Four candidates are running for three 4-year seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors, which oversees sewer, water, streetlights, open space maintenance, parks and recreation in the unincorporated community. The candidates are David Couch, Dennis Mayo, Erik “Yahmo Ahqha” Rydberg and George Wheeler. Election Day is Nov. 6.
The Union recently asked the candidates a series of questions.
For Dennis Mayo’s answers, click here.
For George Wheeler’s answers, click here.
For David Couch's answers, click here.
Below are Erik “Yahmo Ahqha” Rydberg’s answers, unedited:
1. Why are you running for a seat on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors?
Rydberg: McMcKinleyville has a bright future. I want to help create the infrastructure McKinleyville is going to need to grow and adapt to environmental and population changes
2. What is your occupation and what makes you qualified to serve on the MCSD board?
Rydberg: I am a caretaker, community organizer, a former small business owner/operator in satellite and solar panel installations and a former Office Processionals and Employees International Union(OPEIU) Member. My experience uniquely qualifies me for the work McKinleyville has ahead of it.
3. How many MCSD board meetings have you attended?
Rydberg: I have attended one meeting where the MCSD board unanimously voted to raise the water rates on McKinleyville residents.
4. What’s the biggest challenge facing the district?
Rydberg: Unquestionably it is replacing the water and sewage infrastructure. Most of America has water and sewage lines that are at the end of their age expectancy. MCSD must raise the funds to replace this critical infrastructure as soon as possible.
5. What is your position on the increase in water/sewer rates?
Rydberg: I see it as unfortunate and avoidable. Through creative alternatives we can find ways to raise the money needed to replace our dated infrastructure(reason for the hike). If we are clever we can create ways of raising money from the community that can provide residents with entertainment, healthy food and recreation.
6. What, if any, improvements would you like to see with regard to parks and recreation?
Rydberg: I would like to see the creation of a Town Center
7. Should the MCSD expand its powers?
Rydberg: I would like to see McKinleyville incorporate and gain city status. This would reduce the need for MCSD to expand it's powers.
8. What is the district’s biggest accomplishment in the last five years?
Rydberg: The banning of glyphosates ensures that residents and their children will not be exposed to a known cancer causing agent.
9. What is the district’s biggest failure in the last five years?
Rydberg: The continuing lack of movement on the completion of the McKinleyville Community Plan and ideas set out in the Humboldt General Plan from years ago.
10. How should the district interact with the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee?
Rydberg: As the largest unincorporated area in Humboldt County I see the McKinleyville Municipal Advasory Committe as a make shift response to the lack of having a city council and self governance. As long as McKinleyville continues to go unincorporated it's necessary for residents to have some say in the role of their community. MCSD should continue to work with the McMAC in an advisory capacity.
11. Should McKinleyville pursue incorporation and what role, if any, would the district have in that process?
Rydberg: I believe McKinleyvill should pursue incorporation. MCSD's role would be similar to the role it plays with the McMAC. An advisory role to make sure the new city council doesn't attempt to expand and develop beyond the MCSD infrastructure's capabilities.
12. What projects would you like the district to pursue?
Rydberg: The creation of a Town Center, Incorporation, construction of a solar plant at the Arcata Airport, community gardens and construction of a skate park to name a few.
13. What are the last two books that you’ve read?
Rydberg: "When the Great Spirit Died: The Destruction of the California Indians 1850-1860" by William B. Secrest and "Consensus for Cities" by C.T. Lawrence Butler
14. What’s your idea of a good time?
Rydberg: I enjoy playing music. I love blues, rock and roll, funk, gypsy-jazz, reggae, ska and traditional songs(Native)
15. What else would you like voters to know about you?
Rydberg: I am a father, a caretaker for my 75 year old stepmother, a loyal friend and a relentless optimist. I believe we can accomplish anything together. Where there is a will, there's a way. My appreciation goes out to anyone who took the time to read my responses here. Yahwee! (Thank you in Kashaya)