Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A democratic election requires clean campaign finances

Money is both good and bad in a democracy - reasonably-sized donations, and also small donations, are good - they show belief in a candidate and broad participation in a campaign. Large third-party donations can be a problem though - there's an implicit sense of obligation between the candidate and the donor.

An equivalent or worse problem is with loans made by a candidate to his or her campaign that are paid back by someone else after the election. That repayment, after the election, goes straight into the candidate's pocket. For some reason, no one focuses on this issue, but to me it's an even more obvious problem than large donations.

In the Water District race, neither donations nor loans are subject to any legal controls. I think that's unacceptable. To deal with loans, I'm making a simple pledge: I won't do them.

To deal with donations, I've set limits. Right now the limits I've made are $250 per person, $500 per couple, and $500 per organization. I'd be happy to lock this limit into stone, but unfortunately my opponent hasn't been willing to make the same pledge. I'll have to look at the campaign finance reports when they come out early next month to see if I should adjust this limit, but I can guarantee that I will keep some limit, most likely the same one I'm using now.

I plan to make sure that my campaign finances use money and donations as a democratic equalizer, instead of something that concentrates power unequally. Clean government requires clean and fair campaign finances.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

There will be yard signs! Let us know if you'd like one

We should have yard signs in a few days - please let us know if you'd like one. Just email, and we'll get in touch.


Slow the Flow: How to make your landscape act more like a sponge

Very nice video below from the State Water Board on how built-out, human dominated landscapes can be vastly improved to reduce runoff and pollution, while still functioning for human needs.

Nice examples of permeable cement, downspout disconnects from storm sewers, paved areas feeding water to swales instead of sewers, and more use of native plants and wildlife-friendly plants. I covered some of these topics on the reduction of impervious surfaces in a research paper I wrote several years ago.

Enjoy the show!

(Thanks to Trish Mulvey for a pointer to the video.)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Majority of Board of Supervisors have endorsed, Sierra Club endorsed, and Democratic Party clubs are endorsing

More progress - I've been endorsed by a majority of the supervisors in Santa Clara County, not to mention Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto council members.

Organizational endorsements are also rolling in, with the support of Sierra Club and Democratic Party clubs, so stay tuned!


Friday, September 10, 2010

We're now endorsed by a majority of Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto City Council Members!

We're very pleased to announce that a majority of the sitting City Council Members in Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and Palo Alto (carefully listed in alphabetical order) has endorsed the Brian Schmidt for Water District campaign. Please see the endorsement list page of the campaign website for more information.

I've been asked a number of times about endorsers of the other candidate in this campaign, Lou Becker, a City Council member in Los Altos (and a nice person, by the way). Lou's website is, but at this point he hasn't put up an endorsement list. I know of very few elected officials who have endorsed him, but I expect he'll do well among his fellow Los Altos City Council members, and I know of one person on my list of endorsers who has endorsed both of us. At some point, Lou might post his own list that will make it easier to make comparisons.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The County League of Conservation Voters endorses Brian

I'm very happy to announce the Santa Clara County League of Conservation Voter's endorsement of my campaign (click on "endorsements" to see the list of endorsed candidates).

They'll be announcing the endorsed candidates at their annual fundraiser on September 30. I'll be glad to attend, and I encourage everyone to go as well. I've gone to almost all of these events over the last 5-6 years, and it's a great time to catch up with people and candidates who are committed to the environment.