STPUD election results
When she won a seat on the South Tahoe Public Utility District board late Tuesday, Cathie Becker didn’t head to Disneyland, but she remembered the people who took her there at age 6.
The real estate agent rushed home from Nepheles Restaurant once she learned the final results at 11:15 p.m. and got her parents in Illinois out of bed to tell them. She said her mother and father – a retired United Airlines employee – were proud of her unofficial 43 percent win amounting to 1,150 votes.
Fellow candidate Roy Hampson drew 28.6 percent of support, with 764 votes. Challenger David Kelly received 28.2 percent, carrying 755 votes.
The outcome was a relief to Becker, who said she finally released the knot she’s been carrying in her stomach. She’ll take over the reins in January.
Becker, the past president of the South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors, recalled campaigning Sunday in front of Raley’s at the “Y.” Shoppers who thought she was selling something ran from her. When they discovered why she was there, many said they realized they should pay attention.
Beyond hitting the street, Becker spent $600 of her own money in the campaign. A client from Nebraska saw her campaign mentioned in the Tahoe Daily Tribune and kicked in $200.
“(Tuesday) night I didn’t know if I’d win or lose,” she said. “But I thought it would be a horse race.”
Her first indication of how the race would end up came at about 8 p.m. when results showed absentees tipped in her favor.
“I was nervous- prepared to win or lose. Either way, I’m ready to get on with my life,” she said Wednesday morning while preparing for her next run with her golden retriever, Baxter.
“It’s not going to be easy,” she said, realizing she must appeal to all constituents – not just supporters. “We really have to hold down on the rates.”
But Becker believes incremental hikes are inevitable, given regular maintenance and staffing labor negotiations.
And now she’s looking forward to diving right into Lake Tahoe water issues for a district which serves about 17,000 customers and has become embroiled in a legal fight with oil companies over the fuel additive MTBE.
The case proved to be a talking point for all three candidates.
Hampson conceded Wednesday with a message of hope the district would bring the legal matter out of closed session because of some “very serious unanswered questions.”
The district contends bringing the legal strategy out in the open may jeopardize the integrity of the case.
Hampson said he was taking the loss in stride, characterizing his campaign as a run “against the establishment.”
He was, however, dismayed at the level of interest among voters.
“The one big disappointment I have is that there was such a terrible turnout,” the civil engineer said. “Local government (elections don’t) bring out the public.”
Despite his loss, community activist and board candidate David Kelly still plans to attend STPUD board meetings, adding he has no regrets over running for office.
“I believe my campaign did a good job. It was clean and honest, and I believe issues were brought forward that need to be addressed,” he said.
Kelly also wishes Becker well.
“I’m sure she’ll do a good job,” he said.
Fallen Leaf Community Services District winners
Two seats for full, 4-year terms:
(x) Art Darrow: 43.2 percent with 54 votes
(x) Linda Ramsey: 29.6 percent with 37 votes
One seat for short, 2-year term
(x) David McDowell: 57.3 percent with 43 votes