The following is a cc e-mail from CSD President to Ms. Doduc at the State Water Board in reply to an email on behalf of the SWB (at the bottom of this piece.) What's interesting about this is, of course, the State Water Board's previous decisions to not bother letting the CSD know about their rulings but instead having their decision issued first to the press rather than actually dealing with a CSD Board President or General Manger. This is waaaay cool. Think of the fun ramifications. No need for long, boring meetings and wearisome offical memos. Just call a local reporter and have a little chatty-poo. And if staff is now making critical decisions, then think of the savings in time for Board members. No need for any these headache-making decisions. Let staff do it. Much nicer. Plus disclosing ex-parte communications don't count at the SWB? Woa! This is cool, indeed.
Dear Ms. Doduc: Please thank Mr. Lauffer for his reply on behalf of your Board. I will plan to attend and use my five minutes of public comment, but I must correct his assessment of the hearing and public testimony that was given at the November 16, 2005 public hearing regarding the Los Osos SRF loan.
We brought several speakers from our Board and staff, in order to make statements during the public comment period only, at five minutes apiece. Citizens also made the twelve hour round trip to testify in support of our Los Osos Board, at their five minutes apiece.
No one at the State Water Board contacted us prior to the hearing, nor did we ever receive a copy of the hearing notice, any prepared staff report or the draft resolution. We heard about the November 16th meeting through a local reporter.
We were not granted "ample" or any additional time to present very important information to your Board on behalf of our community, other than the same equal time that was granted to any citizen of the United States, in this case, five minutes apiece.
We were not granted any additional time to present our case and very important information that is pertinent to your Board's anticipated actions, and we were and remain very concerned about this, as I testified during my five minutes of testimony.
As you may recall, I testified that I would be unable to list all of my comments and concerns to you, due to the time constraints that were placed on my testimony. I also testified that I was concerned that staff's recommendations may have been impossible. I even made one additional attempt to reach you at the end of the hearing, asking your Board an additional question, which was something to the effect of, "what if the LOCSD cannot bond and/or legally meet the requirements that you have set forward in your "take-it-or-leave-it-resolution and conditions"?.
The State Water Board office and/or staff did not respond to numerous emails and phone calls that I made during the weeks of October 30-November 16, 2005 (to Celeste Cantu, William Ruckeyser and Darrin Polhemus), other than one returned phone call from Darrin before he went on vacation and one from a very kind secretary that told me that everyone on staff and the Board were "too busy" to respond to my calls.
I never received any return communications from the Water Board and/or Staff - (you explained that you were unable to return my calls, due to the hearing, thank you for explaining), but I never heard back from either Celeste Cantu or William Ruckeyser, although the press was receiving regular communications from them. This method of communication and cooperation is also of great concern to the 15,000+ citizens that I represent as an elected official and official spokesperson for the Los Osos community. This is another reason why I traveled to speak with you last month.
Our community and our duly elected Board of Directors heard about the December 16, 2005 hearing through a reporter; I then had to call Darrin Polhemus to confirm this. We were never sent any official noticing or staff report for the meeting and the staff report that was eventually produced wasn't even posted on your website until one day before the hearing.
How can our Boards communicate more effectively if I cannot get anyone to return my calls, notice us of official meetings, provide staff reports and/or respond to our Board in any cooperative way?
Ms. Doduc, I respectfully request that your board allow more time to hear more information from us before making any final decisions about Los Osos, considering the seriousness of the situation.
As I understand it, only the Board can make decisions, yet your staff made several decisions along the way about this SRF loan, on your behalf, prior to the hearing held on November 16, 2005. A citizen during public testimony requested a disclosure of all exparte communications that occurred leading up to the staff decision to "reject the first negotiated deal that came from Assemblyman Blakeslee's week of negotiations" and he was told by Board Member Richard Katz that "exparte did not apply".
These staff decisions are causing great repercussions and harm to the citizens of Los Osos. If it is truly only the Board that can act on these matters, then is it also possible that your staff overstepped its authority and your Board was not given ample opportunity to consider all facts that it should have received before any decisions were made?
As an elected official, I understand this role well, and you are now being asked to make a very important decision tomorrow without receiving all of the facts.
I have great concerns that your Board was not apprised by your staff of all the events that transpired at the staff level regarding this loan - and that perhaps these staff decisions were decisions that only your Board could make. Additional information and testimony might allow you to make a more informed decision about Los Osos, if you actually were able to hear more about what we have to say - and five minutes from me will probably not be enough to accomplish this.
Thank you very much again for your re-consideration of my request. Most Sincerely, from Lisa Schicker, LOCSD President by email or cell today 805-234-1228. ============================================================From: "Michael Lauffer" Date: 2005/12/08 Thu PM 01:08:05 PSTTo: CC: "Celeste Cantu" , "Tam Doduc" Subject: State Water Board Agenda Item on Los OsosMs. Schicker,
After conferring with Chair Doduc, you will be permitted five minutes to make your presentation to the State Water Resources Control Board at tomorrow's meeting. Recall that this loan has been before the board multiple times. Further, the board's proposed action is the logical result of the district's actions in response to the November 16 State Water Board meeting. At the November 16 meeting, you had been afforded ample time to make the district's case.-maml