City of San JoseCouncilmember Matt Mahan today called upon the San Jose City Council to oppose the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s misleading ballot measure extending the terms of its Board of Directors. Despite extreme drought and consistent water rate hikes, the Board of Directors voted 4-3 to approve the measure and spent over $3.2 million in the process.

“Valley Water’s use of $3.2 million was wasteful, self-serving, and tone-deaf. With that money, we could have forgiven water bill debt for over 6,000 families in our county,” said Mahan, who is also a candidate for San Jose Mayor.

The proposed ballot measure is intentionally misleading. It will read: “Shall the measure amending the Santa Clara Valley Water District Ordinance 11-01 to limit Board members to four successive four-year terms be adopted?” What is not noted in the ballot language, however, is that Valley Water board members are already limited to three successive four-year terms.

“Via a brazen verbal sleight of hand, Valley Water’s measure manages to frame an extension of sitting and future board members’ terms as a good governance initiative to limit their tenure,” said Mahan.

Valley Water’s own polling reveals the extent of the ballot language deception. According to a poll taken in February of this year, support for the measure was strong when voters were read the ballot language as written — but it dropped by 41 percentage points once the question was clarified to explain that directors already face term limits. Once they heard the full story, likely voters opposed the measure 62-36%.

“One must wonder if, after seeing this data, proponents intentionally decided to pull the wool over voters’ eyes when proposing the ballot language,” said Mahan.

Mahan’s proposed resolution introduced to the City Council’s Rules Committee today can be read here.

To learn more about Matt Mahan’s Office, visit