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September 22, 2023

Letters to the Editor, October 23

Mahood has broad support 

SLV Water District is facing several years of environmental and financial challenges in rebuilding after the CZU Fire, and I’m very grateful for—and strongly support—Gail Mahood for the SLVWD board.

Gail, a geology professor at Stanford for 40 years, has the knowledge to analyze our choices and decisions in rebuilding, the skills to translate technical tradeoffs to the public and to build consensus with other board members, and the foresightedness and caring for our environmental future to help all of us fulfill our responsibility to our children.

Just check out her well-researched and thoughtful positions related to the district on her website: www.gail4slvwd.com

There’s a reason why so many leaders in our community—several who do not typically endorse for local positions—are supporting her: County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, State Assemblymember Mark Stone, SLV school board member Laura Dolson, SLVWD board member Lois Henry, Ben Lomond Fire Chief Stacie Brownlee, Cabrillo College Trustee Donna Ziel, library activists Jim Mosher and Nancy Gerdt, environmental leaders Nancy Macy, Jim Nelson and three current members of the SLVWD environmental committee.

Gail will help bring people together to create a strong, clear, sustainable vision for our water district. Please support her.

Barbara Sprenger, Felton

Thomas is a great choice

I have known Beth Thomas for over 40 years as an educational associate, and as a friend. Beth is one of the most insightful and resourceful individuals I’ve had the privilege to know. Her experience as a labor leader, a consensus maker and visionary alone makes Beth a qualified leader for the SLV Water Board position now facing the voters of the Valley. 

My wife and I can both attest to Beth’s deep personal integrity, her thoughtfulness and willingness to listen. Beth’s personality is forthright and assertive, yet she is open and friendly, with a gift of humor that appeals to those who seek her sage guidance. The fact that Beth has been involved in the issues of the water district for some years is a boon to all of us. I truly cannot think of another person who would be a better choice for our water district than Beth Thomas.

Beth is a solid long time Valley resident who has been involved in a host of community projects that benefited both her family and neighborhood. Raising a wonderful family of loving children with her husband, Mark, Beth is the epitome of a perfect non-political, political candidate.

I am honored to recommend Beth Thomas and strongly urge you to consider voting for Beth Thomas and Lew Farris when you receive your voter’s ballot.

David D. Weiss, Retired SLV Educator, currently CFO of River Sanctuary Publishing

Water isn’t about politics; it’s about people

As a current and outgoing director for the SLV Water District, it has been a privilege to work with this Board and for the people of the San Lorenzo Valley. From an insider’s perspective, it has been very civil, even when directors have differing views, and we have gotten the job done, especially through the many emergency meetings during the fire. These are tough times for the people of the Valley, and for the water district. If you want to continue this good will on the board, I suggest that you support Beth Thomas and Lew Farris.

They are running to be your next directors for the Water District. I think they would do an excellent job for you. They have turned down endorsements in favor of a “Non-Partisan, Pro water,” stance because everyone needs water, everyone wants our water department to do a good job. Beth Thomas goes to meetings, is on the Facilities Committee and has shown a commitment to our Valley and its residents, all of them. She raised a family here. Like the rest of us, she has lived through our floods, droughts and earthquakes. She knows our resiliency because she has gone through it, too. 

Lew is committed to a fire management plan and is a strong advocate for the ratepayers’ interests on the Santa Margarita Ground Water Agency which protects the very water rights that our Valley retains. He will work with anyone in the Valley who wants to promote fire safety, and safe water practices.

You can find Beth and Lew volunteering at the Water District: handing out water and good wishes to anyone who shows up because Water isn’t about politics, it’s about people. I trust Beth Thomas and Lew Farris. 

Rick Moran, Felton

Mahood is the right choice

Gail Mahood’s career as a professor of Geology gives her tremendous preparation to help manage our water system. She understands how the earth and water work. As chair of the Stanford faculty senate, and on two other high-level committees, she managed political processes in a challenging environment. She has the people-skills needed to keep the SLVWD Board focused on the needs of valley residents and working in productive collaboration. This is why both Supervisor Bruce McPherson and Assemblyman Mark Stone have endorsed her. We’re very fortunate that Gail Mahood is willing to serve our community.

