Blair, Armstrong win seats on Nipomo Community Services District board

clambert@thetribunenews.comNovember 7, 2012 

Some lively debates about water-related issues could ensue at Nipomo Community Services District board meetings with the election of a new member who has been critical of a plan to bring additional water to the community.

Bob Blair, who served on the district board from 1994 to 2004, was elected Tuesday with 29.1 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election results from the San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder’s office.

Blair said the results send the Nipomo district a message.

“Most of the people who voted for me are upset with what’s going on,” he said, referring to the district’s plan to buy water from Santa Maria. Blair was opposed to a proposal to fund the $26 million pipeline project through an assessment district, which property owners rejected earlier this year.

Craig Armstrong, a relative newcomer to Nipomo, captured the second seat with nearly 26 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Ed Eby, who took third with 23.3 percent, now finds himself without a seat for the first time in eight years. He trailed Armstrong by 157 votes, unofficial results showed Wednesday.

The loss means that Eby will also have to resign from two countywide boards on which he sits as a Nipomo district member: the Local Agency Formation Commission, which considers annexations, and the county water resources advisory committee.

Eby attributed the result to the recent assessment vote. “I knew there was a lot of resentment about the pipeline vote, and that’s probably what did it,” he said.

Candidate Ernie Thompson, a retired district employee, finished last, with 21.3 percent of the vote.

Longtime board member Mike Winn did not seek re-election.

The board is now tasked with moving forward on solutions to bring more water to Nipomo. The area relies on water from an underground aquifer, which district officials say is being depleted faster than it’s being replenished.

Armstrong is currently a member of the Supplemental Water Alternatives Evaluation Committee, formed after the pipeline vote to re-examine alternative ways to get additional water. He’ll now resign from the committee to serve on the board.

“I’m pretty happy,” Armstrong said of Tuesday’s outcome. “It’s going to be an interesting challenge. The area has some issues that need to be resolved and hopefully all five of us on the board can make that happen with community support.”

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