By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer
Q. How many MCSD board meetings have you attended since you became a candidate?
Dr. Bill Wennerholm: I’ve gone to every meeting for the last 8 1/2 years, except for maybe one or two.
Q. What makes you qualified to be a candidate?
Wennerholm: I’ve just done eight years on the water board through one of the most exciting times we’ve ever had. We got the library and Hiller Park built. We dealt with the ponds. We dealt with a fine, and a huge change in our permit.
The MCSD went from being a good-old-boys small district to a much more efficient, viable entity. It’s very well regarded in this town. People look up to the MCSD. The employees are top-notch.
Q. Do you support extending Measure B ? If so, how would you like to see the money spent?
Wennerholm: McKinleyville voters have said that they support having a library, they support a senior program, and they support parks and rec. If we’re going to have those things, with what’s happening in the state, there’s going to need to be money to support them.
A library is a fundamental thing to have in a community. Recreation is fundamental. I think the voters will support it, and that’s why I support it.
I’d love to see a much bigger and more useful library. It’s one of those fundamental things for kids and adults and the community.
Q, Should the MCSD extend its powers and provide additional services? If so, how?
Wennerholm: At this point, we’re just a CSD with a couple of extra things. We do parks, we do rec, and we do streetlights. Other than that, we’re a water and sewer district.
AB 135 says that special districts can have many of the same powers that a city has. You can have cemeteries, libraries, police departments, planning departments, all of that.
For example, we could put having a police department on the agenda next week, and we could all vote on it, five guys saying yes we want it.
But then it would have to go before the voters, and they have to vote 2/3 to fund it. Then it has to go to LAFCO, and LAFCO negotiates with the county and us to figure out how much the county is going to give up of their tax money to pay for that function, and how much they would let us have.
The library had to do that; it needed to be approved by 2/3. They got 68.2%. It just barely slid through.
This involves property taxes. It’s up to the people of McKinleyville, if they want that and would vote for it.
Q. How should the MCSD upgrade its sewer system?
Wennerholm: Thanks to Mr. Marking, we’re actually in the best shape of any district here. Programs were designed to keep everything well maintained, funded, money put aside, there’s a lot of individual little projects.
But because our infrastructure is so good, the county is going to try and shove a lot of low income housing here, and I think that’s unfortunate. Central Estates was laid out originally to be 250 half-acre nice homes, and now it’s essentially low income and college housing, because that’s what the county shoved down the throat of the developers.
Q. What’s your view of how the board dealt with its conflict with former MCSD Manager Marking?
Wennerholm: The board dealt with it the only way they could. What people can’t see is what went on in closed board meetings. The whole story can’t be told. The perception of what happened and what actually happened are two different things.
It was a great honor to work with Mr. Marking. He’s an incredible human being in many respects. Like all human beings he has his faults, but what he did for the district was incredible. He was the right man at the right time.
I’m also very impressed with our new manager, Norman [Shopay]. He’s really bringing staff together. Tom [Marking] put together an exceptional staff, and Norman has continued to improve on that.
Q. What would you like to accomplish on the board?
Wennerholm: We have a lot of regulatory stuff going on right now. Our new general manager has a lot of experience in regulatory stuff. I would like to see him get firmly established.
I’d like to figure out what we’re going to do with Fischer Ranch.
I’d like to see what happens with Measure B and follow through on it.
I’d also like to see the new General Plan and get the district in a position to deal with that.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing MCSD?
Wennerholm: There’s a lot of stuff coming down the pike. Water is going to become immensely important. Humboldt Bay [Municipal Water District] could lose their water rights, and that would affect McKinleyville. I’d like to have a stable hand on the tiller to get us through that time.
Q. What is your occupation?
Wennerholm: I’m a chiropractor.
Q. How long have you lived in McKinleyville?
Wennerholm: I moved here in February, 2000.