Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sparks Speaks, Or Will Certain Personages Knock It Off, Already?

I offered to post initial campaign statements from any LOCSD candidates running for the Board. I don’t intend to use the blogsite as “campaign headquarters” for anyone. However, the first major whoosh of spin arrived in the form of a postcard from “Citizens to Restore Los Osos, Joyce Albright, Chair,” that contained clear, oh, what shall we call them, “Not-Exactly- “Facts” Masquerading as, Uh, Facts?” And the mailer used three candidates’ names without making it clear whether these three approved of what was being claimed. I noted in my 10/14 posting that if the “facts” presented were wrong, that the candidates being touted might want to set the record straight. Herewith, a press release from Mr. Sparks doing just that.

For Release: October 14, 2006
From: Joe Sparks

In light of a recent endorsements and statements in the San Luis Obispo Tribune and multiple mailers distributed to residents of Los Osos, I feel it is important to have my views on the LOCSD and election portrayed accurately to the public or media. While an individual or group has the right to endorse whoever or state what they wish, I do not share or condone their views, just as I will not condone anyone stating my position for me as a board member. Misleading and incomplete information or innuendo by any group or individual devalues all of the candidates as individuals and prevents constructive dialog. My statements alone reflect my positions.

First, 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, regardless of who serves as board members.

Second, assigning blame will not help solve any immediate problem since some requested audits have yet to be completed. Responsibility for our situation rests with us as citizens, as well as other entities. The residents of Los Osos formed the LOCSD, they voted in prior boards, they voted in the current board. In representative government, all those eligible to vote are no less culpable than their representatives for the decisions those officials make.

Third, I support the County administration of the wastewater project. This needs to include an objective evaluation of options and costs (without attempts to devalue any asset), energy costs, design and inflation costs, and an unbiased evaluation of wastewater disposal/re-use and water yields for our water supply. It must also consider state mandates. That was the objective of AB2701. Only then can the property owners be expected to fully support a 218 vote to fund a project and fix the wastewater problem.

Fourth, Los Osos needs to focus collectively on completing a project. Na├»ve promises and our failure to compromise have cost us civility and money. We need to address affordability by supporting the County’s efforts and create a civic framework to support affordability, and not continue to deter entities from participating in funding and financing options.

Lastly, since announcing my candidacy, the LOCSD has filed for Chapter 9 protection. This has changed the LOCSD relationship with creditors, and a deliberate evaluation of all consultants needed. I believe the current LOCSD board is not diverse enough nor can it be objective in its evaluation of all the creditors hired by both boards. The manner in which consultants and contractors have been hired was rushed and not transparent. Costs to the ratepayers and homeowners of Los Osos must be minimized, and that requires a LOCSD board that can be objective and impartial in negotiating with ALL creditors.

Contact Joe Sparks:
805-704-2658 phone/message
PO Box 15504, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406


Anonymous said...

Thanks Joe. You're going to bring direction, dignity and smarts to the board in November.

Now Ann, since you're the mouthpiece for the current board, and obviously no fan of spin, misinformation and lies, I thought once again I might ask you to address the following:
1. $100.00 per month. We have a plan. We're ready to go.
2. We won't lose the SRF loan.
3. We won't get fined.
4. The water board doesn't have the nerve to issue CDO's.

and this:
"We're almost there! A project we can live with. 79 million less than former middle-of-town plan....$154 a month vs's out of town...

I've been asking you for months now to address these blatant lies during the recall, lies that no doubt persuaded many in this community to vote for the recall, leading to what now is the largest per capia public bankruptcy in the history of California and the county take over of the project. Don't you think it's time to pony up Ann. And while you're at it, explain how what Cesena and Senet are saying isn't misleading. Or is a lie just a lie when your opponents speak it Ann?

