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Election: Special District candidate profiles Print E-mail
Written by Randy Robbins and Scott Graves, Pilot Staff Writers   
May 10, 2013 09:39 pm

Port of Gold Beach District

Gold Beach residents Rod Craggs and Mark Lottis are seeking election to Position 3 on the Port of Gold Beach District board of directors. 

The port district, established in 1955, is governed by a volunteer five-member board and a paid manager. The board is responsible for managing and maintaining the marine port, adjacent port property, Huntley Park and the nearby airport for commercial and recreational users. The district’s budget for the 2012-13 year was about $1.1 million.

Rod Cragg

Cragg, 56, a retired electrical lineman, said he is interested in the job because “I spend a lot of time cleaning fish there so I might as well be a part of it.” 

Cragg and his wife, Billie, have two children and three grandchildren. He has never run for public office before, but he believes his ability to “get along with people and having had a hand in two businesses” will make him a valuable asset for the port.

“Even though I’ve never run for office in my life I’m a team player. I communicate well with others, I’m level-headed and have common sense. I don’t allow other people to pressure me,” he said.

What are his plans should be elected?

“I’ve been involved in two businesses in the last three years, but I think there’s more to (managing the port) than just business. I think the budget committee is important. I also think that volunteering can get things done. I want to help get community involvement going.”

When it comes to the future of the port, Cragg said, “That’s a good question. Get the budget and grant writers together to make it a better place. I’ll learn if I get elected.”

He named his mother and father as big influences on his life.

“I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for them.”

A pet peeve?

“It might sound kind of funny but it’s when people don’t use their blinkers! Why can’t we do one simple thing? It’s a small thing, but the DMV says we’re supposed to do it!”

Mark Lottis

“The Rogue estuary and bay is filling up with sand and we need to do something about that,” he said.

Lottis, 61, and his wife of 40 years, Karen, work in the Gold Beach ocean charter and fishing business. The father of two grown sons, Lottis enjoys the area’s hunting and fishing. 

He decided to get involved with the management of the port because of the infilling of the estuary and bay.

“I want to do something about that,” he said. “Our summer salmon season depends on it. That season lures people from all over to bring their boats and stay here from early July through October.

“The consensus around here is that if the bay continues to fill with sand this highly mobile group of people will simply move on up the coast to get their fishing in. They will go to places like Coos Bay or Coquille. They will simply go whereever they need or want to go.”

Lottis also wants to see the port improve and expand, bringing more revenue to the community.

“I have an interest both for the community and for me, personally, to see the Port of Gold beach succeed,” he said.

“I have a lot of experience working with both individuals and marine-based businesses to solve problems. I have been the president of Curry Sports Fishing Association for the past 10 years, and I have served on the board of directors for the Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce.”

Lottis wanted voters to know that he is well qualified for the position based on his years of operating small and medium-sized business that have, at various times, employed up to 50 people and generated more than $8 million. One of those businesses, he said, was a welding supply and industrial company. 

“The Port of Gold Beach is a small business to be run efficiently, within it’s income,” he said.

He also wants the Port of Gold Beach to be viable for years to come, not only for the community but for his kids and grandkids, many who are involved in his current business.

“When the Port of Gold Beach succeeds we all win: the community, my business, and future security of my kids and their kids,” he said.

Lottis credited his father as a big influence on his life.

“He ran a tow boat on the river when I was little. He never, ever, backed off on getting me involved,” he said.

His pet peeve?

“People who ask a question and don’t stop talking long enough to listen to an answer!”

Harbor Sanitary District

Tom McCormick is challenging incumbent VaConna Walters for Position 1 on the Harbor Sanitary District board of directors in the May 21 special election. Two other positions are uncontested. All the positions are volunteer.

The district, founded in the earl 1970s, is responsible for collecting sewage and wastewater from about 1,500 residential homes and 121 commercial buildings. The sewage is sent to the city of Brookings’ wastewater treatment plant.

 The district has a budget this year of $5 million and employs four people, including an office administrator, office assistant and two  maintenance workers.

Tom McCormick

McCormick, 55, is a general contractor and has lived in Harbor since 1991. This is his first time running for an elected position.

He decided to run for election after watching sewer rates increase and learning of last year’s embezzlement case, in which a district employee admitted to taking about $69,000 and altering and concealing records from the district for several years.

“I have to get involved and see what’s really going on,” McCormick said. “I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and get things done.”

He plans to use his previous experience as a member and exalted ruler of the Brookings Elks.

“My work with the Elks had to be very thorough, and I had to use my people skills often to get things done,” he said.

He said his experience with the construction business will come in handy when it comes to making decisions about repair and maintenance projects for the district.

“With my construction background I can check into the projects and make sure they are being done right,” he said.

McCormick is married with three children. In his spare time he likes to golf, fish and sightsee.

VaConna Walters

Walters, who gave her age as “over 50,” has served on the board since 2006.

“I have enjoyed it, most of the time,” she said. “Like so many volunteer positions, it does have some challenges.”

Walters said the board, with the help of District Manager Kelly Wilson, has “brought the district up to state standards.”

That includes the installation of new pumps and generators that will serve the district for the next 10 to 20 years, she said.

“The (sewer) rates have increased, but we will continue to try to keep them as low as possible,” she said.

“I strive to do the best for the patrons of Harbor,” she added. “We live in a beautiful place and all of us need to get involved with our community.”

Walters, who is retired, has been married for more than 40 years. Her background includes working in the nursing, public education and caregiving profession. In her spare time she likes to garden, with a focus on flowers.

 

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