Note – This story has been udated since the print version was published.
The filing period for the November general election has opened. It’s probably too late to run for president or congress, but if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves at the grass roots level, several spots on local school, fire and recreation boards are in play.
Some seats won’t appear on the November ballot because the incumbent will run unchallenged. In others, new faces struggling to understand the issues will take on long-standing office holders.
The recent victories of El Dorado Hills political outsiders Alan Day, who defeated long-standing and much better known Harry Norris for the El Dorado Hills seat on the El Dorado Irrigation District Board, and Ron Mikulaco, who similarly took out John Knight for the District 1 seat on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, hint at an anti-incumbent sentiment among the El Dorado Hills electorate that’s showing signs of waking up to local issues and politics.
In a response to requests from El Dorado Hills activists, the county Planning Services Department has brought proposed projects and local land use policy to El Dorado Hills. Residents have responded by filling the room, scrutinizing proposed General Plan revisions and challenging the recently proposed Dixon Ranch project.
Residents who have ignored local government until an issue affects them directly are now attending local board and committee meetings.
Even the Tea Party has “gotten local,” with a scathing review of the El Dorado Hills Fire District budget and compensation package at its July meeting and a follow-up response by the district in an as-yet unscheduled future meeting.
The increased activism portends a more engaged electorate and, perhaps, a larger candidate pool this November.
It’s not hard to get on the ballot. For local special district board seats there’s no filing fee, according to Candidate Coordinator Linda Webster at the El Dorado County Elections Department.
Webster walks potential politicos through the process, encouraging them to take advantage of a revamped candidate webpage that includes a newly updated candidate handbook, a list of board seats can be challenged this year and a calendar of important dates.
All it takes to run for a special district board seat is a residence in the district, a voter registration card, a declaration of candidacy and a couple of state forms.
Getting elected, however, may require much more. Most successful candidacies include a “candidate statement,” included in an election package mailed by the Elections Department to each home in the district. The candidates bear the cost of the mailing, which increases with district size, between $250 and $1,440 for the districts mentioned below.
The filing period runs through Aug. 10. The county elections website lists all open seats and the candidates who have already filed at co.el-dorado.ca.us/elections. Candidate Coordinator Webster can be reached at (530) 621-7490.
El Dorado Hills Fire District
Two of five directors on the El Dorado Hills Fire Board are up for reelection. Incumbent Director John Hidahl, whose board service dates back to 1981, has already filed for another four-year term.
Fellow board member Director Jim Hartley has served three terms, and told Village Life that he plans to file for a fourth.
The El Dorado Hills Firefighter’s Association has historically endorsed a slate of candidates, often including incumbents. The union’s political action committee is currently interviewing candidates for potential endorsement.
A group of citizen watchdogs concerned with the district’s budgetary and fiscal policies is also seeking potential candidates for the two seats, according to spokesperson Dick Callahan.
The El Dorado Hills Fire District Board of Directors meets the third Thursday of the month at 6 p.m., 1050 Wilson Way.
El Dorado Hills CSD
The El Dorado Hills Community Services District is responsible for parks, recreation program, design review and enforcement of covenants, conditions and restrictions. The district is also a franchisee for trash collection and cable TV.
Two of five CSD seats are in play this November. Incumbent Director Noelle Mattock hasn’t filed, but has stated her intent to seek anther term. Director Guy Gertsch hasn’t committed, but reported he’s “strongly considering it.”
Rotarian Bill Tobin has already filed for a seat. Reached by phone, Intel executive and CSD sports activist Don Clark said he planned to file, as did former Fairfield Mayor Chuck Hammond, who narrowly lost to Director Bill Vandegrift two years ago.
The Community Services District meets the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., 1021 Harvard Way.
Buckeye Union School District
The seven schools in the historic Buckeye Union School District serve elementary and middle school students who live in the southern portion of El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park.
The district includes Brooks, Silva Valley and Oak Meadow elementary schools in El Dorado Hills plus Blue Oak and Buckeye elementary schools in Cameron Park and Shingle Springs, respectively.
The opening of Valley View Elementary School in the Blackstone community of El Dorado Hills has been pushed back until more students live in the area, according to Lennar spokesperson Don Barnett, who reported that sales in Blackstone have picked up recently, with roughly 200 homes currently occupied.
The district also includes two middle schools — Rolling Hills in El Dorado Hills and Camerado in Cameron Park.
Two of the five trustees’ terms expire this year — Lyle Eickert and Kirk Seal. Both have served since 2008 and neither have filed for reelection though Eickert told Village Life he’s considering another term. Seal could not be reached.
The board meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m., 4560 Buckeye Road, Shingle Springs.
Rescue Union School District
The Rescue Union School District serves far more El Dorado Hills families than the rural Rescue community for which it is named. The district serves elementary and middle school students in the northern portion of El Dorado Hills, Rescue and Cameron Park.
It includes five elementary schools — Lake Forest, Lakeview, Jackson, Rescue and Green Valley — plus two middle schools — Marina Village and Pleasant Grove.
The district’s southern boundary is shared with Buckeye Union School District, and cuts a jagged line through Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills, between a half mile and 2-plus miles north of Highway 50, from North Shingle Road west to the county line.
Two of the five board trustee’s terms expire this year, Erike Young and Serena Posner. Neither have filed for reelection, but both told Village
Life they plan to seek another term.
Open board meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., 2390 Bass Lake Road.
El Dorado Union High School District
The El Dorado High Union High School District district’s 6,908 students attend Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, El Dorado or Union Mine High School, or one of several alternative schools serving families on the west slope.
Two of the five board members’ terms expire this year. Mary Muse, whose service stretches back to 1995, told Village Life she will stand for reelection. Lori Veerkamp, who’s served on the board since 2004, said she will also run again.
Thus far, one challenger has come forward. Dave Del Rio, the executive director of the El Dorado Council on Alcoholism, has opened a campaign, and told Village Life that a formal filing will follow shortly.
The El Dorado Union High School Board typically meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 4675 Missouri Flat Road. Open session begins at 6 p.m.
Rolling Hills Community Services District
The Rolling Hills CSD was formerly known as Springfield Meadows. It is responsible for roads, parks and landscaping for the Stonebriar, Shadow Hills and Springfield Meadows subdivisions located between White Rock Road and Highway 50.
One board seat is currently vacant and three others are also in play this November. Incumbents Mark Magee, Gordon Fawkes and John Kennedy plan to run for reelection, according to General Manager Chaney Hicks.
Board members hope to fill the current vacancy by appointment, and are currently accepting “letters of interest” from any qualified Rolling Hills resident, she added. Any appointee must stand for reelection in November.
The Rolling Hills CSD meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Rolling Hills Community Church on White Rock Road.