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you Anon: 8:58. what do you think the $38 per month price tag touted by the Solutions Group was before the CSD was formed? A campaign promise that was weel intentioned, but failed to consder ESHA mitigation and the fact that the RWQCB would not allow partial sewering of the PZ. Once the full PZ collection and pricetag for ESHA for the whole 66 acres of Morro Shores/Tri-W/Corr were calculated, hundrds of acres of Coastal Scrub would need to be preserved, they forgot to factor that into their price. Oops, Roger Briggs letter to the LOCSD Jan. 2000 told them their calculations were wrong and the RWQCB had estimated the POND project would be $92 million. That's when the abandoning of the environmentally prefered project began, back track, and up went the price. the new Board hoped for $100 per month, and might have been able to bring it in had the financing not been medled with, i.e. Hensley scmoozing SWRCB's Katz and Baggett. If the new board hdn;t been handed all the distractions of lawsuits, ACL's, CDO's, Dissolution, AB2701 and whatever lame brain idea Taxpayers Waste could through at them, this board might have been able to pull together a project that wasn't plagued by these gazillion dollar legal actions, diverting their focus from their goal, a sustainable project out of town that was better afforded than Tri-W. Get out of their way, I think they can still do it. They will need Jeff Edwards on the board to get in and fight, he's got the skills to work with the agencies, I'm gonna vote for him, we need someone like him to take the wheel.

Anonymous said...

So, you call the claims of the recall proponents "well intentioned?" But were they honest? Were they naive? Were they based on bad legal advice? Were they lies? Were they based on the belief the state, the regional water board, and every government agency involved in this mess would just give them carte blanche to do whatever they want? Ignorance? Vindictiveness? Too trusting of their legal advice? What??? Because not even the stauchest of the pro CSD pro-recall proponents can say you were not warned. So what is it?

Anonymous said...

I called the Solutions Group "well intentioned", the current Board had history to rely on. Things beyond control of the district had been forgiven and forgiven, even the RWQCB's own July 9, 2004 staff report explained how all kinds of enforcement were infeasible, and look at it, it isn't working. It only frightens people and costs them money they could better spend on their sewer. Measure B is still law, being appealed as we speak, the EPA supported the pulling of the loan on the basis of Measure B...beyond control of the District. this board would have had a harder time suspending the project if only the recall had passed and not Measure B.

Anonymous said...

Anon above,

Sorry, Measure B is not law.

Measure B has been struck down by the Superior Court. The CSD's appeal has not stayed (suspended)the Superior Court ruling striking down Measure B. The Appeals Court has not issued a stay either.

At this time, the CSD seeks to have the Apeals Court reinstate Measure B. Until then (if ever) such a ruling is issued, Measure B is moot.

Anonymous said...

A new slogan for the now recalled Mr Hensly: You schmooze, you lose!

Shark Inlet said...

While I am happy that Joe stepped up and corrected some misinformation that was presumably being spread to help his campaign, I displeased that Steve and Chuck haven't taken the same approach and corrected a few of the bits of misinformation that have been associated with their past campaign (and current as well?). I am also saddened that Ann was very quick to jump on Joyce' case about a subtle issue where "the truth seems to depend on what the definition of 'is' is" while she seems to be quite reluctant to actually address what are known (now) to be at best gross misestimates based on naivete on the part of Chuck and Steve. After all, their plan that was ready to go and would cost us only $100/month hasn't been revealed, even today, more than a full year after their election. We can also see that the best they've been able to get us is estimated to cost at least 50% more than they promised and we know that these costs are themselves horribly underestimated.

So ... which is worse ... picking nits off of tangents or avoiding the question entirely? Serious minds want to know.

Churadogs said...

anonymous sez:"We're almost there! A project we can live with. 79 million less than former middle-of-town plan....$154 a month vs's out of town...

I've been asking you for months now to address these blatant lies during the recall, lies that no doubt persuaded many in this community to vote for the recall, leading to what now is the largest per capia public bankruptcy in the history of California and the county take over of the project. Don't you think it's time to pony up Ann. And while you're at it, explain how what Cesena and Senet are saying isn't misleading. Or is a lie just a lie when your opponents speak it Ann? "

The bankruptcy track was set (1)the moment the old CSD board filed a lawsuit against Measure B BEFORE the election (that guaranteed a legally fixed loss payout that would, right then, have triggered bankruptcy since the District was very poor and was actually going to be in the hole unless the first SRF lump sum arrived ASAP to keep it going and (2) when they voted to start pounding money into the ground BEFORE the recall. Set in stone.

