Union Q&A: City Council Candidate Valerie Rose Campbell

Valerie Rose-Campbell. KLH | Union

Mad River Union

ARCATA – The Union gave all three Arcata City Council candidates some homework – a long list of questions, viewable here.

The following are Arcata City Council candidate Valerie Rose-Campbell's responses to the Mad River Union's Council Candidate Questionnaire. The responses have not been edited in any way. Any questions the candidate did not answer are listed at bottom. Some questions may have been inapplicable, or answered by a response to a related question.

Thanks to all the candidates for their responses.

Don't forget to vote Nov. 6!


Why are you running for public office in Arcata?

Over the last couple years I have learned so much about people and the effects of trauma on brain development and life outcomes. Humboldt County has the highest rate of adults living with four or more childhood traumas in California, also known as adverse childhood experiences or ACEs which can result in people suffering with poor health, substance abuse, and mental health needs just to name a few. I believe that if we don't act now to work towards understanding how to heal from trauma as a community, that our children will grow up to suffer the same statistics we see today; 4xs more likely to have heart issues, 5xs more likely to have depression, 10xs more likely to use injections drugs and 12xs more likely to commit suicide. Running for city council is my attempt at bringing awareness to the effects of ACEs. My promise is that every vote I cast as a representative of the citizens of Arcata will be rooted in how to make this city better for all of us to live, not just some. I feel compelled to put myself out there and encourage us to grow Arcata up together because if not now, it may be too late.

If elected, are you committed to completing your four-year term of office?


What are your long-term political aspirations?

To stand my ground for environmental and social justice because at the end of the day the people and the planet are all we have.

Do you have any business entanglements that will prevent you from participating in a decision?

I don't think so.

How many hours per week do you/can you devote to City Council business?

An average of 10 hrs

What sorts of public service have you conducted?

This question is tricky to me because the kind of public service I provide is not the traditional volunteer format. I take the the time to talk to people. My current occupations are based in communicating with people, listening and getting to know them and their needs. I take this very seriously. Empowering people to feel confident in their choices and to feeling validated and heard is my superpower.

If you’re a non-incumbent, what city committees or commissions have you attended, and why?

I have participated in community meetings in valley west because it is my home but also because it has been an ignored part of Arcata for too long.

What are Arcata’s top five challenges?

Emergency preparedness
Understanding Trauma and its effects on communities and how to heal from it
Hsu vs city relations

Has the city adequately addressed downtown public safety issues?

I would prefer a sharps container to be accessible in areas like downtown and valley west.

Plans have been aired for changing the Plaza – closing off streets, replacing parking spaces with greenspace and so on – do these ideas have merit?

These ideas do have merit. A project like this would have to take much planning and should not be done in haste. I don’t expect to see such a drastic change to be completed in the next four years.

Should we reduce the number of bars on the Plaza and downtown, or disperse them, or what?

It seems unreasonable to disperse or reduce existing businesses. It may be more reasonable to consider how early some of the bars start serving alcohol on weekdays.

Does Arcata need a dedicated Animal Control officer?


We’ve had some problems with City Council meetings recently, in terms of people feeling welcome and even safe, jeering and other incivil behavior. How can we ensure comfort and equal treatment for all of our diverse citizens at City Council meetings, especially during contentious issues?

I am disgusted with the increase in police presence at the council meetings. This is not comforting. It does not solicit safety in this situation only tension. It shows how out of touch local government is with the community.

What are your general thoughts on taking advice and testimony from non-Arcata citizens – residents of neighboring communities – on Arcata affairs? What kind of weight do we give their testimony?

It depends on the issue.

How will you vote on Measure M?

I will vote no.

Some councilmembers voted in favor of removing the statue on Feb. 21, but now extol the value of the voters deciding this issue. Any thoughts on the seeming inconsistency?

While giving the power to the voters is a democratic gesture, the vote should have been final because there will be times when the council will have to decide for the greater good of the community against the loudest voices.

What should replace the statue?


What are you doing about the lack of affordable housing in Arcata?

Suffering in solidarity.

Does the successful influence of “dark money” in Arcata politics – unidentified developer contributions to ACRH, opponents of The Village – concern you?

It absolutely does.

What is your evaluation of the present state of city and citizen relations with Humboldt State University, and the forecast?

I think it is not balanced. I look forward to welcoming new leadership.

Has the city and Humboldt State done enough to bring justice for David Josiah Lawson?


Have we made the city sufficiently welcoming to minority students?


Is Valley West adequately served by city resources and mindshare?

No. The efforts being made by community leaders makes an impact for our neighborhood but in the last few years I have experienced more support from Mckinleyville programs than Arcata in the valley west area.

What can we do to improve access to and from Valley West?

Increase access to public transportation. Make bike lanes better for everyone.

Should Arcata do more to ensure food independence?

There is a lot of awareness about food insecurity in Arcata. I don’t want to say that we are doing enough because I don’t want any of it to go away.

Should Arcata do more to ensure energy independence?

Yes. With our love for the environment and a university in our backyard, Arcata should be a leader in energy independence.

Does Arcata do enough for its senior citizens?

We can always do more despite the wonderful programs already in place.

Does Arcata do enough for its youth – children and teenagers?

No. Working with recreation for the last few years I see how much Arcata does do for youth and there is a significant amount of programming year round for most age groups but not all. Maintaining equipment and updating programming and support staff with up to date information of basic development, especially around trauma and race can go a long way to enrich the quality of the programs we already in place.

Has Arcata done what it should to address homelessness?


Are we doing enough to address climate change?

No. We need to be doing so much more.

Has Arcata found the right balance on cannabis cultivation and sales?

It is too early to tell.

For nature time, do you prefer the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary or the Arcata Community Forest?

I prefer the forest but I end up at the marsh more often out of convenience for parking.

What do you like about your fellow candidates?

Sophia and I seem to have common interests when it comes to children and babies. We have even had the chance to speak at the same event. I look forward to working with her if we are both on city council at the same time.

What are the last two books you read?

The Immortal  Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Sloot,

Black Girl Dangerous by Mia Mckenzie

Do you play any musical instruments?

I sing and studied piano at HSU years ago. I would love to relearn piano and a long list of other instruments.

You can wave your magic wand over Arcata one time. Suddenly…

We are leaders in environmental sustainability. We have a diverse culture of art and people to be celebrated. We are voted not only a beautiful destination but also the happiest town because we have put mental health first.  Our children all have access to higher education and are using what they’ve learned to continue to better the community and the world. The Internet is never slow. The water is always clean. There is affordable housing for everyone and a job for all that are able to work.

Questions not specifically answered (some possibly not applicable)

If you’re an incumbent, what have you learned during your service?

What if any council decisions would you revisit, and handle differently?

Do you feel that all sides were allowed to be fairly heard at the Feb. 21 City Council meeting on the McKinley statue?

Are the advisory committees and commissions genuinely useful or just more bureaucracy?

Protesters recently occupied Council Chamber. At one point, they blocked a news reporter from taking photographs of their activities, essentially halting reporting from our City Hall during a major news event,. What are your thoughts on this?

How is the firearm storage necessary, enforceable and not putting citizens at risk by delaying their access to defensive firearms?

Will you hold the next housing development proposed for the Craftsman’s Mall to the same criteria as the development that was rejected?

Do you support creation of a safety corridor between Humboldt State and downtown?

What are your principal news sources (besides the Mad River Union)?

Are the Arcata Chamber of Commerce and Arcata Main Street fulfilling their responsibilities?

Is Arcata business friendly?

Are Arcata citizens over- or under-taxed, and are their taxes being used wisely?


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