Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – Arcata City Councilmember Mark Wheetley formally announced his long-anticipated run for Humboldt County Supervisor Friday, Dec. 11 at the Arcata Community Center.
Wheetley aspires to the seat being vacated by outgoing Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace. The election is set for June 7, 2016. Also running are Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner Mike Wilson and activist Uri Driscoll.
Former Third District Supervisor John Woolley said he’s worked with Wheetley since the 1970s “as a friend, colleague and brother.” He listed a number of environmental and community projects on which the two have collaborated.
“I can tell you, he has been a rock for the City of Arcata,” said former City Manager Randy Mendosa. “His decision making abilities are just excellent ... Mark takes his time, takes it slow; he does not take the shortcuts to learn these issues. He learns the issues and makes very sound decisions.”
Mendosa said Wheetley has useful contacts throughout the state, and can wield influence for Humboldt County. “Doors open for Mark in Sacramento,” he said.
Former Arcata Chamber Executive Director Sandy Scott, speaking on her own behalf, said that “if you want somebody that’s a good communicator representing you in the Third District, Mark Wheetley would be the person.”
Wheetley thanked his family, supporters and campaign team. He noted his four terms on the council, dating back to 2005, during which he has served as mayor three times.
He cited accomplishments in housing, public safety, health and after-school programs. “We’ve really had a productive time in the City of Arcata,” he said.
He said that as a member of the 480-city League of California Cities Board of Directors, he has “great working relationships with all those cities and other folks in those communities also.”
Wheetley also cited his experience working in state government. “I get how state government works,” he said.
He said his deep experience qualifies and differentiates him from the other candidates. “I have leadership experience,” he said, and a “collaborative working style” based on partnership building.
Wheetley also called for unity and collaboration by the five supervisors. “At the end of the day, all five boardmembers represent different sectors of the county. They may not have the same opinion on issues, but they’re all ultimately working for the best of their communities, and there is a collective good that we have to work toward.”
Wheetley was re-elected to a four-year term in November 2014. Election to the Board of Supervisors next June would require his premature departure from office in January, 2017. At that point, the council could appoint a replacement or hold a special election.
Wheetley vowed to complete the four-year supervisorial term if elected.
The realpolitik of the situation is that elected officials frequently move on to higher office before completing terms. It’s an established method for succession, creating vacancies for newcomers to backfill.
Commissioner Wilson would also have to leave office early if elected.
“You can’t account for the timing of these things,” Wilson said. He also vowed to complete any supervisorial term to which he is elected.