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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Call Me A Lawyer! Over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com, Ron Crawford's posted another History Of The World, Part Whatever, with a new blog entry: "Putting the SUE in SewerWatch: Litigation could make agencies responsible for the train wreck in Los Osos pay their fair share of sewer costs. " Read it and weep, again.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

No offense Ann but today's action is over at Sewerwatch. Thanks for the head's up!

Anonymous said...

Okay Ann, Ron, someone help me out here. Is the "Orenco" of 1998 (Step/Steg engineers for the Ponds of Avalon) the same "Orenco" of our workshop last Thursday? I am getting totally creeped out here. This community is jinxed. We can't do anything ourselves. It's all entwined and imbedded and in way ... incestuous? Does ayone know if this is the same Orenco?

Anonymous said...

The only thing that makes me weep is the overbearing immaturity of Ann and Ron, the constant ignoring of this CSD's culpability in causing a bankrupt community and the county taking over the project, and of course, the daily increase in the cost of the project because of the crimminal, obstructionist actions of this CSD, their general manager, and their attorneys. Weep indeed.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"the constant ignoring of this CSD's culpability in causing a bankrupt community "

You need to ask a simple questions: What would have happened to the "old" CSD if the first chunk of the State Revolving Fund did not arrive when it did/

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"No offense Ann but today's action is over at Sewerwatch. Thanks for the head's up!"

None taken, but I notice zero comments on the School Board Boo-boo. Actually, a very important question went missing in that little Tribune editorial mess. And people so narrowly focused on Sewer 24/7, which is apparently ost of the people reading this blog, even though it's not called AllSewerAllTheTime.

Here's the question that people in Los Osos, at least, should have asked about that school board mix up: WHY did the School Board NOT extend Jeff Edwards' contract for that Avila project? Has a shovel ful of dirt been turned there? No? Why not?

See those interesting dots that should be connected?

Ron said...

Thanks for the link Ann.

As for the Trib, and what they consider reporting and accuracy... I think you know my thoughts on that.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann asks a good question.

What would have happened had the first chunk of the SRF loan not arrived when it did?

The LOCSD would have been able to wait another month or so before needing to borrow a bit. Maybe from reserves ... maybe from another source.

However, even if they had had to take such an action, the SRF money was going to come in ... unless the project was moved.

What would have happened had the old board schedule the election for before groundbreaking?

First, I would suggest, the recall would have failed. We've already had that discussion.

Second, had the recall candidates won, the new board would have had to return the SRF money immediately. They were not entitled to spend any of it. They would then have to borrow money or go bankrupt. They would also have had the RWQCB fining them and the CDOs. With no money, the bankruptcy of the new board would have been sooner. The total debt of the LOCSD would probably be lower, however.

Anonymous said...

Re: Churadogs, 8:20 AM:

I'll tell you what would have happened. The District would have continued, business as usual, without one, tiny blip in the operational flow. That's because the finances of the CSD was being handled in a knowledgeable way, by experienced people, with a Board that was seasoned.

I'll tell you what would NOT have happened: No incompetent megalomaniacal Interim General Manager would have been hired; no overpriced our-of-town set of attorneys would have been hired;

AND, NO BANKRUPTCY WOULD HAVE OCCURRED.

Ann, there is no getting around the fact that this current Board has blown it big-time. They were like kids in a candy store. The District assets were absolutely burning a hole in their pocket. They couldn't spend the money fast enough. Which, in my book, shows just how naive they all were to the running of a municipality, the ignorance of budgets, etc.

Kinda reminds you of those stories we all have heard about someone winning the lottery and blowing through it and ending up on welfare.

That describes this current Board.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez," Second, had the recall candidates won, the new board would have had to return the SRF money immediately. They were not entitled to spend any of it. They would then have to borrow money or go bankrupt. They would also have had the RWQCB fining them and the CDOs. With no money, the bankruptcy of the new board would have been sooner. The total debt of the LOCSD would probably be lower, however"

