Ser­vices District is up for grabs

Times Standard (Eureka) - - OPINION - By Ali Ong Lee Ali Ong Lee re­sides in Bay­side.

Lo­cal elec­tions can be won by such small mar­gins — with last­ing ef­fects on boards more tra­di­tion­ally filled by in­cum­bents, ap­pointees, and the usual known sus­pects.

Dur­ing times of uncer­tainty, there is opportunit­y for change. Lo­cally, four of five board seats at the Hum­boldt Com­mu­nity Ser­vices District (HCSD) are open for this Novem­ber 2020 Elec­tion.

HCSD pro­vides wa­ter, sewer, and street light­ing ser­vices to ar­eas out­side and ad­ja­cent to the city of Eureka.

Three of the four HCSD board seats will be open due to term lim­its.

The fourth and last seat will be open since a mem­ber stepped-down due to a move­out of the ser­vice area. (HCSD Board mem­bers must be HCSD ratepay­ers.) The ap­pointee who fills this va­cated seat will have to run in the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion to keep the seat.

It is note­wor­thy that for­mer board mem­ber De­siree Daven­port won the 2018 HCSD elec­tion by only 45 votes. Lo­cal elec­tions can be won by such small mar­gins — with last­ing ef­fects on boards more tra­di­tion­ally filled by in­cum­bents, ap­pointees, and the usual known sus­pects.

HCSD has a his­tory of in­cum­bents who run un­chal­lenged, there­fore, they do not usu­ally have to run in an elec­tion. In­stead, they have mostly been ap­pointed (and reap­pointed) by each other.

While one may ar­gue ap­point­ing board mem­bers is an ef­fi­cient process, board mem­bers ap­point­ing board mem­bers can lead to clos­ing the lead­er­ship loop and nar­row the kind of di­verse think­ing nec­es­sary for com­mu­nity in­clu­sive­ness and re­siliency.

HCSD’s cur­rent board mem­bers who de­cide is­sues im­por­tant to ratepay­ers (like wa­ter rates, ter­mi­na­tion of wa­ter ser­vices for in­abil­ity to pay, and wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture like the failed Martin Slough In­ter­cept) cur­rently con­sist of: one cur­rent and one re­tired gen­eral con­trac­tor, one for­mer mortgage lender now an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment man­ager, and a re­al­tor/prop­erty man­ager.

They will soon de­cide on ex­tend­ing ser­vices to the con­tro­ver­sial McKay Tract de­vel­op­ment. Ad­di­tion­ally, a pe­ti­tion for HCSD to ex­pand ser­vices for the cre­ation of open space and pub­lic parks—sim­i­lar to what Hum­boldt Bay Mu­nic­i­pal Wa­ter District (HBMWD) and the Manila Com­mu­nity Ser­vices District have done — will soon be sub­mit­ted to HCSD.

HCSD board mem­bers com­mit to four-year terms. They meet at 5 p.m. on the sec­ond and fourth Tues­days of ev­ery month, for which they get paid $100 per meet­ing and re­ceive full health in­sur­ance with $20 co-pays for fam­ily mem­bers. It’s more than fair com­pen­sa­tion com­pared to other boards.

Hum­boldt County Elec­tions Of­fice (HCEO) has the fol­low­ing 2020 dead­lines with fees.

Can­di­dacy pa­pers are avail­able start­ing July 13, 2020. The fil­ing dead­line is Aug. 7, 2020, with an ex­ten­sion to Aug. 12, 2020 if in­cum­bents do not file for can­di­dacy at HCEO, 2426 Sixth St., in Eureka. (Check your wa­ter bill to con­firm if you are an HCSD ratepayer.)

Hum­boldt County Elec­tions Of­fice

https://hum­boldt­gov.org/890/ Elec­tions-Voter-Reg­is­tra­tion

707-445-7481

Hum­boldt Com­mu­nity Ser­vices District

https://hum­boldtcsd.org/ home 707-443-4550

(HCSD is not the same agency as the Hum­boldt Bay Mu­nic­i­pal Wa­ter District, even though their names may be sim­i­lar. Both do in­creas­ingly im­por­tant work as wa­ter be­comes a more pre­cious re­source.)

Vote. Run for of­fice. Be part of the change. Four of five HCSD seats will be open for the Novem­ber 2020 elec­tion. You only need to be an HCSD ratepayer to run for this opportunit­y.

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