While national attention is centered on the primary election set to take place in California this coming March, local voters in Keyes will get a say in who represents them next month by casting their ballots in the Consolidated District Election.
There are two seats on the Keyes Community Services District Board of Directors up for grabs in the upcoming Nov. 5 election and residents of the small community will have three options to choose from: incumbents Davie Landers and Mike Bernal, and newcomer Cody Knee.
The purpose of the KCSD Board is to oversee and make decisions regarding the town’s water distribution, wastewater collection and streetlight services, providing residents with the most cost-effective, efficient and eco-friendly options possible.
The district provides water services to its customers through the use of four wells and pumps all of its water from the underground aquifer known as the Turlock Subbasin. The district meters all of the water it delivers and provides water to residential, commercial, industrial and governmental entities. Through its partnership with the City of Turlock, KCSD also provides wastewater collection and treatment services to more than 5,000 people.
Landers, who currently serves as the Board President, has been a part of KCSD for the past decade, with prior service in both the ‘90s and early 2000s. He’s choosing to run for another five-year term because of his love for the community, he said.
“I’m a heavy advocate for my town of Keyes,” he said. “Anything I can do to better my little community, I’m all for it.”
A retired City of Ceres custodian, Landers said he’s been willing to “scratch, bite, claw and dig” for the betterment of the community, whether it be helping to bring new curbs and gutters to residential areas, much-needed streetlights to dimly-lit corridors or, most recently, the new arsenic water treatment plant to town.
Landers also serves as Board Chair on the Keyes Municipal Advisory Council, and said both roles involve consistent communication with District 2 Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.
“I don’t mind going to the County and arguing with them, but we have a fantastic supervisor in Vito Chiesa,” Landers said. “Usually he’ll help guide us through whatever’s going on. It’s a combination of working with others to get what you want, because in government, sometimes the wheel runs slow.”
Ongoing issues in Keyes revolve around water, he added, and the Board is currently looking at bringing another sewer lift station to town. The fact that there’s even an election for the two open seats is exciting, he said, as it means more people are becoming interested in participating in local government.
“If you’re interested in working for the community, then more power to anybody who wants to get involved and work for the better of it,” Landers said.
Keyes resident and Turlock Irrigation District water distribution operator Cody Knee is one community member who wanted to get involved, and he is also running for one of the KCSD Board seats.
As a water distribution operator, Knee delivers irrigation water to local growers operating a number of agricultural wells. Knee also worked as a maintenance worker within TID for eight years prior, where he primarily did pipeline repairs and resurfacing of the canal system.
When the open seat on the Board appeared, Knee thought it would be the perfect way to give back to Keyes.
“Street lighting, continued water quality and competitive pricing are a few key issues I would like to assist in by joining the team of directors,” Knee said. “Giving back to the Keyes community is something that I am passionate about, and I hope to help find solutions to the challenges our community faces.”
Along with Knee and Landers, current KCSD Director Mike Bernal is also on the ballot. He did not respond to requests for an interview by the time of publication.
The Stanislaus County Consolidated District Election will be held Nov. 5. For more information on the election, visit www.stanvote.com or call the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office at 525-5200. Spanish speakers can contact the Clerk-Recorder’s Office at 525-5230.
To vote in the Nov. 5 election, Stanislaus County residents must be United States citizens, not in prison or on parole for conviction of a felony, at least 18 years of age on Nov. 5 and be registered to vote by Oct. 21.