A chat with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Last month’s fireside chat with U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein didn’t involve antique radios or a cozy seat by the fireplace. But it was an intimate look at the important issues in California that drive the senator’s passions.

On Aug. 23, the Santa Clara Valley Water District was among a long list of local and state leaders who had the opportunity to gather at a policy luncheon to recognize Sen. Feinstein’s leadership and advocacy in championing for  California’s resources, such as the passage of the “Clean and Healthy Bay” parcel tax, also known as Measure AA.

Measure AA was passed in the June primary elections with 69 percent of the vote, more than the two thirds approval required. The newly approved parcel tax will raise over $500 million dollars in funding, of which $60 million will go to the South Bay for flood protection and restoration efforts. The water district was a staunch supporter of Measure AA, with the district board of director’s approving $1.5 million in funding for efforts to place the measure on the June ballot. The helpful contribution from the water district board and the passage of the measure will protect our communities from tidal flooding, restore wetlands, and protect wildlife habitat for future generations.

Water district Board Chair Barbara Keegan helped present Sen. Feinstein with the an award for her contributions to the passing of Measure AA. Chair Keegan was grateful for the senator’s leadership in passage of the measure, stating the water district is now moving forward to complete critical Santa Clara County flood protection projects, like the Alviso portion of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project. Also in attendance from the water district were Vice Chair John Varela, Directors Richard Santos, Linda LeZotte and Gary Kremen, Interim CEO Norma Camacho, and district management and staff.

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After the award presentation, Sen. Feinstein sat for an intimate “fireside chat” with Carl Guardino,  President and CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group. The senator spoke of the importance of Measure B, a transportation initiative coming up that would help Santa Clara County battle some of the traffic congestion in the Bay Area. Other national issues near and dear to the senator included gun control and the war on terror.

Sen. Feinstein shared her proudest moment and biggest leadership role, which was being appointed mayor of San Francisco after the tragic assassination of colleagues Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. In her role, she was tasked with bringing the city of San Francisco back together and focused on a successful path forward. During six months she developed unity with a series of talks and team building among clergies, politicians and government department heads, all working together to solve problems.

Decades later, Sen. Feinstein continues to build teams and forge solutions to the problems our state faces. The passage of Measure AA could not have been possible without her leadership and the collaboration of the team she put together. The water district is a proud team member of Sen. Feinstein’s championing effort to restore the San Francisco Bay.

She closed the fireside chat with an important note for everyone to heed, “Words matter.”

View Sen. Feinstein’s acceptance speech here:



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