To review (and some of this I just learned too), Eureka will be voting for two of it’s five Councilmembers in November. There is no primary, only a general election. Linda Atkins will no longer be eligible to run as she has termed out and Melinda Ciarabellini will be eligible to run for Councilmember a second time. Melinda was appointed as the 2nd Ward Councilmember as then Councilmember Frank Jäger moved to Major when then Major Bass ran for and beat 4th District Supervisor Bonnie Neely in June 2010.
So here is a conundrum for lefties like me. There is very little chance a left-of-center candidate would be able to win a race outright between John Fullerton and an incumbent like Melinda Ciarabellini unless they have similar name recognition. Without a primary that person with the most votes wins.
This is a problem, and it has nothing to do with the candidates themselves but with the undemocratic system which lacks a primary that currently exists in Eureka City elections. One former Republican running against a very conservative Democratic candidate that views the houseless thought the prism of trespassers should not mean those left-of-center cannot have a voice in November without the people first deciding.
But that is where we stand, at least at this early stage. My bet is that without a candidate from the left Melinda will not chose to run again. I’m not sure there is much difference between her and John Fullerton, at least not enough to change Melinda’s mind about retiring after 1 and a half terms. We’ll see.
To those who care about things like smart growth, preserving and expanding our historic heritage and working-class values and understand that the houseless deserve representation too my suggestion is this. Find someone to run. It can’t hurt and if Melinda does not run John Fullerton is vulnerable as a candidate as we found out in November 2013 when Lisa Ollivier defeated John in a rare race for Eureka City School Board.