relaxed spirit. Alex is another one of those people who elevates those around her to be their best.

Mark Wheetley, Mr. Nice Guy, is a very solid, center-progressive policy brain. He has deft mastery of the subtly interconnected mechanisms of government and policymaking, not to mention grant funding, and that has served Arcata well.

The product of a multi-generational Democratic family, Wheetley makes individual choices, not relying on doctrine to guide his decisions. This has not endeared him to the greasy party political operatives. They don’t like him, and that, regardless of any position he may take on this or that issue, is a huge plus in my booklet. Bottom line with Wheetley: good stuff gets done for Arcata.

I’ve criticized Dave Meserve a lot, but always for things he’s done, not what he is. And even when I thought he was blowing it with zealotry-driven excess, I can’t think of a time when his decisions weren’t made with Arcata’s best interests in mind, by his lights.

Dave is a great Arcatan. His politics are quintessentially Arcatan. Lots of Arcata people share his core values, including me. Where we differ is in implementation.

Thinking back on Meserve’s prior term of office, the overall memory is one of pain – pain for citizens with everyday business trying to participate in Arcata City Council meetings. These were meetings that stretched into the late hours as political activists and conspiracy theorists from up and down the West Coast came to harangue the council with their theories about war, homelessness and 9/11, telling us how morally wanting we in Arcata are unless our small town takes on these national and international issues. This while routine important civic business waited, unaddressed, as City staff, who are maxed out daily with substantive projects, stayed late into the evening enduring endless speechifying from non-residents and the City Attorney sat there piling up billable hours.

With energy and evenings freed from agenda items that resulted in little or no benefit to our citizens, Arcata has been able to focus on meaningful environmental and social progress. From the Marsh/Baylands to the creeks to the forest, Arcata is restoring its natural treasures. The new Night Shelter opens this weekend, and the Arcata Crossing transitional shelter is on a steady track. Progress is made with persistent, incremental steps where no one is applauding and hooting, as at the council meetings of olde. If only Obama could have turned around his predecessor’s ruin as quickly.

Note that Dave did help with some of this, between the pointless imbroglios. Again, he means well. He just has no sense of scale and will as eagerly drag everyone out on a non-productive ideological limb as toil on always-pressing municipal affairs.

When you think about it, how much did Dave really accomplish on his key goals during his council term? We don’t have a downtown restroom, arguably because of his advocacy for a super-expensive hi-tech unit. He overreached massively in trying to establish a “Dignity Village” homeless camp, rather than devote that effort to the more realistic and achievable sorts of facilities that are in the pipeline now. You have to admit, though, that the time-consuming thrusts against the Bush administration did pretty much bring it to its knees.  OK, maybe not. On everyday municipal business, Dave was competent, as good as any reasonably intelligent person would be. But it was never his passion.

Councilmember Shane Brinton has been fairly on-topic lately, focusing on City business rather than ideologically-driven initiatives. Put Dave next to him on the council, though, and Shane’s going to spiral back off into loopy-land, where solar eclipses threaten civil rights.

It’s ironic that Dave’s truly great campaign signs advertise “Back To The Future,” when reinstalling him would return a painful past of polarization and paralysis. The role and duties of a councilmember are too limiting for Dave’s global vision. His best work is done outside of government.

Josh Mohland and Mark Sailors are the stuff of future leaders, and we need them. They should put in some time on City committees, learn how Arcata is wired and how to get things done. Josh should get on the Economic Development Committee (there’s an opening right now), and Mark would be a fantastic Transportation Safety Committeemember. If you’re serious, check back in six or eight years, guys.

Where does Genonimo Garcia live? He swang by the office a few months ago to tell us that he was “living in a Manila City Councilmember’s driveway.” His official residence is listed as Eighth and H streets on the Plaza, where he held his vigil for political prisoner Tad Robinson. Geronimo seems to do his fact finding via a sort of Brownian Motion method – wandering around and having more or less random conversations with people. We needed to interview him for a candidate profile, so John Osborn and I figured we’d run into Geronimo sooner or later. After weeks of not encountering him and time running out, I sent a Facebook message to someone I know in Manila. Literally within three minutes, the office phone rang and it was Geronimo, offeding cell phone and e-mail contacts.

Not that Geronimo needs a takedown here, but between his dubious residency, checkered past of vandalism, violent clashes with police and his small-potatoes way of doing research, it’s fairly clear that his is a stunt candidacy.

Aldaron Laird

Alex Stillman and Mark Wheetley, without a doubt. As I alluded to in the question to ask the candidates that I sent to you I believe that it is essential to elect people who can work well with others and build consensus. These two candidates have a track record of listening and collaboration, as well as getting things done.

Mark Leppanen

Arcata, is still suffering from a Meserve hangover, so I think they will vote Mark and Alex back in. As far as DA goes, I imagine Gallegos will win 66 percent to 34 percent.

Although it is a midterm election (and most voters would normally stay home), Prop 19 is a game changer…. consequently all the enablers will benefit from the “green tea” party vote in California. That is, unless they get too high to find their voting booths.

“I just read the daily news, and swear by every word.”

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