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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oh, Please Don’t Tell Mother Calhoun That It’s Necessary To Explain THIS to Anyone . . . Part Duh.

On the front page of the June 24 Tribune, amazingly and wonderfully in the same slot as the original story and with the same sized headlines – not buried in the minute “correction” section -- the Tribune notes in headlines, “Activist’s words not a threat, CHP says,” then goes on to note that the “threatening statements” made to Assemblyman Blakeslee’s staff by Al Barrow wasn’t a “threat,” --as in a threat of “physical harm or damage to property” – but more of a “threat of political protest.”

The Tribune continues, “Barrow said Friday that his statements to the assemblyman’s staff were focused on criticism of Blakeslee’s negotiations to have the county take over the town’s controversial sewer project.”

Having seen many of Mr. Barrow’s angry, ramped up “criticisms” and “political protests” at numerous CSD meetings, Mother Calhoun stands behind her previous posting: “Mau-Mauing an assemblyman’s 19 year-old scheduler about legislation or policy is BAD theatre and makes about as much sense as Mau-Mauing the young lady behind the Gottschalks cosmetics counter because the refrigerator you ordered a month ago arrived with an ice tray missing.”

The legislation Mr. Blakeslee is working on that Mr. Barrow was politically protesting will have to be studied carefully by everyone. It may turn out to be a boon or a boondoggle, since the devil is ALWAYS in the details. The legislation may fail out of the box or the language may get modified before the deadline or if any of the major players walk away. At this point, it’s not clear to Mother Calhoun whether the CSD actually IS a party to Mr. Blakeslee’s legislation or merely the poor relative whose fate is being decided for him in a back room deal being cooked up by his rich, powerful Uncles in Sacramento and SLOTown.

Either way, cool heads are what will be needed here in Sewerville. And Blakeslee’s scheduler has nothing to do with any of it.

31 comments:

Spectator said...

Apparently Al Barrow made a girl scared enough to run inside and lock the doors. Then the office staff called the fuzz. He should be held accountable for his actions. This man is a danger to himself and the community.

He needs psycological help.

As far as the Blakeslee solution with legislation: Can anything be done before the LOCSD is forced into bankruptcy and receivership? Maybe dissolution? I think not. Ann, you can speak in support of the LOCSD all you want, but the impending bankruptcy will not go away, and dissolution has a good chance of becoming a reality by the middle of November, if not much sooner.

So blame the previous board for attempting to comply with the law and regulating agencies. Within one month of gaining office through the recall, the current board put us on the path of bankruptcy by their actions.

As Shirley Bianchi stated, the regulating boards regulate, they do not negotiate. The current Locsd was well warned as to the consequences of their actions. They lied to the electorate as to having a site, a plan, that there would be no fines, and that we would not lose the low interest loan. Prop B would save us. Wrong on all counts.

Of course LAFCO will look at their actions and failure to fulfill their oath of office.

The groups obstructing the wwtf through the years have greviously harmed themselves and the property owners of Los Osos. They have especially harmed retired and low income residents. They duped them through lies and misinformation.

Now these people will have to sell their homes at really reduced prices and move who knows where. Hopefully there will be some equity left, but if not, they are really between a rock and a hard spot.
It is estimated that 30% of our residents will be in real trouble because of the actions of those who have obstructed the law through the years. As time goes on the percentage will increase.

It would be unrealistic to expect government to come in with a gift of public funds to save them, outside of welfare payments.

Regardless of the best wwtf in the best place at the cheapest cost, we will have to conform to the regulations of the regulating boards, and these boards are not going to negotiate with poluters who are deliberately breaking the law.

You can call these regulating board members heartless, unreasonable, and anything else you want. But they are charged to insure water quality, and regardless of fake science or real science, a nitrate and polution problem exists in our ground water. It is not a simple perception.

The obstructionists can delay, but a wwtf will be forced down our throats, and it will be built to specifications approved by the regulating boards. This is the nature of government for "the greater good". The longer the delay, the worse effects on our citizenry, especially on those with the least means.

If a 218 vote does not pass, (your dogs and renters will not be able to vote), home values will continue to decrease in all areas of Los Osos, but especially in the prohibition zone. But if it passes, values will return, and there will be more equity for those who will not be able to afford the wwtf payments, so they will be able to move.

