Council Meeting 7-18-23
In every city, the decisions made by its council have a profound impact on the lives of its residents. The Eureka City Council Meeting on July 18, 2023, was no exception. From discussions on renewable energy to affordable housing, the meeting saw a diverse array of topics and perspectives. In this blog piece, we’ll delve into the key highlights from the meeting, ranging from the promising presentation on offshore winds to the intense debate over low-income housing.
Offshore Winds: A Bright Future or Overlooking the Dark Clouds?
The council meeting commenced with an intriguing presentation on offshore winds, extolling the benefits of this renewable energy program. However, one glaring omission was noticeable – the presentation did not address the negative aspects mentioned in a recent report by a member of the army corps of engineers. Transparency and balanced information are crucial when considering significant projects, and it is essential for the council to address both sides of the coin when evaluating proposals.
Public Concerns on City Management
During the public comment session, residents voiced their grievances on various aspects of city management. Complaints were raised on issues ranging from infrastructure to public services. This display of civic engagement serves as a reminder of the council’s responsibility to listen to the concerns of its constituents and strive for effective governance.
The Thorny Issue of Low-Income Housing
Towards the end of the meeting, the focal point was low-income housing, specifically its construction in parking lots around Eureka. Interestingly, a panel of city staff had already made a decision to recommend awarding the project to Eureka Community Partners, an out-of-town firm that raised a few eyebrows with its name-choice humor. However, the council faced a wave of public support in favor of Dishgamu Humboldt Community Land Trust, a component unit of the Wiyot Tribe. This choice resonated deeply with many due to its emphasis on supporting local tribes, offering more than just lip service to the community.
One lone voice of concern during the discussion came when Roy Gomez spoke about potential conflicts of interest. Gomez pointed out that David Cobb, founder of Cooperation Humboldt now hired by the Wiyot Tribe, had affiliations with council members who had hosted symposiums advocating for dismantling capitalism. This observation urged the council to reevaluate their positions and ensure that their decisions remain unbiased and representative of the community’s interests.
During the times of COVID, Cooperation Humboldt came into the spotlight. The organization’s openly communist ideology and the fact that it was funded in excess of 5 million dollars from the County of Humboldt for covid response garnered both attention and scrutiny.
An interview with David Cobb on Nick Flores’s Growing Pains podcast provides insight into his character and worldview, revealing him as a self-described non-violent revolutionary advocating for a voluntary anarcho-communist society.
(The about us section on the Cooperation Humboldt website states a similar world view)
- We believe that our current institutions are fundamentally racist, sexist, and class oppressive. This is a result of social, political and economic systems that incentivize domination and exploitation of women, people of color, and poor, homeless, disabled, queer, undocumented, and Indigenous people.
- We believe that capitalism is an economic system based upon exploitation and oppression, and that it will destroy the planet if we do not shift to a cooperative and sustainable economic system.
- We believe it is possible to create new institutions that incentivize cooperation, love, compassion and kindness. This new system will be capable of supporting every person with a good quality of life.
- We believe in lifting up and supporting groups that are doing grassroots organizing with working class people and people of color, who are training organizers and building long term strategies to resist fascism and create new models for a joyous and collaborative new future reality.
- We believe we can work with you (or your organization) even if you do not believe these things, but we want to be explicit and clear about who we are and what we believe.
Cobb working for the Wiyot tribe is not the main issue found within Gomez’s comment, nor is the extent to how Cobb’s politics and world view might impact those who work around him. The problem, as he described it, was with Cobb’s involvement in the previous symposiums to dismantle capitalism, co-organized with other council members. Does this affiliation and organization to perpetuate the anarcho-communist worldview represent a conflict of interest with serving the community? Are the other council members who seemingly align themselves with these anarcho-communist world views, actually pushing a nonviolent revolution through influential positions in local non-profit and political positions?