2012-11-08 / Front Page

Polan upsets Bowman in heated Las Virgenes water district race

. New Westlake tank an issue
By Sylvie Belmond

Joe Bowman Joe Bowman Challenger Leonard Polan surprised incumbent Joe Bowman with a 17 percent margin of victory in Tuesday’s contest to represent the Las Virgenes Municipal Water agency’s 4th Division, which covers Westlake Village and portions of Agoura Hills.

More than 4,360 voters cast ballots in the heated race, and more than 58 percent of the electorate backed the newcomer.

“I feel that the community won,” said Polan, an architect and Westlake Village resident who received 2,556 votes.

Bowman, who also lives in Westlake Village and served on the LVMWD board since 2002, received 1,811 or 41 percent of the votes.

The incumbent enjoyed a 14 vote advantage in the early returns Tuesday evening, but his lead faded as the night wore on.

“My wife woke me up at 3 a.m. and told me ‘you’re ahead by 300 votes,’” Polan said.

During the race the candidates traded charges of campaign sign thefts and battled over a number of issues including a plan to raise water rates and build a new water tank in Westlake Village.

Len Polan Len Polan “We have made the local electoral aware of what’s going on with the water district,” said Polan who canvassed the neighborhoods diligently to meet his constituents.

Unlike Bowman, Polan opposes the 5-million gallon Westlake tank, which costs $7 million and is slated to be built next to the Las Virgenes Reservoir in the Three Springs neighborhood of Westlake Village. He promised to enhance conservation and recycling efforts in the water district and to scrutinize district staffing, pensions and health care benefits to limit the burden on ratepayers.

“I want to prevent rate increases in the future and scrutinize and question any proposals that could trigger rate increase,” Polan said.

Las Virgenes Municipal Water District is divided into five districts. Two seats were up for grabs in the 2012 elections.

Charles Caspary, who represents Hidden Hills, ran unopposed and will be reappointed to a new four-year term. Caspary and Polan will begin their new terms in January 2013.

Of the 36,000 votes cast in Division 2 of the Calleguas Municipal Water District, incumbent Scott Quady won 32 percent against Janna Orkney’s 30 percent.

Calleguas is the wholesale water agency that serves most of Ventura County. The district is divided into five divisions, and three of them had elections this November. Division 2 includes most of the Conejo Valley. Orkney lives in Oak Park and has been a board member for the Triunfo Sanitation District.

The results are pending provisional and mail in ballots turned in at the polls. “It was a good race, but it looks like Scott is winning,” Orkney said. Contenders Darin Henry finished third with 24 percent and Gary Pipes trailed with 14 percent.

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