Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

By Tom Ferrall
Staff Writer 

Candidates share views as election nears


Last updated 10/14/2018 at 1:53pm

Election day is approaching and it's time for voters to study up as there are plenty of choices to make in determining who gets placed on local boards that impact the community.

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, area voters will determine:

● Which candidates will join or remain a member of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group – there are nine hopefuls and only seven open seats.

● Which three candidates out of the four on the ballot win seats on the Fallbrook Regional Health District board.

● Which three candidates out of the six on the ballot win seats on the Bonsall Unified School District board, and which candidate – two are running – earns a "short term" (two-year) seat on the BUSD board.

● Which three candidates out of the seven on the ballot earn seats on the Fallbrook Union High School District board.

● Which three candidates out of the six on the ballot earn seats on the Fallbrook Union Elementary School Board.

● Which candidate will take possession of the open seat on the Fallbrook Public Utilities District board – District 2.

● Which candidate will earn the open seat on the Rainbow Municipal Water District board – Division 4.

The Village News emailed a question to all the candidates in contested races and requested an answer limited to 200 words. Thirty-two of the 38 candidates emailed responded to the Village News' request.

Following are the questions and the candidates' responses for each of the aforementioned races.

Fallbrook Community Planning Group

Fallbrook has residents who love the "small town feel" and seem to be against any development. Others would like to see the town grow and offer more in terms of business and recreational opportunities, shopping and dining. What is your vision for Fallbrook?

Richard Billburg, Incumbent

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Stephen Brown, Incumbent

"Keeping Fallbrook great is a commitment, not just a slogan. Fallbrook's community vision embodies 'the hope for the future that Fallbrook will be able to accommodate reasonable demands for growth while also maintaining its unique community identity.'

I believe that our community can attain this vision with active participation by community businesses and residents in the local economy. I am a member of the new Community Builders Committee of the Village Association, dedicated to bringing events to downtown Fallbrook that will add economic vitality to our community. I am an incumbent on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group and serve on the Land Use Committee.

Growth is inevitable. Reasonable growth takes planning and community involvement. The Fallbrook Community Planning Group is a vital link in furthering the vision. The rural character and small town friendliness are characteristics lost in most communities today. This very character is what makes Fallbrook great. I am committed to keeping Fallbrook great, and I would ask you to share that commitment and vote for me in the November election."

Eileen Delaney, Incumbent

"Growth and development is inevitable. It’s how we plan it that can make a difference.

I have been a member of the Fallbrook Planning Group for the last 18 years. During this time I have served on every subcommittee as well as chairing the Design Review Committee for the last 17 years. I have also served on numerous committees at the county level for new ordinances, updates and planning and development oversight.

One of the most important goals for me has been to help ensure that Fallbrook’s rural “small town feel” is retained, even when new development is proposed.

Although the County of San Diego makes the final decision on land use, prior to this the Planning Group reviews projects and has the ability to work with applicants on their plans.

During this process the Planning Group and the public have the opportunity to offer suggestions and request changes so that the end result will be the best possible project for our town.

Development that is in harmony with our community character and will have a positive impact on Fallbrook is most important to me.

Guy Howard, Business Owner

"As a homeowner, business owner, and operator of a small farm in Fallbrook, I can relate to both perspectives expressed in this question. The small town, rural charm were key factors that lead to my wife and I purchasing a home here, and I would love to see those characteristics endure for current and future residents.

On the other hand, as a business owner I would love to see the town thrive and grow so that local businesses can be successful. For that to happen residents need to shop here, and more importantly, local merchants need to provide products and services they need in an appealing environment at prices that are fair. I think what people fear in terms of growth is the seemingly never-ending expansion of corporate giants that permeate nearly every city in America.

We don’t want our town to look like all those other places. We need to improve what is already here and be open during hours that accommodate consumers. This would keep more of our residents shopping locally, infuse more capital into the local economy, and in turn spawn the business and recreational opportunities people desire. Essentially, we can grow without getting bigger."

Jerry Kalman, Incumbent

"Fallbrook is a community blessed with a diverse economy based on a vibrant mix of local retail and supporting services, viable agriculture, active real estate and a modicum of tourism. Recently, we have seen the beginning of a pronounced shift taking place in one of those pillars from our much heralded “passive agriculture” based on avocados and citrus to more “active agriculture” associated with wine grapes.