So, the community wouldn't have been stuck with millions of SRF money lost by being pounded into the ground? So, the old CSD Board didn't have to start pounding money into the ground before the election as some have claimed because they did have some breathing room -- not much but some.Also, the old board didn't have to file the lawsuit against Measure B before the election thereby guaranteeing a legal loss which guaranteed bankruptcy when they either settled the case and/or lost, which they would have done, and would have had to pay out three times as much. Seems to me the old CSD was doing everything to deserve recall and guarantee a disaster to the community they professed to "love." Interesting. (Also, keep in mind, the "fines" are not written in stone, they can be appealed to a "real" court that may see how inappropriate they are compared with other fines, thereby leading to the conclusion that they were the result of Roger Briggs' personal vendetta, but neutral regulatory action. And the CDO's are also a work in progress, a variant of which which should have been imposed back in 1998 when the Solutions Group dumped the county project (delay! delay! delay!). What you have described is the totally unnecessary tragedy that was brought onto Los Osos for no real reason.

anonymous sez:"Ann, there is no getting around the fact that this current Board has blown it big-time. They were like kids in a candy store. The District assets were absolutely burning a hole in their pocket. They couldn't spend the money fast enough. Which, in my book, shows just how naive they all were to the running of a municipality, the ignorance of budgets, etc."

You're forgetting the ALL lawsuits and enforcement actions and small claims courts, dissolution efforts, etc. everybody coming at them full time. With a new GM trying to figure out the OLD (pre-recall) bookkeeping system which latest audit report indicated hadn't been up to snuff and had to (now) be fixed so it would be easier to know where the money was moving to and from & etc. etc. Most of the lawsuits required that they defend, which cost a pretty penny,-- i.e. the settlement they took in order to avoid a triple loss because the old board filed against measure B BEFORE the election -- that was really, really costly.) I don't know if you noticed, but this board was in the middle of an intense firefight 24/7 from day one. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Was that firefight necessary? I don't think so. The community as a whole didn't want it. If you were at the October "compromise" meeting you would have seen the door open and so many people voicing their opinions at that meeting ready to walk through it. No, this "war" was Medean to the teeth and totally unnecessary. That's the tragedy.

Anonymous said...

Ann, Do you think Measure B would have passed if the $100 price tag wasn't attached? It won by only 20 votes. Was the cost of that lie worth it? Especially since Measure B has been ruled illegal twice?

Anonymous said...

As usual Ann, you have forgotten that under the old Board, EVERY case was won by the CSD. A lot of those frivilous lawsuits against the CSD were instigated by the very people who are now running the BOD.

Insofar as the bookkeeping system, Bleskey, UNDER OATH has stated he has no accounting education. So he doesn't know accounting from his left ankle. The auditor stated that additional checks and balances should be in place. Hard to do when staff is small.

The "firefight" as you call it was spawned by the "Move the Sewer" people, who decided to pay off the attorneys for their little buddies. What a farce.

No, any way you want to look at it, this Board did spend wasted dollars on the IGM and the out-of-town attorneys.

The Board hired Dan Bleskey at $140.00 per hour. He bills at 48 hours per week. That is 2,496 hours annually= $349,440.00 for his salary.

Do you think Los Osos has gotten it's money's worth?

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

You seem to be arguing that the previous board should have timed the election before the start of construction because they should have foreseen the possibility of their defeat ... that they shouldn't have made a choice without considering all the consequences of all the possible outcomes. While I tend to agree that any board should act this way it seems to me that the date of the election versus construction was partially by choice of the board but please remember it was also partially by choice of Steve Sawyer who was in charge of the recall campaign (by the way, where has he been these days? ... I've not seen him recently making any public comments). In the newspaper Sawyer said that he had enough signatures well in advance of the date he turned them in. Why? Did he want the recall to be after treefall? If you're a gonna point fingers toward the board for their timing, why not ask Sawyer the same question?

In any case, you are arguing that the board should have made another choice, that they should have considered the possibility of other outcomes besides their desired outcome.

Why, if this is the case, haven't you asked the current board to take the same strategy? Why haven't you asked why they didn't get a cost analysis of stopping TriW before they took that action?


As to the lawsuits and the Measure B settlement in particular, the board appeared to only consider one option (the only one they wanted to consider) before they made their choices. A mathematical argument could be made that one should settle for 1/3 the maximum possible costs *if* one reasonably thought that that they had 1 to 3 odds of losing the lawsuit (or even greater odds of losing). Besides BWS, I don't think that any reasonable lawyers would argue that Measure B had better than a snowball's chance in hell of winning on appeal. It seems pretty clear to all involved that the board settled with BWS because they wanted to hire BWS. With all the other very good law firms out there, why hire the *one* firm who had the biggest signing bonus (because essentially the settlement was a signing requirement for BWS ... they wanted to be paid for their "pro bono" work before the election)? Why BWS? Any other firm out there would have been less expensive! Why Willdan? Why not hire a regular GM who actually has the necessary experience guiding a plan thru various government agencies? Why not hire a GM who has some ability to present a budget and current balance sheets? Why not wait until a budget is put together before hiring Ripley?

