About Me

My parents moved up from Bakersfield to Gasquet in the 50s where my father worked as the Junior Game Warden for the California Department of Fish and Game while my mother worked part-time as a teacher for the school there. In the early 60s they moved to Crescent City with their three young children and had two more, twin boys. It would be another four years before I was born in 1966 and my parents were busy raising six kids 10 years and younger.

Growing up in Crescent City during the 70s and 80s was a great small town experience, where I could basically run wild with my friends and not worry about all the problems kids face today. We walked to and from school, were at the beach playing every weekend and all summer and stayed outside until dusk, which in the summer was as late as 10pm. During my high school years, we would build bon fires on the beach, hit the river during summer days off and camp in the nearby redwoods on some weekends. It was great to be able have all those outdoor activities so close and accessible, which is still true today!

Crescent City, like everyplace, was a different place when I was growing up, with a vibrant economy and lots of shops and services downtown. Some of the mills were still operating and you could find a job most summers. I worked for the YCC building trails over my junior summer and got my first “real” job as a stockman at Thrifty’s drug store the next summer before I headed off to college in the fall of 1984.

College was a mind-expanding experience for me, not only in academics but through various clubs and sports teams, I was able to travel all over the West Coast experiencing new things and meeting all sorts of interesting people. Sure, I studied Journalism at Humboldt State University, joined a fraternity and fell in love with the sport of lacrosse, but it was all the new and unique individuals that I met from all over the country that gave me a new perspective on what it means to live in the United States... It doesn’t matter where you come from, you really can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. College life was so outstanding, I wanted to stay there forever. Fortunately, I met my future wife, Cerina, there and she pushed me out into the real world of employment which included a stint as a paid intern for the Muscular Dystrophy Association to help raise money in Humboldt County through various events and telethons; Being a production designer for the Tri-City Weekly news section; and finally working various positions at the local CBS television affiliate, KVIQ Channel 6, finishing as a Technical Director for the local news broadcast before I left to move back up to Crescent City.

Both my wife, Cerina, and I were fortunate to find gainful employment when we moved back to Crescent City in 1991; She with the Del Norte County Unified School District as a part-time teacher and me with Kuebler’s Furniture as an advertising assistant. We, like many other young professionals had a five year plan of working, buying a house and being stable financially before we were going to have kids. To our happy surprise, Cerina was pregnant and we had our twins, Alex and Zara in 1992. So much for plans. Anyway, it was great raising our kids here in Del Norte County. We were lucky enough to buy the owner-financed house right next to my parents house, where I grew up, and as a bonus, Cerina’s parents moved up from the valley to escape the heat. Our kids‘ grandparents were a great influence on them growing up and we couldn’t be more proud of both of them as they started their college years after excelling in school, sports and the arts right here in Del Norte County.  

I continued working for Kuebler’s Furniture for thirteen years until they closed up their Crescent City location and I declined to move to Redding, away from the ocean, my family and the place where I grew up. In 2004, I went to work for Bicoastal Media (KCRE, KPOD) as a Radio Sales Executive. This was really my awakening to what the business climate was on the Border Coast, as Bill Stamps, Sr. liked to call it. While at Kuebler’s, I pretty much just went to work and went home to the family, but working for Bicoastal, I had to get out and talk with business owners to get sales. I was amazed at how dedicated they are to their businesses and how they take risks everyday that could lose them their homes just to keep there business open. I learned that their concerns about  how government regulations and the decline of the motivated workforce kept them really succeeding at what they do. I learned that being a business owner is a scary prospect and that these people are very brave to even attempt it.

Anyway, after a year and a half of business boot camp, I was recruited by The Daily Triplicate to get back to my roots and do design and marketing work. I came from newspapers and so it was good to be back in that environment. I was doing well and helping a lot of clients, one of which decided he wanted to recruit me to help him found a new, full-color weekly newspaper to compete directly with The Daily Triplicate. That man was Bill Stamps, Jr., whom I went to work for in August of 2007 as his “Publisher” and business startup assistant. It started out great as I was christened the “Executive Director” of the joint BS, Jr. and Rural Human Services Tourist Informations Center, or TIC. It was a great experience, especially interacting with all the people from around the world who visit our awesome area. To see the wonder in their eyes and their excitement about getting out and exploring what we usually take for granted pushed home the point that we live somewhere special. Unfortunately, the TIC only stayed open for a couple of months.

