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Higher profile, higher stakes for Placer Water election

Three candidates vie for District 5 seat on PCWA board
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - The election for Placer County Water Agency’s far-flung eastern district seat is a three-candidate race that is gaining a higher profile and playing with higher stakes. The three candidates – Otis Wollan and Joshua Alpine, both of Colfax and Auburn’s Cheryl Maki – are vying for a district seat that has no incumbent in the running. Current agency board member Ben Mavy is not seeking re-election. It also has a much-changed political landscape. Because of redistricting and slow-growth in eastern Placer County, District 5’s boundaries have been expanded to include the city of Auburn. The elective void has attracted three candidates with several years of experience in elected positions. Alpine has served on the Colfax City Council since 2003, including two yearlong stints as mayor. Maki, a former Auburn mayor and state Regional Water Quality Board appointee, and Wollan, who served on the Water Agency board for 21 years before a narrow loss to Mavy four years ago, provide voters with three candidates with track records in high-profile elected posts. The three candidates are slated to square off Tuesday morning in Auburn in front of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Chamber Forum. Steve Galyardt, Chamber Forum chairman, said Monday that he considers water as a growing area of interest for voters because of potential threats on the local supply. “The governor just signed a bill stating all Californians deserve affordable and safe drinking water,” Galyardt said. “Southern California has grown and lost some of theirs on the Colorado River so it’s looking for a fresh water supply toward Northern California.” The Nov. 6 election has seen increased funding flowing to candidates – with Maki leading the way and all candidates committing their own money. Placer County elections division filings by all three candidates last Friday show Maki had raised $15,860 from 26 donors, including $13,461 in cash. She had spent $9,839 and had $6,020 remaining for the final month of the campaign. The financial records also show Maki has personally loaned $1,000 to her campaign and her business Maki Heating & Air donated $1,050 in wine for a fundraiser and a $200 gift certificate for a raffle. “I held one fundraiser and have had a lot of donations and support,” Maki said. “People understand that when I’m appointed or elected I’m going to try to do the best job I can.” Maki added that she has reached out to other areas, traveling to Kings Beach, Tahoe City, Meadow Vista, Foresthill, Colfax and Dutch Flat to get her message out. Wollan listed total contributions of $5,476 from eight donors. He had spent $2,709 and listed a cash balance of $1,567. Wollan had loaned the campaign $2,080. “We’re working hard at it and a number of people have volunteered and are helping with it,” Wollan said. “We’re getting the message out with e-mails and social networking. It’s a very daunting district with 40,000 people and if we were to do the traditional three-mailer campaign, it would take a huge amount of fundraising.” Instead of mailers, Wollan said printed materials will be handed out when he and volunteers walk precincts. “I’m doing a relatively modest fundraising effort,” Wollan said. “I was never really enamored with a lot of big fundraising and my style as a politician has been not to garner political favors.” Alpine listed $2,500 in contributions and expenditures of $3,746. The list of contributions included a $2,100 loan from himself. “We’re moving along,” Alpine said. “For me, it’s a little slower than my competitors, but it’s moving.” Alpine said he’s been talking to a variety of groups and attending social gatherings to bring his campaign to voters. “I’ve been running a grassroots campaign,” Alpine said. “And I haven’t been aggressively pursuing contributions. I’m a little quirky that way.” Alpine said he plans to be out more in the community this coming month, including attending municipal advisory committees. Top donors for Maki were Judith Carter, a board member of MC Construction in Incline Village ($2,000) and the Lourson family of Auburn ($1,500). Wollan’s leading donors were Pat Malberg ($500) and Jean Scharzkopf ($500). Alpine’s lone two donors were Rodney Smith of Paradise ($300) and Sierra College board member Aaron Klein ($100). All-candidates forum What: Placer County Water Agency District 5 candidate forum When: 7-8 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9 Where: The Rose Room of Auburn City Hall, 1225 Lincoln Way, Auburn. The forum is hosted by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Chamber Forum, also known as the Meddlers.