Face it, the LOCSD will soon be history. Their record of finantial management and bad choices has ensured bankruptcy and dissolution. How can this possibly not happen? Who in their right mind can trust these people to make intelligent decisions? Perhaps only you and the obstructionists.

Give the LOCSD board more time? It sure did not take them much time to put Los Osos into the finantial toilet. They have flushed the least able to afford real deep, and every day that passes, more get flushed as costs rise.

Spectator said...

Ann, what will happen when the LOCSD is forced into bankruptcy?

Mike Green said...

If what Spectator says is true, then we have a modern day Don Quixote here with Sam.
Maybe publickworks can help us,
What exactly IS the process that happens when a CSD goes broke?
Any examples?

PublicWorks said...

Man, you don't want to go down bankruptcy. Who knows exactly what the process is, but a bankruptcy judge will be involved and call the shots - and that spells delay (and loss of local 'control'). Not a good formula for addressing water issues.

It's one thing if you're Orange County, and have a trillion dollar economy, and can just grow your way out of it. We're a measly services district, with all funding by fees for services and property taxes from the homeowners.

The only thing I can think of comparable is the Compton School District, where the state ended up assigning a conservator to manage it because it was so screwed up financially and from management.

Mike Green said...

Publickworks,

Fuuny thing is, I lost a few buckos when Orange County went under....
(Calif. Tax Fee Bonds)
Needless to say, I don't own any of those anymore.
Thanks for the reply!

PublicWorks said...

Mike sez,

"Fuuny thing is, I lost a few buckos when Orange County went under....
(Calif. Tax Fee Bonds)"

On the plus (??) side, creditors get screwed (sorry Mike, and I'm also assuming you don't hold any Los Osos bonds). Lest anyone think that's a great reason to go bankrupt, think about securing new credit to get anything done - won't happen.

Anonymous said...

Mike and publicworks,

If the LOCSD defaults on the Assessment Bond interst payment of $712,000 due September 1, the following will happen;

1.The Bonding Company will lien all Los Osos property owners (who did not pre-pay bond assessment) for the amount that they borrowed from Bond proceeds plus attorney costs. For the average home in Los Osos, that would be around $4,500. Understand that the Bonding Company has to protect all those little old ladies that bought the A rated bonds.

2. As the cash to pay the bond interst was collected with the April 06 property taxes, the BIG question is where is the money. The County gave the CSD the money. Why was it not set aside for the purpose it was collected?

3. Because of #2 above, the State Attorney General would become involved. The State does not take misappropriation of public money lightly. The State would investigate the mishanding of public money, issue indictiments and force the DA to prosecute and convict those responsile.

PublicWorks said...

anon,

maybe you're speculating about item 2. why would you suggest it was not set aside?

Anonymous said...

Publicworks,

The money has not been set aside in any of the LOCSD accounts, nor does it show up on any of the LOCSD balance sheets. I am not speculating...the money has already been spent to pay other LOCSD expenses OTHER than what the money was collected for.

As of June 23, the LOCSD had $258,388.94 in it's checking account. The total remaining in other accounts that the LOCSD has access to is $1,050,000. Nowhere in the unrestricted or restricted accounts is the $712,000 set aside. These are the only accounts where the money would be deposited. The LOCSD does not have any other accounts.

It is very clear...the LOCSD will have to drain ALL accounts to $0.00 and transfer the money into the 1012 operations account in order to meet it's operation expenditures of $1,000,000 over the next 2 months. There is not enough money left over to pay the Assessment Bond Payment.

Mike Green said...

The question begs,
If bankruptcy is unavoidable, why is Sam tilting at windmills?
It don't add up.
Wait and see I guess
In the meantime anyone know a good pirate shanty or slave work song to while away the time?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Sam's legislative effort will work regardless of the LOCSD's financial status.

As a law, Sam's effort will guide the bankruptcy administrator assigned to oversee the LOCSD.

Mike Green said...

So in other words, Sam is only trying to protect the county from the total financial problems of LO.?
(not that that would be a bad thing from his pespective)
In that case it might be better indeed to:
Hoist ourselves on our own petard,
Fall on our own swords,
Walk the plank
Hari kiri
Jump
OD
Sit down on our own traintracks,
Fail the Darwin test.

Mike Green said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Green said...

Oh' I forgot:

.'. !

Anonymous said...

hi Mike,

Do as you feel.

Mike Green said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Green said...

