Campaign continues for Boulder Creek rec board
by Peter Burke
Oct 04, 2012 | 10443 views | 24 24 comments | 785 785 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tess Fitzgerald
Tess Fitzgerald
slideshow
Brian Valdivia
Brian Valdivia
slideshow
Kim Main
Kim Main
slideshow
Richard Chatoff
Richard Chatoff
slideshow
Five Boulder Creek residents are running for three seats on the Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District board of directors.

Two incumbents, Brian Valdivia and Tess Fitzgerald, hope to retain their seats on the board, while three newcomers, Kim Main, Richard Chatoff and Michael Watson, have thrown their hats in the ring.

 

Brian Valdivia

Valdivia, a Boulder Creek native and president of the board, was elected in 2008 and said he was proud of recent board accomplishments

Those include, he said, keeping the parks looking beautiful; hiring a district manager, Hallie Green, who has added to the district’s revenue through increased programming; and completing the renovation of Garrahan Park.

“We were able to do it because we have a cooperative board and a great manager,” Valdivia said.

Valdivia, who has two preschool-aged sons, said he looked forward to a new or remodeled recreation facility, because the existing recreation hall is too small to accommodate requests from the community.

“It is definitely smaller than we would like,” he said.

Whether the hall remains behind the fire department or a new hall is built somewhere else, Valdivia said it was important to look forward, because the project could take a decade to complete.

He also said he hoped the district would start an outdoor science program soon.

Valdivia is running on a ticket with Fitzgerald and Main.

 

Tess Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald, an incumbent, has worked as clerk of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors since 2007.

She was appointed to the Boulder Creek Recreation board twice, in 2006 and 2010, to each time to serve two-year partial terms.

Fitzgerald is proud of the district’s growing presence in the community in the past year and said she is on the lookout to build another park.

“The community wants a community garden and a place to run their dogs,” Fitzgerald said.

She also said the board is looking for a site for a future recreation hall to replace the existing facility. She’s proud that the district has saved money for that goal and has about $532,000 that could be used for a new building.

Fitzgerald also expressed pride in her efforts to straighten out the district’s administrative paperwork and push for transparency by posting meaningful agenda items on the district’s website.

She said she would like to offer more programs for seniors.

Fitzgerald added that she thought the district’s role was to serve the community with activities and facilities.

“Rec districts should be seen and not heard,” she said.

Fitzgerald is running on a ticket with Valdivia and Main.

 

Richard Chatoff

Chatoff, a father of two boys who works in shipping and receiving for IBM, disagrees with the present board’s philosophy of saving for a new recreation facility without, he said, showing growth that would warrant a new facility.

“They want to keep shoving money away to purchase property,” Chatoff said. “You need money to support that facility.”

He said he had attended every board meeting since word went out more than two years ago that the district had plans to purchase four lots near Highway 9 and Grove Street to build a new recreation hall.

The deal fell through because the district was not granted the money by the state, despite a submitting two lengthy applications.

“You need to demonstrate an interest from the community,” Chatoff said. “I’m definitely for a rec center if it’s feasible. I don’t want to buy a big piece of land just because.”

He cautioned that purchasing land for a new recreation center without proper demand could lead to a situation similar to that of Redwood Elementary School, which merged with Boulder Creek Elementary in 2003 because the student population shrank, leaving the campus empty.

The candidate said he was happy with the growth of district programs, but he wanted to add more, especially for boys in the 8- to 18-year-old range.

“What’s working is great,” he said, “(but) there’s room to expand it.”

Chatoff said he also hoped to see programs promoting positive life skills. He said he would push for a new community survey to help the district understand the needs of local families and individuals.

 

Kim Main

Main, who has a 10-year-old daughter and two grown stepsons, is running for the board for the first time.

Among her volunteer work, she served as moderator of the Boulder Creek Family Network Yahoo Group for two years. The grassroots group has more than 300 members and shares news about events, crimes, fundraisers and other topics on a daily basis.

She also volunteers at Boulder Creek Branch Library, Boulder Creek Elementary School and the rec center.

Main has been an active user of the recreation district, taking jazzercise classes at the recreation hall, and her daughter has also participated in district programs.

Her family helped revitalize Junction Park, and Main is working with board member Diane Hamilton to build exercise equipment at Garrahan Park.

Main supports the enhancement of Garrahan Park and believes a new recreation center should be constructed to provide space for classes, entertainment and child care.

“It would be great for the community to have its own center,” Main said. “It’s not an overnight process. It takes a lot of vision and planning.”

Main said she hoped the Miller Property off Kings Creek Road, owned by Santa Cruz County, could be used for recreational purposes like hiking.  