Marc Shargel, Felton 

Thomas is a leader

Beth Thomas is a true leader. She has led people in all walks of life towards a better future. As an SLVJH Librarian, SEIU Union President, SEIU Director of Training, Quaker Center Board Member, Book Binder Extraordinaire and chair of SLVWD’s Facilities Committee, Beth is someone who can be counted on. She has lived in San Lorenzo Valley for decades, raising her four children among the redwoods.

Beth has a talent for listening, one that is not something we see much of these days. She is also uniquely skilled at negotiations, a necessary skill set for board members facing a myriad of issues that will require both active listening and the ability to negotiate a resolution for an end result that supports all parties. You can bet Beth will work hard to make sure the SLVWD board meetings will be productive while encompassing all opinions.

There may be other candidates running for the SLVWD board who have qualifications that suggest a better alignment with the subject matter of water. Based on contentious board meetings of the past, a broad range of skills, especially communicating with fellow board members as well as community members, would be a better fit for these difficult times. Our water is a crucial factor in the basic needs of our small community and we need someone with leadership qualities to guide us through the issues at hand. Why not someone with a variety of experience, wealth of knowledge, ability to communicate openly and honestly to all interested parties, and a long time San Lorenzo Valley resident? We need someone like Beth to stand up for us, as she has been doing for San Lorenzo Valley residents for years.

Debbie Ladd, Felton

Mahood is a great candidate 

I urge everyone reading this to vote for Gail Mahood for the SLV Water District Board. Previous letters have focused primarily on Gail’s outstanding scientific qualifications, which are far more extensive than those of any other present director or candidate. Those qualifications alone are more than sufficient to justify voting for her, particularly at this time when the District is facing new, severe challenges from the unprecedented CZU fire.

However, those challenges also require financial and budgetary expertise and, amazingly, Gail has that, too. She was a member of Stanford University’s budget and planning group and of the Board of Trustees’ Land and Building Committee. Stanford ($7 billion) is a much bigger operation than SLVWD ($22 million). I’m confident she can handle the financial and budgeting aspects of this job.

Gail is also aware of, and capable of handling, the constant and unavoidable tension between keeping rates affordable and finding the funds necessary to protect, improve, and maintain the District’s infrastructure and,, ultimately, to keep high-quality water flowing to all of us. Among other things, she has plans to explore new revenue sources, including aggressively pursuing grants and matching funds for capital projects, and negotiating conjunctive use of excess winter water flows. Of course, the more money the District can raise from sources other than ratepayers, the easier it will be to keep from raising rates.

I feel fortunate to have such a sterling candidate who is willing to put in the largely uncompensated long hours and hard work of being an SLVWD Director. Please join me in voting for Gail Mahood.

Peter Gelblum, Boulder Creek

Mahood gives us a chance to be better

I am a mother of two young children raising my family here in the SLV. This fire season (which is not over), was harrowing, and yet, the time we spent evacuated only clarified that this river valley is where I want to be. #slvstrong.

We are so lucky that as a community we own, run and manage our source of water and our watersheds. We all drink from the same source. The quality of our lives and community, and simply, the viability of life here, depend on managing our valuable watershed.

Climate change is real and happening to us. We need our precious water resources to be managed sustainably. And we need our Water District to be as informed and prepared as possible for more dramatic wildfires and other natural disasters like debris flows.

Which brings me to voting for Gail Mahood for a position on the SLVWD Board of Directors.

Professor Gail Mahood is the only candidate for the SLV Water Board with a deep understanding of watershed geology, hazards such as debris flows and landslides, groundwater, and climate change science. We need her expertise and experience on the Water Board. With Gail we have an opportunity to rebuild better, smarter, safer and more sustainably. Gail has an eye out for the future of our water. Please vote all the way down the ballot and choose Gail Mahood for the SLV Water District Board. Water is life.

Rebecca Fresco, Felton


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