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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Special District

San Lorenzo Valley Water DistrictCandidate for Director

Photo of Gail Mahood

Gail Mahood

Retired Geology Professor
9,475 votes (41.86%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ensure the post-fire safety of our water supply with repeated, extensive testing of water from district tanks and distribution lines as well as individual households in areas of severe fire damage. In addition to VOCs, future testing should look for
  • Reconstruction following the CZU fire should be used as a chance to upgrade parts of the system, to make the system more resistant to natural hazards, and to consider the balance of surface and well water use in the district.
  • Continue environmental stewardship of district forest and sand hills lands. Not only is this the right thing to do - it is the most cost-effective way to ensure a supply of high-quality water.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Retired Geology Professor
Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University (1979–2019)

Education

University of California, Berkeley Ph.D., Geology (1980)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Lois Henry
  • Mark Stone
  • Bruce McPherson

Elected Officials (1)

  • Jim Reed

Questions & Answers

Questions from LWV Santa Cruz County (2)

Over the next year, what do you see as the two biggest challenges to be addressed in this office?
Answer from Gail Mahood:

• Ensure the post-fire safety of our water supply with repeated, extensive testing of water from district tanks and distribution lines as well as individual households in areas of severe fire damage. In addition to VOCs, future testing should look for toxic metals such as lead, chrome, and arsenic, which have been detected after previous fires. The District will need to develop a long-term program for testing and will need to get help from state agencies to bear the considerable cost. 

• Reconstruction following the CZU fire should be used as a chance to upgrade parts of the system, to make the system more resistant to natural hazards, and to consider the balance of surface and well water use in the district.  District staff have done heroic work bringing water service back online as quickly as possible after our fire damage. Upcoming negotiations with FEMA and Cal OES about funding more permanent repairs gives us a chance to bring pipelines up to modern standards, make cost-benefit analyses that consider long-term safety from natural hazards (e.g., wildfire, earthquakes, landslides) and make our facilities more efficient.

What in your background, personal or professional, has prepared you to meet these challenges?
Answer from Gail Mahood:

Deep scientific knowledge relevant to our water district – As a recently retired Professor of Geology at Stanford University, Gail has forty years’ experience with topics directly relevant to our water systems and watershed including geology, hydrology, groundwater, biology, land use and climate change models.  In addition to watershed functions, Gail understands wildfire risks and recovery, groundwater issues, natural hazards that impact District facilities (landslides, earthquakes, floods, and debris flows), and she is knowledgeable about  post-fire contamination of groundwater, water distribution lines, and home plumbing by volatile organic compounds and toxic trace metals. 

 

Fiscal responsibility and budgeting skills – Gail’s experience at Stanford included serving as Department Chair, Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Education, and Chair of the Faculty Senate as well as serving on the University’s budget and strategic planning group and the Board of Trustees’ Land and Building Committee. Through these roles she honed her skills in capital planning, grant writing, and fiscally responsible budgeting for both short term and long term. She also learned how to bring people together to make hard financial decisions that best met the organization’s goals.

 

Environmental stewardship – Gail’s love of our forests, sand hills, rivers and creeks combined with her scientific knowledge and fiscal practicality make her an ideal environmental steward for the District. She knows how watersheds function, and she realizes that proper stewardship of District forest and sand hills lands is not only the right thing to do - it’s the most cost-effective way to ensure a steady, clean source of water for our community’s safety and our future.

Unifying leadership style – Gail looks forward to being a unifying leader for our Valley. In her many leadership roles at Stanford, she learned to run meetings effectively and to bring together people with widely varying opinions to make important, often challenging, decisions together. She has a solution-focused mindset and level-headed communication style, which is just what we need, especially as we navigate the challenges of our post-fire recovery.

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