The Examiner’s choice for Eureka City Council

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. In Eureka we call it call City Council elections. So this go round the good old boys have dredged up a recycled hybrid version of Jim Worthen and Tom Hannah named Fullerton. While most have accepted that Eureka is seriously broken and we need a full makeover, the power brokers want to take us back 20 years or more with the same worn out ideas. We say “HELL NO”! let’s get some fresh perspective at city hall.

We endorse Austin Allison

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Hello, I’m Austin Allison. I am 25 years old, I work at St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka as a cardiac monitor technician and I also operate a small business as a furniture maker. My family has been here since the 1940’s and after spending every summer here throughout my childhood, I moved here permanently in 2009.

I’m running for City Council because I want to make Eureka a place where every citizen can find work, raise a family, and enjoy life. I have bright ideas and a strong vision for the future of our city. I am young, and I love Eureka. I plan to live here for the rest of my life, grow my business here, and raise a family here. I am ready and willing to step up to help lead our city, to create an even better Eureka for generations to come.

We’re at a challenging moment in time. Society and technology are changing rapidly, and we need our government to have a strong creative vision to guide Eureka forward into a new era. Along with challenges come opportunities, and I am excited to work on a city council that has recently been energized by the addition of a new generation of progressive voices such as Kim Bergel and Natalie Arroyo. This election is important because we have a chance to build on this current momentum to enact even more proactive solutions for our community.

I hope that people will be excited about my philosophy and ideas, and join me in my quest for this city council seat. Our opposition has a substantial financial advantage, but with enough grassroots support, this election is winnable. I invite you to donate, volunteer, and/or display a yard sign for my campaign. Thank you for your support!


I am Proud to be Endorsed by –

* Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee
* North Coast People’s Alliance
* Evolve California
* Humboldt and Del Norte County Central Labor Council
* Operating Engineers Local #3 District 40
* National Union of Health Care Workers, St. Joseph & Redwood Memorial Hospitals
* Carpenters Local 751
* United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5
* American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 57
* Paul Gallegos, Former District Attorney
* Linda Atkins, Eureka City Council Member
* Natalie Arroyo, Eureka City Council Member
* Peter LaVallee, former Eureka Mayor
* Mike Wilson, Humboldt County Supervisor Elect
* Larry Glass, former Eureka City Councilmember
* George & Kyoko Clark
* Susan Johnson, President – Eureka City Schools Board of Education
* David Demant, President – Eureka Teachers’ Union
* Patrick Riggs, Former President – Eureka Teachers’ Union
* Neal Latt, Division 1 Director, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District
* Robert Shearer, Bernie Sanders delegate to 2016 Democratic National Convention


My Platform and Vision for Eureka –

Economic Development

My top priority is economic development, because a strong, vibrant, well paid work force is the foundation that fuels growth and health in every other area. A wealth of good paying jobs pays off in so many ways – it creates revenue for the city, which translates to better services and infrastructure; it creates satisfaction and security for workers, and enables them to put down roots here in Eureka, instead of leaving to find work out of the area. Strong local businesses and plenty of job opportunities is the stable base that all of the rest of the city rests upon.

I am particularly interested in light industry development as a means to help small businesses launch and expand in Eureka, or establish a new base of operations here. We need to make Eureka an attractive place for local businesses to thrive – this means creating spaces for manufacturing in currently unused areas like the Balloon Track. We have an opportunity to support and incubate future successful local businesses here in Eureka, to join the ranks of places like Holly Yashi and Fire and Light, which prove that these successes are possible, when the city supports their needs.

New development also provides opportunities for the local building trades – ideally, union labor – to work in the area, employing local people and keeping our money circulating here in Eureka. And the new businesses that emerge can be a source for new job opportunities.

Building a new, sustainable local economy after the loss of timber and fishing as major industries in the area requires a new approach, and I have the vision to propel Eureka’s economy forward.

I will also work towards expanding our fiber optic internet service in the area, and create more redundancies so tech companies will feel comfortable moving to the area to set up satellite office locations, again creating good paying jobs where their employees could enjoy the natural beauty of Eureka and our artistic community.

More reliable internet here in Humboldt County will also be an important support to existing businesses, and it’s a critical component to prevent businesses from leaving the area as they grow and expand. I think we’ve all felt the effects of unreliable service here. Just the other day, at the hospital, our internet went out for a few hours, which as you can imagine can be a life or death situation!

