Two new faces on STPUD board |

Two new faces on STPUD board

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune Shelley Giannotta does her civic duty at South Lake Tahoe Fire Station No. 2 on Tuesday.

Of the two incumbents facing challengers during Tuesday’s South Tahoe Public Utility District Board election, one will remain, and one has been defeated.

Four-term incumbent Mary Lou Mosbacher defeated business owner John Runnels, while Duane Wallace, also a four-term incumbent, was defeated by newcomer Dale Rise.

On Wednesday, Rise was happy to have beaten such a longtime board member, noting the sway familiar candidates can hold.

An example of the advantage incumbents have is seen in the relatively strong performance of Seat 1 candidate Kathleen Farrell, even though she dropped out of the race well ahead of Election Day, Rise said.

“I beat an incumbent, and I beat him fair and square without any malicious statements on my part,” Rise said. “I didn’t take the approach of making my opponent look bad, I just let it happen.”

Rise feels the board will have a better balance of opinions under its new makeup and attributed his success largely to word of mouth.

Wallace, seemingly satisfied with his time on the board, was complimentary toward Rise on Wednesday.

“I think he’ll bring the different perspective that the public obviously wanted,” Wallace said. “That’s why they call them terms; they don’t last forever.”

In the race for Seat 1, which pitted two newcomers against each other, photographer Ernie Claudio came out the victor, beating businesswoman Julie Threewit by 13 percentage points.

“I’m disappointed. Ernie campaigned hard,” Threewit said. “I’m glad I did it; I have no regret about being part of the process.”

On Wednesday, Claudio was pleased with the election results and reiterated vows to improve the STPUD board’s communication with the general public during his first foray into elected office.

“A lot of the responses that I’ve gotten are something to the effect of, ‘I don’t know who you are, but it’s time for a change,’ ” Claudio said. “We have to get the good confidence of the ratepayer back.”

Claudio will serve the remaining two years of the board seat vacated by Farrell. Mosbacher and Rise both will serve full four-year terms.

The newly elected board members take office Dec. 20.

Seat 1

— Ernie Claudio, 44.72 percent – winner

— Julie Threewit, 31.67 percent

— Kathleen Farrell, 23.39 percent

(Note: Farrell dropped out of the race, but her name still appeared on the ballot.)

Seat 3

— Mary Lou Mosbacher, 52.36 percent – winner

— John Runnels, 47.11 percent

Seat 4

— Dale Rise, 52.96 percent – winner

— Duane Wallace, 46.69 percent

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