Pages

Saturday, July 22, 2006

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
Fax: (805)544-0741
email: boleecooper@webtv.net
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,

Bo Cooper
AB 2701 Citizens’ Committee Representative

cc: Senate Appropriations Committee Members

19 comments:

Spectator said...

Good letter! 2% of $30,000 average income equals $600 a year = $50 a month.

Fat chance! Get realistic folks, there is no free lunch.

Anonymous said...

Nice platatudes but no, aside from limiting to $50/mo, howto details. We all want sustainability, environmental, yada, yada.

How does Ripley propose for this to be done? I do not need to see an orchestrated presentation but rather some real numbers with real dates to completion. Talk used to be cheap, but now it costs the property owners $500k to hear the talk!

I've seen 100s of presentations that consist of nothing more than sales pitches selling the sizzle. Where's the beef?


P.S. Churadog, the citizens are not allowed to see the details of Ripley's plan unless we sit through a CSD revival?

This is what you call being involved? The comments posted here and at other sites are public comment and are being read by all the agency players. We don't need "no stinkin meeting" as they say, to be informed, educated on sewer issues and involved!

Anonymous said...

I think the average household income in the PZ is a bit higher (between 30 - 40 thousand). At least according to 2000 Census Bureau info. But your point is well taken. I bet if a new study were done it would be even higher.

Anonymous said...

This was written by Bo Cooper? Or his wife? Come ON!

I can see Gail McPherson written ALL OVER this blog.

No, I would like to have Bo Cooper say this, without reading it, a a BOD meeting. I doubt he could comprehend the meaning of the words, let alone the language.

Naw, this is a voice-over by power hungry Gail, who is NOW making financial proposals, as well as asking LOCSD legal counsel questions. (To her credit, Julie Hayward Biggs reminded Gail, that she was counsel to the BOD, not to Gail.)( One of the *few* things, I might add, that CAN be considered admirable).

So, Gail, step onto the stage, as your puppet has no credibility. but then again, neither do YOU.

Spectator said...

"If wishes were horses, beggers would ride." Since when is price ever determined by affordability? The concept is rediculous. If you want a $45,000 Cadillac, but can afford only to pay $10,000 for it, do you drive it off the lot and start burning gas?

There will be another index besides income. If you live in a $424,000 house, pay only $2000 in taxes, since when can't you reverse mortgage it to achieve $300 a month to pay a sewer bill? Don't want to?
Bye.

I am afraid that government will do their best to work around this legal issue, regardless of the intent of the law. Does anyone have any case law where the law was actually inforced to it's true intent? Especially in light that Los Osos property owners in the PZ are breaking the law, and doing their best for years to obstruct the water law. For more than 30 years.................

This is political reality.

Spectator said...

In the meantime, it certainly will not hurt to forward your wishes to the finance committee. Maybe they will actually consider this 2% of income limit. At least they will scratch their heads. It is the law, nope, recommendation.

Spectator said...

Ann:

What a difference ten days makes! In Lisa Schicker's letter of 7/12, published previously by you as an answer to a letter from Richard LeGros, she castigates him for spreading around financial information that is speculative or false to the papers etc. (To this effect). She suggested that he attend a finance committee to get the proper information. (To this effect.)

Now, in light of the outside meetings to save $500. I wonder where the finance committee ever was? Did they know of this impending situation? Was anyone home? And where was Lisa as the problem started to unfold months ago? Anyone home? The rest of the board? Anyone home?

I hope Ripley pays the bill for the special meeting to present their facts, figures, and timeline analysis so we can meet inside.

Shark Inlet said...

What I find most interesting about the letter is the admission that the WWTF will run us $200-300/month.

Ann, considering you are opposed to speculation, why didn't you castigate Bo for his numbers? After all, no engineering professional like Ripley has verified those numbers!

The facts are this ... the thing will be very pricey. Why? Delay and inflation. Essentially any delay, even delay for a good cause ... to use newer technology or to lower energy requirements of the plant ... costs us more than we gain from the delay.

PublicWorks said...

Can someone please explain the following:

"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."



It is a FACT that legislation cannot override the State Constitution, so can someone please explain why it would be necessary to amend legislation and add language to guarantee rights that are already in the Constititution. Such a request seems to diminish the credibility of the requester. And people wonder why Los Osos has a perception problem.

"Please consider the severe economic impact of AB 2701 due to the significant financial issues not addressed in this bill."

Does it seem odd to anyone that the economic impact of legislation would be demanded by many of the same people who demanded absolutely NO economic impact on legislation proposed last year in Los Osos???

Odd, that a demand for economic impact and Prop. 218 demands are coming from those that proposed absolutely NO Prop. 218 assesment that was required to fund an alternate project one year ago. Where were the demands by these people for a funding plan a year ago??

Who thinks these things thru???

