Home > Eureka City Council, Jefferson School > Jefferson school vote Tuesday

Jefferson school vote Tuesday

The Eureka City Council will vote Tuesday on how — or whether — to proceed on the purchase of Jefferson school.

The previous City Council voted unanimously in September to approve the purchase, but the new council — with only one voting member left from the previous council — voted to postpone so they could learn more about it.  Tuesday’s vote will be a big deal.  The meeting starts at 6pm.

Below the jump is a letter to the Council from Heidi Benzonelli of the Westside Community Improvement Association.

Honorable Council Members and Mayor,

In your Council Packets you received a Strategic Plan prepared by Arnie Herscovic SHN Consulting Engineers under contract to the City.  This was a culmination of a lot of very dedicated work.  As most of you know, I am an Environmental Resources Engineer by Education and perform Engineering Economics as part of my Professional Career although not nearly as experienced as Mr. Herscovic I am able to duplicate his methodology.  In the interest of saving the city the expense of increased engineering I ran 2 more scenarios of the Jefferson Project using the same methodology as Arnie.

The scenarios are both variations on option 3, page B-4 in the SHN Report (included in your council packs) and include the details offered by both the Letter of Intent from the Westside Community Improvement Association and the Redwood Community Action Agency.

Scenario 4 Includes:

  • Property Management by the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) in Partnership with The Redwood Community Action Agency,
  • Janitorial services arranged by the WCIA
  • Landscape Maintenance arranged by the WCIA
  • and Produces Reserves (Revenue) of an average $45000 annually

Scenario 5 Includes

  • Property Management by the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA) in Partnership with The Redwood Community Action Agency,
  • Janitorial services arranged by the WCIA
  • Landscape Maintenance arranged by the WCIA
  • but reduces the Lease Rate to the tenant to $1.075 /square foot
  • Produces break even revenue results

The benefit to Scenario 5 is that you greatly improve the profitability and security of the tenant.

Please accept the information contained in the following 2 scenarios and add it to your council pack.

I am also attaching a letter of intent from The Redwood Community Action Agency offering interim Property Management Support to the WCIA and will forward a revised Letter of Intent from the WCIA regarding offering to “fill gaps, assist, and participate” in ways that help secure the fiscal viability of this project and see it through to fruition. This document is currently being reviewed by legal council.

Please understand that the WCIA and their many partners seek to assume citizen responsibility for our communities through efforts formerly bore by the Redevelopment Agency and other departments that we can expect state reductions in.  We have diligently assumed maintenance, security and litter removal to the fullest extent we were allowed for the past 2 years.  This was not only a direct benefit to the City School District, but a direct benefit to our neighborhood, and we do so proudly.

Heidi Benzonelli
Dedicated Community Volunteer

  1. A-Nony-Mouse
    January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

    The citizens of Eureka trusted the new council members enough to elect them. It is time for the new council members to TRUST the citizens in return.
    Let’s get this project rolling!!!

  2. Thinking Twice
    January 31, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Rather than read yet another sunshiney piece by Heidi, let’s read what was reported in the Times Standard article of today.

    SHN says the entire project will cost $3 million dollars. It is possible that the city will be stuck with the entire bill. Grant funding is “highly competitive and unlikely to be for more than $1 million”.

    Eight possible tenants have been named, including C/R (However, 6 of those 7 cannot afford to pay anything other than token rent).

    The cost to the city to maintain the property could cost the city $86,000 the first year a tenant could move in, “and more thereafter, depending on the rent.”

    With multiple tenants, “The operating costs of running and maintaining the facility, coupled with the debt service obtained from a loan to renovate the site, exceed what tenants would pay.”

    Time for some fiscal sanity here. This will cost all of us dearly for many years to come. The city should put an end to this tonight.