Anon, What do you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Spectator said "It is estimated that 30% of our residents will be in real trouble because of the actions of those who have obstructed the law through the years." Are you serious? You care about these people? these neighbors? The same neighbors who were about to get screwed by the Tri-w project?
To date most homeowners are paying $222 per year for 30 years, a small price to pay for the Tri-w fiasco, which netted us equity in a sewer project, properties, right-a-ways, easements, pump station sites, reports, tests, good data, all to be used for the right project should Blakeslee pull off the right comprimise.
As for the poor, they still live here, if they've left its because the ecomonmy has changed, not because the sewer is taxing them. There's no mechanism to tax you, other than the assessment vote which obligated you to approximately $4000 per house, still a small price to pay for the Tri-w fiasco, and 6 years further reprieve from a monthly sewer bill that would force you from your home.
It was the old board who set the path, the new board has the mess to clean up and will take the blame into eternity...but the fight was right, the cause is good, the wrong project - wrong location - wrong price, needed to be stopped and the old board didn't, they set the course, they are to blame for all the losses to our community, including the diversity of its residents. Thanks Stan, Richard and Gordon...we'll never forget you.

Churadogs said...

Anonymooses sez:"It was the old board who set the path, the new board has the mess to clean up and will take the blame into eternity...but the fight was right, the cause is good, the wrong project - wrong location - wrong price, needed to be stopped and the old board didn't, they set the course, they are to blame for all the losses to our community, including the diversity of its residents. Thanks Stan, Richard and Gordon...we'll never forget you."

You're forgetting a major player here: The RWQCB. From 1983 to the present they have repeatedly confused "clean water" with "sewers," and continue to do so. And the County that could have started a Septic Management District years ago, one dedicated to keeping up with onsite technology as it came on line. And both the County & RWQCB who could and should have been updating the Basin Plan and re-doing the PZ. Instead, we've had technological dinosaurs plodding towards a cliff, dragging this community with them at the point of a gun.

And, don't forget, 40% of this community permanently disengaged and totally out to lunch.

Shark Inlet said...

To our most recent anonymous friend ...

Perhaps you've not been paying too much attention.

The TriW project was expensive because of a variety of reasons, the least of which was the park. The biggest reasons it was pricey was inflation. A $100M project, with three years of delay becomes a $125M project. Delay caused by CCLO and CASE stalled the project by about three years. Furthermore, when there is a contentious community evidenced by threatening letters to potential bidders, it will raise the costs a bit. The time schedule order was also the "hard place" in this rock and hard place scenario.

However, while TriW was expensive, the same inflation would have happened had the previous board proposed putting the beast at Andre or anywhere else. It wouldn't have been CCLO, but the Clark Valley Road neighbors who would have forced the delay. Even so, the die was cast in 2001 when TriW was selected. Since that point in time, it is sewer foes who have raised our bills, not the previous board as you suggest.

Your suggestion that moving the WWTF elsewhere is cleaning up the mess of the old board is reasonable ... but please remember the delay and costs associated with moving the plant elsewhere. Essentially the $200/month TriW plant, will run us $275/month or more from the delay, debts and loss of original SRF loan. If we pursue another location, think $350-400/month.

If you think that won't cause a considerable fraction of our community to have to move (30% seems low to me) you are just fooling yourself. While you may think you are a supporter of the common folk, your lack of thought on the issue of financial issues makes you seem more like a hopeful person than one who is truly concerned.

Anonymous said...

Faith, hope, and love......and the greatest of these is HOPE!

Sewertoons said...

And hope is just as hard to live on as love if there is no money to make payments.

Shark Inlet said...

Which is more powerful ... to love your neighbor and help them out or to hope that your neighbor's problem will just solve itself?

The key here for those who claim to want to protect widows and orphans is that the choices we make as a community will definitely have an impact on those at the bottom end of the financial scale. Do we want to make choices that fix the costs or do we want to roll the dice and hope for snake eyes because anything else is even worse than the current state of affairs?

Dogpatch Refugee said...

