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Friday, October 27, 2006

Waterboarding and Other PZ Hobbies

Two emails from a friend, one of the Los Osos 45 [posted with permission]. There are two things to note: One is that it’s amazing to me that Bev still has a sense of humor left. And, Two, her notation that the Regional Water Quality Control Board could have “papered the whole Zone with postcards letting people know . . .” about the CDO’s & etc, instead of randomly picking 45 people to jerk around, presumes that the intention of the RWQCB was to let everyone know. I would contend that the real strategy – if there was one with so hastily and ill conceived a looney scheme as slapping CDOs on a whole community, a process that could take years and years to “prosecute,” with little or no on-the-groundwater result – wasn’t to inform the whole community, but to terrorize, divide and conquer, try to cut deals, and apply political pressure. All intensely unethical, possibly illegal (electioneering) and – ironically – unnecessary -- since there were, from day one, far better solutions at hand that would have resulted in real ground-water improvement, all of which were options that were available a year ago.

Bev’s observations, as one the Los Osos 45, really requires anyone paying attention to question the competency, legality and legitimacy of the Board’s policies. What’s happened to this Board is very disturbing in a regulatory agency that has a vital role to play in the whole system, and especially disturbing in a regulatory agency that apparently has allowed itself to run amok . . . or to have been run amok.

Unfortunately, as Bev’s comments make clear, very few are paying attention.

Entry One:

Hi Ann,

I know your computer is down, but thought I’d send this little story for when you get back on line.

The other day my boss came into the office to make small talk and to ask me how things were shaping up for the school year. So I told him that my program was falling into place, that I felt better organized than I was a month ago, and that my next obstacle was the Water Board.

Living in SLO, he doesn’t know a whole lot about our plight. Though he knows something is going on with Bill and Me, he is sick of following it and doesn’t any more. So when I mentioned THE WATER BOARD, his first thought was not of Jeff Young, Roger Briggs, etc. al. he thought I was making some obscure reference to that new form of torture called ‘waterboarding” that the Americans are now using to extract information from suspected terrorists, where they tie a person to a board and dunk them under water till they’ve almost drowned, I guess. A modern version of the dunking stool, only more “diabolically clever.”

He had no idea how brilliant that reference was until I told him I meant our very own Water Board and that we are due for our next pair of hearings in early November. [postponed—again -- until December, thereby causing more hardship for many] Because of my boss, Los Osos has the opportunity to add some new jargon to its sewer vocabulary to take its place along with CDO’s, ACL’s, dischargers, effluent, and aquifer. We can redefine waterboarding to refer to the torture of Los Osos by the Water Board and its cohorts who ask the Water Board to torture us. I can hear it now, “Let’s WaterBoard them!” “Roger, I thin you should WaterBoard the whole PZ and bankrupt the town.” “Waterboarding is the only thing they understand.”

Catchy.

Welcome back to cyberspace,

Bev.

And Entry Two:

Hi Ann,

Recently I ran into a resident of the PZ at a meeting. He was nice enough to convey his condolences vis a vis the CDO. One of his commiserations among the, "it's terrible what the CSD (sic) is doing to you" was, "It could be us." My reply was, "It WILL be you…unless we can pull off some sort of miracle. Oh, and by the way, it’s the RWQCB, not the CSD." Barely able to spit out the acronym intact, he averted his eyes, mumbled something incomprehensible, smiled sheepishly, still not looking at me, and moved away.

Just another one of those PZers who thought that we 45 alone carry the CDO burden for the town, poor us, never allowing into his consciousness that we are not "there but for the grace of God... ." We are them.

How many others think that we are the randomly selected sacrificial lambs, and that the rest are off the hook?

Their bald ignorance is the RWQCB's fault. For what they spent to send those last-minute notices by courier to each one of us CDO defendants last spring they could probably have papered the whole Zone with postcards letting people know where they live (in the PZ), that they are in line (and will be prosecuted), and that they have till 2010 to hook up or else.

Ah, Ignorance really IS bliss. Sometimes I wish I could be them.

Peace,

Bev.

P.P.S.
Remember the “water boarding” story, where the SLO resident thought I was talking about the torture of suspected terrorists when I mentioned the water board hearings. I think waterboarding should become the new idiom for what will be happening to Pzers for the next several years unless someone comes to their senses. It could even become part of the American lexicon with a meaning far broader than simply Los Osos or Al-Qaida. Consider how the torture of people who are only suspected of being terrorists could be vaguely related to the torture of PZ residents for whom the RWQCB has no site-specific evidence. In a few years the phrase could generalize to mean something really bad that happens to you over which you have no control. Think of the possibilities.

Now, should we laugh? Or cry.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've set in motion a scheduled pump out by Al's as I'm probably over due anyway after seven years.

I've noticed that only about five or so properties of the forty five seem to be troubled by the prospect of a pumpout.

What's the big deal?

Patroling in Iraq, fighting forest fires, duty in an emergency room; the list is infinite of life events far more stressful than attending the equivalence of a traffic hearing.

Anonymous said...

Ann, your continued assertions that people aren't "payng attention" or "asleep at the switch" just because we do not agree with your, or Bev's, demonizing of the water boards is patronizing and offensive. I would opine that you, and Bev, are the ones not paying attention, since ample warning was given of the ramifications of stopping the project at Tri-W, a warning you and your current CSD chose to ignore. Instead you chose to believe "we have a plan. We're ready to go. We won't lose the SRF loan. We won't get fined. We won't be issued CDO's."

Ron said...

I don't know if Bev is familiar with the case of Canadian citizen, Maher Arar, but if I understand her definition of "waterbording" correctly, then I think she'll be able to relate to his sad case. It's very interesting. The ultimate victim of "waterboarding." Here's the story. Everyone should be familiar with it. If you're not, please read that link.

Anon said:

"the ramifications of stopping the project at Tri-W"

What a bizarre take that is, and I see it a lot. First, Measure B made it illegal for them to pursue Tri-W, and, second, they were elected to stop Tri-W. Criticizing them for stopping it is such a weird take to me. What were they supposed to do? What other choice did they have? They were elected to stop it! They would have been open to massive criticism if they didn't stop the project.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Sticking to campaign promises is a good thing.

