The Great Flood of 2017: Learning from San Jose’s Disastrous Mistakes

The Great Flood of 2017: Learning from San Jose’s Disastrous Mistakes

By Robert Haugh

San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Water District are engaged in a bitter and ugly fight over which bureaucracy failed to warn residents of the Great Flood of 2017. It’s like an epic match between John Cena and The Rock.

It’s not a pretty sight to see to them accuse each other and deflect blame, especially when so many people had homes and property destroyed and are living in shelters.

Here’s a great example of San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo saying he doesn’t want to point fingers as he points his finger at the Water District in a Merc story by Eric Kurhi and Ramona Giwargis.

“I don’t doubt the water district tried their best to get us accurate information and the information was changing rapidly,” Liccardo said Thursday. “And we’re not trying to point fingers here, but some of the emails that they sent that morning were wrong.”

Then, last Tuesday, the Water District elected officials didn’t show up for a council meeting to answer questions, because Liccardo threatened them that he and the city would use investigative powers. Here’s link to the story by Merc reporter Ramona Giwargis.

The Water District needs to be accountable to the public, but I can’t blame them for not showing up to have Liccardo do a Perry Mason impersonation. Since he pointed his finger at them right after the flood, he’s likely to keep trying to deflect blame from himself and his city.

Here, in Santa Clara, fortunately, we had no flooding. Our sources tell us it’s because our creeks and channels are better maintained than San Jose’s. But if we did have major flooding problems, we hope our mayor and council would act more responsibly.


At the last council meeting, the mayor and council asked for a report on how Santa Clara would handle a flood emergency. Let’s hope we do better than San Jose. Let’s hope we also learn from San Jose’s disastrous example.



  1. It’s encouraging in the summertime to see the tractors and our creeks and waterways.

    Just another thing that makes Santa Clara a great place to live.

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