Lance Madsen, a long-time employee of the Eureka Housing Authority and a former two-term Eureka City Councilmember, formed a committee yesterday to probe a possible run for that city's Fifth Ward seat this November.
"There's a real need in the council right now," says Madsen.
Madsen served on the Eureka council from 1989 to 1996, and he also ran against Fourth District Supe Bonnie Neely in 1998, losing to the now-24-year incumbent 55.59 percent to 43.79 percent. His run against Neely was a reflection of what he still sees as a fundamental problem in Eureka and the county at large -- an environment where good jobs are in high demand and short supply.
"The private economy is not here," he says, "and that's one of the things that worries me."
Madsen sees public safety, infrastructure and job development as key priorities that need to be addressed in the city. He is also concerned with the mass exodus of the city's management echelon and what kind of impact that will have in future.
On the topic of the Balloon Track/Marina Center, Madsen says the blighted property has languished for too long. He wants to see it rezoned so a viable development can occur there. And although currently the property, owned by Security National, has certain plans, those plans could change given the economic environment.
"I've seen a lot of these things," he says of proposals for the Balloon Track, "but what we see today could change tomorrow."
During the 1999 attempt by Wal-Mart to rezone the property, Madsen says he was pro-zoning change but not, to any degree, pro-Wal-Mart.
Madsen has been with the Eureka Housing Authority for 24 years, serves on both the Eureka Redevelopment and Housing Advisory Boards, and is a former Board President of the Redwood Boys and Girls Club.
John Osborn blogs at The Reporta.