UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.: Apparently Thomas Koors has taken himself out of contention. A couple of hours after the story below went up, a post appeared on the Thomas Koors campaign page. It reads:
Unfortunately what we want for ourselves is not always what our family wants so my campaign will end here.
Thanks to all the people I talked with and supported getting my name on the ballot. It was fun to work toward this every night while I did.
— Hank Sims
Thomas Koors, a 39-year-old maintenance supervisor, has launched a campaign to become Humboldt County’s next Fourth District supervisor. On Wednesday he submitted his candidate intention statement with the county elections office, and he has a campaign page up on Facebook.
Koors, who joins Eureka City Councilmembers Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel in the race to succeed departing supervisor Virginia Bass, identifies himself as a married father of two and a Republican.
The statement, which was posted to his Facebook campaign page before Bass’s announcement on Friday that she won’t be running for re-election, says, “I chose to run for the Humboldt County Board of Supervisor position because I am against the mask and vaccine mandates. I am also genuinely concerned that the current District 4 Supervisor of Humboldt County, Virginia Bass, would impose or not object to vaccine passports nor do I trust anything that she would say on this matter in order to win re-election.”
Late Thursday night he posted the following image to the page:
“It was bad enough living amongst rampant homelessness, public drug use [and] walking among the empty store fronts of old town,” his statement continues. “Now, people like Virginia Bass have passed and continue to pass emergency resolutions to keep us in this locked down state.”
It should be pointed out that Humboldt County is not under any lockdown orders. When it was, in late 2020 and again in mid 2021, the orders came from either California Governor Gavin Newsom or the Humboldt County Health Officer, not the Board of Supervisors.
Koors’s statement continues:
The lock downs, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates have weakened Eureka’s economy even further than it already was. It has made life more depressing than it already was, and it in no way made our lives safer. I want to live a free life again, and I want the horrific psychosis that has inflicted the people of Humboldt County to end. The leaders of Humboldt County during this “Pandemic” have destroyed many lives and livelihoods. If we are to have a brighter future in Humboldt County, it will not be living our lives treating other human beings as external threats to our lives.
Lastly, he lists four things he would focus on as supervisor:
- Business Growth
- Safety and Security
We reached Koors by phone Friday afternoon. During our brief interview he said he’d prefer not to disclose who his employer is. Below is a transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.
Lost Coast Outpost: I was just hoping you could tell me a little bit more about yourself. Did you grow up here in Humboldt?
Koors: I grew up in Santa Rosa until I was 19. And I moved up here to go to Humboldt State University. And then I got married, have kids and now work, et cetera.
What would you have done differently than Virginia if you had been supervisor?
Well, I mean, it may have been that Virginia didn’t have as much control, you know, so maybe she just kind of went with the flow, I’m not exactly sure. I do know that I think she didn’t oppose it, as far as I know. And so what I would have done is I would have fought a lot harder to oppose it.
To oppose what, exactly?
To oppose the vaccine mandates. And I definitely would not have required that, you know, the county employees have to be vaccinated.
My understanding is that it’s not a requirement that [county employees] have to be vaccinated. If they’re not vaccinated, they just have to undergo weekly testing. Is that what you’re opposed to?
Well, that too. I understand people want to be careful, but as far as I know a lot of people actually did get the vaccine because they felt like it was being imposed, even if it’s not outright. I would have to double-check. But my wife works in a similar situation. It was pretty heavy when it comes to trying to force people to get vaccinated. I think that forcing testing every week, I think it’s a bit over the top. I think, if they were really going to go through with it they would just force testing every time someone didn’t feel well to make sure that it wasn’t COVID.
So what policy would you advocate for county employees?
Mostly just, you know, do what you feel is necessary for your own safety. That’d be pretty much it.
I saw on John Chiv’s blog he quoted you about going door-to-door. And it sounds like it’s been a little rough. Have you encountered some pushback?
Oh, well, you know, I expected as much. I guess I was hoping that some people — if they realized I was there to get a signature and I was willing to talk with them, even if it did feel confrontational or they were arguing with me and I was arguing with them — that, you know, when they sign the paper, it’s not saying that they’re going to vote for me or anything. It’s just saying that my name is going to be on the ballot. But obviously, you know, if they don’t agree with it at all, I suppose and they just want to make sure that doesn’t even happen. I mean, it’s to be expected.
So this was pushback about your stance on COVID and masks and vaccines?
