Wednesday, April 16, 2014

EID candidates: Jake Flesher, Division 4

From page A1 | September 11, 2013 | 14 Comments



Running in El Dorado Irrigation District Division 4 is Jake Flesher, 39. His campaign Website is

A resident of El Dorado Hills, Flesher received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his law degree from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. He previously worked as a deputy district attorney in Ventura County before moving up to El Dorado County nine years ago. He now is a partner, owner and manager of a law firm with offices in Folsom and San Francisco.

Flesher said he understands the importance of water issues after working as a farmer in Kern County for a year before entering law school. As a business owner, he says he knows what it takes to make payroll, to run a company and be successful at it.

What sparked his interest initially in running for the EID board was the rate hike information he received. Later it hit home personally when he was serving on the board of the El Dorado Hills Little League and the president told them they would have to raise field rates, in part, because of rising water rates. “That really got me interested in what was going on,” he said. ”When I saw a district position was opening up, rather than complain I decided to do something about it.”

Flesher said as a board member he hopes to stop further rate hikes. “EID has planned for an 11 (percent) increase this year and next. There is also the issue of debt and spending. What I bring to the table is someone who is fiscally responsible, has a business mind and can approach things from the perspective of Division 4 voters.”

As far as what separates him from his opponent, Flesher said there is a generational difference. “My opponent has lived in this county as long as I’ve been alive,” he said. There are more and more families with children and I’m a better representative of these folks. I also didn’t hear him say it, but I don’t intend to take any health benefits or stipend that comes with being a board member. You can’t ask people to cut things at EID without making cuts yourself. ”

As far as the biggest challenges facing EID, Flesher says it is debt. ”They have, depending on who you talk to, $390 to $450 million of debt. That’s a lot of debt. My solution is to have a moratorium on new debt. That would be my immediate goal when I get in. Let’s not take on any more debt until we have a plan to reduce the debt we have.”

Admitting he has not attended many board meetings, Flesher said he has instead listened to tapes and one of the things he’d propose is setting times so working people can attend and give input at board meetings. “The public needs to be heard on things like rate issues,” he said.

Saying he is interested foremost in programs or approaches that help rein in the debt, he proposed sitting down with the general manager and establishing a budget. There have to be priority levels within that budget with the top priority being the health and safety of ratepayers, he said. Next would be regulatory compliance issues so the district doesn’t get hit with fines. Rather than build our budget around projects we’d like to get done, we need to approach it from the perspective of funding just the top priorities, he added.

Flesher admits some cuts might have to be made to the organization but he said he hasn’t studied the issue enough to say what they would be. “In any organization you have to pull your own weight. EID should not be a jobs or works project.”

As for the issue of excess capacity and water rights, Flesher said EID currently sells only about half of its water. He believes it’s because EID anticipated a demand for water that never materialized due to the housing bubble.

“Building for growth that never happened is a big factor in the level of debt and rates we have,” he said. As for protecting the district’s water rights, he suggested using the water rights the district currently has such as Folsom Lake with its 17,000 acre feet. “Project 184 water is pretty solid in terms of water rights,” he added, “so let’s use Folsom Lake water to the extent we can and think about options for Project 184 water to create some revenue.”

Circling back to his main theme of debt, Flesher noted that before the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy, its debt service was 25 percent of revenue. “EID, depending on the number you look at — 25 percent of it goes to debt service. If you look at just the ratepayer’s portion, it’s more like 32 percent,” he said, noting he has some very serious concerns about its future.

“I have two children and don’t want to exploit them for this. But I want this to be a place where they want to come back here to live. And I want them to be able to afford to live here. And to the extent that I can start working on things now to make that possible, even if a small part is stepping up and helping on an irrigation district, then it’s my hope that I can do that. I know there are a lot of ratepayers out there that think the same thing — they’d like their kids to live near them and they want to make it so they can afford to live here.”

In his closing comments, Flesher added, “Something I’m learning in this whole process is that there are several counties here. There’s the ag community, there’s Placerville — and it’s different from Cameron Park and Tahoe. But it’s a great place to live. It’s diverse and there are a lot of great people here. A lot of different people, but a lot of great people.”

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


Discussion | 14 comments

  • MorrisSeptember 10, 2013 - 11:57 pm

    No, really, that didn't sound scripted at all. What a tool. A JD from EDH.. So actually more of a Power Tool talking out his neck with his respectful nod towards capturing the Senior vote. Nice junior. So what you are really saying is that your opponent has 39 more years of experience than you? Did your one year of farming and two full years actually being a civil servant help being about such maturity? And here's a news flash for ya Scooter: The vast majority of the REAL El Dorado County looks a lot more like your opponent than you. Perhaps after you have earned a few years under your belt the arrogance towards Seniors might soften. Until such time, it seems junior is All Hat No Cattle.

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  • ElenaSeptember 11, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    Wow, what a snide remark for an attorney to make implying someone's age. Highly unethical. Dr. Coco in my opinion, is a better candidate because he has the time and desire to attend current board meetings, while Flescher admittedly has not been able to go to EID meetings. Additionally Dr. Coco is a better candidate than Flescher because Dr. Coco has committed to attending the regional water meetings in California, which is invaluable to our community. Dr. Coco is well versed on all aspects of water issues and a much better candidate because of the wealth of information he brings to the EID board. Dr. Coco mentioned that he delivered babies as a physician. I'd say that makes him a caring and long range decision maker for the future of our children in this County. Dr. Coco is a superior candidate by leaps over Flescher. Thank you Dr. Coco for running for EID office.

