• TIMES-STANDARD: Meet the Candidates!

You can read the discussion on the Times Standard

In the interest of fairness, I copy/pasted the entire TS article below.  My answers are at the end of the piece.  Four very different points of view for the voters to consider!  This has been a lot of fun so far!


Editor’s note: Caroline Brooks, Leslie Castellano, Hailey Lamb and Anthony Mantova are competing in the Nov. 6 election to represent Ward 1 on the Eureka City Council. On Aug. 21, the Times-Standard emailed the candidates, asking them provide some basic information about themselves in addition to answering five questions regarding their experience and their stance on important issues facing their community. The replies of respondents appear below.

Caroline Brooks

My name is Caroline Brooks. I currently reside in the heart of Ward 1 and have, continuously, for 15 years. I am currently self employed with two businesses and a homemaker with two children, age 11 and 14. I am 42 years old. I have resided in Humboldt County for 18 years. I moved from San Antonio, Texas, to San Diego to Compton to HSU.

Q: Please describe your experience and what you bring to the job.

Caroline Brooks

A: I worked for Humboldt County Social Services for 10 years, I owned 3 businesses in Ward 1 and was forced to close1due to theft and vandalism. I do not have the luxury of moving out of the Ward after the election, me and my family will remain here. I believe my time in the Ward, both residentially and commercially, speaks volumes to my experience of knowledge and ability to speak for those in Ward 1 and for all Eurekans. I see what Ward 1 has to offer and know that I will be a harbinger for change. I will bring a fresh breath of air to the City Council, especially for those under-represented minorities. I bring fresh and bright ideas to the table. I am the only candidate who knows what it’s like to be black on the West Side of town and how differently we are viewed by some that are ignorant and the police. I am unafraid and not owned by anyone, I bring a completely unbiased, non-partisan view to the City Council. I know I do not want to see anymore frivolous spending, unenforceable propositions and no new taxes. I have no personal agenda, it is the people that I would represent, not myself.

Q: What are your priorities, if elected?

A: My main priorities are cleaning up Eureka and being tough on crime. I want to see Eureka as being a tourist destination, but that can’t happen until we come up with a comprehensive criminal and homeless solution. We, particularly, need to deal with the criminal and homeless criminals. No one feels safe walking around stolen merchandise surrounding a homeless individual. More police presence with unshackled hands needs to happen. The police should not have to say their hands are tied – I want to untie their hands. What will it take to detain a criminal? Understandably, we can’t detain everyone who commits a crime, but on the other hand, we can’t let everyone go on a cite and release ticket. Eureka must start making it uncomfortable for the criminals and criminal homeless or we will never be the boom town we want to be. I will explore a program much like the Sheriffs Work Alternative Program (S.W.A.P.) for those that skirt jail by EPD’s common practice of cite and release.

Q: What will you do to address drug abuse and needle litter in the city?

A: The needle exchange program enables addicts to continue being addicts. I believe the enabling should end. Nowadays, there will always be drug abuse in every community, but ours should not turn a blind eye and simply call them mentally ill. Our resources for drug abusers should be used wisely and appropriately and with my effort, hopefully, enhanced. As far as the needle litter, that’s where pro-active drug reduction programs need to be more actively used. We need more than clean and sober homes, we need real programs with statistics to prove they lessen drug dependency. I will explore and vote for facility oversight, to require these facilities to make positive results or lose their accreditation. We need more rehabilitative centers, not just day centers. It is understood that drug abusers should distance themselves from their previous drug acquaintances and locales, but there is no reason we do not have a single, real rehabilitative center in Eureka, with Eureka being the County seat. When a drug addict becomes a danger to themselves or others, they are taken to Sempervirens. Sempervirens is not a drug rehabilitation center, it is being used unfairly to the mentally ill and inappropriately for drug addicts.

Q: What would best stimulate the city’s economy?

A: Lower commercial rent and a flourishing fishing industry would stimulate our economy. There has to be a solution that can be reached with the property owners to offer City incentives to lower rent, so businesses can thrive and new ones can begin. This undertaking would not increase taxes for the residents of Eureka. This can simply be done by pursuing grants and non-earmarked money, state funding and personal communication with property owners. In addition, the increased tax revenue generated by increased local businesses will offset the need for local tax increases. I will, also, explore introducing unknown to the public, fish that taste the same or better than our heavily regulated fish. This will keep our fishermen active for much more than a few months out of the year.

Q: What’s your view on the role of cannabis in the city?

