RSF Association supports local candidate for SFID board vacancy


The Rancho Santa Fe Association board unanimously supported nominating Frank Creede to fill the vacancy on the Santa Fe Irrigation District board, representing Division 1. As the Santa Fe Irrigation (SFID) board failed to appoint a new director to fill the seat vacated by Ken Dunford last month, the appointment now moves on to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to decide.

Frank Creede

“This is a very important appointment and we want to make sure our interests are served and heard at the supervisors’ office,” said RSF Association board President Rick Sapp at the board’s June 4 meeting.

Creede and his family have lived in Rancho Santa Fe for the past 20 years. With experience as a registered professional engineer and founder of two technology companies, he believes he could be a valuable addition to the board, particularly bringing his experience as “an entrepreneur who thinks creatively to achieve goals often with limited resources.” He also brings the perspective of an SFID customer who took action to cut the annual water usage of his three-acre property in half through turf removal, drought-tolerant planting and drip irrigation.

As Division 1 includes large multi-acre properties in Rancho Santa Fe as well as smaller properties in eastern Solana Beach, Creede said he plans to represent the division for the benefit of all water customers.

“My hope is to work together for a fair rate structure, conservation, and to develop new water resources for all SFID customers,” wrote Creed in his letter of intent for the board post. “I understand that our district is the largest per capita consumer of water in the state and that we need to do our part to conserve, be creative in recycling and reclamation, and become a model of what is possible to extend our meager water resources.”

Creede is involved at the Rancho Santa Fe Association on the water rates committee and has served on the infrastructure committee and the technology committee. He’s been an active voice at SFID hearings, speaking out against water rate increases: while he made those significant investments to curb water use, his bills remained roughly the same, he said.

“Many of us have worked with Frank over the last few years, he’s shown an interest in working in the community,” RSF Association Board Vice President Mike Gallagher said. “He’s a very intelligent guy, he has a nice even manner about him, a great business background and would be an excellent representative of the community to the SFID.”

In early March, the Association board sent letters to San Diego County District Attorney and the California State Water Control board seeking fair representation, alleging that Dunford was serving “illegally” because he did not reside within the district.

After 18 years on the board, Dunford sent notice to the district that he had made a commitment to move to Carlsbad and he resigned effective March 31.

On May 21, the SFID board was split on the appointment of a director to fill the last five months of Dunford’s term. A motion to appoint Greg Gruzdowich, a Rancho Santa Fe resident and former SFID board director, failed 2-2. SFID President Mike Hogan and Director Andrew Menshek said they could not support Gruzdowich as he is listed as a plaintiff in the Association’s lawsuit against the SFID over its water rate plan.

The board of supervisors has until June 30 to appoint a new SFID board member. If the county fails to appoint, the district will have to call a special election to fill the vacancy on Nov. 3., the same date that the seat is up for a full-term election.