It'd be like criticizing Ned Lamont, if elected, in Connecticut for voting to end the Iraq war, after he campaigned vigorously that he would vote to end the Iraq war.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Measure B was and is a sham. We know it, and they knew it then also. Secondly, you are right. They were elected to stop Tri-W. At all costs. But to constantly complain about CDO's when that is one of the "costs" of stopping the project as they were elected to do is just plain nonsense. And you are right again. Sticking to campaign promises is a good thing. Just explain to the people whose vote you woo that there will be sacrifices, and take personal responibility for your actions.

Anonymous said...

There we go with the "personal responsibility" line again. I will take a very small share, but that is it. I'm tired of us pz zone members being blamed for this mess. Remember, this saga goes back some thirty years. When every official that allowed this to get where we are takes their share of the blame and say's "ok, lets get this done", then it will get done. I think with septic tank management, and not allowing 25' lots to be built on, we probably never needed this type of sewer in the first place. 30 years and not one single effort to mitigate the water pollution. So were left with a mega million dollar sewer plant and park to be paid for by us in the prohibition zone. Personal responsibility, I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, my response to the personal responsibility was actually based on a previous post I had seen. When I saw the words "personal responsibility" again, I just kind of went off.

Anonymous said...

I am damned tired of hearing the whining and complaining of a public who bought the foolish campaign promises of two spoiled brats and three dreamers, hook, line and sinker.

The two "ladies" on the Board were determined to "Move the Sewer", even though all the permits were in place, the loan was secure and progress had already begun. Their well-meaning albeit misguided cohorts went along with this absurdity, even though those who knew about governmental projects and finance told them, time and time again that their actions would be financially fatal, and would wreak havoc on the District.

Yes, it WAS THIS CSD that triggered the CDO's. The gentleman at the meeting was, indeed, correct. If everybody had left well enough alone, this project would about 1/2 completed. NO CDO's, NO FINES, NO LAWSUITS BY CONTRACTORS. But people like you, Ann, encouraged voting for this crummy Board, and for the insane Measure B.

You all are wrong, wrong, wrong. You screwed up a perfectly good, approved project, much to the detriment of Los Osos. Do you guys really think you will make a big State agency like the RWQCB knuckle under? When donkeys fly. There is not, nor will there ever be, enough money in the CD coffers to fight the laws of the State of California.

My prayer is that the County decides to put the facility at Tri-W, and all of you can just choke on that information. I am sure Al, Kieth, Joey, Julie and Lisa will, as Rumplestilskin did, whirl around until they all hopefully vanish from this hemisphere.

Oh yeah, I know, all you guys grew up in an era when "Question Authority" was a big deal. So did I. I outgrew that phase, why didn't you?

Anonymous said...

Sorry dickhead(anon8:45),

I live in this place called America. In America, we have this thing called Democracy. In America, people elect representatives to speak for them in Government. In America, thru a representative form of Government, the People rule, not the AUTHORITY. Last September, the People voted for out-of-town by throwing out an Authority that tried to userp the will of the People........
What Country do you live where the Authority rules over the People?
Nazi Germany? North Korea?
I'll bet you're from North Korea, aren't you.
Is this Lil' Kim?

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:17
I love that you love democracy!! So come November 7, if the "people" spoke and changed the direction of the board once again, electing people who would work with the county instead of constantly fighting and throwing up roadblocks to the project, and after a successful 218 vote, the "people, " through an advisory vote actually picked, say, Tri-W as the site and gravity as the means because it was found to be the least expensive,(this is all hypothetical of course), I would be correct in assuming you would embrace the idea and continue to exhault the wonders of decmocracy, right? That would be correct assumption, right?
One more thing. Calling people names only lessens the validity of your argument.

Anonymous said...

I think the phrase "after a successful 218 vote" is telling. Had we had that option when the Tri-W project escalated to what it did, and had another option to choose from, we would have chosen one or the other. However, the old board chose to go ahead and up the amount of the SRF loan, accept bids way over estimates, all of this without any approval or say from the community. What other option were we left with? I mean come on, those of us in the prohibition zone were going to have to pay an exorborant amount of money for a park and sewer plant, for the entire community to enjoy. Or reap the benefits from. How many parking spaces were alloted for the park and amphitheater? Not many as I recall. This was obviously an agenda driven plan that a small amount of people paying an incredible amount of money for an ill-conceived plan would be stuck with. I'm with the other post, we are America, and our vote counts. I keep hearing, we can't fight the State. There word is absolute. Not in a democracy. Hey, if Tri-W is chosen over another option in a proper vote, i'm ready to move on an accept it. Myself, i'd rather see the property used for commercial use. Maybe a theater. Maybe an auto parts store. What town doesn't have either of these?

Anonymous said...

FYI to above:

We had an auto parts store In Los Osos for more than 20 years. During the last 10 years it didn't do enough business to sustain itself, hence its closure last year. We've been trying to get a theatre for years - the discharge prohibition has prevented it, along with the expansion of Vons.

Last time I checked, there was a 218 vote on Tri-W in 2001. If you had read the engineer's report that accompanied your ballot, you would have known what you were voting for (or against).

Anonymous said...

"I mean come on, those of us in the prohibition zone were going to have to pay an exorborant amount of money for a park and sewer plant, for the entire community to enjoy."

Hey, I live in the prohibition zone, and if you think $200.00 a month was a lot of money, keep supporting the obstructionists and incumbents, 'cause this project, whatever and whereever it is, isn't getting any cheaper......and if you think you CAN sucessfully continue to fight the state (as if the "state" has no authority, or the federal government for that matter, because this is a "democracy": very ill-informed and naive thinking) think again. Meanwhile the price goes up, the number of people who can no longer afford to live here goes proportionally up, and all the no-sewer (ooops, I mean "move the sewer") obstrucitonists pat themselves on the back as if they're doing the community a favor.

Anonymous said...

