Drought matters to water district incumbent

Brian Schmidt cites record on Shoreline levees, cost-cutting measures

Brian Schmidt is aiming for a second term on the Santa Clara Valley Water District board. Emphasizing the importance of water conservation going into the third year of the drought, Schmidt said he wants to keep up the pace on the district board if he is re-elected in November.

The board's current vice chair, Schmidt represents the awkwardly drawn District 7, which includes Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Gatos. Though water district board members can run for three four-year terms, Schmidt said he vowed to run for only two terms back in 2010, and that he's going to keep his promise if he is re-elected this November.

During his first term, the board passed a 2012 property tax measure with what Schmidt called a record-breaking 74 percent approval by voters. Schmidt said he rallied environmental groups to support the tax measure and helped bolster the high public approval -- a change from the board's 2000 property tax measure, which garnered less than 67 percent of the vote and passed by a thin margin.

The 2012 tax measure includes $24 million in funding for the shoreline protection and wetland restoration project, which includes fixing and replacing inadequate levees to prevent flooding along Shoreline Park. The area is at around sea level, according to Schmidt, and sea level rise poses a threat with the existing levees.

Schmidt said the tax measure will also jump start work on San Francisquito Creek, on the border between Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, to protect thousands of homes and businesses from a 100-year flood. The creek overflowed in 1998 and flooded 11,000 acres and 1,100 homes, causing $28 million in damage, according to the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.

During his tenure, Schmidt made the motion to change the water district board's meeting time from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., which he said would make the board more accessible to the public, and increase attendance and participation.

"With night meetings, people with day jobs can attend board meetings or even serve on the board," Schmidt said.

The vote to change meeting times narrowly passed 4-3.

Schmidt said in his first term he worked to reduce wasteful spending during the "planning and design" phase of projects, and also supported a cut to board members' pay, reversing a 2008 pay increase prior to his taking office. The proposed pay cut was shot down the first time it came to a vote, and passed on a second vote, 4-3.

In light of the severe drought, Schmidt said he wants to bolster efforts to educate the public on water conservation, and believes the $500-a-day fines authorized by the state for wasting water are more than just a symbolic move.

"They're going to have an effect," Schmidt said. "People are going to be persuaded to waste less water."

Schmidt said he supports water conservation rebates, including an increase on rebate rates. He said the number of people willing to participate in water conservation, through things like the Landscape Rebate Program, increased by 500 percent in recent years.

In 2010, Schmidt was endorsed by five Mountain View City Council members and eight Palo Alto City Council members. He defeated former Los Altos Council member Lou Becker with 56.8 percent of the vote.

Gary Kremen, the current president of the Purissima Hills Water District and founder of, has also announced his intent to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board.


Like this comment
Posted by Juan
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Gary Kremen is really pro-Mountain View (he use to live there):

* He wants to stop the Water District from collecting State Water District property taxes from the 90% of Mountain View that does not get Water District water. The opponent has not done anything about this unfair tax. Web Link

* He wants to stop the Water District from making the same mistakes they did in Cuesta Annex. It cost the District $20,000,000 and is still going up! There is a good link at at Web Link

* He wants the Water District to use more innovation in water conservation with more funding specifically in Mountain View.

* He is President of our neighbor water district, Purissima Hills Water District (unincorporated Santa Clara County and the majority of Los Altos Hills) where he focused on water conservation.

* He is Chairman of the leading behavioral water conservation firm in the US (local here in the Bay Area), which Palo Alto and now Mountain View uses for water conservation.

He just got his first two city council majorities: Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills. He wrote an extensive plan in sustainability for the Water District: regional water self-sufficiency, water reuse, water conservation , creek restoration, creeks and the homeless, retail water relations, and innovation in water.

Have been endorsed by mayors of Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills and Menlo Park. Have lots of county wide endorsements such as District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith as well as Supervisors Ken Yeager and Cindy Chavez. Assembly persons Paul Fong and Mark Stone have endorsed him as has Evan Low. He has statewide endorsement such as John Chiang, Controller, David Jones, Insurance Commissioner and Steve Westly, former Controller. Have national endorsements such as Congressperson Eric Swalwell.

Like this comment
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm

To the editors of the Voice:

The post above comes across suspiciously like a post from a campaign. It really shouldn't be there, right?

Like this comment
Posted by Golden Spigot
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

I don't think the other comment is undesirable or distracting.

I'd like to add this nickname of "The Golden Spigot" for the Santa Clara Valley water district is spot on. It's a bloated bureaucracy that wastes far too much in overhead spending. Too big a staff. Too many crazy wasteful projects like the Museum they built in Milpitas on the public dime. Anyone cutting any taxes paid to SCCVWD is on the right track.

Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Mountain View is one of the most vulnerable communities when sea level rises. It was sinking when ground water was pumped in the last century and is not now because of the recharging of the ground water. The SCVWD does much more than sell water. they do a lot for flood control in the creeks...and MV is at the bottom of the creeks. Mountain view should pay it's taxes.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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