One of my guiding principles is to "keep rates low" and that means keeping operating costs in check. We provide water at cost, and we also benchmark our rates with others. Recently, we tested our Sewer Service charge against others in a 30 mile radius. We stacked up well. Out of 35 other districts and municipalities we charge $431/year, compared to a low of $318 and a high of $1570. I have created a chart and pasted it here for reference. This information is key to decision making; always looking for ways to move forward and provide value. If you have any ideas or concerns, feel free to send your comments to the Board directly. We always review letters and allow public comment at each meeting.
Four years have gone in a snap, blurred by the challenges of Covid-19 and the latest drought emergency. The experience of being on the Board for DSRSD enriched me. We moved forward on many of my key issues including environmental sustainability, power use and infrastructure improvements. I pushed for a review of our service fleet to identify where we can introduce natural gas or electric powered vehicles. I voted for Stage 2 drought conservation measures and continue to advocate for more community outreach and grant funding. But there is more to do....
I wasn't sure there would be an election again. Two years ago, we needed to appoint a candidate in Dublin because no one filed for the seat in District 5. I am glad to see interest in water this year and welcome the opportunity to talk about issues on the minds of people in San Ramon as we go through this process. I took this website down post election, doing outreach at events in the community instead. It will be fun to blog again.
Last year I served as Board President for DSRSD and I just concluded my term as President of the Livermore Amador Valley Water Management Agency. As Liaison with the City of Pleasanton I support regional solutions to our supply shortages. The current state of water in California is grave. We need long term solutions. Right now in the Valley we import 70% of our water, and expect that our allocation from the State Water project will decline in coming years as the drought extends. Supply and reliability are critical.
If you have any questions about DSRSD, or my priorities, please send me an email at email@example.com.
I'm a first time candidate, so I've been tasked with not only coming up to speed on the issues, but also learning how to campaign. A "90-day job interview" doesn't begin to describe it. This experience has pushed me outside my comfort zone in ways I never imagined. I hope that I can be an example for others.
1) You have what it takes to run. Waiting to know everything, or being afraid to ask questions is a mistake. That first step is the hardest, and the others, just happen -- it's a sprint. I'm incredibly shy and if I can do it, so can you.
2) You are not alone. Friends and family will support you. Don't be afraid to ask. I was hesitant at first, thinking it was my responsibility to carry things through. I built the web site, I raised the funds...but the truth is public service is about the community. They stand with you all the way.
3) There will be highs and lows. It's okay to be awake at 3 a.m. thinking. It's also okay to take a day off. Taking what others do personal, is where you get into trouble. Just keep going, keep meeting people and keep growing.
I'd like to thank each and every person who agreed to speak with me, or who let me put a sign in their yard. Positive words and small donations have meant everything!
It appears that the DSRSD isn't going to have a candidates forum, but I'm still learning all I can about issues that effect the region. This month I attended an information meeting and started to study the new planned rail expansion (which isn't BART) to Livermore. I've heard about the need for signal timers on Dublin Blvd to manage traffic, and started to really notice how much roadwork is going on. When I knock on doors, people are concerned about on-going development. All this factors into water needs, even if the connection isn't completely obvious. Knowing more about the challenges the Region faces helps to prioritize.
Partnership is going to be key to the future success of DSRSD. There simply isn't going to be enough water to feed the needs of the Tri-Valley. Money is also in short supply. The contract with Zone 7 isn't locked forever. We have options, but we need to act, not study them. At the same time, this campaigning has given me the opportunity to hear what customers are concerned about. It goes beyond the pocketbook, and the tradeoffs need to be balanced with the opportunities.
Being with family, and in the moment is important. This weekend we spent some time in Stockton, boating on the Delta. My youngest Marc likes water sports, and my husband Joe enjoys the outdoors. The Sacramento River water level is low, but the birds didn’t seem to mind. We returned home, eager to watch the University of Miami football game. My oldest, Andrew is a sophomore there, and I'm proud he's following in my footsteps and studying Environmental Science. How we manage our water resources is important.
This election fight and how we manage the Delta top of my mind. We need sound water policy in the Tri-Valley. The drought is lurking, only a question of when. As someone who has spent their career in the Environmental field, leading projects, overseeing million-dollar budgets, I realized that all these experiences make me a capable candidate in this arena. Knowledge of science allows me to see the opportunity lost.
My decision to run for the Dublin San Ramon Service District is one I chose because of my professional background. I’m qualified and passionate. I’ve wondered why I don’t just do my job and go home to my family every night. This weekend reminded me why – I can’t just sit back and watch our natural resources fade. As a mother of two boys, it’s about the example we set as a society. The drought may be “over” but the drinking water crisis remains. I'll make sure that plans are executed so we're in a better position to manage our next drought so everyone gets the water they need.
I’m not a politician, but I’ll be on the front line. Join me.
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.