With midterm elections Tuesday, the Desert Dispatch gave candidates running for a seat on the Yermo Community Services District board questions to respond to. Five candidates are competing for three seats on the CSD board.

Instead of answering the questions candidate Charles Coats, former fire chief for the Yermo Volunteer Fire Department, chose to give a statement. A photo of Coats was unavailable.


1. Who are you?

Geoff Berner: I am Geoffrey L Berner, retired after twenty two years with the United States Army. I'm employed by California Career School to work with active duty military to develop needed skills for employment after their service. Elected to the Yermo Community Service District in 1994. Working with the CSD Boards developed the Fred Sandridge Sports Park, bought new playground equipment for the Norman Smith Park, and soon a Skate Park for the youth of Yermo.


Charles Coats: I served my country for two terms, In the United States Marine Corps. I then settled in Yermo with my wife and raised 4 children. I joined the Volunteer Fire Dept. I was dedicated to the Department and to the citizens of Yermo, retiring as Fire Chief after serving over 20 years.

I will be dedicated to the community of Yermo on the CSD Board. I will assist the board in getting good things done for Yermo. I will assist the board in continuing the progress of our water department issues moving forward for the health and safety of Yermo, And continue the forward movement of the Fire Department, I will work toward getting more local volunteers and I will listen to the people of Yermo and be a fair voice on the board.

Paul Ray: My name is Paul Ray. My wife and I moved to Yermo in 2008 and started building our retirement home. My primary job is to provide computer equipment to the US Military. I am also a licensed General Contractor. My wife and I are both native to Southern California and have lived in the Mojave Desert since 1980. I'm a graduate of Pepperdine University with an MBA in Marketing. My hobbies are flying and music.

Scott Walker: Born and raised in Barstow
. Choose to live in Yermo-a homeowner over 31 years
. Conductor for Amtrak, working for Metrolink
. Former Union Pacific switchman in Yermo for 13 years
. Love the desert-the history, flowers, friends
. Hobbies include motorcycles and 4x4-ing, serving others in my
community, church
My motto is when you are in the service of your fellow men you are in the service of your God.

Edward White: Hi, my name is Edward White. I am a resident of Yermo, I have lived here in town for twenty-two years. I have been involved with scouting, community activism, Neighborhood Watch, (to whom I made a vow to, to keep after it until it was fixed), and just living here during that time. I helped you, the people, put together a drive, years ago to get our water system infrastructure repaired during Kathy Davis' tenure.

2. Why do you think you should be elected to the Yermo CSD board?

Geoff Berner: Blight in the Yermo community has been reduced and there is still more to be done. Improvements to the Yermo Fire Department, the new Fire Trucks, better trained volunteer fire men and women, there are now six First Responders and four EMTS.

Paul Ray: I care about this area the beauty, the environment, and our resources (natural, residents, and visitors that travel the I-15). My goal is to preserve and maintain some resources while improving other resources we locals have. I want to give travelers a reason to stop and visit Yermo.


Scott Walker: I want to continue to make a difference in Yermo
. Utilizing the training I have received in small district leadership
classes to continue the projects started during the three years I have
served on the board.
. Support the fire department as Fire Commissioner with over five
years experience and training

Edward White: I have kept working to get our water system infrastructure repaired. In my opinion, the leadership at the CSD needs some additional oversight and I would like to provide that oversight. Recently, there was a series of events regarding our fire department.

3. What are some important issues Yermo faces?

Geoff Berner: The most important issue for Yermo is water. I have appeared before the California Public Utilities Commission to help correct the problem Yermo citizens have with getting quality water. The next phase is the purchase and operation of the Yermo Water Company by the Yermo CSD

Paul Ray: Important issues: Infrastructure (water, fire department), community spirit (updating web site so local residents feel "connected"), improving the look of the town (the mural project, park maintenance, finishing the skate-board park, lights), and improving how Yermo is viewed by everyone (clean-up projects).

Scott Walker: Blight, graffiti, getting community members involved in clean ups
. Water quality, infrastructure, and service
. Updating fire department with the proper tools and training
. Skateboard park, youth, and community activities

Edward White: Issues: 1) Our safety, i.e. the fire department. 2) The water issue. 3) We're about to grow and I would like to insure that your voice is heard in how we grow. We'll need to manage our growth and make decisions that are compatible with the lifestyle we Want.

4. What would you do about those issues if elected?

Geoff Berner: If I am reelected I will continue the quest to improve Yermo's water quality. Operating a water utility will not be easy and I have been acquiring the knowledge to do so and locating the sources of money to make the improvements to the Yermo water system.

Paul Ray: My focus: Help complete the acquisition of the water company, continue the support of our fire department, help complete the skate-board park (important for our local young-people), and enhance the Yermo web site so residents can get news on local events and get easy access to resources (jobs).

Scott Walker: Hold regular clean ups two to three times per year
. Continue working with CSD to secure funding for the water company
and infrastructure upgrades
. Continue as fire commissioner and as a volunteer firefighter
. Continue looking for skate park funding and other youth activities

Edward White: I will, to the best of my ability, address the issues and see that they are resolved in a manner that brings credit to our community, with diplomacy, tact and respect. We will work together to bring this about, as I need your input and ideas for us to succeed.