Victory by a duo running as a kind of reform slate has guaranteed a new majority on the controversial Marina Coast Water District board of directors.

Former board member Tom Moore and newcomer Peter Le won two open seats on the board in Tuesday's election, outdistancing incumbent Dan Burns by promising to change the way the district does business.

With 5,514 votes counted as of Wednesday, Moore captured 2,525 votes and Le tallied 1,822, compared with Burns' 1,168. The incumbent conceded he had virtually no chance to make up the difference in late ballots remaining to be counted.

Longtime board member Ken Nishi chose not to run for re-election.

Moore, a Naval Postgraduate School instructor who served on the board for 17 years before losing a bid for re-election two years ago, and Le, a civil engineer who serves as chairman of the city's Planning Commission, are expected to team with current board member Jan Shriner to form a new majority on the board, which includes Howard Gustafson and Bill Lee.

Moore and Le, who are aligned with Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado and city progressives, ran on restoring the board's reputation and a promise of improved transparency after arguing the water district had been poorly managed on a range of issues, including the investment of up to $17 million in the failed regional desalination project.


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Moore, who is reportedly at a conference in Florida, could not be reached for comment, but Le said he hopes to begin work on several initiatives. Le said he would like to see water board meetings held in Marina City Council chambers to make it easier for district residents to attend and participate, and to make use of the facility's recording and broadcast capacity.

He said he wants to see the board take a hard look at its own quest for a desal plant and consider less expensive alternatives, such as drilling new wells. He noted the district still has plenty of water allocation remaining to meet growth projections for several decades.

Burns said he was disappointed his opponents used unwarranted criticism of general manager Jim Heitzman and district staff in the campaign, and predicted the dispute over the district's investment in the regional project will end up in an expensive court battle.

The retired wastewater operations manager was appointed to the water board in 2007 and was seeking his second full term.

In another special district race, Rafael Garcia beat Orlando "Orly" Jimenez for an open seat on the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital district board, garnering 809 more votes out of 3,243 counted so far

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