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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Button, Button, Who's Got The Button? And Brother, Can You Spare A Dime While You're At It?

Ah, as if Los Osos doesn't have enough mysteries swirling around it, now we have the March 27, Tribune headline, "Osos asks county for financial rescue: In a confidential letter, an attorney for the town's services district requests that the county bail it out of bankruptcy by buying the land once slated for a sewer plant."

Uh, . . . .well, that does beg a few questions:

1. This matter had been discussed at the CSD meetings long ago, selling Tri W that is. Remember when this idea was floated months ago, more headlines, lots of shreiking, and the County, quick like a bunny, sent a letter citing chapter and verse of ordinances that said the CSD had to give the County first right of refusal if they were selling any "excess" public land, then everyone got into a dust-up as to how the Tri-W wasn't "excess" public land but was part and parcel of the sewer project, followed by a tangle over whether the Blakeslee plan gave the County the whole kit and kaboodle anyway since it now has the wastewater project so that would have to include Tri W & Broderson, and nobody knew, if the county couldn't use all or any of Tri-W and they sold it, whether the "profit" from the sale would be returned to the CSD or kept with the sewer project to reduce the capital costs, then somebody floated a rumor that developer Jeff Edwards was going to buy Tri-W and everyone had a cow with much bellowing and running around, and such like. Remember?

Then everything died down and the idea of selling Tri-W to anyone was off the table, and presumably folks were waiting on a ruling from the Bankruptcy judge as to what constitutes "assets" but now, apparently's it baaaccck as another "old news" front page headline?

2. But when I go to the online story, I can find no link to the letter in question, which is how they usually link such pdf files & etc. But the story does note that the document was "posted anonymously Monday on a public forum on The Tribune's Web site, sanluisobispo.com -- " which causes me to wonder: Was this letter filched out of closed session, is it a work product of lawyer/client confidentiality, did it carry on it the usual "confidential" legal boilerplatet and so there was some serious questions whether officially posting it on their main web page might violate the law? So it just appeared "anonymously" on their forum site, thereby -- heh-heh -- letting themselves off the hook regarding any violtions of confidiality?

3. Which bring us to the wonderful mystery. Who leaked the letter? The Usual Suspects can't be that large. CSD board members, Attorneys, whoever typed it, etc. Was this letter something that was covered by the various Closed Session laws? If so, who leaked a closed session item? Wheeeeeee!

4. Not that any of this stuff is very secret, mind you, having all been discussed before in public and in the pages of the Tribune and even on this blogsite. And as for the financial condition of the district, that was discussed and presented a few weeks ago with the budget session, big ginormous budget report, and discussion with the CPA who prepared the report. Nothing secret about that, either.

5. But it does make for a swell headline, plus, a wonderful mystery: Who Leaked The Letter?

Well, this is The Los Osos Gong Show. Stay tuned.

TIC TAC

Missed the first TAC meeting yesterday as I had to report for Jury Duty and our group of citizens had to report at the same time the TAC met. Heard through he grapevine that the TAC will try to hold future public meetings here in Los Osos, which will enable interested folks a chance to sit in and listen and learn.

Plus, heard that the County's preliminary First Cut of Wastewater Systems Report is out; 2 copies at the CSD office, 2 at the library.

START YOUR ENGINES! The Shreiking will commence shortly.

SOFTBALL BRICKBATS

The Tribune's March 26 "Bouquets and Brickbats" offered the gentlest lob to the Regional Quality Control Board's latest bungle, what the editorial calls their "needless threatening letter to the town's prohibition zone property owners."

Instead of that softy brickback, the Tribune should have used that electioneering letter as the basis of a serious 3-part, in-depth investigative report on the whole CDO process, the violations of property rights within the PZ for ALL homeowners, the very serious risk the RWQCB is running that the 218 vote may be scuttled by their bungled meddling, you know, do a lengthy story like the one they did on Meth.

But, no, can't be bothered, so, instead, we get this softy smack with Nurf mittens, thereby earning a few brickbats right back at them.

30 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

I can't figure out whether you are trying really hard to miss the point or whether you are just blinded by your desire to criticize the previous board and/or support the current crew.

In particular, the question at hand isn't who leaked the memo or whether the sale of TriW was discussed some number of meetings ago. The question is this ... how could the LOCSD boardmembers both hire yet another lawyer while asking the fire chief to cut his budget? How could the LOCSD board think it is acceptable to not tell us in the public the actual financial picture? The only reason I can think this would be acceptable is if the financial state of the district outlined in the letter isn't factual ... but I rather doubt that.

To refer to another poster in the comment section of another posting ... how are these actions by the board showing that they are transparent?

Anonymous said...

Ann, your comedy writing gets better and better with age. Here you blast the TT for not investigating the issuing of CDO's, yet you once again turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the actions of this current CSD (except Joe) which led to the insolvency of the district. Insolvency!! And you say nothing, except continue to pander to these morons; or make excuses for their actions; or minimize their destruction; or ignore it altogether. And they coninue to spend money (we don't have) on attorneys! You are unbelievable, in every sense of the word.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Sorry, but you cannot spin your way out of the today's Tribune's headline story. The truth is out.

The CSD is insolvent; and is so because the current board drained all the the CSD's reserves leaving the district and its services on the edge of collaspe.

1. The board and staff "forgot" that they have to repayy the $715,000 they "borrowed" from the Bank Of New York in Sept...and forgot to include this cost in their budget?
2. Are you not outraged that you paid the bond assessment payment via your taxes...only to have it spent on attorneys...and now have to make a second payment unneccessary?
3. Are you not outraged that "process" was not followed by this board in that they "borrowed" almost $1,450,000 without peformed required open meetings to describe for the public that the money was being borrowed; that the loan had to be repaid at a set interest rate over a given time out of a named source. If your so picky about "process", here is your chance to prove so.
4. Are you not outraged that the CSD has hidden the true finacial conditon of the district from you and the citizens of Los Osos?....and just recently hired another attorney (Sullivan) with money they do not have. Where the the discussions by this board of the depth of the financial mess they are in?

