Only Meserve Meets The Scrutinizer Challenge – October 28, 2010

No good Dave goes unpunished

Note: Last week the Arcata Eye Issue Scrutinizers asked the seven City Council candidates a number of questions ranging from serious to supercilious. Of the seven candidates, one man and one man alone had the courage to answer some of the questions and ignore the rest in time for pre-election print publication. That man is Dave Meserve. And what did it get him? Spiked – by the Monday advent of a column suddenly submitted by former District Attorney candidate Paul Hagen. Hagen, who had been out of town, wanted to respond to a political bid for his supporters which had appeared in the Oct. 20 edition. The last-minute change-out required retooling of three newspaper pages, and this piece by diligent Dave (as well as Beverly Hale's weekly column) was thrown overboard for space. A separate opinion column by Meserve did get published in the Oct. 27 edition. It wasn't fair, it wasn't right, but it was a deadline decision. Other candidates submitted their more languidly-timed responses after deadline, and those appear in the Scrutinizer comment section. – Ed.

Dave’s Scrutinizer responses

What do you do to calm yourself when someone disagrees with you or attacks you at council meetings (if already a member) or in similar stressful situations?

I say to myself, over and over, “I shall not cherish hatred, anger or displeasure.”

Being on the Arcata City Council isn’t just reading your packet and attending the City Council meetings, do you really know what you are getting into?

Yes, I’ve been there and know that it requires at least 20 hours per week in order to do a good job. This involves not only a thorough reading of the packet, but also meeting with community members to address their concerns and working with council members and other elected officials to accomplish regional goals.

Are you committed to serving out the full term you want us to hire you for?

Yes, I am committed to serving out the full term.

Will you be vigilant to see that staff and outside consultant information provided in reports does not include unsupported opinion?

Staff reports are an important part of our decision making, but I would never rely entirely on the staff report, without also seeking independent analysis from other on-the-ground sources. It is important to make sure that staff reports are based on fact and not opinion.

One City Councilmember alone can do nothing. How do you see yourself working and collaborating with at least two or three councilmembers, not running for election, to form a majority?

I would partner with one other councilmember, choosing different ones on different issues. I look forward to working with Michael Winkler on energy issues, Susan Ornelas on regional self-sufficiency, Shane Brinton on living wage jobs and housing, and Alex Stillman on supporting local business and light industry.

What expenses in the City budget will you propose reducing or eliminating?

The answer to government deficits is not to cut programs, but to develop innovative sources of new income, especially from the very wealthy and corporate entities. We need to recognize the importance of the great people who staff our city departments and recognize the hard work that they do for our community.

Who is you favorite Beatle?


What three things things do you hope to accomplish in your first (or next) term?

Bike and pedestrian trail to Eureka, downtown restrooms, better cooperation with the North Coast Resource Center and other social action non-profits. Beyond those three, we also need to put effort into regional energy self-sufficiency as a long term goal, based on renewable generation like wind, solar and wave.

I’m very curious about the City Council candidates’ views on both the General Plan and on development in general.

I support County Sketch plan A and adhering to the Arcata General Plan. We need to focus on infill development and retain agricultural land for food production.

What is your plan for supporting the struggling middle class?

I support providing affordable housing for all income levels, from emergency through middle income. People who work in Arcata should be able to afford living here. Specifically I would raise the affordable housing Inclusionary Zoning from 15 percent to 20 percent and work on a Renters’ Bill of Rights.


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  1. Robert Benson said:

    As my previous post has been removed, I admit the following, again:

    Nicole Frank

    What do you do to calm yourself when someone disagrees with you or attacks you at council meetings (if already a member) or in similar stressful situations?
    In order to calm myself down when disagreed with, attacked, or stressed out; I focus on breathing.

    What can you do to help others recognize your own value and perspective as well as theirs?
    In order to help others recognize my values and perspectives, as well as theirs; I would sit down and talk with them, put myself in their shoes, and urge them to get into mine; figuratively.

    How do you model good citizenship, other than by being an active member of our community?
    In addition to volunteering for community projects, my model of good citizenship is knowing your rights, and the rights of others, and asserting them with civility.