This gradual broadening of the agricultural base along with other forms of economic growth occurring throughout the area means we need to be vigilant to the challenges that require balancing new activities that bring more visitors and residents to the area with a focus on sustaining the quality of life that brought the rest of us here.

It is incumbent on elected officials, particularly those of us on the Fallbrook Community Planning Group, to consider constantly the community’s need to maintain and improve our existing infrastructure of streets, roads and utilities; look beyond what we now have to find other reasons to make our community a destination; and expand the region’s woefully inadequate collection of parks and other recreation facilities."

Mark Mervich, Retired General Contractor

"My wife and I chose Fallbrook for our retirement for its small town charm, vibrant downtown and rural setting. In the Fallbrook Planning Group, I would work to keep our wonderful downtown active and healthy while effectively managing growth and preserving our unique community."

Kim Murphy, Real Estate Broker

"Living here since 1992, I’ve seen plenty of change, mostly for good. Residents opposed Peppertree Park, Sycamore Ranch and Shady Grove. Newcomers move to Fallbrook for the charm, but don’t necessarily want acres of land. Many of our Seniors who have lived her for years, would love to downsize and remain in Fallbrook, but there aren’t options for them. Our children would love to lay down roots where they grew up.

As a real estate broker, I am aware of the state required housing for the county over the next 10 years, and not building will not be allowed. The state will demand building or sanction the community. I believe that we can add housing that conforms with the homes in the area. For example, if the surrounding homes are on 1-2 acres, and there is adjacent land, it should be able to be developed with homes that are also on 1-2 acres. If there is land in the village area that can be developed for residential, then homes could be built that conform to that. Local businesses would welcome additional residents.

I love Fallbrook and plan on staying and would like a voice in the sensible growth of Fallbrook."

Jim Russell, Incumbent

"Fallbrook is a great place to live and raise a family. It has a town center for high density and multi-family housing, plus commercial activity. Along the eastern edge of the town center is a band of 1 acre parcels followed by almost exclusively 2 acre parcels and then on the outer edges parcels of a much larger size. This is so because the community, under the guidance of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG), created a Community Plan dictating that arraignment. So, all property owners know what they can legally do as well as knowing what their neighbors can do.

At regularly scheduled monthly meetings, currently held in the multi-purpose room at the Live Oak Elementary school and with the entire agenda published in the Village News, the FCPG reviews requests, received via the county, from property owners for development. That allows the community to understand what is being proposed, and to express their views, before the “dozers begin to turn soil.” The FCPG then sends a recommendation to the county on the proposed project.

I personally believe that adherence to the Fallbrook Community Plan will enable us to maintain Fallbrook as a great place to live. Be well."

Victoria Stover, Volunteer/Business Owner

"I believe your Community Planning Group should have members who are active in the community and understand Fallbrook.

When elected, I will work to keep the small town feel, however, the master plan that was done for Fallbrook 20-plus years ago, has been proven still relevant, and we need to work towards making it happen.

We need to work towards the goals of a pedestrian-friendly downtown, more tourist destination businesses, create venues in town that will draw people to Fallbrook, and stay true to Fallbrook during the process. There are nonprofits and commercial building owners working on this, and we need to make the process simple for them.

We need to make sure merchants have a simple process to get through the "guidelines' for their businesses. Some merchants get discouraged at the process through the CPG.

We need to work with the county to update our guidelines that were set in place 30 years ago and hinder business owners, nonprofits and property owners.

I am for the community of Fallbrook and what is best for it. We as a community need to be able to ebb and flow within the guidelines to make Fallbrook prosper again."

Fallbrook Regional Health District

Fallbrook has an older demographic and no hospital. As a board member, what will you do to help to improve health services for the community. Also, how do feel about the Blue Zone?

Jennifer Jeffries, Retired Educator

"I moved to Fallbrook in 1988 and served as the superintendent of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. In 2000, I began my second career at CSUSM as a faculty member and associate vice president. I am now retired.

I believe the mission and values of the Fallbrook Regional Health District are an excellent foundation for a variety of programs and services. Those programs and services have well served our regional population. The 2018-19 funding for those efforts is $910,000, distributed to 20 community organizations. We have, however, a significant issue since the closing of the Fallbrook Hospital. For our community – and for seniors, in particular – the travel time to Temecula and Palomar Hospitals is a formidable challenge when critical and scary health-related incidents occur. I say this based on personal family experience.

