Arcata council incumbents, aspirants getting serious

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

Note: This story includes material previously published online. – Ed.

ARCATA – With two four-year Arcata City Council seats available this November and a host of pressing issues at hand, incumbents and outsiders alike are joining the candidate queue.

As of Monday morning, some seven possible candidates have taken out nomination papers, though just incumbent Brett Watson has turned them in.

The 2018 contestants so far are Lorna Bryant, Ryan Dale, Jolian Kangas, Joseph McKinzie, Sofia Pereira, Valerie Rose-Campbell and Watson. Pereira and Watson are Arcata’s mayor and vice mayor. Arcata citizens interested in running have until Friday, Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. to take out and return nomination papers.

Watson’s nomination petition was found to be sufficient Friday morning, according to City Clerk Bridget Dory. He was appointed by the council in 2017 to fill the seat vacated by former Councilmember Mark Wheetley.

Rose-Campbell has sought a council seat three times previous, in 2012, 2016 and 2017 (though her papers were insufficient in 2012, and she only appeared on a ballot in 2016), while Kangas made one attempt, in 2012, but his nomination papers didn’t pass muster.

The two incumbents are first to get their campaigns rolling.

Flanked by supporters, friends and family members, Mayor Sofia Pereira formally announced her candidacy for another four-year term on the Arcata City Council Saturday 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 by 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.”

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.

Read the full text of Pereira’s remarks here.

With Labor Day – the calendar milestone after which political activity traditionally accelerates – fast approaching, the pace of local elections is quickening. City Clerk Bridget Dory said she expects “a flurry of activity” this week.


Pereira’s unedited press release

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.

Watson’s unedited press release

ARCATA, CA--- Arcata City Councilmember and Vice-Mayor Brett Watson has decided to run for a 4-year term for Arcata City Council.  On Thursday afternoon, Watson officially submitted his candidate statement along with thirty signatures of registered Arcata voters at City Hall.

“I am very excited to be running this November and I’ve already started going to door to door. I look forward to meeting and talking with as many community members as possible between now and then,” Watson said.  “It’s a great honor to work for the people of Arcata, and I hope they’ll grant me the opportunity to continue to work for them beyond 2018.”

Watson first moved to Arcata to attend Humboldt State University, where he graduated with a degree in Forestry.  Watson has served in a number of civic roles, including five years on the Economic Development Committee, as a volunteer at the Arcata Senior Center, and as a volunteer at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.  In April 2017, he was appointed by the City Council to fill a vacancy left by Mark Wheetley.

“I have an ambitious set of goals for my next term, including expanding safe and affordable housing for all Arcatans, continuing to enhance the Plaza and Valley West, helping to create a ‘premier’ dog park for residents and tourists, furthering progress on zero-waste goals, increasing the City’s level of disaster preparedness, and working to increase access to public lands.”

Watson is grateful to have earned the support of many valued members of the Arcata community. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the campaign’s official kickoff event.

Find out more at, or contact Brett directly at [email protected].



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