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  • cpresidentSeptember 11, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    The last thing we need on the board is a talking hat with no experience from EDH. He has no clue what he is talking about, and its sad that this is the best we can get from a community that prides itself partly on the quality of its citizens. Really how available would he be to the citizens of his district when he is juggling two law offices. No thanks, I'll pass.

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  • favinaSeptember 11, 2013 - 6:15 pm

    I am actually appalled at all of your comments regarding a new,fresh,perspective on EDH's problems. Wouldn't it be best to actually LISTEN to what this gentleman has to say and not attack someone based solely on their age? If this is a community in need,then why on earth are all of you acting so selfishly by bashing a new candidate??????? Shame on you. I think Mr. Flesher is EXACTLY what we need.

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  • ElenaSeptember 12, 2013 - 8:04 am

    To Favina, your logic is illogical. Flescher said, “My opponent has lived in this county as long as I’ve been alive..." A direct implication that Flescher's younger age implies somehow being a better representative. That is what is appalling about Flescher. That has nothing to do with his running for office. What is appalling is that Flescher thinks that maturity implies less qualification for the position. Flescher should know by now that being younger doesn't make one a better representative. And to say it out loud is very appalling to anyone. Senior citizens have so much to offer and the remark from Flescher is deeply offensive to seniors. Additionally I went to the Tea Party meeting and listened to both candidates and Dr. Coco was vastly more versed on water issues and has the commitment and time to attend the regional water meetings. Flescher can't even make it to the EID meetings...which he himself admits. Additionally, even Flexcher provides information that he runs two law firms, and with family obligations doesn't appear to me, that he has the time to devote to EID. Dr. Coco does. And in addition, when I listened to Dr. Coco he was so well versed on water issues at EID and regionally. He is a far superior candidate in every way. And he has lived in this County and has knowledge of its it's history while Flescher is a new comer. It is logical to conclude that Dr. Coco is the best candidate for this very important EID elected position.

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  • EvelynSeptember 12, 2013 - 8:22 am

    Elena: Having had the opportunity recently to spend some time with Dr. Coco -- an occasion upon which he was rather intensely grilled!!! -- I'd say you're doing a great job of representing the candidate I met. Keep it up.

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  • So sad, too badSeptember 12, 2013 - 8:44 am

    Too bad all you Democrat commenters can't vote in the Division 4 election. Your man Coco is a fine man but he's just another bureaucrat and not a leader. He would be a go along, get along ally of special interest-loving George Osborne and Bill George on the EID board. Division 4 voters are fed up with special interests driving up rates for the people paying EID's inflated bills. So sad, too bad, but Coco is toast in this election.

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  • MorrisNovember 07, 2013 - 12:26 am

    @so sad too bad: Will that be white or wheat with your crow and cheese omelette?

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 07, 2013 - 7:10 am

    So sad too bad...I really like Mr. Osborne and his wife. Be nice. He is part of Camino/Pollock. He has done some really good things for our water do enjoy water coming through your faucet dont you? Sly Park, flumes repaired, The dam being supported...lots of good stuff. All the meetings he comes to up here--because people dont read the piles of reports each time EID comes...I think he lives water issues. And no--I am not personal friends with the family. I do go to meetings ,listen, read, and talk to people. Water is more precious than gold.

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  • EvelynSeptember 12, 2013 - 9:20 am

    sad/bad: I'm not sure of the meaning you assign to "Democrat commenters". (1) Mt. Dem, or (2) Democratic party? If (2), I'm not that. But more importantly, please would you support your statement that Dr. Coco is "just another bureaucrat and not a leader" and that "He would be a go along, get along ally of special [interests]". That would be important information for voters to have.

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  • ElenaSeptember 12, 2013 - 11:29 am

    So sad, too bad: your opening remark: "Too bad all you Democrat commenters can't vote in the Division 4 election " what an absolutely illogical thing to start off saying! Being a local newspaper reader is a smart thing to least most people would think so. I'm proud to be a Mountain Democrat reader and participant. How can you logically say that commentators here on this site can't vote?! Dr. Coco is a superior candidate hands down and never once diminished his opponent. While I observed Flescher both in person and in his above article take unethical shots at Dr. Coco. It left a bad after taste to the audience. And displays for all to see Flescher's unethical way of thinking and behavior. We citizens need ethical people in elected office and Dr. Coco is impeccable in his style of treating other people while having a vast knowledge of water issues both at EID and the region. Dr. Coco has the time, dedication and desire to serve on the EID. We are lucky to have a candidate of Dr. Coco's caliber.

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  • ElenaSeptember 12, 2013 - 12:07 pm

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  • EDH momSeptember 12, 2013 - 5:11 pm

    Elena, what's illogical here is that you can't even spell the candidate's name that you are trying to misrepresent. It's FLESHER. Thank you

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  • Phil VeerkampSeptember 12, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    . . . and besides all that, EDH mom, Jake certainly wins th' "hunk factor". . . . by far . . . way more hunkier . . . not even close . . .

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