The FRHD can contribute to reducing that challenge by considering support for more 24 hour/7 day a week urgent care services. As for the Blue Zone, I recognize the merit of the “Power 9” – the nine characteristics shared by communities with high longevity and positive health markers. If elected, I look forward to exploring fiscally sound ways to support these characteristics in our community."

Howard Salmon, Incumbent

"As part of the older demographic, I was disappointed when the hospital closed. My priorities would be to support the development of more health services that meet our day-to-day medical needs, like A+ urgent care; access to economical medical transportation resources for hospital and specialized services; and the development of services that promote health and well-being at our new wellness center on East Mission road.

I will encourage the Board to continue to seek community engagement on determining and supporting health services for all of us. I support the Blue Zone objectives – living longer and better. The impact of Blue Zones in other communities on such things as obesity and smoking cessation have been remarkable. Blue Zone success involves broad community support, expertise and financial resources.

I will continue to seek community input on this decision which the Board will make in early 2019. Cordially, HWS."

Karen "Kate" Schwartz-Frates, Licensed Healthcare Provider

"I am a licensed healthcare provider of 33 years, and a longtime resident, raising my son here. I am the only health care professional in the election for the health district. I’ve been regularly attending district board meetings, becoming knowledgeable on the issues and developed the ability to work together with district staff members.

The greatest concern to the community is the loss of our hospital and emergency room. I am advocating extended hours of operation for our Urgent Care. I am committed to meeting the needs of all our community thru improving access and education regarding healthcare and wellness services. I am very committed to fighting for healthcare services to remain within our local community.

Currently I provide services both in my private office and at a local community health center, in addition to volunteering at the border.

Due to the added distance to local Emergency Departments and hospital care, private ambulance services often result in shocking bills to our Fallbrook families. I will be working with our County Board of Supervisors, and the State Assembly to reform this practice of ‘Balance Billing.’

I ask for your support so that I can serve you. Karen “(KATE”) Schwartz-Frates.

Armando Telles, Community Engagement Consultant

"Old and young, our residents need accessible and available health and wellness services in our district of Fallbrook, Bonsall, De Luz and Rainbow. In addition to our ‘older demographic’ having personal needs, many are also caregivers to spouses, children and loved ones.

When assessing our district’s health and wellness needs without a locally operating hospital, as a board member of the Fallbrook Regional Health District I would seek to account for every member of each household, and would also include assessments of supportive services for the needs of family pets, service animals and ‘emotional companions’ when determining how overall ‘health’ services are provided for every member of our families.

Furthermore, health and wellness is encompassing of the state of mind and body, and our overall quality of life, and my responsibility as a board member is to support our efforts to implement the Blue Zone's project model by seeking input and participation from our local residents and businesses about decisions we make, or plan to make, for our communities.

My seat on the FRHD board ensures the residents long too under-represented transparency, inclusion, and representation necessary to improve health services throughout the Fallbrook Regional Health District."

Bonsall Unified School District Board

Are you in favor or not in favor of building the new high school on the Gird Road site, and why do you feel the way you do? What do you believe are other top priorities?

Timothy Coen, Incumbent

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Michael Gaddis, Attorney/Small businessman

"While I support EE, please understand that EE is not specifically tied to building a new high school on Gird Road. EE is about obtaining the funds necessary to build a new high school (once a location is finalized) and to improve BUSD’s existing schools. As of today, the Gird Road site is the frontrunner; however, I really cannot comment on whether Gird Road is the best location for building the new high school because the final Environmental Impact Report has not been issued yet.

As an attorney I am trained to review all pertinent facts before stating my opinion. What I do know is that BUSD needs a new high school. I also believe that people should expect more of the BUSD. I believe that the BUSD needs to continue to improve the reputation of the school district so that our district is more attractive to college admissions directors.

I want to develop ways to help all students succeed, including looking into the feasibility of conducting parent volunteer study halls and ACT/SAT Prep Courses. Keep in mind, a direct correlation exits between the reputation of a school district and the real estate values of the homes within that district."

