County supervisor for South Valley updates residents on several potential situations endangering public

Morgan Hill Life file photo
Water flows over the spillway of Anderson Dam after heavy rains drenched the South Valley in February 2017.

By Mike Wasserman

Emergencies can strike at any time. As the Santa Clara County representative for District 1, which includes Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill, I want to update residents  on several potential situations we are monitoring.


Last month, PG&E representatives reported to the County Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation (HLUET) committee that I chair in order to address concerns about recent Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

While I share the same frustrations as many of you, I believe that it is by working together that we can come up with lasting solutions.

One of the problems identified during the PSPS is PG&E’s seeming inability to isolate shut-offs to smaller targeted areas, rather than shutting down large regions that include neighborhoods without hazardous conditions (gusty winds and dry conditions, combined with a heightened fire risk). By isolating the power shut offs to high risk areas only, it would avoid adversely affecting low risk areas causing things like medical equipment failure, loss of refrigerated goods, hotel rentals, and restaurant revenue and wages, especially for lower paying jobs.

The cost of the shut-offs in Santa Clara County was an estimated at $1 million a day. For these reasons, I asked PG&E to consider implementing micro or specific targeting during shut offs. I also requested that when PG&E installs new equipment in areas known to have strong winds, that the new equipment can safely handle adverse conditions without needing to be shut off. PG&E representatives will respond at the county’s next HLUET committee meeting, which will be held March 19 at the County Government Center, 70 West Hedding St., San Jose.

The meeting will be available to watch live and will be recorded to watch at any time, as well. Go to then click on “Government” to follow to the link to “Board Meeting Agendas, Videos and Minutes” and select “Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee (HLUET).” Please contact my office for assistance if needed at (408) 299-5010

Disaster Insurance

South County residents know wildfire danger is very real. We live in one of the most breath-taking areas in California, but the natural beauty surrounding us is also dangerous. In just minutes, a fast-moving wildfire can consume homes and everything in them.

As your county supervisor, my primary concern is your physical safety. But I am also concerned about the financial devastation encountered after a fire, which is why I am meeting this month with California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss how California’s devastating wildfires have impacted insurance policies, and the current state of obtaining and keeping homeowners’ insurance policies.

Residents with questions or concerns about their wildfire coverage can contact the Office of California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara at (800) 927-4357.

Anderson Reservoir

If there is a looming hazard in our community, it must be addressed. After reading about the federal government’s recent directive to the Santa Clara Valley Water District (now known as Valley Water) to drain Anderson Reservoir, I reached out directly to water district leadership. I made sure they understood my constituent’s concerns about dam failure, water supply and environmental impacts.

Valley Water has stated they are working on a plan to expedite rebuilding the dam, while maintaining water supply and minimizing environmental impacts. The plan includes advocating for the passage of AB 3005, which is a bill from Assemblyman Robert Rivas to help expedite environmental review, permitting and public contracting relating to Anderson Reservoir. I will continue to monitor the dam situation and will look for opportunities to advocate for rebuilding Anderson Dam and protecting the community.

Mike Wasserman serves as the vice-president on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, representing District 1. His website is
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