Thursday, November 10, 2005


Well, well. Apparently, work will resume on the collection system of our famed Middle of Town Sewer Plant, here in beautiful downtown Sewerville, which means that the State Water Board must have released some nice money, or guaranteed they would release some nice money, or perhaps saw merit in the Los Osos General Manager’s argument that they had indeed breached their contract by withholding nice State Revolving Fund Money, or . . . .

And, since working on the collection system apparently doesn’t violate Measure B . . .?

All this occurring since, apparently, the "deal" recently yanked and declared dead as a doornail has popped back to life and has been added to the State Water Board agenda for a Nov 16th hearing, which indicates that perhaps the SWB will accept the "deal" that was recently voted on by the CSD?

Meantime, keep your eye on the Tri-W site. Does the work slated to resume include putting in the road on the sewer-plant side of Ravena St.? If so, then might that cause you to ask, “Gosh, if the “deal” is quasi- approved and work is moving ahead to move the sewer plant out of town, which is what Measure B and the recall were all about, why would anyone continue putting money into a road for a non-existent sewer plant?”

Ah, my children, take a peek at the non-negotiable “deal” brokered by representatives of the SWB, Assemblyman Blakeslee, the CSD and others, a “deal” that the CSD voted to approve in order to keep the State’s Revolving Fund low-cost loan. There, under “Terms,” is item 3. “Commitment to complete entire project within 2 years of original timeframe. . . . This task list should indicate the decision points at which if a task is not completed, the LOCSD will continue to construct the current approved project.” [at the original Tri-W site] (emphasis mine.)

In other words, there's the built-in trip-wire. If any delays come up that push the out of town project past the two years, no matter that the out-of-town project might end up better, cheaper, or offer more bang for the buck, then poof! despite any of that, the sewer plant goes back into the middle of town. No ifs, no ands, no buts.

Quick, listen carefully, my children. Hear that rustling in the bushes? Yes, it’s the army of Dreamers and Dreamer Wannabes, strapping on a myriad of trip-wire detonators and taking a number and getting in line. In just a short while, you will begin to hear their soft, carefully timed poofs! And, before you know it, before the collection pipe even finishes getting laid, you will see the ginormous sewer plant rise at the Tri-W site, complete with Tot Lot next to it.

True, that will be exactly what the voters didn’t want for their community, but who the hell are the voters, anyway? Nope, the Dreamers have a Dream for this community and nothing and nobody will stand in the way of getting THEIR sewer plant put in the middle of THEIR town.

Everything that has gone before is merely sideshow, entertainment for the unwashed rabble, citizens who thought they should have a say in what happens in their “Chinatown” community.

Poor Dears.


Shark Inlet said...

You say "trip wire", I say "safety net" ... let's call the whole thing off.

Again, in this representative democracy, we elect people to make decisions for us. If Measure B is ruled invalid or repealed, the board has complete and total say over all decisions related to this project. If they make an agreement with the state, we are obliged to live with it and its consequences.

Why the road to nowhere? Ask your board for confirmation, but I suspect it is because until the state signs off on the agreement some construction must continue at the site. A road is cheaper than pouring concrete is probably what the CSD is thinking.

Sort of funny that you and I have changed roles here ... now I am writing stuff that seems to support CSD actions and you are writing that they're doing the wrong thing.

Churadogs said...

Dear Inlet, I'm not saying the present CSD is doing the wrong thing. What I am saying is that it's possible that the present CSD has been so injured and hobbled by the actions of the SWB and the prior CSD that it may be impossible to do anything except what the previous CSD set this town up for.

We electe people to make decisions for us, true, and when they go in one direction and the community who elected them goes in another, then there are remedies called Recalls and Initiatives & etc to correct that problem.

What most people do NOT expect is for the prior elected officials to work overtime to thwart the electorate's wishes, hobble the electorate with such debt, for example, that an election will be influenced, and then set things up so as to permanently prevent any other course of action by the electorate.

Here's an analogy: Man takes his family hostage, intending to kill them all. Police arrive. Man is removed from the house but before the cops can go in to rescue the kids, the house blows up, killing the family they were trying to save.

Turns out that the man had set booby traps so no matter what happened to him, his intention of killing his family would be carried out, no matter what.

Did the recalled CSD majority operate under due diligence to see the best interests of the community were preserved, no matter what happened to them politically? Or did they booby trap this community (with help from the SWB's fund that was anything BUT "Prudently" lent) in order to influence the election and/or financially punish the town or make it impossible to do anything except what they had locked into place?

Publicworks said...

Excellant comment Ann,

Now go and use those journalistic skills to investigate why the recall crowd did not inform the public that further assesments would be needed to 'move the sewer', why they poo-poo'd potential loss of the SRF loan, the relationships of directors with litigants of groups they were formerly part of, the evolution of litigants and strategies to delay, why they didn't inform the public of the illegalities, applicability, & shortcomings of the initiative, why they didn't inform the public of the siting issues that would delay putting a plant out of town.

