BAY POINT -- An incumbent and a challenger appeared to be headed for victory to fill two seats on the Ambrose Recreation and Park District, according to unofficial election results released early Wednesday morning.
Incumbent Eva Garcia had 40.48 percent of the vote, followed by Lee Mason, who garnered 34.81 percent with all precincts reporting. Mason, who used to work for the district, ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2010.
Incumbent Terrillynn Kopita, who was appointed last year to fill a vacant seat, trailed with 24.31 percent of the vote.
All three candidates live in Bay Point.
Ambrose boundaries cover both Bay Point and Pittsburg, although 80 percent of the district's taxpayers live in Bay Point. The five-member board oversees various recreational programs, the Ambrose Community Center and seven parks in Bay Point, along with its largest park, Ambrose Park, which is on land annexed by Pittsburg.
At Ambrose Park, a plan to replace an aging eight-lane lap pool closed in 2008 for repairs with a children's activity pool has sparked controversy. Plans also call for restrooms, an office, a snack bar and a pool equipment building. Officials say it's possible a four-lane lap pool could be added at a later time.
Garcia, 56, voted to approve the district's master plan for Ambrose Park that included the children's activity pool and other park improvements. She said her first priority is to get the pool built, and she also
Garcia was first appointed to the district to fill a vacancy in July 2004, then reappointed in November 2004 when she had no opponents, and elected in 2008. She is the manager of the career center at the nonprofit SparkPoint in Bay Point.
Kopita, 51, said she supported the master plan that includes the new pool but was not on the board when it was approved. Kopita said she would be open to new ideas from residents and would try to improve park services for families and children. She works as a senior clerk for Contra Costa health services.
Mason, 59, has said the pool project did not have sufficient public review but said he would not oppose the project if he was elected to the board. He pledged to increase public participation and make the board more accountable to residents. Mason, a semiretired garden consultant, reached a settlement with the district stemming from wrongful termination lawsuit that was filed after he was laid off as the district's director of maintenance three years ago.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-779-7189. Follow her on Twitter.com/EastCounty_Girl.