Arcata Mayor Susan Ornelas and Vice Mayor Sofia Pereira (left to right). Photos provided by the City of Arcata.

City of Arcata press release:

Ornelas Facebook page.

(Arcata, CA) – The Arcata City Council elected Susan Ornelas mayor and Sofia Pereira vice mayor at a special noon meeting today, making this the first time in history two women have held the Arcata City Council’s top ceremonial positions.

The City’s Municipal Code requires that the Council select the mayor and vice mayor at a special meeting held each December. Both mayor and vice mayor serve for one year.
The mayor presides at Council meetings, represents the Council at community events and performs other ministerial duties. The vice mayor presides in the mayor’s absence.

Outgoing Mayor Paul Pitino, Councilmember Michael Winkler, Mayor Susan Ornelas, Vice Mayor Sofia Pereira, and Councilmember Mark Wheetley (left to right).

“I had a great time being Mayor,” says outgoing Mayor Paul Pitino. “It’s a good experience for all council members to do this so they can understand the level of work and commitment that it takes. I’m happy to have had the opportunity and look forward to doing it again someday.”

Pitino developed a reputation for being a hands-on mayor who could be found on Fridays picking up cigarette butts around the Plaza. He worked hard to build relationships with Humboldt State University students, staff and administration, and championed concerns of working people and students. During his tenure as mayor the Council pushed through establishing a commercial cannabis manufacturing permitting process.

“Following Paul as mayor means I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” says newly-elected Mayor Susan Ornelas. “I’m very honored and know that being mayor takes twice the amount of time that it takes to serve on the Council. It’s a big responsibility to the community and Paul has done an outstanding job.”

“I’m honored to work with Mayor Ornelas this upcoming year,” says incoming Vice-Mayor Sofia Pereira. “We have a lot of exciting projects coming down the pipeline and opportunities to bring the community together.”

Mayor Ornelas will preside over her first regular Arcata City Council meeting on Wednesday, December 21.