Roger Merchat, Architectural Services Representative

"Prior to any construction or bond measure asking taxpayers for money, a master plan needs to be developed with reliable student projections. Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) is currently using overly aggressive enrollment projections.

Let’s examine the facts. In 2017, the school district had almost 7,800 housing units which resulted in 330 students attending Bonsall High School. Housing units would have to more than double, and then double again, to ultimately support a 1,500-student high school.

In my opinion, this explains the school district’s avid support of the Lilac Hills Ranch development and why board member Lou Riddle signed on in support of Measure B, the Lilac Hills Ranch initiative in 2016. The school district needs massive high-density development to support its expansion goal, a 1,500-student high school.

I will work to get a master plan with reliable projections so we can responsibly provide a great education for our children. Additionally, BUSD has severe financial problems which include: seven years of deficit spending, substantial deferred maintenance, reserve depletion (30.8 percent in 2012 to 3.8 percent in 2018), and a $2.7 million-dollar loan to make payroll, fall 2018.

Please vote Roger Merchat for Bonsall School Board. Thank you, Roger Merchat."

Brian Olson, Business Owner

"We have an immediate need for a high school in our district for a number of safety concerns. With roughly 1,000 kids plus faculty in the middle of Lilac Road in the event of an emergency we take a risk every day this drags on. High school young adults are at a very different time in their lives than 11-year-old kids. The campuses need to be separated.

The location is irrelevant to me so long as there are appropriate evacuation routes. I was on the Superintendents Advisory Committee that affirmed Gird Road to be the best available site. It is the most cost-effective option to us tax payers because BUSD already owns it. The evacuation routes are far superior at the Gird Road location than they are at the Lilac Road location and safer for our young drivers. Yes on EE equals safer schools.

The most pressing issue is turning the finances around and building our reserves back up to a more comfortable level. We need to get back to focusing on infrastructure and educating our youth. Safety on all campuses is every districts priority and is a strength of mine. Vote Brian Olson for Bonsall School Board 2018."

Eric Ortega, Appointed Member

"I believe within the next five to 10 years there will be an absolute need for a larger high school facility. The location isn't as important as the actual facility. Gird road is the top site mostly because for the fact that it's already owned by the Bonsall Unified School District.

In response to the other question, I believe some of the other issues that have to be taken care of are our financial issues. We need to develop a financial stability within the school district. These kind of situations are always a possibility with a new high school facility. You never know what the enrollment is going to be or the attendance or even other external factors which may occur."

Lou Riddle, Incumbent

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Bonsall Unified School District Board (short term)

Are you in favor or not in favor of building the new high school on the Gird Road site, and why do you feel the way you do? What do you believe are other top priorities?

Larissa Anderson, Businesswoman/Education Advocate

"Bonsall Unified School District, by law, must offer appropriate facilities and programs to serve all K-12 students. Before 2014, there were less than 500 total students at Sullivan Middle School. Today there is double – nearly 1000 middle and high school students sharing the same campus on Lilac Road.

BUSD needs a separate high school campus to address current constraints and safety concerns plus future growth. Gird Road has been slated as a school site since the 1960s and has repeatedly been affirmed as the best potential permanent BHS location by an independent selection committee in 2016, a volunteer group representing every geographic area within BUSD in 2017, and the current board in 2018. However, if the environmental reports prohibit construction, then other sites will need to be reconsidered. It is important to note that Measure EE is not tied to location.

Other top priorities include increasing the financial reserve while still actively supporting excellent teachers and staff and offering rich curriculum with advanced placement as well as career and technical education pathways. The reputation of Bonsall schools is tenuous without stronger community support. I am highly educated and offer a contemporary vision to meet the needs of current Bonsall students and educators."

Sylvia Tucker, BUSD Trustee

"I am neutral on the bond (Measure EE) because when elected, I represent all of the people in the district – those who oppose the bond and those who vote for the bond. From my perspective, if the bond passes, I am not in favor of building the high school that is proposed from the schematics that we have at this time.

Whatever we build, wherever we build it, we must have flexibility in the building to meet the future needs of the students of the future. The schematics that we have now do not contain the flexibility of facilities that we need in the future building. So to me the issue is not only where we build it, but when we build it that we build the right thing.

I believe the number one priority facing the district is finance, and a second priority is absolute transparency about what our enrollment figures are. I think we have to be exact with our enrollment figures."

