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Election 2018: Meet the candidates for Mesa Water District board

Election 2018: Meet the candidates for Mesa Water District board
Candidates for the Mesa Water District board are, from left, Marice DePasquale, Shawn Dewane and Anna Vrska. Not pictured: Ryan James Ferryman. (Courtesy Photos)

Two board seats are up for grabs in November in the Mesa Water District, which provides service to about 110,000 people in Costa Mesa, parts of Newport Beach and sections of unincorporated Orange County.

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Mesa Water elects its board members by voting divisions, meaning each member is chosen by voters who live in the particular area the member represents.

A third Mesa Water seat was scheduled to be on the ballot this year, but that race was canceled when no one challenged Division 4 incumbent Jim Atkinson, the current board president. As a result, Atkinson — who has been on the board since 1998 — will serve an additional four-year term.

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The Daily Pilot sent a questionnaire to the candidates to get a better idea of who they are, why they’re running and what issues they feel are most pressing. Some responses have been edited for formatting, brevity or clarity.

Division 3 candidate Ryan James Ferryman did not respond.

Division 3

Covers northern Costa Mesa, including the Halecrest neighborhood and South Coast Metro.

Marice DePasquale (incumbent)

Age: 48

Professional occupation: Public affairs consultant

Education: Bachelor’s in political science, UC Irvine

Time lived in Costa Mesa: 22 years

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Pentridge Cove, 21 years

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Mesa Water District board since 2017; UC Irvine School of Social Sciences Dean’s Board of Counselors; Girl Scouts; Kinship/Canyon Acres foster and adoption nonprofit; St. John the Baptist Church festival committee; Pentridge Cove II Homeowners Assn.; Huntington Beach Affordable Housing Committee; Building Industry Assn.

Immediate family members: Husband Gregg

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?

1. Local control and 100% locally sourced water: By providing local water at one-third the cost of imported water, ratepayers save.

2. Low rates for households and businesses in Costa Mesa: Conservative money management and strong financial controls provide savings for taxpayers and keep rates low and fair.

3. Safe drinking water for all: Since the creation of Mesa Water in 1960, there have been no reportable water-quality issues.

Ryan James Ferryman

Did not respond.

Division 5

Includes lower Eastside Costa Mesa and portions of the city’s downtown and Westside.

Shawn Dewane (incumbent)

Age: 55

Professional occupation: Dewane Investment Strategies, investment management consultant

Education: Bachelor’s of science, Arizona State University; Master’s in business administration, Pepperdine University

Time lived in Costa Mesa: 18 years

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Eastside, 18 years

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Mesa Water District board since 2005; Orange County Water District; adjunct faculty, Pepperdine University; Costa Mesa Finance Committee; Orange County Employees Retirement System; Water Advisory Committee of Orange County

Immediate family members: Wife Tracey, children Ryan, Shannon and Cristina

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?

1. Groundwater costs one-third less than imported water. One hundred percent local supply means Mesa Water ratepayers save money.

2. Low water rates: Strict financial management translates into savings for taxpayers and keep rates low and fair.

3. Safe drinking water: Mesa Water District has never had a reportable water-quality event.

Anna Vrska

Age: 40

Professional occupation: Analyst

Education: UC Berkeley

Time lived in Costa Mesa: Since 1988

Neighborhood in which you live, and how long you’ve lived there: Eastside, since 2012

Public service, activism and volunteerism: Costa Mesa Fairview Park Steering Committee; Costa Mesa Finance and Pension Advisory Committee; Orange Coast River Park nonprofit

Immediate family members: Danny and Mala

What are the three issues you believe are the most important facing the district and why?

1. Stopping water rate increases: We can stop future water rate increases and repair the aging water system without raising taxes or fees.

2. Fighting unnecessary desalination efforts: The current Poseidon project [in Huntington Beach] is environmentally and fiscally unsound, it is based on outdated, ineffective technology and is widely opposed by residents and ratepayers.

3. Increasing transparency by taping and televising Mesa Water board meetings: Growing public participation is essential to future Mesa Water success.

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