The urgent voices of some Cambria residents were finally heard as they rallied behind re-elected board member Amanda Rice, who was nearly looked over to become the new Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) board president at the Dec. 15 meeting.
With the missing presence of former CCSD board President Gail Robinette and the titles of both president and vice president up for grabs, newcomer to the board Harry Farmer nominated Amanda Rice for the leadership position. Rice seconded the motion, but, before the board could vote, board member Jim Bahringer was quick to ask for a discussion in opposition as he felt she wasn’t the best candidate.
He stated that board member Greg Sanders would be best suited to lead the board because Sanders was involved in the environmental review process for the Sustainable Water Facility, which is still under review and working on gaining a permanent operating permit.
Bahringer said that Rice shouldn’t lead the board until she sat in as vice president. Rice replied that if Bahringer felt that way, then Sanders should be subject to the same rule, as he hadn’t served as vice president before, either.
“The amount of time that Mr. Sanders could devote to the project and to the presidency would be of more value to the community than having a political expedient at this particular time,” Bahringer said.
Former Vice President Michael Thompson added that he would be “more comfortable” with Sanders in the president position and Rice as vice president. They proceeded to vote 3-2 denying Rice leadership and motioned for Sanders as president and Rice second in command.
That didn’t go over well with some community members, who stated during public comment that the board was unfair in denying Rice her turn for leadership. Cambria resident Christina Tobin read comments from a petition in favor of Rice signed by more than a hundred Cambrians via the Facebook group Cambria Currents.
The board resumed its vote and unanimously denied Sanders as president, voting for Rice to become the new board president with Sanders as vice president.
Rice told New Times that she believed the board realized after public comment that if they were to go with someone else to lead, the community was really going to push opposition at every move.
“It’s going to be interesting going forward and building back the trust in the community,” Rice said. “But now we see it’s a growing sentiment that if we go back to business as usual, that’s a problem.”