Paso Robles News|Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Candidates enter bid for groundwater board 

Five of the nine seats will be contested

Map of Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

A map of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. About 60-percent of the basin is in San Luis Obispo County and 40-percent in Monterey County.

–Earlier this month was the deadline for candidates to enter the running for the Paso Robles Groundwater District Board.

The board, formed due to a state mandate that requires local jurisdictions to manage water resources, will manage the district, but only if residents and property owners in the Paso Robles groundwater basin vote to form and fund the district. That vote will come on March 8 of 2016. Only five of the nine seats will be contested come election time.

The board would be made up of both small, medium and large property owners and registered voters.

Owners of 400 acres or more, who will be classified as “large landowners,” will hold two seats, medium landowners, of 40 to less than 400 acres, will hold two seats, and owners of less than 40 acres will each elect two board members. Registered voters will also elect three board members.

According to reports, the following are the candidates in each category:

Large landowners — two seats

  • Dana M. Merrill of Paso Robles, vineyard owner and president of Mesa Vineyard Management
  • Serena Friedman of Paso Robles, owner of Serena’s Vineyard
  • Stephen Sinton of Shandon, owner of Avenales Ranch

Medium landowners — two seats

  • Randall Diffenbaugh of Paso Robles, a diversified farmer
  • Bill Spencer of Creston, owner of Windrose Farms

Small landowners — two seats

  • Edwin J. Rambuski of Templeton, an attorney and co-owner of Templeton Valley Farms
  • Chad E. Patten of Paso Robles, father and business owner


Registered voters — three seats

  • Sue Luft of Templeton, retired engineer and small-acreage vintner
  • Hilary Shirey Graves, of Creston, farmer and vintner
  • Dean DiSandro of Paso Robles, management consultant and owner of Rockin’ R Winery of Paso Robles
  • Michael Baugh of Paso Robles, editor for the Art Director’s Guild magazine “Perspective”

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at