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Friday, June 30, 2006

Call the TV Stations! Call a Doctor! Call My Lawyer! Call a Lifeguard!

Here’s excerpts from the June 28th Bay News story headlined, “Minor Problems Found In Los Osos CSD Audit:”

“Although its accounting system was operating ‘adequately,’ there were significant deficiencies in the design or operation of the internal control structure of the Los Osos Community Services District’s accounting practices, according to a recently completed audit for fiscal year 2004-05.

“According to the audit by CPA firm, Crosby and Cindrich, they discovered one “reportable condition,” under standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

“Reportable conditions involve matters relating to significant deficiencies in the design or operation of an internal control structure that could adversely affect the organization’s ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data.

“The audit report said the reportable condition was that accounting duties were not properly segregated to different individuals in the office.” . . . [that] Whenever these accounting function duties are doubled-up or handled by one person, a ‘key person’ situation exists which could enable that person to manipulate the accounting records for his or her own behalf.

“According to Dan Bleskey, interim general manager of the CSD, the accounting work [in question] was performed by Pat McClenahan, former administrative services manager, and overseen by then G.M. Bruce Buel.

“Last November, the CSD asked the county District Attorney’s Office to investigate “improprieties” involving sewer project contracts and lack of internal controls. The D.A. declined, claiming that the statue of limitations had expired.

“Blesky said the audit shows there was no criminal activity with regards to the district’s accounting procedures.” . . .

“Bleskey said they now have a CPA, an accounts payable bookkeeper and an administrative services manager working on the books.” . . . . “Bleskey said they have put into place a number of accounting improvements and plan to implement others.” . . . . [The above mentioned] McClenahan was officially terminated in April and was at odds with Bleskey over the use of money from a State Revolving Fund loan.

“She accused Bleskey of making false statements about the district’s wastewater checking account, while Bleskey said there were 97 incidents where she exceeded her authority on making payments, claiming she failed to maintain financial controls.

“McClenahan swore in a deposition that she and her boss argued over whether it was appropriate to use SRF monies to pay litigations settlements and attorney fees.

“The audit also states that several times original data entry for cash receipts and loan disbursements were incorrectly coded to the wrong account when they were originally posted.” . . .

“Crosby and Cindrich also suggested that the CSD consider creating a manual for accounting procedures. “By developing written instructions and procedures for all accounting assignments and duties, it will insure that similar transactions will be handled consistently and the accounting procedures used are appropriate.”

In short, the audit showed “reportable conditions” that had occurred . . . . on the watch of the former General Manager Bruce Buel, former administrative services manager, Pat McClenahan, and the recalled Board.

The news that poorly set up bookkeeping procedures were NOT the fault of their bet noire, the Anti-Christ new Board caused all the members of Taxpayers Watch to give out a blood curdling shriek and fall to the floor. When they came to their senses, they immediately filed yet another lawsuit against the district for infliction of pain and skull-cracks caused by their heads hitting the linoleum, plus one more lawsuit accusing the Anti-Christ new Board of wasting money on an audit that unfortunately showed that the OLD board’s accounting procedures were not properly done.

Meanwhile, back at the June 29th CSD meeting, the usual round of Paranoia, Misunderstanding, Muddlement & Confusion was taking place concerning the Blakeslee Proposal, which survived the first round in Sacramento with an addition, the Tribune reported, which would allow the county “the option of providing sewer service and other water quality assistance to the entire town, rather than only the portion targeted by state water quality regulators. “I was absolutely ecstatic,” [Supervisor] Bianchi said of the addition. “They (Los Osos residents) all contribute to the (water quality) problem, so the entire community needs to be involved in a solution.”

That addition to the bill will be welcome news for people who understand that what needs fixing here is a water BASIN, not just some arbitrarily drawn lines on a map. But the bill is a long way from surviving the many other committees it has to get through, wherein it can be amended to improvement and refinement or amended to death. Much will depend on the community’s involvement in the process. The bill will be discussed at the July 6th CSD meeting so everyone should attend or at least pay attention and get information as to just what the bill is or isn’t, does or doesn’t say, means or doesn’t mean. As with anything Los Ososish, the Devil is in the details.

As for The Great Pool Kerfluffle, that was postponed for staff to come back with more information as to best options for interest rates and ways to secure that pool money against any lurking creditors should the very thing heartily supported by the Chief Pool Personage, Pandora, -- namely dissolution of the CSD or bankruptcy (helped along by those nice Taxpayers Watch lawsuits, among others) – come about.

Pandora, as Parks Commissioner, had managed to get from Pete Jenny at the Parks Department, what amounted to a wonderful piece of “special legislation” promising to isolate the pool fund into a separate account and exempt it from any of the county’s usual service charges. Since I was under the impression that the usual practice of the Parks Dept,( now under the gun from a Grand Jury Report as being underfunded, overworked, and lacking resources because they’re underfunded, & etc) is to “bookmark” then mingle and use funds from all over the county for any project anywhere that’s actually ready to roll rather than sequestering bits and pieces in different communities, this letter offering to sequester that money is an especially generous offer, one I trust other organizations will pay particular attention to as precedent for their local projects.

It was an interesting experience to have Medea herself in the room, sitting one row away from a CDO recipient whose life and wife’s health was severely impacted by Pandora’s email wishes to RWQCB’s Roger Briggs coming true and descending on their house, not hers.

But no chairs were thrown.

There will be more public discussions on the Blakeslee Bill and sewer project updates at the July 6 and 7 meetings at the community at 7 p.m. This community has one last chance to get involved, get accurately informed, shape the plans they want to buy, and so forth. If the community sits home thinking that Big Uncle Daddy will make all their decisions for them so they don’t have to lift a finger or get involved, well, they’re right. Big Uncle Daddy WILL make their decisions for them. Which is why we’re in this mess in the first place, remember?

And in closing, a special Howdy to “Spectator,” one of our “anonymoose” posters on this blog site. He was at the meeting last night and apparently felt "safe" enough to self-identify and introduce himself. My advice for him: Get cool socks, too. We'll start a club.

98 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting that the bulk of this article is about the Bay News article about the Audit which essentially says there was a procedural flaw but no fraud.

Why give the readers the take on the auditor's report at last night's CSD meeting to provide fair and balance? Did not the auditor criticize the poor management of the current CSD accounting practices?

And why no mention of the fiscal 2006/2007 budget that only covered July and August and even then is in the red?

I did like your socks though!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Last night when Auditor Crosby was pressed by Director Tacker to clarify for the public the meaning of his concerns over the accounting procedures of the LOCSD, Crosby's comments made it crystal clear that his concerns were over the CURRENT accounting practices under the IGM due to the extraordinary events since the end of the o4/05 fiscal year.

Your comments that Crosby's accounting concerns were directed to alledged mismanagement of the LOCSD while ovedrseen by Bruce Buel are not based on fact nor the record.

Best Regards, Richard LeGros

Shark Inlet said...

One thought comes to mind about the whole "let's expand the sewer outside the PZ" idea. If the County does so, they'll have to make a problematic choice ... do they want to do a 218 vote before the expansion beyond the PZ or afterwards.

If before, it will cause a large number of "no" votes because folks outside the PZ simply aren't required to pay squat to clean up the pollution caused by (in the mind of the RWQCB) those inside the PZ. Who would want to sign on for $300/month or more if they could avoid such charges entirely? ($100/month I can see being acceptable to many of those in Cabrillo, but not much more.)

If afterwards, it will raise all sorts of issues that will create lawsuits.

I would suggest the County (if the Blakeslee proposal comes into being) take a survey of those outside the PZ about possible amounts they would be willing to pay. Similarly, they should take a survey of those inside the PZ to find out both how much they would be willing to pay AND how much of a break they are willing to give those outside the PZ to gain additional buy-in and possibly lower total costs. [Simply put, if those in the PZ want those outside the PZ to pay full fare, it's a non-starter. If those in the PZ are willing to let those outside the PZ pay less (which seems very unfair in some ways), it might cause the overall cost for those inside the PZ to drop ... a good thing.]

Anonymous said...

You know, shark inlet, any help will be appreciated. It's funny how you can throw a number out about how Cabrillo Estates owners would consent to $100, but no more. How about if they were mandated to? Would we then have a revolt of the wealthy in this town? I've always thought that if Cabrillo Estates was included in this mess, things would have been different. They would have said there is no way we are going to accept this. I think with their wealth and influence, changes to the solution would have been made.
On a different subject, I read the headline in the Bay News "Residents Say Keep Hands Off Pool Money". And then the article is an interview with Joyce Albright. Was there a secret election of her as the town spokesman or something? Should'nt the haedline read "Resident Says Keep Hands Off Pool Money"?

*PG-13 said...

So much to comment on ....... so little time. < sigh >

I should also add, .... so little real factual knowledge about most everything I comment on. All I've got is second and third hand information interpreted through a glass (sometimes darkly). But does that keep me from posting? Oh, this is such fun!

Shark Inlet > One thought comes to mind about the whole "let's expand the sewer outside the PZ" idea. If the County does so, they'll have to make a problematic choice ...

"A" problematic choice? Whoa, I think there's probably dozens of problematic choices. Moving this is into Basin Planning Land (BPL) is a, dare I say it?, .... 'Pandora's Box' of new and challenging - almost mind boggling - issues. But ya know? It's the right thing to do. From any perspective from outside the immediate Los Osos community (in and around the PZ) this is a no-brainer. As previously noted many times by many people - in and outside this blog - our 'sewer' thing is not just 'when we flush where should it go'. The problems, ramifications, AND solutions extend far beyond the PZ. It is only small minds of limited perspective which have never seen it as such. (Sorry, gotta call it as I see it.) This is a silver-lining in the dark cloud of the Los Osos sewer wars.

Ann quoting Bianchi> “I was absolutely ecstatic,” [Supervisor] Bianchi said of the addition. “They (Los Osos residents) all contribute to the (water quality) problem, so the entire community needs to be involved in a solution.”

I almost hate to say it but ..... she's right. although I would go even farther, more than just the Los Osos community needs to be involved. I wonder what about 'basin' she doesn't understand? But back to her point: The somewhat arbitrary (read: marginally scientifically defensible) lines of the PZ are a political demarcation more than anything. PZ could just as well stand for Politic Zone as Pollution Zone, uh, excuse me, I meant Penalty Zone. It all gets kinda fuzzy after a while. The upper acquafer doesn't reside just below and is used only by the PZ. Salt water intrusion affects agriculture before it affects people. Pollution of the bay, tidal land and marsh/refuge impacts far more people (and flora and fauna) than the residents of the PZ. Despite the lack of detailed measured scientific data indicating we are the primary polluters common sense says we should clean up our act. 5,000+ septic tanks (more if you count the basin) sitting at the shallow end of an estuary? With further build-out on the way? So we should - and we will one way or the other - do something about it. Truthfully, this is more than just a basin issue. But that's a good place to start. But we were clearly never going to go there until the whole kit-and-kaboodle landed in bigger laps.

Shark Inlet> I would suggest the County (if the Blakeslee proposal comes into being) take a survey of those outside the PZ about possible amounts they would be willing to pay. Similarly, they should take a survey of those inside the PZ to find out both how much they would be willing to pay AND how much of a break they are willing to give those outside the PZ to gain additional buy-in and possibly lower total costs. [Simply put, if those in the PZ want those outside the PZ to pay full fare, it's a non-starter. If those in the PZ are willing to let those outside the PZ pay less (which seems very unfair in some ways), it might cause the overall cost for those inside the PZ to drop ... a good thing.]

Dang, this sounds familiar. Didn't we blog about this very thing a few weeks ago? You presented the same agrument then too. That it was unfair to charge anybody outside the zone less than those in the zone. And that it was unlikely anybody outside the zone would participate unless whatever their participation cost was less than their current sewer expenses. The subtle but very important kicker is this new addition:

Shark Inlet> If those in the PZ are willing to let those outside the PZ pay less... it might cause the overall cost for those inside the PZ to drop ... a good thing.]

YES! A very good thing I think. Wouldn't this be reason for lots of people to want to vote for something?

