From Los Osos to California Valley and San Simeon to Oceano, nine special districts in San Luis Obispo County held elections Tuesday night. Here’s a look at the unofficial results with 100 percent of precincts reporting.
Los Osos CSD
Incumbent Marshall Ochylski and newcomer Vicki Milledge won seats on the Los Osos CSD board, with 34.5 percent and 23.9 percent of the vote, respectively. They were trailed by Steve Best at 18.5 percent, Julie Tacker with 15.3 percent and Tim Staggers with 7.9 percent.
The financial security of the district, water sustainability and civility at board meetings were issues for the five candidates running for two seats on the board. The district supplies water, fire and street lighting for the community.
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The district has suffered from a high turnover of general managers in recent years. It is also must deal with saltwater intrusion into the aquifers beneath the town.
The district declared bankruptcy after it abandoned plans for a sewage treatment plant in the center of town. San Luis Obispo County took over the sewer plant project and built the treatment plant east of town on Los Osos Valley Road.
The bankruptcy and sewer controversies prompted discussion of whether the district should be disbanded to allow the county to take over the district’s services. Candidate Julie Tacker said she was open to discussing dissolving the district. The other candidates support maintaining the district.
Newcomers Pamela Jardini, David Fardanesh and Debra Logan secured seats on the Templeton Community Services District board in a four-way race for three positions.
Land-use planner Jardini received the most votes, taking 32 percent, while dentist Fardanesh won 24.8 percent and retiree Logan 22.1 percent, according to unofficial election results. Real estate broker Rob Rosales trailed the three with 20.7 percent of the vote.
Budgeting and finding resources for community projects were topics discussed during the course of the candidates’ campaigns.
Many candidates expressed a desire to exert more control over fees and tax funds, which the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors now allocates.
Of the seven candidates running for three four-year seats on the Oceano Community Services District board of directors, two appeared to secure victory, while two others remained in a tight battle for the final spot.
After the initial vote-by-mail ballots, Vacation rental agent Linda Austin led the field with 24.3 percent, followed by retired attorney James Coalwell with 17.0 percent. In a dead heat for third were technology project manager Andrew Brunet with 15.4 percent and John Clemons with 15.2 percent. A mere 7 votes separated those two.
Rounding out the candidates were small business owner Ariles Amokrane with 10.4 percent, substitute teacher Giselle Naylor with 8.9 percent and filmmaker Joseph Holmes with 8.1 percent.
Oceano in recent years has been characterized by a number of infrastructure problems, from aging roads to broken sewer pipes, as well as a contested relationship with its surrounding cities and partner agencies like the South San Luis Obipso County Sanitation District. Most candidates also pointed to water as a continuing concern for the town as the state drought continues.
Cambria CSD and Community Healthcare District
Cambria voters appeared to opt for familiar faces — and voting records — in their next set of services district directors, though the race for the final seat is too close to call.
Incumbents Amanda Rice led with 19.1 percent, followed by Greg Sanders at 18.1 percent. In a dead head for the third seat were incumbent Gail Robinette with 16.2 percent and Harry Farmer with 16.0 percent. The two were separated by 14 votes.
Rounding out the field were Dewayne Lee at 13.4 percent, Tom Kirkey with 11.7 percent and Jeff Walters with 4.2 percent.
The services district provides water, sewage treatment, in-town fire protection, trails and parks such as Fiscalini Ranch Preserve, facilities such as the Veterans Memorial Building, and the all-volunteer Parks, Recreation and Open Space Commission in an area of close to 3,200 acres, or about 5 square miles.
The agency’s 2016-17 operating budget is about $11 million.
The returning directors will continue to face issues that range from getting a permanent permit for the district’s sustainable water facility (formerly called the emergency water supply project, because it was built under a drought-triggered emergency permit) to having a wastewater treatment plant that either needs substantial updates and upgrades or a complete redesign/rebuild. Meanwhile, community members have set state records for water conservation.
The district has been under a self-imposed moratorium for issuing new water connections, but CCSD has more than 660 properties on an official wait list to build.
Meanwhile, North Coast voters may have ended a combative election cycle for the Cambria Community Healthcare District by voting for change and electing incumbent Trustee Barbara Bronson Gray and former county supervisor Shirley Bianchi .
Gray received 37.1 percent of the vote, and Bianchi had 34.8 percent.
Incumbent Kristi Jenkins received 17.3 percent, and appointed incumbent Jerry Wood was at 10.5 percent.
The district provides 24/7 ambulance service to an area that spans from Villa Creek to the Monterey County line, from the Santa Lucia ridge to the sea. Beyond ambulance and emergency-medical services, the district also owns a professional medical building and provides community health care education.
Candidates (and factions of the community) have been debating the future of the medical building and separate district quarters, with some people believing that the buildings can be successfully rehabilitated and others preferring to find a new location. Another point of contention is how the district should provide healthcare education to the community.
The district’s 2016-17 budget includes income of about $1.7 million.
San Simeon CSD
Voters who cast their ballots by mail from tiny San Simeon favored to retain incumbent services district directors Alan Fields and Daniel Williams, plus newcomer Mary Margaret McGuire.
But the vote spread was razor thin with Fields at 30.3 percent and Williams and McGuire tied at 24.0 percent. Only five votes behind was incumbent Leroy Price at 21.6 percent.
The district has had a water-shortage-triggered building moratorium since April 1988, and has negotiated unsuccessfully for years with the state Coastal Commission about rip-rap placed long ago at the shoreline to protect district infrastructure.
In June, staffers, board members and residents dedicated an approximately $925,000 reverse osmosis plant, a water-treatment process designed to filter out undesirable components, such as chlorides.
The 100-acre community includes 462 residents. The district’s 2016-17 budget, approved in July, projects income of more than $943,700.
The district serves about 180 residential accounts, six commercial accounts and 11 lodgings (although some motels have multiple accounts). There are six restaurants and about a dozen irrigation accounts.
For details, go to www.sansimeoncsd.com.
Cayucos Fire Protection District
Steve Beightler finished first with 42.8 percent and Cheryl Conway was second with 26.8 percent in the race for two seats on the board.
Trailing in third was Christopher Pope with 23.8 percent of the vote.
Port San Luis Harbor District
Jim Blecha, Bob Vessely and Bill Barrow secured seats on the board. Blecha had 31.1 percent of the vote, followed by Vessely at 23.9 and Barrow at 23.4. In fourth place was Richard Scangarello at 21.2 percent.
California Valley Community Services District
Patrick McGibney at 20.5 percent, Ruth Legaspi at 18.8 percent and Luke Lothrop at 15.9 percent were in position to fill three open seats on the board.
They were followed by Stephen McVicar at 12.3 percent, Ro Webb at 10.3 percent, Vedaa Link and Donna Ramirez at 6.7 percent, Lisa Marrone at 6.2 percent and Misty Lambert at 2.1 percent.