Below is one portion of the Community Services District's "Candidates Night" meeting Thursday. Here are links to the other sections:
- Main story
- Candidate introductions
- Question: What is the role of a CSD director and how much time are you willing to give?
- Question: How do you handle squeaky wheels?
- Question: Your top three issues?
- Audience questions
- Candidate closing statements
Bob Kjome: ... individual candidates and at the conclusion, each candidate will make a two-minute closing statement. If we will run through this rather quickly, we do have a few other questions we can ask you. We will see how it goes as far as time. There's quite a few of you here. Lucky number seven, once again, welcome.
Why don't we go ahead and get started? We'll start on the left, and go to the right. The purpose is the opening statements, so we'll turn it over to Ron Amarante.
Ron Amarante: Hi, everybody. Just to let everybody know, I was sick all day today, so I'll be keeping my hands to myself. You can read about my background and reasons for running on your ballot, but here's what I want to emphasize for you tonight.
I will listen to you. I am here for you. I care about you, and I will stand up for you. I have no baggage and beholden to no one. I bring a fresh pair of eyes. I have a fresh perspective. I can work with people who have different viewpoints. I can listen to their concerns. I care about our water supply and want to make sure it's adequate and safe.
I can learn policy quickly. Most importantly, I want to listen to what you want. Bottom line – less talking and more listening. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Ron. Turn it over to Linda Butler.
Linda Butler: Hello, everyone. As a resident of Rancho Murieta for 28 years I am passionate about helping maintain the quality of life we all enjoy. I've lived in the North and the South. I've been a homeowner and a renter, and now a homeowner again. I have served on a myriad of townhouse boards. I participate in our elections. I have kept myself updated and informed and as active as possible in community issues while working as a businesswoman in the optical industry for 30 years.
I'm a widow living on a fixed income. I have five stepchildren and seven grandchildren who enjoy visiting and spending time in Rancho Murieta. Rancho Murieta is a unique community. It's beautiful and calm and welcoming. Rancho Murieta is also a community at a crossroads. It is a challenging time for us. Our demographics are changing and development is here.
Our identity is connected to our Country Club but our community is more than a club. No matter why you came or what keeps you here, we are all concerned about the marketability of the community and in preserving the value of our homes. My concerns and those expressed to me by so many of our residents are, number one, development: How much and where? Development in Rancho Murieta is absolutely necessary. We need new housing and services, but how much and where and at what price to our unique quality of life?
Number two is water quality and quantity. It's impossible to discuss development without discussing water and vice-versa. As a community we must be prepared to face a number of pertinent issues that impact our water supply and quality. We must plan and prepare for the what-ifs and not wait to see what happens.
Number three, safety and security continue to be subjects that demand examination and attention. Quite simply, behind the gates are covenants, conditions and restrictions, the CC&Rs, that govern our community. RMCSD through the Security department and by contract enforces these CC&Rs. Our greatest assets in this area are the residents themselves. Understanding the CC&R rules and complying with them is the responsibility of all Rancho Murieta residents.
RMCSD and RMA are the governing bodies of Rancho Murieta. It's not us and them. Working together to find cost-effective solutions to security issues is imperative. RMCSD's responsibility also include the area south of the Jackson Highway and future development on both sides of the Jackson Highway.
Serving on this board is a very important responsibility to the entire community, one that I will not take lightly. As your representative I will continue to become knowledgeable and bring community issues to light. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Linda. Turn it over to Morrison Graf.
Morrison Graf: Well, as one of the two incumbents here tonight I think in the first round I introduced myself and my background. I'm a civil engineer with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I'm a registered civil engineer in the State of California. The reason I started getting involved in the CSD is a question of trying to give back to my community. I have education, training and experience in all the same systems that we do here at the CSD, excluding security a little bit, but when it comes to moving water and sewage places, that's what I understand. That's kind of the bread and butter of what I've been trained to do and what I've experienced building.
My career really has been in construction project management. The last half of my career has been very specifically in the hospital and medical side of things, so very regulatory environment. So coming to CSD I again bring that understanding of the regulatory side of doing things in California.
So my hope is ... I don't really have an agenda on anything much. In fact, really as a board member up here we're tasked by law to always understand what the community needs up in here and listen to the community. So all I'm wanting to do right now is to continue to bring my expertise to the benefit of the community.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Morrison. Turn it over to Randy Jenco.
Randy Jenco: My wife, Patty, and I moved here in 1986 when we first got married. We raised three kids here. Owned two houses. We love it. There's no place that we would rather be. Someone ... wise man once told me to leave something better than you found it, and I've tried to do that throughout the time that we've been here in Rancho Murieta. That's why I'm here. I feel like I have some skills that would enable the CSD to make this a better community, make CSD a better agency, and I hope that ... I hope that comes to fruition.
As far as an introduction of myself, my education, my background, in education I've got a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. That seems to be a pretty cheap commodity here. I also have a Masters Degree in Structural Engineering, so that's a little unique. With my civil background as Morrie was saying, it brings something to the table where I feel like I can get up to speed pretty quickly on the technical issues revolving around CSD.
As far as my career, I own a construction company that does public works, agency work, highways, mostly bridges. I'm sure a lot of you know that my company built the wooden bridge. I served as the architect and the project manager for the company on that job, and I'm pretty proud of it.
Being in contracting – I've been a contractor since 1983 – brings kind of a unique perspective to this job also in that that's been my life. I understand contracts. I understand estimating. I understand bidding, and I believe that a lot of what CSD how they spend their money is through the bidding process, and I'm pretty up to speed on that.
