letters to the editor

Smolley is the right choice for SLVWD

As environmental scientists, we are writing to support Mark Smolley for one of the open seats on the San Lorenzo Valley Water Board. Mark has extensive professional environmental protection experience that is relevant to SLV Water District projects. He is a Licensed Professional Geologist who has overseen the clean-up of soil and groundwater contamination and the installation of monitoring wells. For example, he negotiated precedent-setting clean-up levels with the CA Department of Toxic Substances for a former steel-manufacturing site in Emeryville. Moreover, he managed environmental compliance for a number of organizations, so he is well-versed in CEQA and other environmental permitting and compliance processes that are commonly required for Water District Projects.

Mark has demonstrated his environmental commitment over the past two years since he was originally appointed to the SLV Water Board. He has been on the multi-jurisdictional Santa Margarita Groundwater Agency where has argued thoughtfully and forcefully to protect SLV groundwater resources. He has also ably chaired the Engineering and Environmental Committee of the SLV Water Board for the past two years. 

Karen Holl and Bryan Largay, Felton

Vote for Fultz

Those of us in SLV water district have a choice of four candidates for tehre board positions. While all may seem similar there are important differences, our choice being: do we want to step forward or go backwards.

I strongly support the re-election of Bob Fultz. He is one of two candidates who make a point of representing us, the ratepayers, with an emphasis on sound financial oversight, policy management, and strategic planning. This is progressive thinking as brought about when we elected Bob to the board in 2018, whose professional skills continue to be an asset. Our district was financially prepared to immediately respond to the CZU fire largely due to having healthy reserve funds in place, a financial planning movement spearheaded by Bob that got a lot of push-back and grumbling from some over-budget priorities, but nevertheless prevailed and put water and customers first.

I know less about Jeff Hill, recently appointed, but he brings similar skills and mindset to the district, and I appreciate that he places customers and affordable rates equally important as other issues.

The other two candidates seem to embrace the special interest “Friends” group, whose platform priorities and influence on past boards resulted in district maintenance and infrastructure work not getting done, and some very big rate increases. This continued indifference to high rates and affordability for all, plus Layng’s stunning crusade for merger with Scotts Valley Water in public remarks, seems out of touch. 

Bob is now our longest-serving director, one of only two elected by us after a string of board resignations. Looking at these campaigns its apparent that Bob’s experience and knowledge of our district is invaluable, pivotal in this election to keep the district healthy financially and moving forward. Please join me in voting for Bob Fultz. 

Debra Loewen, Lompico Canyon

Timm and Timms are good for Scotts Valley

Hello my name is Steven Horlock and I have been a Scotts Valley Resident for many, many years. I have been active in community affairs and politics for years.

I am currently on the Planning Commision and am an advocate for term limits.

We as a community have an opportunity to move our city forward-thinking new energy with two competent and capable city council candidates.

I hope that you will support and vote for the team of Derek Timm and Allan Timms. These two young men will be forward-thinking, unbiased in their decision making and have an emotionally mature vision for the city of Scotts Valley.

Please take the time to vote for the Timms Team. Derek Timm and Allan Timms. You will not regret your vote.

Steven Horlock, Scotts Valley

Smolley’s expertise, collaboration skills needed on Board 

I am writing to enthusiastically endorse Mark Smolley for San Lorenzo Valley Water District Director in the upcoming election. Mark was appointed to the Board in 2020 because of his experience in utilities construction management and environmental protection permitting. 

As Board President, I have observed that his calm demeanor, careful preparation for meetings, systemic approach to decision-making, and concise, direct questions to staff have contributed to an increased level of professionalism of the Board. 

Mark has also made huge substantive contributions in his two years of service. As Chair of the Engineering and Environmental Committee he has taken a large role in addressing the District’s major challenges in repairing infrastructure damaged in the CZU Fire and replacing aging infrastructure throughout the District. His expertise has been instrumental in helping the District better formulate and assess bids for construction projects, with resulting savings in time and money. Mark is also the Board’s representative in negotiations regarding the potential consolidations with three smaller water districts in the Boulder Creek area that suffered extensive damage in the CZU fire. 

Mark’s technical knowledge and ability to work constructively with a range of stakeholders have been invaluable in the discussions with County and State agencies and affected residents. Endorsements by Supervisor Bruce McPherson and Assemblymember Mark Stone testify to his effectiveness. 

The District is facing formidable challenges in the next four years, and we will continue to need Mark’s leadership. That is why I urge you to vote for Mark Smolley for SLVWD Director.

Gail Mahood, Felton

Commentaries and letters to the editor reflect the opinions of the authors. We welcome letters to the editor and commentaries on all topics of local interest. Email your submissions to [email protected]. Letters must include the writer’s name and hometown (for publication) and phone number (for verification). Submissions may be edited, and will be published as space permits. Letters are limited to 250 words, commentaries to 500 words.

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