Caveat: Stepping off even deeper into pure speculation now. The county and state have lots of ways to, uh, encourage recalcitrant participants to join in basin planning. Their arsenal includes both carrots and sticks. And I don't think they're scared to use them.

Shark Inlet> ... it will raise all sorts of issues that will create lawsuits.

No doubt. Does anybody have any doubt that one of the first, if not the first, to be filed will be filed by Taxpayer's Watch? Although by then they will probably be doing business as Save Our Basin (S.O.B.). Go figure.

Ann> And in closing, a special Howdy to “Spectator,”.... My advice for him: Get cool socks, too.

Sounds like good advice. One can never have too cool socks.

*PG-13 said...

PS - In case anybody wants to know .... SaveOurBasin.com, .org, .biz and .info are still available and can be purchased today for only $8.95/yr at www.godaddy.com.

Anonymous said...

Actually, my bet for first lawsuit goes to (drumroll)...........the residents of Clark Valley.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone on the LOCSD thought of contacting the Bill Gates Foundation for help with their financial woes?????

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where Roger Briggs is going the middle of October? Going to be out of the country for 5 or 6 months. Wonder if the DOD has hired him to check the nitrates in the Baghdad Aquifer and fix their water system or to check for salt water intrusion in Fallujah? Ann, know this is not pertinent to the subject; however, how can the Demon Barber of Aerovista leave at this time when the CDO's are being prosecuted? Read about his trip at the water board site under CDO responses June 21st - mentioned in Sato (Lori Okum's replacement)?

Mike Green said...

Do you ever get an anoying tune in your head?
Well it was happening to me, "Do you realy know what time it is" was driving me nuts all day then I came home to relax and catch up on stuff when I read the post above!!!!!

Sorry if this ruins anyones evening!

Happy 4th to all!

Spectator said...

Ann,

I will get stripped socks and plus 4s to go with them and will have to get garters too. Shades of the Great Gatsby. I guess I will join you in a new fashion statement, but I worry about finding them. Used to be in every golf pro shop. Fat folks like me look great in plus fours (knickers for the ignorant).

Otherwise Ann, you seemed to be very quiet last night after you became aware of the "finantial difficulties" of your beloved board. Linde Owen told me that the current board was left bankcrupt. I have no idea where she got her info. Well this board is soon without funds to operate, but not quite yet. But if all the bills were paid there would be no money to pay employees.

Ann, we must have a serious discussion about filing bankruptcy. I cannot think of anything worse for the property owners. Dissolution right now is far preferable. The LOCSD will not survive. It is up to property owners to go for a 218 vote to asses themselves to bail out the LOCSD. This will have nothing to do with a 218 sewer vote. Ain't going to happen. The LOCSD cannot be forced into bankruptcy, and they can't declare unless they have a plan to come out. The bleeding will go on for years, and dissolution will have to take place. The time to do it is now, the sooner the better, and the county will have to take over. The board and Bleskey are facing prosecution and fines, maybe jail. If they do not do the right thing in light of the situation, the fines will increase and jail will be a certainty. Consider the Orange County Bankruptcy. The property owners here have been damaged far more than the individual property owners in the 1996 Orange County case. They had the opportunity to grow out of it, but immediately went for a 218 vote for operating funds. In addition half of the funds lost were recovered from a very large national brokerage house. This is very serious stuff. You might talk to Gail McPherson, she has extensive personal experience about fines and possible jail time.

Blakslee's bill will do nothing, in light of the severe finantial difficulty, the whole legislature will know of the situation shortly, and realize that his admendment is an exercise in futility. Do you have expertise in reading finantial spread sheets? They are all over the discussion groups at the Tribune. You can download them from there and read them with excel. A 1/4% increase in sales taxes will take care of all county liability and inherited debt.

Love them socks!

Shark Inlet said...

Anonymous ...

Why $100/month but no more? Dunno. There is a monthly cost out there which would cause those outside the PZ to choose to buy in (I figure $30/month is a no brainer) and there is some monthly cost (maybe $300/month) where no one would want a sewer over a septic system. I can imagine that someone with a septic system might be willing to pay $100/month to have the certainty of a sewer, so let's run with $100.

PG ...

I don't believe that folks outside the PZ could be forced into a sewer unless the RWQCB expands the PZ. Maybe some legislation could force the issue ... but AB 885 won't do it.

In any case, the County can't force them. The county could ask, via a 218 vote for the entire CSD about a sewer for the entire CSD. But that has the problems I mentioned earlier.

I remember that earlier conversation, but not all the details. I could re-run the numbers, but I suspect that $100/month for those outside the PZ would be about the break even point. Any less and the income from Cabrillo (for example) couldn't pay for even the sewering of Cabrillo.

There are economies of scale on the WWTF but none on the larger costs, the collection system.

I don't think it will save anyone money to include folks outside the PZ ... but some inside the PZ would feel better. On the other hand, some of those outside the PZ would be mighty angry if they were asked to pay $300/month when they are under no legal obligation to pay anything.

Churadogs said...

Anonymoose sez:"Your comments that Crosby's accounting concerns were directed to alledged mismanagement of the LOCSD while ovedrseen by Bruce Buel are not based on fact nor the record.

Best Regards, Richard LeGros

10:33 AM, June 30, 2006 "

You missed the point, I was discussing the Bay New article that was about the auditor's report, which was for the fiscal year 2004-005. . As for the CSD presentation, the concerns he expressed about the present are certainly real, but he was presenting his auditing report for 2004-05 period, and so couldn't present a full report on 05-06 since he hadn't be hired to do that. In addition, both Blesky and the Bay News indicated that reccommended changes are now in place that will prevent the kinds of problems the auditor found were being used in 04-05.

If whoever posted this really IS Richard Le Gros, who also wrote an "open letter" to the CSD, here's a modest proposal to him: Why not write an Open Letter to the Community explaing why you front loaded the work at Tri W then voted to delay the recall vote as long as possible, then voted to start pounding millions of the public's money into the ground weeks before a recall election, in short, gambling with the publics millions -- and losing. The sheer political dumbness of that move (which I am fully convinced cost you the election) still amazes me. So, how's about it, Richard? A full confessional Open Letter to all of us.

Inlet sez:"If before, it will cause a large number of "no" votes because folks outside the PZ simply aren't required to pay squat to clean up the pollution caused by (in the mind of the RWQCB) those inside the PZ. Who would want to sign on for $300/month or more if they could avoid such charges entirely? ($100/month I can see being acceptable to many of those in Cabrillo, but not much more.)"

Assessment votes are based on the benefit ratio; Folks getting actual sewer service would pay more than those getting "clean water." so folks outside the collection zone would pay less. Also, all those people outside the PZ who think they're "free," better get a copy of and read the draft AB8885 that's heading their way.

PG-13 sez"Ann> And in closing, a special Howdy to “Spectator,”.... My advice for him: Get cool socks, too.

Sounds like good advice. One can never have too cool socks.

3:00 PM, June 30, 2006 "

We need to start a Cool Socks Club. Waggle our ankles at each other at CSD meetings.

Another Anonymoose sez:"Ann, know this is not pertinent to the subject; however, how can the Demon Barber of Aerovista leave at this time when the CDO's are being prosecuted? Read about his trip at the water board site under CDO responses June 21st - mentioned in Sato (Lori Okum's replacement)?"

He and the whole "prosecution" team are "off the case," so he can go anywhere he wants. Baghdad outside the green zone would be nice.

Spectator sez "Ann, we must have a serious discussion about filing bankruptcy. I cannot think of anything worse for the property owners. Dissolution right now is far preferable. The LOCSD will not survive. It is up to property owners to go for a 218 vote to asses themselves to bail out the LOCSD. This will have nothing to do with a 218 sewer vote. Ain't going to happen. The LOCSD cannot be forced into bankruptcy, and they can't declare unless they have a plan to come out."

You started the "discussion" at the CSD meeting with a recommendation the CSD hire experts in bankruptcy. Excellent advice. I hope they're considering that as we type. Your request for a "discussion" from me is misdirected. The issue you raise isn't for me to decide, it's for the Community: IF they believe that The County will "save" them and protect the residents at the CDO hearings, contest the excessive ACL fines, continue to persue the breach of contract litigation, insist on a full investigation of the original SRF loan & etc, and that the County will actually work for full input from the community on the sewer, including a committment to follow the "process" to let the science and cost & sustainability & etc dictate the type and site, and so forth, and run the fire dept cheaper and more so forth, then the community won't lift a finger to save their CSD. Indeed, Joyce Albright will be the first in with a smile and her long knives.

If, on the other hand, the community understands that with the CSD gone, any control over what happens to them is out the window, totally, no help with the CDO coming their way, no attempt to mitigate the excessive fines, zip, nada, then maybe they would consider a Save the CSD asessment vote. It's up to the community. Right now, my sense is they're asleep at the switch. They think somehow that having the County take over the sewer will "save" them. If they don't wake up and think about a whole lot of things, they will be living examples of the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it."

As for plus fours? Waaaaayyy cool.

Sewertoons said...

Oh, like the CSD WINS anything it contests?

No thanx, I'd rather not have that bunch in my corner at a CDO hearing - all they have managed to do is P**S off any water board they come in contact with.

As with the present CDO debacle, not all CDOers are alligned with the CSD. Only about HALF of them are. Just like how we vote around here. STALEMATE.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

You Wrote: “If whoever posted this really IS Richard Le Gros, who also wrote an "open letter" to the CSD, here's a modest proposal to him: Why not write an Open Letter to the Community explaing why you front loaded the work at Tri W then voted to delay the recall vote as long as possible, then voted to start pounding millions of the public's money into the ground weeks before a recall election, in short, gambling with the publics millions -- and losing. The sheer political dumbness of that move (which I am fully convinced cost you the election) still amazes me. So, how's about it, Richard? A full confessional Open Letter to all of us.”


Ann, your comments on events prior to the recall are angry and full of hate. You state your opinions as if it they are fact, which they are not. The very use of the word “confessional” implies that I must explain to you behavior that you have prejudged improper and unforgivable. In short, you have already condemned me.

Prior to the recall I clearly explained many times my position as to not stopping the governmental process that the community was committed to; and the ramifications if that process was stopped. History has clearly shown that my position was correct; the events that I foretold have occurred. Loss of the State SRF Loan, fines, lawsuits, financial meltdown of the community and its government, and the consequential loss of local control; all have occurred. These events were not precipitated due to continuing the process, but by stopping it.

Opining over past events is a waste of time and energy. We must focus on the events of today and not obsess over the past. The reality of today is a LOCSD has failed financially and politically. Our community is in serious trouble. I will continue to work towards solutions. I hope you do too.

Sincerely, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

A very dignified, thoughtful, and respectfull respones by Richard to the allegations promulgated by Churadog. If ever there is going to be a resolution for a WWTF, known personalities on both sides should step up to the plate as well.

Anonymous said...

I think the question many of us would like answered by Mr. LeGros is this: Do you take any responsibility for any of the current mess? Some of us feel that putting off the recall election, starting construction, and so on made the situation worse. I know several neighbors who voted for the recall because of those actions. If the old board members refuse to take any responsibility, then they are just bad as the new board. Healing will take place when WE ALL admit that there is no "better" side to take. Mr. LeGros?

Anonymous said...

To Anon Above,

I take full responsibility for all my actions and decisions as a LOCSD Board member.

I will not take responsibly for results actions and of decisions made by others.

You are asking me to opine a hypothetic "what if" scenario had I have made different decisions. I can only speculate as to what would have happened if the I stopped the process. However, I suspect, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, that had I decided to stop the process that the consequences would have been little different that the current situation.

The answer I wrote to Ann earlier makes it clear that all my decisions were to continue the governmental process. As an elected official, my oath of office was to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the State of California (and the laws thereto) for all Los Osos citizens. The only way I could uphold my oath was to apply the laws equally to all citizens; even if by doing so resulted in unpopular decisions or people vehemently disagreeing with me. Government is process performed under the laws that bid us all. I cannot pick and chose which laws to follow; I must obey all of them. Recall proponents were asking me to defy the law and governmental process, as well as break legal obligations the LOCSD had with the State, consultants and contractors. I could not and would not do so; and for that I was recalled. I have no regrets.

