A crowded field of candidates are vying for three seats on the Crescent City City Council. Incumbent Jason Greenough is joined by Ray Altman, Alex Campbell, Eric Gil Port, Herman Rinkel and Beau Smith.
We invited all six candidates the same four questions to help voters decide how to cast their ballot in the Nov. 3 election. Greenough and Port did not send their responses before The Triplicate’s deadline.
First, introduce yourself to the voters:
Altman: Age 54, Accounting Officer Specialist, 16-year resident, lived 3 years in Crescent City Limits.
Campbell: I am 51 years of age. I am semi-retired. I moved to Crescent City approximately 10 years ago and am now proud to call this city my home. I have operated a $27 million retail business in Crescent City with close to 100 associates and believe that experience gives me the skills that can allow me to contribute in making the City Council effective in helping this city live up to what we can all be proud of.
Rinekl: I am married, and a father of Five. I have three adult stepdaughters and twin teen boys. I first came to this area in 1992 on vacation and immediately fell in love with it. I was fortunate enough that I was able to move up this way in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I moved into city limits. I am a veteran and served in the military in the 80s. I have accumulated over 30 years in Information Technology, 22 years with the State of California of which the last 11 years have been primarily focused in public sector management and project management. Also, during this time, I have been a real estate appraiser, agent, broker, brokerage owner, small business owner, home inspector, and served on various boards and committees.
Smith: I’m 41, fall timber for a living. I was born and raised in Crescent City. I’m married to Katie and we have four daughters. I have volunteered at the fire department for 14 years and I’m President of the Del Norte Little League.
Why are you running for City Council?
Altman: We have some very fine people working for this city and I feel privileged to work beside them towards our exciting future in any capacity.
Campbell: I am running for City Council because I believe this city has so much more potential than it has produced. As a previous operator of a major business, I think I have the experience and skills to help Crescent City live up to this potential.
Rinkel: I have a desire to belong to a city that is business friendly, fiscally responsible and actively pursuing efforts to improve. I am personally and financially vested into our community. I hope to champion changes that will improve the lives of our city dwellers. As well as create or foster programs that make our city more attractive and sustainable.
Smith: Already being a volunteer in the community, I feel there’s more that can be done and I want to lift the city up as great as we can make it. Also as a member of the Crescent Fire Protection District Board of Directors, I’ve helped merged two departments. And I moved into the city limits because I didn’t think our work was done.
What are your top three issues facing the city?
Altman: 1) Maintenance, hey stuff gets old, you have to fix, repair, and make due for so long until you have to upgrade. 2) Emergency Services, our heroes need help and by that i mean additional personnel. 3) Local Economy: Planning, city wide improvements and new ordinances are all targeting business growth and the creation of jobs locally. If we continue to focus on our local economy, we will be able to solve other issues in the future.
Campbell: 1) Fiscal Responsibility: The city is suffering. I am sure the council can do a better job at being more responsible with city spending and budgeting. I think, with my experience, I can bring a perspective to the council that can help reign in spending and reduce waste. 2) Economic Development: Especially in these times, the businesses of this community need some serious help. As your council member, I will advocate for the development of existing businesses as well as helping those that are interested in starting a new business in our city. 3) Safe and Clean City: We have many visitors to Crescent City and many more that pass through. I would like everyone be them resident, visitor, or someone passing through, to really be astounded at our city. And whether they are a resident or a visitor, I want them to feel safe. I will commit to doing what is necessary to making this happen.
Rinkel: 1) COVID-19 consumed the majority of the city's reserve fund. Without the foresight of previous council members, the city would have been in a terrible predicament. I will seek to refill the city’s 25% reserve fund. 2) We need to encourage more citizen involvement and community awareness. I would like to work with our community and create citizen’s quality improvement teams. It is my opinion the answers to many of our problems should come from our citizens. 3) Homelessness. As a city, there is only so much we can do. The county is more equipped to handle this as they have funds earmarked to remedy many of the issues surrounding homelessness in our community. However, we need a seat at the table where we can bring our specific concerns to the county and build a partnership with the proper authorities. I hope to establish and maintain those relationships to have our voices heard.
Smith: 1) Financial transparency, with the city and the voters. It goes right back to Measure “S”, show me where all the money has been spent that we need Measure “S”. Let’s be transparent with that spending before worrying about Measure S spending. 2) Youth of city. Lift them up, make sure there’s programs and things for them to do. We don’t want to lose the youth. When they grow up, they have a decision to make — stay here or leave. We want them to stay. We have to inspire them to want to stay. 3) Economy. We need to focus on tourism, we really have to. I don’t know the answer, but I do know we rely heavily on tourism. The harbor can play major role, the city plays a role, the parks. There a lot to offer that needs to be managed correctly.
Why should voters support or oppose Measure S to raise the sales tax within city limits by 1 cent?
Altman: I support Measure “S” because our heroes need help. We don't want to work our heroes into the ground. They are there for us when we need them and we need to be there for them. While we’re at it, let’s make the roads safe for them when responding to emergencies.
Campbell: I believe voters should oppose Measure S. This goes back to my issues with Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development. I want to see are essential services properly funded but do not believe in raising taxes on the already strapped citizens and businesses of this city. I believe that an effective and efficient government that practices good fiscal management and promotes economic development will be crucial in making Crescent City safe and clean.
Rinekl: I am not a proponent of more taxes, that being said, our city cannot survive on goodwill alone. I am in support of Measure “S” for the following reasons:
1. The tax goes to fund necessary organizations that we as a city hold dear (Fire and Police).
2. The tax can be voted out in 2 years if the citizens are not happy with the fiscal management or they do not see the value in it.
3. Essentials, such as food and medicine, are not taxable.
4. The revenue generated will most likely be funded by tourism and to a lesser extent locals.
5. The benefit goes directly back to support important services to the people who live here, which means our money stays here and does not go to some outside use.
Public oversight and approval is required.
Smith: I am voting no on Measure “S”. I feel like it’s the wrong time to ask the community for more tax money when we’re in middle of pandemic and going into the flu season. They’re saying we’re one case away from being back to Phase 1. It’s too unstable to ask for money. We have a lot retired people living on a fixed income. I know the current City Council is for Measure “S”. I’m not agreeing. I know that will not make me popular, but I’m doing in my heart what I think is right for the community. I support our fire department and law enforcement. We need to get over the pandemic and things paid ahead of us first. Going to drive too much of our business up the hill for an already struggling town.