The yellow Cesena & Sennet flyer I received notes a "$79 million less than former middle-of-town plan, $154 a month,," etc: The $154 a month number comes directly from the Ripley Plan which is available at the CSD office. If you wish to argue with Ripley on that number, go ahead. I'm waiting for the independent peer review of the project to see what numbers they come up with. I suggest everyone else do the same. What has been established by so many posters on this blog is this: The numbers on The Ponds of Avalon, the Bait&Switchy Plan, eventual MBR@Tri W, and the original (Pismo Site) County Plan and the Ripley Plan have ALL been fungeable. This community has, from day one has not gotten an honest plan with honest numbers.

In addition, Anonymous, The SRF loan isn't "lost." It's a REVOLVING loan, comes, goes, gets reapplied for, etc. If I'm not mistaken, it's been reapplied for. Not "lost" at all." The RWQCB's CDO decision was Roger Brigg's decision (aided and abeted and egged on by certain citizens, i.e. "fine the CSD out of existence," etc. and it was a DISASTER. Mother Calhoun warned the RWQCB not to do that. They ended up looking like complete idiots, all unnecessary and unneeded. Their bad decision was THEIR bad decision. And the ACL fine also was a bad decision on the part of the RWQCB. Take a look at the amount of "pollution" and the amount of fine money, then compare that with pollution amounts and money ammounts for state-wide similiar violations and it's clear, absolutely clear, that Briggs was using his office simply to "punish" Los Osos for a political decision, not enforce compliance for a "scientific" issue. But, once again, that was the RWQCB's staff really bad decision, not the CSD's decision.

Inlet sez:"So ... which is worse ... picking nits off of tangents or avoiding the question entirely? Serious minds want to know.

9:24 PM, October 15, 2006"

What's interesting to me about what you call "nits," are actually really, really sophisticated Spin Tools used to mislead the voter while leaving no fingerprints. They're such fun to see. I've written about their use before. It's straight from Madison Avenue, a mindset that views citizens as "marks," to be sold a bunch of phony goods.

Here's the classic: Package contains the huge banner: NEW! NOW BLOTTO CEREAL CONTAINS NO COAL!

When you write to the Blotto company to object to their misleading ad, they blandly reply, It's all "fact." Blotto Cereal doesn't contain any coal. So, when you point out that Bloto Cereal NEVER DID CONTAIN COAL EVER, the bland reply comes back, "See, our ad is factual."

And so forth.

Shark Inlet said...


You claim that bankruptcy was set in place before the recall. I disagree. Even if you agree with the direction of the current board, you have to admit that they could have seen the same writing on the wall that you now tell us was obvious way back a year ago. (Lisa's criticism of Richard's cost accounting analyses early last Summer would imply that either it wasn't obvious or that the board was trying to cover up their own impending financial doom.) In any case, the board should have known by February or March that they were spending far too much money on lawyers and Willdan to pay their other bills. Rather than come to the property owners at that time and ask permission to borrow money to continue the legal battles, this board instead chose to hire Ripley with money they should have known they didn't have. The board made a choice not to ask property owners to borrow more money. The board also made choices to stop the project, to hire Willdan, to hire lawyers, to spend time fighting the state and regional boards, to fight for Measure B, etc. The sum of these choices ... plus the prior state of affairs ... is that the district is bankrupt. To suggest the new board has had no choices and that the district was doomed to bankruptcy and that the County was preordained to take over is to tell us that any vote for the recall was a vote for guaranteed chaos.

On the question of sophisticiated marketing techniques ... if you're a gonna complain about a sign (a year ago) that shows an architect's rendering of the TriW site after compeletion, it doesn't seem appropriate for you to duck the issue of Chuck's $154/month claim by saying that Ripley said it and no independent review has yet occured. There have been many reviews but because they are not "independent" you don't have to pay attention to them. Hell, the claim of $79M less is also a bit specious because they are comparing the Ripley cost estimate to a fictional TriW plant cost estimate which includes the costs of curing cancer and global warming added in.