Was there a 218 vote on the 46 million dollar under estimate on your plan?

Spectator said...

Hey folks: I was there.

The old board was very concerned about the unanticipated MUCH higher bids that we received from the contractors, and the lack of bids from other contractors asked to bid. Of course this was after one obstructionist faxed the contractors threatoning suits and possible other actions to stop the sewer. I felt this limited the amount of the bids, and those bidding had to increase the amount of their bids to take on additional security to their equipment and possible increased costs from legal obstruction. Most are aware of this having happened. Bud Sanford is free to correct me on this. Was I wrong, or is this just logical speculation?

I was at the meeting where the bids were discussed and where the board asked for public input on the acceptance. Immediately prior to public comment, the board asked the district engineer for his opinion. He felt that the project should be rebid. Many of those opposing the sewer spoke for new bids.

I spoke at public comment that the district should take the bids because it was very uncertain that we would get lesser bids in that the damage to the bid process was public knowledge. I also stated that we might not get any additional bids or new bids. Most contractors had already been asked to bid. Some of you there will remember my statement "A bird in the hand is worth ten in the bush".

Of course you will also remember all the wild boos from the peanut gallery in the back, and the sign waving. I certainly do. These were vocal members of the public who opposed the sewer, and had become more intense during the previous year, becoming more and more vocal every meeting. There was no violence, a deputy sheriff was in the back of the room. If you take exception to my use of the words "peanut gallery" please take a poll of County opinion. El Tiberon (sharky, for those uninformed) refers to these as "nut cases". I consider these people as simply uninformed, emotional, scared, and objectors to water law. Cost has a lot to do with it. I cannot blame them, when government forces something down your throat that you do not agree with, protest. But to obstruct the law irrationally, whether it is a good or bad law, is anarchy. The name of the game is to change the law.

The board certainly understood the delemma. After a long discussion, dominated by Lisa and Julie, much of it not about the bids, and repetitive of things they had said at previous meetings, the board decision came three to two to accept the bids. Time restraints were discussed, and what would happen if we did not get the sewer started on time. THIS IS ALL ON TAPE.

Of course one can speculate on the costs if rebidding was required. One can also speculate on the effects of the increased time, if the bids were not accepted. One can also speculate the amount of the bids if the bidders were not contacted by the sewer opposition. There was no speculation on the position of the CCRWQCB, their position was clear and published on the Water Board's web site for all to see. Found under "facts". I have no idea if Lisa or Julie had contacted the contractors, but I do know after attending many meetings, that from the beginning of their tenure, they were doing their best to obstruct the construction of a sewer at Tri-W, while never having a logical plan for an alternative. They did have "pie in the sky" out of town. There were never any letters of intent from any property owner to sell land to the LOCSD for their "Move the sewer" concept. No site, no plan.

There was so much misinformation that "Save the dream" was started to defend the sewer.

After the bids were accepted and the low interest loan was contracted, the political opposition really increased. Nelson Environmental came to town to push their system. Andre was touted as the site. Briggs held a meeting on Proposition "B" to effect a change in site. A recall election became a reality. Ag exchange was widely discussed. Alan Perlman among others,
walked precincts to let the seniors know of the sewer costs, promissing a cheaper solution. Prop "B" was found illegal and appealed. Joey Racano climbed trees, and waved from street corners. Eucalyptus trees were cut down and the "Move the Sewer" folks had a fit. And then construction started, the majority of the board was recalled by a very very slim margin, and the new board stopped the sewer. Then the state and the CCRWQCB did just what they said they would do. It was the same thing that "Save the Dream" said they would do. It is true that some members of the "Save the Dream" wrote them: "Whip me, beat me, fine me, etc. into submission" ( or to that effect ). The sewer war has not been exempt from secular-progressives believing in government control. The secular-progressives on the staff and board of the CCRWQCB bought this. ( Are you reading, Pandora?) ( Not Mike Green with a strong distaste of governmental control ), (Nor me for damn sure). And then the fun really began.

Whether or not I am completely correct in my assessment of the situation, one has to admit that this has been an exercise in democracy. However, I agree with ANN Calhoun, that too few have been involved in it. Emotion has really ruled the day. This emotion has been going on for thirty years, and is unlikely to stop. Can anyone believe that the CCRWQCB, especially the staff, has not been emotional about this? How dare the piss ant voters of Los Osos, who can't get their act in order, defy us?

This is a magnificent story, and has had a lot of rediculous moments in retrospect. If some one makes a motion picture of it, or writes a book on it, it is sure to be a best seller or box office hit. The dragon lady, the poem lady with the hat, and the lady with striped socks, quietly writing, are all great visuals. Al Barrow pissed off is terrific. The orator Joey Racano, quickly changed from his indian outfit, fresh out of a tree, in his suit to address the board in behalf of whatever of his organization, is a great visual. A picture of him arriving on his bike with his dogs in tow, would add interest. Great stuff.

I just wonder if every property owner would pay, or go in debt for $60,000, to read the book or go see the picture. Of course, regardless if we read, or see the picture, we will still pay. There is a lot of humor in stupidity, and that is what we have left. Of special note, is the back pedaling of the CCRWQCB on enforcement issues. Pump every two months ( OH, OH diesel polution, never mind stink, never thought of that), and CCRWQCB prosecution illegal with existing members of staff ( OH, OH can't do that). The shuffle will surely go on, but eventually they will get it right, or maybe not, surely they will try, but they damn well better consider unintended consequences (like loss of property).

However, I doubt seriously that the Judge in the Bankruptcy Court, or the new Attorney General of the state will find any humor in this. These people are entirely without humor.

Jon Arcuni

Spectator said...

To Ron:

I think waterboarding is counterproductive. Would you support the use of sodium penethal? Truth serum. I support it, and it is NOT extreme, as a matter of fact it is a great high! Make em happy and get what you want, truthfully. I actually believe that we should keep terrorists high, happy, and talking.