Main also said the Redwood Elementary School campus could be used more for district activities.

She is running on a ticket with Fitzgerald and Valdivia.

 

Michael Watson

Watson, a lifelong resident of Boulder Creek, hopes the district will host more events that attract people from outside the town.

Watson fondly remembers the Boulder Creek Art and Wine festival, which was canceled in 2010, and said he would like to host a car show in town.

“I think it would target a bigger community base,” said Watson, who is studying business at West Valley Community College.

The candidate said he remembered playing hockey and basketball at the YMCA when he was younger, and thinks the district should offer activities targeted to people in their 20s and 30s.

He said he hoped to promote living a healthy lifestyle through the district’s programs.

Watson said he had noticed in the past year that the district was advertising its activities more often, and he hoped that trend would continue.

While admitting to inexperience in dealing with budgets of public agencies, Watson said he was motivated to get involved by his volunteer work at the Elm Street Mission serving soup with Boulder Creek Community Church.

“I really want to help out the community,” Watson said. “If I can make the community better, that would be a great achievement for me.”

On the subject of a new recreation center, he said it was a hard situation to figure out, but he would go to people in the community to find out if it’s something they want.

To comment, email editor Peter Burke at peter@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

Comments
(24)
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BC Whisper Network
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October 17, 2012
It appears the BC family network whisper campaign has been given the green light to post. All these post within an hour opposed to someone who's not a groupie. I appreciate the network but the e-mail posting to the group site is not the place for the rumors/lies about Rich or the Supervisors race. Remember not all of us in the network support Kim or Eric and her last minute swayed decision to run. She really is not the community volunteer she say's and if I am wrong please let us know what she has done.
Jeff C
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October 19, 2012
Wow. there's some animosity. Sure makes ya wonder why you're part of that group if you are so disappointed with it- or if you actually are a member... My guess is you're not and bitter because you aren't. Poor baby.
nervana
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October 12, 2012
Mr. Chatoff gets our votes......in response to the following comment made by Jim C :(Yeah... sounds just like someone who has no clue.... attending meetings is "involved?" I think not. Let's talk about where the guy lives....)

Mr. Jim C., it is very clear that you do not know what you are talking about and never attend those board meetings yourself... you are very wrong..Mr. Chatoff has been attending those board meetings.... every month! I suggest you start doing the same if you are so interested!

maybe too
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October 17, 2012
how do you know who attends the monthly meetings? Chatoff is only there because he doesn't want the new rec center in his backyard. He NEVER was at any meetings prior to that and I contend that is a pretty poor rationale for running for a board position.
Jasmine Bourne
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October 17, 2012
Oh, right. Because simply being spawn of Valley Women's Club is rationale for running for rec board.

Or supervisor.
miss thept
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October 19, 2012
Lifelong commitment to the community is the point. Hammer shows that, even if you don't like some of his work. Yes, it tends to coincide with having a parent who has done it. Try to get past your bias against Mr. Hammer and the VWC. Guessing you are just another one of these anti-rec district people hell bent on destroying a good thing that many REALLY appreciate. Never figured out why that is other than you got nothing better to do... No wonder people team up against that. It takes courage to fight for what's right and good for the community as a whole as opposed to a couple of squeaky people with irrational fears.
Daneris
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October 11, 2012
@Christina56 Thanks for your comments. The reason I am unable to run for public office is that I work and raise children and have no time available.

That does not change my commitment to my community and concern about elected officials.
BC Jeff
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October 11, 2012
They want to keep shoving money away to purchase property," Chatoff said, "you need money to support that facility
nervana
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October 12, 2012
Meaning what BC Jeff?
BC Jeff
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October 17, 2012
Meaning you need money to build a place so that the rec district can move to new digs and the fire dept can expand. an obvious win-win for both groups.... except for the noisy minority....
Christina56
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October 10, 2012
A few comments:

@BC Jeff: Your question regarding Chatoff's occupation is interesting, if only for clarity's sake. Richard is a very straightforward and decent man, and a great dad. I think he'd bring a new, more conservative perspective to the board, though I'm not sure that's what everyone is looking for. I guess it depends on what you think should be prioritized within the District. And yes, being a fiscal conservative means that he has spoken up countless times at meetings with regards to the way money is spent by the board. Once again, not good or bad--just his style, and I applaud him for running for the position.

@Daneris: In terms of the pre-determined slate of three, that doesn't exist. The voters determine the winners, and we can each vote in whatever way we feel is most appropriate. I think knowing that Fitzgerald, Main and Valdivia are running together lets you know that they are like-minded in their approach towards the District. With Fitzgerald and Valdivia having both served on the board thus far, you can vote Main in with their block if you are happy with the direction the board has taken the District. If you're unhappy, then at least you have two other people to choose from. And if you were truly worried about our District being "the laughing stock of the county," how come you didn't run in an effort to make a difference?

