Since I've started to talk to people about running for office, there are two questions that repeat. First, what exactly is the Dublin San Ramon Services District, and second, why do you want to be on their Board?
The Dublin San Ramon Services District (or DSRSD which isn't quite as catchy as EBMUD) is a public agency that provides water, wastewater and recycled water to 173,000 people. The service base is San Ramon, Dublin and Pleasanton.
As for why I want to run - I think my water bill is too high. Each year I conserve more, and it feels like I pay more rather than reaping the rewards. Our residential water use is among the lowest in California at about 65 gallons/day/person. Statewide the average is 85, and 100 gallons/day is not uncommon. So here I am, taking short showers and watching my lawn die only to wonder when the tide (pun intended) will shift.
Honest truth, water rates are unlikely to drop any time soon but that doesn't mean we can't remain vigilant. The DSRSD has a visionary agenda and overall I support their approach. Sound financial planning needs to continue. I understand the regional challenges and while I think we can do even more with the recycled water program, I also want to be a part of the debate over potable reuse. Can I support the Board as a customer - sure. Could I do more at a regional level, becoming a Board Member - yes.
Beyond the pocket-book based reasons there is an ideal. I do not believe that food or water should be taxed. What finally pushed me to get more involved is potential legislation in Sacramento (SB 623). This bill was introduced in September 2017, and the concept of taxing water remained in the budget proposed for 2018-2019. This is a slippery slope. California needs to invest more in water infrastructure and ensure clean supply, but there are alternative ways to fund.
I want to be part of the solution.
Oh, and as for that third question that I hear when I bring up the topic of running for local office: "Are you crazy?" - I'll leave that for another blog post.
If you'd like to know more about the DSRSD, please visit their website at www.dsrsd.com .
One step forward, and then a few to the side. This isn't as simple as filling out a form and putting a lawn sign in your yard. I don't have a history of attending Board meetings, or a windmill to chase. I'm new to all this. While 'fresh eyes' may be a selling point, the harrowing experience of visiting two election offices (because you need to file in both counties for the District) makes this process time consuming and daunting. Don't laugh - I had to visit each three times: get the papers, submit the papers, double check.
Good news, I think I got it right and I now know where to park!
Bad news, the election is less than ninety days away. I have no plan, no campaign funds, and a healthy dose of humility. This is going to take time and effort, but I don't do things half way.
Gonna make it happen, not for ego, but because it matters. I've spent years serving local causes, most notably on the Board of Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa. People need a reliable source of food, just like they need a reliable source of water. In a few years, our regional allotment of water from the Sacramento river will be reduced, and we need more storage, or collaboration across the zones to ensure supply. The Board will review their strategic plan after the election - I'd like to be a part of the implementation plans to be sure we're prepared. Technically, I understand the environmental science and the tradeoffs around reinjection of waste water into the ground. I think more can be done to manage supply and demand particularly in the summer.
Ever have one of those days where you consider where your life is going? I had my 50th birthday this year - strangely enough that day was fine, a milestone birthday didn't drive me to run for office. Rather, it was the May 12 meeting hosted by the Contra Costa County Elections Division that planted this idea in my head. I attended their session, went home with information and thought long and hard about Public Service (note the capitals) as a life style choice.
I've lived in both Contra Costa County and Alameda County in the last 25 years. I've worked in San Ramon almost as long. Over time the region has grown in size and influence until it's almost impossible to afford. Water continues to be a challenge both in availability and cost. Mother nature and the State of California aren't helping.
Local politics is about implementing policy, staying connected to your neighbors and tracking trends. We need progressive plans and new ideas that leverage technology to keep our water supply intact. I've always been interested in water - I started my career as an Environmental Consultant. I've worked in the industry for decades, and understand the challenges of regulation and the opportunities of technology. Where better to put that knowledge to use than right where I live?
I'd like to thank the Dublin San Ramon Services District for hosting their Candidate Orientation on August 1. I think I can make a difference - right here, right now. I've decided to run for their Board.