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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Screaming in the forest

Uploaded: May 6, 2012
Here's a new spin on the famous philosophical question: "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does anyone care?" That's not quite the original question, but it is my question for today. If I'm screaming about Zone 7 in my blog, and nobody reads it, does it matter that Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty killed the bill that would separate Zone 7 from Alameda County Flood Control so voters in Dougherty Valley could vote in Zone 7 elections?

I could rephrase the mythical question again as "If a water agency is in Livermore and voters in Dougherty Valley cannot vote because they live in Contra Costa County, does that mean the quality of the water they get isn't as good?" Well, I've been told the water quality from Zone 7 is much better in Livermore than it is in Dougherty Valley, so I guess the answer is "Yes."

It shouldn't matter to me. I don't get my water from Zone 7. Residents of Dublin and Dougherty Valley do, delivered by the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD). The difference is that residents of Dublin can vote for or run for Director of Zone 7 but residents of Dougherty Valley cannot. Zone 7 is invisible to most residents of Contra Costa County.

Here are two more old sayings that could apply: "ignorance is bliss" and "don't drink the water." Oh, I shouldn't say that. Zone 7 water is legally potable just not very palatable. However, if Zone 7 was independent from Alameda County, it could be a multi-county agency and residents of Dougherty Valley would have some input into improving the quality of their water.

I guess tap water quality isn't important to residents of Dougherty Valley or more of them would have supported SB1337. I've seen water softeners and bottled water up there, so residents must be handling the water quality issue their own way.

Scott Haggerty and the other Alameda County Supervisors voted to oppose SB1337, so I thought our Contra Costa County Supervisors should vote to support it. I sent our current and past Supervisor the following email:

"Dear Supervisors Uelkema and Piepho,

State Senator Mark DeSaulnier authored a bill, SB1337, to separate the Zone 7 Water Agency from Alameda County Flood Control so it could operate across County lines.

Zone 7 provides water to the Dublin San Ramon Services agency for distribution in Dublin, Pleasanton, and Dougherty Valley. Residents of Dougherty Valley can vote in DSRSD elections but not in Zone 7's. SB1337 would enable Dougherty Valley residents to elect their own representatives to Zone 7.

I wrote my San Ramon Observer blog two weeks ago on this bill, which DSRSD and the management of Zone 7, support.

DSRSD President, Rich Halket, notified me that Alameda County Supervisor, Scott Haggerty, killed the bill. I hope it can be restored.

I don't want to start a cross county war, but Zone 7 provides water to residents in Contra Costa County and they should have a say in its governance. I hope our County Supervisors will stand up for residents of Dougherty Valley and give them the ability to vote for Zone 7 Directors. Water is too important to ignore.


It always amazes me how liars with flyers and a bucket full of cash can manipulate voters for or against whatever they want, but when a legitimate right has been taken away too many voters don't care or won't bother to do something about it.

I hope I've made enough noise in this blog to get people in San Ramon to pay attention to Zone 7. If enough voters in Dougherty Valley and the rest of San Ramon hear SB1337 crashing down, maybe you will take some action to stop it. All it takes is a phone call or an email.

Contact State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and tell him to keep pushing for SB1337. Assembly Woman Joan Buchanan knows about SB1337 because DSRSD included her in the mailing list for their letter of support.Tell Buchanan you want to be able to vote for your water quality.

Contact our Contra Costa County Supervisors and ask the three candidates running for District 2 where they stand on Zone 7.

Contact our City Council and demand they support this bill. Don't just sit there and let this tree fall. In the mean time I'll keep screaming in the forest until my throat is as irritated as my disposition.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Bob P, a resident of another community,
on May 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm


Please clarify for me what Scott Haggerty actually killed. Was it SB 1337? If so, I am at a loss how a county supervisor can kill a State Senate bill. Did the fact the ALCO sups don't support it cause DeSaulnier to pull it?

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on May 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


That's what Rich Halket posted in the comments on my last blog entry on Zone 7. Web Link

I did not confirm that it is totally dead, but Halket said that Jill Duerig, Zone 7's General Manager, told him it is officially dead for this year. A Public Workshop on SB 1337 scheduled for May 10th, was cancelled on May 4 Web Link .

Both DeSaulnier and Buchanan are up for reelection this year and both of their districts extend into Alameda County. Next year it might be politically safer for them to bring it back.

There's no election for Zone 7 this year. Halket explains why in one of his answers to my earlier blog. This is another illustration of why voters need to pay more attention to this district.


Posted by Rich Halket, a resident of Dublin,
on May 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

To clarify. Haggerty's opposition (or threatened opposition) killed it. An assembly member or senator is not going to push a bill involving county government operations without the full support of the county supervisors. Roz - remember I told you a long time ago that a bill like this would not survive any credible opposition. There just is not anything in it for them to justify spending political capital.

Also, this is not a water quality issue. Water quality is almost entirely controlled by the source. Separation from the county will not change the source of the Zone's water.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on May 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


It is water quality. When I ran for DSRSD in 2004 the major issue was how DSRSD could improve the quality of the water. Sue Stephenson emailed me the most recent report, which showed that Zone 7 agreed to make these improvements. So far they built a demineralization plant to reduce the hardness. Taste and smell haven't been dealt with because of the cost.

If Zone 7 and DSRSD could merge, which would be possible if Zone 7 is separated from Alameda County, the two Districts could pool resources and increase filtering or reverse osmosis (I'm not up on all the technical methods), or whatever could be used to improve the quality.

I believe the water quality in Livermore is better because Livermore mixes in water from other sources than the Delta water used for Dougherty Valley and Dublin. There might be opportunities for bringing water in from other sources if the Districts were merged, or even if Zone 7 operated as a separate agency. I'd like to see capturing and blending rainwater, but then I'm into rainwater harvesting as you know.

Doesn't everything Zone 7 does have to be approved by the Alameda County Flood Control now? Separating Zone 7 from Alameda County would give them more autonomy to make these decisions and acquire funds to improve the water, as well as giving voters in Dougherty Valley a say in what they do, how they do it, and how much they spend.

I've complained for years that there hasn't been a San Ramon member on the DSRSD Board of Directors, but poor Dougherty Valley can't even vote for Directors of Zone 7.

I believe our votes are important in keeping government open and responsive to our wants and needs. That's why I've been writing these San Ramon Observer commentaries for almost 10 years. Voters in Dougherty Valley deserve a voice in Zone 7. It isn't up to Scott Haggerty to stifle it.


Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on May 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.


I've been thinking (always a dangerous sign). Maybe my screaming about Zone 7 being independent was heard by someone who didn't want it to be a separate agency and told Scott Haggerty to oppose it. I can think of a few people who might oppose it. So I could have been responsible for making it too visible. I hope the bill will be brought back next year and supporters will out number opponents.


Posted by Rich Halket, a resident of Dublin,
on May 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Interesting thought Roz, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it. Believe me, anybody who cared enough to have it killed certainly knew what was happening independent of your excellent reporting. There are lots of rumors floating around and Scott and his staff are doing their best to obscure his involvement (take a look at the revised committee agenda on the county web site). I think the Independent is writing a story. Let's see what they can dig up.

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