Politics and the police chief firing
The campaign manager who ushered several current elected officials into office in Eureka was busy taking stock of the opposition at Monday’s meeting in support of fired Eureka Police Chief Garr Nielsen.
Matthew Owen, husband of Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass and hero to Eureka Republicans for his political wins didn’t speak at the meeting but took copious notes.
Yet somehow, the few who support the firing complain that Nielsen supporters — rather than Owen’s flock — are politicizing the unpopular move by City Manager Dave Tyson.
Tyson tipped his hand when he sacked the Chief last Friday. Despite ousting Nielsen without cause, Tyson got all dramatic about it and gave Garr “about 5 minutes” to gather a few items, and turn in his uniform before escorting him out of the building.
Councilwoman Linda Atkins, a Nielsen supporter, said Tyson’s big move may have been geared to “demoralize” the community.
She said funds from Measure O, which raised the sales tax in Eureka to pay for police and fire services, will now be used in part to pay the severance package for breaking Garr’s contract without cause. Measure O had support from both sides of the political isle, including Atkins and former Councilman Larry Glass.
Tyson appears to have 4\5 support from the city council in every little thing he does. He is a friend and supporter of the small contingent of bad actors in the EPD who resented the positive changes brought by Nielsen. Tyson’s role in that despicable chapter in Eureka’s history is preserved in the deposition transcripts that came out of the Tawnie Hansen case, in which a former city employee sued the city and Tyson for harassment and hostile workplace environment.