Meet the candidates! G. Mario Fernandez, Leslie Castellano, Kim Bergel, Nicholas Kohl and John Fullerton.


Election season is just about here…again!

I know, we just did this song and dance a month or two ago with county offices, but this November’s General Election will be all about city offices. The City of Eureka, for example, has three seats on the City Council that will be up for a vote as well as the mayorship.

There are still several days left for new candidates to arise, but let’s meet the candidates who have announced so far!

Mayor’s Race

Kim Bergel, currently representing the Fifth Ward, just confirmed her bid to run for Mayor. Bergel is approaching the end of her second (and last) term on the council. When the Outpost asked whether or not she was going to run for Mayor earlier this afternoon, Bergel exclaimed, “Well, actually I am!”

Bergel via City of Eureka

“This is an opportunity for me to give back,” she said. “[As Mayor], I will continue to do what I’ve always done and work together will the community to meet them where they’re at. I strongly believe that all people have value. …I’m really proud of the accomplishments that [our council] has made over the last almost eight years. I hope to continue to develop my relationship and the City’s relationship with the [Wiyot] Tribe as well. I think that’s really important.”

Bergel, who has served on the City Council since 2014 and works as an instructional assistant for Eureka City Schools, said she is devoted to the community and loves the City “unconditionally.”

“Who better to serve as mayor than someone who has lived here forever and raised their children here?” she said. “I have history here. I have watched our city grow and change. I’ve been a part of a lot of the progressive change that’s happened over the years and I hope to continue to be a part of it.”

Bergel did not say when she would make an official campaign announcement. As of this writing, she is running unopposed.

First Ward

Eureka City Councilmember Leslie Castellano announced her bid for reelection on Thursday evening. | Photos by Andrew Goff

Leslie Castellano took to the steps of City Hall on Thursday evening to formally announce her campaign for reelection to represent the fine people of the First Ward on the Eureka City Council. Speaking to a crowd of about two dozen people, Castellano underscored her commitment to “caring for this place we call home.”

I love Eureka and I am dedicated to working for the people of this city. I’m proud of what has been accomplished over the past four years and know that we must continue to move people-centered, environmentally progressive projects and policies forward in order to address the societal and ecological concerns of our time. 

I’ve stood for innovative approaches to economic development, environmental stewardship and social well-being for the past four years. Some of the key issues I have been working on include access to housing, cultural vitality, community health, sustainable new industries, neighborhood revitalization, opportunities for youth and public engagement with government. During my tenure on council, I’ve met directly with Ward 1 residents to solve problems in the community, held regular town halls and co-organized beautification efforts in Ward 1 and beyond.


I serve on numerous boards and commissions – so many boards and commissions! – and through those, I’ve really had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of everything from recycling and solid waste, to the goings of local businesses, to Eureka Main Street businesses. We make decisions there but we also really create a deeper network of engagement for what’s going on within the City and beyond.

I’ve also engaged with people throughout the region in order to share resources, opportunities and ideas for sustainable communities. Additionally, [I’ve taken] our concerns to state leaders and made sure that the North Coast region is considered when policies are made in Sacramento. 

I also acknowledge the Wiyot people who have been stewards of this land since time immemorial. I acknowledge and honor the diverse culture bearers who live and work in Eureka. As a community, we have made market efforts toward addressing the effects of colonialism and systemic racism but our work must be ongoing. I’ve been honored to participate in the return of Tuluwat [Island] and to move forward the city’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. We must constantly strive toward a city where all people have opportunities to thrive. 

We face immense challenges as a community, yet there are opportunities to rise together in compassionate action as we work toward the healing of land and people. These efforts are not the responsibility of only one person or one council, but of an interconnected community working together to advance new approaches to what it means to inhabit a rapidly changing world together.

I’m here to work with you, to learn with you and to co-create spaces where we honor our interdependence. I truly believe that together we can forge new pathways toward collective well-being. I’m excited to continue working with the people of Eureka – in the heart of Eureka – to develop and implement shared visions for a thriving city.”

As of this writing, Castellano is running unopposed for the First Ward seat.


Third Ward

The Third Ward seat, currently represented by Natalie Arroyo, will be up for grabs as well. Arroyo will be departing from the council later this year to join the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors as its Fourth District Representative.

