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Candidate Hardly Shakes Up Water Board Race : Mystery Surrounds Another Elvis

Times Staff Writer

Where’s Elvis?

Inquiring minds wanted to know Saturday as a Westlake Village water board election campaign entered its final days.

Elvis Press is one of three candidates for a Las Virgenes Municipal Water District seat up for grabs on Nov. 8. But Elvis Presley couldn’t have been more elusive, as far as voters in the district’s sprawling Division 4 are concerned.

Residents said Press failed to attend the campaign’s only water board candidates’ forum, held earlier this month at a Westlake Village mobile home park.

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Water officials said he has not been seen at their Calabasas headquarters.

Press has avoided repeated requests for interviews since qualifying with Los Angeles County elections officials for a spot on the ballot.

At his home on Saturday, his wife said he was out of town. But one of his sons said he was at the family’s business in Westlake Village. And at that office, another son said Press was home asleep.

Could he have been at a Burger King in Kalamazoo, Mich., where the other Elvis, who died in 1977, was supposedly last seen in May?

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‘Nobody’s Seen Him’

“Elvis is dead, isn’t he?” asked Westlake Village’s incumbent water board member, George Long. “He is, as far as I’m concerned.”

Long, a retired banker, is seeking election to a fifth 4-year term. He said his reelection platform calls for further extension of Las Virgenes’ reclaimed water lines to golf courses and greenbelts at the county’s western end.

Candidate Steve Gavin, who is Long’s other challenger, said he hasn’t seen Elvis, either.

“Nobody’s seen him,” said Gavin, a senior aeronautical engineer who is campaigning for better use of reclaimed water and for changes in Las Virgenes’ water rate structure.

Elections officials said Elvis--who is also known as Henry Goodheart Press--did not pay to have a campaign statement included with sample ballots mailed to the about 5,200 Division 4 voters living in Westlake Village and parts of Agoura Hills and Malibu.

He is listed on the ballot as a “cleanwater environmentalist.” One of his sons said Saturday that Press is “concerned about chemicals in water.”

“Normally candidates show up for board meetings for a couple of months so they can talk about issues,” said Harold Helsley, Las Virgenes board member. “I’ve never seen him at a board meeting or civic function that I know of.”

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