- Ethics and Transparency: The Board Governance policies need to be strengthened to clearly define the Board’s ethical obligations. I would introduce a Board-specific conflict of interest policy. This policy should clearly set forth when a Board member must abstain from the discussion and vote on a particular matter. It should also discuss the reality that the perception of a conflict of interest may be equally as damaging to the image of the Board. The individual Board members should be required to post their expenditure reports and calendar on their Water District webpage. Board members should be required to disclose on their web pages the identity of lobbyists who have met with the Board member, the topic and whether the topic discussed will be voted on by the Board. I would introduce a “no gift” policy for the Board and all employees.
- Water Stewardship: Fifty-five percent of the water used by the residents, businesses and farmers is imported from the Delta and the Hetch Hetchy System. The frailty of the Delta’s eco-system and water delivery system makes it imperative that the Water District Board work on a regional basis to secure the water necessary for our constituents. I would request an audit of the procurement and bid award policies of the Water District to insure that the Water District is obtaining the best value for construction of capital improvement projects and the procurement of materials, supplies, and services. Furthermore, the infrastructure necessary to deliver the District’s drought storage supply of water in the Central Valley must be maintained and funds budgeted to insure that this supply of water is not threatened. I would expand the District’s asset management plan to include the maintenance of the dams and associated dam infrastructure.
- Conservation: More must be accomplished to reuse and conserve the water currently available to the District. Current education and outreach strategies around reuse and conservation must be analyzed for their effectiveness and increased or changed as warranted. The Board must find ways to continue its partnership with the Cities of San Jose and the South Valley to expedite expansion of the recycled water system in San Jose and the South Valley.
- Stream Corridors and Trails: Stream corridors and trails provide an environmentally preferable mode of transportation and recreational opportunities that reduce automobile trips and the pollution caused thereby. Properly maintained stream corridors prevent erosion and provide flood control opportunities. We must continue to budget for maintenance of the streams and creek channels and riparian corridors. We must continue to partner with the Open Space Authority, Santa Clara County and Cities within Santa Clara County to provide right of way access for recreational facilities such as those along the Guadalupe River and Los Gatos Creek Trail in Campbell and San Jose.
Check back later for more discussion on these and other important issues.