Fallbrook Union High School District

Fallbrook High School is currently rated "average" by, a website parents use when considering a neighborhood to move into. What do you feel are the challenges facing the district and how would you work to improve that rating?

D. J. Campe, Worker

"In today’s school environment every student must be treasured as a unique human being. The days of giving a simple reading assignment with notes or questions is no longer a viable method. There is way too much distraction in society.

Learning should be more interesting and exciting than every day life. Teachers must adapt to use every tool that is available to entice the student’s attention. Daily instruction needs to create the opportunities for the students to interact and express their own ideas with their peers and the teacher. Presentations must be designed, refined and created to the ever-changing world around the students.

This growth in education can be accomplished with a change in the mindset in which we connect with the students. First it must be realized that a light can be turned on in every student. This can be accomplished through professional learning with new techniques online, in seminars, group sharing and peer ideas. We need to check our egos and work as a family of teachers, classified staff and administrators to work towards the success of every student. These will be my goals to implement as a school board member."

Richard Goodlake, Incumbent

"The current rating of Fallbrook Union High School by of “average” (which is outdated, circa 2015) is on the way out. The board of trustees has been on a mission for five years to change the modus operandi of the school, and here are some samples of actions taken to elevate our attractiveness:

● We ensured passage of bond measure AA in the November 2016 election of $45 million to overhaul the infrastructure of the high school and all of its facilities (supported by 65 percent of the electorate). About a 10-year project, the result will be a beautiful campus that will be attractive to the students and their parents. It will also feature a new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) building where such 21st century subjects as cyber security, engineering, robotics, product innovation and design, and agriculture will be taught.

● Established a Marine Junior ROTC Program. Now in its third year we have 160 students who learn leadership development, self-confidence, self-discipline and academic achievement. One of our students was accepted at the Naval Academy and is in his first year. We expect 190 students next year.

● We are in fast forward and improving every day."

Sherry Ludwig, Incumbent

"The challenges we face encompass the following:

1. Safety in all that we do from the time a student leaves home to the time a student returns; by spending our bond funds wisely on architectural enhancements to increase safety, to continuing our restorative justice system that provides students an understanding of actions and consequences.

2. An updated learning environment through strong stewardship of the community's bond funds to build innovative classrooms giving our kids the most updated atmosphere for learning.

3. Enhancing career technical education (CTE) and college prep courses to include robotics and engineering.

4. Continuing to promote opportunities for our kids to learn new technologies and their application in the workplace by offering our students internships as job markets change.

5. Maintaining strong partnerships with Palomar College, Cal State San Marcos, the USMC and the FFA to expand our students' educational experiences while still in high school.

A strong community builds a strong system of education; how lucky we are to have a history of community support for our kids, allowing for continued improvement of our district. Strong teachers and administrators, engaged students and invested community support is a winning combination for success."

James O'Donnell, Incumbent

" is a good starting point, but its recap of 2015 data fails to capture the scholastic initiatives put into place over the last four years. During that time, FUHSD has implemented a multitude of relevant, quality programs, including JROTC, 21st century Career Technical Education (Robotics, Cyber Security, Electrical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing), International Baccalaureate and College Dual Enrollment.

FHS’s innovative House Base system provides a small school feel for our student body, while nourishing a wide breadth of programs and academic interests. This new model earned a 2017 State of California Gold Ribbon Award, the only high school district in San Diego County to receive Title I Academic Achieving School recognition.

Our award winning FFA program cultivates leadership and FHS’s MCJROTC program has quickly received national distinction. The district’s financially sound 2016 School Bond Measure is already paying dividends as physical improvements take place across our campus and FUHSD partners with Homeland Security to provide a safe and secure environment.

Finally, this year’s Chromebook program provides each student with a hand-held learning tool to facilitate their success. All of these progressive initiatives, programs, merits, and more can be discovered in-depth or on-site @, or visiting Fallbrook’s campus."

Elana Sterling, RN

"A score of average shows that Fallbrook Union High School needs to do better for our students.

My philosophy on school board governance is that we are there for the benefit of our students. We owe it to them to keep the lion’s share of school funds in the classroom, where it will have the largest impact on their educational experience. I feel strongly that we must be fiscally responsible and make our tax dollars count.