    How does one honor differences and also move towards a goal that is cherished or different from the wishes or desires of others on the council, in the general population, or in the City Government?
    In order to reconcile differences, one must find common ground with others; or, in the alternative, make concessions.

    In an emergency, if you had five minutes to choose three things to save from your home, objects, not people or pets, what would they be and why? Obviously people and pets come before objects, they are everyone’s first answer. We’re looking for what possessions of yours are meaningful and why?
    Possessions, to me, are not that meaningful. Though, currently, I would grab my computer, evidence and files; as I have a legal fight to finish.

    Robin Hashem

    Being on the Arcata City Council isn’t just reading your packet and attending the City Council meetings, do you really know what you are getting into?
    I concur, being on Arcata City Council is not just,reading the packets and attending meetings. I do not, really, know what I am getting into. I do know that I have been paying close attention to politics for the past five to nine years, been self-studying law for the past two to three years, an acute ability to read between the lines, and no motive, other than to do the will of all the People, as I have received no campaign contributions and have no financial interests.

    City Councilmembers have to juggle many obligations and deal with a variety of personalities; how do you keep yourself organized and how would you respond to someone threatening you because of your point of view?
    I keep myself organized with my laptop and file folders. My response to someone threatening me for my point would be to give them notice of their impoliteness and dismiss the statement along with my respect for them, according to severity.
    How do you rate the Arcata Police Department? Let’s throw in city staff, too. Since these public servants do the bulk of the City’s actual work, how would you help facilitate getting their jobs done well?
    On a one to ten basis; I rate the Arcata Police Department at a three for serious ethical deficiencies -immediate need for Police Review Commission/Committee; Manager and Attorney at a five; and Planners and other staff at a nine. I would facilitate the jobs of the police and city staff by doing my own research and offering suggestions, accordingly.
    How could you help make the numerous committees the city relies on more effective/productive?
    To make the city’s numerous committees run more effectively and productively, I could offer a way to streamline comments and other input from the public. An open forum for public comment, augmented by traditional mail would enhance the process.
    In these particularly tough economic times, how would you prioritize how City money is spent and why?
    I would prioritize how the City’s funds are spent by weighing governmental mandates with the public’s will.
    Attorney General Eric Holder just said that the Feds will enforce federal marijuana laws even if Prop 19 passes. Any ideas on how to deal with that possible scenario?
    “The people, or sovereigns, are not bound by general words in statutes, restrictive of prerogative right, title or interest, unless expressly named. Acts of limitation do not bind the King or the people. The people have been ceded all the rights of the King, the former sovereign … It is a maxim of the common law, that when an act is made for the common good and to prevent injury, the King shall be bound, though not named, but when a statute is general and prerogative right would be divested or taken from the King (or the People) he shall not be bound.”  — The People v. Herkimer, 4 Cowen (NY) 345, 348 (1825) I opine, Cannabis is a prerogative liberty interest. Additionally, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, long over due for exercise and clarification, apply. The futile drug war is unconstitutional, addiction is a health issue, not a criminal one. We can no longer afford to regulate the People’s prerogatives.
    How well do you work with others?
    I work very well with others.
    Being a councilmember can be pretty stressful, how do you relax?
    I relax by focusing on breathing, taking walks and smoking Cannabis.
    Are you doing this for the health insurance?
    No, I am not doing this for the health insurance. I was not aware of any health insurance and I do not use allelopathy, except in emergencies.
    Kevin Hoover
    Are you committed to serving out the full term you want us to hire you for, or if some other public office comes available during your four-year term, will you bail on the council gig and run for that?
    If Ron Paul asked me to be his Vice President, I would, reluctantly, leave the Council; but that would be the only cause, aside from death -which is more probable. Arcata is my favorite place in the world.
    Jeff Knapp
    If you were scrupulous about conflicts of interest with your business and financial interests, what kind of projects would you have to recuse yourself from as a Council member? Give specific examples.
    I have no business or financial interests, which may be my greatest asset. As I am in voluntary poverty, I would research the matter and consider recusing myself on matters that affect, only, those similarly situated.
    The latest Scientific American demonstrated science, in the form of the laws of physics, shows it’s impossible for cell phone handset radiation to damage human tissue. George Bush ignored science when he didn’t like its conclusions. How do you differ from George Bush regarding science if you support Arcata investigating or regulating handset radiation in spite of this and other highly credible scientific information?
