|Second City Council candidate announces
By Kevin l. Hoover, Eye Editor
ARCATA - Community activist Fhyre Phoenix has announced his intention to run
for City Council this fall. Phoenix is the second citizen to declare candidacy,
following Transportation Safety Committeemember Paul Pitino.
Phoenix said he plans to immerse himself in City issues and council-related
business in weeks to come, but offered some preliminary views on current events.
For starters, he opposes nearly all of the initiatives which petitioners are
now seeking to get on the Arcata ballot this November or later.
Phoenix said repeal of the anti-sidewalk blocking ordinance would bring back
the bad old days when "people were sprawled all over the sidewalk,"
blocking pedestrian use. Eliminating the City requirement for a dance permit
could subject fun-seeking citizens to danger by eliminating pre-event fire inspections,
he said. "If there’s not a permit process, there’s not a safety
process," he said.
Noting the 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island which killed close to a hundred
people, Phoenix said "We don’t need that kind of tragedy in Arcata."
He staunchly opposes the initiative which would allow camping in Redwood Park.
"It’s a forest, not a campground," he said. "These are
parks to be enjoyed by everyone." Well aware of the squalor of debris and
human waste frequently found at Community Forest campsites, Phoenix faulted
campers for "disrespecting the jewels of Arcata" and asked, "Why
would we want them trashed? These are parks to be enjoyed by everyone."
He opposes liberalization of City laws regulating dogs downtown on the same
grounds. Before the current ordinance prohibiting stationary dogs downtown,
"there was a lot of dog poop, and the dogs were obviously a health hazard,"
Direct election of the mayor could result in a less seasoned and qualified
individual attaining the council’s top spot and result in inequities for
councilmembers, Phoenix said. The council presently selects the mayor via internal
Phoeniz believes state guidelines governing the use of medical marijuana are
"too strict," but the currently circulating initiative is too liberal.
"Three pounds is overboard," he said.
Creation of a civilian police review board is the one initiatve Phoenix calls
"not a bad idea," though he wants to study the matter more.
Like many others, Phoenix questions longstanding assumptions about the benefits
of fluoride in Arcata’s drinking water, but he’s also skeptical
about some of the information on both sides. "In general I’m against
it," he said of fluoridation. "But there’s so many conflicting
studies. I need to find out who the interest groups are behind the studies."
Phoenix has an initiative of his own, and an ambitious one at that - creation
of an "Arcata Urban Eco-Village." The 60-acre project could include
two new Plazas, a new urban forest, bicycle paths and affordable housing for
up to 2,500 people in central Arcata, all without eliminating any current structures
or encroaching on agricultural land.
Space for the the village would be created by covering over U.S. Highway 101
from Samoa Boulevard to the St. Louis overpass at the end of L.K. Wood Boulevard.
Those with comments on the Urban Eco-Village project may contact Phoenix at
(707) 825-7779 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those vying for one of the three council seats up for grabs this November will
find the quest unencumbered by incumbents. Councilmember Connie Stewart has
previously announced her non-candidacy, and last week, North Coast Journal reporter
Hank Sims broke the news that Mayor Bob Ornelas, who’d been waffling about
running again, will not seek another term on the council.
"I can’t," Ornelas said. "I just don’t have the
will. It’s too hard, I’m not doing my best and Arcata deserves my
He said he plans to make available to his successors the fruits of his experience
on the council. "I’ll be helping those guys out," he said.
Dates & details
Candidacy papers will be available next Monday, July 12 at City Hall. Twenty
signatures from registered Arcata voters are required to qualify a candidate.
The election is Nov. 2 and the three new councilmembers will take office Dec.