You wrote that you "feel" that the current situation was made worse by the date of the vote and the progress of the work. "Feeling" is not the same as factually knowing. How did my actions cause the current situation or make this situation worse? Please give specific examples; not speculation or feeling.

Sincerely, Richard LeGros

Spectator said...

It would be nice if all of the gutless anon bloggers would have the guts to sign their names and be accountable for their reasoning. We sure as hell know who Ann is, and even if we do not agree with her and her "striped" thinking, she is forthcoming and is accountable. I commend Richard LeGros and Ann.

And I will wear plus fours and striped socks if I can find them.

In the meantime consider that the LOCSD will be out of funds, will never be able to build a sewer, and will be hard pressed to continue. The war is over with the LOCSD, now it will start with the county. To all those will lose their most important investment, their home, because they cannot afford a sewer, I feel really sorry. You were duped by "pie in the sky" and unreasonable assumptions. I wish you well, and wish I could help you. The worst is ahead of us. It is far better to dissolve RIGHT NOW, than go into a bankruptcy situation. The lawyers get the assets.

Jon Arcuni

Churadogs said...

Mr. LeGros Sez "Prior to the recall I clearly explained many times my position as to not stopping the governmental process that the community was committed to; and the ramifications if that process was stopped. History has clearly shown that my position was correct; the events that I foretold have occurred."

History says no such thing. Had you back loaded the work schedule, dug no holes in the ground, cut no trees down, set an election date earlier rather than later, announced you'd wait to hear from the community, because you love and value the input from the community and would do what they wished, I have absolutely NO DOUBT that Measure B & the recall would have failed.

Even if it had succceded, the huge waste of money pounded into the ground would have been avoided. No, politically and practically that was a really, really bad decision.

Mr. LeGros further sez:"Ann, your comments on events prior to the recall are angry and full of hate. You state your opinions as if it they are fact, which they are not. The very use of the word “confessional” implies that I must explain to you behavior that you have prejudged improper and unforgivable. In short, you have already condemned me."

Mr. LeGros also sez:"Recall proponents were asking me to defy the law and governmental process, as well as break legal obligations the LOCSD had with the State, consultants and contractors. I could not and would not do so; and for that I was recalled. I have no regrets."

Nobody was asking you to violate the law. You had options and contractual wiggle room. Add to that some smart political savvy and it would have been a whole new ball game.

Instead, you, Stan, Gordon played Russian Roulette with millions of the community's money when you didn't have to. Truly, didn't have to. That's what has so many of us puzzled. Just what, really, drove that awful decision. As well as the dark heart of folks who emailed Briggs to demand fining the CSD (i.e. individuals living in the PZ) "out of existence. Mr. Le Gros claims my comments are "full of hate"/ Hate? Not in a million years would I have attempted a strategy of ensuring the maximum infliction of financial ruin on a community if they dared to oppose my decisions. Fiscal prudence would have dictated I ensure the minimum damage, should the voters take a different path. And, unlike some members of this community, not in a million years would I have emailed some official personage on the eve of a a recall election, demanding that my fellow citzens be "fined out of existence." (The CSD, c'est us!) I would have shrugged, said, Ain't Democracy Wonderful, THE PEOPLE have spoken," then no doubt expressed a snarkey opinion that More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones, then gone on about my business.

Hateful? No, Mr. LeGros, not by a long shot. (Let me add something relatively snotty, but serious here: You say you love this community. To me, Loving this community involves loving the people in it. When the CDOs arrived, I signed on as an "interested party," and attended all the CDO meetings, donated money to the PZDLFund, tried as best I could to help The Los Osos 45 in whatever way I could. I never saw you at any of those meetings. I never saw a whole heck of a lot of people who "love this community" at those meetings, either.Where were all the people who "loved" this community then?)

Spectator, of the Plus-Fours, sez"
The worst is ahead of us. It is far better to dissolve RIGHT NOW, than go into a bankruptcy situation. The lawyers get the assets."

This community has NO IDEA what's heading their way. Spectator feels dissolution is better than bankruptcy. That's a discussion and debate that the community needs to be having right now. But so far as I can see, the community simply has no idea what's going on.

That's the ultimate tragedy here: For years, a small handful of players has been manipulating and making decisions unobserved by an apathetic community. As a result, a transparent process that SHOULD have resulted in a project that was scientifically sound, sustainable, affordable, workable for the most number of people, has been fudged,cart-before-horsed, manipulated, spun, sold, lied about, "overwhelming community valued," (See Ron Crawford's blog on that one) more fudged, "bait & switched" into a series of totally avoidable trainwrecks. Worse, it's a process and project that has been repeatedly failed by the various government agencies that SHOULD have been there as a safety net, but instead, couldn't wait to shove the whole thing off a cliff as well.

All this while the majority of the community slept. And still sleeps, dreaming of Big Uncle Daddy who will come "save" them.



Hateful? I think not. Angry? You betcha.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response, Mr. LeGros. It was pretty much what I expected.

Sincerely, Gutless Anon

Anonymous said...

Ann,

You write as an advocate, not as a person who has taken an oath of office upon election to a governing board.

An advocate can not do as he/she pleases regardless fact, of governmental process, and laws; nor is responsible to anybody but themselves. Advocates push agendas any cost.

An elected official to government office is bound by oath to the law. He/she must apply law equality to all citizens. That is his/her obligation. There is no "wiggle room"; there were no "options" in following the law and meeting the requirements of regulators. Governmental decisions are not made upon personal agenda, feelings or fuzzy logic. Decisions are made based upon facts, study of the facts, and applying logic to solving problems within the context of the law and the requirements of regulators.

Recall proponents, including you, were insisting upon my taking actions that were contrary to governmental process, unlawful and would result in severe damage to the community. Historic actions taken by the post-recall board (and their consequences) has definitely shown that my position was correct.

As for my playing "Russian roulette" with the citizens of Los Osos, that is simply not true. I made decisions that resulted in the community building a project that would have brought it into compliance with the law, avoided fines, CDO's and lawsuits.

Again, obsessing over the past will not resolve today’s problems. Focus on today's reality.

Best Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

While your "what if" speculations are intersting, they are none-the-less opinion and not fact. The community's problmes will be resolved by fact, logic, and money spent within the governmental framework.

Stirring the pot with opinion resolves nothing.

Focusing on blaming others resolves nothing.

Best Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Churadog wrote:

"That's the ultimate tragedy here: For years, a small handful of players has been manipulating and making decisions unobserved by an apathetic community. As a result, a transparent process that SHOULD have resulted in a project that was scientifically sound, sustainable, affordable, workable for the most number of people, has been fudged,cart-before-horsed, manipulated, spun, sold, lied about, "overwhelming community valued," (See Ron Crawford's blog on that one) more fudged, "bait & switched" into a series of totally avoidable trainwrecks. Worse, it's a process and project that has been repeatedly failed by the various government agencies that SHOULD have been there as a safety net, but instead, couldn't wait to shove the whole thing off a cliff as well."


When I read the opening sentences in this statement by Churadog, I immediately was puzzled , thinking, has she changed sides all of a sudden? Why is she talking about Al, Gail, et.al this way?

This sentiment represents the crux of the community differences. You feel that this applies to the old board members and their supporters, while the opposition feels this fits those of the current board and their supporters, including you.

Further pushing the issue to the lowest common denominator yields the issue of technology and cost. Without adding spin, your side feels that there is a simple, nominal cost solution to waste water treatment, while the opposition feels that piece meal solutions break down operationally and are not acceptable to regulators.

Further, the cost issue, which has escalated and continues to escalate unabatedly, has now reached the level of tough love. Any solution is going to cost too much, period! There is no wiggle room now. We collectively as a community and government (CSD, county, state) have enabled the illusion that we have no pollution problem, there is a new gizmo or widget almost to market ,etc. ad nausea.

THERE IS NO ACCEPTABLE CHEAP SOLUTION!!!!!!!

Just as with tough love, our community has reached bottom and may be ready for taking the steps toward recovery. The key may be in facing the cost issue. There were previously funds established for the needy. In the current audit and budget info presented at the the last CSD, there was only a few hundred dollars or so in accounts of this nature.

A community wide effort to assist the very needy could be the salve that could bring more of the people on opposite sides together. I am not wealthy, and am on a fixed income, and advocate a permanent solution now, but would be willing to contribute several hundred dollars to a fund (but it has to be out of reach of local control) toward this effort.

I agree with you that most in this community do not understand what the state of affairs currently is. We disagree though at how we got there!

Is now not the time to focus on finding a solution rather than rehashing the past?

Mike Green said...

To Jon, Hi

I have always respected your opinions here, so maybe you can enlighten us a bit,
I've asked this question several times and nobody has given anything like a thoughtful response.

What will happen when the CSD goes broke?
Do you have any examples?
Do we just rollup the sidewalks and wait untill someone notices?
If dissolution RIGHT NOW is better, how could we achieve it RIGHT NOW?
Here is my last question, How long would the bankruptcy process take?

To Mr Legros, If you realy "care" about this community rather than getting in a pissing match with Ann, how about some suggestions?

Thank you all for your time.

sincerly, Mike Green

Mike Green said...

Oh, and another thing Jon,
I never knew who "spectator" was untill now.
I've always had the same nagging anoyance that you seem to be experiencing all of a sudden.

"It would be nice if all of the gutless anon bloggers would have the guts to sign their names and be accountable for their reasoning."

I was just waiting for one of you to come out of the closet and say it.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike Green,

I "care" about Los Osos, so you need not infer that I do not.

Ann posed a question; I answered respectfully. That is not exactly a "pissing match".

I do have a few suggestions.

1. The LOCSD on its own volition transfers its waste water authority to the County along with all plans; land,
assessment bond pre-payee funds it still holds on account, and permits in its possession.

2. The LOCSD on its own volition transfers to the County the Swimming Pool Trust Fund.

After that, time will tell which occurs first; enactment of the Blakeslee legislation, bankruptcy or dissolution.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Dear Mr Legros,
Thank you for your response,
I apologise if I offended you with my "snarkey" comments.

I do think you care and your suggestions merit much thought.

Sincerly, Mike Green

Mike Green said...

Dear Mr. Legros

Why would following any of your suggestion make things better?
If the BBP goes through, won't that have the same results?
(except for the pool fund)
If bankrutcy happens won't that make everything a moot point?
(I'm hoping someone can give us details on this one, even you don't seem to have any idea)
If dissolution happens, again all moot.

Sit and wait?

What else can we do?

Thank you for your time.
Sincerly, Mike Green

Mike Green said...

As for the pool fund,
My suggestion is to pool it toghether with the PZLDF.

Anonymous said...

Survey Says! (Spring 2001)
There was a survey done by the LOCSD, Ron Crawford links it in one of his blogs (some months back, maybe you can send it to Ann to post here Ron?)
In the survey, it asked PZ residents their income levels in a calculated manner that skewed repotable results, putting the majority of the community in the $30,000-$60,000 income bracket, that's a huge bracket, leaving a just a few neighbors in the higher and lower catagories, failing to narrow it down to see how many truely just scrape by, whatever, it is obvious, they didn't want to know how many could really afford the $84.6 million (at that time) sewer. Because it clearly showed, even though they tried to hide it that the community was squirming at $80 (eighty) dollars per month, as they should be! Statewide average for sewer sewrvice is $20.00 per month.
Cabrillo Estates and the acres east of So. Bay Blvd. are under a defacto prohibition, AB885 is coming it will hit them in the head like $50,000 to of bricks, it will force them to hook up to the sewer (that doesn't accomidate them at the Tri-W), because to cmply will cost at least $50,000 per house, if the RWQCB even lets them upgrade their onsite systems, the deal is we are in an impaired basin people, to protect it you will need to be 600 feet away from it, NO ONE in Los Osos is that far away from an impaired waterway, because the groundwater IS underneath all of us! CAbrillo and others better wake the f up! The sewer may be their only way! EEconomy of scale benefits us all, and remember the Tri-W project was incomplete, even the PZ doesn't know what the final cost was going to be...you all seem to keep forgetting that.
BTW, LeGros, you are an idiot! Your actions (f'n balls) got the new board in this mess, your ego is the root.
And another thing!!! The County had the power to stop the electioneering, they could have held up some permits, but didn't! They are as guilty as LeGros for the the mess we're all in, best wishes inever building a sewer, the County will be sued as much as the LOCSD has been...let them have it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon above,

Read your words.

