by Bob Doran
Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace gathered supporters on the Arcata Plaza Thursday afternoon to announce that he's running for re-election (see text of speech below), then discussed challenges ahead, among them holding onto the county's tax money, rural school busing, marijuana policy and smart meters.
The last 3 years have been very busy. I've worked with a lot of different partners on a long list of important projects, and I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish together.
Working with a broad partnership including IP Networks, RREDC, PG&E and the California Center for Rural Policy, we were able to make reliable, redundant broadband a reality for Humboldt County. This has long been our County's number-one economic development priority, and it benefits virtually every sector of our community.
To make that happen took a tremendous amount of work here, in Sacramento, at meetings around the State and in DC, helping to shape national and state broadband policy and funding priorities, securing grants, permits and easements, and so much more.
Working with County Planning staff, I helped Cypress Grove find a new location for their goat dairy, so they'll now be able to source over 30% of their milk here locally in Humboldt County.
Working with a number of conservation partners and agencies, I helped to permanently protect over 50,000 acres of working forests on the North Coast, including expanding the Sunny Brae Forest and bringing us very close to completing the Arcata Ridge Trail.
Working with the Humboldt Transit Authority, I was instrumental in bringing full, five-days-a-week bus service to Southern Humboldt, and in moving HTA and HCAOG to finally start Sunday bus service in the 101 corridor, which should be up and running this Summer.
I initiated the County's prescription drug discount program, which has saved County residents an average of over 60%, totaling more than half-a-million dollars a year.
Working with a sometimes divided Board, I was pivotal in keeping the Coroner an independent elected official, and establishing the Law Enforcement Liaison Committee, and in keeping the General Plan Update from going off the rails and losing 10 years of progress.
I've pushed to move our region and the State towards rational dialogue on medical marijuana policy that recognizes the difference between those who are trying to provide safe access to those who truly need our compassion, and those who abuse our compassion by destroying our watersheds, our neighborhoods and our communities.
I've been our County's voice at the State and Federal level, advocating to protect our rivers and coastline, to bring down the dams on the Klamath and to push back against draconian cuts that target the most vulnerable members of society.
And along the way, while working on these projects, I've also helped lots of community members with permit processes, tax assessment issues, potholes and road maintenance, public safety concerns and many other day to day issues.
The job is 24/7 and the work never stops. Every day some new issue comes up from a phone call or an e-mail, and whatever it is, even if it might seem insignificant, I have to treat it as the most important issue of the day because to somebody out there, it is.
I expect the next four years to be just as busy, as there's lots more work to be done. The next four years will be pivotal for the Klamath dams. We will see the completion of the General Plan Update, and progress on establishing the County's own community forest on the McKay tract.
I'll continue to push for new air service at the airport, for safety improvements on the 101 corridor as well as Highway 255 through Manila. I'm already working on efforts to expand broadband even further to reach communities along Hwy 299, and I'll continue to be a strong advocate for bike and pedestrian trails, especially that critical link between Arcata and Eureka.
Now, nothing ever gets done by one person alone. While I may have been out front on these issues, there's always a partnership or a team effort involved, whether it's County staff, other public agencies or the private sector. Getting things done requires a team effort.
The same rule applies to this campaign. It's going to take a team effort, and I'm going to need your support. So please, get involved!
In the next few weeks I'll be announcing my campaign team, launching my website and scheduling some events. I hope you'll join me, and support me, and work with me through this campaign and through the next four years.
Working together we can make Humboldt County the best Humboldt it can be.