Not just that. Also the homeless issue. I would say that, in general, most people agree with a lot of the problems that we have, but they don’t necessarily agree with how to solve them. And I think the homeless issue is one of those things that, I think some people on the left think that there’s a way to overcome it and I just, I don’t see how it’s possible to prevent people from becoming homeless. You know, it’s like the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink.”
I have personal experience with people in my family who have had issues with that and it becomes an impossible thing to deal with. And the question is how much time and capital and resources you want to spend trying to fix a problem that isn’t your own problem but it’s theirs that they have to overcome themselves. Or it may be impossible for them to overcome because of their mental state. And I don’t see letting them live out in the open in our places of community where we come together to shop and try to live as a positive. I think that ends up creating victims of communities themselves.
So what would you do to address the homeless issue?
I don’t know if it’d be possible to do as a supervisor but, I mean, ideally I think we need to reinstate mental institutions. I think a majority of them are mentally unstable and they need to be dealt with that way. I mean, if people were going to be very worried about where they’re going to live versus, you know, them staying on the streets in town versus just pushing them out of the boundaries of the cities and county, I think the only way to deal with it properly would be to have a controlled environment.
I think you’re right that reinstating [mental] institutions would have to be done at the state level. What would your approach be as a county supervisor?
Well, I would try to get funds directed toward that approach. I would try to do my best to figure out a way to find someplace to have a controlled area for them that was supervised, that would make it so that, you know, Eureka wasn’t like an open-air asylum.
I’ve never been a supervisor so I don’t know the boundaries. And you know, it’s like, when you try to look for the job description, what a supervisor is and what they do, you’re not really gonna find one. You don’t really know until you’re in it. So that’s why I was saying, even though I disagree with a lot of the things Virginia Bass did, I’m not sure exactly how much her hands were tied or not. But I don’t feel like she did people like myself any favors, and that’s how I feel about it.
Besides COVID, are there any other specific issues that you disagree with her about?
I’m not sure. I don’t know her full history. I really don’t. The COVID thing was just something that set me off because, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard enough living in the conditions that exist in Eureka, let alone feeling like you’re being oppressed everywhere you go. It just made it to where I was thinking about it nonstop, and so I thought the only way I could alleviate that was to try and do something about it.
I noticed in your statement you put the word pandemic in quotes. What was the reason for that?
Just because when you say pandemic, you know, you have a lot of people that think about it differently. There’s some people that think it’s a hoax. There’s some people that think, well, it’s not that the virus isn’t real or something like that. It’s just that it’s not as infectious as people think it is, or so on and so forth. That’s the only reason why I put it in quotes.
Do you feel it’s not a pandemic?
I feel that it’s overblown. I don’t believe that, you know, it’s something that doesn’t exist or that it’s not a problem, if that makes sense.
I mean, it’s responsible for millions of deaths. Do you dispute that?
Millions of deaths worldwide. And if you look at how different communities have tried to solve the problem, I mean, they’ve done better with, you know, better management. So, I mean, you take Florida and if you look at how they’ve dealt with the pandemic, they’ve been much more free and open, and they’ve been much less restrictive. And their death counts are much lower. So I think I just looked at a snapshot and California is 3.6 times worse than Florida is. That was a snapshot, today or yesterday. The seven-day moving average. And, you know, I don’t know if that’s throughout the pandemic, but I’m pretty sure it’s pretty close. The two states with the worst of the pandemic have been California and New York.
[Note: While it’s true that Florida had a lower COVID-19 case rate than California’s for much of last year — a trend that experts attributed to a variety of factors, including lower housing density, warmer weather and the way Florida counts COVID-19 cases — the rate has since exploded, nearly tripling over the past two weeks as the Omicron variant spreads. Florida’s current daily case rate is 264 per 100,000 residents while California’s is 157 per 100,000.]
Your statement also mentioned business growth. What would you do to promote business growth?
Well, I’m pro-business, anti global corporation. But business-wise, reducing taxes as much as humanly possible for local and small business and small, local corporations. I think that the marijuana industry here is overburdened with taxes and regulations. I think other industries are also overburdened. But like I said, I don’t know what would be available to me to fix those issues.
What about the Measure Z tax? Would you want to repeal that?
Remind me again what Measure Z tax is?
That’s the countywide half-percent sales tax that goes toward public safety and essential services.
Unless that tax is going directly to the police force, yes.
Some of it goes to law enforcement. The Board of Supervisors decides each year how to allocate it, so it gets spread to emergency services and a bunch of different community organizations.
I probably would, in general, yes.
At this point in the interview, Koors said he had to get going. “I hope that was enough information for you,” he said.