Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Prada and Coco win EID seats

EID winners 1108

From page A1 | November 08, 2013 | 18 Comments

In a campaign in which the candidates often seemed to be running more against the district than against each other, two new members have been elected to the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors.

In Division 2, retired CEO Greg Prada won out over retired analyst Richard Englefield, 59 percent to 39 percent.

In Division 4, Dr. Dale Coco won over attorney Jake Flesher, 58 percent to 42 percent.

Prada said he didn’t expect the campaign to be driven so much by money, saying his opponent outspent him 6 to 1. But he said his prior involvement with EID as a volunteer and writing articles about the district helped give him name recognition with voters.

“I”m looking forward to serving on the board as the ratepayers’ representative,” said Prada, adding he plans to influence certain changes. “The big thing I differ with the board is on spending practices. They think they have cut spending to the bone, but I feel there’s a lot more that could and should be done, especially on the administrative side and in how they prioritize projects. I’m just one board member, but that will be my agenda. My priorities are to be cost prudent and see what the implications are for rates. Moving back the debt offering was the reason why EID could push back 6 points off rate hikes. But more can be done if costs are scrutinized, on the overhead side in particular. It’s clear-cut to me that less administrative expenses are needed and could give some rate relief in 2014.”

Promising to “roll up his sleeves and do his utmost to help the ratepayers and represent them on the EID board,” Prada said meetings will be longer in the future and more consideration will be given to ratepayers in board decisions.

The other winner in the election was Dr. Coco.

“I’m honored and somewhat humbled by the fact that I now have the responsibility for a lot of people,” he said. “For providing affordable, clean water to them and taking care of their wastewater and taking care of their needs. I feel the same responsibility towards EID and its constituency that I did towards my patients. That’s a big responsibility and a humbling thing.”

Coco said there were two major factors that helped him win over Flesher. First were his credentials and experience in administration and leading cost containment projects. “I have a reputation for credibility and integrity in the county,” he said. The second major factor was the coalition he was able to put together. “It was unprecedented in this county and people are still talking about it,” he added. He said he received support, donations and endorsements from slow-growth advocates, Parker Development, small businesses and individuals, the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, Realtors, activists, the agricultural community and farmers, wineries and winery owners.

“All factions and stakeholders were part of this coalition, many of whom had never cooperated before,” added Coco. “Flesher, on the other hand, had a narrow base while mine covered all aspects of the county.”

Coco said the coalition is part of his vision for the county as being all-inclusive. “One of the reasons I was successful was my ability to bring people together, build a consensus and move things forward and that’s what I intend to do. And I want to keep that coalition together for the greater good of the county.”

As far as his immediate priorities, he acknowledged he’s on the front end of a steep learning curve. “I want to learn everything about EID, meet its employees, see its operations and learn how things are done,” he said. “Then I intend to do what I said I would during my campaign: make EID make more cost-effective and improve or increase quality. I will also try to freeze rates during my term of office.

“Long-term my goal is to make EID energy self-sufficient in 10 to 15 years. Doing all that includes retooling Project 184, securing the district’s water rights and making EID as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

“I also want to thank all my volunteers, endorsers and supporters and those who donated,” said Coco. “I received a lot of individual donations with some donating beyond their means. It is extremely gratifying to have that support from ratepayers.”

The candidates coming in second also commented on the election returns.

Sounding almost relieved it was over, Jake Flesher said he was gratified by the support he received. He also congratulated Coco for “the coalition he put together and for running an admirable campaign based on the issues.”

Joking that “people like doctors more than they do lawyers,” Flesher said on paper he and Coco were similar in many of their positions but he felt his opponent had the edge in the level of financial support he received and the way he framed the issues. “I want to thank everyone who walked precincts and made phone calls on behalf of my campaign,” he said. “I wish Coco and Greg the best of luck in working with EID.”

Richard Englefield, on the other hand, was upset by his failure to win a seat, saying the money he received from home builders hurt his campaign. But it costs a lot to live in the county, insisted Englefield, and that’s because there’s a lack of people paying into the service. “Less density means higher utility bills. If that’s what they want when they talk about stopping building, they need to understand it comes with a cost. But people don’t want to hear the truth.

“Greg won because he has been sandpapering EID’s bottom for three years and apparently people like to see that,” continued Englefield. “But ratepayers are going to find out the hard way it’s going to cost them.

“I was running on the truth and I found out people just don’t want to hear the truth. They want to be lied to. They love it.”

Englefield maintains that rather than working with developers to lower the density of proposed projects, some people just want to shut down entire projects. “Water and sewer rates are going to continue to go up, but they don’t want to hear it. I’m so glad I didn’t lie and he (Greg) did,” Englefield said.

