Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mercury News gives Brian its endorsement and news coverage

Pretty exciting news from the what is by far the biggest daily newspaper in Santa Clara County.

Gage, Lezotte and Schmidt will help reform Santa Clara Valley Water District

According to the Mercury News:

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is ripe for reform in the Nov. 2 election, thanks to the pileup of board outrages over the past three years and the addition of new electoral seats. Finally, there's a real chance to shake up the leadership that too often has provided poor oversight of an agency with an annual budget of $315 million in taxpayers' money. Trustees sometimes stay for upward of 20 years on this board, perhaps addicted to the pay and benefits that are excessive for the part-time job.

Fortunately, in three contested seats for the seven-member board, there are good candidates. We recommend outgoing Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage in District 1, former San Jose Councilwoman Linda LeZotte in District 4 and environmental attorney Brian Schmidt in District 7....

District 7 offers the toughest choice. Both Schmidt and Los Altos City Councilman Lou Becker seem solid on reform and are qualified for the job. We lean toward Schmidt because of his longtime advocacy and deep understanding of environmental issues. His relative youth -- at 43 he would be easily the youngest board member -- could also inject new energy into the board. In addition, his North County orientation would balance Gage, who is backed by the farm bureau and cattlemen.

In recent years, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has sparked major controversy, with accusations of gerrymandering and grand juries questioning its spending.

This year, Santa Clara County's largest water provider is facing a rare occurrence: multiple, high-profile candidates running for its board.

Seven candidates are running in next month's election for three open seats on the board, which oversees an annual budget of $315 million and supplies drinking water and flood protection to 1.8 million county residents....

In the final open seat, for District 7, which runs from Palo Alto to Almaden Valley, environmental attorney Brian Schmidt, 43, faces Lou Becker, 76, a retired civil engineer and member of the Los Altos City Council.

Schmidt, a registered Democrat, is a staff attorney with the non-profit Committee for Green Foothills. He supports a limit of two terms for board members, a reduction in their salaries -- from $260 per meeting to half that -- and a more pro-active environmental stance for the district. Chairman of the county Fish and Game Commission, he supports tougher state laws for mercury pollution, is leaning against an Alviso Port and wants more water conservation and recycling programs.

He is endorsed by the Sierra Club and by Kniss, Shirakawa and Yeager.....

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