The Eureka City Council will discuss some important topics at its regular meeting — held via Zoom, of course — including the city’s Syringe Exchange Program, garbage and recycling in the COVID-19 era, a fun window poetry project and potentially adopting an ordinance that will allow city staff to issue citations for nuisance properties and building violations.
Misdemeanor Citation Authority Ordinance
For its only action item on this evening’s meeting agenda, the council will vote on adopting an ordinance — which was introduced at the last Eureka City Council meeting on September 15 — allowing for some city employees to issue misdemeanor citations for municipal code violations.
These code violations could include things like unsafe structures, storm water issues or encroachments — people building unpermitted structures on city right-of-way — among other things. Though the city’s enforcement staff does already have the ability to issue administrative citations, currently only the Eureka Police Department has the authority to issue legal citations.
“What this ordinance does is gives other staff that ability as well, thereby taking the police out of the mix when it comes to some of these municipal code violations,” Public Works Director Brian Gerving told the council during the September 15 meeting.
In a phone conversation with the Outpost this morning, Gerving added that issuing either type of violation is a “tool of last resort,” but this ordinance adds another tool to the city’s ability to deal with these code violations.
Solid Waste and CRV Buy Back
Assuming the meeting follows the order outlined in the agenda, the council will then receive a report on from the Humboldt Waste Management Authority and the Humboldt County Recology on waste management amid the pandemic and will consider authorizing the mayor to send a letter of support regarding the “lack of CRV redemption services in Humboldt County.”
The letter — which would be sent to Assemblymember Wood, Senator McGuire, Governor Newsom, and the State Recycling Commission — says that the Eureka City Council is concerned about the inability of constituents to redeem their beverage containers and requests that the state legislature address this issue.
From the letter:
The City Council notes that during the CRV redemption site closures, CalRecycle continued to collect their CRV fees from beverage manufacturers, who passed the fee to consumers at the retailer even though there was nowhere in the County or in many areas in the State to redeem their deposit. The inability to conveniently redeem containers and receive deposit fees has created public concern and, in some cases, aggravated financial hardship. While Eureka residents can place these recyclable materials into their curbside recycling containers, people feel forced to hold onto their containers in hopes of being reimbursed their deposit. This has negative impacts on individual finances, public health, the environment and our city’s recycling goals.
Window Poetry Project
The council will also receive a report on the city’s Resilient Eureka Window Poetry Program. A partnership between Eureka Main Street, the Ink People, Eureka Poet Laureate David Holper, the city-hired marketing firm Eddy Alexander, and Councilmember Leslie Castellano, the program aims to spread a little cheer during the pandemic by filling vacant windows with poetry and art installations.
Businesses or property owners can sponsor an original installation of a poem and accompanying painting for $250, which would cover the commission of both the painter and poet and their supplies.
The city is sponsoring eight of these installations to kick off the program, three of which have already been completed along Second Street in Old Town.
Syringe Exchange Program
Lastly, Eureka City Manager Miles Slattery will provide the council with an update on the Syringe Exchange Program operated by the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR).
HACHR’s current authorization from California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to operate the syringe exchange is valid through October 8. During its meeting on September 15, the council voted to send a letter to CDPH opposing HACHR’s reauthorization, stating that HACHR had violated the city’s Syringe Exchange Program ordinance.
In a separate vote during the same meeting, the council also repealed the city’s resolution supporting HACHR operating the program.
The decisions followed the release of a Eureka Police Department report outlining a months-long investigation into HACHR’s operations, which included officer accounts of witnessing multiple drug deals and use on or near the HACHR property on Third Street.
The Eureka City Council meets tonight at 6:00 p.m. You can view the full agenda here.
Here are directions on how to view and participate in the meeting from the City of Eureka:
You can view the City Council meetings live on the City of Eureka’s website at www.ci.eureka.ca.gov or on Cable Channel 10.To view from the website, select the Watch City Council Meetings orange button from the home page.
Members of the Public who wish to speak and be heard during the Council meeting, may submit their phone number and the name of the item that they would like to comment on by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 707.441.4175.
The City Clerk will call the public member during the discussion of the item or the public member may request the Zoom meeting link to log into the meeting for comment.
If you don’t want to call in during the meeting, please submit your comment via email to the City Clerk at email@example.com or you may leave a message at 707.441.4175 prior to 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, the day of the meeting to ensure that Council receives your comment before the meeting.
All comments received by e-mail or mail will be part of the public record for Council consideration but will not be read aloud during the meeting. For items not on the agenda, please make a note that is a “Public Comment” submission. Only those messages that state they are for public comment will be included in the record.