"the fight was right, the cause is good, the wrong project - wrong location - wrong price, needed to be stopped and the old board didn't, they set the course, they are to blame for all the losses to our community, including the diversity of its residents. Thanks Stan, Richard and Gordon...we'll never forget you."
Word.
One thing. the fight is still right. This ain't over yet, as much as certain familiar factions would like to have us think it is.
What happens in November has more to do with what is going to happen here than all the Florishes & Blandishments going on of late. There are some very good people on this new csd board under a lot of fire trying to do their best in the job they were elected to do. I'm giving them credit & my continued support & thanks. This blog is getting to sound too much like the cawing of impatient vultures, rather than the voices of caring neighbors:
"While you may think you are a supporter of the common folk, your lack of thought on the issue of financial issues makes you seem more like a hopeful person than one who is truly concerned."
What a phoney hypocritical thing to say.

Churadogs said...

To Inlet: Once again, your $200 a month guestimate continues to beg a question. First, of course, the $205 proposed didn't include the constantly increasing O&M&Rs, and "deferreds," so that $205 was simply a starting point. The question that needs answering is this: How many people could not afford even the $205 and would have to sell and move out? Does anyone have an accurate estimate? Since there's been no affordability studies done, the number has to be a vague guestimate. I keep hearing %30. That's the number Stan used years ago, when the cost was cheaper still. If the people supporting the Tri W project didn't care about the folks who would be forced to move because of THAT (minimum) cost, why would they care if the number keeps creeping up? 30% 35% 37% Does this community really care? I mean, 45 of our friends and neighbors were singled out to be hit with CDOs and the "outpouring" of care and concern was . . . almost nearly ZIP. So, I find the boo-hooing over "escalating costs" vis a vis the "widows & orphans" hypocritical and it has been from day one. Not once has the County or the original CSD stood up and OFFICIALLY declared, as public policy and as an official "sewer criteria," that Cost is NOT and will NOT be an issue.I don't see anything in the Blakeslee Proposal that makes that a policy statement either.

Shark Inlet said...

Fair enough, Ann, $205/month was the starting point. There would likely have been increases.

Would you think it better to work from a starting point of $205/month with likely increases or $300/month and likely increases? Remember here that Lisa has already told us that STEP won't save money over gravity and that and estimate of what we can hope to save on electricity and sludge trucking costs is only $10/month. Is it really a good idea to throw away an expensive but largely fixed cost project for a project that will likely only be more expensive?

As to your assertion that cost analyses and concern for my neighbors is hypocritical ... I can't wait for the day when you apologize to my friends for your support of a board who took actions that forced them out of town. Will you be big enough in a few years to apologize to them for the results of the actions you advocated? If you show concern for the CDO 45 who are facing costs comparable to what a sewer would have cost us yet you refuse to admit that there is legitimate reason to be concerned that nearly all of us will be facing even greater costs because of the current board you are simply not thinking straight. Yes, there is reason to be concerned about the CDO costs ... but even more reason to be concerned about our longterm costs.

While the LOCSD officials have not told us that cost won't be included in considerations, I do think it fair to say that they've shown no interest in cost/benefit analyses on any issues that have come before them. If they had, they would have asked for such an analysis from Bruce before they stopped work on TriW in October.

Sewertoons said...

Well, I just guess those of us who want to live near the ocean (look at the costs of ocean-proximity real estate anywhere in California) are going to have to get over the feeling of entitlement of forever keeping the free ride we have all had for living sewerless.

It couldda been done a lot cheaper earlier - but NO - FREE was best. Well, look how free FREE is right now. Let's hope there are some good grant seekers in the Grants Committee right now, as more of us are being financially "freed up" to look for other homes DAILY.

Shark Inlet said...

Sorry Sewertoons ...

Ann does not believe that people around Los Osos are moving out of town with their homes worth less than a year ago (bucking the statewide trend).

She knows that no one is being hurt by the LOCSD.



ps - Ann, remember, you did say that snarky was okay.

Anonymous said...

"Ann does not believe that people around Los Osos are moving out of town with their homes worth less than a year ago (bucking the statewide trend)."

1st quarter 2006, 39 homes sold in L.O for an average price of 558k.

It is really beginning to smell like fish shit around here...

Shark Inlet said...

Yes ... where were those homes and what would they have sold for a year ago? It is a difficult business to assess the fair value of a home.

In this case it would be interesting to see whether the sales price of those homes in the PZ which sold recently have matched the countywide trend compared to when those homes last sold.

Sewertoons said...

I would guess some of these people selling houses for big bucks might even have moved out of the PZ to another LO house OUTSIDE the PZ, because they were rich enough to do so and could see which way the wind was blowing. Better to lose a little than a lot. (My neighbor, a realtor, did this).