2020 CANDIDATE FORUM Q&A FROM Lucinda Jackson
Question 1: Do you support cannabis manufacturing, distribution, and/or retail in Eureka? What types of cannabis businesses currently operate in Eureka? What are the pros and cons of the cannabis industry operating in Eureka?
If legalized federally, I support the use of the marijuana plant for non-psychoactive uses such as agriculture, clothing, and paper. I do not support Eureka permitting or promoting the marijuana industry while it’s classified by the federal government as a Schedule II drug. Even if marijuana were legalized federally, I would not support the recreational use of marijuana for the purpose of psychoactive experience.
A variety of marijuana dispensaries and recreational use business currently exist in Eureka. While I am not savvy on the specific marketing of each business, I am familiar with the variety of products sold for grooming, clothing, medicinal, and recreational uses.
While I appreciate that the marijuana industry has generated new money flow into Eureka, the city is violating federal laws by allowing marijuana businesses to operate. Marijuana businesses are not federally recognized and unable to use federal banking systems to process sales, relying on cash-only sales, resulting in large quantities of cash onsite and exposure to business theft.
The marijuana industry attracts migrant workers (trimmigrants). Many of these individuals come here looking for work and end up homeless, unable to return home, and grow dependent on government services.
Abuse of marijuana is especially detrimental to young people and although age restrictions have been established for marijuana sales, an increased number of young people are habitually using marijuana with high concentrations. The effects of habitual use of marijuana THC in high concentrations has permanent, devastating effects on the brain of people 25 years old and younger.
Question 2: What recommendations could you make to revitalize business in Eureka? What can the city do to help reduce commercial storefront vacancies? What outdoor projects in the city of Eureka do you support?
The economic downturn Eureka is currently facing is forcing business owners to rethink their business model and reinvent themselves. Although this is a very challenging task, it also presents opportunities for businesses to find niches and create market presence
beyond the walls of a storefront. Businesses continue to gravitate toward online and social media platforms for marketing, sales, and expanding client base, resulting in new business opportunities to expand products and service reach.
The City of Eureka is the largest owner of vacant lots in Eureka. A chief reason for these vacancies is property zoning. By changing zoning restrictions for commercial and mixed (commercial and residential) zoning Eureka will likely see a significant decrease in vacant properties.
Commercial. Eureka could develop business and housing programs that provide pro rated commercial leases and sublets and allow permitting for outdoor dining (sidewalk, parking lot, open spaces). This program would support local business owners recovering from the economic downturn, creating new business growth while covering costs of these buildings and potentially generating ongoing income.
Residential. Eureka could rezone a portion of these vacant properties to residential or mixed zoning and pro-rated rentals for low-income and very low-income family housing. This program would help individuals and families work toward becoming self-sufficient and becoming fully contributing members of the community again.
Question 3: What is your position regarding the ongoing increases in the cost of city development fees and water rates? If parking becomes a more significant challenge in the future, what solutions would you suggest helping alleviate the problem? What is your position regarding Sea Level Rise regulations?
Eureka’s infrastructure is buckling under long-term high-demand use without ongoing care and maintenance. We see the symptoms of this problem every time we drive down a Eureka street. Large potholes and caverns line the roads. Ineffective traffic control and enforcement. Roadways are overwhelmed by the increases in traffic. Poor lighting in high traffic areas and residential neighborhoods. Street striping is worn, patched over, or altogether missing. Eureka’s plumbing system is antiquated and inefficiencies cause water waste and increases costs to Eureka and its citizens. All of these factors combined burden taxpayers with higher development fees.
We need to bring stakeholders together to (1) identify what the foundational needs are to correct Eureka’s infrastructure problems, (2) develop a comprehensive multi-phase infrastructure plan, (3) strategize and seek funding sources that don’t solely rely on tax increases, and (4) start working toward viable and sustainable long-term solutions. This intensive undertaking would require Eureka to work closely with the County of Humboldt and other local cities, and community groups.
An undertaking of this magnitude will take many years and be expensive; however, if the city is practicing good financial stewardship this is an obtainable goal without creating undue financial hardship on citizens.