Three of five Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) seats are up for election this November, with two contested races in which incumbents are being challenged.
Division 2 incumbent Ann Marie Johnson is being challenged by Jim Brady, who ran for the board in 2018. Incumbent Arun Goel is being challenged by Seema Badar in Division 5.
The clear choice in both races are the incumbents, Johnson and Goel.
Johnson and Goel have served well and, more importantly, they understand the current and future challenges facing DSRSD, a regional agency that provides water, wastewater and recycled water services to Dublin and parts of San Ramon, as well as sewer service to Pleasanton by contract.
Johnson was first elected to the board in 2018 and served as the board president in 2021. An environmental consultant with roughly 30 years of experience in health environment and safety project management, she serves as the city of Pleasanton liaison, city of San Ramon liaison and Central Contra Costa Sanitary District liaison.
We were impressed with her understanding of DSRSD priorities and challenges and her ability to articulate them during our Oct. 3 candidates' forum, during which she said urging water conservation is not going to be enough and that creative, new ways are needed to expand the recycled water program.
Johnson, seeking a full four-year term in southwest San Ramon's Division 2, also recognizes a need for more collaboration with other agencies to deliver a reliable water supply and wisely recommends investing in storage options to balance supply and demand.
We question why Johnson's challenger, Brady, spent the money and time to file to be a candidate for this seat. Because he has no current campaign website, we were unable to find contact information.
Vote for Johnson in Division 2.
Goel is running for election to a two-year term in eastern Dublin's Division 5. With his education, professional and civic experience, Goel is well-suited for a DSRSD board position and we recommend a vote for him.
Goel was appointed to serve a 22-month term in February 2021 to fill a vacant seat. His education is in civil engineering with a focus on hydrology/hydraulics. As a flood control design engineer for Alameda County, he has garnered in-depth understanding of watersheds, groundwater supply, drainage and biofiltration. He also has governance experience, serving on the Dublin Planning Commission from 2012 to 2016 and on the Dublin City Council from 2016 to 2020.
During our forum, Goel demonstrated his knowledge of the district's current issues and those ahead. He spoke of his intention to educate the public on how the district assesses water storage, needs and anticipated demands, and how the district is addressing the "evolving arena" of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminants in Tri-Valley water supplies.
Very little is known about Goel's challenger, Badar, who did not participate in our forum and appears to be running only a quiet campaign. Badar did respond to our endorsement inquiry, citing a campaign goal of "providing safe, clean, affordable water for all" but offering no specific strategies or policy proposals for DSRSD if elected.
Vote for Goel in Division 5.
Current DSRSD Director Georgean Vonheeder-Leopold is unopposed for Division 4 and won't appear on the ballot. DSRSD will be fortunate to have her for another four-year term. She was first appointed to the board in January 1992 and then elected to full terms in 1992 and 1996. She was appointed again in July 2009 and elected in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
A retired tax accountant who served on the Dublin City Council from 1984 to 1990, Vonheeder-Leopold served as DSRSD board president in 2014 and 2018. In August, she was elected president of the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) Board of Directors.
To say Vonheeder-Leopold is well-versed in all aspects of the city of Dublin and DSRSD is an understatement. We are grateful for her continued service, and she has our support for the term ahead in Division 4.