Resident Letter to Supv. Don Gage







Hon. Don Gage 10/31/05

Hedding Street

San Jose, CA


Dear Supervisor Gage:


I am writing to you because of San Jose Water Company’s submitted plan for harvest of redwood trees along the Los Gatos Creek Watershed from which it draws water to service us.  This logging would take place within ¼ mile of my residence as well as to other parcels and schools in the area. 


One would expect this logging for profit to occur in rural areas and not in the backyards of thousands of people or school playgrounds. 


I understand that San Jose Water Company operates under a franchise in the County for the purpose of selling water.  As far as I can tell, it does not operate as a logging business nor has a franchise to log for profit.


That this plan is being conducted for one reason is fairly apparent, and that is for monetary profit .   It appears that this would involve a substantial portion of some of the best trees that the forest has to offer at considerable risk to  and interference with the lives of thousands of County residents.  The plan appears to run into perpetuity. 



The San Jose Water Company claims that this is also fire prevention.  Ostensibly, this is in part the reason that the Department of Forestry has jurisdiction over the plan.  But does it have jurisdiction when the plan really is primarily a plan for profit and not for fire prevention, and when the private owner is under a public franchise to do business or to be in the position of managing its property for profit to begin with because of the franchise.


Further, that this plan addresses fire prevention and reduces the risk of fire appears to be pure speculation.  The area planned for harvest  was not part of the Lexington fire area and is a redwood canyon. My understanding is that it has been stable for decades.  The fog bathes this area frequently and the trees are “fire resistant.” What we do know is the plan would cut down the most fire resistant  trees in the forest---the redwoods and expose the forest canopy,. Based on these facts,  I believe that the logging would increase the risk of fire and not reduce it or prevent it.


In addition, what will the habitat do.   I do not think that it is safe for San Jose Water Company to assume that its residential neighbors can absorb the deer, the coyotes, and the lions onto their property, nor do I think that it is good judgment to let San Jose Water Company do anything that will promote this.


Finally, there is also an issue of erosion control once the logging trails and trees are removed.   As this area is designated a hazardous earthquake zone by the County, it is questionable to me as to how and why the County would endorse such a program on this basis alone.


Without a requirement that San Jose Water Company conduct an environmental impact study by a neutral evaluator or that it would be required to guarantee the water quality of its water by a neutral evaluator under its plan on a periodic basis, to me its plan appears to be a biased one.  With so many area homes and schools affected by this activity, the least that should be required are evaluations done truly by independent experts.


As a government  official who represents the people of this area,  I ask you to address these several areas covering these issues with reference to the plan.   If you are letting San Jose Water Company operate as a franchise in this county, the public should be able to assume that you would have an interest in reviewing a plan on behalf of the public which will impact their home lives, the area’s habitat, as well as its stability.   Thank you for your time.


Very truly yours,




Maryanne Zanios Murphy, Esq.

Terry Clark
November 7, 2005