Emergency renewed in Arcata, Winkler lets misinformation stand

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA – The City Council Monday, April 27 renewed the State of Emergency declaration it approved last month, something the Arcata Municipal Code requires every two weeks for the duration of any public emergency. This week, the council meets again to work on the city budget, consider water rate increases, discuss reforms to the Arcata Police Department and other routine business.

Arcata Mayor Michael Winkler

As with the last online meeting, the council was updated on coronavuirus-related events at the city level.

City Manager Karen Diemer said the two city-sponsored parking lot campgrounds installed to help observe social distancing are operating smoothly but at capacity. Some inhabitants may soon be transferred to motel rooms under something called project Room Key.

Diemer discussed pending paving projects in light of sales and bed tax revenue reductions expected due to the coronavirus crisis. No action was taken, but the projects may be reduced in scope to cut costs while retaining core goals.

Community Development Director David Loya said the City’s Business Resilience Emergency Loan Program (BRELP) has gained participation, and is expanding. 

The $250,000 in city funds budgeted for BRELP may be tripled with addition of $500,000 from the Headwaters Fund. Loya said eight businesses have received $10,000, while a total of 46 applications and inquiries have been received, with eight businesses receiving funds, 11 apps pending further information and 22 sent to the Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) for precessing.

Mayor Michael Winkler, consistent with his tendency to dispense and fail to correct fearful misinformation, made no effort to address his alarming assertion at the April 13 council meeting that groceries pose a coronavirus infection hazard to consumers. 

Winkler made the counterfactual claim as part of a proposal to make masking in supermarkets mandatory, a measure since made moot by the county’s universal public masking requirement.

For the record, grocery consumers need not fear being infected by their food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that, “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of the coronavirus.”



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