A: I believe cannabis is a bubble industry that will burst on some level in the near future, as many more cities and states adopt legalization. Since the legalization of cannabis, I have witnessed local businesses suffer, while licensing and ordinances are stalled. The money that was in hand prior to legalization is not there currently to be spent. The prices have been driven down for the manufacturers which means their employees do not make as much as before. Now, we have a bigger issue of trying to achieve solutions to keep businesses open. Property rental rates have increased dramatically. This does not help local businesses or entrepreneurs. I believe property owners should diversify their rental properties with assistance of city subsidies or tax incentives, so they have a diversified rental portfolio. This will enable property owners to still be pro-business and provide reasonable rental rates when the cannabis industry becomes too over-crowded to make a profit.

Leslie Castellano

I reside in the 900 block of B Street, Eureka. I am the executive and artistic director of Synapsis, which is a performance, educational, and community space located in Old Town. I am 41 years old. I have resided in Humboldt County for 20 years.

Q: Please describe your experience and what you bring to the job.

Leslie Castellano

A: In addition to running Synapsis, I work for Trajectory, which is a career development program for artists from a variety of backgrounds, and I am the board Vice-President of the Ink People. I have written grants for creating a community mapping project, free art programs, an accessible dance program, and a street festival. For these projects, I have maintained budgets, supervised employees and volunteers, and designed strategies for successful program delivery. In addition, I teach dance and acrobatics to children, youth, and adults. Caring for people and building community has been at the core of all of my work. I am familiar with the energy, commitment, and organization it takes to develop projects that include feedback and input from a wide range of perspectives. I have years of experience creating diverse partnerships between organizations and citizens. As a Eureka councilor, I would use these strengths to build opportunities for collaboration and growth in our community.

Q: What are your priorities, if elected?

A: My priorities include a thriving, ecologically sound economy, housing, youth programs, and neighborhood safety.

Economy: I will work to ensure that we have a strong economy that creates dignified jobs. We can develop more local economic opportunities by establishing a community owned loan fund and business incubators. I will also work to establish more job opportunities and apprenticeships in industry. I will advocate for a living wage and fair labor practices, while ensuring that Eureka has a balanced budget.

Housing: Everyone deserves a safe place to live. I will implement innovative housing solutions to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. I will proactively enforce building codes in order to address neighborhood blight and loss of housing.

Youth: Because youth can fall through the cracks, I will create opportunities for youth to develop the skills they need to participate in society, enter the job market, access education, and be involved in community life. I will work to establish apprenticeship programs and safe spaces for youth.

Safety: We deserve to feel safe at home and in our neighborhoods. Community policing with regular foot and bicycle patrols will increase safety and develop better working relationships with the police force. I will improve the parks in and near Ward 1, creating dynamic places for children and families to gather. I will help recruit funding for mental health services at the County and State level. I will build coalitions to address our challenges, using strength-based and well-researched approaches that are both cost effective and compassionate.

Q: What will you do to address drug abuse and needle litter in the city?

A: The drug epidemic is a national crisis and we feel the brunt of it in Eureka. More than 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. We need more programs to support people who are struggling with addiction. Rehabilitation centers shouldn’t only be for those whose families can afford them. Countless families have experienced too many losses because we fail to address this crisis.

No one wants needle litter in their city. I will continue to support neighborhood clean-ups and community efforts to keep our city safe for all. I also support establishing more locations to safely deposit needles. In addition, I support peer-reviewed and well-studied techniques for reducing harm to those who are struggling with addiction. By reducing stigma and increasing opportunities for treatment, we can start to make headway in this crisis.

Q: What would best stimulate the city’s economy?

A: We need forward thinking approaches to Eureka’s economy. We have lost many local businesses because we lack the necessary infrastructure for small businesses to survive. I support the establishment of business incubators where people can grow new businesses in food production, light manufacturing, and crafts. I also support continued investment into the arts industry. We have wonderful local resources such as the Small Business Development Center, and I think we should consider creating a publicly owned loan fund and a public bank. These both would help keep more money circulating locally.

Right now, we have jobs that cannot be filled because there are not enough qualified people. Workers need better access to apprenticeships in industry and trainings in technology and emerging fields. In terms of industrial growth, I am excited by the prospect of developing solar, wind and other renewable energy infrastructure. This is the kind of energy that is appropriate for our time. I also support sustainable commercial activities in Humboldt Bay. In addition we need to be proactive in taking care of our city’s infrastructure in order to save money in repairs over the next decade. I support funding repairs to County roads and bridges by continuing SB1 and voting no on Proposition 6.

Q: What is your view of the role of cannabis in the city?

A: I think cannabis is one of the many viable economic activities in Eureka. I support the people who have worked hard to create safe, legal cannabis businesses. Humboldt County has long been known as a place on the cutting edge of the field, and it is high time that people who are doing this work received recognition. I appreciate the work that Eureka City staff and employees have done to permit this growth and look forward to its continued development. Of course, we need to make sure that we regulate appropriately in order to prevent environmental harm, and we need educational materials available to ensure safe use.