I see anger, hate and finger-pointing. Negitive emotions will not solve our common problems.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Spectator said...

Ann:

While we can delve into "woulda shoulda" as to the timing of the election, and the start of construction, it has no merit. The recall could have failed, and when you look at the very close vote, this was a great possibility. Regardless, the previous board was under a time schedule to avoid fines which would destroy the district finantially.

Could any logical person base their decisions on something totally unknown? I think not. The fines were a known component, they have happened in the past to other districts, and to the Monarch Grove sewer system.

We at this point have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. We started construction and did not get fined. We stopped the construction and got fined. The actions of the previous board were in concert with the reasons of the founding of the LOCSD by the PROPERTY OWNERS. The obstruction was led by Al Barrow, a RENTER. Joey Racano is also a RENTER or homeless, he does not own property. Dugan is a RENTER, although his father owns property. Does McPherson own property?

RENTERS were allowed to vote in the recall, it is the law. I have nothing against renters, I am a landlord. I offer housing to four families in the PZ, and these families rent affordable housing. I must consider them; they consider my property and are good people. I do worry about the least of us.

And now, we are looking at a new era. Property in Los Osos will not be able to be rented at affordable prices. Those who own property and have little means will be hard pressed to pay sewer fees and increased taxes. They will have to move. If the sewer is not built, the PZ may become unliveble, and by law. Consider an order to disconnect your leach field from your septic tank.

If a household can get its wastewater down to 25 gallons a day, and a tank holds 1200 gallons, that is 48 days before it has to be pumped. If it cannot be pumped because of air quality concerns, what to do? Move to a camp ground? Tents?

We are polluters, and beggers before the regional regulating water boards. Better do something right now! Dissolve immediately! Let any government entity who can build a system regardless of site, cost, or type of plant do so. Let whomever handle bankruptcy. Those who cannot afford this will have to consider if they can live on 25 gallons a day and afford pumping every 48 days at $350-$400. They will also have to consider if they can live in a no discharge situation.

This is what is upon us. One pays a terrible price for ignorance.

Jon Arcuni, looking for plus fours and striped socks.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding Arcuni? Are you afraid of the RWQCB? The District, not you has been fined...even your property within the PZ is safe from fines until a judge says you are fined...to date no court has ruled on Los Osos, nor the CSD's ACL...so where's your fine?Let's remember who let all this happen...the RWQCB's 83-13 permits 1,150 more homes between '83-'88, so what basin were they protecting allowing more "polluters"? I bet your duplex's are some of the very homes allowed built within that time, aren't they?
McPherson owns outside the PZ, near your house. Other notable outside PZ property owners, Tacker, Freiler, LeGros, Bowker. Interesting mix of opinions from those board members.
If the RWQCB was serious about pollution they wouldn't let a real estate office become a Starbucks, or an insurance office become a Mexican resturant...that is the stuff that discredits the RWQCB. How can you fear them? How can you preach that crap? If you use "Edwardian (Jeff Edwards) Pilosophy" you can pollute, build and have a latte like Leon VanBurden does.

Anonymous said...

LeGros,
Now that you've moved to the mansion on the hill, your sh*t runs downhill, now doesn't it. Blame needs to be placed, some crow and humble pie need to be eaten and served, your actions alone are responsible for the current state of affairs.
Are you afraid of the amendment to Blakeslee's bill that allows the County (the CSD already has the power) to include your home in the sewer, or do you agreee that 885 will force a community-wide solution, and it's about time! you were chair of the Wastewater Commitee, you could have implemented SSMP, sewage collection outside the PZ, nearly anything you wanted, you didn't, not even water conservation, and here we are in overdraft and the new board is broke, (even though you admitted to others that the old board was going to be broke if the project hadn't moved forward, by March), you had to press on...pound sand!
Angry? You think I'm angry? You have no idea! I hope the Board sells your precious Tri-W to the lowest bidder, to spite you and your ridiculous (so called)'plan'.
Throw the whole thing out Cal Trans & Julie, it ain't worth the paper it's printed on. Flawed from the first day!
LeGros, the RWQCB gave you the opportunity to rebid, they had nothing to say about when the election was held, and you could have negotiated the TSO one more time, you were already in violation "beyond control of the district", as was this board (Measure B) who recieves unequal treatment on that very ground...your actions caused this board to halt the work, and delay the project even further, so as I imgine you support the County will cause the rest of us to pay much much more...while you don't pay from Cabrillo Estates right now, they may come and get you after all.

Spectator said...

To Mike Green:

There is very little information on the web about Municipal or district bankruptcy. Very rare. Most noticable is the Orange County bankruptcy. A district or municipality cannot be forced into bankruptcy, and in order to file, must have a plan to get out of bankruptcy. The plan usually involves a self assesment of the property owners in a 218 vote to give the entity money in the form of bond proceeds to pay the debts. The entity immediately goes into receivership as soon as it files and the plan is accepted by a federal bankruptcy court. While a board of directors can advise, the power to act in the interest of the creditors is in the hands of the receiver. A creditors committee advises the receiver. The judge decides the disposition of assets, and which debts are paid to whom, and how much, without destroying the ability to provide minimal services of the entity.

If the property owners are unwilling to continue and vote no on the assesment vote, it is obvious that the entity cannot survive, and it must be dissolved.

PROPERTY OWNERS WILL PAY THE DEBTS. They will be assesed for the debts. However, if assets can be sold to pay some debts, and they do not affect minimal services, they will.

If an entity cannot pay its bills, maintain minimal services, and will not declare voluntary bankruptcy, it is in violation of the reason for its formation. It will be dissolved.

PROPERTY OWNERS WILL PAY THE DEBTS. They will be assessed for the debts. The entity from which the district was formed will take over, and make all decisions as they have done in the past.


Continued.........

Mike Green said...

Jon, I see you have changed your profile!
Congrats!
I have an offer for you, contact me at
mikeygwenie@sbcglobal.net
Mike Green.

Spectator said...

Mike:

Ok, what is the difference between voluntary bankruptcy and dissolution? With voluntary bankruptcy there is a chance to remain an entity, but the entity can be dissolved while in bankruptcy. Regardless, with dissolution, the entity ceases to exist, and assets with debts are transfered back to the entity from which the district came, in essence ALL the property owners of the county.

This is why Blakeslee is trying to limit the liability of debt to the county, and the reason why LAFCO will try and delay. However, the property owners in the district are not off the hook. They are still responsible for the debt, but may not be able to pay the debt. Now cometh forth negotiations with the creditors, the dance begins, and here come de judge to asses liability. At this point come discussions of unfunded mandates, cause of bankruptcy, illegal actions of the previous entity's board, malfeasance, negligence, and recovery of funds. At the end of this, some judge will decide on how the debt is to be divided, what share Los Osos property owners, and what share county. Property owners will be assessed, both county and former district. The former district (LOCSD property owners) will be assessed far more because they were the origin of the debt, "the voters decided".

Blakeslee is responsible to his district, and the board of supervisors are responsible to ALL the property owners in the county, but mostly to their district. Shirley Bianchi is responsible to her district of which Los Osos is a small part. She is concerned with the "general good" and would be irresponsible in not considering the liability to ALL of her district.

So Los Osos is a hot potatoe, and it will be passed. Lafco has it's legal mandates, and must act, regardless of the liability to whom.

Now I am no expert in municipal bankruptcy, and much is left to the court. I do have expertise in corporate and personal bankruptcy. Within the last four years, Dean Sulliven, former(?)
editor and owner of the "Bay Breeze" declared personal bankruptcy, along with Kevin Pankey, the other partner, due to in part money owed to me in a partnership publishing venture "Freebies and EZ-Seller" that I totally funded. Both could have paid their 1/3 part off slowly for the rest of their lives, but chose not to. They never even discussed their debt with me before filing. Of course I sat on the creditors committee, but they really had no assets, just debts. I picked up the whole tab to the extent of slightly more than $350,000. This is what happens when you are a "Believer".

Jon Arcuni

Spectator said...

To the anon concerned with my duplexes: they we built in 1979. I purchased them in 1998 or 1999. I was aware of the sewer situation and was active in supporting the formation of the LOCSD. Spectator has omitted this was a bad mistake, elsewhere on this blog. I am not immune from mistakes.

Funny, Julie Tacker came to me at the last meeting and asked me if I was in favor in paying for a sewer since I live in Cabrillo. I said "absolutely, as long as I get a sewer. Septic tanks are terrible. Besides, I would enjoy the subsidy from below in building the collection system. Any price I pay will be vastly made up by increases in my property value. However, no sewer, no pay." I also said "I speak for myself, and that there might possibly be large money and political influence expended if science did not support this idea." She said, " of course you would get a sewer". I then told her "You know, you may be looking at fines and jail, maybe you can broker a deal to resign and dissolve immediately for lack of prosecution. Look to the Orange County Bankruptcy". Perhaps this is why she carefully questioned Carter, the CPA, for his damning comments attached to the audit.

As far as individual fines to property owners within the PZ. Whatsammatta you? Can you not see the end of your nose? You still feel that a judge will overrule the water board? What else can the water board do to get compliance? The more the resistance and longer time to compliance the worse the consequences.

By the way, who do you think gets to pay the fines levied against the LOCSD? And it is true, no fines have been paid, and suits are up in the air. It really makes no difference at this point. Consider the finantial difficulties of the LOCSD.

At this time we can discuss the sewer all we want, but the LOCSD will never be able to construct a sewer anywhere!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody,

While I enjoy blogging with you all, I will not respond to those that resort to personal attacks, name calling, profanity, and wild speculation over past events.

We all seek solutions. Let us do so in a civil manner.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Spectator, I like your drift! You said in a style, what many, myself included, have been unable to express with all the word smithing that goes on here and at CSD meetings:

"Whatsammatta you? Can you not see the end of your nose?"

It is now just a matter of how much we will have to pay!

Anonymous said...

LeGros said:

"Hi Everybody,

While I enjoy blogging with you all, I will not respond to those that resort to personal attacks, name calling, profanity, and wild speculation over past events.

We all seek solutions. Let us do so in a civil manner.

Regards, Richard LeGros"


FUCKING BALLS!!!

Anonymous said...

A rude and truely ignorant person has used the words "Fucking Balls" showing "its" total lack of proper use of adjectives and lack of intelligence. "It" could have used civil words. "It" could have discussed what Richard has written, corrected him by showing falacies in his argument, and set him to ground with logic and reference supporting "its" logic. "It", with the comment, shows sub human intelligence in addition to lack of civility. Definitely not human excellence. The expression of "scum of the earth" comes to mind. Also the dissertation and contemplation about "smart pills" also comes to mind, although deep on this thread. I would hope "it" could simply use acceptable language, write well, and let "its" foolishness be apparent to everyone.

This is the kind of stuff that is not acceptable to reasonable people, and is self deprecating. We need intelligent comment. Apparently "it" is very angry. I, for one, hope "it" will not get ulcers and die from same. If "it" does, we hope "it" has not passed off "its" genes. The world will be far better without angry fools who cannot express themselves. If "it" has children, I hope the gene has not been passed to them. Since I am concerned with "it", a shrink and prozac is in order. I have heard that a double dose of "smart pills" does not work. By the way, there is no comment on this blog that cannot be traced to the IP, and then the computer that generated it. Save me from the effort.

Straighten up your language and be civil. If you persist, you will be exposed, and shortly there after, we will look at all messages that have come from your computer. I hope you have nothing to hide. There is absolutely nothing private on the internet.

This is my first and only warning. The messages on this blog are in the public demain. All messages and emails are the same. All it takes is a little work, about an hour, and a complaint filed if funny stuff has been going on. This does not reduce your right to free speech, it only opens you up to inspection in a public venue.

Clean it up, respect this blog, and respect Ann with the funny socks and fuzzy thinking (sometimes). Otherwise stay off. There is no room here for "hit and run" obscene comments without logic and documentation.