My priorities:

1. To put our tax dollars back into the classroom for our students.

2. To lower the cost of administration by reducing administrative positions in accordance with the limits set by the state of California.

3. To improve school safety

Having lived in Fallbrook for more than 15 years, I feel very connected to our town and the Fallbrook way of life. I have worked as a Register Nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital for more than 25 years, caring for children. This has taught me how important happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids are to the future. We have a duty to provide our students with an environment that is conducive to pursuing their goals and talents."

Vote Elana Sterling for a sterling education."

Diane Summers, Retired School Teacher

"According to the Great Schools website, Fallbrook District has an average overall rating. Three years ago, there was an administrative shift and overall testing grades dropped hurting college readiness and 15 percent are not graduating.

While a group of top performing students have excelled, those in the middle and lower spectrum are struggling, especially the special ed department with a below average rating.

It seems the cause has to do with budget imbalance, funds floating to the top and cuts at the bottoms. Add autocratic governance of not listening to staff and making arbitrary decisions to the detriment of student and teachers’ welfares.

The new governing board should start with reducing the administrative costs Then they should meet with teachers and classified staff for their suggestions to reverse this situation. I would like to see tutor stipends for teachers reinstated to improve college readiness, help the B students become A students. Then a peer tutor program would help the C students become B students. To motivate the special ed program, vocational internships need to be reinstated. Lastly, reinstate the positive parenting program for family support."

Lita Tabish, Teacher/Business Owner

"I have taught at Fallbrook Union High School District for 18 years and have seen a decline in our school ratings in recent years due to many factors. One of the most obvious is the lack of funding going directly into the classroom. We have far too many overpaid administrators for a district of 2,000 students. I would like to cut this spending back and move those funds into the classroom where it has a direct affect on our kids.

The smaller school idea (house system) has cost this district thousands of dollars without any proven results. This could have been a far better change had they divided the school into program based academies where students choose a course of study within each academy. Academy based programs have shown improved results at many other school districts.

We need to look at our student population and set up programs and courses that will move Fallbrook students on to careers and college programs that students are interested in. We must treat all students with respect and help them become responsible members of our society. We also need to support the extracurricular activities, as sports and clubs help students build character."

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District

Why are you running for a seat – or trying to retain a seat – on the board and what do you feel are the main challenges facing the district?

Darryl Buntin, Incumbent

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Patty de Jong, Incumbent

"I am running for re-election to the Fallbrook Elementary School Board because I want to be able to continue to support our staff in the progress we have made during my tenure.

We have improved test scores for all students, opened and maintained both a Dual Immersion school and a STEM academy, increased the use of technology for students, provided STEM Innovation Labs at every school site, provided physical education, art and music at all school sites, instituted a world class Leader In Me/Lighthouse program throughout the district, and maintained a healthy school budget while continuing to attract and retain quality educators with a comparable salary/benefit package and extensive professional training.

The main challenges facing our district are the achievement gap in learning and maintaining a non-deficit school budget."

Caron Lieber, Community College Instructor

"I am running for Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD) School Board because I believe the success of our schools is closely tied to the participation of our community members.

Supporting our teachers and staff is one of my top priorities. Our students require the best curriculum, chosen by teachers, to engage and challenge them in rigorous learning. Students’ needs are often greater than our funding. I have ideas for ways to support these needs, so teacher’s won’t need to spend their own money.

My education and professional career have prepared me for this position. I hold a MA in Education and a BA in Communication from USC. I am both an educator and a businesswoman. My first career was as vice president for the largest builder in Palm Springs. I was responsible for a budget of over $1 million. For 10 years, I taught adults English as a second language for FUESD at the Maie Ellis campus. Currently, I’m a part- time community college instructor. My family and I have lived in Fallbrook over 30 years. Both of my children attended Fallbrook schools from kindergarten thru 12th grade and received an excellent education.

I look forward to this opportunity to serve our community."

Susan Liebes, Parent/Volunteer

"As the mother of a child in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, I believe that no one cares more about our children’s education than parents. It is critical that parents are represented on the school board, which is why I am running for one of the three open seats in November. I am a weekly classroom volunteer, member of the PTSA Executive Board, volunteer art teacher, on School Site Council, and Chair of the Fallbrook Land Conservancy Board of Directors.