If you are of the opinion that we cannot extract information from foreign or domestic terrorists, without uniform, who would love to destroy us, by humane and legal means: Why do you hate America? What do you want this nation to become? Your manefesto and progressive thought is welcomed for discussion. I actually believed that the Geneva conventions, as written, only applied to uniformed soldiers. However, torture is not humane. But what constitutes torture? Is castration of of child rapists torture or humane?

Discussion is needed.

Spectator said...

To Ron who writes:

"What a bizarre take that is, and I see it a lot. First, Measure B made it illegal for them to pursue Tri-W, and, second, they were elected to stop Tri-W. Criticizing them for stopping it is such a weird take to me. What were they supposed to do? What other choice did they have? They were elected to stop it! They would have been open to massive criticism if they didn't stop the project.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Sticking to campaign promises is a good thing."

Jon Arcuni says simply: there is a strong tradition and constitutional provisions for protecting the rights of the minority. The rights of the property owners were never considered. Result: Application for bankruptcy. However, PROP B was found illegal, and was under appeal before they stopped the project. Caution was required. The rights of property owners should have been considered.

Due dilligence was required, and there was none. They blundered on and stopped the sewer, and from that point on they were on the defense. There is no judge or jury that will find them without blame, especially with the consequences.

Do you think that all us brown and black folks could take away the rights of white folks because we have a majority? Do you think that all us poor folks could take away all the money of the minority rich folks?

And there it is! Rights of the minority.

How do your really feel about this?

Spectator said...

To the anon "dickhead caller":

Please consider the rights of the minority and consider that this is a nation of law, and not the mob. Representives are required to conform to the law, if not, jail or fines. Please keep your opinion civil and not call names. Your opinion is respected, but your name calling shows your lack of respect for individual thought, and therefore brands you as perhaps a secular progressive (liberal), or perhaps a fundalmentalist christian or moslem, or even more something really strange, who cannot express a logical opinion: A fool.

On this blog, we are going around a circle to define the center and achieve concensus. We always have been doing this. We are looking to reason together, and accept criticism. The criticism is constructive, defines the center, and rational people will accept it. There are those on this blog who will admit they have been and are wrong when hindsight and facts come out.

Some of us are liberal socialists and some are conservatives, some dupped and some resistant to dupping. All of us are concerned individuals wishing to help ourselves and Los Osos. Some of us are more politically powerful than others. And some can demonstrate and overcome any political power. I would just hope that we are all responsible for ourselves, and wish to help the least of us. Tonight I celebrate Halloween, it is a celibration of those who died before us, and of death that we all must confront. It makes the inevitable less painful to contemplate. It is only the contemplation of death that is painful. Death is a normal human experience, and tonight I celebrate my mortality, my previous existances, and the contemplation of rebirth, or maybe not. In any case I am going to have a real good time. I wish the same to all of you.



Jon Arcuni

Mike Green said...

And I too will hoist a cup to death an inevitability.
Well put Jon! Happy Holloween!

Anonymous said...

Well, that pretty much sums up the issue. One thing that sticks with me though, is meeting after meeting with either the water board, the resources board, board of supervisors, csd board, public comment pretty much ran no,no,no,no,no,no,yesno,no,no. You can't expect every citzen to go to every meeting, so you kind od have to rely on those that do. I felt that at every turn, opposition was well founded, but fell on deaf ears. This whole thing has been agenda driven, and the fact that nothing has been done in this thirty some year saga to mitigate water damage shows that. I think the price we're being asked to pay is just off the charts.

FBLeG said...

Spectator says,

"I was at the meeting where the bids were discussed and where the board asked for public input on the acceptance."

You were also at the LAFCO meeting where you spoke up to request that the taxpayers of the county of SLO foot the bill for the staff costs associated with the Taxpayers Watch dissolution efforts. You were one along with Joyce Albright and Gordon Hensley who supported such a position. Most people who spoke at the meeting supported the LAFCO staff position to make TW pay and be responsible for their actions in bringing the LAFCO dissolution petition.

As a result, I find your commentary (when it stays on topic) to be from an extremely biased source. You do make some good points, but your conclusions are suspect because of the recent public positions you have taken.

Also, isn't it the case that you own property in the PZ, but don't actually live there? Some of us have to pay for the sewer, some of us have to live with it, and some some of us have to do both. You have mentioned that you were moving to Panama. Why do you feel compelled to such a strong position, when you (as you claim) will be fishing under the Panamanian sun shortly? I assume you will sell your property or rent it. In either case, you can, much as in your LAFCO dissolution commentary, pass the cost along to someone else.

You once posted that you were done with posting on this blog, since the the governor signed AB2701. Why are you back?

Mike Green said...

Some of us in Los Osos just don't get the ramification of the CDO's.
Please imagine, If the "Water Gods" are allowed to implement their decrees without resistance, then in 2010 you will have to move! Thats right, MOVE. when you are no longer allowed to use your leech lines then you better have a sewer hook up, no sewer? too bad!
Now, I don't realy believe that will happen, but it could. (just like I doubt very seriously that I'll have a sewer by then)
The biggest challenge facing Los Osos today is the passage of the upcomming 218 vote.
If the new CSD board can't get a publick concensus on this then what?

Waterboarding may seem like a walk in the park.

Spectator said...

To fussing-balls-legross:

Of course I am biased, and my public positions support this. I am biased AGAINST fiscal irresponsibility and lack of foresight by a board and their supporters who have brought severe insolvency to the district. And I am not alone. I may be part of a majority, we will see shortly with the election of three people to a bankruptcy board. Bankruptcy is expensive. Bad decisions can make it even more expensive.

Yes, I supported the position of taxpayers watch to recoup funds from the county that were spent for TW's effort to dissolve the LOCSD because of total financial malfeasance that would lead to bankruptcy of the district and harm to the property owners least able to afford the consequences. By January of this year the consequences were clear. When in March, the board hired Ripley with funds they didn't have, it became inevitable.

I have always felt that the county has liability for our problem in that they permitted the use of septic tanks in high density housing areas. They have been recieving part of the property taxes on these properties, and received revenue from building permits for these properties. In effect, they caused the problem from the beginning. Whenever they tried to fix the problem by building a sewer, they failed. There are still plenty of dirt unpaved roads in Los Osos, and they have been unpaved for many, many years.