Another unfortunate aspect of working for BS, Jr. was that he had some awesome big dreams but very poor execution of getting them to come true. If he could have focused on just completing one project down on 2nd Street, Downtown Crescent City would definitely be a different place today. It was a tumultuous few months and like a blue star that burns bright, I had burnt out and had enough of BS, Jr. and terminated my employment with him in December of 2007.

I was out of a job and desperately looking for another that could use my skills, but the most important aspect was just finding a job. I applied with the County and with the Chamber of Commerce, but I decided to go back to Bicoastal Media after they asked me to return to again do radio advertising sales and work on their websites. Of course, it was January of 2008, the start of the economic downturn and selling radio to businesses trying to survive became very difficult. Fortunately, I did some consulting for Hospitality 101 at the Del Norte Workforce Center early in 2009. That led to a job offer from the Workforce Center and in May of 2009, I became their Business Services Consultant.

Being the Business Services Consultant is a very rewarding job as I get to go out, talk with businesses and learn what their needs might be concerning training and employees. I then try to help them find training that will help their business grow, and if their business is growing, help them find employees that will continue their success. I also have had the opportunity to instruct job seekers about how to successfully look for a job and when they find it, how to keep it and hopefully succeed at it. I’ve been involved in job seeker trainings for working-age youth and have helped execute a week-long young entrepreneurial academy, where we teach young people to take their dreams, ideas and/or skills and develop them into a business. It’s a great feeling to see them give their presentations at the end of the week with confidence and I’m proud of every one of them.

Throughout my job history here in Crescent City, I have been given opportunities, sometimes pushed into them, to get to know and serve my community. While working at the Triplicate, I became involved in the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) as a voting board member. I had to resign from the board when I went to work for BS, Jr., but I’m still an active volunteer to this day, helping when and where I can, from weeding the parade route to providing technical assistance with Downtown events. Downtown is a place I remember well from growing up here and I would love to see it flourish back into a vibrant shopping destination for our community.

I’ve also been involved with the Chamber of Commerce through business’ social mixers, helping with local events and even serving one year on the Fourth of July Event Committee. One of my favorite things is helping with the public address system for the announcers during the Fourth of July parade and being able to get great photos from a special vantage point on the stage. Another committee, through the Chamber of Commerce, I was fortunate to Co-Chair with Billie-Kay Gavin-Tygart, was the Action Del Norte Initiative, PRIDE Committee which focused on how could we make Del Norte County more attractive to tourists and potential business investors. The whole Action Del Norte Initiative was to get all the movers and shakers in the County to concentrate their efforts towards a common goal of helping Del Norte grow economically, socially and become more healthy. It was the basic groundwork for most of the community-wide efforts you see today that are helping Del Norte’s citizens cope with these tough economic times and have hope for their future.

Currently I have been sitting on the Crescent City Planning Commission since January of 2010, and have been involved with happenings and decisions affecting the City since my days on the BID Board in 2006 and 2007, including Downtown revitalization, the Crescent City Master Plan and most recently, the Front Street renovation project.

If you ask anyone that has worked on a project with me they will tell you one thing: that I get things done. I’m a “doer.” I try to find solutions and work with people to solve problems or accomplish goals. Together, we can surely do more to help our community grow and prosper. I want to work with positive people who want to make Crescent City a great place to live. That’s my underlying desire: to serve the people of Crescent City and help our community live up to its potential. While others see problems, I see opportunities for us to work together and solve them. Where others spew negative commentary about our community, I think of ways of turning those challenges into positive triumphs for our fair City. And when I see people thinking small and saying that we can only accomplish small things, I say we need to think bigger and bolder! If we aren’t motivated to accomplish great things, then we’re just getting by, and I can’t accept that for our City.

Crescent City is our home and I believe everyone of us who lives here, works here, raises their family here, should be doing something to make it a better place. That is why I’m running for City Council and I hope your vote will give me the chance to do just that.

© Ron Gastineau 4 DN 2012