PALMDALE – Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency (AVEK) will save more than $120,000 in costs associated with participating in the Nov. 3, General Election because nobody is running against the sitting directors whose seats were up for re-election.
The directors whose seats were up for re-election — Gary Van Dam, Justin Lane, and Audrey Miller — filed papers at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Election Office to retain their seats. When nobody filed to run against them, the need for an election is no longer required.
The Los Angeles County Election Office closed the open filing period at 5 p.m. on Aug. 7 for incumbents Gary Van Dam, who represents voters in Division 7 and Justin G. Lane, who holds the Agency’s Division 4 seat.
An extended filing period ended at 5 p.m. on Aug. 12 for the newest AVEK board member, Director Audrey T. Miller, appointed to the Division 6 seat on Nov. 5, 2019, filling a vacancy when Director Marlon Barnes stepped down for family reasons.
At AVEK’s Aug. 25 Regular Board Meeting, the Board of Directors adopted Resolutions providing for the appointment of the Office of Director for Divisions 4, 5, and 7, and ordering the Nov. 3 election for such offices not to be held.
“I think the fact that all three of our incumbent directors ran unopposed is an indicator of a well-run water Agency, with good leadership from General Manager Dwayne Chisam and Board President Shelley Sorsabal, and great staff and directors, overall,” said AVEK Board Vice President, Keith Dyas. “AVEK prides itself on listening carefully to public comments and meeting all customer needs.”
AVEK Board President Shelley Sorsabal concurred with Dyas. adding, “AVEK emphasizes the importance of spending money wisely and exercising great financial control by saving funds wherever and whenever possible. Ensuring reliable, high-quality water supplies at a reasonable cost has been and always will be our main goal.”
A common thread among directors Justin, Audrey and Gary is their multi-generational ties to the Antelope Valley.
Justin, a fourth-generation Valley resident, dating back to his great-grandfather, was born and raised on the family ranch, where livestock was cared for and crops cultivated since 1908. A member of the Screen Actors Guild, Justin has worked as a professional cowboy, competing in rodeos. He serves as vice president of the family business, Monte Vista Building Sites. He first won his board position in November 2016, taking over the seat previously occupied by his father George Lane, a director for more than 30 years.
Gary, also born and raised in the Antelope Valley, still works at his family dairy farm providing milk to the dairy industry. His is the last surviving dairy farm in the Antelope Valley. He provides a voice for area farmers and small landowners who express their concerns with water issues in a
region often plagued by drought. He strives to keep the cost of water affordable for consumers, a goal shared by his board colleagues. He was initially elected to the board in November 2016.
Audrey, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Antelope Valley, came to the Antelope Valley at a young age and grew up with her siblings, who all graduated from Palmdale High School. She brings to the Board 30 years of real estate background as well as her knowledge of the entire Valley,
including a deep historical perspective. Her community ties date back to her grandfather and his involvement in various aspects of the area. Upon joining the board in November 2019, Audrey became a quick study on all the water issues, including the significance of water banking as a means of reliable and sustainable supplies.
[Information via news release from Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency.]