Hailey Lamb

My name is Hailey Lamb, I am a lifelong resident in Eureka and currently reside on California street in Ward 1.

Q: Please describe your experience and what you bring to the job.

A: I am a local Artist, Entrepreneur, Student and Candidate running for City Council. I have held two different County positions as a Code Enforcement Officer and as an Office Assistant II for the Building and Planning Department. I’m a bit of an enigma as I’m a progressive Democrat from a law enforcement family. Many of you might know me from my father, Humboldt County Sheriff Deputy Charlie Lamb, who recently beat Stage IV Lymphoma. Having my father fight that terrible disease inspired me to do more. I may be young, however I’m wise beyond my years partly because of my experiences traveling and volunteering abroad in over 10 different
countries. I have also studied Political Science and Business at Humboldt State University. I feel that I can bring fresh ideas and perspectives into our city. If you live in Ward 1 (Bay to Buhne, Broadway to C) and would like to see some changes, then I need your vote! I’m proud to say that I am the only candidate in Ward 1 to have the endorsement from the Humboldt Democrats. I hope to be coming to your front door soon to introduce myself and get to know you and your concerns. I’m Hailey Lamb, Eureka City Council Ward 1 Candidate and I need your vote!

Q: What are your priorities if elected?

A: My priorities are to bring change. Given that Humboldt County has one of the highest ACES (Adverse Childhood Experience Study) scores in the state due to dysfunctional families and traumatic experiences in the early years, we need to strengthen our youth programs to give our children a better chance at a successful life. We should be encouraging additional funding for “Pathway to Payday” to get our homeless and those down on their luck back into the workforce. It can be as simple as cleaning our streets in exchange for a housing or food voucher.

We need to fix our roads, starting with 2nd street outside of target as my teeth rattle as much as my truck driving down the street. Then we need to move on to Hawthorn street off Broadway. Our streets shouldn’t be an embarrassment and cause damage to our vehicles. Fixing our streets costs money which is why I’m supportive of Measure I, the Eureka road tax.

Lastly, I want to see Eureka become more eco-friendly, which is why I want to help keep Eureka beautiful by planting more trees. I want to leave our city in better condition for the next generation as well as increase the number of law enforcement officers to make Eureka a safer place.

Q: What will you do to address drug abuse and needle litter in the city?

A: I was curious about the controversy of the needle exchange in Eureka, so I dropped by HACHR unplanned one day to observe. Many reports have been made that the city follows a strict 1 for 1 needle exchange, however I found this to be false on my visit. HACHR gave out needles without an exchange for dirty ones and also gave out on occasion over 300 needles to individuals without an ID check or any questions about why the drug user wanted 300 needles or more. They also do not count the needles. They put all the used needles in a sharps container and take an estimate of how many are inside. Why not weigh the needles on a scale or have the drug user count the used needles one by one in front of you? I think needle exchange is good for harm reduction but there’s a few things I think our local needle exchange programs should change to be more accurate and have safe practices for the community as a whole. 1 for 1 needle exchange should be enforced and I think most people in the community are also in favor of that. Let’s keep HACHR open and running, but add in enforcement and accountability for their services. It is important to the health and wellness of our community to take action to prevent having so much needle litter on the streets. I have consulted with many people involved with this issue and feel this is the right action needed.

Q: What would best stimulate the city’s economy?

A: The best way to stimulate growth in the economy in eureka is to have a diverse form of action focusing on all aspects of business here and expanding upon entrepreneurship. This truly needs to be a multi pronged attack as our timber, fishing and cannabis industries have all decreased immensely over the years. I was recently a member of the SBDC program in Eureka and find programs like this to be very useful to help local businesses start. I feel there’s a lack of education about finances, a lack of resources and a lack of investors in this area. We should be having finance workshops at local high schools and colleges. We should be focusing on having more commercial kitchens offered for use (which is currently in the works). We should all be potentially investing and looking for the next industry to bring to eureka whether it be technology, manufacturing or tourism. I would like to see our economy grow and feel it is vital to the success and sustainability of our future.

Q: What’s you view of the role of cannabis in the city?

A: My view of the role of cannabis in the city is supportive for many economic reasons. It has already brought in more jobs, business and tax income for the Eureka city budget that can now be used to fix our parks in Eureka. I’d like to see even more jobs be created and additional income to be made by the community. Also, Eureka is located within the emerald triangle which means the cannabis industry holds a piece of our history here that many people from all over the world are curious about. Let’s use this as an opportunity to target that audience to strengthen our tourism industry. Let’s allow business and profit to be made while at the same time not taking focus away from other aspects that make Eureka a beautiful place to live.

