It’s Time to Elect a New Water District 2 Board Member

Why I Support Diana Foss

The Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) Board of Directors needs new blood. Many of the members have been on it for way too long and may be there for the rest of their lives since they unanimously decided against term limits for themselves recently. I am not a strict, across-the-board supporter of term limits myself, except for executive positions like president, governor and mayor. However, the decision as to whether limits are instituted for the SCVWD board should not be the province of self-serving board members, but the people. The incredible arrogance of the board’s decision gives yet more sustenance to the necessity of changing the membership.

The public demands for cost reductions and oversight of the SCVWD have been ignored by the current board, who just voted for yet more raises for some of their overpaid staff. A grand jury investigation a few years ago resulted in their finding several items that needed review and change, and these were also brushed aside by the board. The freewheeling ways of SCVWD’s recently resigned CEO and the board’s complicity in his follies were a disgrace. The entire board needs to be individually scrutinized and some of them, at least, sent downstream to Alviso.

There are elections in three districts this year. Unfortunately, two members are running unopposed (term limits would surely stop that). The only district where it is possible to make a change in this election is the second, where Diana Foss is running against incumbent Joe Judge, who has been on the board for 22 years—that’s right, TWENTY-TWO YEARS. Judge has the vocal and financial backing of the Santa Clara County Democratic Party apparatus, even though Foss is a committed Democrat too. It stinks of the old-boy-network machine politics of Tammany Hall and Richard Daley’s Chicago.

I am sure Mr. Judge, who I do not know, is committed to his board service, but 22 years is way beyond the call of duty and, under the circumstances, his seeking re-election yet again is looking more like a power trip. Diana Foss, who I do know, is a highly educated scientist, engaged citizen and local activist and is more than qualified to be a member of the board. She is committed to environmental stewardship and conservation, and believes there should be term limits on board members and far more public scrutiny of the water district’s expenditures and practices. I couldn’t agree more.

I will be voting for Diana Foss for SCVWD tomorrow.

11 Comments

  1. If I don’t like the way something is being done then I vote in new blood. I’ve noticed people vote for what they know instead of taking a risk and voting on someone who can make the changes we need. It is a shame too because we miss out on some great innovative people and ideas.

  2. I am also endorsing Diana Foss in her election bid to the Board of The Santa Clara Valley Water District.

    The smelliest part of this race is that the League of Conservation Voters endorsed her opponent in this race, despite the incumbent’s total disdain for most environmental programs and pitiful record on water recycling. When the Delta water is shut off and this county is seriously short of water and under mandatory rationing, remember that this Board, including Joe Judge, avoided recycled water for decades until the coming crisis was upon us.

    This might not be the best forum for investigating why the members of the local League of California Voters are supporting the incumbent, but I personally have grave concerns for the membership of this local committee and their actual support of environmental protections and mitigation.
    I’ve posted the Board members of the local League of Conservation Voters below:

    Ask them WHY they supported Mr. Judge for this election.I have stopped supporting this group, knowing that it’s been hijacked by folks like Carl Guardino and many of his henchmen

    Rod Diridon Sr.,Chair
    Terry Trumbull, Vice Chair
    Shiloh Ballard, Secretary
    Chris Elias, Treasurer
    Bob Levy, Past President
    Katy Rexford, CLCV Liaison
    Hon. Tom Ferrito
    Carl Guardino
    Hon. Dianne McKenna
    Hon. Trixie Johnson
    Susan McKuhen
    Sen. Dan McCorquodale
    Brian Schmidt
    Pat Showalter
    Don Weden
    Hon. Beth Wyman

  3. I agree with the idea that a change is needed at SCVWD. However I reject the notion that we need innovative people and ideas. We’ve got too much of that already. Too much attention and money on new, sexy, glamorous projects and programs while neglecting the mundane, boring, routine tasks that are really the essence of the job.
    We need people who are down to earth, hardworking, observant, and willing to cheerfully do a thankless job with a limited budget. I hope that Diana Foss is such a person.

  4. Jack and Pat,
    How did the two of you learn so much about the Water Board and the people on it? I have never even heard of these people! Please tell me where I can go to learn more about this Board?

  5. Kathleen #4

    I use the web. Google searches will get you candidate websites and any press articles.

    In this case, you can look at:

    http://www.dianafoss.com

    The SCVWD has a site and they have been in the news quite a lot in the past year. I have written a couple of columns about them.

  6. Thank you for the info Jack. I think I should probably become better educated about this because I’m very concerned about what I’m hearing on this blog.

    Pat Ferraro, do you know if there can be a citizen oversight committee formed to oversee what these members are up to?

  7. I`m still on the fence on the Water District choice.Both are excellent people, both have a lot to bring to the table.IO wish we could have both.It`s a difficult choice.

  8. Unfortunately, the “League of Conservation Voters” endorsement in our county sometimes means nothing more than the support of Rod Diridon Sr.

  9. Kathleen,

    There is no oversight committee of the Board, per se. The voters and the media are supposed to do the oversight, but the MN has not done a good job at this until last year when the uproar started about the CEO appointing one of the Directors to an unadvertised position.

    There is an oversight committee for the expenditure of the funds for the parcel tax approved in 2000.It’s made up of many “friends” of the District, who would never think of saying anything negative about the Board or staff.

    There are also many advisory committees. All the committee memberships are listed on the District web site: valleywater.org
    You can also read the agenda packets for the Board meetings and watch the video tapings of the meetings if your computer has the right plugins (mine doesn’t)

    I hope you will become a more active participant in this public agencies monitoring. You don’t need to be ordained by the District to do this. Just show up or go online and inform yourself and then “give ‘em hell” when you see something that doesn’t pass the smell test.

    BTW, I served as an elected member of the Board in District 2 from 1973-1995.I waqs 25 when I was first elected and defeated an appointed incumbent, like Diana hopefully will also do tomorrow.

  10. Thank you so much Pat. Don’t be surprised if I come back on SJI, after I attend a meeting and ask you a lot of questions! wink