Meet the seven candidates for the Arcata City Council’s open seat

The four-person City Council will appoint someone from the pool of seven applicants to fill the seat vacated by resigned Mayor Sofia Pereira.

Mad River Union

ARCATA – An Arcata City Council Candidate Forum will be held on Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. to give Arcata residents and community members the opportunity to get to know the candidates and provide input during the process. 

The forum will be held in person in the Council Chamber at Arcata City Hall, located at 736 F St., and available virtually on Zoom.

In preparation for the forum, the City developed a list of questions for the candidates, with community members encouraged to participate in the process by submitting their questions in advance. Members of the public will also be able to submit questions in-person for consideration.

The new councilmember will be selected by the present four-member City Council as early as tonight, and is expected to be sworn in at the beginning of the Wednesday, Aug. 18 City Council meeting. 

Email [email protected] or call (707) 822-5953 with questions regarding the appointment process.

The meeting agenda

The Arcata City Council holds a special candidate forum Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. in Council Chamber at Arcata City Hall, 736 F St. City Council meetings are now being held in person and with hybrid access online via Zoom. 

Observe the meeting in one of four ways:

1. On television on Access Humboldt Channel 10;

2. Online by visiting and clicking on the See Live Meetings, Agendas, and Archives button on the home page;

3 On the City’s YouTube channel; or

4. via Zoom by joining from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device. Please use this URL: or join by phone by calling *67 1-669-900-6833 and entering the meeting ID: 980 8563 8687.

Provide public input in two ways:

1. Attend the meeting in person in the Council Chamber in City Hall. Facial coverings are required for unvaccinated attendees.

Prior to 7 p.m., submit a specific question for the candidates online using this URL:


A. Consider Appointment of a Candidate to the Vacant City Council Seat for a Term Expiring December 2022.

Attachment: Candidates’ Applications, Candidate Statements, and Statements of Economic Interests.

All times are approximate.

1. Questions for Candidates from the Council (6 to 7:30 p.m.)

2. Questions for Candidates from the Public (7:30 to 8 p.m.)

3. Questions for Individual Candidates (8 to 8:15 p.m.)

4. Candidates’ Closing Comments (8:15 to 8:30 p.m.)

5. Public Input (8:30 to 9 p.m.)

6. Initial Council Ranking and Discussion (9 to 9:15  p.m.)

City Council action could include making the appointment, setting additional discussion for a future date, or referring the matter to an election.


The unedited candidate statements

Name: Katelyn Bourne 

Occupation: HSU Student

After getting out of the Army and moving to Humboldt County in 2019, I felt welcomed and accepted by the community that makes up Arcata. Now, I want to take this opportunity to give back to that community.

Katelyn Bourne

My passion has always been to help people. I was a combat medic while in the service and when I got out, I joined the College of the Redwoods Associated Students to help students during Covid-19. As President of ASCR, I helped facilitate my colleagues’ plan to give all students living in the dorm’s welcome baskets at the start of each semester. While it was not my idea, I helped ensure that the plans to do so were implemented and each student felt as welcome as possible at CR.

As a political science major and someone who wants to be a politician, I have become a firm believer that those who hold a public service office should serve the people before they serve a party or themselves. Because of this belief, my focus as an Arcata City Council member would be to help the City Council strengthen its relationships with Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods students, as well as work to increase engagement with those who live in the city of Arcata.

/s/ Katelyn Bourne 213 words



Name: Elizabeth Conner

Profession: Affordable Housing Specialist Age: 67

I’m applying for the City Council because I want to contribute my experience, knowledge and passion to help govern Arcata as it faces huge new opportunities and challenges.

Since coming to Arcata in 1995, I’ve been: - Co-Chair, Arcata General Plan Task Force - Vice-Chair, Arcata Planning Commission - Member, Arcata City Council

- Executive Director, Housing Humboldt

Elizabeth Conner

- Lead consultant, converted Ferndale Coast Guard housing to affordable housing - Co-founder, Humboldt Housing& Homeless Coalition

- Initiator, County Housing Trust Fund

- Co-founder, Humboldt Community Land Trust

- Current Chair, Humboldt County Housing Authority

My priorities include:

- Climate Change: doing all possible locally to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

- Creating more housing affordable to the range of incomes in Arcata, including small homes and townhouses for rent or sale.

- Re-imagining public safety: building a community-wide coalition and broadening our understanding of what creates safe communities.

- Supporting local businesses, creating conditions for new ones, and ensuring the new Polytechnic will benefit local business.

- The need for economic, social and racial justice will inform all my actions and votes; discussions of these issues must involve all citizens and voices for us to move forward as a strong, resilient community.

I’m proud to have served on the Council which started Redwood Coast Energy Authority, placed a cap on formula restaurants and committed to infill and affordable housing. I’d be honored to continue this work with the excellent team of staff and Council working for a better Arcata.

