El Dorado Hills accountant, Little League mom and Tea Party conservative Terry Crumpley has thrown her three-cornered hat into the ring as a candidate for the El Dorado Hills Community Services District Board of Directors.
The self-employed CPA has become a familiar face in local meetings “where others make decisions that affect our lives,” she said. “And the really sad thing is that most people don’t even know those meetings are happening.”
Crumpley wants to change that. She sees the Tea Party and similar organizations — even those of the opposite ideology — as essential to creating the “informed electorate,” which founding fathers felt was essential for a democracy to flourish.
One way to inform the masses is at public meetings, and Crumpley’s attended them for the last four years, from Capitol Avenue in Sacramento to Fair Lane in Placerville. But the majority of her meeting time has been logged between Cameron Park and El Dorado Hills.
Another vehicle for advancing ideas and ideologies is the world-wide web. Crumpley builds websites and has created a beauty for her campaign, terryforedhcsd.com. She said she also a firmly believes in social media, with the Facebook page and Twitter followers to prove it. Local electeds who don’t follow suit fail to engage their constituencies, she said.
Her website includes the normal biographical chest-thumping but also dives deeper, delivering insightful observations about El Dorado Hills and a list of commitments.
Some are commonplace. During the campaign everyone vows to listen. Other Crumpley commitments are less prosaic, including a promise not to micro-manage the staff, a common practice in shrinking agencies, especially those with long-standing management vacancies hungry for operational leadership.
Crumpley blames much of the budgetary grief local agencies have experienced in recent years on the fact that their boards lack the financial expertise to make informed decisions, and yield to emotional appeals. “As a CPA I bring the experience to make those tough decisions,” she said.
Buried in her website, under “What I hope to achieve,” is a EDHCSD budget chart that reveals expenses come up nearly $400,000 short of projected revenues for 2012-13. Crumpley questions the $1.2 million budgeted in the muddy water of legal, professional and contract services, and promises to shine a bright light into the dark if elected.
Further down are goals for herself and the board which emphasize improved communications.
Her website and her recent appearance before the Tea Party Patriots of El Dorado Hills made it clear that candidate Crumpley believes in the principles of constitutionally limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility, and wants the CSD to follow suit.
Those beliefs led her to help found the Diamond Springs-based Tea Party in the Hills and, more recently, co-found the Cameron Park-based Sierra Foothills Tea Party: Citizens in Action.
Recapping her conservative credentials before the El Dorado Hills crown, she said, “I would have started one here but you guys beat me to it.”
Crumpley remains active with all three groups, and counts the members as some of her best friends. “I’ve gotten to know the issues and I’ve met a lot of kind, generous people who care about this country.”
Crumpley lives with her husband Scott and their three children in the Hills of El Dorado subdivision, east of Bass Lake Road near the Cameron Park border. She initially attended the Cameron Park CSD meetings because her son’s Little League played on its fields. Her husband serves on the Little League board.
How does she fit all that activism in with her business and family responsibilities? “Sometimes I don’t,” she concedes. “I try to delegate, but the only people I’d want to do these things are just as busy as me.”
She’s gotten on her soap box in recent years, challenging friends and neighbors to get more involved in local government. The campaign is her way of “putting my money where my mouth is,” she said.
Crumpley cites the current ruckus over the state fire prevention fee as a prime example of what can happen when the public isn’t engaged. She recalls a legislative hearing in Sacramento on the fee. “Ten of us went and we were the only ones there.”
Despite her fiscal frugality, she doesn’t advocate the cessation of all spending at the CSD. “We need to continue investing in what we’ve got, and be prudent with our future spending,” she explained.
Any new projects should be deemed worthy by the community and be financially viable, Crumpley added.
Crumpley would like to see the CSD adopt revenue generation strategies that target non-residents who enjoy CSD activities and events. She suggested a non-resident parking fee.
She confirmed the need for athletic fields and, as a Little League mom, has witnessed the competition for fields and resulting divisiveness. The candidate called for cooperation between El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park stakeholders to build either the long-dormant Bass Lake Regional Park or an expansion of Sellwood Park in eastern Serrano.
She devoured interim General Manager Rich Rodriguez’s farewell gift to the district, the expansive Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis, which, among other things, questions the CSD’s well-intentioned but often ineffective enforcement of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.
“We have to ask ourselves if we want to be in that business,” she said. “These days, homeowners associations typically do it.”
Despite the fact that she enjoyed a home-field advantage, of sorts, during the first candidate forum, the CPA was nervous before the meeting. She reviewed her talking points and reflected on the courage of the candidate.
“You know, it would be a whole lot safer to stay at home and curl up in the corner,” she joked. “But I couldn’t live with myself if I did that, not any more.”