SECOND UPDATE: Humboldt County’s final election night report, released early Wednesday morning with 87 of 144 precincts reporting, shows incumbent Division 4 Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks with 62.30 percent of the vote against challenger Marian Brady’s 37.55 percent.
PREVIOUS UPDATE: Humboldt County’s third election night report, with 66 of 144 precincts reporting, shows incumbent Division 4 Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks with 61.81 percent of the vote against challenger Marian Brady’s 38.08 percent.
PREVIOUS REPORT: Two-time incumbent Division 4 Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks was the early leader tonight in his re-election bid in a race against termed-out Eureka Councilwoman Marian Brady for a seat of the board for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District.
Humboldt County’s second election night report, with 25 of 144 precincts reporting, showed Marks ahead of Brady 61.52 percent to 38.37 percent in early voting.
Marks, who ran a campaign focused on his record as a commissioner over the past eight years, thinks the harbor district is headed in the right direction and that further economic development on the bay will only add to that development.
“There a lot of harbor projects coming in the near future that are vital to the economy of the county and the harbor district,” Marks said tonight. “We are expanding tenants at Marine Terminal 2 and, of course, we have the wind energy projects, Principle Power may be doing some wind energy and I’d like to be part of that process.”
Marks also said he’d like to see dredging of the harbor finally get done and that the economic health of the district is far better than when he took his seat eight years ago.
“When I started we were facing a deficit of hundreds of thousands of dollars, we were in financial dire straits, they were talking bankruptcy,” he said. “Since then, we are not only healthy we have projects coming up, the broadband redundant fiber optic cable to Terminal 2 and, of course, the expansion of tenants. We might get to the point where we have as many people working at the former pulp site as when I was working there and that’s incredible because they will be clean jobs.”
Brady focused her campaign on the prospect of development of the harbor as a deep-sea shipping port and has regularly outlined her support for an east-to-west rail line. She also criticized the harbor for its purchase of a dredge, a piece of equipment that has yet to be used.
“As a councilmember, I opposed Eureka’s participation in buying the dredge,” Brady wrote in the candidate questionnaire she submitted to the Times-Standard in the run-up to the election. “This has proven to be a good decision as the dredge they purchased at great cost in 2014 has never been used and might never be due to permitting issues.”
Brady said she wants the harbor district to look hard at a possible east-west rail line and disputes the notion that further development at the pulp mill site will be enough.
“We can’t base the future of our harbor on being landlords for the pulp mill property the harbor district acquired and has repurposed from coastal-dependent industrial to interim uses,” she wrote. “The harbor district needs to look at the feasibility of such a plan with green eco-friendly rail.”
If the results hold and Marks will have won another election, he said the night comes with mixed emotions.
“My wife sent this out one time, ‘Tonight is like Christmas Eve and the night before a colonoscopy combined.’ It’s always nerve-wracking,” he said, before commenting on the campaign. “I’ve run a clean, positive campaign on my work record and I and my campaign have reached out personally to more than 4,000 voters and I’ve knocked on thousands of doors. The future is really exciting and the harbor district is headed in the right direction.”