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Three candidates to run for new water district seat

Environmentalist, two local politicians file papers for November election

Three candidates have filed papers to run for a seat on the governing board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District in the November election.

Bern Beecham, Lou Becker and Brian Schmidt have thrown their hats into the ring to represent the newly created District 7, which covers Mountain View as well as Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno and Los Gatos.

Both Beecham and Becker are veteran politicians familiar with municipal water administration. Schmidt, a Mountain View resident, is an environmentalist and lecturer at Santa Clara University who is familiar with water issues.

Beecham is the former mayor of Palo Alto and was first elected to the Palo Alto City Council in 2000. He has been a representative for the Bay Area Water Users Association, a member of the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water System Financing Authority, and a chair of the Bay Area Water Services Conservation Authority.

The former Palo Alto mayor said in an e-mail that he was running for two key reasons: to continue "work I enjoyed and excelled at while serving" on the Palo Alto City Council, and to correct what he called a tradition of "overspending and excess" in the water district. In his message, Beecham called the district's headquarters "extravagant" and its pay scale "overly generous."

The water district has often disregarded the interests of the communities it is supposed to serve, according to Beecham. He called a recent effort to include Gilroy and Palo Alto in the same sub-district a "blatant gerrymander."

Schmidt has served on the water district's Environmental Advisory Committee and the Performance Audit Committee. He, too, is concerned about finances, but wrote in an e-mail that he believes his experience working on environmental issues will give him "an opportunity to lead the way on mercury cleanup and water district environmental leadership."

Schmidt said he is interested in protecting the Permanente Creek Trail, as well as cleaning up Moffett Field and restoring wetlands in the area.

Additionally, Schmidt would like to make some changes to the way the board operates. Should he be elected, Schmidt said he would work to have public board meetings moved to the evening so citizens with day jobs can more easily attend. Currently, meetings are held every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 9:30 a.m.

"Clean government is the only way you can get real fiscal reform," Schmidt said.

Becker has served as mayor and city council member in Los Altos, and worked for more than 10 years on the Santa Clara Valley Water Commission, a water district advisory council.

Becker, who could not be reached for comment by press time, was quoted in a local paper saying that he is also concerned with employee salaries and benefits, as well as escalating water rates.

Mountain View receives 10 percent of its water from the Santa Clara County Water District, 87 percent from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir via the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and 3 percent from eight city-owned and operated ground-water wells.

The SCVWD is responsible for oversight, construction and maintenance of various water-related structures, facilities, trails and other projects in the county. In Mountain View, the district will oversee the Cuesta Annex and McKelvey Park flood basin projects, which will collect storm water in the event of a 100-year flood.

The district's next board meeting is set for July 27 for consideration of a proposed pedestrian-and-bicycle bridge over Highway 101 and a tunnel under Middelfield Way on the Permanente Creek Trail.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV citizen
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 19, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Maybe somebody can tell us why hydrofluosilicic acid is added to our drinking water.
Maybe somebody can tell us that dental cavities are not caused by lack of fluoride, but by the bacteria streptococcus mutans A (discovered in 1929 A.D.).
Maybe somebody can tell us that Strep mutans A is passed on by our own mothers who infect us through contact with the bacteria that thrive in their mouth (identified by mitochondrial DNA).
Or maybe that 2% of all people are immune to tooth decay because they were never infected with Strep mutans A before they were of two years of age.
Maybe somebody can tell us that Strep mutans A in contact with table sugar (Sucrose) is the only cause of dental cavities.
Maybe somebody can tell us that if all Sugar (Sucrose) was eliminated from our diet, dentists would soon be out of work (except for gum disease).
Maybe somebody will tell us that water fluoridation is actually a pointless exercise as a way to dispose of toxic fluorides (an industrial waste), a waste product of fertilizer manufacture and aluminum refining.
If water fluoridation actually prevented cavities, why are dentists still in business?
Very few people will understand this post, the rest will consume toxic fluoridated water and toxic fluoridated toothpaste.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian Schmidt
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I want to thank the Mountain View Voice for highlighting this important election where Lou, Bern, and I are running. Water supply, flooding, and environmental health may seem to be (and are) technical issues, but they're also crucially important to our community.

Two weeks ago I set up a website that details my plan for action at www.brianforwater.org, and at www.brianforwater.blogspot.com. As far as I know, Lou and Bern haven't yet set up websites but I'm sure they will, giving voters a chance to see what they hope to do.

I should clarify that my website lists my past and ongoing experience, including as a lecturer at Santa Clara University where I co-taught a class in environmental law to graduate and undergraduate students, but I'm no longer teaching there.

-Brian Schmidt


 +   Like this comment
Posted by last of the 'wild' places
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Cuesta is the last of the wild places, where kids climb trees, herons hunt for dinner, dogs play, and locals bring kids to toddle while playing with radio controlled cars. This is heaven on earth. STOP the filling of Cuesta park's field while you still can. There simply are not any places left that serve this purpose. I know, 50 years around here and I know. We won't the wild open places in our city. NOT overdeveloped, costly to maintain manicured pits.


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