HUMBOLDT – Moves within Humboldt city government this winter have some residents on edge and on Facebook.
Citizens are asking about action to sell the city’s airport land, the replacement of the entire planning commission and the firing of the city clerk.
Natalie Helmick is a business owner in the town of 800 who overcame the city’s initial objections to begin “Facebook Living” council meetings.
Helmick: “I keep asking for transparency. If they want to do something, if they want to change something, they have to involve the people. They have to be transparent about what they’re doing, what they’re asking about and be open about it. I mean, all of these little, you know, secret meetings here and doing all this little stuff, it doesn’t do anything but cause division.”
Citizen Mary White said the Facebook Live helped people understand an exchange between council member Delores Martinez and former clerk Carol Glathar.
Video clip: “You’re not telling the truth. No you’re not. You’re not going to make me look like I’m the one all guilty here on this. All you wanted me to do. You sent me the exact certificate. You asked me to print that on pretty paper. That’s what I did. That’s all you asked of me. Not to write a letter. And don’t tell me I was to come up with a fancy letter. I didn’t think that was the right thing to do.”
White said city leaders have not offered a good explanation for removing the planning commission.
White: “When asked about it they say there is no hidden agenda, but why would you replace everybody that has been there for years with people who are either your friends or your relatives and say there is no hidden agenda.”
Humboldt resident Diane Herr said there is a proposed petition drive to stop the sale of the airport land and she is concerned that new Mayor Bob Mendenhall and the city council are not responding to the people.
Herr: “I don’t see how they can absolutely function as a proper city council they way that things are now.”
Helmick said although the airport has been closed for 20 years, the 88 acres of farmland still provides the city a source of revenue and gives the city an asset to help back the bonds it issued for the fire hall.
She said Humboldt citizens are another asset the city council can not do without.
Helmick: “It’s not just their town. It’s our town. We all have a part of it here. I’ve been a business owner for 15 years. I would love to see other businesses come here. It’s a community project and not just up to the people who are on the board.”
She says she will continue to Facebook Live the council meetings at Humboldt Council meeting.