The Arcata City Council will soon appoint a new member to fill out the remainder of previous councilmember Sofia Pereira’s term, which ends in December 2022. On Wednesday night, the seven applicants who qualified will participate in a candidate forum, during which they will answer questions from the council and the public.

There was a fair amount of interest in the open seat and out of 14 people who took out applications, seven qualified to be considered for the position. Several of them have run for or served on the council in the past, whereas some are first-timers. So, before they are publicly grilled on their views, let’s take a look at the seven candidates and the statements they submitted to the city on why they want to be Arcata’s next councilmember.


Katelyn Bourne

Bourne | Photo from Facebook

A student at Humboldt State University, Bourne has lived in the area since 2019. According to Bourne’s candidate statement, she moved to Humboldt after getting out of the Army, where she served as a ​​combat medic. Bourne also served as the president of Associated Students at College of the Redwoods and helped welcome students during COVID-19.

From Bourne’s candidate statement:

As a political science major and someone who wants to be a politician, I have become a firm believer that those who hold a public service office should serve the people before they serve a party or themselves. Because of this belief, my focus as an Arcata City Council member would be to help the City Council strengthen its relationships with Humboldt State University and College of the Redwoods students, as well as work to increase engagement with those who live in the city of Arcata.   

Elizabeth Conner

Conner | Photo from Facebook

Conner, 67, served on the Arcata City Council from 2002 to 2004. Conner has lived in the area for 25 years and has also served as chair of the Arcata Planning Commission, co-chair of the Arcata General Plan Task Force,  executive director of Housing Humboldt and is currently chair of the Humboldt County Housing Authority. Conner lists her current occupation as a self-employed affordable housing and political consultant.

According to her candidate statement, Conner’s priorities include economic, social and racial justice; climate change; affordable housing; re-imagining public safety and supporting local businesses.

From Conner’s candidate statement:

I’m proud to have served on the Council which started Redwood Coast Energy Authority, placed a cap on formula restaurants and committed to infill and affordable housing. I’d be honored to continue this work with the excellent team of staff and Council working for a better Arcata.

Meredith Klein 

Klein (Matthews) | Image from Facebook

Klein has lived in Arcata for five years and has served on Arcata’s Economic Development Committee for three years. Klein also works as an administrative specialist for the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, serves on the board for the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, volunteers for Arcata Main Street and is a member of Cooperation Humboldt.

In her candidate statement, Klein focuses on economic development and housing creation and says that her experience and “rapport with local businesses” will help her serve the people of Arcata.

From Klein’s statement:

Arcata is a special place, and we are on the cusp of great change. With HSU becoming a Polytechnic University, Covid ending, new airline routes and new businesses on the horizon, the needs of the community and availability of resources are changing quickly. My goal is to align our economic and development needs to meet these opportunities, while still maintaining the Arcata I moved here for- progressive ideas, a welcoming community with unmitigated access to beauty and nature, one-of a kind events, and local businesses.

Humnath Panta

Panta | Image from HSU’s website

An assistant professor in finance at HSU, Panta boasts an impressive educational background with a  Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Texas at Arlington, a master’s degree in Financial Economics from Ohio University, a master’s degree in International Relations and Trade from Monash University, Australia, and a BA in English Literature with a minor in Economics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

In addition to his experience as a scholar and professor, Panta also says he has extensive experience in planning, budgeting, financial policies, capital improvement plan, spending and revenue policy, formulation of policy and procedure and more.

From Panta’s statement:

[Panta] is an active scholar, dedicated teacher, and effective mentor for students with diverse backgrounds and career goals. His primary objective is to serve the community by promoting a positive learning environment and helping students in their self-development through quality financial education. He is active in various civic, cultural, and professional organizations, including Blood Donors of America, Financial Management Association and Southwestern Finance Association. He wants to support the local community through financial education and involvement in various community-based activities.

Bennett Perrault

Perrault | Photo from Facebook

Perrault, 25, is a wildlife biologist for the California Waterfowl Association and works at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Perrault has lived in Arcata for about six years and graduated from HSU with a degree in wildlife management and conservation in 2019.

Perrault says that as an administrative vice president at HSU, he helped fund the bike library, put free tampons in all the bathrooms, and made sure students were involved in every aspect of school politics.

From Perrault’s statement:

I want the people to be empowered to voice their opinions and make the small or large changes that are needed in our community. I love this town and I want to make sure the whole community feels the same. As a wildlife biologist, I want to make sure we are protecting our town for people and wildlife. We can do this! Power to the people, the business owners, the artists, the skateboarders, the renters, the home owners, the houseless, the new arrivals, and the locals! I am here for you and your voice!

Paul Pitino

Pitino | File photo

Of all the candidates, Pitino definitely boasts the most Arcata City Council experience — he served one term in in 2004, was elected again in 2014 for a two-year-term and was reelected for a full term in 2016. Pitino again ran for council in the last election, but was defeated.

Pitino decided to keep his candidate statement very brief and listed no experience, goals or priorities. In full, it reads:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the Arcata City Council for the next 16 months. I have no specific agenda other than to be a positive member of the City Council. Thanks for your consideration.

Kimberly White

A planning commissioner for the City of Arcata, White  also ran for council and was defeated in the last election. White has lived in Arcata for over 30 years and states that she is a “proud resident of Valley West.”

White | File photo

White’s statement lists many topics she is passionate about, including: equity, affordable housing, addressing the climate emergency, supporting the artist community, zero waste, better connections with HSU, zero tolerance for hate crimes, supporting the LGBTQ+ community and supporting the Native American community.

From White’s statement:

Currently I have the honor to serve the City of Arcata as a planning commissioner. I am a consultant, a mother of a teenage daughter and a proud Valley West resident. I received my master’s degree in Sociology with an emphasis in affordable/cooperative housing from HSU…I’ve lived in Goudi’ni (Arcata), land of the Wiyot, for more than 30 years and I am ready to bring my passion, education and experience to serve the people of Arcata.


The Arcata City Council candidate forum will be held on Wednesday, July 28 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Arcata City Hall — 736 F Street. The tentative schedule is as follows:

1. Questions for Candidates from the Council (6:00-7:30)

2. Questions for Candidates from the Public (7:30-8:00)

3. Questions for Individual Candidates (8:00-8:15)

4. Candidates’ Closing Comments (8:15-8:30)

5. Public Input (8:30-9:00)

6. Initial Council Ranking and Discussion (9:00-9:15)

The council will either make the appointment on Wednesday night or set a future date for additional discussion.

For those who do not wish to attend the meeting in-person, you can also join via Zoom, or watch the meeting streaming online. You can view the full candidate statements and directions on how to participate in the meeting here.