Saying that Prada didn’t report all the expenses of his campaign, especially the cost of his signs, Englefield said he was turned off by how often people ignore the laws governing elections and by how little enforcement there is of the laws.

He also complained about misinformation among the public, citing one example of a woman who claimed the Board of Directors held meetings in the Bahamas. “Since running for public office and meeting more people,” he said, “I love my dog even more.”

Staff with the El Dorado County Elections Department said approximately 550 votes remain to be counted or recounted with the final results of the election certified by the end of next week if not sooner. However, those votes won’t affect the outcome of the EID election.

The new directors begin their terms Dec. 6.

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


Discussion | 18 comments

  • Phil VeerkampNovember 06, 2013 - 3:25 pm

    I expect that Mr. Englefield's candid, straight-up assessment of Prada's victory will be characterized by some with words such as discourteous, ill-mannered, inconsiderate, rude, thoughtless, uncalled-for, uncivil, ungracious, unmannerly, sullen, imperious, superior or even boorish. So be it. Prada played a pretty pipe, and the voters liked the tune. Richard told the truth. The voters bought something else.

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  • Un-PhilNovember 06, 2013 - 9:33 pm

    Can someone limit Phil Veerkamp's editorial comments to 15 per week or less? Phil's comments are typically pompous, condensending, and caustic. And constant. Phil is fortunate that his day job doesn't keep you too busy, as he has logged literally hundreds of editorial comments. Certainly the rest of us are growing tired of seeing yet another Phil comment. Let the other voices rise.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 06, 2013 - 9:48 pm

    I'll ship out a gallon of monitor ink to everybody requesting to join in.

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  • James E.November 06, 2013 - 9:41 pm

    Phil, you and Un-Phil don't seem to be getting along. Perhaps a lunch meeting to iron out your differences? Myself, I like your comments, even the leading questions you throw at me over Iraq and other subjects.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 06, 2013 - 10:13 pm

    Thank you, James. At least your rebuttal to my blather is more substantial than, "Shut him up".

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  • Fran DuchampNovember 06, 2013 - 10:34 pm

    Just checking in to say hello...Phil...are you playing nice? I like your comments...makes the wall interesting. Maybe you ll even get the chance to say "I told you so." We will have to wait and see. Hello James :) And with that good night.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 06, 2013 - 10:38 pm

    Fran, some of my "arrows" have produced a few "yelps". But that's nice. So, yes. I'm playing nice.

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  • cookie65November 07, 2013 - 3:14 pm

    Phil, I have a new word for you. It is a description of everything obama has touched. The word is "ymehcla".

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil VeerkampNovember 07, 2013 - 3:33 pm

    Cookie, I'm missing something about your new word. Educationed was easy. Ymehcla is . . . uh . . . I don't get it. ~~~ LINK - Ymehcla

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 07, 2013 - 7:26 pm

    Cookie, I give up. Help.

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  • cookie65November 08, 2013 - 3:57 am

    Phil, alchemy spelled backwards. Gold into lead.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 08, 2013 - 7:37 am

    I liked my "toxic code" theory better, Cookie.

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  • Rosco_P_ColtrainNovember 08, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    Fer Kry'in out loud! All you folks that kan't get along an konsistently insult and badgur won anothur, giv it a rest! Howza bout you all challunge yersevles to a gun dual n weed yerselfes out of yer own hatrud. Jeezz! And iff'n yer afrayed of guns, hav a game ov Scrabule and let the winnur be the winnur and not the wyhner heere.

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  • James E.November 07, 2013 - 3:23 pm

    Cookie, you are indeed our former of words.

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  • James E.November 07, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    Phil, it's easy. Ymehcia. Y me h CIA. Oh, I don't get it either.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 07, 2013 - 3:56 pm

    I get it now, James. It's a short string of toxic code excised from the ACA web site. There are dump trucks and garbage cans full of such elements of toxic code. This one blew out as this load went down the road and landed on Cookie's front porch.

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  • James E.November 07, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    Phil, it's a good thing it didn't land on Cookie. Now, Phil, please disregard the following because it involves scotch whisky. My wife went shopping this afternoon. Now she lied to me, but it was a white lie (like President Obama). She always lies when she tells me she is only going to one store because she always goes to three or four stores. So, when she returned I told her I was about to send out the bloodhounds to look for her. To get on my right side, she bought me a bottle of Glenmorangie. I told her she could go shopping every afternoon from now on. No Dee, I won't drink this in one night. It should last me for five plus years. I have good whisky that has been in my cabinet for more than a decade plus. Except for the first sentence, consider this color commentary.

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  • Glad he lostNovember 18, 2013 - 11:22 am

    Two good canidates electected, and one sore looser... Why is it that when Rich looses its always someone elses fault??? And as he states he was going to raise the prices ???? Truth ???

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