Dogpatch Refugee said...

Hey thought police anon. First, this is Ann's Blog, not yours. Second, anybody out like to clue "it" into why somebody would make such a rude comment re the democratically recalled Mr. LeGros??
Anybody??
Maybe he can clue us into that particular comment along with the decision making process that led to the exact date of the recall election?
Details if possible...

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

Ever since that evening when I uttered those infamous words, my friends warmly call me "FB" for short. It just shows that I am human like everybody else; and that during moments of anger we may say things we normally would never say.

Earlier Mike Green asked why the LOCSD should do as I recommend.

If we look at what assemblyman Blakeslee is trying to achieve with his legislation, it is for the LOCSD to transfer its waste water powers (along with all studies, land, plans, and permits acquired to date) over to the County; and to keep the LOCSD intact so that its other liabilities do not transfer to or affect county residents. Blakeslee is proposing his legislation for he believes that due to the current situation that the LOCSD is unable to realize a wastewater project.

The LOCSD has publicly embraced the legislation. Why not just speed up the process and have the LOCSD perform the transfer on its own volition? By doing so the LOCSD may be able to leverage its position. While the LOCSD cannot expect the County to relinquish its final oversight of a wastewater project to the LOCSD, it just might be able to acquire much-need funds from the County to take care of some of its liabilities. For example, the designed and permitted project and land have monetary value. It is reasonable for the LOCSD to expect funds for transferring its public assets to the County. While the LOCSD could try to sell the land, finding a buyer for its property (clouded with uncertainty regarding its development potential and CCC ESH concerns) is doubtful. Additionally, the courts have ruled that any sale revenue would not go to the LOCSD, but to creditors.

With the waste water powers, plans, permits and land in the hands of the County, the County could restart key components of the project while it evaluates treatment site issues. The restarting of these components would probably minimize some of the liabilities that the LOCSD has acquired from the State and the contractors. This reduction in liabilities would improve the LOCSD chances of survival.

I do wish to see local government survive. However, as long as the LOCSD is so deeply in debt, we have lost control of resolving the community’s problems. I hope we can all figure out how to improve those chances of keeping the LOCSD solvent and viable.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

HI Dogpatch,

The decision of the recall's date was the board's to make. The date was arrived at through debate in a public meeting for all to see. The board majority made its selection based upon that debate. As for my vote, I really did not care one way or the other about a date....just that one could be agreed upon.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

No thought police, doggie. Civility police. There are standards that we must adhere to for discourse. Otherwise we all become bomb throwers like JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOEY! Accuse anyone, use unfounded allegations, and because we are people of no substance, damages cannot be collected. So we must police ourselves, and shun and decry these people. I am sorry you see this as thought police. Now at this time I could step to the level of "it", and throw epithets at you that would let this page smoke, but why?
I would only denigrate myself.

If you respect civility and civilization you probably will agree with me. This type of behavior cannot be condoned.

Your opinions are respected, as long as you are civil.

Sewertoons said...

The word "Democratically" somehow escapes me regarding that election. Out-of-town property owners have been horribly affected by that "election" and those property owners had NO VOTE.

Mike Green said...

Dear Mr Legros,

Again, thank you for your time and response.

I don't see how your suggestion would "speed up the response" to the BBP
Rather, I see more bang for the buck in a huge letter writing campaign to the members of the State apropriations commitee.

Perhaps the best thing to do is ask Sam.

Sincerly, Mike Green

Mike Green said...

Here is a snarkey thought;

What if all (or a majority) of the current board members resigned?

Too bad that didn't happen when the Ponds of Avalon went down the drain.

Sleep well Los Osos, Happy 4th!

Churadogs said...

Anon sez"When I read the opening sentences in this statement by Churadog, I immediately was puzzled , thinking, has she changed sides all of a sudden? Why is she talking about Al, Gail, et.al this way?

This sentiment represents the crux of the community differences. You feel that this applies to the old board members and their supporters, while the opposition feels this fits those of the current board and their supporters, including you."

You're reading this too closely. The problem of "factions" cuts across all the boards, past to present. What went missing from day one was a process that was driven by "science" and practical realities, minus hidden agendas, non-existent "commnunity values," egos, financial games of "deferreds" and "hide the salami" accounting i.e. moving capital costs off onto the OM&R side of the ledger while announcing as big "savings," and so forth. We have a chance now to get the "process" bak on track and bring to the community several options with full costs, which they can buy bia their 218 vote. No more square pegs jammed into round holes.

so, that's the question: Will this community wake up long enough to see that this process is done by the CSD and if the County takes over, by the county? Or will small special interest groups keep squabbling as the entire ship sinks, thereby leaving the community with absolutely NO options or input.

Which leads to the next question: Does this community even want a CSD? The original CSD was linked at the hip to a "Faster Better Cheaper" Ponds of Avalon sewer system. That turned out to have been a dishonest linkage from day one. Had the voters been told the truth about the Ponds, would they have voted for a CSD in the first place? Right now, a small number of people started to actively work to dissolve the CSD shortly after the recall election. Like the "ponds" campaign, a lot of the dissolution petition signatures were gained by dishonestly linking some sort of (falsely) implied "safety" from the CDOs to rejoining the County. So, does anyone have a true picture of just how many citizens actually want or do not want a CSD (minus all the phony spin and threats & etc.) And now many don't care one way or the other?

It's an important question to ask because if the CSD is to survive finacially, it'll have to take some decisive steps to get into "stripped down financial running weight." And to do that it'll need help from the community NOW. If nobody cares, then it'll die and the community will have no say in what happens to them or the sewer project from that point on.

As with everything else, the choice is ultimately theirs to make, even though the choices are now being shaped and framed and manipulated and moved by a small handful of different "special interes" groups.

Los Osos needs to pay attention.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Maybe if you want to help Los Osos heal and make a wise choice it would be good for you to stop accusing the previous board of dishonesty. If you think that the solutions group should have known that the partial sewering ponding park wasn't going to pass muster with the RWQCB, those running for the recall seats and those campaigning for them should certainly have known that their promise to cut our monthly costs by over half was not a realistic thing to put out there as a campaign promise. Along those lines, promising that we won't lose the SRF loan if we attempt to move the plant, telling us that Measure B protects us from fines and that they have a plan that is ready to go all show that they were unwise at best to tell us things that later appeared to be hopeful at best. If you want to trot out all sorts of dissolver statements that are questionable you should remember that folks will hold the current board and their supporters to the same standard.

It is discouraging that you can correctly identify that there are a few special interest groups out there that are attempting to manipulate the debate but that you cannot see that you are playing a key role for one of those special interest groups. Maybe if, from time to time, you questioned in your columns or on your blog what the CSD is presenting as fact it would help your readers realize how reasonable you are.

Whether the CSD continues or not, the CSD will have little say in any aspects of the sewer.

Maybe it would be best for each side to say "well, we screwed up ... maybe we should have a 'do over' of sorts."

Ann, you are 100% right about lots of stuff. In your recent comment, you are right that we, as a community, need to decide whether whether we want any local control over some issues ... which means we need a CSD. I want to keep it. I realize that we'll have to raise fire and garbage and water rates to do so, but it would be worth it to me.

If, however, the current board of directors continues to act as if they should have a role in the WWTF location and collection system, I think it might be better to support dissolution because I don't want the CSD getting in the way of accomplishing the best project ASAP. As I posted earlier in Ron's blog, there is no reason for the CSD to be afraid of the County taking over. If TriW is really as flawed as TriW foes say it is, there is no way the County will go with TriW. If, however, TriW is the best, the County (where the staff can really be viewed as impartial, unlike MWH or Ripley) will run with it.

Spectator said...

Ann et ALL:

Right now the primary problem is LOCSD lack of funds. Without funds, and without the ability to get more, the LOCSD cannot fulfill the reason it was founded and the reason LAFCO approved the foundation. It cannot build a wwtf. There are rules for dissolution (Law). Lafco is charged with obeying these rules.

While Shirley Bianchi sits on LAFCO, she is required to obey the law. I feel that her wish to extend the time and put off dissolution until Blakeslee's ammendment and the bill is passed is a delay tactic to save liability for the county. LAFCO is not concerned with county liability. It is concerned with a CSD's ability to perform the purpose of it's foundation. It is absolutly clear that the LOCSD, with meager funds, at this point looking at insolvency, cannot and will not be able to perform it's purpose.

The LOCSD board has obstructed the purpose of foundation, It has not implemented the purpose, in fact it has made it impossible.

There are strong constitutional problems with Blakeslee's bill. It oversteps LAFCO and without a vote from those concerned, and takes away the WWTF from a legal entity, founded to produce a WWTF. I feel that this can only be done through existing law. It does not address the law concerning LAFCO, and is specific.

It would seem to me dissolving the LOCSD is the only option LAFCO has under existing law. All the public comment in the world cannot change LAFCO's mandate to comply with the law. They should act immediately, action based on facts, and do not require public comment.

We shall see how they fulfill their mandate.

Sewertoons said...

Ann,

It was unclear from the last CSD meeting what "stripped down to running weight" meant in terms of services that the CSD provides to the community.

If that means a reduction in response time to water main breaks or truncated trash pick-up, or a jack-up in price of water rates - so that they can continue to pay the bean counters upstairs and Bourke, Williams, Sorenson their ridiculous fees, I don't think the community has much reason to help out, do you?

Shark Inlet said...

Sewertoons has a good point.

Furthermore, I have no reason to think that whatever Gail-n-company come up with will actually be anything close to the best solution. After all, Gail is one of the chief architects of our current CSD board which includes massive spending of money we don't appear to have.

Do you think that the people who mis-spent all of our money are those who are best suited to determine the best way to spend our money now?

Hell, of Bo Cooper doesn't want Gail because of her "my way or the highway" attitude, why should any of us trust her in this job?

Anonymous said...

'Funny, Julie Tacker came to me at the last meeting and asked me if I was in favor in paying for a sewer since I live in Cabrillo. I said "absolutely, as long as I get a sewer. Septic tanks are terrible. Besides, I would enjoy the subsidy from below in building the collection system. Any price I pay will be vastly made up by increases in my property value. However, no sewer, no pay." I also said "I speak for myself, and that there might possibly be large money and political influence expended if science did not support this idea." '

Interesting, Spectator seems to confirm the fact that sewers have nothing what-so-ever to do with clean water. Instead its all about development and making a profit. Still, most astute to realize that "science" along with the basin plan might catch up forcing the friendly neighborhood real-estate developer to pay huge, exorbitant amounts to come into compliance with the clean water act. Not realizing that those septic tanks are far more effective at producing clean water than the wonderful sewage treatment system in Morro Bay and Cayucos.

And people have finally started to come around to that realization after exhasting expletive deleted exhortations by hard-working scientists.

BIG, CENTRALIZED SEWERS and WTPs are basically flawed because and this is something straight off both the federal govenment EPA AND the CAL EPA web site: "THEY DO NOT TREAT WASTE AS CLOSE TO THE SOURCE AS POSSIBLE AS QUICKLTY AS POSSIBLE". Factor in the massive spills that have occurred ever so frequently on the central coast ... sigh ...

Anonymous said...

Hmm spectator,

You seem to be out-of-touch. The contractors are coming around. Meaning ... a release of those frozen funds making the CSD immediately solvent w/out any help from LAFCO.

Hmmm, wonder what you will say then? When LAFCO does not disslove. Who will you call? Ghost Busters?

Best to cooperate to gain input at this point ... dontcha think?

Ron said...

Richard said:

"...wild speculation over past events."

Ann said:

"Instead, you, Stan, Gordon played Russian Roulette with millions of the community's money when you didn't have to. Truly, didn't have to."

Richard, it's nice to have your input, but Ann's 100-percent right there. That is not "wild speculation." You truly didn't have to, but you did. You could have scheduled the recall election much earlier, but you didn't. I don't make it to many CSD meetings (it's a looooong drive for me), but I was at the meeting where your board majority scheduled the election. Richard, a gigantic line of people begged the board to schedule the election at the earliest possible date. You guys listened to every single one of them and then scheduled the election at the next-to-the-latest possible date. Un-freaking-forgivable.