@No Photo: I was sort of surprised by that too. I'm wondering what the reason was for abstaining from having his picture printed? You would think that someone running for, as you said, a public office would want to be easily recognized.

@Vernita: As I referenced above, I think the "slate" or "ticket" idea simply gives you an idea as to the like-mindedness of the candidates. Also, with five people running for three seats, a slate makes it easier for those who are less informed to use name recognition in the voting booth. And again, if you're unhappy with the direction the incumbents have been taking the District, this is your chance to shake it up. The tough part is knowing how people will truly vote and/or act once they are voted into the position, and they find themselves in a community meeting with citizens who are railing against them. It can be harder to stand up to opposition in those instances.

BC Jeff
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October 10, 2012
I asked a simple question, is this Chatoff guy a Regulatory Compliance Specialist or in shipping and receiving?

No whispering, just wondering.

Relax buddy, this is a Recreation District we are talking about here, as we have seen in the distant past, one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Asking questions is a good thing.
Ask Him
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October 10, 2012
You can ask him by sending e-mail to chatoff831@att.net with questions or concerns you have. I am assuming as with most articles written there are mistakes in the quotes and writing. besides what kind of job is a community volunteer...
Daneris
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October 10, 2012
OK, here we go, whisper campaign against the independent candidates, push the pre-determined slate of 3. So obvious.
Daneris
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October 10, 2012
Really, all your going to end up with is the same mindset that has kept the BC Rec District the laughing stock of the county.
Janey O
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October 10, 2012
What is up with the innuendo??? Can we stick to facts? What is best for Boulder Creek? Isn't that the most important point here???
Talulah K
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October 12, 2012
What is best for BC Rec is to start with a new board, fresh faces with no invested interest in controlling the organization. Out with the old and in with the new!
mistake
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October 17, 2012
Apparently none of these people have a clue as to what the rec district has been doing the last few years. These people have done a great many good things. Some controversial, many not. They have made a few mistakes but for the most part have done an awesome job in the opinion of most. Obviously there are some who disagree and one should question their motives as to wanting to be on the Board. yes, Rich has been attending meetings- but he has reason to do so- the rec district considered building their facility in his neighborhood. Is that truly a good reason to be a board member?

At face value, he seems like a good candidate for the job but one has to wonder if the end result of his election to the board would be to simply stifle any growth that was clearly in the best interests of the community as a whole, even though it incensed a few locals in the process. Can't make everyone happy...
BC Jeff
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October 10, 2012
This article says Chatoff works in shipping and receiving, but the ballot information sent from the state lists his occupation as Regulatory Compliance Specialist?

Is this the guy who shows up at the meetings and rails at the board for being stupid for saving public money because he lives next door to where they were going to purchase property for a recreation facility?
No Photo
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October 09, 2012
The print version of the paper has a box where the photo of Michael Watson should be stating, "declined to be photographed" ? What in the world? You are running for a PUBLIC office, sir.
BCVoter
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October 09, 2012
Richard Chatoff has my vote. He's been very involved with the Rec Center for the last 2 years and is an intelligent, honest man.

We need diverse voices on that Rec Hall board. Not a slate that has a narrow focus.
jim c
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October 10, 2012
Yeah... sounds just like someone who has no clue.... attending meetings is "involved?" I think not. Let's talk about where the guy lives....
Vernita Aspen
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October 04, 2012
You know, the whole "ticket" or "slate" concept has always bothered me. Why run that way rather than on one's own merits? Is it because the slate all has the same agenda? What is that agenda? A new BC Rec center? If so, then be honest about that.

Also, if the slate is a new BC Rec center...and 80% of surveyed voters indicated that a new rec center was not a priority, then why is this current board making it a priority? Why is this slate making it a priority?

Maybe it's time to re-prioritize?
quaking aspen
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October 17, 2012
The slate is NOT a new rec center, that is one of the things on the long term plan for the district. You should attend more meetings so you are informed.

Who says 80% of surveyed voters indicated it wasn't a priority to have a new rec center? There was quite a bit of support for it during the proposal process. As it was mentioned above, it was a good thing for the community- it would provide for a safe new place for the rec district events and provided the fire district with desperately needed additional space. That was turned around into a bad thing by a few noisy neighbors in the area. It didn't have to land there, that was available land! In the end we need these improvements, which is why Rich isn't a good choice for the long term in this district.


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