Thursday, July 21, 2005

Oh, Lucy, Jooo Gotta Jes' Chut Up!

O.k., so here’s the premise. A Los Osos private citizen sends a letter to the various construction companies who might bid on the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project telling them not to bid because the town’s in turmoil, there’s a recall underway, lawsuits are flying, there’s (vague, unspecified) “alleged illegalities” and blah, blah, blah, so if they’re smart they’ll stay away from this mess.

Very few sewer building companies actually do bid on the project, giving as their reasons that the town’s in turmoil, there’s a recall underway, lawsuits are flying, and since the economy’s picking up, they’ve got so many other work offers elsewhere, they don’t need this headache.

And of those few that do bid, even the lowest offer came in at 50% over the most optimistic cost estimates. One of the reasons given for the high bids included a claim that the wily Chinese are buying up all the concrete in the world for their modernization projects, so things concrete are costing a lot more than expected. And, since there was almost no competition and because the CSD set no cap on costs, bids could be wherever the bidders wanted them to be.

Here’s the set up: The CSD has sent a cease and desist letter to a Los Osos citizen, a Mr. Budd Sanford, informing him that he is to, well, cease and desist sending letters to contractors involved in this project and if he doesn’t sign the cease and desist letter, they’ll spend your tax money to haul Mr. Sanford into court to get a judge to make him cease and desist. This is being done because the CSD apparently believes that the lack of bidders and the high bids from those that did submit bids was caused by Mr. Sanford’s letters.

Here’s the catch: Is it even believable that the owner of a ginormous infrastructure-building company, a man who moves throughout the country and world building mega projects, a man who regularly must face down bull-necked labor goons named “Three-Fingers Guido” from New Jersey, or who sits across the negotiation table from gimlet-eyed federal regulators whose threats are backed up by the might and power of the United States government, a man who regularly sorts through snarling, threatening letters from high-powered New York law firms, or who may have to confront armed thugs from a junta in some god-forsaken third world country (Like, say, Los Osos) where his company is putting in a project, is it even conceivable that this owner would get a letter from some guy in Los Osos – not an elected official, not a county employee, not a state regulator, just some guy – telling him to not bid on this sewer project because the community’s in turmoil, a recall’s underway, lawsuits are flying and say, “Holy Smokes, Boys. Look at this letter from some guy in Los Osos. We’re outta here!” Then turn tail and scamper out of town as fast as his steel-toed work boots can carry him?

Is this premise even credible? Or is this cease and desist order merely a very public warning shot across the bow that anyone who disagrees with or speaks up and out against this project will be slap-suited down so everyone in town better get the message loud and clear: Shut up and sit down. Your voice and vote are of no interest to the CSD, you will get the sewer project we pound down your gullet and then you will get the open-ended bill, whatever that turns out to be, and if you cross us we’ll use your money to pay our attorney to haul your miserable behinds into court and ask that a judge shut you up.

If that’s the case, is it the CSD that needs cease and desist protection from members of the community? Or vice versa?

And since I’m sure some guy from Los Osos may have sent a copy of my columns to someone somewhere, perhaps the one wherein I compared this Hideous Sewer Project to building a house upside down in a swamp, where’s my cease and desist order as well?

What am I, chopped liver?

Correction: In my July 6 column, it was the female pit pull that was shot and killed at the scene. The male pit is the one being held pending completion of the case. I apologize for the mix-up.

1 comment:

Steve Sawyer said...


Your best column yet... Unbelieveable actions from "our elected officials".

I'm feeling left out too. But I'd rather get a restraining order than a cease and desist request.

Like Richard Margetson having Gustafson and LeGros file for a restraining order because he said he was going to call in all his IOUs if they accepted the construction bids at 50% over estimate.

Then in the court hearing Gustafson's and LeGros's attorney admitted that they had embellished what happened in their statements and withdrew the case... after Margetson had to hire an attorney and appear several times in court.
Disgusting behavior if you ask me.

Keep it up, Anne.

Steve Sawyer