Editor’s note: At its March 14 meeting, the Pine Cove Water District Board of Directors selected Steven King as the fifth director replacing Joel Palmer, who resigned in January. Since King did not campaign for the position, the Town Crier interviewed him so the community would have some knowledge of the new water director.
He will have to stand for election in 2020 for the final two years of the term.
King, 65, was born in Wichita, Kansas. He spent 18 years with the U.S. Air Force after enlisting, and time with the Air National Guard in Kansas. The next 23 years of his career allowed him to work with unmanned aircraft.
His career has taken him back and forth across the continent. And this is his fifth time calling California home.
He and Paula, his wife, moved to Pine Cove in October from San Jacinto. King has a daughter and grandchild.
After an outside dinner with “great” music playing, they were enchanted with Idyllwild and made the decision to move to the mountain, he said.
They have become involved in many aspects of the local community already. Now King feels he would like to help the community in the water area.
“[Getting involved with the local water district] seemed like the next step,” he reflected. “We want to support the community.”
In Kansas, he worked for the Wichita Water Department for several years. So he comes to the PCWD board educated and trained on many water issues.
“Underground wells and water is not a mystery to me,” he stated.
But some of the specific local issues, such as consolidation, are new to him. Although a recent Pine Cove resident, he has lived in
California for many of his years. Consequently, he had an opinion about the water-tax idea, which is on the Legislature’s agenda this spring with the governor’s support.
“California is over governed and over taxed,” he opined. “The state is looking to get money. They’re coming to Pine Cove and other districts telling them, ‘We’re taxing your water.’ Next there will be a tax for growing vegetables in your backyard.
“California is in trouble financially and looking for money,” he concluded.
He expressed enthusiasm about working with his board colleagues. “What I know is, it looks like PCWD is a forward-thinking group.” He pointed to the infrastructure work and the water conservation efforts.
One project in particular impressed him. “Fire hydrants are way out there [in the undeveloped neighborhoods],” he said. “That’s planning and forward thinking.
“Those are really about future demand not just now,” King emphasized. “You can’t do anything without water.”
He also hopes to keep the district’s water affordable.
“Nobody wants water rates to go up, but some may have to live with some increases,” King said about the future. “Initially, the percentage looks large, but the actual dollar amount is not a lot.”
As the interview ended, King repeated, “My wife and I truly enjoy this community.”
JP Crumrine can be reached at [email protected]