Vote against the SLVWD increase
I support my San Lorenzo Valley Water District but cannot in good conscience support the proposed surcharge. It is not about funding this disaster recovery nor other infrastructure projects. It is about what direction we want our district to take and who we are. Our community has a history of stepping up for each other and has nothing to prove. This surcharge not only disproportionately puts the FEMA tab on customers rather than district funds, the highest-burden is on low water users and those of lower- or moderate-income, in a community reeling from the last 18 months of unprecedented stress. We can do better than this.
I urge everyone to send in their protest form, the only way to vote in the convoluted Proposition 218 process: bit.ly/3yPAZfU.
Regardless of the outcome, the board must stop and revise this proposal. It is no secret that our district is currently paralyzed in the struggle to contain runaway overhead costs, but I believe management staff is capable of reining that in with sustainable budgets if given board guardrails to live within our means. The district is doing many things right: Capital projects both under FEMA disaster and an ambitious list of regular infrastructure improvements filling the foreseeable future are currently moving smoothly ahead, fully funded by long-term loans having very favorable interest rates. Reading the Prop 218 Notice carefully, you will see the surcharge is not for immediate concerns, but to offset future spending. We can—and must—do this better instead through sound, stable financial management.
Debra Loewen, Lompico Canyon
Fultz’s tactics are inappropriate
Others have responded to the substance of San Lorenzo Valley Water District Director Bob Fultz’s misguided op-ed in the July 2 Press Banner, which urged SLVWD ratepayers to protest the rate surcharge that is absolutely necessary to pay to repair the extensive and expensive damage the CZU fires did to the district’s infrastructure. I agree with the substantive criticisms others have made of Director Fultz’s position, and I have a different and additional problem with his Press Banner opinion piece.
Each SLVWD director’s duty as an elected member of the board is to examine the issues, to try to convince a majority of the board to support their positions, and then, successful or not, to respect the decisions that the entire board makes. Each Director wins some and loses some. Here, the SLVWD Board voted 4-1, with Fultz being the lone “no” vote, in favor of the CZU surcharge. The vote was taken after thorough and complete board discussion of the issue, including public comment. Director Fultz had ample opportunity to convince his fellow directors that he was right. He failed to do so. He is not a lone wolf, but a member of a body that is run by majority vote. Once the board made its decision, his fiduciary duties to the other board members and the public mean that he should not and cannot undermine the board’s decisions, as he tried to do with his op-ed.
I urge all SLVWD ratepayers to reject Director Fultz’s inappropriate tactics and to support the Board’s decision. The district, and all of us, need these repairs. It’s extraordinarily unfortunate and even tragic, but the fire happened, and we can’t ignore or forget it.
Peter Gelblum, Boulder Creek
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