Then finally, as far as being in the community, I've done everything from being president of the Little League to being in the Optimist Club, RMA board and I'm currently on RMA Maintenance Committee, which I think will help also.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Randy. Tim Maybee.
Tim Maybee: Thank you. Just two quick things, Bob, can I purchase more time? (laughter) Is there a lifeline I can call? (laughter)
Thank you to staff for putting this on. Thank you, Bob, for your time and also to River Valley Times and RM.com. I am a passion serve community still. We've been out here for 25 years. I've raised two beautiful tax deductions out here.
About me, after 32 years responding to 911 calls I'm pretty non-emotional. You can ask my wife about that. I also don't take anything personal. What I have learned from prior services is government is most efficient at its lowest level, just like the fire district, just like the Community Services District.
My expectation, because that's what my career has been, is real simple. I want community service brought back to Security and the district. To me it's four things that I ask of myself and my crew – you're safe, competent, consistent, courteous. And right now we don't have a little bit of consistency. I want to bring that back. I think we need to get the leadership back, get the expectations. I've worked with the Security chief as the board member in charge of compliance. I know we can get there. But we haven't, and that's the perception that's out in the community.
To clear the air, there's only three types of property here within the district – governmental, homeowner association or private property. There is no such thing as open space, and we're gonna hear people talk about saving open space, and really what it is is private property, whether it's owned by an individual or the developer themselves.
I don't have a personal agenda. I'm not aligned to anybody that has a personal agenda or any of the groups that see a way of saying that water is unsafe or that water is the key factor and that's how we can stop development. I don't see that at all. CSD is not a land-use agency; we're a community service district. I'll quote, "The purpose of the CSD is security, water supply collection, treatment and distribution, water waste collection treatment and reuse, storm drainage collection, disposable solid waste collection." That's it.
It's not about trying to cut deals to save quote, unquote, "this open space." That's an RMA issue. They own the (Mutual Benefit Agreement). They're the ones that have to work it out.... Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Gerald Pasek.
Jerry Pasek: Yes. I'm the other incumbent on this panel tonight. I'm a transplant here into Rancho Murieta. I grew up in Minnesota. Completed a five-year electronic engineering degree from the University of Minnesota. Worked there for a little bit and then got totally frozen out. Came in to Northern California and worked there for a while. Decided that Europe looked pretty good, so I went over there for four years to work with the Germans and then I came back to Lockheed and worked on the computer systems when an iPad capability would fit this room and computers and the costs were astronomical.
There I worked for ground systems computers software. The biggest project I had was $150 million that I was the public director for. It was just computers that were state of the art and the systems that supported state of the art with a couple hundred programmers. If you want to manage people, try a couple hundred programmers.
I finished an assignment in Australia and then decided when I was in San Jose I had had it, so I came up to Rancho Murieta, where I had visited in the past because I used to own an airplane and came up here for the brunches they used to have, which were great. Decided to settle in here, and when I settled in, I was a golfer fan, so I joined the Country Club, and I joined the Country Club board, where I served for a while there and served a term as president there.
Then I came over to CSD and have been on the board for a while here, and I also served as president of CSD's board. We've talked a little bit about the roles and responsibilities of CSD but, you know, the county and people kind of look at CSD as a quasi-government. It is not just the stuff that was mentioned for water waste, water and garbage, et cetera, and security. So the charter allows lots of things. You just gotta get into it and if that's what you want to do.
The real problem I see we have here is we have multiple homeowner associations showing up. Used to be just RMA and behind the gate, but now we have a homeowner's association across the street for both homes, as well as the business community, and getting a handle on who does what to whom and why, and not a lot of finger pointing is usually a big problem.
With that I'll pass it on to my counterpart here.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Jerry. Martin Pohll.
Martin Pohll: Thanks for having us for candidates night. My name is Martin Pohll. I've been a resident of Rancho Murieta for 25 years with my wife, Nancy, to whom I've been married for about 53 years. We have two grown sons. I am a registered civil and structural engineer in California. I've been practicing about 50 years. I'm a past partner of an architectural engineering firm, where I was a principle structural engineer and chief financial officer.
I'm semi-retired now, but I still am employed designing bridges and buildings. I think my engineering background has trained me to research the issues and seek input and solve problems, and I think that's what I would bring to the CSD. I've had extensive experience in the local community. I was on the MTI board for five years, where I was the treasurer. I was on the RMA Board for six years, where I was also the treasurer.
I'm currently a member of RMA Finance Committee. So I have experience in reserves and in budgets, and I'm very interested in making sure that CSD is fiscally sound and has sufficient resources to maintain its aging infrastructure.
So I reviewed the CSD budgets and recent audited financial statements. I think there's room for improvement in there. I hope to be involved in making some contributions to that. I don't bring any personal agenda to my candidacy. I intend to thoroughly research the issues and listen to the concerns of the public that we serve.
When I was at RMA I was involved in putting together what I thought were reasonable budgets, and I had oversight with others on the reserve study, so I'm familiar with that. I was on a number of committees that did a number of things. One of them was the development of the North Gate and a community center that didn't pass. I was a member of the Joint Security committee and I assisted in the purchase of the Escuela property. Assisted in the leasing of the new cables for the cable system, and the development of a spray park.
So with that experience with RMA I think I could help improve the relationship between the CSD and RMA. I think that the two organizations need to be in sync with their goals so we can do things more efficiently around here. I would appreciate your vote and looking forward to serving. Thank you.
Bob Kjome: Thank you, Martin. Okay, round one is complete. Excellent job, everyone.