Look, Mummy, is it a raven?! A writing desk? Are we in Wonderland? Oz? Wait, it looks like . . . there, up in the sky . . . Will the REAL, oh, like, whatever, please stand up?
Remember when two CSD members, Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee and a representative from the State Water Board spent a week negotiating, and then came out with a negotiated resolution, which the CSD unanimously passed and sent up to the State Board and the State Board reps said, Nuh, huh. Negotiations? We don’ know nuttin’ ‘about no stinkin’ negotiations.
And everyone else said, Huh? Whaaa? If those folks weren’t in that room negotiating, what were they doing, playing Boggle?
Well, the mystery is apparently solved. The following is an “official” letter to State Water Board Member, Gerald Secundy, from Los Osos General Manager, Daniel Bleskey. which should be available for public viewing at the CSD office.
Dear Mr. Secundy,
I am writing this message to provide you the information regarding my understanding why I believed that the discussions that the LOCSD entered into with SWB SRF staff on Octover 24, 2005, were in fact “Structured Negotiations.” Attached is a copy of the letter from your staff entitled “AGREEMENT FOR STRUCTURED NEGOTIATIONS; LOS OSOS COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT (DISTRICT); WASETWATER COLLECTION, TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL PROJECT; STATE REVOLVING FUND (SRF) LOAN PROGRAM PROJECT NO: C-06-4014-110.” This letter was sent from Celeste Cantu [exe. dir] to Assemblyman Blakeslee setting the conditions of the discussions between state SWB staff and representatives from the LOCSD.
Although you were emphatic, on two occasions during the November 16, 2005, State Water Board meeting, that these discussions were not a negotiation, the attached document shows otherwise. This is but one example of the lack of detail your staff provided your board on the 16th. There are other examples of insufficient details and lack of “facts” in SWB staff report that were minimally necessary for you and your fellow board members to make a fair assessment of the situation and an informed decisions.
If you would like to discuss this further please le me know,
Very Respectfully Submitted,
D. M. Bleskey.
Ah, well, there you have it in a nutshell. Appointed (or elected) boards can only make decisions based on correct and accurate information given to them by their staffs. It’s the old GIGO dilemma. Bad info = bad decisions. But when regulatory boards get bad information, whole communities can be forced to pay a fearsome price. And our system of governance is set up to limit the ability of these Boards to back-track and correct bad information, thus adding insult to injury.
I have said before and I will repeat again: Water, wastewater and sewer issues are NOT rocket science. The issues are also NOT personal. There are many ways to solve the various problems, with each solution presenting both assets and drawbacks. BUT, the ability of a Board (or a community) to make a correct decision depends absolutely on the truthfulness of the information given to them. Lies, distortions, spin, hype, hidden agendas, missing information, wrong information all lead to bad decisions that then injure or destroy communities and the people living in them.
This letter is a case in point, and raises related questions about the staff and board of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, for example. That Board will be holding a hearing on the matter of “fining” Los Osos on Dec 1. The LOCSD has already filed a “Response and Request for Continuance” which raises some questions about the accuracy of the information that has already been submitted. Which begs the question: Like the State Water Board, have they been given misinformation like the misinformation cited above? If so, how can even the most honorable among them possibly be expected to render a correct judgment? And if they don’t, what remedies do the citizens have that don’t involve lawyers, courts and even more delays?
My sister worked for years for Ma Bell. After its break-up into mini-bells, her one unrelenting complaint was as follows: How it is that management never has enough money to do the job right the first time, but they always have enough money to do it over again at twice the cost?
Welcome to Oz.