Anthony Mantova

Editor’s note: No photo was submitted.

Q: Please describe your experience and what you bring to the job.

A: I’m running for Eureka City Council because I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the last few years. A lot of longtime local people are leaving Eureka and moving to Oregon, Idaho and Texas — many used to be my customers! I ask why the move? They respond: Too much crime and not enough jobs. Unfortunately, Eureka is on a dangerous path to becoming a “Mini-San Francisco.” We must elect leaders that will listen to the views of the majority and demand accountability at City Hall. The current batch of elected officials have no credible ideas for changing Eureka’s direction. That’s where I provide a difference. As a music store owner in Eureka’s Old Town, I have a grasp of the day-to-day challenges that small business owners encounter. As a Eureka resident for ten years I understand the unique challenge of affordable housing, illegal camping and the lack of high-paying jobs that make it hard to raise a family in this city. My role within Mantova’s Two Street Music encompasses book-keeping in addition to sales and marketing. When it comes to managing money and allocating specific funding for projects, I have years of experience to help navigate the cities’ troubled finances. I believe in setting high goals for the staff, and encouraging maximum action to having those goals met. We ought to elect officials with sales and marketing skills, so we can make sure our city seizes opportunities for new industry and jobs.

Q: What are your priorities, if elected?

A: (My top priority is fighting crime, but i’m saving that answer for the next question!) I also want to tackle the city’s budget and find some opportunities to save and/or increase revenue without raising taxes. I’m a big fan of the proposed Pacific Northwest Railroad, because it would lead to thousands of good paying, union jobs for our area. The revenues could go a long way toward repairing our roads, potholes and other infrastructure eyesores that are so common in Eureka. Similarly, I understand that we need a well maintained port that can keep up with the commerce and industry demands of our local businesses.

I understand the desire to accept grant money from the state, but as the recent disastrous H and I decision proves, not all grant-money projects are worth it! I believe we need to listen to what the majority of people want, not apply for grant money that tears up a perfectly good three-laned road! I can also promise the voters that if I am personally benefiting from a public works project, that I will recuse myself for the sake of maintaining an honest local government. I will demand that we act with transparency.

The city has several complicated land use, leasing and maintenance issues that keep it from best utilizing it’s properties, I would like to become more involved in the process deciding the best use for city real estate.

Q: What will you do to address drug abuse and needle litter in the city?

A: We must reduce the number of criminal drug addicts on our streets! This will require a multifaceted approach consisting of enforcing camping ordinances, regulating the out-of-control Needle Exchange programs, linking up with charities and coordinating with someone like John Shelter to put members of the homeless community to meaningful work. The approach must also consist of targeting blighted buildings where drug use and illegal camping are taking place. You and I understand that there are different segments of the homeless community, and it is critical that we apply different, specific solutions to each group. Currently in Eureka there are three groups that make up the homeless. The first are the Down-on-their-luck, a group that often has a vehicle or a job, but has no place to call home. The second are the mentally ill, which studies place at being about 25% of our homeless community. The third group are the Criminal Drug Addicts, and they are the element that is terrorizing Eureka. As a city, we have enough money to help groups 1 and 2. As San Francisco is finding out, there is never enough money to help the third group, because the criminal addict only cares about living his illegal lifestyle. We must reduce group number three so we can take care of the homeless that want help.

Q: What would best stimulate the city’s economy?

A: Eureka values its bums more than its businesses. Without properly addressing the high number of criminal drug addicts on our streets, it is impossible to provide an area where prospective businesses would feel comfortable investing their time, energy and services. City planners like to argue that we are an “arts and tourism” town, and while I like both of those things, we could be so much more if we welcomed industry and commerce. Business goes where it is invited, and our city council has failed to put out the welcome mat.

Q: What’s your view on the role of cannabis in the city?

A: Many interested cannabis developers are choosing to setup retail and manufacturing facilities in other California counties. The reason why is because other places, like Sonoma County, are actively recruiting cannabis business. Eureka’s Cannabis approval department is short staffed and is not able to guarantee a 90 day review period. Sometimes the cannabis approval period can take more than 180 days! Few prospective retail or manufacturing stakeholders are willing to pay rent on a building for that long when their future is so uncertain. The problem is the City of Eureka is not properly welcoming the cannabis industry. Each cannabis manufacturing facility could hire 20-30 employees, could upgrade a formerly blighted building and would provide much-needed 24/7 security to parts of Eureka that desperately need it. Instead of looking at Cannabis manufacturing as a necessary evil, I believe we ought to compete for these jobs. At this point, cannabis is one of the few industries that is looking to thrive in Eureka. I think it would be a mistake to ignore that.

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