    Regarding selective acceptance of science, I differ from George Bush, in that, I have no agenda; other than restoring constitutional government. However, science, historically, is often wrong. As a guardian of the public, I would be obligated to consider the subtle electromagnetic effects on the brain and nerves. Tissue is not the only issue, our brains emit radio frequencies that could be interrupted. This is poorly understood science. I would approve of Nikola Tesla type aether wave transmissions; as these waves do not resist matter. Additionally, the Scientific American article is not conclusive, by any means.
    If elected, would you require City staff to, in every staff report, report on what would happen if key project assumptions they or outside consultants use are wrong?
    Generally, I would require a risk/benefit analysis of key project assumptions. As an overseer of staff work, I would consider it my job, ultimately, to identify potential weaknesses.
    Growers continue to damage Arcata’s stock of affordable housing. If elected, will you push for Arcata’s budget to increase staffing for building code enforcement?
    Arcata’s affordable housing crisis, in my opinion, is due to a lack of new construction and artificially high real estate prices, partially, caused by the big bank bailout. Spending city coffers to infringe on liberty in not a legitimate government interest. I would move for a Medicinal Growing Co-Operative that would lure the growers out of residential units with safer and more affordable industrial spaces.
    Will you be vigilant to see that staff and outside consultant information provided in reports does not include unsupported opinion?
    I am a devoted skeptic and a natural analyzer. I will be going over staff and consultant information with a fine tooth comb. This is my specialty…discovering deception.
    What financial risks does the City of Arcata face from the State and Federal budget crises? Give examples.
    The City of Arcata faces considerable financial risks, due to the State budget, if Proposition 22 does not pass; as to the Federal budget, not that much. Something like 90 percent of government is locally funded, or so I have heard.
    Christy Laird
    One City Councilmember alone can do nothing. How do you see yourself working and collaborating with at least two or three councilmembers, not running for election, to form a majority?
    I, respectfully, dissent that one councilmember alone can do nothing. In Our system, one keystone lawsuit can change case law, which is law. However, I consider all councilmembers, but one, though another is overly influenced by that one, to be exemplary participants and I am brimming with excitement to work with them. Shane Briton is, especially, selfless and good willed, in my opinion; though, I remain skeptical.
    Bruce LeBel
    What expenses in the City budget will you propose reducing or eliminating?
    At this time of continuing economic contraction there is significant reduction of expenses by all of us in the private sector and many in the public sector. The City has recently initiated two significant tax increases (utility tax and sales tax).  These increases bring with them the obligation for comprehensive budget assessment to determine opportunities to reduce City expenses and to seek future tax reductions. It is appropriate to know what specific budget line items the candidates see as being non-critical to the City meeting its legal obligations, i.e. current expenses that merit a due diligence review and intentional decisions as to whether or not they should continue.
    Without, actually, reviewing the budget; I propose reducing all budget expenditures. If we use incentive based initiatives to recruit volunteers, we can eliminate a significant amount of project and maintenance costs, while freeing up city employees to address more pressing issues. Clearly, eliminating the City’s direct involvement in funding and planning for poverty issues, allowing the public to take the reins, would free up a lot of the City’s time and funding constraints and produce more grassroots solutions.
    Mark Leppanen
    1. Once you are inevitably catapulted onto the national political stage, will you remember the little people of Arcata who helped put you there?
    I am not aware of any Arcata City Councilmembers being catapulted onto the national political stage. In the event of this freak occurrence, my love for Arcatans would not allow me to forget them. I would, simply, have a broader platform on which to serve their interests
    2. If you are elected, will you promise not to smear excrement anywhere in the Council Chambers?
    Yes, I will inspect the soles of my shoes, carefully; if I smell anything.
    3. Who is your favorite Beatle?
    John Lennon is my favorite Beatle.
    4. Do you wear boxers or briefs?
    I wear boxer briefs.
    5. Would you support the creation of a Happy Meal police force designed to crack down on vermin corporate interests within our City limits?
    Regulating commerce is a legitimate government interest; however, I would need more information, as to the particulars of the Happy Meal police force, before supporting the same.
    6. What is the capitol of North Dakota ?
    Bismarck is the capital of North Dakota.
    7. What was the primary epistemological argument for Descarte’s interogative on human existence?
    Descarte’s arguments, to the best of my knowledge, were for the subjective rationalistic method of proving the existence of God, not humans.
    9. Do you prefer Sativa or Indica and why?
    Sativa, by day, as it allows the mind to function well, while producing a feeling of well-being; and Indica, by night, as it alleviates the pains of life and stress, and assists rest. Readers, please, be aware that I will refrain from Cannabis use, while engaged in Council matters; except in emergencies.

