Well, you made it through election day and whether you stood in long lines at the polls or mailed your ballot in early, you (hopefully) voted and now there is nothing to do but wait as the agonizingly slow results continue to come in. Maybe it’s time to take a break from obsessively clicking “refresh” on the presidential election results and focus your energy on your local government for a bit.

If you live in Arcata, guess what? Your City Council has a meeting tonight, and with meetings now held via Zoom, you don’t even have to leave your house to participate. So get in your pajamas, make yourself a cup of camomile tea and practice some post-election emotional self-care while you share your concerns with your elected officials. Or just quietly watch. It’s up to you.

It also seems worth mentioning that at least one new Arcata City Council member will be announced in the not-too-distant future. And if the latest election report indicates correctly, the council may be saying goodbye to both incumbents Paul Pitino and Michael Winkler.

Here’s a quick look some of the things the council will be discussing tonight:

Police Reform

Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests both locally and nationwide, the Arcata City Council tasked the Arcata Police Department with reforming some of its policies and procedures as outlined by the Campaign Zero and 8 Can’t Wait platforms.

The council also requested a monthly progress report on the department’s reform efforts and tonight APD Chief Brian Ahearn will provide that report, which includes updates on training and planning recommendations from the National Police Foundation and updates on the ongoing meetings between APD and the Arcata Public Safety Committee.

According to Ahearn’s report, the committee has encouraged APD to explore incorporating social service positions and to consider implementing a “citizen oversight model,” which would include citizen review of police procedures. The committee also finalized a Community Safety Quick Reference Guide, which includes personal safety tips and information on how and when to report crimes, to be distributed throughout the community once it is approved by the council.

Screenshot from the Community Safety guide

“The guide is a one-stop shop for information on how to access resources, how to report a crime and includes personal safety tips as well,” Ahearn writes in the report. “This guide was developed in conjunction with Equity Arcata and Humboldt State University and can serve the needs of the entire community of Arcata.”

Public Transit Hearing

What can the county do that would make you take the bus more often? How can Arcata improve its public transit system? The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) wants to know the answer to these questions, and is conducting its annual public hearing process to collect feedback on the community’s unmet transit needs.

The Arcata City Council for its part, will conduct a public hearing tonight and give you a chance to weigh in with your feelings about public transportation. If you’re not able to comment on this item tonight, you can also send in your feedback before December 31 and all comments will be forwarded to HCAOG.

Send comments regarding the Arcata and Mad Transit System (A&MRTS) directly to:

City of Arcata
Attn:  LeAnn Schuetzle, Arcata & Mad River Transit System
736 F Street
Arcata, CA 95521
(707) 822-3775

HCAOG will also receive comments directly on unmet transit needs until December 31, 2020 at:

HCAOG Office
Attn: Marcella Clem
611 I Street, Suite B
Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 444-8208


The council will also appoint three new members to the Economic Development Committee, approve an agreement with the Humboldt Waste Management Authority for receiving and processing green waste and receive a report on the city’s insurance merger.

The Arcata City Council meets via Zoom tonight at 6:00 p.m. You can view the full agenda and directions on how to join the meeting or submit public comment here.