With two seats open for Crescent City Council in the Nov. 6 general election, two candidates and one incumbent have entered the race.

Candidates include newcomers Tony Cervantez, Isaiah Wright, and incumbent Mayor Blake Inscore.

The Triplicate sent questions to all candidates and asked for written responses. Their responses follow:

Tony Cervantez

With the declines in traditional economic engines such as logging and fishing in Northern California, many coastal towns have come to rely on tourism to salvage or improve their local economies. How do you feel about that and what can the council do to help make Crescent City more of a visitor destination?

With the decline of sustainable industry, I feel that the only way to help save small communities such as ours is to bring tourism into our areas.

Cleaning up our sidewalks and planting flowers have improved the general looks of the area. To keep people coming back and or even spending monies in the area can only be achieved through sustainable shops that help attract travelers and locals to the downtown area.

I think by creating sustainable housing and shops not only for the tourist or daily shopper but also for teen and young adults.

All of this together in a city can help for a more diverse community within the city limits. There are great things to having a Sister City like Rikuzentakata, Iwate, Japan that the world can and will hear about; this is also a great way for Crescent City to shine and draw attention to her glory that we bask in.

Recently collected data shows a slow but steady increase in the populations of local homeless persons living in wooded areas around Crescent City, tents, dilapidated RVs and on the ground. Campsites have accumulated tons of refuse cleaned up by the city, County and groups of dedicated volunteers. Another volunteer group has recently formed with the mission of finding solutions to local homeless problems. What do you think is the biggest contributor homelessness in Crescent City and what can the City Council do to help address it?

Improving our resources on mental health, drug and alcohol recovery programs, shelters and such are one way to help improve lives and reduce homelessness.

I am excited about this volunteer group that is taking on

“the mission of finding solutions to local homeless problems”. This is a large task and not only takes trained professionals but the support of all our elected officials, city and county members alike.

This year, Crescent City signed Sister City agreements with Rikuzentakata, Japan, to “strengthen the ties of friendship, and develop collaborative activities and efforts in the areas of business, culture, emergency planning and disaster recovery, and with the hope of contributing toward peace and prosperity in the world.” What are your thoughts on the Sister City relationship and its mission? Do you support it? How do you think it can be improved?

This year has brought new ideas and new friends into our lives with a Sister City that is halfway around the world. This is an opportunity for our city to shine globally.

My hope for the future relationship of both our cities is to share our homes our lives our customs as we take time to learn from them their way of living. Our Sister City can share knowledge that can and will help not only our generation but generations to come in disaster preparedness.

I look forward to and support strengthening our exchange program as this will strengthen families that are, what may seem, at times, worlds apart.

It’s locally-known that both the city and county are experiencing a shortage of housing. Meanwhile, many buildings in the downtown business district sit empty, waiting for viable commerce to fill the space and attract new customers. Which do you feel is more important — to create new housing in the city or to promote downtown Crescent City to outside business investors? Do you feel there are opportunities to create a mix of residential housing and business opportunities downtown?

The shortage of housing is not only limited to our beautiful county but is a problem nationwide. Building affordable housing either subsidized housing, which can and will help with the homelessness.

Private individuals also have the ability to help the housing situation with the support of local agency’s like our HUD to help those in need of help to pay rent. HUD VASH has been helpful in getting a few of my fellow vets off the street and into warm housing.

I have been working with these resources for many years here in Crescent City. These programs are in place. I think if Crescent City continues its efforts in bringing local realty companies and outside business efforts to build clean, safe, affordable housing.

Often, candidates decide to run for public office because they have a big idea they would like to see brought to life in their City or area. So — what’s your big idea?

It is my vision to help Crescent City achieve an economy and community that strives to make its mark on the world. While making sure to protect the health safety and welfare of its residents.

Blake Inscore

With the declines in traditional economic engines such as logging and fishing in Northern California, many coastal towns have come to rely on tourism to salvage or improve their local economies. How do you feel about that and what can the council do to help make Crescent City more of a visitor destination?

The city is committed to the mission of the Visitor’s Bureau, which is to “attract the next new visitor to Del Norte County.” The city contributes $72,000 annually to the chamber of commerce with over $60,000 of those funds currently being directed towards tourism marketing.

In addition to our work with the Visitor’s Bureau, the city is committed to a comprehensive code enforcement program to beautify our community. The recent complete remodel of the former blighted Gardenia Motel into a new Motel 6 is an example of these efforts.

Another component to increased tourism will be addressing city services including public safety (police and fire), as well as continuing to address the needed improvement in our streets and infrastructure.

