Changing of the Guard at the Park District


The East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors welcomed two new board members on Tuesday, January 13, 2015: Diane Burgis, from Oakley and Dennis Waespi, from Castro Valley.

The new directors, elected at the November 2014 general elections, were sworn in during a special ceremony at the Park District headquarters, along with re-elected directors Ayn Wieskamp from Ward 5 and Beverly Lane from Ward 6.

Burgis takes over Ward 7 in northern Contra Costa County, formerly represented by Ted Radke. It includes the cities of Antioch, Bay Point, Brentwood, Crockett, Hercules, Martinez, Oakley, Pacheco, part of Pinole, Pittsburg, Port Costa, and Rodeo. The parks included in this ward are Antioch/Oakley Shoreline, Bay Point, Big Break, Black Diamond Mines, Carquinez Strait Shoreline, Contra Loma, Martinez Shoreline, San Pablo Bay, and Vasco Caves.

Burgis is the Executive Director of the Friends of Marsh Creek Watershed, a grassroots nonprofit organization based in east Contra Costa County that focuses on issues related to water quality, habitat restoration, community service, environmental education, and advocacy. She had served as a City of Oakley councilwoman since 2012. Before she was elected to the Park District Board, Burgis was a member of the EBRPD Park Advisory Committee and the Regional Parks Foundation Board. In 2011, Burgis received the “Watershed Champion” Award from the Contra Costa County Watershed Forum for her leadership in protecting, restoring, and enhancing watersheds, along with her collaboration in projects that address conservation issues in Contra Costa County.

Dennis Waespi is replacing Carol Severin at Ward 3 in southeastern Alameda County, which includes Castro Valley, most of Hayward, Union City, and a portion of Fremont. The parks in this ward include Anthony Chabot, Lake Chabot, Cull Canyon, Don Castro, Garin/Dry Creek, Hayward Shoreline, and Quarry Lakes.

Waespi is a former EBRPD employee. He held a variety of positions throughout the Park District for 36 years, including stints as a park ranger, firefighter and head of the sanitation and recycling department.

Waespi served on the Castro Valley Sanitary District Board of Directors for more than 12 years, and on the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District Board of Directors for six years. He also served on the Alameda County Waste Management Authority Board, the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board, and the Alameda County Parks, Recreation, and Historical Commission. He is currently a member of the Alameda Fire Advisory Commission and the Castro Valley Sanitary District Community Advisory Committee.

Carol Severin retired last December after 20 years of service. During her tenure at the Park District, Severin received numerous prestigious awards, including the Pugsley Award from the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration for outstanding contributions to the cause of public parks in the United States.

Ted Radke served on the Park District Board of Directors for 36 years, making him the longest-tenured board member in the 80+ years of the EBRPD. In September, U.S. Rep. George Miller presented Radke with a Congressional Proclamation honoring his accomplishments.

In October of 2014, both Ms. Severin and Mr. Radke received the Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy Award for individuals from the California Special District Association. At the last Board meeting that the retiring directors attended in December, Radke and Severin were honored by California State Assembly members Susan Bonilla and Jim Frazier, and State Senators Mark DeSaulnier, Ellen Corbett, Loni Hancock, and Lois Wolk.

After the swearing-in ceremony on January 13, the new Board of Directors assumed their positions on the board, with Whitney Dotson as the new President, Doug Siden as the Vice President, Beverly Lane as the Treasurer and Dennis Waespi as the Secretary.

Carolyn Jones
(510) 544-2217