You must realize that the Blakeslee bill would never have come to being without the threat of severe liabilities to the county that dissolution or bankruptcy would cause. As a result, I felt that it was fair for the county to pay in a small way for the protection it received. Biased? You betcha!!!!!! I am and always will be biased for homeownership and property rights. But my positions should not be suspect, unless the attempt to save LOS OSOS from abject fiscal irresponsibility is suspect.

While many sat around goo goo eyed, sucking their thumbs while the district was spending itself into oblivion to the severe detriment of the property owners who would eventually pay the bills, I was speaking early on to the consequences of board decisions. Biased, you betcha!

Anyone with any hindsight knows now that the current board was elected on a pack of lies and speculation put out by the candidates and their supporters. EVERYTHING they said would not happen, has happened. It is actually worse than what could be anticipated. I am sure that you are not happy with the outcome, nor am I. Many without foresight were duped, those with foresight were not. One of the big problems with "pie in the sky" is that you never get to eat it.

Yes, I own two duplexes in the PZ. Four families live there. I have always been concerned about raising rent to cover the costs of the board's malfeasance, and making this housing unaffordable. I will keep these properties as rental properties. I COULD convert them to condos at a large profit, but the tenents would be put on the street, and there would be four less pieces of affordable housing for rent on the market that accepts families and children. I will pay twice for the sewer. It is unclear how much this can be passed off as increased rent. My other piece of property, where I live, is in the LOCSD. I will be selling this house. Anyone who lives in the district, PZ or otherwise, will share the cost of the bankruptcy should it be granted, if and when a plan is produced to get the district out of bankruptcy. This plan will cost every property owner a good hunk of money, the district is severely insolvent. It is unclear that it can survive even with bankruptcy protection, although there is a good chance of survival with the passage of a 218 vote giving it necessary funds to pay off the debts. Property tax revenue will increase. Since Jan 06, 187 houses in the district have sold and will be taxed at their sold value. I have no idea if this figure is completely accurate, or how many were in the PZ, but I do know that there are better than 200 homes for sale as of September in the district. Clearly some people are bailing out in anticipation of sewer costs.

If the district cannot produce a plan to get it out of bankruptcy, or bankruptcy is denied, or it continues in severe insolvency, or a 218 (bankruptcy) vote fails, the district will have to be dissolved. The county will be forced to absorb it. How much of the liability the county will have to assume will depend on the courts, Blakeslee bill not withstanding.

Of course anyone who sells their home in the PZ or in the district will be both eating the costs in lower property value received and passing the future costs on to someone else: a new owner. This is why property values at sale have declined already about $60,000 per property from earlier market value, pre sewer stoppage.

While not being a member of taxpayers watch, I have supported their effort to protect homeowners, regardless of membership, from severe fiscal mismanagement clearly caused by misguided LOCSD board decisions. If you own property, even though you were possibly duped by the board's election "pie in the sky" and supported them, TW has worked to protect your interests.

However, even with the Blakeslee bill, most of the TW efforts have been futile. The damage was done early on when the sewer was stopped, the road to insolvency set, and now we all will pay in one form or another for the stupidity that has been going on for thirty years. We could have cut our losses with TRI-W, but shoulda-coulda doesn't count anymore. AND THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THIS WAS AND IS A VERY EXPENSIVE SYSTEM. Now we will have NEEDLESS severe additional costs due to fiscal mismanagement and bankruptcy above and beyond this expense. Like ANN would say "looks like we really shot ourselves in the foot".

If you have been one supporting "pie in the sky", and the actions of the current board leading to insolvency and debt to property owners, I ask you "why do you hate the people that pay the bills in property taxes?" I say, whatsammatta you?

I helped and fought for the founding of the LOCSD, and will readily admit that it was a mistake. I was wrong! Ain't hindsight great? We never had the tax base to take on the building of our own sewer system. I was severely disappointed when the CCRWQCB killed our plans for a step/seg ponding system that I had seen work fine in Arcata. I severely underestimated the opposition of those in the community who never wanted a sewer, and severely underestimated the extent that some would go in order not to build a sewer because of either costs or growth. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I have admitted this on this blog previously.

I am back on this blog because of the pending bankruptcy. The actions and decisions of the bankruptcy board will affect my property value and how much I will pay sooner or later for the fiscal malfeasance of our current board. I have had the experience of sitting on better than 25 creditors committees, usually attempting to discover hidden or stolen assets by a debtor, trying to prove bankruptcy fraud to get the debtor criminally convicted, or in many cases trying to squeeze blood from a stone. In many cases we voted for a bankruptcy plan to allow the debtor to continue under supervision of a creditor controller, so debts could be paid off over a period of time. In some cases we voted to liquidate any assets, and took ten cents on the dollar that was owed. However, on a few cases we were able to establish fraud and put the debtor in jail, and liquidate the assets. However this is a different kind of bankruptcy.

How about you? Do you own property in the PZ or in the district? What has been your part of contributing to this bankruptcy: neglect, lack of foresight, or were you duped? Have you been wrong? It really does not matter, regardless of your position or mine. If you own property in the district, we are both stuck and will get to pay the piper. If you are a renter, you are going to have to pay more rent. All the blame in the world for whomever will not solve our problems. However, we can learn from our mistakes, very expensive mistakes and elect people to the board who have not contributed to the problem.

And why do you use the disgusting name? Clearly you are not Richard.

Jon Arcuni

FBLeG said...

Spectator speculates,

"And why do you use the disgusting name? Clearly you are not Richard."

You are right and I stated that clearly when I first began to use the moniker. The name actually refers to the 12 dozen golf balls I have lost collectively at Chalk Mountain and Dairy Creek over the last few years. Ha!

Since Spectator took umbrage (and I can understand that) with my chosen moniker and since the real "Richard LG" has ceased his belligerent posts, I am happy to change my moniker to FBLeG.

Mike Green said...

