Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Great news on Safe Clean Water for Santa Clara County

Below is my statement regarding the Water District election results:

All I can say is thank you. 
Okay, I can say more. 
The biggest (and gratifying!) surprise for me was the margin: 72.65% in favor, almost 6% higher than needed. This is far better than any prior poll of the measure that I've seen or heard about. The original year 2000 measure just barely received the 66.7% needed to pass, although that was a new tax and this is a continuation of an existing one. 
Also surprising is that at the same time, voters elected a challenger over an incumbent Water District director running for re-election. This suggests to me the voters' willingness to distinguish between their choice of the elected directors and their evaluation of the work of the organization as a whole, a subtle distinction by the voters for a down-ballot issue. I have already sent my congratulations to newly-elected Nai Hsueh and Barbara Keegan and look forward to working with them 
As for Director Kwok who is being replaced by Ms Hsueh, I thank him for his years of service, especially at the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.  At the JPA he helped moved forward the flood control projects that had otherwise faced significant delays.  Thanks likewise to Director Judge, who is retiring, for all his work.
Director Don Gage was successful in his bid for mayor of Gilroy and so will be leaving us. We'll miss him and will have to work hard to find a worthy successor to appoint and fill out the rest of Don's term, which will happen near the beginning of 2013. 
Safe Clean Water Measure B is a continuation of crucial changes at the District. Clean Safe Creeks 2000 was the start of that change with the first outcome measures dedicated for environmental restoration. Safe Clean Water 2012 took that estimated funding level and easily tripled it or more, along with greater transparency and better guarantees that the money will be spent for what the voters intended. 
This series of changes can't end - the future of water agencies throughout the state and the nation is to be environmental agencies. Safe Clean Water sends us in that direction, but it's nowhere near enough. We still need some reforms at how we do things on the District Board level and on better efficiency at staff level. These changes must happen, and I look forward to working with everyone to continue them. 
Thank you!
Brian Schmidt, Director, District 7
Santa Clara Valley Water District

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