Community Responds to DB CSD and ECCFPD Campaigns and Election Results
With 100% of precincts reporting, and an unknown number of uncounted mail-in ballots still in limbo, two presumptive winners were named in each of two local races; Discovery Bay Community Services District (DB CSD) Director and East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).
The ECCFPD race was indisputably carried by candidates Young (22,374) and Smith (21,209), who enjoyed an 8,000+ vote margin over newcomer, Kellogg. Those following the plight of the ECCFPD, and the ongoing risks to life and property created by dangerously inadequate staffing levels, continued to voice their concern after the election. Fire protection and safety advocates, Cathy Daniel (Oakley) and Dani Cushman (Discovery Bay), shared their cautionary thoughts:
“I put quite a bit of time in with the ECCFPD campaign. For YEARS we have been understaffed, underfunded. While Measure X was not a promise of funding it was more than likely going to send some money this way. We only have NINE firefighters and THREE stations for Brentwood, Oakley, and Discovery Bay at any one time. They do such a good job that you would never know how dangerous this is. God forbid there be a terrible structure fire in a tall apartment complex. GOD FORBID. There is not enough personnel or equipment available. My question to all residents is this: at what point will you be concerned enough with public safety that you would be willing to pay a few extra dollars every year? I just pray we never face that “one” tragedy.” – Cathy Daniel
“As a former volunteer FF and wife of a firefighter it is shocking the lack of coverage and service in our area. For the amount we pay in taxes our finding is awful. I do admire Chief Helmick for thinking outside the box for ideas to fund our department. He has been transparent and informative. Sadly, the citizens don’t listen until it affects them. Then they just demand change NOW. I do hope we can figure this out eventually. We need a complete overhaul though and ECCC is always dismissed by the county.” – Dani Cushman
In Discovery Bay, six candidates put their hands in the air with hopes of filling one of the two, four-year term openings for CSD Director. Incumbents Bill Mayer and Bill Pease were challenged by longtime community member – Carolyn Graham, a team of pro-small-business-and-family running mates – Michael Callahan and Jill Snowden, and a newcomer – Stephanie Lease.
The DB CSD race was a contentious one amongst residents, with sign-stealing and destruction violations rampant, community members launching independent sign campaigns simply to oppose the “Bills,” and a Nextdoor Neighborhood social media debate seemingly without end.
Snowden carried 11/15 precincts in the 94505 (Discovery Bay “West”) with campaign partner (and ice cream master) Callahan, however the remaining 4 precincts on the Eastern, waterfront/golf course side of town produced a record turnout, particularly among the 65+ voter demographic. These voters split the Callahan/Snowden ticket. Callahan and Graham finished at the top, with Snowden trailing by about 170 votes community-wide, and a clear message to the incumbents that Discovery Bay residents are ready to try a new approach.
“Michael Callahan decided our community needed an Ice cream shop when he moved here from Texas and he not only gave us ice cream, he became one of the businesses that always gives back, I believe he will represent the CSD with just as much heart and commitment to our community.” – Stacey Moro
Michael Callahan and Carolyn Graham will join recently appointed CSD Director, Ashley Porter, and seated Directors Kevin Graves and Bryon Gutow in rounding out the five-member structure of the board. There is little argument about their tasks ahead; landscaping improvements and sustainability issues, parks and recreation programming and facility enhancements, water concerns, emergency services advocacy, staff changes, and long-game budget management strategies.
“I am truly humbled by the overwhelming support I received from the community I love. I look forward to putting in the work and continue to make Discovery Bay the best place to live and play.” – Michael Callahan, DB CSD Director-elect
“Thank you to those who supported and voted for me! I’m honored, proud and humbled to have been elected to the Discovery Bay CSD Board of Directors. I’m looking forward to working with the other Directors to make positive changes for the community. Congratulations also goes to Michael Callahan! Thank you to Bill Pease and Bill Mayer for your years of service.” – Carolyn Graham, DB CSD Director-elect