On the eve of bankruptcy brought about by unplanned funding to start over, it is very curious. Regardless of the previous boards decisions, anybody with half a brain (and acting with fidiciary responsibility) should have known and proposed a funding mechanism to start over. 10 months and counting (20 months counting the start of the recall, and NO concrete funding/bond has ever been seriously proposed).

They demand details on a Prop. 218 vote, but have failed over and over to ask for details for the funding necessary to even GET to a Prop. 218 vote.

Spectator said...

To Publicworks: There is an answer to all your questions.

THERE IS NOBODY HOME! HELLO, HELLO, ANYBODY HOME?

PublicWorks said...

Ann,

Here's a suggestion for future columns.

In addition to just applying your tried and true rhetorical commentary for each column, add a section beginning with the phrases 'and then what, and then when??' and apply those phrases to decision-makers on this board - and ask yourself when those simple questions have ever or will ever be answered.

Or, Ann...., you can continue harping about people showing up at meetings. Here's a hint Ann, hundreds of 'people-hours' have been expended going to meetings and hundreds of questions asked, so don't you find it remarkable that the answers to 'and then what, and then when??' have never been answered, with the exception of responses like:

'it's not our fault'

'the old board pounded money into the ground'

'we were naive' (my personal favorite)

'we have claims and litigation on-going'

as opposed to:

'We are proposing a $10 million bond to be paid for by the property owners to pay for the study of our idea of an alternate project and to provide solvency, so that we do not spend state money that was loaned for a whole different project. That way, we believe they will have a choice as soon as possible, and the choice will include a statement on the risk for enforcement against the district and homeowners'

See, a little bit of forthrightness could be refreshing.

Spectator said...

7/21/06

To the board of directors of the LOCSD,

Things have not worked out the way you wished, you were BADLY advised from the beginning, otherwise you would not have put the district into such financial difficulty, which will NOT BE CLEARED UP FOR YEARS! Obviously the Blakeslee bill will NOT benefit the stakeholders in the district, it is meant to protect the stakeholders in the county. Bankruptcy will be extremely expensive to the district. Nothing will really be accomplished by it. Fines will continue to the district and individual punishment for violation of the water law will certainly be enforced to the detriment of the stakeholders in the PZ. At this point you have four options:

1. Bankruptcy and continue with the LOCSD: This will not stop the harm to the stakeholders. It will increase it. No sewer will be built by the LOCSD.
2. Continue as is into absolute insolvency: This will not stop harm to the stakeholders. No sewer will be built by the LOCSD.
3. Pressure LAFCO to dissolve the LOCSD: This will share the liability of the district with the county. The county will build the sewer.
4. Resign immediately and let LAFCO put in place a new board of directors: This will not stop harm to the LOCSD stakeholders.


It is clear to ME that the only rational decision to make is for the board to pressure LAFCO for dissolution (3). Demand it for the benefit of the stakeholders! Do it as fast as possible by any means. Get the district dissolved as fast as possible! Consider:

1. A 218 vote to get you out of bankruptcy will have to pass. The vote will be only by the stakeholders. It will not pass. I have 3 votes, and will not vote to perpetuate the LOCSD. There is a question of trust, and you have been NOT trustworthy. You have not considered the stakeholders in the district by your actions. Most stakeholders feel the same way as I do.

2. You can blame the former board all you want for your problems, but the problems started with THIS board. You lied to the electorate during the recall.

3. Blame the lawyers. Nobody likes lawyers. Admit you were fooled by bad advice, and apologize to the stakeholders. Let the County sue the lawyers.

4. There is no way you can avoid blame for this situation. All you can do is transfer the situation, and hope the individual anger for you and your actions goes away.
In time it has a chance. The County will be embroiled. You can blame it upon "The voters decided." "Bleskey told us to do it." "We followed the advice of the lawyers."

At this point you need to consider the stakeholders. Otherwise if you do not, there may be an uprising and demand for your individual punishment by the stakeholders.
If you sell Tri-W to stay in existence, the stakeholders will be really upset in that you have limited their choices for a sewer and stopped cost analysis, plus you will have extended the time period for anything getting done, hence further expense to the stakeholders. In any case the sale of Tri-W will be fought in the courts and the stakeholders will look at the sale as a vindictive action. You are on record as wanting to absolutely stop Tri-W permanently regardless of stakeholder wishes.

Do the right thing. If you do not, you will make things worse, and you will not avoid prosecution. Due diligence is required. You can be individually sued and are. Do not bring it to this. Consider what happened in the Orange county bankruptcy. $100, 000 fine and 1 year house arrest for the perpetrator, and he had good intentions.



Jon Arcuni

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what spectator said, however, the CSD can't sell Tri-W/Broderson "to stay in existence".