Spectator speculated:
"You must realize that the Blakeslee bill would never have come to being without the threat of severe liabilities to the county that dissolution or bankruptcy would cause."

I'm not sure Jon. I talked to him and he seemed more concerned with the possible liabilitys and hardships of the people of Los Osos, of course he is a politician...

Anonymous said...

I don't think that any of you want to solve/resolve the waste water treatment plant issue. In fact I'm beginning to believe that now your only existance is to create acrimony amongst youselves.

I think this idea will prove my point. Why hasn't anyone offered to trade the Tri-W site to the property owner who owns the land on the left hand side as you head up the "grade" into Los Osos.?.

I don't think you folks want a solution.

Mike Green said...

It just occured to me, Is it possible for the "Water Gods" to delay the CDO hearings to the same time as the first 218 vote?

Mike Green said...

A kangaroo court and a shotgun wedding may go along like a house on fire!


Let's head them off at the pass!

Cliche war anyone?

Spectator said...

To Mike Green:

Sam was warned not to get involved with the Los Osos situation, but he thought he might be able to do something to help the district. This was after the board stopped the sewer and the CCRWQCB came down on the district. So he put himself in the middle in an attempt to mediate the problem: he was totally ineffective. He was in the middle of two hard nosed positions, and in the middle of legal contracts. Negotiations failed. However, if you remember, the CCRWQCB did make a counter proposal that included the necessity of a 218 vote and the starting up of the construction. The LOCSD board held fast to the Prop "B" concept, and settled the case, in effect removing the previous LOCSD board's legal case that the prop was illegal. There was nothing challenging the legality of prop "b", so it could be considered legal.

To his credit, or perhaps not, he never opened his mouth with an appraisal of the thought process of either side. It was not up to him to criticise a regulating board or an elected district board.

Before TW got started, Blakeslee reentered the frey at the CCRWQCB meeting about fines. This was their first meeting and he made a promise to produce a solution "that perhaps neither side would be fully satisfied with". TW started circulating a petition for dissolution the first week in February, tables were manned, and a lot of signatures were coming in. He and the county knew that dissolution was serious business, and both knew that the entire county was subject to liability if the district was dissolved. They already knew about the demand for return of funds, and the fines, either of which would bankrupt the district. Then the contractors filled suit, which they had been threatoning for at least three months and an injunction was granted against the use of sewer money by the district. By the middle of March, the county and Blakeslee knew that something would have to be done, and fast. Legal language to produce the bill had already started. I am sure there were lots of conversations between county staff and Blakeslee staff. Right about the end of the first week of April, projections were made that the district was becoming insolvent quickly. There were big bills to pay, and tax receipts would not handle the insolvency based upon current expenses, regardless if the fines were not paid and the balance of the state loan funds not returned to the state. The projections figured that by July 15th or so the LOCSD would be out of money. Well the lawyers were not getting paid, Bleskey was not getting paid, so they lasted a month longer before the LOCSD board woke up and realized they were broke. The board had drained all reserves that they could. Even since seeking bankruptcy, WE continue to go deeper and deeper in debt.

He produced his bill, and as soon it was apparent, LAFCO kept stalling the dissolution meeting: they actually cared not a wit about the property owners of LOS OSOS. They were concerned about county property owners. As far as Sam was concerned, his obligation was to protect all his constituency (county) from the liabilities of the dissolution. As far as the board of supervisors were concerned the same was true. Bianchi had already spoken out against the LOCSD board for their actions.

Quick dissolution would have been far better than the Blakeslee bill for the property owners of LOS OSOS: the debt would have been spread around to all property owners of the county. However, the rationalization was that morally the people of Los Osos had caused the problem by stopping the sewer project, and it was just that they pay for their folly. Of course, the politicos of the county would never admit that poor planning from the beginning had contributed greatly to the sewer problem by the issuance of high density building permits allowing septic tanks, to do so would admit partial liability.

This matter is far from over, and there is nothing we can do about it. The major question is how badly and for how long will the property owners be whipped. Nothing has been finialized. We put ourselves into the hands of the Phillistines the day our elected board decided to stop the sewer without considering the consequences.

Ron said...

fbleg said:

"The name actually refers to the 12 dozen golf balls I have lost collectively at Chalk Mountain and Dairy Creek over the last few years."

Keep your left arm straight on your backswing (if you're right-handed)... extend, extend... hope that helps.

Jon said:

"If you are of the opinion that we cannot extract information from foreign or domestic terrorists, without uniform..."

Did you read that link I supplied at the top of these comments?

Arar was shown to be completely innocent, a hard-working, family man, and an asset to his community... not a "foreign or domestic terrorist, without uniform."

The Bush administration shipped him to Syria because they knew he would be tortured there. Niiiiiice.

"What do you want this nation to become?"

I want this nation to become a nation that doesn't torture innocent people. That's reasonable enough, don't you think, Jon?

An Anon said:

"public comment pretty much ran no,no,no,no,no,no,yesno,no,no"

That's funny, and true. That was also the case for putting the recall election date earlier rather than later. But, as we all know now, the re-called three decided to put it later, and that allowed them the window of time they needed to get the first draw down of the SRF loan and start the project. An absolute gut-punch to Democracy.

Spectator said...

To Ron:

Yes, I read your Washington Post quip, and asked you a question which you did not answer. In addition your speculation that the administration sent this guy to Syria because they knew he would be tortured there is to accept absolute speculative hogwash. You are accepting viewpoint and opinion, not facts, from a liberal media that hates Bush. Why he was returned to Syria, I have no idea. Maybe he was in the US illegally. There is no mention in the article why the guy would be tortured by the Syrians. Maybe he was a bad actor there before he left. The US government has absolutely no control over the actions of the Syrian Government or the people living there. If our government had any control, they would stop the Syrians from resupplying military weapons to the Hezbos in Lebanon.

"I want this nation to become a nation that doesn't torture innocent people. That's reasonable enough, don't you think, Jon?" I agree. Jon Arcuni doesn't want a nation that tortures guilty people, terrorist or otherwise, either. And now I would like you to define torture. I go along with the recent revisions to our policy on torture. I think the debate is over on this.

