There is an important race in the upcoming May 18 election. I would like to provide you with some insight.

The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District board of directors has been in a state of flux since the 2019 election. A total of five resignations have left the board with four appointed and one elected member (Mike Hinton).

The previous board voted, in June 2020, not to pursue purchase of Broadway Middle School. Mike Hinton and Katharine Parker voted to pursue; Su Coddington voted to table purchase. As soon as the last two elected members resigned, the board voted again and these three remaining directors voted unanimously to pursue purchase. Su Coddington changed her vote. These three directors then chose Celeste Bodner and Erika Marshall to fill the empty board seats. This was in August 2020.

To gauge public interest, a survey was released on the SEPRD website, newsletter and Facebook page. A link was also in the water bills mailed out Oct. 16, but by October 5th the district had already entered a contract to buy the school.

After learning the SEPRD board was pursuing this major purchase I set out to inform the citizens this was taking place. This attracted a group of people who were also concerned about the actions of this board of directors who were not elected and not representing the people. We found the school had a $4.5 million price tag to remediate and the district had no money for remediation. We scolded, implored, bargained, and pleaded with board members to take this purchase to a vote of the people. The board was unwavering in their commitment to their plan. When the current board of directors closed on the property, we felt our voices were heard but they didn’t listen.

Now it’s election time. Every member of the current board is up for election (not re-election, as their signs claim) and being challenged by citizens who deeply care for the district and, more importantly, care for the citizens who own the district. These highly qualified candidates have stepped up to make SEPRD the best that it can be. Al Hernandez, John Huismann, Patrick Duhachek, Jackie Evans and Stephen Morrison have excellent credentials and experience to bring to the table. It’s time for a change. They will listen to you.

Make an informed decision. Your vote is your voice. Let your voice be heard.

Diane Wells


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