The fact is that there was no independent review of the TriW rendering to justify your claims that it was misleading. Yet you still complained. Maybe it is because you have expertise in the area and felt comfortable reaching your own conclusion without the independent review. Well, you have Richard's analysis of Ripley's claims and if you don't trust his numbers at all, you could always take them to someone who does have some expertise and see if they are on the mark.

For some months now, Richard and others have been complaining that the Ripley report gives a very biased comparison of TriW versus their own design. (It should be no surprise that they would try to make their proposed design look inexpensive by comparison to TriW.) You didn't warn us back then about their biases but you have told us about MWH's bias. You haven't even done simple math to verify Richard's analysis of the Ripley report. Hell, Richard didn't even tackle the deficiencies in the Ripley design (too small a plant unless we all conserve water far more than is believable, too little agricultural area for ag exchange which could be counted as in-lieu recharge, etc.).

So Ann ... why the willingness to jump on one group over what many of us perceive to be small issues but the unwillingness to tackle huge issues with the other group?

Anonymous said...

shark...that is a rhetorical question, right?

Shark Inlet said...

Actually I would love to hear an answer. Even if Ann wants to rephrase the question before answering, I really want to know why she rips Joyce a new one about logical inconsistencies or fibbing or something everytime Joyce says something but she's so gosh darn reluctant to even ask common sense questions of Chuck and Steve.

I mean, come on! If a candidate had run for ... um ... say ... any other office in the land with a promise and a secret plan but they had failed horribly to achieve their goals even though they had at least an 80% majority on EVERY SINGLE VOTE ... don't you think that questions would be asked?

Anonymous said...

Yeah well, I'm stil waiting for an answer I can understand to my anon oct 15 8:58 post...did she answer it? If she did, it surely wasn't as clear to me as, say, her last two posts about Joyce. I mean, she left no doubt how she feels about lying there, why can't I get anything as clear about the recall claims?

Mike Green said...

Regardless on where you stand on the candidates, Take a few minets and read the voters pamplets.
Remember, this is the primary source of information that the common moron of Los Osos will read.
Imagine you were basicly clueless, then post the results.
I have as the winners:
Chuck, because he is the first one to put his statement in spanish.
(remember twenty votes counts is L.O.
Rob, Because he is one of the doomed 45, throw the man a bone!
Ochs, because at least five people used his paper for their aviary needs.

Betting pool anyone?

FBLeG said...

I just noticed that the CDO hearing has been postponed again:

Now December 14 and 15.

Read it here:

There is also some good stuff from the LOCSD attorneys
here (under 10/13/06 posting for Murphy).

Anonymous said...

There are some powerful arguments from Murphy. His arguements bring good reason why the CDO hearing has been postponed, probably for the CCRWQCB to regroup. It would seem to me that now that the county has been charged to build the sewer, the CCRWQCB will let the CDO matter rest. I sincerely doubt that the CCRWQCB would entertain a court challange on constitutional grounds which would extend the time frame of the sewer process, and perhaps severely undermine environmental law.

Of great interest was his charge that the county is implicated in our problem through their permitting process. The county will have to look for some serious money in the form of grants in addition to creative financing to help Los Osos property owners pay for this sewer, regardless of where and cost.

Anonymous said...

I liked Mike's analysis of the candidates. I'm most interested in Ochs. Like his paper or not -- I don't agree with his spin -- I have to admit he is the best writer I've ever read on the Central Coast, and I've been around a good while. That doesn't mean I'd vote for him. It's just an observation. I don't recall examples of journalists or authors sitting on boards, etc., but reading his stuff makes me wonder whether we couldn't use his intelligence and humanity in the mix. I'm solidly behind Joe, Maria and Lynette, but maybe Ochs would be a good recall candidate to take Julie or Lisa's place...when they're permanently retired.