Lovelace (left) and Wilson.

UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: Wilson has issued a press release, which we’ve pasted at the bottom of this post.

After six-and-a-half years in office, Humboldt County 3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace will not seek reelection, a press release (below) just announced. Lovelace gives no reason for his departure after just two terms, saying only “it’s time for me to move on.”

Meanwhile, Mike Wilson, a commissioner with the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, has confirmed to the Outpost long-circulating rumors that he’s running for Lovelace’s seat on the Board of Supervisors. A senior environmental engineer with Stillwater Sciences, Wilson has served a decade on the Harbor Commission, including three years as board president.

Here’s the press release from Camp Lovelace:

3rd District Supervisor Mark Lovelace announced today that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2016. “It has been an honor to represent the 3rd District for the past six and a half years.  I’ve enjoyed the work and I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together, but it’s time for me to move on.”

Lovelace was first elected to the board in 2008 after many years of civic activism on local issues including land use and planning, affordable housing, economic development, active transportation, natural resources and environmental concerns. He is perhaps best known for his leadership role in creating Arcata’s Sunny Brae Community Forest.

As supervisor, Lovelace advocated vigorously for policies to support local businesses, protect our environment, maintain working landscapes and enhance our quality of life. Voters re-elected Lovelace in 2012, with over 67 percent of the vote.

The Board of Supervisors has changed dramatically during Lovelace’s tenure. In 2008 the Board had a combined institutional memory of 54 years.  In 2013, after turnover in all 4 of the other districts, Lovelace became the senior member of a board with just 8 years combined experience.

During his six and a half years in office, Lovelace has served on the California State Association of Counties, National Association of Counties, Coastal Counties Association, North Coast Resource Partnership, Redwood Region Economic Development Commission (RREDC), North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District (NCUAQMD), Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA), First 5 Humboldt and Humboldt Transit Authority (HTA).  He assisted in hiring executive directors or general managers for HWMA, NCUAQMD, RREDC and HTA, as well as numerous County department heads.

Lovelace is proud of the roles he played in a long list of important issues for Humboldt County and the North Coast, including:

  • Providing reliable broadband for Humboldt County and laying the groundwork for service over Highway 299.
  • Pushing for removal of the four lower dams on the Klamath River, including testifying to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in Washington DC.
  • Securing the County’s long-sought right to 50,000 acre feet of water from the Trinity River.
  • Advancing the statewide discussion around regulation of marijuana, including drafting policies for the California State Association of Counties and the development of a regional policy statement for Humboldt, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity, Sonoma and Lake counties.
  • Working with Green Diamond Resource Company, the Trust for Public Land, state agencies and funders to establish the 1,000 acre McKay Tract Community Forest.
  • Reviving the Coastal Counties Association and organizing a successful joint workshop between coastal counties and cities and the Coastal Commission, which led to real reform in the Local Coastal Plan process.
  • Development of a $1 million incentive package to recruit additional air service to ACV.
  • Expanding bus service around Humboldt County, including two new lines in Southern Humboldt, Sunday service on RTS, Saturday service to Willow Creek and service along Old Arcata Road (starting in 2016).

“Though I’ll be leaving public office, I’ll continue to stay involved in County issues, just as I did for many years before running for the Board,” said Lovelace. “There are many ways to contribute to this community.  Serving in public office is just one of them.”

“I’ll continue to work hard to keep Humboldt County a great place to live.”

Wilson’s release:

Mike Wilson announced today that he will seek election as County Supervisor for Humboldt County’s Third District. His announcement followed Supervisor Mark Lovelace’s decision not to seek re-election next year. Lovelace has endorsed Wilson.

A 47-year-old environmental engineer who grew up in Humboldt County, Wilson has represented the Third District for more than nine years as Commissioner for the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District. As Harbor Commissioner, he has worked for policies that balance economic development with ecological preservation. “I’m always looking for a balanced approach and practical solutions,” said Wilson.

“I enjoy working hard on projects and policies that I believe will improve people’s lives,” said Wilson. “A healthy, abundant and accessible bay is just one part of the success of our community.”

Supervisor Mark Lovelace believes Wilson has the experience and understanding of the issues to best represent the Third District. “I’m pleased that Mike Wilson is willing to step up to the challenge, and I’m confident in his ability, if elected, to work with the other supervisors to make Humboldt County an even better place to live.” 

Among his proudest accomplishments as Harbor Commissioner are shepherding the cleanup of four million gallons of toxic waste at the former Samoa pulp mill, supporting sustainable job growth in the local aquaculture industry and helping to oversee the financial stabilization and revenue growth of the district.

“To prepare for the future, a multitude of employment, housing, transportation, energy, environmental and food security issues need to be addressed, and we need to plan for and adapt to climate change,” said Wilson. “We also need to respond and manage the rapidly changing landscape of the cannabis industry, which is having profound impacts on our environment, economy and culture. “

“Wilson is credited with an ability to transcend the political differences that can often stall progress on important issues in Humboldt County. When I look at the work he’s done at the harbor district, I’m very impressed by how he has been able to work with a broad political backgrounds effectively to create a district that prioritizes economic vitality while taking care of the environment,” said former Arcata City Councilmember Alex Stillman.

“Mike is probably one of the smartest people I know when it comes to the process of getting things done in government,” said fellow Harbor Commissioner Greg Dale. “He listens to all points of view and is very efficient in getting down to the salient points that need to addressed to accomplish a goal.”

Among Wilson’s other early endorsers are: Michael Winkler, Mayor of Arcata, Susan Ornelas, Arcata City Councilmember; Julie Fulkerson, Mayor of Trinidad; Aldaron Laird, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Board Vice President, Connie Stewart, former Arcata City Councilmember; Greenway Partners co-owner Kirk Cohune; Arcata Marsh designer Dr. Bob Gearheart; former Arcata Main Street President Robin Hashem; and business owners Kate Christensen and Dennis Rael.

Wilson also serves on the boards of the Redwood Region Economic Development Commission and Workforce Investment Board, as well as Friends of the Dunes, and is known for his advocacy for the Humboldt Bay trail.

In addition to his public service background, Wilson will bring professional skills as an engineer and business owner to the board of supervisors. He has co-owned his own firm, HWR Engineering and Science, since 1994, having a hand in such signature projects as the UIHS Potawot Health Village, the Indian Island Cultural and Environmental Restoration Project and the Humboldt Bay Nature Center. “I understand planning and design processes. I’ve managed employees and I have overseen large, multifaceted projects.”

“Mike is refreshingly forthright about his views and is able to really take in other viewpoints and ideas. I think his professional engineering, planning, project management and commissioner background will be valuable on the board,” said Stillman. “I’ve always been impressed with his abilities and I think we’d be well represented having him as our supervisor.” 

Wilson lives in Arcata with his wife and two daughters.