Ann said:
"Which leads to the next question: Does this community even want a CSD? The original CSD was linked at the hip to a "Faster Better Cheaper" Ponds of Avalon sewer system. That turned out to have been a dishonest linkage from day one."

I've argued that since Three Blocks was published in September, 2004.

It's important to remember, that two previous attempts to form a CSD in Los Osos failed. So, what was the difference in 1998? You got it -- "better, cheaper, faster" with a "maximum monthly payment of $38.75." To me, for the last six years, the LOCSD has been as legitimate as the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster" ponding system, which was completely illegitimate.

An Anon said:

"Angry? You think I'm angry? You have no idea."

I can only imagine.

Sewertoons said...

anon said:
"BIG, CENTRALIZED SEWERS and WTPs are basically flawed because and this is something straight off both the federal govenment EPA AND the CAL EPA web site: "THEY DO NOT TREAT WASTE AS CLOSE TO THE SOURCE AS POSSIBLE AS QUICKLTY AS POSSIBLE".

HUH? How much closer can you get to the CENTER of town than Tri-W with Broderson for recharge?

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

Ok Let's say the recall was scheduled for the first possible date at the end of August. I was recalled earlier. The new board was seated. They suspended the project for a "time out". Just how would events after that changed?

Do not forget that the State Board required that the project commence by September 20 (with a possible 90 day extention if the State felt like it). Remember that the CSD, while in the black, had yet received the $6,400,000 first draw of the SRF loan. Remember that the time order schedule was already late.

This scenerio would play out little different than what has happened; acually worse! The CSD would not have had the SRF funds to play with until the courts froze those fund. The CSD would have became backrupt much sooner.

I have made it very clear that I was obligated by my oath of office to follow that law and continue with governmental process. By the recall, there was no chice other than begin the project. Your saying I had a choice is simply not true.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

I hope we can all get off this obsession over the past and focus on the present situation. We all know what you think of the solution group and such; but lets not dwell on events past. The CSD needs help today.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Well, I never thought I would say this - but...I agree with Mr. LeGros on that final statement. I voted for the recall and have supported the new board but things have gotten to the point where we must stop fighting and go with the County. Al and Linde and Bo and....(you get the picture) are no longer amusing. Even Ann, whom I admire greatly, is starting to irritate me. We need a solution, period. Listen folks, if TRiW is that bad (and I think it probably is) it won't pass muster. At some point we have to just support the process. This is the only compromise we are going to get. This board asked Blakeslee for his help and now they (well, some of them) are picking his proposal apart as if he is the new face of evil. Give it a rest already.

Shark Inlet said...

Anonymous ... you speak for the majority of those I know who voted for the recall.

They didn't like TriW and feel it was forced on them. I think that the previous board didn't make clear enough to the community that by the time Julie and Lisa took office, it was too late to turn the ship around ... that any changes other than changes imposed by the CCC or some such ... would have caused us to get fined.

Now we know that the RWQCB will fine and does fine. A year ago I talked with many recall folks (again, now most have admittedly privately that they made a mistake) who told me that we could just change our course and nothing bad would happen.

Maybe CCLO was just better at grass-roots activism.

In any case, as our anonymous friend points out, the current board has screwed the pooch. They have messed things up so badly that we no longer have a realistic chance of doing anything ourselves. If AB2701 doesn't go through, the CSD is dead in the water, will be dissolved and the County takes over and we won't even have an official voice on a lot of important local issues.

The question of the day is this ... is it better to have a CSD with no wastewater project authority or is it better to have no CSD?

When all the dust has settled and we're paying our sewer bills is the time to play the blame game ... not now. Now we need to push for a project to be finished in a realistic and reasonable timeframe.

One of the nice aspects of AB2701 is that it politely asks the RWQCB to hold off on enforcement action until the County can step in. For no other reason than this alone, the transfer of wastewater authority over to the County is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

It is better to have a CSD and they can be part of the discussion with the county. I think Blakeslee's bill made it pretty clear that the community and the CSD would be involved. He knows that our involvement is a large part of actually making this thing go. He has been "negotiating" (dare I use that word?)with Lisa and John for months.

Ron said...

Hello Richard,

Thanks for the response.

You said:

"Just how would events after that changed?"

Well, for one, there wouldn't be a massive, expensive ditch in the middle of your beautiful town (that was funded by California taxpayers).

"Your saying I had a choice is simply not true."

Are you saying you didn't have a choice to have the election earlier? All you had to do is side with Julie and Lisa.

and:

"I hope we can all get off this obsession over the past and focus on the present situation."

Ken Lay's attorney's should have used that argument.

Look, I'm all for a solution, but there also needs to be some serious accountability, and, to date, there has been zero.

As for a solution, my take on that is that Blakeslee's proposal would not even be needed if the State were to just cough up the SRF money for a new project -- essentially, the project that should have been selected in the first place. And anyone that's even casually followed this story over the last few years now knows what that project is, including the folks at the SWRQB's Division of Financial Assistance, and the staff of the California Coastal Commission.

Thanks for letting us yack, Ann. It's interesting.

Sewertoons said...

In light of the CSD's performance for the past 8 months, why would anyone but Linde, Gail and Bo WANT the CSD to be involved? It is pretty clear they have no idea how "things government" work.

Sewertoons said...

Ron, are you in favor of accountability for the current board as well?

Anonymous said...

Ron,

The past cannot be undone, so let's focus on today? As for accountabilty, time will tell; why bother with idle speculation.

Besides the ditch in town, could you please answer my earlier question how events would have been different if I, Stan and Gordon were recalled in August instead of Septemmber?

Regards, Richard LeGros

Ron said...

Hello Richard,

First, I want to tell you how much I'm enjoying this dialogue. I think this kind of healthy debate is waaaay overdue in LO.

You said:

Besides the ditch in town..."

I don't think that should be brushed off that easy. "Besides the ditch in town?" That ditch just happened to rip apart your once-united community, and has cost California taxpayers millions.

But, fair enough, "besides the ditch in town", what's an event that would have been different if the recall election had been moved from September to August? Here's one: Tri-Dub supporters wouldn't have had the argument: "construction has already started" during campaign season. That event would have been different.

The new CSD Board would have had a hell of a lot more SRF cash to work with. That would have been different.

Some smart-ass in LO wouldn't have come up with the phrase: "Lake Pandora." That event would have been different.

You said:

"The past cannot be undone, so let's focus on today?"

That's a weird take, in my opinion, (and I see it a lot, and I always think about how Ken Lay's attorneys should have used that one), especially since what I'm talking about happened only 10 months ago.

"...why bother with idle speculation."

Again, delaying an election, and then having the opportunity to unnecessarily rip up a huge chunk of "environmentally sensitive" land with the public's money because of that delay, is not "speculation." Ann is right, and I am right. That happened. That is not speculation.

Guessing how events would have been different if you, Stan and Gordon were recalled in August instead of September? Anything other than "no expensive ditch in town" (and the above mentioned events) would be speculation.

For me, if there's a lesson here, it appears that the part of election law that deals with recalls needs to be examined. The people that are targets of a recall shouldn't be setting the date for that election. That sounds problematic (read: expensive ditch). That seems like it needs to be looked at, and adjusted.

Thanks again for the dialogue. I enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ron,

On what basis do you think that the new CSD would have had "a lot more SRF cash to work with?" If I was recalled by Sept 1, the SRF loan would not have been initiated nor any money yet given to the CSD.

You have stated the physical changes to Los Osos caused by the construction prior to the election. That would not had occured if I had been recalled earlier as you are assuming that the new board would have suspended or stopped the project. Assuming that the new board had stopped the project earlier, why do you think that the State and the Contractors would have behaved than they historically have?

Regards, Richard LeGros

Sewertoons said...

Ron, think of it this way, if the present CSD had more of the SRF money, however they managed to get their hands on it, the state would be suing them now for MORE back.

It wasn't theirs to use for their project - or to pay off lawyers, it was SITE SPECIFIC for a treatment plant at Tri-W.

Sewertoons said...

Ron, what do you refer to when you say "…once-united community…"? What united it? A desire to HAVE a WWTF?

Shark Inlet said...

Let's consider the grander issue here of money for a bit.

Rather than focus on the SRF money, I would like to focus for this message on the Ripley contract and possible bankruptcy.

There is a general concept in government (well, at the local level anyways) that one should spend only what money one has on hand and one should only commit to spend what money one has on hand or what will be coming in with very high probability.

Two months (or so) back when the board was considering spending $500k on Ripley, the board (perhaps based on the helpful guidance of staff who should know the day-to-day accounts better) should have known that they did not have the money on hand to pay for such work.

So ... the choices the board (had they been fully aware of the finances) were facing are to either spend money they didn't have but buy a study or to not spend the money (yet) and not buy a study (yet). I would argue the 2nd approach would be more appropriate. If they wanted to buy an engineering report that considers various site choices they should have been honest with us and said "hey, we would like to consider other sites but we don't have the cash to pay but we want a 218 vote to buy such a study."

Yes, it would have taken additional time, time which we don't have much of ... but the key here is that this board should have known, in advance, that we don't have the time to re-invent the wheel and re-study all possible sites without consequences. Presumably they told us, when running for the recall seats, that they wanted to spend a year or more before they select a new site. Presumably they told us that they would need a 218 vote to borrow even more money to accomplish their goals of a new site.

If they didn't tell us those things, they weren't being honest with us when running or they didn't count the costs before telling us it would be easy.

So ... back when they put out the RFP and decided to pay Ripley half a million dollars for limited scope preliminary site selection work, how did they intend to pay for the work?

I seriously want to know. Considering how closed-lipped the board and GM are about such issues, even when directly asked, I am wondering thether Ann or Ron or someone who knows board members better could tell us what they were thinking.

If nothing else, could someone out there come up with an explanation that doesn't use the words "stupid", "unwise", "unaware" or "borrow"? Without such an explanation (and I can't come up with one), we must conclude the current board of directors is simply out of touch with the scope of the problem, so much so that the argument that the County should take over is a no-brainer and should have happened some months back because at least some progress would have happened in the last six months.

Sewertoons said...

Shark,

I am not Ron or Ann, and wish that THEY would answer your question… but what if their goal WAS to run the CSD into bankruptcy? And maybe not the whole board was in on it.

I don't think that we have seen all that they intend to do just yet. I'll bet that there will be a lot of campaigning by their supporters against a 218 vote. As I think that you have said in much earlier posts, and I may be wrong, but part of this board was anti-sewer for a long time. Maybe they still are. This is perhaps the most logical and expeditious way to stall as long as possible.

The books have been in chaos for months and no one thought getting them in order was important until the court ordered the audit. Maybe they really DIDN'T know what they had or didn't have. This is no excuse, as they are the stewards of the community's money. (Playing loose with one's own credit cards and chances are a different game altogether.)

I don't know if we will ever know what they were thinking. What would explaining it to us buy them?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"A rude and truely ignorant person has used the words "Fucking Balls" showing "RICHARD LeGROS" total lack of proper use of adjectives and lack of intelligence. "RICHARD LeGROS" could have used civil words. "RICHARD LeGROS" could have discussed what Richard has written, corrected him by showing falacies in his argument, and set him to ground with logic and reference supporting "RICHARD LeGROS" logic. "RICHARD LeGROS", with the comment, shows sub human intelligence in addition to lack of civility. Definitely not human excellence. The expression of "scum of the earth" comes to mind. Also the dissertation and contemplation about "smart pills" also comes to mind, although deep on this thread. I would hope "RICHARD LeGROS" could simply use acceptable language, write well, and let "RICHARD LeGROS" foolishness be apparent to everyone.

This is the kind of stuff that is not acceptable to reasonable people, and is self deprecating. We need intelligent comment. Apparently "RICHARD LeGROS" is very angry. I, for one, hope "RICHARD LeGROS" will not get ulcers and die from same. If "RICHARD LeGROS" does, we hope "RICHARD LeGROS" has not passed off "RICHARD LeGROS" genes. The world will be far better without angry fools who cannot express themselves. If "RICHARD LeGROS" has children, I hope the gene has not been passed to them. Since I am concerned with "RICHARD LeGROS", a shrink and prozac is in order. I have heard that a double dose of "smart pills" does not work. By the way, there is no comment on this blog that cannot be traced to the IP, and then the computer that generated it. Save me from the effort.

