LTWCA Newsletter - February/March 2008


A Bit O’ Water Board History & A Bit O’ Thanks to Stan Gage

Stan Gage joined the Los Trancos County Water Board round about 1976 when the Water Board was about only water, how to obtain, how to deliver, and how to upkeep.   Those many years ago the monthly meetings included not only the Board members, but also the Legal Counsel, the Engineer, and the Operations Manager, which even then cost $150 -$200 per person per meeting. In the mid 80's the Board "discovered" that they did not really need all of the support staff at the meetings, and, in fact, did not really need monthly meetings. Most of the meetings early on dealt with how were they going to fix this, that, or the other thing that had broken or leaked, and where would they get the money to do it? There was also at least one discussion per month about someone who had not paid their bill or had skipped town with unpaid bills. When Stan started there were about 180 households in the District, and the year the District sold the distribution operations to Cal Water there were 278.


The original water system was cobbled together by Wasson in the 1920's.  At that time it was mostly asphalt wrapped welded steel pipe, redwood storage tanks,  and a combination of other stuff that deteriorated pretty fast. Even the pipeline up lower Los Trancos Road, built in 1956, was pretty much at the end of its useful life by the mid 70's. The ongoing challenge was to be able to scrape together enough money to undertake a replacement project.


Providing water to the Blue Oaks Development presented an interesting opportunity, as it offered a significant capital infusion that would allow a functional improvement in the District's infrastructure. The resulting effort in both reviewing and approving the design of the water system within the subdivision, as well as, designing and implementing the improvements to the balance of the District's water system consumed, quite literally, several thousand hours of Board members' time over the course of 4 years. But, in the end, the District received about $1.5 million in infrastructure improvements at virtually no additional cost to the customers.


The sale to Cal Water eventually became inextricably linked to Blue Oaks. After the first effort to strike an agreement with Cal Water in the mid 80's fell through, the Board once again initiated contact with Cal Water in  the Spring of 2001, as the infrastructure improvement efforts undertaken as a part of the Blue Oaks Development were winding up. While the rest is history, there was a another couple of thousand hours of effort between 2001 and April of 2005 when the deal was finally consummated.


Along the way Stan attended multiple meetings: 270 District Board, 50 Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, 10 ABAG, 20 State Assembly and Senate hearings, 10 SFWD BOD, and 4 State PUC.  His “memorable” stories include the toilet replacement program in the early 90's, pumps that had a perverse habit of breaking down over the July 4th or Labor Day holidays, the gurgling sound of water being siphoned out of the toilet tanks in his house at 5 a.m. because a pipe had blown out at a pump station. the great 100’ geyser on Los Trancos Rd. which the County neglected to come fix until the hole was 5’x10’x5’ deep, the Christmas freeze where he spent much of Christmas Day going house-to-house and turning off services where no one was home but pipes had burst.  And finally, signing the final - final - final papers selling the District water distribution operations to Cal Water. It was rather anticlimactic, just Stan and a title company person. But, after many years, it felt pretty good that someone other than the District Board now owned the responsibility of keeping the system alive. All of us owe Stan a heap of gratitude for the many, many years of service that he gave to the community.  Thank you, Stan, from all of us!

Historical information gleaned from Stan Gage by Linda Drey-Nightingale

For those who would like to read the unedited history, it will soon be posted on the Water Board web site.

Water District News

The Los Trancos County Water District Board of Directors as of January 2008:

Perry Blackmon, Vice-President

Charlie Krenz, President

David Smernoff

Tom Uridel

T. Michael Ward


The Water District will be hosting a Broom Pull and Cleanup on  Sat. Feb. 9th from 10 AM to 2 PM. Please join us for all or part of the party! We will meet at the corner of Lake Road and Los Trancos Circle. Please wear long plants, long sleeves, work boots and bring gloves, water, and snacks or a picnic lunch. We will provide a few weed wrenches, loppers, and hand saws, but most of the pulling will be done by hand. Feel free to bring your favorite tool!

Submitted by David Smernoff, Los Trancos County Water Board


Water District – Emergency Prep Collaboration:

On January 31st  the Water District Board, the VV and LTW emergency preparedness teams and interested residents met to brainstorm ideas that will leave our community better prepared for earthquakes, wild fires, medical emergencies, etc.  The impetus was the results of a recent survey which showed 84% of the residents supported District funds being spent on emergency preparedness.  Ideas ranged from improved communication equipment to fire breaks to defibrillators.  If you have an idea, please contact Charlie at 851-8085 or attend the next meeting on Feb 26th.

Submitted by Charlie Krenz, Los Trancos County Water Board


8 March 2008 - In Honor of June Bilisoly

Come one, come all!!  Join friends and neighbors for this wonderful opportunity to honor June in a fitting fashion - a broom pull on trails and road.  We will be gathering at Oak Forest Ct. at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Bring your stories, work gloves, long sleeves, and enthusiasm.  Weed wrenches will be provided.  Please RSVP your name and number of attendees to Ron at


Sudden Oak Death Update - More information will be forthcoming.

Two items of importance:  1)  Now is the time to sign up for spring SOD spraying.  If you sprayed in fall you need to do a second spray about 6 months later to ensure protection of your Oak trees.  If you need contact names, visit and click on Sudden Oak Death; 

2)  Oak trees infected or killed by the SOD pathogen, P. ramorum, are prone to rapid decay, unpredictable failure, and a significant increased risk of trunk and limb breakage.  Be sure you remove your SOD infected trees before it endangers life or property. 

Submitted by the Sudden Oak Death Task Force


Neighborhood Notes

-  Mary Ann Brackbill died of cancer on 15 Jan.  She lived in Portola Valley for 40 years. Her life had been filled with volunteering for quite a number of local agencies.


September 2006 Directory Changes

No changes for this issue - If there are changes, please let Linda Drey-Nightingale, 851-1787, know.


Next Meeting - There is no meeting scheduled.  Please see the LTWCA Web Site for past minutes.


Los Trancos Woods Community Association Web Site

The web site address is:                    The group e-mail list is:          

Thanks to Jerry Jensen for maintaining this site        AND        Thanks to Armin Staprans for copying our newsletter.