The Local Area Formation Commission voted on August 17th to postpone a vote on whether or not to dissolve the CSD until Sept. 21st at 9 a.m. in the BOS chambers in SLOTown. Katcho Achadjian, who was chairing the meeting, expressed a wish that the Sept 21 meeting would be the final one with an up or down vote, since dragging these dissolution meetings out is costing the CSD money it doesn't have and delaying it’s ability to function, --some of the very reasons for holding the dissolution hearings in the first place (O why is everything here in Sewerville always dripping with snickering irony?)-- not to mention its costing the county staff time and effort and so forth.
The reason for the delay was also to be found in the Commission’s fervent hope that by the Sept 21 date, the Blakeslee Bill would have survive all the behind the scenes monkey-wrenching (and some blood-in-the-eye – or should I say, Dollars in the Wallets? – attempts not to monkey-wrench but to murder it outright) and so get the county off the hook of having to swallow Los Osos whole, line, sinker, debts, lawsuits and all.
Since this is SLOTown and the meeting involved Sewerville, there were some wonderful moments:
-- Former CSD Boardmember, Gordon Hensley, came to the microphone to put up a graph showing Ooooo, Dire Financial Straits, a situation made possible, in large measure, when he voted to gamble with the community’s money and pound millions of its dollars into the ground weeks before he was recalled. His appearance decrying “finances” was akin to the kid who murders his parents then flings himself on the mercy of the court because now he’s a poor orphan.
-- Dave Duggan noted that he was concerned that this Board had the “appearance of bias,” which prompted a comment from Supervisor Bianchi, that “perception is not always reality,” which prompted a snort from my snooter when I recalled the October 20, 2005 letter, on official BOS stationary, written by Supervisor Bianchi and sent to State Water Board Chairman, Arthur Baggett, wherein she noted of the just elected, barely seated new CSD Board, “This is a particularly difficult situation since the current District Board either will not or cannot understand any government processes.” Then goes on to say, “At one point I was asked if the political will exists here in San Luis Obispo County to assume the management of the project if, for whatever reason, the District were unable to continue with it [Tri W] Let me assure you that you have my full support, and I believe that the other Supervisors would give great weight to my position.”
Now, color me a silly donkey, but that comment seems loaded to the gills with the perception that Ms. Bianchi thinks the CSD board is UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND ANY GOVERNMENT PROCESS, and a (wink-nudge) signal to Baggett that she’s ready to work with him to, basically, usurp, behind the back of the duly elected Board, you know, those people who are UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND ANY GOVERNMENT PROCESS, one of the legally constituted responsibilities of the CSD, i.e. the Wastewater component.
Perception of bias on the part of a seated LAFco member who has refused to recuse herself and is about to render judgment on the same people she has already noted in writing are UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND ANY GOVERNMENT PROCESS? Perception of bias when another LAFco member is from the district that recently hired former LOCSD general manager Bruce Buel to be their general manager? Perception of bias? Naw. So, move along, move along. Nothing to see here, folks. No perception of bias here.
But the best public comment came from Eric Greening, as usual. Eric has probably forgotten more about local government than any of us will ever know in the first place. He observed that before the LAFco Board is even ready to vote on dissolution, they (and the taxpayers of the entire county) needed to have in hand a full report from each county department that would be responsible in taking over the duties now performed by the LOCSD, a report that would account for how much it would cost county taxpayers to cover the additional work required to administer Los Osos, including District 2’s Supervisorial staff time needed to deal with all those constituents who, losing their local CSD representatives, would now be required to go to their one Supervisor for help in all the minutia of solving local district problems.
Eric’s comment reminded everyone in the room just how much work the various components of a CSD’s actually do, from water, fire, and all the daily-ness of flak-catching and problem-solving and committee volunteering needed to deal with a community of 15,000 people. Naturally, his comment was met with utter silence. To my knowledge, such a report has NOT been prepared, which should make taxpayers throughout the county nervous.
Oh, and finally, the LAFco attorney noted that they had been asked by Taxpayers’ Watch to waive the Dissolution fee “as a public service,” i.e. anyone starting dissolution proceedings is billed for the staff costs for all the investigations, reports, etc. etc., a not inconsiderable sum. Apparently, Taxpayers Watch thinks their filing was such a great public service that the county taxpayers should eat all the costs themselves. The attorney said he’d be making a recommendation to the board as to that later.
And now, on a different note, the Tribune printed the final list of folks who officially filed their papers to run for the Los Osos Community Services District and it seems Taxpayers Watch spokespersonage, Joyce Albright, who must have taken the papers out, didn’t actually file them after all.
Dang. Philosophically, hers would have been a most interesting candidacy.