OPINION by APRIL DURY
On Nov. 3, the residents within the district of the Oceano Community Services District used their voices and voted in the exact same three board members we have had for the last two plus years. Sadly, not one thing has changed here in dysfunction junction since the results were tallied and rendered official.
Cynthia Replogle, Linda Austin and Shirley Gibson won. Unfortunately, Oceano lost yet again.
Replogle ran under the Democratic Party umbrella, which, on the seat of a tiny little “vital services” utility district like the OCSD, results in nothing except partisanship. Water, sewage, street illumination and fire service are not red or blue ideologies – they are human rights and needs.
Austin ran using divisiveness over motorized dune use as her cudgel and rabid hatred for Replogle as the way to wield it, two things that have nothing to do with being an elected official of the OCSD.
Poor old Gibson ran, solely on Austin’s coattails and won solely by having “incumbent” after her name on the ballot.
Prior to the election, the board majority of Austin, Gibson, and Karen White (the last two being residents of Halcyon) voted to alienate Replogle from every single committee and group within the scope of the district: water and flood management, the sanitation district, the Oceano arm of the 5 Cities Fire Authority. Not one member in the board majority allowed Replogle to sit on in representation last year.
The (all Caucasian, all senior citizens) board majority went so far as to also bar our only LatinX elected official from representing Oceano (made up of a large LatinX population). Director Allene Villa was parked on the warm-up bench next to Replogle, for the sole offense of disagreeing with their muzzling of Replogle.
During the Dec. 23 meeting, the new board (same as the old board) did it again. The same board president, the same board vice president, and the exact same board members on the exact same committees were chosen by the same board majority of two Halcyon residents and a president who hasn’t even updated her “Message from the President” communication to us since January of 2019.
Love her or hate her – Cynthia Replogle is our elected official and so freshly chosen that Tommy Gong’s ink is barely dry on the certification documents. She is accountable for the same duties and responsibilities the board majority is.
The board majority that swore to uphold our country’s constitution and our district’s bylaws. Over 1,000 people voted for Replogle, yet only four people even bothered to attend the meeting on the 23, to speak up in favor of her being elected president and giving her seats on committees. Not one person in the audience spoke for anyone else, nor against Replogle.
Where were those 1,000-plus other voters the other night? The Democratic Party got her elected, and then bailed, once again subjecting her to being in the voting minority. Democrats aren’t helping Oceano when they can’t even support their candidate once elected.
Oceano does not have leadership at the OCSD. The Democrats think they won by getting one of their own into the seat, but Replogle has no juice to make any difference, so a fat lot of nothing was accomplished by that move. Neither the Democratic party nor Replogle herself could carry their other Democratic endorsement over the finish line.
Partisan party politics utterly failed us and proved their lack of substance. Replogle is left facing another few years with the same value as one hand clapping.
On Nov. 3, Oceano voted in the exact same dysfunction. It is difficult to watch my community suffer the consequences of divisiveness and partisanship we have been dealing with for some time.
For the next two years we are doomed to live the very definition of insanity – doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.
Oceano deserves real leadership. Oceano deserves qualified, intelligent, useful elected official participation and representation on all matters that pertain to them, not this petty spiteful behavior continually displayed by the OCSD Board majority of Linda Austin and Halcyon residents Karen White and Shirley Gibson.
Oceano deserves better.
April Dury is a small business owner and a resident of Oceano. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Oceano Community Services District Board in 2020.