Local elections matter: Crystal Springs Water District

Published on May 8, 2019 as a Letter to the Editor in the Hood River News.

All elections matter, but local elections are particularly important in shaping our community. On May 21, the Special District Election will decide two ballot measures and elect members for District Boards across Hood River County.

There are candidates for most of the many Board positions up for election, which is a tribute to the civic spirit of our community. But there are gaps. These gaps can be filled after the election through Board appointments, but would more organically be filled at election time through write-in campaigns.

Where no one filed for office, the hurdles for electing a write-in candidate are basic. Besides being eligible for the position (requirements vary with the specific Board), candidates must receive a modest threshold of correctly spelled write-in votes (and more votes than any eventual competition).

I would like to encourage write-in campaigns for all positions without official candidates—and more specifically for the Crystal Springs Water District (CSWD), where there are only two candidates for three positions.

Besides avoiding a post-election appointment of one of the three positions, a successful write-in campaign could help raise awareness for CSWD’s evolving infrastructure and strategies, and for their implications on consumers.

CSWD is in the midst of a major and much needed upgrade of a seriously outdated and aged water distribution infrastructure. The goal is a more resilient and versatile system, with strategically located water storage reserves, drastically reduced water leakage, easier maintenance, and expanded water quality monitoring. These are all important benefits for the community, but they come at increasing costs for consumers.

The balance between service and cost, and associated implementation priorities, are among the impactful decisions facing the CSWD Board—now and into the foreseeable future. Consider bringing your voice and ideas to the table, through a thoughtful write-in campaign.

— Antonio Baptista

Disclaimer: Antonio Baptista is a Commissioner at Crystal Springs Water District, whose term runs through 2021. The opinions expressed are his, and do not purport to represent CSWD or its Board of Commissioners.

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