2020 Candidate Forum Q&A from Kati Moulton
1. Do you support cannabis manufacturing, distribution, and/or retail in Eureka?
I support any business that obeys the law, provides good jobs, and brings reasons for people to travel to and from Eureka
a. What types of cannabis businesses currently operate in Eureka?
The most visible cannabis businesses are the retail dispensaries, but I am also aware of some processing facilities as well as related businesses like glass blowers and Boldt Bags.
b. What are the pros and cons of the cannabis industry operating in Eureka?
As cannabis related businesses are a growing market, no longer in the shadows, there is immense potential for economic benefit. The pros include jobs, tourism, tax revenue, and the potential for moving further away from an extractive economy. There is big potential for developing a reputation as a place for stigma-free cannabis enjoyment.
The cons of the cannabis industry stem from its black/grey market past. Poorly codified, or nonexistent protections for workers and the environment cause economic and ecological harm. There remains the potential for stigma.
2. What recommendations could you make to revitalize business in Eureka?
I really appreciate the work the City is doing to improve quality of life through arts and marketing. These efforts turn minimal staff time into community investment and engagement. The utility box paintings, art benches, Eureka Live Art Wall, and the Eureka Street Art Festival are all projects that make people feel good about being here, and about living here. All of these things get people out and
walking around. Once they are out, if they have money to spend, they will.
To try and make sure those folks have money to spend, the City can be working to bring in more jobs. Whether that’s through green energy projects, cannabis industry jobs, construction, tourism, or telecommuting, Eureka is situated to ride the rising tides of change. There’s lots of reasons our old economy is flagging. We need to work on our new economy, and meet the future with big ideas and ingenuity.
a. What can the city do to help reduce commercial storefront vacancies?
I know too many entrepreneurs around here who would do a backflip to get a storefront, but can’t afford the rent. Some of the square footage prices being asked seem to be more aspirational than realistic. I believe passing Prop 15 will incentivise property owners to get leases signed now, instead of allowing our local economy to take the hit, so they can get some negative numbers on their Schedule C.
Just like sunshine kills black mold, foot traffic fights blight. I love the window paintings and poems being done. They help very empty blocks feel less empty, so folks might find them more appealing. I believe City should also continue its work to coordinate the efforts of groups putting on festivals and shows to further increase foot traffic to help keep blight from creeping in.
b. What outdoor projects in the city of Eureka do you support?
For the last 10 years, I have helped to run Kinetic Universe, the nonprofit which puts on the Kinetic Grand Championship. This would, of course be my shining example of an ideal outdoor event. The KGC is a moving festival, tracking along multiple public venues, encouraging the use of our Waterfront
Trail, and human powered transportation through the most picturesque parts of Eureka. Kinetic fans travel from all over the world, appreciate our creativity, community spirit, and beautiful surroundings, then spend money on food and hotels. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the Bay, the Waterfront, and the bikeable trails all to witness the Glory!
3. What is your position regarding the ongoing increases in the cost of city development fees and water rates?
Infrastructure development and public services should always be tied directly to costs, and never be treated as a revenue raising opportunity. For this reason, I oppose privatization of utilities because it introduces profit motive into the equation.
a. If parking becomes a more significant challenge in the future, what solutions would you suggest helping alleviate the problem?
As someone who has worked in Old Town: parking is a problem now. I believe improvements in public transportation across the County can alleviate this. An easy-ish fast fix would be to add more bike racks to busses. Many people I know would happily bike around town if they could only get their bike here from their home, work or school. Trails are also important, as safe walking and biking routes are somewhat rare.
In the long run, we need to work towards being a more walkable community. We should encourage mixed use properties, in-fill development, and architectural regulations which prevent parking lot sprawl. When people can only access businesses with a car, more people drive, more people need to park, and the whole parking and traffic problem spirals out of control.
b. What is your position regarding Sea Level Rise regulations?
First and foremost, I believe we can work towards solutions to the roots of the problems by putting our money where our mouth is. We can encourage green energy projects, and commit to spending public money always with best environmental practices as a requirement.
To address the effects of sea level rise, we can take a strategic approach to our engagement with CalTrans and other agencies around how the 101 goes through our town. There will inevitably be funds and resources dedicated to making sure the 101 doesn’t end up under water. Let’s make sure that we all get up on that high ground.
In my district, the Second Ward, there is a very interesting example of infrastructure many people don’t even know is there. On the Bay side of 101 heading South out of Eureka, there is a swath of seemingly empty land where our treated sewage treatment output is filtered through the most efficient water cleaner imaginable, a wetland. By restoring and utilizing wetlands all around Eureka, we can create buffers to the rising tides, pleasant places to have trails, and solutions to growing sewage treatment needs.