Recently collected data shows a slow but steady increase in the populations of local homeless persons living in wooded areas around Crescent City, tents, dilapidated RVs and on the ground. Campsites have accumulated tons of refuse cleaned up by the city, county and groups of dedicated volunteers. Another volunteer group has recently formed with the mission of finding solutions to local homeless problems. What do you think is the biggest contributor homelessness in Crescent City and what can the City Council do to help address it?

There is not a single contributor to the rise in homelessness here in our community; in fact, this has become a national crisis that communities are trying to understand and address.

One of the major components to this rise is the lack of affordable housing. While we have a nationally high rated Housing Authority in Crescent City, providing over $3 million in annual subsidies, there remains a need to provide more assistance, and we need more units for both those in the program and those seeking housing on their own.

Del Norte County is a severely economic disadvantaged county. When you compare Crescent City to the state as a whole, we have a household median income that is less than half of the state average, and our poverty level is more than double. We need more low-income housing options.

The city has been working with DANCO, a developer proposing to construct 27 new senior housing units on the old El Patio site downtown. The city is committed to creating explore more public/private partnerships to address the need for new housing units.

In addition to the housing element, it is clear the homelessness crisis is associated with the increased awareness of mental health needs across every segment of our society. We need to support our county’s attempt to identify and address the needs within our community.

We also need to look for ways to partner with local non-profits and faith-based organizations to search for solutions to this problem. Addressing homelessness will require all of us working together with common goals building on the resources each of us can bring to the table.

This year, Crescent City signed Sister City agreements with Rikuzentakata, Japan, to “strengthen the ties of friendship, and develop collaborative activities and efforts in the areas of business, culture, emergency planning and disaster recovery, and with the hope of contributing toward peace and prosperity in the world.” What are your thoughts on the Sister City relationship and its mission? Do you support it? How do you think it can be improved?

The Sister City relationship with Rikuzentakata, Japan is an opportunity for our community to see beyond its borders and establish connections that benefit our citizens and especially our students. I have invested time and energy to help build this program and am committed to seeing it continue and grow.

One of the things that this relationship has done is to re-engage our citizens about the importance of disaster preparedness. Those outside of our community identify Del Norte County as a leader in emergency management, but it is our responsibility as leaders to help our community become aware and take advantage of the amazing work done by Cindy Henderson and the emergency services team to educate and empower. Having seen the devastation of Rikuzentakata we must help our citizens realize the resources they have at hand.

Beyond our common bond through tsunamis and potential disasters there are great opportunities for our students to engage internationally. This relationship was started with the students, and they have asked us as leaders to keep it going. The Sister City relationship will open up the doors for our students to visit and to learn from students in Rikuzentakata. There are also opportunities for our teachers to provide assistance to their counterparts in Japan, and to learn from their educational models as well. A group of teachers and students will be visiting our community in January 2019 as a next step in this program. The city has also been awarded a grant of over $40,000 from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo to build on this relationship. A primary focus will be hosting a delegation from Rikuzentakata next year for a workshop that will enable them to see how we have addressed the issues of women in leadership and purposeful inclusivity for people with disabilities.

It’s locally-known that both the city and county are experiencing a shortage of housing. Meanwhile, many buildings in the downtown business district sit empty, waiting for viable commerce to fill the space and attract new customers. Which do you feel is more important — to create new housing in the city or to promote downtown Crescent City to outside business investors? Do you feel there are opportunities to create a mix of residential housing and business opportunities downtown?

As I already stated, affordable housing is a primary need in our community, and the city is committed to bringing more housing into the downtown area.

Under our current zoning code, we have the ability to have mixed use of commercial and residential within the downtown area, however, many of the existing buildings are not suited to that use. This means we must be addressing both concerns that you have put forward — we must look for creative solutions for bringing in more housing while at the same time encouraging business in the downtown zone.

We have seen a renewed energy downtown since the creation of the Downtown Divas non-profit and their development of the First Friday street festival. We need to capitalize on the community’s support of those events and leverage it into more events and commerce in downtown.

One of the challenges to development downtown is the disproportionate numbers of empty properties that are owned by a single entity. We need to find an effective strategy to work with developers to find suitable uses for every building.

Often, candidates decide to run for public office because they have a big idea they would like to see brought to life in their city or area. So — what’s your big idea?

My “big idea” is to keep moving forward with the things we are working on now.

We have seen great progress over the last five years with the city managing over $31 million in grant funding. We have seen the City Fire Hall seismically retro-fitted and completely remodeled because of a joint grant partnership with Elk Valley Rancheria, a partnership that also brought a new $400,000 fire engine to our community.

We have seen the coastal access stairway and ADA ramp on Howe Drive provide safe access to our residents and visitors.

Dog Town became a reality because of the hard work of our community partners. Major infrastructure improvements have taken place including the B Street sewer line and the complete rebuild of the water delivery system at the elevated tank.

