By Andrea Swayne
Dick Dietmeier, Rick Erkeneff and Wayne Rayfield will fill the three open seats on the South Coast Water District Board of Directors.
The trio held onto the top three spots throughout Election Night, but the close race saw them trade places a few times as the votes were tallied.
It wasn’t until the Orange County Registrar’s Office posted the second to last unofficial results at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday that the order of the top three was determined.
Dietmeier rose from second to first with 4,916 votes (19.1 percent) and Erkeneff from third to second
with 4,757 votes (18.4 percent). And, after spending a majority of the evening in the first-place spot, Rayfield ended in third with 4,678 votes (18.1 percent).
Gary “Water Watch Dog” Langdale came in fourth with 3,887 votes (15.1 percent), followed by Joel Bishop, 3,804 votes (14.7 percent) and Richard Gardner with 3,748 votes (14.5 percent).
After missing out on reelection to the board at the last election, Dietmeier was pleased to have claimed the majority of votes and is looking forward to returning to work on the board.
“I had a good team of people helping me with my campaign and we had a sense that the vote would go well. I had no idea it would turn out as well as it did. It was quite a surprise,” Dietmeier said. “I am
attending a meeting on Thursday and am excited to get back to work.”
Incumbent board member Rayfield said he is not only pleased to have a chance to work with Dietmeier again but also to welcome newcomer Erkeneff on to the board.
“I’d like to thank all of those who supported me,” said Rayfield. “It’s time for us to get on with the business of doing our best to control costs, find solutions to reducing our dependence on imported water and to further our conservation efforts. I’d also like to thank all of our customers who have done such a good job, to date, with conservation.”
Erkeneff agrees heartily with the need to expand the District’s conservation efforts and said he is looking forward to making a contribution as a director.
“I am very pleased with the outcome of the election and think the makeup of the board is strong. The whole slate was strong and the result would have made for a strong board no matter how the vote unfolded, but I am happy the public saw the value in electing me to the board. I still have a lot to learn, as everyone else has decades of experience. Their experience is a really valuable asset,” Erkeneff said. “I think the timing was right for someone like me. My perspective is really pushing conservation and protection of our resources. I think that helped in my campaign and I will continue to pursue conservation in homes, commercially and within city infrastructure. Overuse is still apparent and conservation is important to reducing our dependence on imported water as well as controlling costs related to our imported resources.”
SOUTH COAST WATER DISTRICT RESULTS
Number to Vote for: 3
Completed Precincts: 30 of 30
Vote count, percentage
DICK DIETMEIER 4,916 19.1%
RICK ERKENEFF 4,757 18.4%
WAYNE RAYFIELD 4,678 18.1%
GARY LANGDALE 3,887 15.1%
JOEL BISHOP 3,804 14.7%
RICHARD GARDNER 3,748 14.5%