You be the ‘Judge’ on Water District

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Living up to its reputation as the county’s favorite whipping boy, the Santa Clara Valley Water District repeatedly botched its ballot measure language to extend property taxes. A judge recently ruled that multiple mistakes on the ballot measure to extend property taxes won’t stop it from going to voters. That’s a good thing. Despite the drama, most of the money will go toward cleaning up creek beds, ensuring safe drinking water and providing flood control. We say “most” because some of it could go toward providing elder board members of the Water District board, a golden parachute. A recent board agenda item to give appointed board members health insurance for life was pulled at the last minute by Water District CEO Beau Goldie. Both Goldie and Olga Martin Steele, the district’s interim chief administrative officer, and other board members admit that the idea has been on the table for years and was recently resuscitated. The question is why? The timing is obvious. Soon-to-retire board member Joe Judge‘s term will be up in December, and conventional wisdom holds that Judge has been hanging on to the position in recent years mainly to collect health benefits. Fellow board member Tony Estremera could also could also fall under the Spigotcare plan, as he and Judge were the last appointed board members before the decision process started. Some board members, such as Linda Lezotte and Patrick Kwok, adamantly oppose the health benefits for life, but it still doesn’t mean the issue is dead. Sources close to the situation expect it will return before the board sometime between the November election and Judge’s last meeting on Dec. 4. Even Goldie seems keen to revisit the matter. “I’d like to just close something out and put it to bed,” he said, “rather than leave something half-baked.”

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. It is my judgement that SCVWD is a perfect example of the waste and incompetence that ensues when a government agency is replete with taxpayer dollars and bereft of taxpayer oversight.
    SO many highly paid pencil pushers sitting comfortably indoors in the opulent offices on Almaden Expwy. as compared to so FEW workers outdoors- you know- where the waterways actually are.
    Witness the millions of dollars being spent to have the reach of Guadalupe River between Koch Ln. and Capitol Expwy. re-restored because neglect and mismanagement by SCVWD allowed floodwaters to wipe out the work that had been completed in 2009- so now they have to do it all over again.

  2. I’ll be voting NO on SCVWD’s Measure B.  Those Board Members must live on another planet, completely ignorant of the economy being in the turd bowl. 

    The mere fact that discussions surrounding increased pensions and healthcare for life came up in their Board meeting tells me they must be flush. 

    Let’s see how they act between now and 2016, when the current tax expires. I’m just grateful that Measure B requires a 2/3 super majority to pass… that will never happen!

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