Council taking up Plaza street closure, considering resolution in support of KHSU

The Arcata City Council beholds the Wildberries "KHSU In Memoriam" page in the Union at their April 17, 2019 meeting.

Mad River Union

ARCATA – The City Council will visit its wisdom on two controversies this week – proposed partial street closures on the Plaza and the situation at radio station KHSU. 

The council will also consider restrictions on single-use containers such as food take-out boxes and water bottles, and it will likely adopt a temporary moratorium on mobile home park closures. The council meeting starts at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 1 in Council Chamber, 736 F St.

Plaza streets

A street closure proposal by the North Coast growers Association (NCGA) has been working its way through a number of public fora, including meetings of the Plaza Improvement Task Force, Arcata Main Street (AMS) and the NCGA itself.

Citing congestion and danger to farmers from cars passing through the narrow traffic corridors, the NCGA would like to partially close Eighth and Ninth streets to vehicular traffic during the Plaza’s Saturday Farmers Market. The restrictions would remain in place until 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

Through traffic would be restricted via use of traffic cones and signs, while vendors would be “encouraged” to park in the nearby Tri-Counties Bank and Pauli-Shaw Insurance lots to free up handicapped parkings spaces and loading zones.

The partial closure has been opposed by Plaza merchants and AMS. Citing results of surveys, meetings, interviews and last year’s three trial closures, AMS says most Plaza retailers are concerned about parking reductions cutting into their Saturday business. 

Many brick-and-mortar businesses already consider the Saturday market as negatively impacting their clientele, and have voiced resentment about the farmers taking over the common space each week. Some advocate moving the Farmers Market to another location.

A Monday message from AMS Executive Director Jeanette Todd stated, "This is your moment to stand up and say whatever moves you in this discussion. The most powerful voices in the room can be yours! As individual business owners, you have a front row seat to what works on the Arcata Plaza. Arcata Main Street will be there on your behalf to report on and recommend what we have learned over the last year of working with all groups and stakeholders involved."


The council will also consider Resolution No. 189-55,  “A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Arcata Encouraging the California State University Chancellor to Ensure the New Humboldt State University President Works with the Community to Reestablish KHSU as an Integral Part of the University and Our Local Regional Communities.”

The proposed resolution responds to the Humboldt State administration’s actions of April 11, when it fired most of the radio station’s staff, suspended volunteer programs and made the station, at least initially, largely a platform for National Public Radio. 

The ending of decades of programming tradition was met by significant pushback by the affected volunteers and staff, and inspired a letter signed by State Sen. Mike McGuire, Assemblymember Jim Wood, retired Sen. Wes Chesbro and Retired Assemblymember Patty Berg.

Draft Resolution No. 189-55 

“WHEREAS Humboldt State University’s Vision states, “We will be exemplary partners with our communities.”

WHEREAS KHSU was a public radio station broadcast from Humboldt State University since 1972 and was the first public radio station within the California State University system.

WHEREAS KHSU was a valued community institution providing varied local programming, promoting public dialogue, fostering collaboration between the university and the larger community, and providing a forum for student groups, community groups and non-profits to share their news and announcements.

WHEREAS KHSU served Humboldt State University by providing internships and work programs for students, by providing a platform for student voices, particularly for those from marginalized communities through Radio Bilingue, and by airing university news and announcements.

WHEREAS the strength of the station was drawn from its dedicated staff and volunteers, many of whom had volunteered at the station for decades.

WHEREAS KHSU was supported by the local community, through individual donations and underwriter support, as well as through support from the University and outside grants.

WHEREAS many Humboldt State University alumni maintained their connection with the Humboldt State University community and the community at large through KHSU.

WHEREAS the California State University Audit and Advisory Services completed a functional and financial audit of KHSU which was presented to KHSU’s Community Advisory Board on April 10, 2019.

WHEREAS on April 11, 2019, just one week after KHSU’s spring pledge drive emphasizing KHSU’s commitment to locally-produced programming, Humboldt State University abruptly fired, without warning, five of its seven KHSU employees and dismissed all volunteers.

WHEREAS Humboldt State University’s action against KHSU severed its strongest instrument of integration between HSU, its community of students on and off-campus, its faculty and staff, and the surrounding community at large.

 THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Arcata City Council requests the California State University Chancellor’s office to allow the University’s incoming president to work with former staff, volunteers, the Community Advisory Board, the HSU community of staff and students, and with the community at large to reestablish KHSU as an integral part of Humboldt State University and our local and regional communities.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Arcata City Council encourages Humboldt State University and the Chancellor’s office to prevent any effort to abandon, sell, transfer or contract out KHSU until the University’s incoming president has had an opportunity to resolve issues identified in the CSU Audit and Advisory Service report with full, transparent and respectful cooperation, and in conjunction with, KHSU’s Community Advisory Board, former staff, volunteers and supporters.

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Arcata City Council will send a copy of this resolution to the California State University Chancellor’s office, to the incoming president of Humboldt State University, and to CSU Ex Officio Trustee and Trustee President Governor Gavin Newsom.



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