from 10/7/09 issue
By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer
Q. How many MCSD board meetings have you attended since you became a candidate?
Dennis Mayo: I’ve been to every board meeting, however many there were. Plus when I wasn’t a candidate I went to them.
Q. What makes you qualified to be a candidate?
Mayo: I’m a citizen and I’m over 18. I care about my community. I try to let people feel like they matter, and that’s an important part of making these things work. My tenure here on the board for this short period of time probably proves that out.
Q. Do you support extending Measure B? If so, how would you like to see the money spent?
Mayo: I support extending Measure B, and I even supported it when it originally started, and it cost me quite a bit. I had quite a bit of property at the time.
Today I support it because the growth in this community hasn’t just been in people – it’s been in a philosophy of what we want to do as a community. I like to see kids playing on the beach, building tree-houses, riding horses. That’s one component of recreation. Other people want their kids to play baseball, to go roller-skating, to have art and theater classes, and that’s a good thing.
The challenge is to show the community what a cost-effective benefit it’s been and how things will be different without it [Measure B], and is that a difference that this community wants?
I’ve talked to hundreds of residents, and my gut feeling is that people want a community that has recreation, and they’ll be willing to support that.
Q. Should the MCSD extend its powers and provide additional services? If so, how?
Mayo: We don’t need to get into any headlong rush about doing that. I’ve been trying to get a dialog going with the county, to facilitate cooperation between the district and the county on some joint issues. The maintenance of the bridle path out there, we had an agreement about that, and some things changed, and people didn’t remember. When we went back and discussed it, then they remembered what they were supposed to be doing. If you don’t have a dialog going on, things fall by the wayside.
I don’t want to get involved with incorporation. It’s a silly thing for a community like this to think about. Nonetheless, there’s lots of types of joint power arrangements with the county…. [We should tell] the county what we want, what we need, and figure out how we’re going to get those things accomplished. That hasn’t been going on.
Q. How should the MCSD upgrade its sewer system?
Mayo: It’s a regional benefit for us to upgrade, not just a local issue. There are sewer laterals and water laterals that are smaller than the needs for today, so we have a bottleneck in a couple of places. Those things have to be upgraded. We’re already at peak capacity. If we have an emergency or disaster, or we grew a little more than we should, we can’t maintain the level of service that we need.
There’s also storage facility problems. Our back-up tanks, our main storage tanks are barely meeting the needs that we have.
Although we have good pump systems, there’s newer technology for the electronics that run and monitor them that are much more energy efficient. They should be upgraded.
How do we deal with these things? Through bond assessments? Through our reserves? I want us to continue to push for stimulus money. I want to partner with the county to find funding sources to make this happen.
After all, the majority of growth that is projected from the county lays right on our back.
Q. What’s your view of how the board dealt with its conflict with former MCSD Manager Marking?
Mayo: In terms of prior to my involvement, no comment, because I don’t know all of what went on, with closed sessions and all that. But since I’ve been here, I think we set a tone of respect, to honor the service and the work that the previous manager did, and to move forward into making this transition in the smoothest way possible. I couldn’t have participated in something that wasn’t respectful to all parties.
Q. What would you like to accomplish on the board?
Mayo; I’d like to just continue down this path where this board is communicating well, looking at things from a total perspective, not left and not right. I want to be more proactive in our relationship with the county, being an equal with them.
Q. What are the biggest challenges facing MCSD?
Mayo: The rising cost of everything. We’ve been very frugal and we have good reserves. Yet now we’re entering into a phase where just doing business as a water district [is more expensive] – the fines, the costs of staying ahead of the curve of regulators.
I’d like all the small districts to come together as one unit and tell the state to quit throwing all these regulations on our back. Instead, let’s figure out the proper way to deal with these problems and find out what really works.
Q. What is your occupation?
Mayo: I’m a rancher, a horse-trainer, a working man, a subsistence farmer. I’ve worked in oilfields, on big rigs and in construction.
Q. How long have you lived in McKinleyville?
Mayo: I’ve been a lifelong resident, except for a few years here and there.