Face it Ann ... the current board made their own (and our) bed. Don't blame those who were pointing out the problems and trying to give helpful guidance. Names like Denker, Arcune, Tornatzky, Sparks, LeGros and even Crizer come to mind. All made comments during the first two months of this new board's reign, all their comments appear in retrospect to be pretty prophetic and all were totally ignored. Either they were all pretty lucky to have guessed about the outcome of the new board's direction ... or the outcome wasn't that hard to predict (no offense, Jon). I would like to think of my board as a wise and deliberative body but they seem to be anything but. To me it seems pretty clear that you get more wattage from the average Bush White House staffer than you get from our local dim bulbs.

As to your firefight question ... why was it necessary for Julie, Lisa and the rest of the dim bulbs to inflict their costly war on our community? Imagine that none of the CCLO/LOTTF/LOTA folks had stalled the situation or run for office. We would have a sewer by now, pollution would have stopped by now and our bills would be about $100 to $135 per month.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"it seems to me that the date of the election versus construction was partially by choice of the board but please remember it was also partially by choice of Steve Sawyer who was in charge of the recall campaign "

Don't you remember the CSD meeting wherein the previous board discussed and voted on when to set the election? THey had, if I remember right, three dates, none of which had anything to do with Steve Sawyer. Many folks in the audience stood up to say, set it soonest, but instead, they CHOSE to set it about as late as they possibley could. Remember Hensley's comment that he wasn't inclined to be "helpful" to those trying to recall him. Cutting the trees before the election was another CHOICE, one that Steve Sawyer had nothing to do with.

Anonymous sez,"The "firefight" as you call it was spawned by the "Move the Sewer" people, who decided to pay off the attorneys for their little buddies. What a farce."

sorry, but one of the biggest "pay outs" was caused by the old board's terrible decision: Block measure B BEFORE the election. BIG MISTAKE. For the life of me I don't know who in their right mind would have advised them to do that.

Inlet sez:"and our bills would be about $100 to $135 per month."

$100 - 135 a month? Uh, I must have been asleep for the past few years. But wasn't $205 the last best guestimate for Tri W? Where did $100 - 135 come from?

Shark Inlet said...

Sawyer had a choice about the time to submit his petitions so he played a role in the timing. Had he chosen to submit them a month earlier (as he claimed he could have done) the treefall before recall thing wouldn't be an issue. Yes, the board had a choice ... but he did as well. Especially when you consider that at the time he submitted his petitions we didn't really have a good clue about when the start of construction would occur it would seem like he would really want to be sure to get them in ASAP.

Nonetheless ...

The big pay out was to BWS and I believe it was only because the board wanted to hire BWS. Without making us pay for their "pro bono" work, the board couldn't have hired BWS because BWS wasn't going to walk away without a paycheck.

As to the $100-135/month, it was based on taking inflation associated with delay out of that $205/month.

Lemmie ask you this .... is $100 to $135/month better than $155/month? Even if the plant is at TriW?

Sewertoons said...

Ann, for once would you please just answer the question put to you by shark inlet with just a simple yes or no before you go on to answer the question you wish that he would have asked? It would be so refreshing!

Anonymous said...

Talk about beating a dead horse! The board is allowed to set the date of the recall election, right? As far back as I can remember, Steve Sawyer was not an LOCSD director. For people who keep blaming others for bringing up the past, these comments about Steve Sawyer (whoever he is) are pretty hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

To SHARK 4:16PM

Look who is playing the "Blame Game"? Steve Saywer, indeed!

Shark Inlet said...

Fair comment about the blame game.

I am just trying to point out that things are typically not as simple as saying "the old board decided to needlessly pound money into the ground" or some such. If one refuses to give some of the blame to the current board but only looks to things that happened before October 2005, one cannot say that only board decisions count as blame-worthy. The actions of Steve and Julie and Stan all are open to evaluation.