So far, there are two contenders for the coveted Third Ward seat on the council: G. Mario Fernandez and John Fullerton.

Fernandez is a five-year resident of Eureka and a union representative for nurses at Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka and Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna. He is also a member of the Eureka City Schools Board of Trustees.

Fernandez | Submitted

“The experience that I’ve been able to cultivate on the local school board – even during times when things seemed daunting or complicated, especially during the worst part of COVID – the outlook was always, ‘We’ve got to do the best for the children. We’ve got to do what’s best for our community,’” he told the Outpost in a recent phone interview. “I want to give back to our community as much as I can.”

When asked about key issues he hoped to address if elected, Fernandez focused primarily on housing.

“I would like to look at our land use policies and advocate for more mixed residential use and potentially looking at how we can utilize tiny homes and micro apartments for working-class families,” he said. “There are a lot of people who complain about our houseless population, so finding solutions that are going to help alleviate the problems our homeless community is facing is critical.”

Fernandez also emphasized the need to bolster the City’s response to the “encroaching drastic climate changes we’re going to experience over the next few years.”

Fullerton has lived in Eureka since the 1970s and earns a living as a Certified Public Accountant in Old Town. He’s raised his family in Eureka and has a long history of community service via various boards and commissions, including the Eureka Planning Commission. He’s run for a seat on the Eureka City Council a couple of times before, but felt encouraged to give it another shot after “a number of people asked me to help balance the council after a series of bad decisions were made.”

Fullerton | Submitted

“A lot of people feel they did not take the concerns of the people into account nor listen to their concerns in the public hearings that were held,” Fullerton wrote in an email to the Outpost. “They feel the decisions were made beforehand and the public hearings were useless.”

Some of the strengths he would bring to the council are things that have been missing in recent years, he said, including “a strong business background and knowledge of what makes our local economy work.”

“My accounting background assures that before I make any decisions on issues I will gather all the facts and listen to all points of view,” he continued. “I listen to people no matter their background and not just to staff. I treat all the people who make comments with respect and they can be assured I will listen to them.”

Some of the key issues Fullerton would like to address if elected to the council include homelessness, crime and the planned removal of parking lots in downtown and Old Town.

“The homeless issue is a tough one that has no easy answers but ignoring the problem only makes it worse. …The more we tolerate property crime the worse it gets,” he said. “In the past six to eight years we have not had any diversity on the Eureka City Council with no moderates and nobody with any real business experience. Our city will only be improved with a stronger city council that has the diversity and experience that I represent.”

Fifth Ward

So far, Nicholas Kohl is the only candidate running for the Fifth Ward seat, which is currently occupied by Bergel. Kohl was born in raised in Humboldt County and, after traveling throughout his 20s, decided to settle in Eureka, where he currently owns and operates Oberon Grill in the heart of Old Town Eureka. 

Kohl | Submitted

“I really realized I could build more here than I could in a larger metropolitan area on my own, and that’s kind of what led me to choose to come back,” he told the Outpost in a phone interview this afternoon. “I think that choice made all the difference because growing up here there was often sentiment that if you want a nightlife or if you want culture you have to go somewhere else to find it. I decided to come back here and build something I could be proud of.”

Why run for City Council? Kohl said he was inspired by Mayor Susan Seaman who showed him that a participant in the community “could take that risk” and really make a difference.

“I picked up a nomination to the Measure Z Citizens Advisory Committee, which has been an incredible education through the budgeting process, public safety process and its kind of introduced me to a lot of different local agencies,” he said. “Running for council is kind of a natural step for me. I’ve been invested and committed to the community for a long time and I felt this was the time for me to participate.”

Kohl hopes to use the skills he’s acquired as a business owner if elected to the council. He also emphasized the importance of thoughtful development along Eureka’s waterfront, as well as improvements in mental health services and furthering economic growth.

“I want to build a community where we can have economic vitality and growth and pride in our community,” he said. “One of the lessons we’ve learned over the last few years is that there will be challenges that we don’t see coming that we need to be able to address and work together to move through. That’s where I feel it’s important to have diverse points of view and diverse backgrounds represented on the council.”


The General Election will take place on November 8.