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Local News

Ducharme, Roberts, Orozco Win Carpinteria Water Board Race

Only one incumbent retained their seat in the race

With the majority of the Carpinteria Valley Water District’s board seats — three — up for grabs for the first time in recent memory,  Lynn Ducharme, Matt Roberts and Alonzo Orozco came out victorious.

Incumbents James Drain, Fred Lemere and Roberts faced three challengers — Ducharme, Orozco and Clay Brown — in competing for three open seats. Orozco snuck by Brown in the home stretch.

Ducharme tallied 2,163 votes, or 22.30 percent, followed by Roberts with 1,898 votes, or 19.42 percent, and Orozco with 1,683 votes, or 17.35 percent. Brown was in fourth with 1,664 votes, or 17.15 percent, followed by Lemere with 1,157 votes, or 11.93 percent, and Drain with 1,115 votes, or 11.41 percent.

Lemere is president of the Carpinteria Valley Water District, and Roberts is the City of Carpinteria’s Parks and Recreation director.

Lemere and Drain voted for Measure J in June, an initiative that would have allowed Venoco Inc. to drill oil reservoirs offshore despite negative feedback from a preliminary environmental review. It concluded that the drilling could jeopardize Carpinteria’s groundwater supplies. Roberts, along with 70 percent of the voters, did not endorse the measure.

The challengers opposed the high price of Carpinteria water, although that hasn’t changed for years, continually boasting some of the highest prices statewide. Yet, most of the district’s customers received slightly reduced bills this year.

The district spent millions of dollars on mandatory water quality enhancements and maintaining an increased supply of State Water. The board voted in 1990 to add 2,000 acre-feet a year of State Water, even though the city has used hardly any during the past 20 years. The actions led to $100 million of debt.

Noozhawk intern Alex Kacik is a graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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