No Shortage of Water Board Candidates

David Ginsborg, right-hand man to county tax assessor Larry Stone, is running for a seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District board come next November. We’re not sure why anyone would want to spend waking hours noodling on water policy, but then again it can’t be any less exciting than tax assessments. Ginsborg has been racking up endorsements—so far he’s received blessings from former San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer and State Assemblyman Jim Beall, among others—though he’ll have to go up against incumbent Joe Judge, who, according to our records, joined the board around the same time Jesus was turning water into wine. Judge has his own supporters in the race, none bigger than U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) and her husband, John Collins, whose relationship goes back at least as far as Steve Wozniak‘s Us Festivals (c. 1982), where the two worked together, and more recently involved Judge’s oversight of Collins and Lofgren’s home remodeling projects. But beating out the enthusiasm of a reform candidate will be difficult, especially after three new board members were brought in from last election: Linda Lezotte, Brian Schmidt and Don Gage. Judge’s best chance to be re-elected might be in the form of someone who has yet to declare anything—Scott Knies, the executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association. Knies says he plans on entering the fray later this month, which could make for some awkward endorsement retractions for Ginsborg supporters—such as downtown San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo (although Liccardo has assured Fly and Ginsborg that he has no plans to reconsider his endorsement). And if there weren’t enough people interested in the board position, word is Barbara Keegan, a former SCVWD employee and current board member for the San Jose Arena Authority, is thinking about running.

In other news, the current Santa Clara Valley Water District board voted Tuesday to start adding fluoride to county water.

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Barbara Keegan is Tom McEnery’s San Jose Arena Authority candidate running as a stand in for Tom against his old enemy Zoe Lofgren who supports long time friend Joe Judge

    Sounds like replay of McEnery vs Lofgren political battle

    The smart money is on Zoe and Joe Judge

    Sam like the good boy he is, always does what Tom tells him to do and will support McEnery and Bellermine Bell’s candidate

  2. The Water District must be held accountable to the highest standards of excellence and stay focused on its core mission, providing safe water when you need it and protecting us from too much water, that is why I am running and why so many have signed onto my campaign. I am especially pleased to have received the support of one of the Reformers elected last year, environmentalist Brian Schmidt.  My support includes a broad coalition of Elected Officials, CEO’s, Environmentalists, business and community leaders such as: Carl Guardino, Norm Kline, Kevin Moore, Rod Diridon Jr., Mike Fox Sr., Larry Ames, Pam Foley, Shirley Lewis and many more. To see the current list go to my website

    The Water District needs a flood of new ideas and a drought on the status quo.  Mediocre is not good enough. If you like what you read on my website, I urge you to join us!

    • OK David, went to your site.  One quote (and one nagging general issue I’ve had with the board)

      “High quality water, in the right quantity at the right place at the right time, is essential to health, recreation, and economic growth”  Prophetic words that are as true today as they were nearly 50 years ago when they were spoken.

      What ever happened to the “recreation” portion of the water board?  Seems like almost every county run body of water (sans Anderson) has banned swimming, and boating.

      I’d love to take a small Laser or Sunfish Sailboat out on let’s say… Lexington. Hobie Cat 16 would be fun too. In the 80’s the Campbell Percolation ponds were filled with windsurfers (Is that a SJ water company property?)

      Granted, I know plenty about the Zebra Mussel infestation we’ve had lately, but this is mostly a problem with boats that go in both salt and freshwater. 

      It just seems odd to me, we can have swimming in the duck feces infested stagnant water of Lake Almaden, but we can’t swim in any other body of water in San Jose.

      Anyways, back to what I’d like to see from the water board.

      More swimming holes.  Back up a cat with a backhoe attachment to any creek, start digging, dump a load of rocks, dump a load of sand. 

      More partnerships with parks:  OK this is a SJWC owned property, but I spent some time living in the hills south of Lexington.  Why is it if I’m caught hiking along that beautiful creek, do I get chased off by SJWC people?  OK.. Bad example maybe…. How about Cherry Flats reservoir in Alum Rock?  How about allowing swimming/sailing at the Grant Ranch lake?  These are all places owned by the public, but the boards have deemed it necessary to keep the public out.  For some reason it doesn’t sit well with me to not be allowed on a piece of property my taxes paid for.

      All lakes/reservoirs opened to non-powered boating:  Kayaking seems to be the most popular form of single handed boating right now and would work on just about any body of water in SJ.  Sailing, we’d have to have some bigger bodies of water.

      I dunno.. It’d be interesting to see what kind of revenue could be derived from recreational day use fee’s for boating on County Water board run properties.

  3. Robert, I agree with alot of what you said. As with trails and environemtal protection for watersheds (which the districts has started to do a better job on), the Distirct can better utilize and make available district facilities for co-uses by other local cities. I will write you off-line with a more detailed response.

  4. Barbara Keegan

    In addition to my being on the Board of the San Jose Arena Authority, I am also on the Boards of the North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association and the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

    I have both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering and am a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California.

    I did work briefly for Santa Clara Valley Water District where I was responsible for construction administration of the District’s capital projects. Prior to that time I was the City Engineer/Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Sunnyvale.  While at Sunnyvale I represented the City on the Water Resources Protection Collaborative where the District and the cities of Santa Clara County worked together to ensure that the cities development review processes incorporated appropriate water resource protections.  I also was a key member of the team that developed Sunnyvale’s long-term infrastructure plan; the infrastructure plan identified categories of city owned assets, their replacement costs and the annualized costs to upgrade or replace those assets.

    Earlier in my career, I worked at the City of San Jose where I was responsible for the design and construction of the cities new roads and bridges, the streetlight and traffic signal program, the storm drain program, and the construction and rehabilitation of the city’s sanitary sewer system.  One of the significant projects that I was involved with was construction of the Guadaulupe River Box Culvert that runs underneath Woz Way and which was an integral part of the downtown flood protection program. 

    Santa Clara Valley Water District needs greater technical expertise on its Board.  The increasing politicization of the Water District has not had a beneficial effect on District operations.  Their primary mission is to ensure a safe and reliable water supply and to provide appropriate flood protection.  The Board needs to focus on these key elements.

    I am particularly concerned about the long-term management and rehabilitation of the District’s infrastructure (treatment plants, pipelines, reservoirs etc.) and how to ensure that capital improvements are delivered in a timely and cost effective manner.

  5. Let’s get some water board members that know enough about the chemistry of fluoride (hydrofluosilicic acid) to make sure that this dangerous, toxic, waste material is not put into our drinking water.  It has zero benefit on cavity prevention in this form and is toxic! Provide us with safe-pure water, not medicated, toxic water. Hear the truth and history behind this fraudulent and dangerous process with which the water board is planning to poison your well at the following URL:

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