Do you want to fill that empty seat? Arcata City Councilmembers (from left) Meredith Matthews, Sarah Schaefer, Stacy Atkins-Salazar and Brett Watson during Wednesday’s special meeting | Screenshot from online meeting video


Who will be Arcata’s next city councilperson? That will be up to you to decide, Arcata voters! During a special meeting on Wednesday night the Arcata City Council voted to hold a special election during the June primary to fill the council seat being vacated by Vice-Mayor Emily Goldstein, who announced her resignation last week.

With Goldstein, who was elected in 2020, stepping down part way through her term, the four remaining councilmembers had three options to fill her position: they could appoint a new councilmember to serve until this November – at which point the seat would be filled by way of election, hold a special election in June to fill the position, or leave the seat open until the November election. The the vote was unanimous to fill the seat by way of a special election, although there was some debate about whether it would be better to hold the election during the primary on June 7 or during the general election on Nov. 8.

Councilmember Watson was initially in favor of placing the item on the November ballot, mainly because general elections tend to have a higher voter turnout than primary elections and Watson wanted to encourage the most public involvement possible. But the other councilmembers felt that it was important to have a full council sooner than November.

Several councilmembers also felt that placing the seat on the June ballot would be less confusing for voters than it would be to place it on the November ballot. Because both Councilmembers Watson and Meredith Matthews have terms expiring this year, the November ballot will already include the election of two new councilmembers for four-year terms. If a third seat was added, voters would be asked to elect one councilmember for two years and two councilmembers for four years.

Arcata City Manager Karen Diemer said that the special election will cost the City about $7,500. But all the councilmembers felt that it was important to let Arcata voters choose the new councilmember, rather than appoint someone.

“Especially for a council that has really, really been trying to focus on public engagement, I think appointing someone would probably not be the best thing to do,” Councilmember Matthews said during the meeting. “I think putting it out to the public would probably be the best thing.”

Goldstein will vacate the seat on March 1. Whomever is elected in June will fill out the remainder of Goldstein’s term, ending in December 2024. If you are interested in running for the council, you can pick up nomination papers at Arcata City Hall starting on Monday, Feb. 14. The deadline to file is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 11.

Here is more information on how to run from a City of Arcata press release sent this morning:

At a special meeting on Wednesday, February 9, the Arcata City Council voted to hold a special election on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 to fill Vice-Mayor Emily Goldstein’s vacant seat.

Goldstein will be stepping down from her position on the Arcata City Council on Tuesday, March 1 in order to support her family’s medical needs. Once elected, Goldstein’s replacement will serve her remaining term, which expires in November of 2024.

The Arcata City Council adopts laws and sets policies to guide the City Manager and City staff in City operations. City Council members attend two regular City Council meetings each month in addition to other special meetings and study sessions, and other monthly meetings of various regional agency partners.

Qualifications for individuals who wish to run for a seat on the Arcata City Council include that they must be at least 18 years old, must live within Arcata city limits, and are registered to vote at their Arcata residence address. Nominees must also obtain at least 20, but no more than 30, signatures of registered voters who reside within Arcata city limits and are registered to vote at their Arcata residence.

Nomination papers for the open City Council seat will be available to be picked up beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, February 14 and must be filed by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 11 at the City Manager’s Office in City Hall, located at 736 F Street.

For more information, please visit or contact the City Clerk by email at or by calling (707) 825-2103.


CORRECTION: This post has been changed to indicate the correct deadline for filing nomination papers — Friday, Mar. 11.