Election Shakes Up Water Boards

To the extent South Coast voters were of a mind to toss out the incumbents in last week’s elections, two South Coast water districts suffered the greatest casualties. Two long-term incumbents — Fred Lemere and James Drain — were booted off the Carpinteria Valley Water District as voters, upset by Carpinteria’s notoriously expensive water, replaced them with newcomers Lynne Ducharme and Clay Brown. While the vote was historic — the first time in the board’s history that two incumbents were knocked off by challengers — it was not quite the clean sweep that the challengers had hoped. Incumbent Matt Roberts — more accessible to board critics than his counterparts — managed to hold onto his seat. Meanwhile, the insurgents leading the uprising at the Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District Improvement District Number One succeeded in winning three seats and a new board majority. The challengers charged the incumbents gratuitously frittered away rate payer money on unnecessary legal conflicts. Further, they expressed concern the water board was in cahoots with the Chumash. Incumbents’ arguments that Santa Ynez enjoys the cheapest water in the county fell on deaf ears, as did their insistence that there was no secret deal with the casino.

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