Proceeds from any sale have been frozen by the court in anticipation of the contractor's cause of action being upheld. Besides, the MOMENT an escrow is opened, I know of several parties who will file for an injunction to prevent the sale.

The only viable option is dissolution!

Anonymous said...

Ann:
A non-sewer related request. This weekend I had my car window smashed and all my wife's and my belongings stolen in Montana de Oro. We have spent the last 3 days trying to save our identity (house locks changed; cars re-keyed; credit card and bank accounts frozen; new cell phones; etc etc.) In our travels we have been told this has become a common-place occurence in Los Osos recently. Five cars at the Elfin Forest were just broken into at the same time. Additionally, we were told lowlifes have recently been stealing things out of mailboxes with regularity. Could you please use your sway and do some investigation into this and get the Bay News or whatever to give some attention to this story. I think people need to be apprised of this; if anything warn people to NOT leave anything in their cars in Los Osos. Thank you.

Churadogs said...

An anonymoose sez:"P.S. Churadog, the citizens are not allowed to see the details of Ripley's plan unless we sit through a CSD revival?"

This tickles me. A lot of anonymooses whine endlessly that I'M NOT ANSWERING THEIR TECHNICAL QUESTIONS, so I suggest they go to a meeting wherein the actual engineers are so they can ask them, face to face, then I'm told, Aw, heck no, it's just a "revival." So far as I know, the Ripley report (written? Posted? available on a CD?) will be available July 28. The presentation will allow interested people to get an overview of the report and those interested in more details can ASK QUESTIONS DIRECTLY FROM THE ENGINEERS and/or take the report home for further analysis. The choice, Dear Anonymoose, is yours.

Spectator sez, regarding the affordability study:"If wishes were horses, beggers would ride." Since when is price ever determined by affordability? The concept is rediculous. If you want a $45,000 Cadillac, but can afford only to pay $10,000 for it, do you drive it off the lot and start burning gas?"

It's my understanding that a properly done affordability study has nothing to do with No Dough; No sewer. It doesn't. I has to do with legally being able to qualify for various federal/state loans/grants to help those who will be financially destroyed by whatever project is putin place. Unless the study is properly done (not just a guestimate from a census) the county/CSD won't qualify for any help. An affordability study as repeatedly requested and refused from the old board and it still remains to be done.


Publicworks sez:"It is a FACT that legislation cannot override the State Constitution, so can someone please explain why it would be necessary to amend legislation and add language to guarantee rights that are already in the Constititution. Such a request seems to diminish the credibility of the requester. And people wonder why Los Osos has a perception problem"

This is the perfect example of what I'm talking about -- people getting off their duffs and helping shape the issues that will affect them. Since Publicworks is such a constitutional scholar, the ad hoc committee who created these amendment suggestions could have benefited from your knowledge. But you didn't offer it to them, just complained after the fact at this blog site. Exactly what I've been talking about.

Publicworks also sez"Or, Ann...., you can continue harping about people showing up at meetings. Here's a hint Ann, hundreds of 'people-hours' have been expended going to meetings and hundreds of questions asked, so don't you find it remarkable that the answers to 'and then what, and then when??' have never been answered, with the exception of responses like:"

I find it remarkable that, FROM DAY ONE, the questions you ask -- "and then what, when etc." have NOT been answered. The old board was asked those same questions, same non-answers. Either you're looking at a systemic problem with any board or a systemic problem with creating a process to select a sewer, or a systemic problem created by an apathetic public that doesn't get involved until its too late then expects Big Daddy Uncle to step in and solve all their problems. If 1,000 people had gone to the Old Board and said, We demand a side by side comparison of in-town vs out of town, and an advisory vote (or even a 218 vote) on each before you commit to either, OR 1,000 people showed up at a meeting and said, before you sign onto the $40 million increase of the SRF, we demand a $218 vote on this project, and so forth, what do you think would have happened? Would the old board say, Woa! 1,000 people at a meeting? Better listen to them?

But when only 50 people show up and the other 14,950 stay home, what's a board -- any board -- to think and do.

Anonymous sez:"Five cars at the Elfin Forest were just broken into at the same time. Additionally, we were told lowlifes have recently been stealing things out of mailboxes with regularity. Could you please use your sway and do some investigation into this and get the Bay News or whatever to give some attention to this story. I think people need to be apprised of this; if anything warn people to NOT leave anything in their cars in Los Osos. Thank you."

I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you. If memory serves, it happens every summer. Thieves lurking for tourists visiting points of interest, breaking into cars. PLEASE call Neil Farrell or Jack Beardwood over at the Bay News and let them know and ask them to do a brief write up ASAP, espcially to alert not only local people, but visitors. The sharks are out and summer's feeding time. Neil does the police reports, so I'm sure he heard about this rash of break-ins.

PublicWorks said...