    10. In your mind, should Pluto have retained its planetary status?
    It appears that Pluto, the god of the underworld, was rightfully demoted; as it shares it’s orbital path with numerous other similarly existent bodies in the Kuiper Belt. Including them all, as planets, would redefine and complicate the parameters of planethood. However, the proposed twelve planet model is interesting.
    Fhyre Phoenix
    Please name the best things or ways that you have contributed to our community in the past five years and, if elected or re-elected, what three things things do you hope to accomplish in your first (or next) term?
    In the past five years, I have contributed to raising the awareness of governmental encroachments on the rights of the People and began to foster a sense of embracing Our system of government, among the “Outsiders”. IF elected, I hope to eliminate top-down politics, by encouraging public participation; engage the “Outsiders”, with community service projects; and reduce taxes and the overall cost of government, by encouraging public participation and volunteerism. The “Outsiders” are a viable untapped community resource, that is not going away, anytime, soon. Let us work with them.
    Alan Sanborn
    I consider myself a no-growth proponent. I see Arcata as a very livable place.
    That has a lot to do with its size. Infrastructure and policing concerns (and costs) only multiply as population and sprawl increase.
    I see limiting human population growth – and its attendant demands on the planet – as being perhaps the greatest challenge facing mankind. I see nothing wrong with starting that work right here.
    While Arcata’s slow-growth general plan is at least a step in the right direction, I  personally wish it was more restrictive. I’m very curious about the City Council candidates’ views on both the General Plan and on development in general.
    I deem it impractical to institute a no-growth policy. However, a methodical slow-growth general plan is prudent and appropriate. Future development can be an opportunity for Arcata to pioneer and showcase green living models, thereby, leading by example.
    Jonathan Speaker
    What is your plan for supporting the struggling middle class?
    Supporting the struggling middle class can be accomplished by encouraging eco-friendly green industries that create living wage jobs. The City and the university could be symbiotic partners in such an enterprise, along with a healthy dose of public participation. These opportunities are considerable and, especially, conducive to Arcatan culture.

  2. Mark Sailors said:

    Thank you. I didn’t, for some reason, think that closing my laptop would stop the email from sending.
    Live and learn.

