Mad River Union
Note/update: ACRH member Maureen Jules now states that the following wasn't intended as a public statement on behalf of the group, but a message to members and friends. – Ed.
ARCATA – As Mayor Sofia Pereira seeks clarity on whether Wednesday morning's 2-0-2 vote by the Arcata City Council indeed constitutes denial of the project, Arcata Citizens for Responsible Housing (ACRH) has issued the following statement:
"Dear ACRH Members & Friends,
"Today the Arcata City Council voted 2-0 FOR The Village--and it failed. Both Brett and Susan abstained from voting, which denied the project, as it needed 3 yes votes to pass. Brett and Susan came out strongly in favor of housing and wanted AMCAL/HSU to include families, staff and faculty. Mixed university housing could've greatly improved the much needed compatibility with surrounding neighborhoods.
"To all of you, we'd like to extend our most sincere thanks: THANK YOU. You wrote letters, reviewed the traffic and environmental reports, gave oral testimony repeatedly across 9 months, tabled at farmers market, donated money, met with city council, wrote opinion pieces, organized neighborhood meetings, conducted research, wrote more, met with each other; always learning and sharing information effectively. Communicating our concerns to each other and then to the planning commission and city council was a true group effort and it was a lot of work. Pats on the back and thank yous all around!!! No one could've done this alone.
"Even as we do our happy dance, we know it is a possibility AMCAL will bypass the city by selling, granting, gifting or entrusting the land to HSU. If this occurs, we can hope, like Susan Ornelas articulated, that HSU will want to work with the city and the worst case scenario would be we end up with the same project that just failed. We will carefully watch the situation and keep you posted.
"In the meantime, let's not let those possibilities spoil the happy dance. This issue was nuanced and complex and there were numerous attempts to simplify and polarize the argument, and demonize project opponents. The toxicity made it even harder to be heard, but you all persisted tirelessly communicating your genuine concerns. Importantly, we aren't anti-housing or anti-student. And most of us are probably more aware now then ever about the need to incorporate our student neighbors into our community life. From now on, the HSU students on my street will be getting pies, muffins and/or produce each semester as a little welcoming into our diverse neighborhood of families, students and everyone in between.
"I think it would be great if we reached out to thank the Arcata planning commission and city council for their careful deliberations regarding this large project and all the complexities it tapped into. I'm also especially thankful for Eric Black's high quality coverage through 2 independent mini-films and 2 radio clips. His efforts must've taken a lot of time and thought! And Kevin Hoover, although he came out openly and strongly biased in favor of the project, did carefully cover the meetings for over a year and comb through all the HSU emails. All the other media coverage helped also!