Ahead we will see over $4 million of CBDG funds invested in a storm drain project on Front Street that will allow us to re-build the street from B Street to H Street. This will be the first step in addressing a crucial component in Crescent City’s most identified street need.

The City has also filed a joint application with Elk Valley Rancheria for a BUILD grant, which if approved could provide another $12.5 million to complete the Front Street reconstruction.

Another goal is to see the former Bank of America building converted into a full-service City Hall that will provide better access and improved services to our citizens. We have accomplished much, but there is much yet to do and I am committed to do my best to make sure it gets done.

Isaiah Wright

With the declines in traditional economic engines such as logging and fishing in Northern California, many coastal towns have come to rely on tourism to salvage or improve their local economies. How do you feel about that and what can the council do to help make Crescent City more of a visitor destination?

I have traveled to many beautiful places and Del Norte County has some of the most picturesque views around. I worked for the National Park Service since I moved here in 2015 and have seen tens of thousands of tourists from all over the world and talked to many.

The most common problem people would tell me were the lack of sidewalks and the roads were terrible. This is excluding the few people that had their cars broken into or bike stolen. That is a whole other problem that if fixed would also help our image. It is my opinion that infrastructure is one of the most important things to help our tourism.

Our current city council has already got that ball rolling and it would be my goal to keep that momentum moving through and till the next election.

Recently collected data shows a slow but steady increase in the populations of local homeless persons living in wooded areas around Crescent City, tents, dilapidated RVs and on the ground. Campsites have accumulated tons of refuse cleaned up by the city, county and groups of dedicated volunteers. Another volunteer group has recently formed with the mission of finding solutions to local homeless problems. What do you think is the biggest contributor homelessness in Crescent City and what can the City Council do to help address it?

I was reading an article published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and they gave some statistics on mental health and homelessness. One-fifth to one-fourth of the homeless population in the U.S. suffer from some form of a severe mental illness. This is not counting the less severe and the countless many people with an undiagnosed mental illness. Some of these undiagnosed people have substance abuse problems because they are trying to self-medicate.

It is tough to answer how we will fix this problem. I know one thing, throwing money at the issue will not solve this problem. Don’t misunderstand we need some money but blood, sweat and tears are far more valuable.

I was having a conversation the other day and I was asked what I would do if I was homeless. I said I would never be homeless for an extended amount of time. The person I was talking with misunderstood as what I meant by that. I meant that I have a support system in place.

In my life I have built relationships with many people; neighbors, classmates, colleagues church members and not even mentioning my own personal family.

My first relationship I mentioned was neighbors and that was by design. We don’t know our neighbors anymore. If I don’t see my neighbor in a day or two I start to worry. When the power went out I check on my new neighbors and make sure they have lanterns.

I have my neighbors back and they have mine. You would be surprised how many problems, knowing your neighbors could fix. We as a community have to come together as good Samaritans. We are far stronger as a community than any one person.

This year, Crescent City signed Sister City agreements with Rikuzentakata, Iwate, Japan, to “strengthen the ties of friendship, and develop collaborative activities and efforts in the areas of business, culture, emergency planning and disaster recovery, and with the hope of contributing toward peace and prosperity in the world.” What are your thoughts on the Sister City relationship and its mission? Do you support it? How do you think it can be improved?

I am a fiscal conservative, so spending money on anything that I can’t measure a return on would be difficult. That being said, building relationships here and abroad are important.

For those that say we have some great disaster preparedness people here in Del Norte and there is no reason to go to Japan, I would tell them an unguarded strength is a double weakness. Everything in life can always be improved.

I want to be very clear, however, I need to see how it is benefitting the people of Del Norte. If after a certain amount of time this relationship bears no fruit, I will be the first to want it ended.

Like many things in politics, people don’t want to give it a chance because of it being new or different. Give it a chance and if it has no benefit, I will lead the march to have it stopped.

It’s locally-known that both the city and county are experiencing a shortage of housing. Meanwhile, many buildings in the downtown business district sit empty, waiting for viable commerce to fill the space and attract new customers. Which do you feel is more important — to create new housing in the city or to promote downtown Crescent City to outside business investors? Do you feel there are opportunities to create a mix of residential housing and business opportunities downtown?

(Wright did not answer)

Often, candidates decide to run for public office because they have a big idea they would like to see brought to life in their city or area. So — what’s your big idea?

Honestly, I love this city and I am running because like everything else I do in life I want to make a difference. I know, that is a terrible cliché, but it is 100 percent accurate.

I volunteer many hours a month to make sure the youth of our city have positive role models to look up to. My career in education was started because of a heart for service in my community and this something that I wish to pass to the future leaders of Del Norte. It is my wish to partner with local organizations to help our youth take ownership of the city that will eventually be theirs.

21359694