Water Board Tilts Left
Lewis’s victory sends deep ripples through local water politics.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Three pizzas, six orders of wings and potatoes, four cinnamon poppers: Brenda Lewis, the newest member of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board, gauges her election-night crowd by the quantity of food consumed. About 40 people, she concludes.
The May 3 party at Me-N-Ed’s Pizzeria is as powerful as it is hungry. Among Lewis’ supporters: Campaign manager George Riley of Citizens for Public Water; attorneys Michael Stamp and Molly Erickson, who are litigating against the county over the regional desal project; eco-activist Kay Cline of Sustainable Seaside; water board member Kristi Markey, chief of staff to Supervisor Jane Parker; and Helen Rucker of Citizens for Transparency in Government, who helped oust 16-year Seaside City Council veteran Tom Mancini last November.
Mancini was replaced by Alvin Edwards, who then vacated his water board seat – which Mancini and Lewis competed to fill.
That so many have rallied behind Lewis, a relative unknown, reflects the tie-breaking power of the Division 1 seat. Three of the seven seated board members lean toward slow-growth politics, the other three toward business interests.
While Mancini’s campaign had about $13,600 in contributions – mostly from construction unions, real estate and hospitality groups – Lewis had $3,100 from six supporters, with $1,000 from Citizens for Transparency.
About a quarter of the 7,790 eligible voters, mostly in Seaside, returned their mail-only ballots by the May 3 deadline. The semi-final tally: 65 to 35 percent.
“We’re gonna see what the recount looks like,” Mancini says, referring to the Election Department’s standard procedure of manually recounting one precinct. “That’s about all I can say.”