It is clear that you are some sort of BUSH hater, in that you would blame the Bush administration for actions of the Syrian government. You would probably blame BUSH for the fact that the Iraqi government can't get it's act together and and stop the religious power struggle going on in Iraq. Well, vote Bush out in the next election. ( I will never vote for him again for president --- can't. ) You might as well blame the Los Osos sewer problem on BUSH and the war. If we had not gone to war, the feds could have paid for our sewer system for free, and all we would have had to decide is where we put it. Of course there would have been opposition to a free sewer. NIMBY, and anti-growth activists would continue to fight it just like the County sewer project in the past.

How many outdoor/indoor cats do you own? Better get yourself checked for toxoplasmosis. That goes for everyone. 42% of schizos are found with high levels of toxoplasmosis antibodies. A schitzo lacks a sense of reality. As sargent Friday would say " the facts mam, just the facts."

Shark Inlet said...

Jon

Even if we strip Bush out of this discussion entirely, it does seem pretty clear that Ron likes stirring the pot and poking fun at those he disagrees with. It also seems pretty clear that he has never been willing to ask certain critical questions of Julie and the folks she seems to side with.

Even if Julie did have some really good points, it doesn't mean that the sum total of what she is advocating makes sense.

The problem with Ron seems to be that he focuses on only one or two issues and has never asked himself about the other issues or Los Osos BIG issue ... what should we do next?

As you pointed out and as you and I and others have been pointing out since last October is that the damage was done when the project was stopped and when the board made the choice to back Measure B no matter what. Since then they've been trying to play "catch up" to the boulder they pushed down the hill ... all the while saying that they were not the group to push it. Whether the previous group started construction or not, the LOCSD would be in roughly the same position today ... bankrupt, losing control of the project and blaming everyone else for the problem.

What should we do next? Elect a board who will be able to clean up the financial mess the current board made. We should also make sure that the nutjobs who have screwed our community over and over and over (with lawsuits and letters to contractors and CCC revocation hearings and the recall and measure B) cannot hose us yet again by trying to screw up the County plans ... because if the County can't git-r-done, the State will feel no obligation to do do anything right by us.

Anonymous said...

Well just got back from my mailbox and I got two flyers supporting the "new majority". Just as bad as the recall propoganda. Report cards and stuff. Like they know already how these new people will be? Like the recall people knew everything about how things would go? Please! Los Osos politics are about as unsophisticated as you can get. I'm thinking about moving back to New York...no kidding. We got snow but we got brains. This small town dynamic is not fun anymore it's pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:08:
Dude, I'm from New York too--Long Island, and you're right, many things, including politics, seem a little more unsophisticated, but really, Los Osos is just a differnt cat. A way different cat. Way way way different cat. I use the word embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

...altho Joey Racano is from LI as well, and no one would confuse him with sophistication. What ever happened to him anyway? Did he bail on his CSD?

Mike Green said...

Sharkey, good to hear your bubbles!
The posts from the anons above are right on!
I just got both pathetic mailers from (T)ime (W)asters and I couldn't agree more.
I had a good long talk with Joe Sparks at the Octoberfest.
Please everybody, Vote for him.
If you agree with anything I've posted before, you can trust him.
As far as everyone else, you are on your own, but I would caution about "staying the course"
Good Luck to Los Osos! ( we need it)

Anonymous said...

Mike:
Nice reference to not "staying the course." After watching Joe all year at meetings, and talking with him at the schoolhouse a few weeks ago, I slapped one of his signs on my front lawn. Now, I gotta tell you, I despise lawn signs. One of the true scourges of our society. But I was sold. It would be extremely beneficial for all Los Osos at this juncture (no money; bloated spending; zero credibility) to have him on the board.

Mike Green said...

Thanks anon!
The only real downer about voting in Sparks, is that it's gonna be a big black mark on his political resume.
Maybe we can say he's the represnative frome Baywood Park? Redfield Woods? Cuesta By the Sea?
Hell, throw the guy a bone, anything but Los Osos.

Spectator said...

Mike:

I am a CONTROLER of politicians. I dispurse PAC funds to support local politicians. All through my life I have sat back and tried to control the political process. I have never wanted anything but good government. I have always wanted people in elected office to be true to good government and represent the best interests of those in their constituency. There is nothing that ANY politician can do for ME except provide good government. Government has never done ANYTHING personally for me.(except social security and medicare, and I have paid for it).

I have been sold down the river many times early on, by false promises. At that time I listened to words, but now I perceive heart and purpose. I am 66 years old, and have learned now to know how to look a man/woman in the eyes, and listen to them, to find sincerity.

Mike Green, whether or not I agree with you, you are sincere. I feel the same way about Sharky and others on this blog. Both of you have no agenda, and are absolutely open.

Joe Sparks is no politician, he is who he is. However he is very smart, and just wishes good government. I hope he wins, because he will be good government, but I fear for him, and the unwarrented criticism he will receive, regardless of what he does. Your assement is correct.

Do not worry about the black mark on his political resume. This guy is no politician: he lacks bullcrap. Every one should vote for him. There is no bullcrap in Maria or Lynette either. All of them will sit on a bankruptcy board, with a Federal controler in place, and will have to defend the property owners of LOS Osos from the creditors. They may not be able to do anything: the law will prevail. But at least they will speak out with integrity and truth. Thank you for your comments and clear discourse.

When you ran your boat under power onto your trailer under severe tidal conditions it showed competence. The tide captured me. But I was OK due to LUCK and some knowledge, and the help of others.
Recovered!
Our "stop the sewer" board stuck us into a bad tide, no help, no dock down tide, and absolutely no knowledge. Tide is quick, they had all the time in the world to make adjustments. Sometimes we just want to get the boat in the water, and to hell with the tide.

Putting a boat in the water can be a political experience! And there it is!


Jon Arcuni

Anonymous said...

Totally off the subject. I saw Julie Tacker coming out of the County building in SLO this afternoon. She looked great! Nicely tailored suit, high heels, sunglasses...really someone should make a movie of this.