  3. Plain Jane
    January 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

    From the same T-S article:

    “In other matters, the council will consider adopting a resolution that would allow the Sequoia Park Zoo to meet requirements for a $2.3 million grant to build three new exhibits — river otter, salmon and bald eagle — and a water lab classroom.”

    Can someone explain what this is about?

  4. Goldie
    January 31, 2011 at 8:45 am

    How can you Think Twice without reading once? The financing on this is back up is backed up several different ways. Multiple tenants will make the debt service monthly and reward the city while creating jobs. This is exactly the direction the city needs to go in.

  5. Plain Jane
    January 31, 2011 at 9:02 am

    At least Newman finally picked a pseudonym, Goldie. He’ll learn to comprehend what he reads eventually.

  6. January 31, 2011 at 9:05 am

    It’s not Newman. The Herald’s resident neo-con now has more pseudonyms than brain cells.

  7. Plain Jane
    January 31, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Ah, Newman’s biggest fan. Are we sure HiFi isn’t Newman?????

  8. walt
    January 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Maybe they’ll decide to sell to Floyd Squires. Think how many Section 8 folks he could stack in there!

  9. Anonymous
    January 31, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Thank God we at least have a neo con posting. Otherwise who would there be to correct you fools ?

  10. January 31, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Don’t strain yourself patting yourself on the back.

  11. QP
    January 31, 2011 at 9:41 am

    “Produces break even revenue results.”
    “The benefit to Scenario 5 is that you greatly improve the profitability and security of the tenant.”

    I rest my case.

    January 31, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Plain Jane says:
    January 31, 2011 at 8:45 am
    From the same T-S article:

    “In other matters, the council will consider adopting a resolution that would allow the Sequoia Park Zoo to meet requirements for a $2.3 million grant to build three new exhibits — river otter, salmon and bald eagle — and a water lab classroom.”

    Can someone explain what this is about?

    Response: Good catch PJ. Yes, funding to enslave while not funding to de-restorate – wow, odd concepts of how to spend tax dollars. I dunno, somehow, the importance of life just does not include animal enslavement for entertainments of people who would rather see animal enslavement than their fellow mankind make a better society while not furthering the enslavement of any species for people viewing animals in unnatural environments.

    Pets versus wild animals….and somewhere in between, enslavement.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  13. taxed
    January 31, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I read todays times standard letter to the editor about the times standard making anyone that wants to blog have Facebook. Good letter. Have to say this on Heraldo because I don’t choose to be a Face book member. Times Standard SUCKS and is a SHITTY paper.

  14. Plain Jane
    January 31, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Alison White’s article about Jefferson School is not very well written and leaves out a lot of pertinent information. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt rather than assume she was deliberately confusing. She talked about how much rent would have to be paid if there were construction loans but not if there were not which would be the case if it was funded by grants.

  15. Heidi
    January 31, 2011 at 10:04 am

    “The benefit to Scenario 5 is that you greatly improve the profitability and security of the tenant.”

    Which is what we ultimately want, a secure tenant with rent they can afford, producing resources identified through community scoping (By the City), while doing so without intensifying use of the facility, and negatively impacting the surrounding neighborhood. This project, park and school improves the quality of the community and has longterm lasting benefit.

    All we have ever offered is to do our best, volunteer, provide resources, assist and use our best efforts to relieve strain from city government, and we have been.

    And for Mr Multi Moniker, I do not hide out I WORK! hard everyday, when it is not for PROFIT (which you understand) it is for the the BENEFIT of my community (and I believe there is hope for you there)

    Could we please stop sparring and work together.

  16. Anonymous
    January 31, 2011 at 10:05 am

    The TS is bad, but local TV news coverage is even worse. How can they call it local when more than half the “news” isn’t local during the week, and maybe 1/5 on the weekend? This, I’m afraid, is a reflection of the economy here where the local station can’t afford to staff their operation properly. We only get one local news station and it pretty much sucks.

