Eureka Without a Mayor? Yes Please.

In today’s T-S there is an article on A2 called “Mayor’s Role May Be Morphing” by Jesse Faulkner.  In this mis-titled article (Mayor’s Role May Be Eliminated?) it discusses Mayor Frank Jäger’s proposal to eliminate the largely ceremonial position.

I say “Right on Mayor Frank”.  Here are a couple of reasons why…

* It’s largely a ceremonial position.

* The people of Eureka did not even bother to find a competitor to run against Mayor Jager in 2014 demonstrating that it isn’t a high enough priority to even bother with a challenger.

In the article Supervisor Virginia Bass and Councilwoman Marian Brady are both against this proposal.  Not unexpectedly, the former Eureka Mayor Bass found a way to make reinforce her political resume mentioning that she did not take the meager Major’s stipend during her last year as Mayor.

(Aside – this is the wrong answer, if City council members don’t accept salary, this is a sort of reverse means-testing for city leaders.  In this case instead of being eligible for services only if one’s income or wealth is low enough, one would b eligible for leading only if one has enough $$.)

According to the article, former Mayor Peter LaVallee was for the proposal and both Councilmembers Bergel and Arroyo were uncertain.  Natalie Arroyo did, reassuringly, mention that this proposal might be part of an election charter reform within Eureka.  From the T-S…

“Arroyo said she was in favor of election charter reform within the city of Eureka, but had not yet formed an opinion as to whether the position of mayor should be an elected position or not.”

On the other hand tht T-S summarizes Councilwoman Brady’s thoughts as…

“Ward 1 Councilwoman Marian Brady doesn’t think it’s a good idea. If the position of mayor is rotated among council members, she said, there’s a chance that the city will be stuck with a terrible mayor — someone not suited to fulfill the very public and ceremonial aspects of the job. “

The bottom line is we do need to simplify our complex Eureka elections.  The result of these low-paid numerous seats that are decided without primaries and in at-large elections is that few people care enough and as our town feels the continued pinch of economic stress coupled with housing our County’s jail during a time of necessarily reducing incarceration rates.  Elections need to be simpler and each vote more decisive;  in other words our elections should once again be democratic.

Losing the anachronistic mayor position is a good first step.  While doing so please also address the undemocratic at-large voting system.  Muchas gracias!

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