AB2701 Citizens’ Committee’s request for amendments.
The following was sent to Senator Murray by the [Los Osos]Citzens’ Committee. The suggestions for amending the “Blakeslee Plan”, i.e. AB2701 were formulated by a group of Los Osos residents concerned that certain provisions in the bill, as it now stands, were problematic for the residents of the community. The process of requesting amendments to a bill, on paper at least, seems straightforward: citizens, legislators, lobbyists, whoever, are free to send along suggestions and requests for changes at any time in the process. Bills can morph, change, live or die right up to the moment of the final vote. Whether any requests for changes survive the process or ever get into the mix in the first place remains to be seen. And bills can suddenly and for no reason up and die and when the death is investigated, there are no weapons and no fingerprints to be found anywhere. Very mysterioso. Which is why people are warned that there are two things you should never watch happen: Sausage getting made. . . and legislation.
AB 2701 CITIZENS’ COMMITTEE
July 21, 2006
Dear Senator Murray,
Please consider the severe economic impact of AB 2701 due to the significant financial issues not addressed in this bill. The language in the bill shields San Luis Obispo County but does nothing to protect the State or local taxpayers.
Demographics indicate that at least 35-40% of Los Osos residents will be forced to move out of our community if SLO County is allowed to restart the previous wastewater treatment project – the most expensive per capita in the United States. Without the necessary affordability safeguards added to this bill, our most vulnerable population – seniors, the disabled and low-to-moderate income families will be hardest hit. Facing a $200-$300 monthly sewer bill, at least 5,000 people will be forced to leave their homes. This is absolutely unacceptable! This is especially true since there is a viable and affordable alternative project plan ready to be delivered to the Los Osos Community Services District on July 28. Therefore, we strongly recommend that an amendment to AB 2701 include a cap on the total cost of the wastewater treatment project pursuant to the EPA Guidelines for Affordability which is 2% of the median household income.
In order to preserve California air and water quality, AB 2701 also needs to include language specifically requiring the proposed wastewater treatment project follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Water Board guidelines for sustainability (SWRCB Resolution 2005-0006). These changes will protect the Morro Bay Estuary, assure water quality, and maintain the drinking water supply in the Los Osos groundwater basin.
Finally, in order to protect the property owners’ right to an effective Proposition 218 vote,
language must be added to AB 2701 which guarantees taxpayer rights as written in the
State Constitution. The sequence of required actions outlined in Article XIII D mandates that prior to the establishment of a cost benefit for property owners there must be a detailed cost analysis. Before the Proposition 218 vote, the engineer’s report should contain the project design, operation and maintenance and site acquisition costs.
Our citizen committee strongly supports an affordable, environmentally sustainable wastewater treatment project for Los Osos. The changes we are requesting to AB 2701 are imperative if Los Osos is to remain a vital, economically diverse community. This goal can only be accomplished with your help.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
AB 2701 Citizens’ Committee Representative
cc: Senate Appropriations Committee Members