  17. Eric Kirk
    January 31, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I can tell you that some of the neighborhood people are livid and will become very politically involved if the sale gets ditched. One person describes Marion Brady as “the Sara Palin of Eureka” following a meeting where the person says Marion Brady seemed shocked that the meetings are recorded and was unfamiliar with the word “recuse.” These aren’t people who are normally politically involved and some of them even voted for conservatives in November.

  18. skippy
    January 31, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Today’s Times-Standard article by Allison White (“To Buy or Not to Buy: the Question Stands for Eureka’s Proposed Purchase of Jefferson School”)is here.

    The City Council agenda for Tuesday’s February 1 meeting at 6pm containing the items:

    #7. City Manager at-will agreement
    #10. Sequoia Park Zoo
    #11– Jefferson School Acquisition

    can be found here.

  19. QP
    January 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Who is multi-moniker and why are you yelling at me?
    I take back my post. I must have been mistaken thinking the profits were intended for the city/taxpayer.

  20. Dancing
    January 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

    A-Nony-Mouse says:
    January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

    The citizens of Eureka trusted the new council members enough to elect them. It is time for the new council members to TRUST the citizens in return.
    The citizens who elected the new council ARE telling the new council what they want and, whether you like it or not, what the citizens of Eureka want is fiscal responsibility in general and specifically with regard to this project.

    I wish for many things in my personal financial life that are just not possible. If I can’t afford it I don’t buy it. I’d love to turn the abandoned side yard of my property into a great rec room for my kids, they need it, they deserve it but…you know, those pesky finances keep getting in the way.

    Eureka needs a council that is realistic and responsible and operates on those principles. It looks like that’s what we got…

  21. Multi Moniker
    January 31, 2011 at 11:25 am

    And yet, despite Heidi’s protestations, she STILL refuses to address the post on the other topic by the school administrator. The post which showed how a charter school cannot possibly afford anything other than token rent. Nowhere near the ludicrous $215,000 a year she claimed the project would bring in.

  22. Goldie
    January 31, 2011 at 11:31 am

    It was addressed. Your ‘facts’ were outdated ‘School Administrator’.

  23. Not A Native
    January 31, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    The problem with this proposal is it isn’t designed to ensure that the bulk of the local money flow ends up in the hands of a land owner. Therefore it violates a fundamental HumCo principle: “All new economic activity must be structured to maintain the status quo of land owners receiving the largest share of newly created wealth.”

    If this project is allowed to go forward, it will create wealth of skilled people and knowledge of how neighbors can successfully collaborate. How do those things maintain a dominant position for land owners?

  24. Anonymous
    January 31, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    The reason Heidi is silent is because she knows her numbers don’t add up.

  25. January 31, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    HiFi obviously has a lot of confidence in that statement.

  26. Anonymous
    January 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Her numbers do add up. The question is does the City Council work for the people who want to enrich neighborhood and strengthen the city or for the private developers who see a nice chunk of land?

  27. January 31, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Very succinct, 4:52. Thank you.

  28. Anonymous
    January 31, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I agree, Heraldo, 4:52 is very succinct, yet very wrong.

    There is no money for this. Lest you think I am a supporter of other pipe dreams, I am no supporter of the zoo either.

    NAN, you’re an idiot. Go play your class warfare game somewhere else.

  29. Not A Native
    January 31, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Anon 6:25. Quite the authoritarian aren’t you? Telling people to go somewhere else and all. What right do you have to tell anyone they don’t belong where they choose to be? Oh yeah, your right comes from your sense of entitlement.

    You take it personally when the truth of what you’re about is being written openly, and with no credible rebuttal. And your name calling is very telling of what you’re really about, intimidation and anger. Sorry buddy, you’re exposed, you’ll have to pick a new pseudonym. Oh yeah, you’re already anonymous. So add cowardice to th elist of your character traits.

