Conceptual designs for proposed Linc Housing developments at Eighth and G streets (top) and Sixth and M streets (bottom). | File images courtesy City of Eureka.


UPDATE, TUESDAY MORNING: Gail Rymer, public relations spokesperson for both Citizens for a Better of Eureka and other Arkley-related initiatives, received and responded to the email we sent to Arkley seeking comment. She wrote that Arkley would not be the proper person to respond, as he is not a member of Citizens for a Better Eureka, nor, she said, is he a majority owner of Security National.

Whatever the case with that, Security National is a financial backer of Citizens for a Better Eureka, according to the group’s website, and though Rymer said she wasn’t sure whether this was still the case, Arkley is still listed as the president of the company with which he has been associated most closely for two decades or more.

Here’s the statement Rymer sent on behalf of Citizens for a Better Eureka:

On behalf of the Citizens for a Better Eureka, let me set the record straight regarding the organization’s efforts. The number one focus is not about stopping housing but on the economic vitality of downtown. Downtown businesses will suffer significantly if parking is taken away. They rely on visitors coming into Eureka and employees from around the area being able to drive to work to keep their doors open. Restaurants will not be able to survive if close-by parking is lost – people do not feel safe walking downtown at night.

The Citizens for a Better Eureka members know that Eureka needs housing and favors housing developments. Still, there are more sensible options that won’t destroy downtown businesses. They are not trying to stop development; they are simply trying to save their businesses. Mr. Slattery wants to eliminate more than 600 downtown parking spaces. That will kill the economy of Eureka.

As shown in maps distributed by an anti-driving/parking organization, the city has many other potential lots to build housing that would not disrupt and economically impact downtown businesses. For years, many downtown businesses have tried to work with the city on its plans to build housing without compromising parking. It’s documented in your publication from City Council meetings going back to 2020, if not further. The Citizens for a Better Eureka was left with no choice. Bringing these lawsuits was the only avenue to force the city to reconsider its housing plan. It did not need to come to this if the city had worked with local business owners.



Rob Arkley’s fight to preserve parking lots in downtown Eureka continues.

With a third and fourth lawsuit filed against the City of Eureka last week by the Arkley-affiliated group Citizens for a Better Eureka, the Security National CEO and sometimes-resident continues to follow through on threats he made to sue the city over plans to develop affordable housing on vacant, city-owned parking lots. 

Arkley has called parking lots “the lifeblood” of a thriving downtown, and in response to the city’s plans he has feuded with city officials, threatened to move his business’s headquarters outside city limits, helped launch a ballot initiative that would block the projects and, through this group, filed four lawsuits, counting the two filed last week.

As in the earlier suits, filed in April and May, these latest ones claim that the City of Eureka failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

This time, the suits pertain to affordable housing developments planned in two locations — one at the corner of Eighth and G streets, the other at the corner of Sixth and M. 

The city has awarded the bid for these planned developments — plus a third complex at Myrtle and Sunny Avenues — to Long Beach-based Linc Housing, and just last month the California Strategic Growth Council awarded Linc and the city a grant of $30.1 million to support the project, which would include a total of 90 units across the three locations. 

In its new lawsuits, which you can download via the links below, Citizens for a Better Eureka argues that the city improperly approved the housing developments by failing to simultaneously declare the land “surplus” in the manner required by state law.

The city says the housing developments are exempt from CEQA review because they represent infill projects on surplus land, but Arkley and his allies say the developments will have potentially significant impacts on traffic, air quality and public safety. The suits demand that the city analyze those potential impacts thoroughly before proceeding.

City Manager Miles Slattery said the group’s true motives have nothing to do with environmental impacts.

“It’s pretty clear that this group is doing everything in their power to stop any [housing] development in the city,” he said. “And as developers, some of the people who are part of this [group] should realize that parking is one of the biggest deterrents to development. Anything pro-parking is anti-development.” 

Environmental advocates are also skeptical about the motives behind these lawsuits.

“This is yet another example of Rob Arkley’s abuse of our environmental laws,” said Colin Fiske, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP).

“The removal of some public parking spaces does not count as an environmental impact, no matter how much those parking spaces are beloved by Mr. Arkley,” Fiske continued. “We hope the courts will quickly dismiss these frivolous lawsuits. If they are allowed to proceed, they could delay or even stop the construction of the affordable, climate-friendly housing Eureka so desperately needs. Furthermore, there are nearly $70 million in state investments in Eureka’s downtown that are potentially at risk due to Arkley’s recent lawsuits and his cynical, misleading ballot initiative. These latest suits are more evidence of his reckless disregard for downtown businesses, residents and the environment.”

An email to Arkley seeking comments and additional information was not immediately returned.

Click the links below to download pdf copies of each lawsuit, which are identical to each other save references to the project locations.