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Placer water election heating up as final candidate deadline ends

Former Placer County Water Agency director to take on ex-Auburn mayor
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - The roster of local-election candidates in the Auburn area will be completed Wednesday – the deadline prospective office holders are under to file for posts where incumbents have decided not to run again. For the Placer County Water Agency, Wednesday’s 5 p.m. final filing deadline appears to be the start of a two-candidate race that will pit ex-Auburn mayor Cheryl Maki against former agency board member Otis Wollan of Colfax for the Division 5 seat. The Water Agency’s Division 5 has been realigned by re-districting to take in the city of Auburn, allowing Maki – who has also been a state Regional Water Quality Board appointee – to vie for a post that current Director Ben Mavy is not seeking re-election to. Mavy defeated Wollan four years ago in the sprawling eastern Placer district but said Tuesday that he plans to relocate to the Jackson area of Wyoming immediately after his current term ends. Wollan, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, filed his papers to run with the Placer County elections division on Friday – the regular filing deadline for races where an incumbent is running. That move surprised Maki, who said she had contacted Wollan about seeking his support in an election but had not heard back from him. Wollan served on the agency board for more than two decades before losing to Mavy four years ago. Maki, co-owner of Auburn’s Maki Heating and Air Conditioning, said that water has always been an important issue for her and as the Water Agency moves forward with Middle Fork relicensing with the federal government, she can provide valuable experience in managing and budgeting revenues generated by the project. Maki added that keeping water rates low is an important mission of the agency. “That was the intention 50 years ago – to keep water local and keep us fiscally sound,” Maki said. Neither Maki nor Wollan will be getting the backing of Mavy. “I considered staying and running against her,” Mavy said. “I’m not a big fan. And I’m surprised he (Wollan) is throwing his hat in the ring.” Mavy said he still held out hope that Josh Alpine, a Colfax City Council member who has taken out nomination papers but not returned them, would enter the race. Alpine, like other prospective candidates in races where incumbents have not filed to run again, has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to do so at the elections division North Auburn office. The Water Agency’s other two potential elections were closed to candidates on Friday. Incumbent Mike Lee of Loomis will retain his Division 3 seat. Another director, Lowell Jarvis of Newcastle, chose not to run again after redistricting placed both supervisors in the same district. Robert Dugan of Roseville is not an incumbent but was the only candidate filing by last Friday in Division 4, which had no incumbent inside its boundaries. Other closely watched local elections, with filing closures last Friday, include Auburn City Council’s and the Auburn Recreation District’s. Incumbent Auburn City Council members Bill Kirby and Keith Nesbitt are seeking re-election while Old Town business owner Gary Moffat is vying for election. All three Auburn Recreation District board members who are up for re-election are running again. Directors Jim Gray, Gordy Ainsleigh and Jim Ferris are being challenged by Auburn insurance agent Monique Margaux. Offices still looking for candidates The list of area offices still open for candidates through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15, includes: - Placer County Board of Education District 2 - Ackerman Charter School District (Bowman) - Auburn Union School District - Foresthill Union School District - Placer Hills Union School District - Colfax City Council - Placer Hills Fire Protection District - Foresthill Public Utility District Source: Placer County Elections