Water district race heats up

Founder of announces bid for Santa Clara Valley Water District seat

Gary Kremen, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and founder of the dating site, has entered the race for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Competing with incumbent Brian Schmidt, Kremen is running for a seat to represent District 7, which includes the cities of Mountain View and Los Altos.

Kremen is the current president of the Purissima Hills Water District Board of Directors, which serves 6,400 residents in Los Altos Hills. Kremen has served on the board for nearly four years.

In his bio page on the Purissima Hills district website, Kremen is described as an "entrepreneur, an inventor and a thought leader." He says he invented the idea of online dating back in 1993 and wrote the original business plan.

Kremen said he is also a clean-tech entrepreneur and engineer. In 2006 he founded Clean Power Finance, which provides financial services and software for the solar industry.

Kremen said his background prepared him for a spot on the water district board because he's able to understand and handle complex engineering issues, which he said is essential in understanding how water is moved.

During his time on the Purissima Hills board, that district completed the multi-year, multi-million dollar Neary Tank Utilization Project, which upgraded the water supply network throughout Los Altos Hills. The project replaced the existing, aging water distribution system, according to the district website.

As a businessman, Kremen said he is also "well-acquainted with fiscal responsibility." Kremen opposed rate hikes in favor of cost-cutting to balance the Purissima Hills water district's budget. In 2012, he wrote an open letter to district staff stating that the board needs to consider more ways to reduce costs, and rate hikes should be seen as a last-ditch effort.

He advocated a reduction in salaries for some Purissima Hills water district staff positions, refinancing debt and leasing out unused or underused property.

Kremen said the current board members of the Santa Clara Valley Water District are not doing enough to deal with the drought, including current incumbent Brian Schmidt.

"Schmidt is very nice, but our job is to protect the water," Kremen said.

Kremen said the district is still running advertisements on buses warning about floods amidst the intense drought, which he said is a sign that the current board is not taking the drought seriously.

Kremen also criticized the amount of money the district spends, especially on big projects.

"They waste an insane amount of money, way beyond the pale," Kremen said.

Kremen mentioned that the water district also mishandled the proposed flood plan that would have built a flood detention basin at the Cuesta Park Annex in Mountain View. The flood basin was eventually pulled from the plan due to public outcry.


Like this comment
Posted by Troy
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Gary Kremen has been very good on the Water Board.

Like this comment
Posted by Go Kremen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

"As a businessman, Kremen said he is also "well-acquainted with fiscal responsibility."

I like people like that, to bad most politicians don't know a thing about it.

Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:27 am

Gary Kremen is really pro-Mountain View (he use to live there):

* He wants to stop the Water District from collecting State Water District property taxes from the 90% of Mountain View that does not get Water District water. The opponent has not done anything about this unfair tax.

* He wants to stop the Water District from making the same mistakes they did in Cuesta Annex. It cost the District $20,000,000 and is still going up!

* He wants the Water District to use more innovation in water conservation with more funding specifically in Mountain View.

* He is President of our neighbor water district, Purissima Hills Water District (unincorporated Santa Clara County and the majority of Los Altos Hills) where he focused on water conservation.

* He is Chairman of the leading behavioral water conservation firm in the US (local here in the Bay Area), which Palo Alto and now Mountain View uses for water conservation.

He just got his first two city council majorities: Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills. He wrote an extensive plan in sustainability for the Water District: regional water self-sufficiency, water reuse, water conservation , creek restoration, creeks and the homeless, retail water relations, and innovation in water.

Have been endorsed by mayors of Campbell, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills and Menlo Park. Have lots of county wide endorsements such as District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith as well as Supervisors Ken Yeager and Cindy Chavez. Assembly persons Paul Fong and Mark Stone have endorsed him as has Evan Low. He has statewide endorsement such as John Chiang, Controller, David Jones, Insurance Commissioner and Steve Westly, former Controller. Have national endorsements such as Congressperson Eric Swalwell.

Like this comment
Posted by Big Fan
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

Seems like a great candidate, who has lots of experience. Also appears to be looking out for Mtn View residents. He'll get my support.

Like this comment
Posted by Susy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 26, 2014 at 12:28 am

All these endorsments by developer-bent politicians! Not someone to trust.

Like this comment
Posted by Sarah
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:48 pm

On his wikipedia page, Mr Keremen proudly associates with the good ol' boys of Duke Energy - remember Duke - the company that poisoned rivers in North Carolina? Not sure this is the right man to guard our water resources.... Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Jose
a resident of Castro City
on Aug 2, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Looks like he converted some utilities to endorsing solar -- that is what we need to do -- good for him -- get coal burners to put money being renewables.

Like this comment
Posted by Benica
a resident of Jackson Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Is it accurate at Web Link that we are paying property taxes for water we do not get? Where does out water come from?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Burger chain Shake Shack to open in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 18 comments | 5,017 views

The Cost of Service
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 1,220 views

Couples: When Wrong Admit It; When Right; Shut Up
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 750 views