  3. Mark Sailors said:

    Due to a computer problem, I missed the deadline.
    Never close a laptop until all messages are sent.
    ’nuff said.
    Here is my reply to the questions asked.
    Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions and thanks for taking the time to ask them.
    Nicole Frank
    To diffuse attacks and disagreements, I listen, breathe, and give my opinion.
    To help others recognize my value as well as theirs, I fully engage them. Talking to people is enlightening.
    I model good citizenship by living the way I want to see the world live. I do not litter, I pick up litter. I personally provide outreach to the vulnerable members of our community when they are too sick to do it for themselves. Many more things, too numerous to list here.
    To honor differences and move towards goals is the nature of the job. It would be my responsibility to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, and that no one’s rights are violated regardless of the wishes of Staff or Council.
    With five minutes to save things I would save these 3 things:
    My Laptop
    My Wife’s and my art work.
    My father’s ashes.
    Robin Hashem
    I plan on serving out at least one full term.
    I do in fact know what I am getting into, out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.
    To stay organized I keep a laptop, a Smartphone and a hard filling cabinet. As to someone threatening me I always defer to the motto Ed Parker taught me: “I come to you with Karate, Empty Hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles, or my honor, should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong, then here are my weapons, Karate, my Empty Hands.”
    I rate Arcata PD as A++ 99% of the time. A few could do with a refresher course on bicycle law. As to city staff, they try really hard and are super nice people. That being said the level of incompetence is astounding when it comes to issuing permits, or any type of licensing. To facilitate improving that I would love to see some continuing education program to help teach them how to do their jobs in 2010.
    I would love to tackle the issue of rampant committees and the time they waste. I would make that a top priority.
    I would prioritize city expenditures to address “quality of life” issues, like a public restroom, public camping, public urination, pot holes and the rampant, disturbing litter problem.
    It is the Federal government job to enforce Federal law, not ours.
    I think I work very well with others.
    To relax I play guitar, read, read to my daughter, walk my dogs, meditate, and practice Martial Arts.
    Kevin Hoover
    I intend to serve a full term.
    Jeff Knapp
    I would recuse myself from anything to do with Pedalcabs.
    I am a firm believer in Science. I would endeavor to keep assumption out of city code, and to remove anything in code not based on scientific evidence.
    Yes, I would require staff to give complete information on key projects, including what would happen if key assumptions were incorrect.
    I think medical cannabis patients are getting stuck with a bad reputation. Destroying housing is wrong.
    I believe that the Medical Cannabis Land Use code is an illegal amendment to Prop 215 and therefore unlawful as it applies to individual patient gardens and private non commercial collectives. City resource could be spent on more relevant issues.
    I would endeavor to keep assumption out of city code, and to remove anything in code not based on scientific evidence.
    I do not feel there is space here to address the risks we face from the State and Federal budget crisis.
    Christy Laird
    I see myself working hard for the people of Arcata, and hopefully that would mean that finding consensus should be easy. On the issues they can’t agree on I will endeavor to build bridges and not burn them.
    Bruce LeBel
    I would reduce the money we spend debating State and Federal issues outside the councils purview, like cell phone radiation, and personal medical cannabis gardens. I would initiate a program of volunteers to help maintain the parks, playgrounds, and general litter and graffiti removal.
    I think it is obscene that people get “orange tags” on their doors if they are two months late on their water bill, but we let a hotel rack up thousands of dollars in water and other bills and taxes and did NOTHING to collect it.
    Mark Leppanen
    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. Ringo
    4. Briefs
    5. Ummmmm only if we can keep Mayor Mc Cheese.
    6. Bismarck, Location: 46.805N, 100.767W State motto: Discover the Spirit. State Flower Wild Prairie Rose
    7. If I can remember correctly it is something like this: 1) to show that the soul is immortal and that God exists, and 2) to show that these assertions are truths which are logically necessary and which can be proved by reason. (I disagree, as I am an Atheist.)
    8. There was no number 8 so we move on to number 9.
    9. Indica strains are more for nighttime pain management, appetite improvement and sedation, whereas Sativa’s have a more psychological effect.
    10. Pluto is, was, and always will be a planet.
    Fhyre Phoenix
    I have never really thought about this until you asked, so here we go:
    1. Helped a Houseless man transition to hospice care when he was dying.
    2. Worked with the Arcata Food Project distributing organic fresh foods to people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic health issues.
    3. Attended City Council and Planning commission meeting to address the Medical Cannabis Issue.
    In my first term, I want to accomplish streamlining city government so that it works more efficiently, with less bothersome restriction to business, and more attention to detail.
    Alan Sanborn
    Three words: INFILL, INFILL, INFILL
    Jonathan Speaker
    I would love to see Arcata become a living wage jobs city. We need to encourage more manufacturing jobs, a port, short lane barge shipping, e-commerce and a vital trucking industry to help bring Arcata into the 21st century as a strong vibrant community.
    Thank You
    Mark Sailors

    ” A vote for me is a vote for change. A change you can Believe in.”

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