  30. February 1, 2011 at 6:59 am

    KMUD local news at 6pm weeknight (rebroadcast at 8am Tues. through Fri.) is the only in-depth, completely local news in this area. Tom Sebourn and others not-withstanding of course.
    Local network TV? You have got to be kidding. They only exist to disseminate propaganda from on high. Which as you can see on this blog; works very well in Humboldt County. Wherever you see people voting against their own interest; you see the propaganda of the ruling class doing its work.

  31. A-Nony-Mouse
    February 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Dancing, what don’t you understand about the difference between Redevelopment money and General Fund money? If the city finishes escrow now, the State cannot take at least that much money away. It’s a win for the city. If the city dithers and blows the deal, the likelihood is that the State will take the unspent uncommitted money back, a lose for Eureka.
    All you BooHooers and nay sayers have never been involved in anything that connects you to your community or your city. If you had, you’d be waving banners in support of this wonderful project.

  32. Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 8:11 am

    I have never ever lived in a city where the local government did not welcome and praise committed local citizens who volunteer, donate their time,and their money. These guys deserve an award and they have been taking a beating for months. It is an atrocity and makes me seriously consider entering the political arena. Problem with that is, then you have to work within a corrupt system and. Wind up taking a full frontal assault like Glass. You almost have to be a sicko to willfully walk into that. I’ve been known to be pretty sick, but damn!

  33. Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 9:13 am

    NAN gave me quite a laugh this morning but I wasn’t laughing with him but at him. He calls the anonymous at 6.25pm a coward for being anonymous, but NAN is also posting anonymously.

    NAN says there has been no “credible rebuttal”, but says that only because he is biased and closed minded. Several of us have pointed out problems with Heidi’s numbers and assertions.

    Then NAN calls that anonymous names because he claims that anonymous does name calling.

    Does NAN realize what a fool he looks like?

  34. Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 9:15 am

    A-Nony-Mouse, Redevelopment money is still tax payer dollars. Redevelopment money is supposed to be used for redevelopment projects that then bring in more tax dollars due to the improved buildings it is used for.

    However, Jefferson School will not bring in any tax dollars period. It will be non-profit or government owned & will never pay property taxes. This is a bastardization of the entire purpose of redevelopment monies.

  35. Plain Jane
    February 1, 2011 at 9:19 am

    9:13 needs a dictionary. Anonymous is not the same as pseudonymous. Using a pseudonym allows people to evaluate all your posts while anonymous is judged solely by each one. Can you understand the difference, Anonymous?

  36. February 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

    He does understand, which is why he now goes by “Anonymous.”

  37. Plain Jane
    February 1, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Improving an entire neighborhood’s property values, decreasing crime, and providing an incubator for new business is an excellent use for Redevelopment money, 9:15. We all get that the developers want this property to build apartments so why don’t they come right out and say so rather than all these duplicitous excuses to block the Jefferson neighborhood controlling their own destiny?

  38. Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Arnie Herscovic just gave a report that must have ended all hopes for the Jefferson project. $100,000 per year for two or three years in carrying costs of the project, this is in addition to the $600,000 purchase price.

    $1.60 per square foot rent required for the project to break even. This is ludicrous. The average rent right now is about $1 per square foot for this kind of building.

    No grant funding has been identified. If a bank loan was secured for this project, the city would need to put down $750,000 just to get the loan.

  39. February 1, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Just finished an hour and a half of public comments on Jefferson purchase. Council on a 5 minute break before returning to discuss and vote.

  40. Ron Kuhnel
    February 1, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    This went as predicted. A sad day for Eureka. Never in my life have /I seen four council-persons with so little vision and with so little courage, justify their incredibly bad decision with so little logic.

  41. pluto
    February 1, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Little vision and a lot of stupidity.

  42. February 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm
  43. Anonymous
    February 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I wish for the days when Jack McKeller was on the council. He had a mind of his own. Now it’s stacked with puppets. It is especially painful to watch Brady and Newman. They are so completely devoid of intelligence it hurts.

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