Pereira, Watson to stay; McKinley statue will go away


Team Pereira: Fabian Cuevas, Hannah Politzer, Sofia Pereira, Dexter McNally, Alexis Brown and Rob Christensen followed election returns at Arcata's Humbrews pub. KLH | Union

Mad River Union

Rosemary Watson with her son, Brett Watson, at his victory celebration. KLH | Union

ARCATA – Arcata's mayor and vice mayor glided to victory Tuesday night, ensuring them four more years on the City Council. Of the three candidates, Sofia Pereira was the most popular, with 2,548 votes. Brett Watson collected 2,113 votes, while Valerie Rose-Campbell took 1,059 votes.

"Thank you to the voters of Arcata for re-electing me to the Arcata City Council. I’m committed in my second term to keep working on housing, addressing climate change, and making Arcata a safe and inclusive community for all of our residents," Pereira said. "I look forward to serving our great community another four years."

"I'm incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support I've received from the community," Watson said. "I'm optimistic about the outcome and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Arcata."

Said Valerie Rose-Campbell, "This local election we were able to make our voices heard for what matters most, Measure K and M. Through campaigning, I was able to see my community and the resilience and strength we bring to how we support each other and ourselves every day. I look forward to continue to grow with my community."

McKinley statue

The other politician on the ballot, William McKinley, was soundly defeated with Arcata voters' overwhelming rejection of Measure M. The ballot initiative, which would have overridden the City Council's Feb. 21 decision to remove the Plaza statue, was defeated, 2,436 to 1,483.

The measure actually gained fewer votes than the 1,769 initial signatures on the petition to place it on the ballot, though the final tally of verified signatures was 1,317, which was only 166 fewer than the total number of votes for keeping the statue.

City Councilmember Michael Winkler, the sole dissenting vote on Feb. 21, who later pursued the petition drive to place Measure M on the ballot and overturn the council's decision, was stoic about the defeat.

"The citizens of Arcata have clearly spoken that they want the McKinley statue moved from the center of the Arcata Plaza," Winkler said. "My highest priority has always been for the citizens of Arcata to directly make that decision. I will support the EIR to remove the statue as a feature of the the Arcata Plaza. I would like the council and the City of Arcata to work with local Native Americans to add displays to the Plaza that reflect their experience and history. In the long run, I would like the City of Arcata to find an appropriate final location for the McKinley statue, most likely outside of Arcata."

David LaRue, who co-authored the petition that resulted in Measure M, called out some of the opponents. "I am personally disappointed in the outcome," he said. "But I am gratified that the people of Arcata were able to have a voice in the decision. It was shameful the way some city councilmembers fought so hard to deny the people a voice in this decision. I look forward to [statue opponent] Fhyre Phoenix fulfilling his commitment to raise private funds to pay for the statue's removal."

"I am proud of the people in Arcata who voted to make the city a more welcoming and inclusive place to live and visit," said anti-statue activist Fhyre Phoenix. "While more still needs to be done, this is a great step forward. A special shout-out goes to all the community organizers who worked tirelessly on this campaign."

Phoenix declined to make any public comment on the subject of statue-removal fundraising.


The three top vote-getters elected to the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors were Dennis Mayo, with 1,831 votes; David Couch, with 1,792 votes; and George Wheeler, with 1,787 votes. Defeated was Erik "Yahmo Ahqha" Rydberg, who gained 1,137 votes.

The three winners in the Trinidad City Council race were Susan Rotwein, with 55 votes; James H. Baker, with 51 votes; and Tom Davies, with 50 votes. Candidate Dwight Miller gained 49 votes; Brett D. Gregory got 21 votes; and Michael J. Morgan gathered 14 votes.

Blue Lake's two candidates for two open City Council seats, Chris Curran and Elaine Hogan, were elected with 234 and 260 votes, respectively.

Richard Marks defeated Marian Brady for a seat on the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, 2,884 to 1,738.

David A. Rosen defeated Jake Pickering for a seat on the Arcata Fire Protection District, 1,015 to 381.

Measure N, The Northern Humboldt Union High School District bond measure, passed 7,032 to 3,120.

Measure K, the county sanctuary initiative, passed 14,665 to 13,778.

Measure O, the Public Safety and Essential Services Renewal Measure, passed 20,708 to 8,077.

Read complete Humboldt County election returns here.






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