Affordable Housing

People of all income levels deserve to have access to safe, affordable housing close to their workplaces and other services and attractions in Eureka. I will work on bringing more affordable housing to the area by collaborating with the state and federal government for more grant money.

We need more high density housing close to town, built sustainably with solar panels for green energy and tax credits. I would like to take a proactive approach to reviewing our current regulations for building this kind of affordable housing within city limits, and consider removing the red tape that currently prevents these kinds of projects.

When people have nice, affordable places to live close to where they work, many benefits emerge. They can consider going without a car, which has benefits both for the environment and for peoples’ pocketbooks. When people feel secure with their housing situation, and they aren’t stressed about paying a huge rent or mortgage bill, they are free to relax and enjoy all the wonderful things that Eureka has to offer, and they have more discretionary income, which only helps our economy.

Homes for the Homeless

Homelessness is a tragedy that affects far too many people in Eureka. For some, it is a result of low wages, lack of jobs, or lack of family support. For others, drugs or alcohol play a role. I am committed to addressing the entire range of root causes of homelessness.

To begin with, my focus on economic development and affordable housing, which I just spoke about, can provide a real boost for a lot of people who are currently struggling. In addition to that, we need far better mental health and addiction counseling services.

Working at St. Joseph Hospital, I interact with homeless individuals in some capacity every day. They end up at the hospital because they are not able to access the services they need in any other way. The healthcare providers I know all agree that we must bolster the current services we offer, and be more creative in caring for these people.

Hospitalizing, or worse yet, jailing the homeless only compounds the problem. We can create a more humane society, while also saving taxpayer money, by collaborating with the county to create new services that these people can be eligible for. Some services that I think we need are safe withdrawal clinics and more addiction counseling and therapy programs.

I am encouraged by the creative responses I’ve seen recently – with city and county government working collaboratively with private industry and non-profit organizations to come up with new approaches like Housing First. I would like to build on these early successes, and work closely with local leaders like Betty Chin, to help solve Eureka’s homeless problem.

Infrastructure

It is safe to say that our infrastructure is failing. Our roads, schools, sewer, and water systems are aging and poorly maintained.

My focus on economic development, including supporting light industry, and bringing more reliable internet to the area, will bolster the economy and generate more revenue for the city, which can help pay for improvements to infrastructure that has been deferred for far too long.

Unfortunately, we’ve seen in Eureka that neglecting our infrastructure creates a downward spiral. For example, the closure of several school sites during the last decade, including Jefferson, Lincoln, and Marshall, has had negative effects on neighborhoods. When families don’t have a safe school within walking distance, neighborhoods flounder, and property values suffer, which reduces property tax income.

My desire to re-evaluate restrictions on construction of high density affordable housing within city limits would also be helpful in this regard. Rather than forcing new development to the outskirts of town (which causes city revenues to dwindle), why not make building within Eureka attractive to developers? This would not only bring much needed revenue to the city, but it would reduce the need for costly long term maintenance of yet more and more miles of roadways and water and sewer infrastructure.

My long-term economic plan will bolster the overall economy, and provide the funds we need to properly maintain our city’s critical infrastructure.

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2 thoughts on “The Examiner’s choice for Eureka City Council

  1. I didn’t realize the City of Eureka and the City Council were the managing entities of the City Schools. I’m sure that might come as a surprise to Eureka City School District and its Superintendent.

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  2. Reading the exchanges between candidates Fullerton and Allison regarding the closure of the care homes in Eureka, I was shocked to learn that Mr. Fullerton feels that the acute distress of some of our most vulnerable citizens, (and their families), in being evicted from their care homes is no concern of the members of the City Council! I think the welfare and treatment of Eureka citizens must be a primary concern of our representatives on the City Council – not something to be shrugged off as irrelevant to Council business! Granted that Mr. Allison’s profession makes him more aware of, and concerned with the healthcare and personal welfare of vulnerable citizens, and, granted, that Mr. Fullerton’s profession makes him more concerned with citizen’s financial situations: Which orientation makes a candidate best suited for service on the Council? By my values it is clearly better for Eureka to have Mr. Allison on the City Council. I urge Eureka citizens to VOTE for Austin Allison!

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