2010-10-21 / Community

Field of 11 competes in local water board race

By Sylvie Belmond belmond@theacorn.com

The Nov. 2 race to represent ratepayers on the Triunfo Sanitation District board includes 11 candidates for four positions. This week The Acorn concludes its series of candidate profiles.

Triunfo board members administer the delivery of potable water in Oak Park and oversee sanitation services for Oak Park, North Ranch, Bell Canyon, Lake Sherwood and western parts of Thousand Oaks. All are elected and they serve four-year terms.

The candidates are: incumbent Janna Orkney; Oak Park Municipal Advisory Councilmember Mike McReynolds; Thousand Oaks residents Henry Press, Tim Nanson, Ray Tjulander and James Wall; and Oak Park residents Bobby Ray Harris, Phil Janke, Dean Fields, Steven Iceland and Ron Stark.

Steven Iceland

Oak Park resident Steven Iceland wants to use his experience in business and government to assist with a timely and smooth transition on the Triunfo Sanitation board of directors.

“I have the needs of the district residents at heart to help this new board,” he said.

Iceland, who has owned a dentistry practice in Agoura Hills for more than 30 years, served three terms on the Oak Park Municipal Advisory Council and one on the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District board of directors, where he was liaison to the Ventura County Special Districts Association.

“This will be an invaluable benefit to the Triunfo board as we work closely with the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in the joint powers operation of the Tapia sewage treatment and water reclamation plant,” he said.

According to Iceland, Triunfo leaders must work together to continue to serve ratepayers with dependability and safety while providing the lowest possible costs in spite of water shortages and regulatory challenges.

“I know that the Triunfo Sanitation board of directors’ job is not to micromanage the district’s dayto day operations.

“The board’s job is to provide leadership and precise direction to the district’s staff and then to make sure that this staff implements our directions for the benefit of all the residents,” he said.

In addition, Iceland said board members should always seek input from residents and be responsive to that input.

But once a decision is made, the entire board must wholeheartedly support it for the good of constituents.

Iceland, 65, was a representative of the Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation for four years.

He and his wife, Jan, have four grown children. Jan Iceland has served 19 years on the Oak Park Unified School District board.

Dean Fields

Dean Fields, a business owner and information technology consultant, said he’s running for a seat on the Triunfo board to help enhance the local lifestyle.

“By working with the board and leveraging the unique relationship between the Triunfo district and its customers, I will work to continue to improve the already excellent service that is being provided,” said Fields, 54.

Fields used to be a chemist and clinical lab technician, but switched careers 10 years ago to become an information technology consultant for the Nielson Company.

After being laid off about a year-and-a-half ago, Fields started his own IT business.

The change allows him more time to get involved in the community, he said.

Fields said a key issue for Triunfo in coming years will be to enhance the distribution and sale of recycled water.

“Layers of agencies and regulations have made some aspects of recycled water management irrational,” Fields said.

He also suggested the district develop better business procedures to increase productivity and decrease costs.

Fields moved from Canoga Park to Oak Park about three years ago and then recently moved to Westlake Village.

As an avid hiker and founder of the Weekday Hikers, a group with almost 1,000 members, Fields said he appreciates the value of open space.

“No matter what the issue, (open space) should always be considered,” he said.

As a customer of Triunfo, Fields said he would like to see rates lowered. If elected, he plans to review all contracts with purveyors and service providers to ensure that the services provided are efficient and cost-effective.

Bobby Ray Harris

Bobby Ray Harris, a retired electrical engineering and program manager for the aerospace industry, is running for a seat on the Triunfo Sanitation District board of directors to do a good turn for his community.

“It seems like a good way to give back without getting too involved in politics. By and large, a water agency should be free of politics,” said the Oak Park resident.

Harris, 71, worked for companies that supply gear to the military. He said his professional experience would help him to better represent the Triunfo interests.

“I’m technically educated and knowledgeable. I stay current on public affairs and technology,” Harris said.

In addition to representing Oak Park residents on water and sanitation matters, Harris said his primary goal will be to promote transparency in the district.

“There are an awful lot of hidden agendas taking place in many government and public utility agencies,” said Harris, pointing out that it took too long for the Triunfo board to make the switch from appointments to elections. He credited Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks for pushing the change.

“Triunfo is an essential element in the lives of all Oak Park citizens, and I will endeavor to promote expanded outreach to inform people about the district and its activities. I will support the professional staff and employees in finding creative ways to add value for the community,” he said.

Harris said he has no hidden agendas. “I can be counted on because I want to do a job not because I intend to advance myself.”

Harris and his wife of 31 years, Pamela, have lived in Oak Park since 1998. They have four grown children.

After growing up in Santa Monica, Harris served four years in the Marine Corps in the late 1950s before going to work for a local aerospace manufacturer.

He and his family lived in Northridge until they moved to the Conejo Valley.

Ray Tjulander

If elected as a Triunfo Sanitation District board member, Thousand Oaks resident Ray Tjulander said he would implement solid cost controls and do his best to ensure that water and sanitation services are efficient and reliable.

“Efficiency is key to control the costs, and nobody wants sewage spills,” said the 75-year-old retired chemical engineer. Triunfo is a public entity—but also a business— and residents should be able to count on the board to look out for their best interests.

Tjulander said that for the first time in the district’s history, Triunfo customers have become stakeholders because they can now vote for their representatives.

“They need someone competent and professional who is going to manage the agency with their best interest in mind,” he said.

Tjulander managed NASA contracts at local companies such as the Rocketdyne plant in Canoga Park, which manufactured space shuttle engines.

“I have the proper background for what Triunfo does and time and energy to really roll up my sleeves and be an active board member, doing research before and after meetings,” he said.

Tjulander said one of the important roles of Triunfo leaders is to manage the agency’s contractors. Other priorities for the district include dealing with water shortages and ensuring that wastewater treatment plants work efficiently and reliably while meeting strict environmental standards.

Tjulander has served on the Ventura County grand jury and the Thousand Oaks Residents Roundtable, a citizens group dealing with concerns in residential areas. He also was president of his homeowners association. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children and three grandchildren.

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