Could they have been the ones to punish the town?? Nah, not in Ann's world.

Boy, it's also astounding to see such an esteemed journalist hang on every word of the new GM as if it's Gospel.

Seems like Measure B was a booby trap they set for themselves.

Churadogs said...

Dear Publicworks, please consider the following: The recalled-3 set the election early, as the recall proponents repeatedly wished, they then announce that they're not going to sign any contracts indebting this community to owing even more money before the recall election, the State Water Board actually IS "prudent" with their money and refuses to release the funds until AFTER the recall election, and AFTER a Prop 218 vote, (thereby actually "prudently" securing that loan to a property assessment vote) the CSD-3 then announces to the community that they will not cut any trees down or pound any money into the ground or do anything irrevocable until AFTER the recall election and announce that they are taking this "stand-down" step because they will do nothing to financially injure this community and will wait to get the vote results before proceeding.

Looking at how close the final vote actually was, I firmly believe that had the recalled 3 done that, this recall would have failed. Instead, whether through hubris, political ignorance, arrogance, collusion, or a deliberate policy of attempting to influence an election by attempting to cripple and injure and "punish" this community, the recalled-3 started a progam of slash and burn that had two interesting effects: It failed to accomplish what it apparently was supposed to and it ended up hobbling and punishing this community after the fact.

Now, what kind of elected officials do that sort of thing? People who actually care about the community they serve? Or folks more concerned with ego? Agendas? Folks who have absolutely NO sense of fiscal responsibility? And where was the CSD's lawyer on all this. Jon Seitz' responsibility is to protect the financial and legal interests of the CSD and the community as a whole. He should have sent up so many red flags during the closed-door sessions on this Prop 218-missing loan and pipe-laying-before-a-recall-election that the room would be knee-deep in red. Then raised those same cautions during public meetings. He was, after all, getting paid by your tax money to protect YOUR interests and everyone else's in town.

PublicWorks said...

Did the CSD3 bumble politically and seal their own fate? Who knows, but the PIO decision alone could have lost them some votes.

But again, you're making conclusions and you have a biased perception. That's what makes democracy great and ugly at the same time.

The lawyer can't raise many closed-session considerations to the public - just like the current lawyer can't do - that's the nature of closed session.

Why do you keep harping about the 218 issue, as if your're right. It is a non-issue based on the state's and CSD's interpretation and court rulings. Why do you continue to insist that there was something wrong with it? I might not like the fee/218 issue as well, but that doesn't mean it was done illegally.

Ann, Measure B has zero fiscal responsibility. It addressed none of the fiscal consequences, and neither did the proponents.

The one thing your writings reflect Ann is that you have a naive understanding of major public works projects, funding, and getting things done, and you just flat out seem to ignore that there is no good site to put a sewer in or out of town, and that there are people who will litigate against any sewer.

It's funny about your analysis of the election scenario. Well, here's a few more:

#1) They don't award construction contracts, and then the RWQCB issues a letter stating that they are fining the district for $11 million, and then hold a hearing in September and fine the district - yeah, that's a nice outcome, and fiscally prudent. They recall fails, construction proceeds, and they are saddled with a fine. Plus, the constractors have gone on to other jobs, and now the project is further delayed.

Or the recall succeeds, they are saddled with a fine, and now there's a board with no project, Measure B, and the loan goes away, and there's nothing.

We could go on and on with scenarios that didn't play out - NONE of them are pleasant - because of the following list of contributors: Solutions Group, Recall Petition, Measure B, Voters, Coastal Commission, Litigants, Journalists, State, RWQCB, County. It doesn't change the fact that for 20+ years Los Osos itself is the biggest culprit of all.

Churadogs said...

Dear Public Works: It is my understanding that the RWQCB did not impose fines for things outside the control of the CSD. A recall election, like the lawsuits that went before it and delayed the project, were also outside the CSD's control. Furthermore, the original instrument for fining, has been held in abeyance at the request of the CSD, and that "stay" was renewed, again at the request of the CSD, and granted by the RWQCB year after year after year.

PublicWorks said...


the district and it's officers are transparent to the RWQCB - where do you get this stuff??

Yeah, the stay was renewed, because the project was going forward, except as delayed by litigants.

If you take what your saying to a logical conclusion, the project could be delayed indefinitely by continuing to have recall elections.

Oh, brother.

Aeoliano said...

It may be that the current CSD is going to give the state and regional waterboard all the rope they need to hang themselves. Then hire a super shark (maybe from shark's inlet?) team of lawyers. With questions about prop 218 ; article 13 it would seem that this could be a distinct possibility? If I were Roger Briggs, an unelected, appointed official levying millions in fines I would begin to think about just how strong my position really is in all of this.