Editor's note: This is the second in a series of profiles on the candidates running for the 2nd District supervisor seat.
WATSONVILLE — Doug Deitch, a nonprofit executive director and longtime watchdog of county water supplies, is running again for a county supervisor seat, this time representing the 2nd District.
Deitch, 64, is involved in Santa Cruz real estate and founded the Monterey Bay Conservancy nonprofit. He calls himself the “perennial candidate,” and this is the sixth consecutive time he has run for county supervisor.
He is seeking to replace Ellen Pirie, who has served as 2nd District Supervisor since 2000, and who announced her intention not to run in the June election.
Deitch said, if elected, he would work to make sure the region's natural resources are better managed, with water supplies a top priority. His other priorities are community safety, fiscal responsibility, community development and transportation.
In a Monday afternoon meeting with the R-P editorial board in Watsonville, he expressed frustration with how the region's vast agricultural interests manage the available water.
"What we're in now is a berry boom," Deitch said, and if that continues, the water situation will get worse.
"Since agriculture uses more than 80 percent of our current countywide water overdraft, our vision must include agriculture’s diminished use," Deitch states on his website, www.dougforsupervisor.com/about.htm. "To accomplish this, antiquated state laws ... like the Pajaro Valley Water Management Act must be repealed, and a new state law and regional agency created."
In addition to water issues, Deitch was involved in the push for Pajaro Valley High School and the restoration of the historic Pogonip Clubhouse. He also feels strongly about the proposed redesign of the Aptos Safeway and Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center.
"I'm the only candidate who opposes that," he said.
He's opposed because many businesses in the shopping center will be displaced, and he's also concerned about a huge increase in traffic in the area.
On the subject of fiscal responsibility, he said county supervisors are paid too much. County supervisors make $112,000 per year.
He said that many state representatives have taken pay cuts, but local supervisors haven't joined in, instead steadily increasing their salaries.
"Now they've got that number jacked up to the moon," he said. "Why don't they readjust their salaries down?"
Regarding the salaries plus benefit and retirement packages for many local officials, he said: "This is all unsustainable ... We're headed for a crash."
He's also concerned with public safety, because "this is not a safe community. Because we're not following the law."
In particular, he says the county needs to enforce the controversial Secure Communities program. Under the pending policy, sheriff's deputies would assess jailed illegal immigrants to decide whether to comply with federal detainer requests, which can lead to deportation. The program faces opposition from the county's Latino Affairs Commission and other groups.
Deitch has lived in the county for 43 years. He works in real estate and founded and runs a water conservation nonprofit, the Monterey Bay Conservancy. He freely calls himself a perennial candidate, and doesn't seem concerned that he's lost so many elections.
"I'm the biggest loser in the history of Santa Cruz," he said.
Aptos businessman Rich McInnis, contractor Daniel Beckett, police spokesman Zach Friend and former Watsonville City councilman Antonio Rivas are also vying for the 2nd
District seat. The 2nd District runs from Watsonville to Capitola and includes Corallites and Aptos.
The election is June 5. The last day to register to vote is May 21. County workers will begin mailing absentee ballots on Monday.
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