By Robert Jordan
LIVERMORE -- For the third time in two years, a pair of familiar names will seek a seat on the board that governs the parks in and around Livermore.
Bill Coomber, an appointed incumbent, and Mark Thrailkill were among six candidates in 2010 who sought three seats on the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District board. Thrailkill and Coomber finished fourth and sixth, respectively, with Maryalice Faltings, Laureen Turner and David Hutchinson earning four-year seats.
In 2011, when Turner won election to the Livermore City Council, Coomber and Thrailkill applied to fill out the first two years of Turner's term. Coomber was selected for that spot by the board in January.
Voters are now being asked to select one of the two to fill the remaining two years of Turner's term.
Coomber and Thrailkill can expect discussions of the district's budget, the loss of programs and possible expansion of the district to keep them busy.
Coomber said that after nine months on the board, he is seeking re-election because he saw the projects and challenges ahead for the district.
"The district serves a lot of families that are my neighbors and friends," Coomber said. "I could be a benefit (with my) experience on so many levels, and not just because I am a sport and trail nut. I am intricately involved with numbers."
A special assets manager for Technology Credit Union in San Jose, Coomber, 57, has become familiar with the district's $16.3 million budget and its constraints.
Thrailkill didn't respond to requests for an interview, and he didn't file a candidate statement with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
The district manages 38 parks and a jurisdiction that spans a 245-square-mile area bounded by Contra Costa County to the north, San Joaquin County to the east, Santa Clara County to the south and the cities of Pleasanton and Dublin to the west. It also manages community programs for seniors and children, including child care.
In August, the district lost a $670,000 grant that funded the Extended Student Services school-age child care program, which served 250 children. The money came from the state Department of Education (through the private nonprofit child development agency Kidango) for the past three decades. The loss left the families without free child care.
"We took a big hit earlier this year because we passed our budget before the state," Coomber said. "We lost key funding for the program, and we are trying real hard to make that up."
In July, the district voted unanimously to remain separate from the city.
The board could also face expansion issues as there have been discussions to expand Sycamore Grove Park by 73 acres with the possible purchase of the Bobba property adjacent to the open park space.
"It comes down to money," Coomber said. "I am a huge fan of open space, but we have to weigh how to utilize it and how much will it cost."
Occupation: Special assets manager for Technology Credit Union
Civic involvement: Appointed incumbent to the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District board
Thrailkill did not respond to requests for an interview, and, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, he didn't file a candidate statement.