This story in the Arcata Eye is really incredible, as it also appears to expose more behind the scenes machinations, and shows what can happen when one person speaks up and puts a stop to it.
Humboldt Dems endorse an incumbent Dem for Arcata council - despite Green opponent's lobbying
Oct. 17, 2006
Kevin L. Hoover Eye Editor
EUREKA – The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee (HCDCC) last week endorsed Arcata City Councilmember Mark Wheetley’s reelection bid.
The endorsement came after of Arcata resident Rick Greene raised questions about the committee’s endorsement of a single Democrat, Alex Stillman, in September. Greene and other Democrats had expressed concern after City Council candidate Dave Meserve, a Green Party member, addressed the HCDCC in June asking that it endorse a single candidate for the Arcata council. The committee subsequently made the sole Stillman endorsement.
Suspicions of some sort of unseemly arrangement were fueled by the subsequent endorsement of Meserve by activist group Local Solutions Political Action Committee, of which HCDCC Chair Patrick Riggs is a member.
Appearing at last week’s HCDCC meeting, Greene questioned why a well-regarded incumbent Democrat wasn’t endorsed by the committee.
“The simple reason is that no member of the committee made a motion,” Riggs told Greene.
Greene responded by citing Wheetley’s endorsement by Supervisor John Woolley, State Sen. Wes Chesbro and Rep. Mike Thompson. “I find it rather odd that my Democratic Commitee, which endorsed Mark in March of 2005. has not come up for consideration.” Greene said. He further questioned why “members of this commitee” – referring to Riggs – were working for the election of non-Democrats. “I believe if you’re a Democrat, you’re a Democrat, and you work for your party’s candidate,” Greene said.
Sheryl Esparza, a voting member representing Arcata, then made the motion to endorse Wheetley.
“Mark has an extensive background in natural resources, is a critical thinker, a consensus builder and a family man,” she said. “He’s a progressive Democrat with a common sense approach to taking care of business in Arcata and has done a good job on the council thus far. We deserve to have him working for Arcata.”
Barbara Carolan, also representing Arcata, seconded the motion. She said failure to endorse Wheeetley would be “a tacit endorsement of Mr. Meserve.”
Humboldt County Supervisor John Woolley, though not a committeemember, was allowed to speak in favor of the endorsement.
Milt Boyd spoke “reluctantly” against Wheetley’s endorsement, saying HCDCC by-laws prevent endorsement of only two candidates. He said it would be “somewhat divisive” to endorse Wheetley since Michael Winkler, whom he supports, is a “strong candidate.”
After more discussion, Wheetley was endorsed by voice vote without any nays.
“I was disappointed that the Dems endorsed Mark Wheetley, but I’m proud to have the endorsements of Patrick Riggs and Chris Beresford and many other Democrats,” Meserve later said.
Riggs didn’t respond to requests for comment.
I wonder why.
Also in the Eye Related story:
The first Arcata public opinion poll regarding Arcata City Council Candidates and other local issues and institutions has been conducted
...Arcata Opinion Poll – Oct. 17, 2006
Dem leaders' backing of Green candidate brings complaint