Straighten up your language and be civil. If you persist, you will be exposed, and shortly there after, we will look at all messages that have come from your computer. I hope you have nothing to hide. There is absolutely nothing private on the internet.

This is my first and only warning. The messages on this blog are in the public demain. All messages and emails are the same. All it takes is a little work, about an hour, and a complaint filed if funny stuff has been going on. This does not reduce your right to free speech, it only opens you up to inspection in a public venue.

Clean it up, respect this blog, and respect Ann with the funny socks and fuzzy thinking (sometimes). Otherwise stay off. There is no room here for "hit and run" obscene comments without logic and documentation."


Did you hear all that Richard???

Anonymous said...

To the thought police:

Unless you have access to Charter Communications' customer records you can't trace an IP to an individual.

If you have such access, you'd be breaking the law to access it for this purpose without a warrant.

Please stop making empty threats unless you are a law enforcement officer currently assigned to a case involving illegal use of this blog.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"They didn't like TriW and feel it was forced on them. I think that the previous board didn't make clear enough to the community that by the time Julie and Lisa took office, it was too late to turn the ship around ... that any changes other than changes imposed by the CCC or some such ... would have caused us to get fined."

At the de novo hearing, the Coastal Commission (the same ones who used the term "bait and switch," asked for a side-by-side comparison of an out of town site vs. Tri W. They didn't get an answer, except for about 2-3 lines written in haste in the staff report that said an out of town site (guestimate) would be either a million less or 5-6 million more. IF the CSD at that point had insisted that the CC do a fuller report and then told the coastal commission they stood ready to put those two reports to a vote of the community (no phony numbers, full disclosure of all OM&Rs, etc) the community could have picked which plan they wanted, and then proceeded forward -- no train wrecks, since this could not possibly be viewed as a "delay" by the RWQCB but a clear requirement to get a permit from the CC and with a clear vote we would have gotten a clear green light as well. But the CSD did not do that. The CC shrugged and shoved it all off their plate and the rest, as they say, is history. That was a choice that the old board could have made, but didn't.

sewertoons sez:"The books have been in chaos for months and no one thought getting them in order was important until the court ordered the audit. Maybe they really DIDN'T know what they had or didn't have. This is no excuse, as they are the stewards of the community's money. (Playing loose with one's own credit cards and chances are a different game altogether.)"

How, until you have an audit -- an audit, by the way, that clearly showed that the "old" bookkeeping system had serious flaws in it (I also remember complaints about the computer program the old CSD had bought that wouldn't allow simple break-out costs & etc)--how can you know exactly how much you have? If the GM did a preliminary report that said you had X amount, and you relied on that, and you were committed to move ahead on a project update, (Which is what the community, I thought, wanted ASAP) then wouldn't you move ahead? Now that the audit has uncovered some serious problems, and corrected them, now the "real" figures are in hand. What happens NOW, is critical for this community.


Sewertoons sez:"but part of this board was anti-sewer for a long time. Maybe they still are."

What evidence are you basing that on? Which "part" of the board is "anti-sewer?"

Anonymous sez to another anonymous: "Anonymous said...
To the thought police:

Unless you have access to Charter Communications' customer records you can't trace an IP to an individual.

If you have such access, you'd be breaking the law to access it for this purpose without a warrant.

Please stop making empty threats unless you are a law enforcement officer currently assigned to a case involving illegal use of this blog."

O.K. everyone, GET A GRIP. There's serious stuff to be discussed and it can be done without sophomoric bully-boy nonsense.

Also, keep in mind, the "Richard" you're refering to may or may not be . . . anybody. NO ONE posting on this comment section should be considered anything other than "anonymous." Even if someone posts their name, it ain't necessarily them. It could be someone posting using their name. For all we know, the "real" Richard LeGros, as we type, is actually in France and has no access to a computer. You simply don't know.

Unless someone figures out how to hack into this ACTUAL WEB PAGE/Newsmission site (not the comment section) the only person who you know is posting is moi! Everyone else should be considered as "anonymous." Including someone called "churadogs" who may or may not be me, So, proceed cautiously. Tricksters abound in cyberspace.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

I have been civil on this blog. Always.

I have explained my decisions.

I have explained that my decisions were based on law and facts, and made within the boundaries of my oath of office.

I have explained that there was no other decision other than to begin the project due to the laws and governmental regulations that had to be obeyed. NOT to begin the project would have resulted in terrible damages to Los Osos. Post-recall history has proven my position as correct.

I have explained my decision regarding the recall vote date. Of course I had a choice. Here I never said I didn't; but history is what it is and cannot be undone. Speculation of what might have happened if the recall occurred earlier has no importance for doing so detracts from the reality of today. We will never know what might have been...we only know what has happened.

I have asked questions of those who have questioned me; only to have the questions evaded or answered with tangential answers.

In short, I will not be posting on this blog anymore. The cruel, uncivil remarks made towards me are unacceptable.

The preponderance of speculation and opinion posing as fact or proof argued towards invalidating and demonizing the actions of past LOCSD boards is unacceptable. An example is this idea that the Crosby audit revealed that the "old" bookkeeping system had serious flaws. This is simply incorrect. Talk to Mr. Crosby. I have. His concerns about the bookkeeping system are not directed towards the pre-recall CSD but towards the post-recall CSD. He said that in his answer of director Tacker's query at the Thurday, June 29 CSD board meeting.

My parting remark will be that Los Osos has serious issues to resolve. These problems can either overwhelm us or unite us. I leave you to decide.


Regards,

Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Richard LeGros wrote:

"Besides the ditch in town, could you please answer my earlier question how events would have been different if I, Stan and Gordon were recalled in August instead of Septemmber?"

Lets see if I can take a whack at this Richard...

First... the contractors wouldnt have had as much time to front load the project and may have had second thoughts on suing us. Less money spent up front means a bigger risk to them if they spend a lot on legal fees to recover a smaller amount of money. That would have saved us quite a bit in legal defense fees.

Second... The state wouldnt have sued us to get the SRF money back, since, as you stated, we never would have received it. More legal fees saved.

Third... the new board may have had more time to consider the Mike Drake firing and been able to fire him for cause instead of paying off his contract... more savings.

Fourth... Buel could have been fired that much sooner... more savings.

Fifth... and this is most important. I am claiming the Measure B would not have passed if you were recalled in August. If you remember, Measure B was a late comer to the party. Just squeeked in under the wire for the election. Hardly anyone had heard of it when you set the date... it only required half the signatures that the recall did and took just about a month if I remember to gather the signatures compared to the recall campaign that had been going on for what, 6 month??

You gave us another month to campaign on Measure B. Without that month it would have failed. Remember it only won by a couple dozen votes.

Without Measure B, there is no settlement with BW&S, there is no Taxpayer Watch Lawsuit to kill Measure B as well as no Public Waste lawsuit... huge savings!!!

Sixth... how much money was spent on both campaigns in the last few weeks. I am sure you've seen the financials. It would have been nice if all those donors could have kept that money dont you think?? That is direct savings to the community.

As you can see... calling for the election a month sooner would have prevented a number of lawsuits and havent you all been griping about all the money being spent on lawyers. To think, you alone could have prevented so much of it.

And this is obviously speculation but I think it is safe to say that the state and regional boards would have reacted differently had construction never been started. Im not saying that they wouldnt have reacted, but I think it would have been different.

And finally... imagine what the new CSD board could have accomplished if they didnt have so much to deal with... so many fires to put out... so many battles to fight... most as a direct result of your actions in the last month of the campaign.

It makes me sick just to think about what all could have been prevented and saved had your ass been thrown out of office just one month sooner.

I'm sure you know that to be true... and you've contemplated that more than once.

It may make me sick, but you have to live with the knowledge that you were in a position to prevent it. Live with that!!!

Sewertoons said...

Anon,

Quite a bit of loosey goosey speculation. But however it is to be colored, the PAST IS THE PAST.

Now that you have all that off your chest, (and I'm sure we could spend quite a lot of time blaming the current board too, but for once, let's don't), what do we do now? Got any ideas? This is where we all need to be NOW.

Anonymous said...

Anon,
I think you are part of the problem here. Blame isn't going to get this town anywhere. So stop fanning the flames on ancient history and think to the future, unless of course you really don't want to move ahead. If that's the case, consult a shrink.

PublicWorks said...

First of all,

All this speculation is comical:

The statement that an earlier election means the CSD would have had more SRF money to 'play' with is laughable. SRF money, not for the old project, was the State's money, not the CSDs. There is a reason the State claims the CSD is in breach of contract. It was never, and will never be the CSD's money, you people. It is state money for state financing of a project paid for by the property owners.

The election date was appropriately set. Filing deadlines (there were four measures on the ballot) dictated that holding any election gave minimal time for those deadlines - Go to the recorder's office for yourself. Popping off of about the selection date when you have no idea what was involved is SOOO Los Osos. That is what happened at the June meeting, with speakers mouthing off about an election date, with absolutely no input into the actual mechanics of the election. Had an August 30 date been set (or even early Sept., but less so), it is possible not enough candidates would have filed (how ironic), or would have been scrambling to file - that is no way to hold an election. The issue for that item was an election date, not a sewer, period.

Also note that LAFCO put the hearing date on dissolution at the maximum point it could.

The speculation about what would and would not have passed is laughable, as well as attempts to hold LeGros responsible for Measure B costs. Measure B was the responsibility of those that pushed it. Without it, no costs, period, case closed. If you want to blame someone, go blame Julie Biggs / Barrow for selling that sack of dung, and trying to shove another legal maneuver up the town and property owners' rear end. Espcially when it did absolutely nothing to move anything. Pro-Bono, my ass.

It is amazing that Ann stood strangely silent before or after the election and asked zip, nada, zilch questions about a financing plan (there was none) for 'moving da sewer', about Measure B, and about details. She has no credibility, because, deliberately or not, she chose not to challenge or question what she was voting for (Hmmmm, eerily similar to 1998, past is prologue, any other catch phrases Ann? ...., use your own advice Ann). She asked for shoot first, ask questions later government, and she got exactly that.

The past is irrelevant. The CSD board right now are 'deer in headlights'. The last meeting mae that crystal clear.

Ann has totally mischaracterized the audit, and what it means - as usual. She hears what she wants to hear. The bottom line is the CSD needs to immediately cut expenses.

They have a CPA, keep her. Dump the IGM, put Melanas as IGM temporarily to save money, while an ad hoc committee searches for a GM once the CSD is on financial footing to afford one. He and Veneris are the ones currently managing services (there is no wastewater service) anyway.

If they have money to complete the Ripley report and not affect core services, they could consider it, but they need a definitive answer NOW. If the CPA basically confirms what LeGros has provided them, the answer is clear they may have to stretch it out or postpone it.

Finally, they have to come to terms with their legal team. None of us know what goes on in closed session, but IMO the circumstances of how legal staff was hired and their track record have caused the current BOD to lose credibility all over the place.

Why not put Seitz back as IGM - he knows special districts - anyone watching the last meeting should have been shocked by the staff's lack of knowledge and the horrible budget presentation.

The comments by Biggs about being part of the 'Los Osos illness' were out of line. I don't think Los Osos has an illness, I think it has been infected by a few viruses. And if there is an illness, maybe it's time for them to eliminate the virus. Fire the IGM (what the heck has he done?) and fire BWS and demand all work products that have been paid for by the district taxpayers.

LeGros gave them a template, for god's sake, for asking questions and they basically all looked sheepish with a don't ask, don't tell BOD review of it. They don't need an ad hoc committee, they need to make some tough decisions.

PublicWorks said...

two poorly worded statements I made, apologies

"Filing deadlines (there were four measures on the ballot) dictated that holding any election gave minimal time for those deadlines -"

Filing deadlines (there were four measures on the ballot) dictated that holding an earlier election date gave minimal time for those deadlines.