Ann sez,

"I find it remarkable that, FROM DAY ONE, the questions you ask -- "and then what, when etc." have NOT been answered. The old board was asked those same questions, same non-answers. Either you're looking at a systemic problem with any board or a systemic problem with creating a process to select a sewer, .."

Well Ann, did the old board not answer those same questions, or did the old board just not answer them to YOUR satisfaction?? The questions being asked here are NOT the same questions asked of the old board. These are financial questions having to do with funding a wastewater project and the CSD.

The old board funded and started construction on a wastewater project - question asked and answered. Just because you don't like the answer, doesn't mean the questions weren't answered.

Here's an example:

'Why didn't we have another 218 vote?' Answer: You didn't need one the way the old project was structured. Just because you don't LIKE the answer, doesn't mean it wasn't answered.

'The project has deferred costs' Answer: Yes, it had likely deferred costs, as does every project. Just because you didn't LIKE the answer, doesn't mean it wasn't answered.

The new board has not attempted to fund ANYTHING, but has only SPENT borrowed funds and state funds, with NO PLAN to fund anything. Furthermore, those funds have been spent mostly on legal fees, with NO PLAN to fund that spending. Question: when will they provide a funding plan? - maybe they KNOW (as Spectator says) that the stakeholders will not approve it. THAT is not the FAULT of the stakeholders, that is the FAULT of those that said they had a plan - they should at least give the stakeholders the chance to CHOOSE. This CHOICE has nothing to do with the old board, it has to to with the here and now of the past 10 months.

You are the biggest apologist for this board Ann, the question is, why didn't you DEMAND a funding plan before changing course. Stakeholders did not vote for them, precisely for that reason, that was their public input - this board has IGNORED that public input repeatedly and insisted they HAD A PLAN - where was or is the FUNDING PLAN??? Under oath, the CSD President acknowledged NO PLAN at the ACL.

Ann sez,

"This is the perfect example of what I'm talking about -- people getting off their duffs and helping shape the issues that will affect them. Since Publicworks is such a constitutional scholar, the ad hoc committee who created these amendment suggestions could have benefited from your knowledge. But you didn't offer it to them, just complained after the fact at this blog site. Exactly what I've been talking about."

This is exactly how you create misconceptions, Ann. I am not a constitutional scholar, nor does one does not need. What are you trying to say?? That it's now MY FAULT, because I CHOOSE not to associate with a group that I don't believe understands half of what they promote?? How do you know I haven't put my input into legislation? My, you are very presumptuous. Your statement seems to hint that the AB2701 group is somehow more credible than any other citizen or is some 'official' voice of the community. They are not. They are a group of people (who are in violation of EPA derived laws) making demands of both the CSD and the legislature.

Besides, the CSD has legal counsel that they're paying big bucks. In the counsel's review of the legislation, did you see ANYWHERE that the analysis indicated that the legislation would TRUMP 218?? Get back to me on that one. Instead, counsel recommended (which would be POLICY) to add MORE RESTICTIONS to the legislation (WHICH IS POLICY).

Ask yourself Ann, who's running running the train here at full speed? And why????

Ann, YOU keep alluding to old board members putting coal into the engine?? The TW (I'm assuming that's who you refer to) have WON one single case, that's it. It found an ordinance to be ILLEGAL. How is that putting coal into the engine, it simply REMOVED restrictions for this board, that BTW, the board's legal counsel wants to add back it. Nice.

It's time YOU, ANN, took your blinders off, because maybe it's YOU, ANN, who have put coal into the fuel by fueling misconceptions ( better yet, ignoring certain realities) resulting in a TRAIN WRECK.

WHERE WERE YOU, ANN, last year to demand a funding plan to start over?? Were you NAIVE, or did you MISLEAD??

WHERE WERE YOU, ANN, last year, to caution the board not to act in haste, UNTIL IT HAD A FUNDING PLAN??

WHERE WERE YOU, ANN, over the last 6 months, to DEMAND a funding PLAN?? Did you believe money would appear from thin air to pay the lawyers?? WERE YOU naive, or did you mislead?? Why, why???

remember, 'and then what, and then when'

Shark Inlet said...

Publicworks ...

Remember some months ago when Chuck said "trust us." I believe that Ann thought it would be considerably wiser to trust Chuck and the rest than to actually ask questions of the board.

Anonymous said...

When is "Churadogs" going to answer the person whose car was broken into? Or to the alleged rash of crime going on in Los Osos?

You have a column here, why don't you talk about this, a VERY real concern to our citizens?

Anonymous said...

anon 8:10
I did get a response from Ann, and I'm satisfied with it. I called the Bay News and got a little blurb about the break-ins in the Police Log section. I almost never agree with Ann concerning her apologist stance on the CSD, but I've never questioned her desire to help the citizens of Los Osos. Thanks Ann.