Mike Green said...

A movie! YES! maybe Michael Moore will direct it.
Who should we get to play Pandora?
Don't ask Ron, he'll say the wicked witch of the west.
What fun!
Casting call anyone?

Mike Green said...

Jon, thank you for your kind words.

p.s. competence with any boat is 50% luck.

Shark Inlet said...

Mike,

Are you going to volunteer to campaign for Joe?

Casting ideas:

Ann Calhoun: Judy Dench
Ron Crawford: Dennis Hopper
Keith Swanson: Gary Busey

Churadogs said...

Anon sez:"Ann, your continued assertions that people aren't "payng attention" or "asleep at the switch" just because we do not agree with your, or Bev's, demonizing of the water boards is patronizing and offensive. "

Here's a project for you. Go down to the Los Osos Farmer's Market with a clip board. Ask everyone you can: "Since the Blakeslee initiative has passed and the county now has taken over the wastewater project, Has the Regional Water Board suspended or is holding the CDO's in abeyance?" See how many people answer or maybe how many ask you, "What's a CDO?"

Shark Inlet said...

You are indeed correct, Ann. Before the recall I did go to the farmers market and asked people whether the recall would cause the cost of the project to go up and interestingly enuf, about half thought the project would get cheaper if the recall were to be successful. Idiots not paying attention and not thinking are the problem here.

Ron said...

Mike said:

"Who should we get to play Pandora?
Don't ask Ron, he'll say the wicked witch of the west."


Again, the only thing I have against her is the way she goes about her marketing. Other than that, she seems to be a really nice person (well, I guess, there's also one other thing that bugs me about her: the fact that she develops "strategies' to have her elderly neighbors fined. That's not very nice.)

But other than THAT, she seems to be a really nice person. She donates to KCBX, and that's cool. But here's the weird thing about that: She donates to KCBX, KCBX brings me Amy Goodman every day, and Amy Goodman inspires me to be a better journalist and write about things like Nash-Karner's "behavior based marketing" tactics. Weird circle, huh?

Plus, a while ago I gave my casting choice for Pandora -- Kathy Bates. Oh, she'd rock.

Sewertoons said...

So Ron, which "marketing stragegy" carried the most weight with the Water Board in their decision to issue CDO's? The Recallists, with "No loss of loan, no fines, $100 a month sewer charge," or Ms. Nash Karner's letter to them?

Mike Green said...

Sharkey, Since I don't get paid for commenting and I wrote an endorsement for Joe, I guess I already volunteerd.

Here, I'll make it official.

Please cut/copy paste and print the following, then stick it to your refridgerator with a magnet:

Mike Green the commentor says:

VOTE FOR JOE SPARKS! If you dont I'll put a mechanics HEX on all of your means of transportation!!!!


How's that.


Steve Martin - Bud Laurent

Shark Inlet said...

Mike ... I was sort of thinking of going door-to-door and asking your friends and neighbors to vote for Joe.


I more figured Steve Martin for the role of Jeff Young, RWQCB chair. He could certainly give a bit of levity to that otherwise grim part of the story.

Anonymous said...

I always fashioned Nick Nolte as a good Al Barrow, but it has to be the mugshot Notle.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/mugshots/nolte1.html

Ron said...

'toons wrote:

"So Ron, which "marketing stragegy" carried the most weight with the Water Board in their decision to issue CDO's? The Recallists, with "No loss of loan, no fines, $100 a month sewer charge," or Ms. Nash Karner's letter to them?"

That would be a good question for one Mr. Roger Briggs... someone that just happens to be on a first-name-basis with one Mrs. Nash-Karner.

M.G. said:

"Steve Martin - Bud Laurent"

If you ask me, Bud's been flying below the "blame game" radar. Here's the question I have for Bud:

When he, as Second District County Supervisor, "hand delivered" to the Karners a long list of problems that county staff identified with the Solution Group's plan in 1998, before the election that formed the CSD, why in the hell didn't he "hand deliver" that same document to me?!!!

That's when I was the editor of the small community newspaper, The Bay Breeze.

A source at the county told me the Karners "just sat" on that document.

I friggin' guarantee you, I would not have "just sat" on that document. Instead, I would have put it on the front page, above the fold, with a screaming headline in the same huge font size I used when I scooped all other media in the county on the results of the Questa Study.

So, Bud, why didn't you "hand deliver" that document to me?

*PG-13 said...

Shark Inlet > I more figured Steve Martin for the role of Jeff Young, RWQCB chair. He could certainly give a bit of levity to that otherwise grim part of the story.

Cool. He could get the entire board to wear little arrows through their heads. Perfect.

Still not sure about the movie thing. Is this gonna be a Roger Moore documentary/expose, a Kathy Bates horror flick, or a Steve Martin comedy? It could easily go in any of these directions. But to make it all of those would probably result in some kind of cinematic train wreck. Oh, now I get it.

*PG-13 said...

Anon > I always fashioned Nick Nolte as a good Al Barrow

Pretty good. But I think the part needs a little more energy. I was thinking more along the lines of a slightly whacked Robin Williams.

Williams could easily do a double role and reprise Joey too.

Heck, why not cast Robin Williams in all the roles and just let him do the thing Robin does so well? I'd buy a ticket for that one.

Shark Inlet said...

About Robin Williams as Al Barrow ... the Fisher King makes me think that Robin Willaims would do a great job as Al.

Howerver, it seems pretty clear that Robin Williams can't play all the good roles (he isn't Eddie Murphy) so we've got to get a few others.

As to the comedy versus drama question, I would suggest that a this film would be a black comedy.

Who for Julie, Bruce and Blesky? Without filling those roles we have no chance of selling this to Disney or Paramont. But if we do, we can take our cut and apply it toward reducing our sewer bills.

Anonymous said...

Ben Stein would be perfect for Bruce if he was bigger. How 'bout Clint Howard for Blesky? At his creepiest best.

Anonymous said...

Rossane Barr as Joyce Albright.