And Now, For Another Take from Lawsuit City . . . We Put the Sue in Sewer!
The following was excerpted from a letter from Pam Ochs, head of LOTA, and edited by me with permission. Any comments I edited were not related to clarity, context or fact. I’m posting it here because in the recent coverage on various lawsuit settlements, the Tribune has muddled a whole lot of different lawsuits together, so I think the reader may have the idea that they’re all one big jumble, instead of separate, discrete suits dealing with some very, very different issues.
That a missing Proposition 218-type vote was of concern to the State Water Board was obvious since it became one of the critical “requirements” in their “negotiated deal” that wasn’t, of course, “negotiated.” The lack of an assessment vote to secure the State Revolving Fund loan remains a critical missing issue on the way this whole sewer loan was set up and run in the first place. And it’s puzzling to me that the SWB would have released monies to the CSD when they knew a court case was in the pipeline, a court case that could cause that money and/or the entire loan itself to be placed at risk. (For more on Prop 218, visit Steve Page's blog at his blogsite -- linked via the Newsmission home page.)
While the LOTA case was among those settled . . . [CORRECTION; According to Pam Ochs, LOTA has NOT settled their case. The cases settled already include the Measure B case and the CCLO's cases. The LOTA case (represented by Parker/Hawley in Cambria) will be discussed with the CSD attorneys in closed session on Thursday, Dec 15th. If a settlement is offered and accepted, fine. If not, there will be a preliminary scheduling conference on Friday morning in Judge Hilton's courtroom. In any case, I’m sure the issue remains in play and may end up being investigated and/or litigated and decided in the months to come.)
Ms. Ochs [edited] letter:
The Los Osos Taxpayers Association filed a suit on July 22nd with causes of action against the (old) CSD board because they didn't abide by Proposition 218 (The Right to Vote on Taxes Act) AND against the SWRCB for misuse of public funds for knowingly, purposefully granting the illegal loan in the first place.
Then LOTA filed a TRO (rejected by [Judge] Hilton [ . . . ]. After that, LOTA filed an appeal in Ventura on the TRO to stop the trees at Tri-W from coming down and destroying the ESHA.
But what did the SWRCB do? They disbursed the first installment of the loan in the middle of the TRO appeal and let the Tri-W site be destroyed knowing that Prop. 218 wasn't followed. They knew that because it was in the courts with their admission that there was no dedicated source of revenue to pay the loan back.
The Tribune has never once mentioned (in their almost daily articles on the sewer promoting the mega sewer at Tri-W) LOTA's lawsuit, the TRO, or TRO appeal. And that the voters of Los Osos were never given their Constitutional right to vote to pay back the mega loan on the mega sewer. The Tribune (and the media in general) just doesn't want to let the public know that Los Osos voters weren't allowed to vote by the (old) CSD or the State Water Board -- on millions of dollars of federal money. [ . . . . . . ]I find it extremely interesting that Prop. 218 has never been written about -- not one word. [ . . . . . . ]
But it sure has been mentioned a lot at CSD meetings, at the SWQCB meetings, and at the Regional Board hearing on 12/1 and 12/2.[ . . . . . . ]
Even KSBY and KCOY [ . . . . . . ]have never mentioned that Los Osos never had their Constitutional right to vote before the SRF loan was signed and money disbursed. If they did, well, that would be "news" in itself. [ . . . . . .]
[in Pam’s opinion] The SRF loan is void, and the Regional Board's fines are tied to the SRF loan, so the fines also should be void. Every deal connected to the illegal loan is void. Therefore, all the work done so far (contractors, engineers) also should be void. [ . . . . . . ]
It's past time for the FBI to investigate "Abuse of Power" by runaway boards -- old CSD, Regional, State. [ . . . . . .]
PresidentLos Osos Taxpayers Association