There are about 100 people in Vets’ Hall at the moment listening to some very angry and very motivated speakers. These aren’t your usual suspects, or not wholly: There’s a lot of business owners in the audience and a whole lot of gray hair. The message that’s clearly coming out of this: Fire Dave Tyson.
A few moments ago, Councilmember Linda Atkins said she would be meeting with people at the corner of 15th and California to help go door-to-door with a Fire Tyson petition. “I’m really ashamed to be part of the City of Eureka right now,” Atkins said. “I waste my time every Tuesday night when I go to that city council meeting, the way this city operates.”
There has been a lot of that kind of sentiment, notably from Former Mayor Peter Lavallee and former Councilmember Larry Glass. “He might be a financial wizard, but he is a terrible personnel manager,” said Lavallee. Glass: “He is a financial wizard. He’s a wizard at doing a shell game with the city’s money.”
“How do we legally get rid of him? Or illegally?” someone shouted at Glass from the audience, to much laughter. Glass answered by saying that a mass uproar would likely do the trick. Either the city council members would see that Tyson has taken a bad step, or Tyson himself would take the initiative and resign again.
At one point, Glass called out Matthew Owen, husband of former Eureka Mayor and current county supervisor Virginia Bass. Owen had been standing in the back of the room taking notes; Glass introduced him to the crowd as “one of Tyson’s best buddies.” One of the conference organizers, Sylvia Scott, shouted out “Go ahead, Matt! Take those notes!”
But the evening kicked off with a series of testimonials from West Side residents. They talked about the dramatic turnaround in the neighborhood since Nielsen took over the police department. A former schoolteacher said that once, in the pre-Nielsen days, someone set off a pipe bomb in front of the local Head Start building. The police, she said, told neighbors that it was a firecracker, and refused to come to the scene — even though the neighbors had the exploded pipe in their possession.
That’s all changed, she said. “I don’t know how you measure success if Garr wasn’t a success.”
More to follow…