"Why not put Seitz back as IGM - he knows special districts -"

Why not put Seitz back as IGC - he knows special districts - and to terminate the current IGC.

Ron said...

Richard said:

"The cruel, uncivil remarks made towards me are unacceptable."

I completely agree with Richard (if it is, indeed, him [and I'm going to assume it is... he seems to know what he's talking about]. He's been nothing but civil, and I, for one, really respect his input here.

However, with that said, in a previous comment section, Richard said:

"... the CSD closes its doors on Friday night, they will not reopen on July 5....ever."

Has anyone swung by the CSD office today and yanked on the door?

'toons said:

"Ron, what do you refer to when you say "…once-united community…"?"

I refer to pre-CSD days (pre-1999), when it was LO vs. SLO County. LO was united then. To me, the real tragedy of the Solution Group isn't the massive financial mess they created (and that's a HUGE one). No, it's that they changed the social dynamic from LO vs. SLO County, to LO vs. LO, and that promptly ripped apart your once-united community.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

I think that you've got a good (but perhaps slightly biased) take on the solutions group and the selection of the TriW site for the sewer. However, once the site was chosen in 2001 the die was cast. The current CSD board (who have taken actions that you essentially agree with) has only made worse ... much much worse ... than the bad situation before. [Note: one could even reasonably argue that the reason the TriW project was so darn expensive is the delays because of CCLO and CASE ... Al and Julie and Julie.]

So, why are you so quick to lay the blame at the feet of one of the two parties in this situation and absolve the other side? To me it seems like two kids had a huge fight and everyone is injured. You seem to be blaming the first child, the one who pinched and not blaming the second one, the kid who over-racted and hit.

In the past you've explained that the site selection wasn't rational, so you think it is good to side with those who have a rational site selection plan. Now that the current board is marching down the site selection and bankruptcy path, doesn't is seem to you that their plan is leading us into bankruptcy which is far worse than TriW?

Sewertoons said...

I'm going to backtrack here to what Churadogs said a while back:

" IF the CSD at that point had insisted that the CC do a fuller report and then told the coastal commission they stood ready to put those two reports to a vote of the community (no phony numbers, full disclosure of all OM&Rs, etc) the community could have picked which plan they wanted, and then proceeded forward -- no train wrecks, since this could not possibly be viewed as a "delay" by the RWQCB "

You're SURE that would have been the Water Boards stance???? Positive???

"If the GM did a preliminary report that said you had X amount, and you relied on that, and you were committed to move ahead on a project update, (Which is what the community, I thought, wanted ASAP) then wouldn't you move ahead?"

So what are you saying? That he DID do an audit, the board then moved ahead on the basis of that audit? So this is, in your opinion BLESKEY'S fault that they found them selves without funds?

Shouldn't a report on the books be done monthly????????

And if there was a "GM audit" - shouldn't that audit have been made public? Shouldn't it have been, IF indeed it was made at all?? (Let's not forget that nobody - especially Bleskey -knew anything on the money front when Bleskey was getting deposed by the Attorney General's office…)

Sorry. The board has been irresponsible in their spending. Period.

Ron said...

Shark said:

"You seem to be blaming the first child, the one who pinched..."

Pinched? Kind of like how Ken Lay "pinched" the employees of Enron out of their retirement cash, huh? Just a little "pinch." I'm sure that didn't hurt too much.

As I've reported many times:

"Pursuit of the Solution Group alternative also has the potential to result in significant delays to the implementation of a wastewater treatment project for the Los Osos area."

-- California Coastal Commission Permit Supervisor, Steve Monowitz, October, 1998

And to balance that blast from the past, and avoid the "forget the past, you never talk about solutions" weak take: My solution? As I've said before, the Blakeslee legislation isn't needed. It's frivolous. What is needed is a new SRF loan, pronto. That way LO could quickly begin building the project that should have been selected in the first place... essentially the project that Ripley is going to come back with in about a month.

Richard, is you're still reading this, you could really help with that if you were to write a letter to the Division of Financial Assistance (Evoy, Polhemus, etc.) supporting the recent application for a new SRF loan. As a former CSD Director, that could go a long way in solving all of this, especially if you could convince some others, notably Stan and Gordon, to do the same.

We hear this argument all the time: "It's been studied to death." Well, that's right. It has been studied to death. The early CSD just picked the wrong project, obviously.

Get the SRF loan back, and all of this would be well on its way to being solved before the Blakeslee legislation even makes it way through the bureaucratic maze.

How's that for a solution?

Sewertoons said...

Ron said:
"I refer to pre-CSD days (pre-1999), when it was LO vs. SLO County. LO was united then." in answer to my question WHEN Los Osos was united.

Then Ron, should Los Osos be able to re-unite in hating the county with the Blakeslee plan, as one way or another, the county (or, failing a 218 vote - the state) WILL be building the WWTF?

You didn't answer the WHY part of my question. WHAT UNITED THEM???

I think all the babble about the community being "united" was false and the lens of present history has simply shown what was there all along, a group that wants a sewer, a group that wants ONLY their kind of waste water treatment and the group that wants status quo, (I'm not paying a penny for anything).

Sewertoons said...

Ron, FYI - the board has only put in a place holder including a dollar amount, which ironically was the same as the LAST dollar amount. for an SRF loan.

Until they have a specific project planned this is just to let the state know they "think" they are back in the game. I say "think," as they will have to cough back the money they spent out of the old SFR loan to get the new one and they are teetering on bankruptcy.

Shark Inlet said...

Sewertoons ... good catch. I guess that Ann was saying that the GM was so out of touch with the budget that the board believed they had enough money to complete the Ripley study and provide public services like Fire, Garbage and Water. However that trust in the GM was horribly misplaced.

Which do you think is true, Ann ... was the GM out of touch and should never have been hired (for a mistake on this order of magnitude shows true incompetence) or was the board informed of the lack of funds by the GM (but not during the meeting when the issue was discussed) and they chose to go ahead anyways?

In short, was Blesky or the Board to blame for the massive f*ck up of having no money while spending hundreds of thousands on non-essential items?

Shark Inlet said...

Okay Ron, you believe that lying to state regulators and similar actions by the solutions group (again, I don't believe they lied, but for the sake of discussion let's grant you the point for now) is worse than lying to the voters and running the local government into a financial hole so deep that we'll all be paying $50/month for the next 30 years (or more) just to make up for the mistakes of the current board ($18k in total for me)... that money won't even cover the increased project costs associated with the delay. Ron, your lack of concern for us poor folks in Los Osos is amazing.

Fine, you see the issues differently than I do.

Your claim that the earlier CSD picked the wrong project doesn't make me confident that this new group who says they want STEP and ponding, two things that appear to be problematic for the RWQCB and two things the earlier board chose to pursue early on. How is this new group's plan (even if they weren't out of cash) even reasonable at face value? Besides the location (TriW versus "out of town") it seems little different to me.

By the way, a new SRF cannot be obtained without a sited, permitted and fully designed project. To pay for those things, the CSD would need to borrow millions (maybe $20M). Simply put, the interest rate we as a community would have to eat (being on the verge of bankruptcy and all) to obtain such design money would be high ... think 12% or so. We would to settle half of our debts and then would need a 218 vote this week to borrow the money you think we need. The amount per month (for 30 years) that we would need to commit to is about $80.

Considering you claimed to not be good at math and that financial issues confused you I would suggest you either trust me or ask an accountant to consider these issues. To doubt me without good reason is to be hopeful and unwise in the same sort of way you say the solutions group was.

Spectator said...

Who recommended that Bleskey be hired?

Sewertoons said...

I heard it was Julie - can anyone else verify that?

Anonymous said...

Julie gets credit for Blesky

Lisa for McClendon

Sewertoons said...

Could there have been worse choices? I don't think so. Unless Ken Lay (RIP) was looking for a side job.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not it was Rob Miller who recommended Wildan (not Bleskey per se)to Julie...no one could have predicted the lemon Bleskey urned out to be on budget stuff. But, again, he had a helluva mess in that office, I heard Pat hadn't balanced the books for months/years before the recall. No wonder Richard Margetson had so many corrections on the budget last year, he was paying attention, the rest of us trusted Bruce was geting it done...it wasn't getting done right, notsince Corenbaum left.

Anonymous said...

CORENBAUM??? The woman who walked off her job. The woman who convinced the CSD to use the bookkeeping softwear she was SELLING before changing to the software now being used (because of GASBY requirements) that she choose. The woman who had/has no compunction about blaming others for her mistakes (usually Pat). The woman who constantly said about her own many mistakes "I'll fix it later before the board sees it." The woman who almost never managed to get a payroll correct. Many, many employees over the course of her stint from when she was a contractor with her own bookkeeping business - WRP, to when she was hired at the CSD (August 00) until the time she left in March of 04, had to have their paychecks corrected because she made mistakes.The woman who constantly had to have "consultants" come in because she had no experience with governmental accounting. The woman who had to pass over several of her job duties to Karen Vega because she could not or would not handle them correctly.

Enna

Anonymous said...

Enna has addressed some issues here, that have not otherwise been addressed. Corenbaum walked off her job on March 25, 2004, leaving everyone wondering what the hell had happened. Pat McClenahan, who was the Accounts Payable/Bookkeeper at the time, went in and did Corenbaum's job as well as her own for several months, until it could be determined that Corenbaum was not returning. McClenahan enlisted the help of the **same** CPA as is currently used by the CSD, in order to sort out all the problems left by Corenbaum insofar as Cal-Pers Retirement, Bank Reconciliations and accounting for the County Tax Revenue Accounts were concerned. Five months after Pat stepped in, the District was given a "Clean Audit", the highest possible audit rating.

Pat, who was still essentially training herself as she went along on the job, kept the operational flow going strong, and still enlisted the CPA for ironing out minor problems, and those convoluted spreadsheets left by Corenbaum.

McClenahan received an excellent evaluation, and continued without any problems until the "Recall Election", when one vindictive director ordered the new, Interim GM to "Get rid of Pat". Bleskey's main directive was to fire McClenahan, regardless of her work quality, or proficiency, or whatever. Bleskey, who admitted **under oath** that he had ABSOLUTELY NO ACCOUNTING EDUCATION
ordered McClenahan to cut checks for the payola to the opposing attorneys in lawsuits that were a slam-dunk thing for the CSD, to the tune of $488,000.00, from the State Revolving Fund, designated ONLY for the building of the Waste Water Facility.

Needless to say, Pat refused, and stated that she thought it was patently illegal for these payments to be made from SRF funds, and that there was no provision for settlements to be paid from either the 600 Waste Water Project Fund, or the 100 Administration Fund. There was talk of the Attorney General's office investigating this.
District legal counsel REFUSED to have McClenahan deposed, nor would they stand by McClenahan, if she was deposed. Bleskey placed McClenahan on "Administrative Leave".
The Attorney General's office contacted McClenahan at home, and she was very cooperative in providing information to the AG's office, which led to the freezing of the SRF funds, so that no more sneaky draws could be continued.

Bleskey, still driven by the one Director's orders, concocted a bunch of dubious charges against McClenahan, and fired her on April 12, 2006. This action is still subject to Arbitration, since McClenahan is a member of SLOCEA Union, and as such is not subject to the "at will" employment, as people in private industry are.

McClenahan has been given a bad rap, by one and all. She deserves to be vindicated by her Union representative.

Since McClenahan was fired, the so-called "Acting Administrative Services Manager" has managed to completely ignore necessary payments to Cal Pers Retirement, amongst other things. Her last day was Friday, July 7, 2006.

NOW, who the hell is going to step in and keep the operational flow going??

Bleskey? Two-Day-A-Week, no accounting education BLESKEY?? NO!!!!

The Accounts-Payable/Bookkeeper who has no higher education in accounting? NO!!!

The Part-Time Accounts Receivable/Bookkeeper, who is, in reality a **Chiropractor** (and a damned good one)?? NO, she has no higher education in accounting. AND she has no interest in spending 50+ hours per week in keeping the District's accounting in order.

So, Ann, you, and all your cronies tell me: Just who is going to keep all the ACCOUNTING stuff from going down the proverbial tubes?



For that, Bleskey (with his zero knowledge of accounting) put