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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Special District

Ambrose Recreation and Park DistrictCandidate for Director

Photo of Lee Mason

Lee Mason

1,392 votes (18.01%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Provide more recreation activities for youth that are provided using Ambrose's general funds, we can do better than only spending $10,000 per year.
  • More fiscal accountability and a transparent budget.
  • Honest and open commication that is responsive to community concerns.



Profession:Retired Park Foreman
Representative, Contra Costa Special District Association — Appointed position (2013–current)
Member, Community Advisory Panel — Appointed position (2008–2016)
Park Foreman, Ambrose Recreation and Park District (2003–2009)
Board Member, Bay Point Project Area Committee — Elected position (1995–2007)
Meat Cutter, Miller Packing Company (1978–2001)


California Special Districts Association Masters in Governance Certificate, Leadership (2013)
San Francisco State Park and Recreation studies (1973)

Community Activities

Garden Specialist, Teen Garden Corp (2011–current)
Community Volunteer for Science Week, Bay Point Community Foundation (2014–current)
Volunteer, Beautify Bay Point (2014–current)



I am running for my second term on the Ambrose Recreation and Park Board.


 My wife, Debra and I have lived in the Bay Point Community for over 30 years where we raised our two daughters.


 I have an educational background in parks and recreation and worked in park maintenance for several years.


 I have a history of volunteering in the community, including community clean-ups, serving on the Community Advisory Panel, and providing programs for local youth.


 I have experience working collaboratively with multiple agencies to improve services in Bay Point.


 I am running for a second term to continue to advocate for transparency, fiscal responsibility and being responsive to the public we are there to serve.


 In my first term I took the initiative to complete the Special District’s Leadership Academy including high level content areas of Governance foundations, Community leadership and the Board’s role in human resources and fiscal responsibility.


 As a Director of the Ambrose Board I served as their representative on the Contra Costa Special District Association. I also served on the following sub-committees, Budget Committee, Search for a new general manager ad-hoc committee, and the pool committee.



I look forward to serving a second term to continue to advocate for more services and recreational activities for the community: such as the pool project which I worked diligently for. I would appreciate your vote on November 8, 2016.
















Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Evolve
  • Supervisor Federal Glover

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

It is my belief that we are elected to represent the residents in the communiity. We are not there to move our own agendas forward or to simply serve the staff, it is our job to make sure the resources available to us are being used to serve the community needs.

Board members, not staff, are morally trustees for the ownership and consquently, must bear the respnsibility of goverence. A board's relationship is to those who elected them, far outweighing the board's relationship to its CEO and staff.

We are stewards of the public's money and are individually responsible for protecting it.

Position Papers

Reorganiztion of the Ambrose Park District


We need to take a look how we are directing our funding and resources to best meet the needs of the community.

I believe that this small district needs a total reorgaization of how we provide services and of staff roles and responsibities to best meet the needs of the community. We have a limited amount of resources and have to be smart about how we make the best use of them to serve everyone in the community. Most other local agencies did this during the economic crisis becasue they had no choice and have found that they actually run more efficiently now. Not only did Ambrose not do this but they continued to raise the wages and benefits for it 6 full time employees while providing little or no services to the taxpayers.

Amborse has only 6 full time employees and several part time employees, they have 8 parks but those parks comprise only 21 acres, which we pay an outside landscaper to maintain. We do have a teen center which is funded completly with grants that are not part of the general fund. We offer a couple of sports programs for youth that are also funded with grants, even the special events for the holidays are almost completly funded with grants. We are a park and recreation district and should be offering recreational activities for the community using the general fund but after paying our employees there is not much left for recreation programs. We need to make sure the positions we have are the right positions to meet the needs of the community and the mission of the park district.

I think we need a facilities manager, who has an expertise in how to use and upkeep the facilities in a way that provides more programs for the community while being aware of where improvements and changes needs to be made, in a hands-on manner. We don't need two full time clerical positions for payroll for less than 10 people, pay bills once a month, and do a board packet once a month.

The bottom line is the existing board and staff are resistent to change and feel that" this is the way we have always done things" but if we don't change we will literally be spending our entire budget on just wages, benefits, and utility bills.

The Ambrose Pool Project


Why and how the Ambrose Pool was closed for over 8 years and how this motivated me to run for the board 4 years ago.

In 2008 the Board of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District made a hasty and ill informed decision to close the Ambrose Pool. I was Park Foreman at the time and was preparing the pool to open for Memorial Day when I recieved a call from the General Manager telling me to empty the pool, so I had no choice but to do so. The board tried to blame the county for the closure, until the county spoke up and said they had no role in decision, in the meanwhile they spent over a quarter million dollars paying RJM to develop a multi-million dollar proposal when there was only 1.2 millon dollars available in grant funding for the project. When as predicted the bids for the project came in way over budget the board sat there on there hands and did nothing to move the project forward or even maintain the park for years.

I finally got fed up and ran for the board in 2012 and was able to get elected. I brought the pool project up at every meeting and demanded we have public meetings and start the process all over again. Even after hearing loud and clearly from the community that they wanted a pool the other members of the board continued to drag their feet and refused to hold the General Manager accountable when he ignored a board order to go out to bid on the pool project for 6 months. In February when the bid came in over budget again, I made a motion to use Ambrose reserve funds to move the project forward not one board member would second my motion to do so. It wasn't until I and many residents shared their frustration with Supervisor Glover, that he was willing to step in and make sure the project would get completed. He developed a plan for funding that the General Manager should have been able to do if he so desired.

Our work is not done however becasue some of the board and the General Manager have already said they are not sure how long the pool will remain open. I share their concerns because currently they are spending 98% of the general funds on wages, benefits, and day to day operations for the district leaving only 2% about $10,000 for recreation activities. We have to come up with a better way of using our funding and resources to meet the needs of the community and the mission of the district.

Candidate Contact Info

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