No Options for Voters in Some Elk Grove Races

The Cosumnes Community Services District and Florin Resource Conservation District board elections won't appear on the November ballot because no one is challenging the incumbents.

Several local elected officials will sail to reelection unopposed this fall, providing fewer choices for voters and in some cases saving government agencies thousands of dollars. 

Three seats on the (CSD) Board of Directors are open for election this fall, but because the incumbents were the only people to file to run, that contest won't appear on the November ballot, county elections officials say.

"Given four years ago when we had seven people run [and] two years ago [when] we had four, I thought we'd at least have a couple," CSD Board Member Michelle Orrock said. She, Gil Albiani and Guy Rutter will be reelected. 

Not holding an election will save the CSD about $58,000, General Manager Jeff Ramos said, and his organization isn't the only one benefitting from low interest during this election cycle.

Two Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) directors are running without opposition, and removing that contest from the ballot will save the electric utility $129,000, Sacramento County Elections Office spokesman Brad Buyse said.

"It's quite substantial when you have a contest that spans a big district," he said.

The Florin Resource Conservation District, which includes the Elk Grove Water District, has two seats up for election on its board this fall. Incumbent board members Charles Dawson and Elliot Mulberg are running unopposed, and that contest will not appear on the ballot this November. Officials from that organization have not yet returned calls from Elk Grove Patch.

Two city council members to run unopposed, but no savings for the city

It's a similar situation at , where Council Member Steve Detrick had no opponents file to run against him in District 3 and Mayor Jim Cooper's only prospective District 1 challenger, James White, failed to make the ballot because some of his nomination signatures were from people not registered to vote and one was from a non-Elk Grove resident.

But that doesn't mean the city can remove those contests from the ballot. Because it's also holding an election for the city's first directly elected mayor, state election law mandates that the council races stay on the ballot–even though each position has only one candidate.

Elk Grove City Clerk Jason Lindgren said that doesn't matter to the city, as it's charged the same amount by the county whether it holds an election for one seat or three.

Detrick said he expected someone to run against him, and said his lack of challengers speaks to the support he has.

"I believe that the residents of Elk Grove recognize the hard work that I have done to represent them and our city over the last four years in so many different ways, that they fully support me now, for another four years," Detrick said in an email.

He said he'll use the money he's raised so far–his campaign had more than $100,000 in cash at the end of June–to donate to local charities and for future campaign needs.

Cooper, meanwhile, said that while he feels bad about the error of his would-be opponent, he's happy no one is opposing him.

"I would like to think that most people are generally happy in the direction the city's headed," he said by phone. "We're never going to have a 100 percent success rate with that, but No. 1, we're in the black. We haven't had to lay off anybody in the city, especially our police officers."

Cooper ended the first half of 2012 with about $32,000 in his campaign bank account, and said he'll still be spending money to get his name out in case he has a write-in challenger.

"I don't want to be so presumptuous that I don't do anything," he said.

Cooper said after the coming term, he'll run for reelection once more and then, if he's successful, retire from the council to make way for "new blood."

"I can guarantee I wouldn't do more than five terms," he said.

Mayor's race is the hot ticket this fall

The one race in Elk Grove that hasn't had any problem attracting candidates is the contest for mayor. , and some of the officials interviewed by Patch speculated that the large buzz for that race may have taken away interest from other contests.

"I've been here for 18 years and this is the first time I can ever remember something like this happening," Ramos, the CSD's general manager, said about the lack of candidates for the CSD board. "Could it be the race for Elk Grove mayor? Maybe that race is taking away from others."

The candidates who made the ballot for the mayor's race are: , , , LaWanna Montgomery, and .



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