Elections! Elections! Elections! As noted in my previous blog entry, for those wishing to send them in, I’ll be posting candidate statements for those running for the Los Osos CSD Board. The postings are for information purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of any kind.
23 August, 2006 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
JOE SPARKS CANDIDATE FOR DIRECTOR OF THE LOS OSOS COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT AND POSITION STATEMENT
The Los Osos community needs to work constructively to insure that water, utilities, fire, and solid waste services are provided without impact from the wastewater project. The focus of the election should be on how to achieve that, regardless of who serves as board members. The wastewater water project needs to be managed by an independent agency, which at this time should be the County of San Luis Obispo Engineering Department.
Resident of Los Osos for 10 years
Los Osos CSD Wastewater Committee member – 2006
Volunteer Estero Bay youth basketball coach for 4 years
Past board member of a homeowners association in Southern California for two years
Graduate of Cal Poly with a degree in Engineering Science
Position Statement on Issues
2006 Election: I make only one promise, if elected:
I will not support hiring any lawyer, staff member, or consultant without a proper public review.
I will not accept contributions exceeding $100. I will limit expenditures to less than $7,500.
I have a great deal of respect for anyone that would offer to serve as a public board member, and I look forward to a discussion of the issues affecting the LOCSD, and the issues only.
I cannot support the re-election of Chuck Cesena and Steve Senet, or the election of Al Barrow. While I believe Chuck & Steve believed in their intentions, the decisions and manner in which they made them exhibited a lack of planning, transparency, and responsibility.
· Specifically, hiring of staff and legal consultants was made hastily and with little or no public input.
· Specifically, the lack of any detailed planning, especially financing, to change the wastewater project has put the community at risk for numerous liabilities.
I will not seek or publicize endorsements from any individual or any organization. I wish voters to select the candidates that they believe will serve the long-term interests of the community.
It is my hope that the election serves as a forum for educating the residents on the enterprise services structure of the LOCSD, and will result in consensus on how best to provide those services.
Wastewater Project & Water Conservation:
The wastewater project needs to be managed by an agency that can act as an ‘arbitrator’ and should be managed by County of San Luis Obispo Engineering. This will remove the partisanship of the divergent philosophies that exist within Los Osos. It is important to recognize that there are such significant divisions and professional disagreement in Los Osos related to collection systems, water re-use, on-site systems, and treatment options.
My position on the Tri-W project and the Ripley report is that all the design, engineering and cost information completed to date should be objectively evaluated by County Engineering and the RWQCB with basin-wide community input to facilitate the best plan for the long-term management of wastewater and water re-use.
The wastewater project will be expensive, and both the Tri-W project and the Ripley plan are not perfect. It is important that the most cost-effective plan be submitted to the property owners for approval in a diligent manner and the sooner a plan is implemented the sooner we will address long-term water sustainability and prevent cost increases due to inflation and enforcement actions against property owners.
Affordability can best be realized by the community working constructively towards grants or special financing programs to help those with limited means, while the County of San Luis Obispo manages the project.
I clearly supported the continuing of construction of the Tri-W project. I opposed the recall, and adamantly opposed Measure B. My reasons for those positions were made publicly.
On-site discharges are clearly prohibited by the RWQCB, so any temporary on-site or septic management district proposal for the prohibition zone should satisfy two criteria:
1) Acceptance or agreement for temporary implementation by the RWQCB.
2) Dedicated service and fees EXCLUSIVELY for such a management district apart from the wastewater fund, with provisions that no revenues be used for borrowing or payment of past liabilities or legal fees.
The stopping of the Tri-W project has had a negative impact on water conservation, since the stopping of the project has prevented the LOCSD from implementing a water conservation program that was to be funded by approximately $1.2 million from the 2001 assessment. I will support the use of 2001 assessment funds, if they can be dedicated for a water conservation program.
The LOCSD needs to address the water use fee structure. The rates, beyond baseline fees for indoor usage, need to provide better incentives to restrict water usage.
I support AB2701. It has been the only specific and constructive plan offered since the recall that had the support of permitting and financing agencies. It is the only real comprehensive plan that exists today. It provides the clearest path to completion of a wastewater project, because it prescribes a plan for a project AND financing of a project.
I believe the LOCSD should offer a plan for continuing services (except wastewater) and a financing plan as an alternate to dissolution for LAFCO to consider. That is the responsibility of the current LOCSD board members and staff, who in 11 months have offered no realistic on-going budget or financing plan.
Fire, water, & solid waste could potentially be managed with the existing fee structure so long as the wastewater expenses or liabilities will not be paid by such services. However, all loans/transfers from those services need to be re-paid with approval of the community property owners, and must be dedicated to fund only those services. The responsibility to propose such a re-payment currently rests with the LOCSD board.
The greatest benefit of continuing the LOCSD, in my opinion, is for the local governance of water utilities. Local governance towards the critical issue of water resource adjudication, water rates, and infrastructure projects can help to protect our water resources. In the long-term, a discussion of a single management authority for providing water service within the URL of Los Osos is needed.
I did not support the formation of the LOCSD in 1998 for many of the same reasons I did not support the recall. Those reasons were a failure to address specific issues and a failure to propose dedicated funding for a compliant wastewater project, as well as the rejection of viable projects which addressed water issues and enforcement concerns.
I believe Measure B was a misguided effort and has been financial failure to the homeowners and property owners of the district who have paid an assessment towards a project. Many property owners could not even vote on it.
Measure B has put the LOCSD into a corner for completing ANY project. It has accomplished nothing except for special interests to receive payments from the property owners of Los Osos. Measure B is anti-sewer, as the language prescribes no realistic means to ‘move a sewer’, ‘build a sewer’, and it provides no commitment to build anything.
Measure B has been ruled illegal TWICE, and a judge also deemed it NON-APPLICABLE to the Tri-W project prior to the last election.
Steve Senet, Chuck Cesena, & Al Barrow signed their names in support of Measure B. For that reason, I cannot support their election to the LOCSD. Furthermore, in 2005 they either made no comment about or supported the partisan presentations by a special interest lawyer (who they later hired or supported hiring) on Measure B prior to the 2005 election.
The management by CDF of the LOCSD emergency services has been beneficial, and the reserves for those services need to be restored to June 2005 levels (approximately $500,000) within the next 5 years, and I will support the necessary actions to restore those reserves.
The administration budget was approximately $690,000 in 2005, including budgeted expenses for the wastewater project. The administration budget needs to be reduced to approximately $410,000 (2005 dollars) with the wastewater project transferred to the County of San Luis Obispo. This can only be achieved with staff re-structuring. Alternatively, fee and/or tax increases for the separate funds will need to be proposed.
The current legal staff of Burke, Williams, & Sorenson should be terminated by the LOCSD board. I have seen no reason to rely on their advice, and there has never been a clear and full explanation as to the benefit or background of hiring them.
Los Osos currently have a management structure with a General Manager, CDF Emergency Services Management, Utilities Manager, and Administrative Services Manager. The LOCSD needs to consider consolidation of these management functions (except for Emergency Services), and have a separate Accounting Services Manager or similar function for financial and management controls.
Contact Information:Joe Sparks
805-704-2658 / JoeSparksCampaign / PO Box 15504/ SLO, CA 93406