Alpine on top in Placer Water’s District 5 election

Maki second and Wollan a distant third in race to succeed Mavy
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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AUBURN CA - District 5 voters have given Colfax City Councilman Joshua Alpine the nod over former Auburn Mayor Cheryl Maki in a closely contested Placer County Water Agency election.

The ballot count Wednesday morning showed Alpine polling 8,440 votes to Maki’s 8,179, enough of a cushion for Maki to say her opponent was the probable winner.

Alpine, 40, is a Pacific Gas & Electric water and power system operator working out of Vacaville.

Plans are to resign from the Colfax City Council as soon as the election is certified, to take office on the agency board, Alpine said. How the Colfax post is filled would be up to the remaining council members, he said.

“My focus will be on better access to water in my zone,” Alpine said. “There were also a lot of questions asked during the election so I’ll be raising issues that have been brought to me.”

Maki announced her candidacy in the early summer. Alpine became a candidate in mid-August on the final day allowed to sign on.

The disparity in campaign styles was wide, with Maki taking a more traditional tack by raising more than $20,000 and spending it on a campaign that got her name out in front of voters in the form of signage.

Alpine eschewed raising funds or signs. Instead, the decade-long Colfax City Council member said name recognition and his experience as an elected official served him in good stead.

Alpine and Maki were just two votes apart after one early count, which weighed heavily on absentee ballots received before Tuesday.  But the count after all 99 precincts had reported in, showed Maki losing ground enough to call the election Wednesday morning.

“I’ve pretty much conceded the fact that Josh has probably won,” Maki said. “I’m proud of the fact that I ran a nice, clean campaign. In the end, the democratic process worked.”

Former Water Agency Director Otis Wollan’s vote count was well behind the other two candidates. Wollan, a Colfax resident who served 21 years on the board, had 3,330 votes.

Alpine is in line to succeed current agency District 5 Director Ben Mavy, who is moving to Wyoming after serving a four-year term out in December. Mavy supported Alpine in the election.