Besides federal and state legislators and officials being on the November ballot, several local districts also will have seats on the ballot and one would have but the number of candidates equals the number of seats.
Hemet Unified School District (HUSD) and the Idyllwild Fire Protection District are two local jurisdictions that will have campaigns this fall. Idyllwild Water District (IWD) might also have a race this fall, but that won’t be determined until mid-week.
The Pine Cove Water District has directors whose terms end in December but the qualified candidates, all incumbents, have no challengers.
For HUSD and IWD, an incumbent, whose term expires in December, has chosen not to seek reelection. Consequently, the deadline for anyone else to file candidacy papers is extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17.
HUSD has five of seven trustee seats up for election. This includes two from Area 5, which includes the Hill, Garner Valley and Anza.
Current trustees are Vic Scavarda and Megan Haley. Haley has filed and qualified for reelection. Scavarda, a former teacher at Idyllwild School, has decided to retire from the board when his term expires in December.
“It’s been nine years since I took over from Bill Sanborn in 2013, and it has been my honor and privilege to represent Idyllwild School and the community on the board,” Scavarda said in an email to the Town Crier. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve on the board of trustees. They are a great group of people, and I learned a lot from them.
“The last couple of years have been rough for everyone due to COVID, and I think it’s time for me to let someone else have a chance at it,” he concluded.
Scavarda originally was appointed in June 2013 to replace former Trustee Bill Sanborn of Idyllwild. He was elected to a full four-year term in 2014 and reelected in 2018. He served as board president in 2017.
Currently, Al Fernandes, a retired educator, and Jeremy Parsons, a law enforcement officer, are the other two candidates, besides Haley, who have filed and qualified. As of Saturday, Aug. 13, there were three candidates for the two Area 7 seats, but the deadline to file remains Aug. 17.
The other HUSD incumbents who are seeking reelection and their districts are Ross Valenzuela, Area 2, and Rob Davis, Area 5. Ken Prado is identified as a qualified challenger to Davis.
In Area 3, the incumbent has not filed, but the only candidate listed as submitting qualified paperwork is Al Cordova.
Four candidates will be on the November ballot for three IFPD commission seats.
Incumbents President Henry Sawicki, Rhonda Andrewson and Dan Messina have terms ending in December. All have filed and qualified as candidates for the November election.
Stephanie Yost, Idyllwild Community Center (ICC) president, is challenging them. She and her husband, Steve Olson, returned to Idyllwild as part-time residents in 2008 and moved full-time in 2015. She was appointed to lead ICC after Janice Lyle retired in summer 2019.
The three incumbents all have experience running in elections. Sawicki was appointed in 2017 and won a full four-year term in 2018. Andrewson is the senior commissioner. She was elected in 2013 and reelected in 2018.
Messina has convinced the commission to appoint him twice to vacant seats, although the voters have supported other candidates. This will be his second attempt to become an elected commissioner. In 2020, he was appointed to fill the term of Commissioner Larry Donahoo, who had resigned. That November, the election had three candidates for two IFPD seats. Messina finished last behind current commissioners Christina Reitz and Dennis Fogle.
In June 2021, the board appointed him a second time to fill a vacancy. This time, he replaced former Commissioner Ralph Hoetger who moved. Yost and David Cutter had also applied for the vacant position. But three commissioners — with the exception of Reitz — adamantly repeated their efforts to put Messina on the commission.
Currently, two candidates — Steve Olson and Gene “Geno” Schneider — have qualified for the two seats whose terms are expiring in December. However, since incumbent Les Gin, who moved out of the district, is not seeking reelection, the deadline for filing is Aug. 17.
Olson was appointed to the board in June 2021 to finish the term of former Commissioner David Hunt who had resigned. Schneider is a longtime Idyllwild resident.
Three seats have terms expiring in December and all three incumbents — President Robert Hewitt, Lou Padula and Rose Venard — will be reelected. No one chose to challenge them, so an election is not necessary and later this fall, the county board of supervisors will officially appoint them to new terms.
Hewitt was originally appointed to the board in 2012 and has been elected to full terms in 2013 and 2017. He has served as board president since 2015.
Padula is the senior board director having been originally elected in 2005 and re-elected in three subsequent elections.
Venard was appointed to the board in September 2019 to fill the remaining term of former Director Steven King who moved. She was elected to the final two years of the term in 2020. Now she will have a full four-year term.