Mayor Sofia Pereira kicks off re-election bid at Greenview Park

State Sen. Mike McGuire, Former City Councilmember Wesley Chesbro, Mayor Sofia Pereira, Humboldt County Supervisor Mike wilson and former City Councilmember Alexandra Stillman at Greenview Park. Photo by Matt Filar | Union

Mad River Union

ARCATA - Flanked by supporters, friends and family members, Mayor Sofia Pereira formally announced her candidacy for another four-year term on the Arcata City Council today at Arcata's Greenview Park.

Pereira was praised by supporter Nancy Starck as conscientious, prepared and open minded. Former City Councilmember Wesley Chesbro cited Pereira as a prime example of the smart young leadership needed Arcata and the political world in general. "She's proven herself a worthy leader for our community,"Chesbro said.

State Sen. Mike McGuire said Pereira is a tireless bridge builder, environmental leader and champion for all segments of the community, from students to seniors and families. "No one will out-work her," McGuire said. "She never takes no for an answer, when it comes to advancing the needs of Arcata residents," McGuire said.

Pereira cited the newly renovated, all-access Greenview Park as an example of community action and inclusivity. "It shows what we can accomplish together," she said.

Pereira enumerated the many social and financial challenges faced by Arcata and North Coast citizens when she took office in 2014, and the progress made in addressing them. Still remaining are the housing shortage, sea level rise and social justice and equity, among other issues, and Pereira called for the community to "come together and heal."

"These aren't easy tasks that are ahead of us, and we may not always agree on the path forward, but we are going to walk that path together," Pereira said.

Pereira is one of seven announced candidates for the two seats open on the council.

Pereira's official announcement, and her kickoff speech:

ARCATA CITY COUNCILMEMBER SOFIA PEREIRA ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR SECOND TERM

ARCATA - Arcata city councilmember Sofia Pereira announced her bid for re-election at the recently renovated, all-abilities inclusive Greenview Park in Arcata. The election will be held Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Opening comments were made by community leaders including Senator Mike McGuire and Senator Wesley Chesbro (retired).

Pereira has served on the Arcata city council since 2014 when she was first elected. She currently serves as mayor. In her remarks, Pereira shared her accomplishments in her first term highlighted by advancing the city’s first zero waste action plan and regional recycling processing (plant?), fostering community partnerships including with Arcata Main Street to provide family-friendly programs on the plaza, and expanding government accessibility online with social media and the city’s website.

Pereira shared some of her priorities for her second term: housing, addressing sea level rise and preparing for natural disasters, and making Arcata a safe and inclusive community for students and residents of Arcata.

Pereira continued, “We have big decisions ahead of us that require strong leadership, an open mind, and good communication. I have learned based on advancing your values, Arcata’s values. A fair economy, an inclusive community that fights for social justice and environmental sustainability. I promise you that with your support we’ll continue to advance our city through the good times and the bad. We’ll protect our most vulnerable and we’ll never let outside interests dictate our future.”

A long time community advocate, Sofia has served in various roles such as HSU Associated Students President, Humboldt County human rights commissioner, Arcata committee on democracy and corporations committee member, Six Rivers Planned Parenthood board member and treasurer, and Lost Coast Rotaract president. Pereira continues to support community engagement across the country as a nonprofit director for a national women’s leadership organization.

Pereira's kickoff speech

I’m Sofia Pereira, I’ve served on the Arcata City Council since 2014 and I’m currently your mayor. I hope to earn your vote on November 6 so we can keep our city a people-powered city.

I’m proud to stand before you today at the newly renovated Greenview Park. This park used to be a neighborhood park that was deteriorating and underutilized. Residents had a bright idea to transform the park and after years of fundraising and hard work between neighbors and the city, Greenview Park became destination for children and adults of all abilities. This park is the only one of its kind for hundreds of miles and we should be proud of it. It also is a lot of fun to play at, no matter your age. This is what we can accomplish together.

When you elected me to office just four years ago, you asked me to solve problems across the city: families didn’t feel that they could bring their kids to the plaza, our roads in need of resurface and repair, Valley West residents felt like a forgotten island, and our city’s budget was in the red, relying on reserves and one-time money to pay our bills.

I’m proud to report that we addressed these issues head on.  But even with all of this work, our community has more challenges ahead.

We now have to address a housing shortage making Arcata schools and community out of reach for too many families. We must directly face the real threat of sea level rise and prepare for natural disasters like earthquakes and wildfires. We must learn how to welcome our new residents of all backgrounds, and make Arcata a safe community for our students and residents, especially after our community has been rocked by the death of a young student, David Josiah Lawson- a wound that we know will require the community to come together to heal….. These aren’t easy tasks ahead of us. We may not always agree on the path forward, but we’ll walk it together. I promise you that I will continue to do everything I can to listen to our community and lead to a collaborative solution.

Albert Einstein once said “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. Our challenges aren’t unique to Arcata, but we rise to the challenge and find the opportunities. That’s what makes this city the best place to live, work, study, and play.

The opportunities before us are rooted in the hardworking people of this community. Like the parents of Arcata Elementary School who organized after an assault on a child occurred. They didn’t just say “well that’s the way it is. Bad things happen”. They took action. We worked together to improve neighborhood safety and safe routes to school. We worked together to create a public safety committee that will continue the work needed to make this a community safe for everyone.

When out-of-town corporate interests threatened the homes of low-income seniors and families in our mobile home parks, the residents didn’t rest on their laurels, they organized. Over the course of three years I worked with the residents to ensure that they can afford to stay in their homes for years to come.

With your hard work we’ve created new partnerships with Arcata Main Street and downtown business owners to improve the plaza. I’m proud to have secured $150,000 for a citizen-led task force to implement plaza improvement projects. It’s the creative spirit of this community that will transform the plaza.

So what’s next? We have big decisions ahead of us that require strong leadership, an open mind, and good communication. Our campaign is based on advancing your values, Arcata’s values. A fair economy, an inclusive community that fights for social justice and environmental sustainability. I promise you that with your support we’ll continue to advance our city through the good times and the bad. We’ll protect our most vulnerable and we’ll never let outside interests dictate our future.

I can’t do this alone. We’re in this together. We all need to work together, as we have been these past four years. I ask for your vote on November 6. Just like this is a people-powered city, this is a people-powered campaign - I absolutely commit to continue doing everything I can do, but I need more help for Arcata’s future. To truly keep our community strong, we need every one of us. We will ask you to volunteer your time, donate your dollars, and ask your friends to join this campaign. This is not my campaign, this is our campaign to continue to make Arcata an amazing and wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to the work that’s ahead of us. Please vote for our campaign and our vision on November 6.

 







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