(Three candidates are running for two open seats on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The candidates include David Elsebusch and incumbents John Corbett and Helen Edwards. The following is part of a series of profiles on the candidates.)
By Elaine Weinreb
Press Staff Writer
David Elsebusch, a long-time critic of the McKinleyville Community Services District and other local governmental agencies, has tossed his hat into the ring, challenging incumbents Helen Edwards and John Corbett for a seat on the MCSD board.
Elsebusch, an insurance claims adjustor and private investigator, appears at almost every board meeting of the MCSD.
He studies the district’s financial reports and is quick to question any expenditures that seem at all unclear. He also frequently voices his disapproval of the district’s general manager and many of the board’s policies.
The MCSD has been in conflict with the county over a large increase in the number of multi-family units which the Board of Supervisors recently mandated for McKinleyville, re-zoning several residential parcels to allow high-density development to occur in various locations.
The MCSD has stated that it does not have the infrastructure necessary to support this level of development, but despite MCSD’s objections, the Board of Supervisors approved the re-zoning plan on August 23.
Elsebusch believes that the MCSD should respond by imposing a moratorium on all new building hook-ups that are not already in the pipeline.
“We can’t afford to plan on adding all the new hook-ups that would be necessary if McKinleyville’s allocated low-income and affordable housing is implemented,” he said.
Elsebusch emphasizes that he is not referring to current approved projects that have not yet been constructed.
“MCSD should not have to plan for all this excessive new development. They should not have to spend millions of dollars to upgrade, and [without the new development] we could get by with the facilities that we have now. Or at least the upgrades would be less costly.”
McKinleyville has done a good job of producing affordable and low-income housing,” he said. “You look around; there’s apartments, million-dollar houses, and everything….”
He says that MCSD should not try to become a planning agency.
“Absolutely, positively not. It would politicize a service district that should stick to doing what it does best, and is doing very well now.
“It wouldn’t be economical and fiscally viable. Where would the money come from? You would need to hire staff and consultants.”
Nonetheless, when asked what the greatest challenge is facing MCSD, he gave the following reply:
“The greatest challenge for MCSD, in my opinion, will be considering additional powers, including planning, to simulate a city since it appears unfeasible to incorporate.”
Elsebusch has many criticisms of the existing board and the decisions that it has made over the past few years. Water rates, he said, should have risen a long time ago since the water department is running a deficit, and he wonders why the board did not make such a decision prior to the election.
He believes that the board is too lax in challenging expenditures. He feels that the new emergency water line attached to the Mad River Bridge is a waste of money, arguing that any earthquake large enough to take out the underwater pipeline would also wreck the bridge.
He does not like spending money on hazardous waste disposal events for the general public. He believes it was inappropriate for MCSD to request membership on the board of the Humboldt County Association of Governments. Above all, he dislikes MCSD’s General Manager Norman Shopay, saying that he lacks the experience to effectively run the agency.
He also has some harsh words about Board President Helen Edwards, and would like to see the chairmanship of the board rotate on a yearly basis.