By Kent Gray
Triplicate staff writer
Two new candidates have entered the race for a seat on the Crescent City City Council and an incumbent has filed for re-election.
Indicating an interest in the seat and making it a three-way race for two open positions are political newcomers Dennis Burns and Ray Martell and incumbent council member, Jack Burlake.
Burns, the former principal at Del Norte High School and Mountain School, was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Burlake had no comment on his re-election bid.
Martell, the environmental protection manager for Elk Valley Rancheria said yesterday that growth is the key to the city's economic viability Â– and water is the key to growth.
"I am definitely pro-growth," Martell said. "The town has a lot of potential for growth and I feel my background in the water and wastewater industry can contribute to that."
A current obstacle to Crescent City's expansion is a lack of capacity and infrastructure with its wastewater treatment facility. A new facility is currently in the works for the city and Martell said he has the expertise to watch over the project.
"The biggest issue with the city is the lack of sewer connections. And drinking water is always a major issue, too," Martell said.
A 1993 graduate of Humboldt State University with a master's degree in biology, Martell, 34, worked as a pharmaceutical chemist and environmental microbiologist for the Las Vegas Valley Water District from 1995 to 2001.
A native of the Bay Area, Martell's wife and family are natives of Del Norte County. Martell said they both agreed Crescent City is where they would like to raise their children.
"We've been trying to get back here for years because we love the area so much," said Martell. "But in a way it was sad to come back after 10 to 12 years. Back then, there were a lot of businesses in the downtown area. We came back expecting to see them and they're gone. I believe we need to get more businesses back in town."
On the subject of the new Hampton Inn resort hotel being built on Front and A streets, Martell said it is a sad subject for his wife, who was born at the old Seaside Hospital at that location, but he believes the hotel will be a bonus for the community.
"I think encouraging outside businesses into town that locals can take advantage of is a good thing," said Martell. On the issue of redesigning Front Street, Martell said he believes it is a good idea if done with restraint.
"I think beautification is good for the tourists because if they see it and like it they will come back again next year," he said. "In regard to other streets needing attention, that's a legitimate issue and I'm sure a compromise can be achieved."
Longtime council member C. Ray Smith announced last week he will not be seeking re-election.
According to Del Norte County clerk-recorder Vicki Frazier, the City Council has undesignated seats so the two top vote-getters will take the seats. If, by the filing deadline, only two candidates are vying for the two open positions, their names will not appear on the November ballot and the candidates win by default. Currently, three candidates have indicated they will run.
Filing for the Nov. 5 elections opened on July 8 and will close on Aug. 9. The closure date is extended five days, to Aug. 14, if an incumbent in a particular race fails to file.