Our district has seen marked improvements since I moved to Fallbrook 15 years ago, but I believe the students of FUESD would benefit from greater transparency at the district level and better communication between district administration, parents and teachers. As a board member I will promote transparency by asking tough questions of the FUESD leadership regarding programming, staffing and budgeting.

I will work to improve communication between FUESD and parents, and between administration and teachers, by increasing opportunities to engage parents and teachers in decision making. FUESD also needs to develop and support programs that draw and keep families in the district. Quality education should not just be about test scores, but about engaging students so they want to learn."

Eren Melendez, Parent

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Patrick Rusnell, Incumbent

"I have deep roots in the community and the school district. As a former FUESD teacher for 34 years and a current board member for 12 years, I have a track record of proven leadership. During the last seven years, the other board members and I, working closely with the superintendent, have provided the leadership that has resulted in the highest achievement gains in the district's history.

During my tenure, our district has received state awards for increased student achievement. Our schools have been recognized by the business community as having top performing schools that have closed the achievement gap, and all students now have access to STEM curriculum and instruction to prepare them for the future. I have enthusiastically supported our districtwide leadership development program for all students, which has earned us national recognition as a model for teaching leadership skills to children.

As an experienced, motivated and successful board member, I seek your support to continue the excellent work being done by our dedicated employees. You will find no one more prepared and willing to give the time and service needed on behalf of the children of Fallbrook. Thank you for your vote."

Fallbrook Public Utility District – District 2

What is your background, why are you running for a seat on the board and how will your presence on the board help FPUD customers?

Kenneth Endter, Retired Medical Professional

"I am retired from RADY Children's Hospital, where I was a diagnostic medical professional in the imaging department. My years there were both rewarding and heartbreaking as I observed firsthand the emotional and financial stresses that are borne by families today.

My decision to run for the FPUD board was also influenced by a desire to give something back to the friends and neighbors here in Fallbrook.

As a member of the FPUD board I hope to serve all of you in by keeping water costs at affordable levels that are fair and equity-based for all classes of rate payers, including growers.

I believe in a form of government that ensures transparency to those who represent them. I will demand a budget that is readily available and easily understood by all rate payers.

I will ensure that Fallbrook Public Utility District claims and takes its historic water rights out of the Santa Margarita River. This will provide less expensive water than is currently being bought from outside sources.

I pledge to keep our beautiful river valley open for the enjoyment of residents and visitors and as an educational source for the enrichment and joy of our children and future generations."

John Newman, Businessman

Candidate did not respond to multiple emails.

Rainbow Municipal Water District – Division 4

Carl Rindfleisch, Banking/Operations Manager

"I am running for Division 4 of the board of directors for the Rainbow Municipal Water District. Both my education and career have qualified myself to be successful in this role. My background starts educationally with an MBA from the University of Utah, and a BA in political science from UCSD.

I have spent nearly 20 years in the financial sector, working to solution needs for commercial and small business entities, several years in real estate development ranging from market research to financing, carrying myself through to my role today as a vice president of operations and financial management here in San Diego County.

I am running for this position to serve the residents within this district, who have served my family so dearly since we moved here many years ago. My wife Carmen, a lifelong resident of Fallbrook, has been greatly assisted through a battle with cancer by the angels of this community, and I wish to give back through service on the board with the goals to both improve communication between the water district and ratepayers, and to enhance the level of transparency regarding billing, fees and rates.

I would very much appreciate your vote on November 6."

Bill Stewart, Incumbent

"When I retired from a 40-year career in community management, financial management and community development consulting, I sought an opportunity to give back to my adopted home of Fallbrook. I was appointed to the RMWD board in early 2016 due to experience in working with water and waste water issues, field operations and personnel management and then elected in November 2016.

During my tenure I have been active in local and state organizations to get current on water supply issues and opportunities and both state governing statutes and a myriad of other issues affecting water costs and rate setting. I have enjoyed working with the board and management to reorganize district finances, create a rate-sustainable long range plan for repair and replacement of its half-century old infrastructure and to improve the competence and professionalism of its staff.

My goal is to work with the directors to set effective policies and engage management expertise to produce high quality water and wastewater treatment services at the lowest feasible cost to its rate payers while improving customer service. I bring the skills and knowledge necessary to be an effective director toward achieving this aim and ask for your vote to continue."


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