Can Don Gage shift the direction of the water district?

Two harshly critical reports issued by the Santa Clara County
Civil Grand Jury have been deftly swept aside in a display of
arrogance.
The title of the most damning report really sums it up:

Santa Clara Valley Water District
– Awash in Cash as County and Cities Drown in Red Ink.

Former Gilroy mayor and city councilman and soon-to-be former Santa Clara County Supervisor Don Gage is running for the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board. Hallelujah!

At least that’s the hope – the water district continues to lead the pack in governmental dysfunction and Gage has long been a level-headed representative who can push a common-sense agenda.

Hopefully, the voters will elect him despite the new water district electoral boundaries which were, in part, drawn to make his candidacy more difficult. Once in office, Gage will face a stern test. In the twilight of a long and successful political career, the water district, with its thirst for power and use of backdoor political maneuvering to quench that thirst, is a government beast intent on burdening water users with higher rates, landowners with insidious new regulations and taxpayers with bond obligations to support dubious “needs.”

The problem has been that voters, for the most part, do not pay attention to the workings of the water district which often deals in arcane issues and pumps out enough jargon for public consumption to burst Anderson Dam.

Two harshly critical reports issued by the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury have been deftly swept aside in a display of arrogance.

The title of the most damning report really sums it up: “Santa Clara Valley Water District – Awash in Cash as County and Cities Drown in Red Ink.”

Gage, remembering his political roots, will have to swim upstream against a board and an organization that is disinclined to be concerned about actions that impact residents. Whether it’s buying a fully-loaded iPad on the ratepayer’s nickel as Gage’s opponent Cy Mann did or playing power politics behind the scenes to add yet another layer of bureaucratic oversight to land-use decisions near waterways, the water district is a flood of self-preservation that needs to be contained and redirected.

While this is no easy task, hopefully Gage will take it on with passion. It’s hardly an out-to-pasture undertaking – one that we’re glad Gage is prepared, apparently, to take on.

Shifting the water district’s direction would be icing on the cake for his years of public service. But it certainly won’t be a cakewalk.

The Civil Grand Jury reports on the water district are available at http://www.sccsuperiorcourt.org/jury/GJ_archive.html

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