/s/ Elizabeth Conner 235 words


Arcata is a special place, and we are on the cusp of great change. With HSU becoming a Polytechnic University, Covid ending, new airline routes and new businesses on the horizon, the needs of the community and availability of resources are changing quickly. My goal is to align our economic and development needs to meet these opportunities, while still maintaining the Arcata I moved here for- progressive ideas, a welcoming community with unmitigated access to beauty and nature, one-of a kind events, and local businesses.

Meredith Matthews

My experience as a 3-year member of the Economic Development Committee (1 year as chair), serving on the board of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, core team member of Cooperation Humboldt, volunteer for Arcata Main Street, and work with Redwood Coast Energy Authority give me a unique perspective. Not only do I have knowledge of Arcata’s infrastructure and business goals, rapport with our local businesses, and insight into our housing and business needs, but also believe that we can create a new economy based on sustainability, grassroots organizations and workers cooperatives that lift all people up.

It is time for a new vision. We need all the tools in our toolbox- creative alternative transportation and energy, strategic plans for affordable housing for a rapidly expanding town and a recommitment to a cleaner, safer, more beautiful Arcata.

I would be honored to be a part of this vision. Thank you,

/s/ Meredith Matthews

235 words


Humnath Panta, Ph.D.

Humnath Panta, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of finance at Humboldt State University. Before joining HSU, he was an associate professor at Brenau University. He earned his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in Financial Economics from Ohio University. He also received a master’s degree in International Relations and Trade from Monash University, Australia, and a BA in English Literature with a minor in Economics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He has over twelve years of university teaching, five years of public service, more than five years of high school teaching, and three-plus years of corporate work experience.

Humnath Panta

He is an active scholar, dedicated teacher, and effective mentor for students with diverse backgrounds and career goals. His primary objective is to serve the community by promoting a positive learning environment and helping students in their self-development through quality financial education. He is active in various civic, cultural, and professional organizations, including Blood Donors of America, Financial Management Association and Southwestern Finance Association. He wants to support the local community through financial education and involvement in various community-based activities

With over 20 years of experience in both public and private sectors, Humnath has extensive experience in planning, budgeting, financial policies, capital improvement plan, spending and revenue policy, formulation of policy and procedure, strategic implementation, coordination, collaboration, and team building. Besides his professional interests, he likes to travel, read, write, and enjoys living with his family and serving the local community.

/s/ Humnath Panta

 247 words


Hello Arcata! I am Bennett Perrault, a 25 year old wildlife biologist. I work down on the Humboldt Bay National wildlife refuge in Loleta. I graduated from Humboldt State with a degree in wildlife management and conservation back in 2019. I have been in love with this town since I arrived in 2014. I served as the Administrative Vice President when I was in my final year at HSU and I loved it.

Bennett Perrault

We funded the bike library, put free tampons in all the bathrooms, and made sure students were involved in every aspect of school politics. I want to do the same for Arcata. I want the people to be empowered to voice their opinions and make the small or large changes that are needed in our community. I love this town and I want to make sure the whole community feels the same. As a wildlife biologist, I want to make sure we are protecting our town for people and wildlife. We can do this! Power to the people, the business owners, the artists, the skateboarders, the renters, the home owners, the houseless, the new arrivals, and the locals! I am here for you and your voice!


/s/ Bennett Perrault 199 words


Paul Pitino

Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the Arcata City Council for the next 16 months.

I have no specific agenda other than to be a positive member of the City Council.

Thanks for your consideration. Sincerely,

Paul Pitino

P.O. Box 4160 Arcata, CA 95518

(707) 822-2556 (707) 267-4597

[email protected] /s/ Paul J. Pitino


Kimberley White

Arcata Planning Commissioner, Consultant, and Community Advocate/Volunteer

Currently I have the honor to serve the City of Arcata as a planning commissioner. I am a consultant, a mother of a teenage daughter and a proud Valley West resident. I received my master’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in affordable/cooperative housing from HSU.

Kimberely White

Passionate About:

• Equity

• Affordable Housing

• Solutions for the Unhoused

• Economic Revitalization/Rebuilding our Community

• Support Artist Community

• AddressClimateEmergency

• Address Housing Crisis

• Transportation Alternatives

• Zero Waste

• Protect our Forests, Wetlands, Open Spaces, Parks, and Trails

• Advocacy for Adolescent Youth Mental Health/Other Services

• Better Connections with HSU

• Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes

• Justice for Josiah Lawson

• Support Native American Community

• Support our LGBTQ+ Community

• Support POC

• Arcata Sanctuary City Policy

• Valley West Advocate

Current and Past Volunteer/Advocacy Work Include:

• CUNA (Comunidad Unida del Norte de Arcata)

• Valley West Trash Clean Up

• True North

• Local Shelters

• Food for People

• Bayside Gardens

• Arcata House Partnership Clothing Drive

• CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)

• HSU Talent Search

• Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Sub Committee

(restorative justice)

• CERC Housing - COVID Emergency Response Committee

• Charter School and Housing Board Member

I’ve lived in Goudi’ni (Arcata), land of the Wiyot, for more than 30 years and I am ready to bring my passion, education and experience to serve the people of Arcata.

/s/ Kimberley White


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