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"How could the LOCSD board think it is acceptable to not tell us in the public the actual financial picture?"

Did you miss the CSD meeting wherein the budget was presented with the CPA right there ready to answer questions? He noted that if anyone had questions they could forward them to the CSD office and he'd do his best to answer them, questions concerning the budget. So, what about that PUBLIC meeting was non-transparent? If you had been there, you could have asked your questions and gotten your answers. Oh, wait, I forget, was it you who didn't like to attend CSD meetings? And is it me who keeps asking blog posters to get off their duffs and go to the meetings and ask their questions directly?

As for the letter, that IS the main point. Who leaked it? Since none of what's discussed therein is "new," i.e. selling Tri-W, selling Broderson, selling part of Tri-W, etc. That was all thrashed around months ago, in public. The only difference with this leaked letter is this: Does that letter represent closed session "negotiations" regarding the possible sale of property? Same as if the CSD were entering "negotiations" with any buyer on any proerty they have -- negotiations to remain closed until it's time to report out something. If so, then does leaking that letter constitute a breach of closed sessions rules If so, then it will be important to find out, Who leaked that letter?" If it isn't a closed session item, then it's just more "discussion" about selling property, none of which has any weight until it's brought to the Board for a vote.

As for hiring Sullivan to handle the CSD's CDOs, I think maybe the property owners at Vista del Oro, Bayridge Estates, and residents of the whole PZ might choose to disagree with you if they take the time to go read the many points of the appeals complaint. At any rate, when the matter came up for discussion at the CSD meeting, I don't remember seeing "The Community" sitting there, waiting to comment publicly, Yay or Nay, do you? Oh, wait, I forgot, you don't attend CSD meetings. Sorry.

*PG-13 said...

Whatever you may think - or think you know - about any of this ya gotta admit Jay L Michaelson has a totally cool signature!


(Check it out on the bottom of page 3 )

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. This sounds just like when Cheney "outed" Valerie Plame, all Bush talked about was getting to the bottom of who leaked the story. Un-ferakin-believable.

The story here Ann is the insolvency, and the incredibly destructive actions of this board which created this mess. Not the leak.

Oh wait. I forgot. You don't "opine" objectively. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Your last post is a joke.

It is obvious that you want to kill the messenger (the anonomous poster of the letter) rather than face the reality of the disasterous financial quagmire the Lisa board has caused Los Osos.

You bellyache over the CDO process; while not facing the reality that the pain of CDO's could have been avoided if the LISA board had acted in the best interest of Los Osos by not stopping the project that would have brought us into compliance with the law.

You also forget that the property in question is already owned by the property owners....and that if the land is sold that the cash proceeds should be returned to the property owners...not as a means to cover the butts of the CSD's scandous stupidity.

Anonymous said...

"As for hiring Sullivan to handle the CSD's CDOs, I think maybe the property owners at Vista del Oro, Bayridge Estates, and residents of the whole PZ might choose to disagree with you if they take the time to go read the many points of the appeals complaint."

Nope. I live in the PZ. My PZ friends and I find the board's action of hiring Shaunna Sullivan appalling.

If the County comes up with money to prop up the district, I will beg them to control the spending of it. Except for the notable exception of Joe, this Board does not have a tiny clue as to the phrase "fiduciary responsibility." They are completely capable of taking that money and filing a lawsuit against the County with it.

4crapkiller said...

Ann:

The letter was posted on line as part of Sonia Patel's story as documentation. Perhaps this was an addition, but it is there. You might check the comments to her story.

Where has the FINANCE COMMITTEE been on all this stuff about insolvency. It seems to me that they sit on their brains and do nothing except support their board.

This Leon Goldin seems to be a joke. I hope he is not conspiring to cover up really inane actions of the board in closed sessions.

Your comments about a leaked letter are inane. The person who leaked the letter provided sunshine. Sunshine has been sorely missed. Just another campaign promise turning out to be a consistant lie.

These people belong in jail.

Anonymous said...

Well, Ann, you didn't let me down! Spin, spin, spin! Who CARES where the letter came from - it was validated as real by the author!

You are quite the magician, aren't you? Get the readers all busy wondering where the letter came from, pointing us to believe that it is really old news, while downplaying the nasty reality of the letter that clearly shows just how rotten the Lisa Board is! Bravo!

*PG-13 said...

Just goes to show how different people looking at the same thing choose to see different things. I gotta say, when I first read the letter my first dozen thoughts had nothing to do with who leaked it. Nor did that even make the next dozen. I musta been too busy thinking about the actual content of the letter to be overly concerned about the stationery it was written on. Or how it got into the mail. (Although I was rather taken by Jay's signature ;-) Your fine distinctions about whether this disclosure may unduly influence 'closed session negotiations' or not depending upon whether this old info is now current info seems, uh, what can we call it? A little too Bushie? Yes, Ann, you are correct in that "none of what's discussed therein is 'new,'". Although this letter seems like it is the first time it has been discussed 'in public'. Oh, wait, that's your issue. Its not yet public. Or at least it wouldn't be public if the letter hadn't been leaked. Isn't that how we got into this mess in the first place? Not enough information being shared with the public? To be honest, I'd feel a whole lot better if the CSD operated in a fish bowl. What could they possibly be discussing any more that needs to be talked about behind closed doors? I appreciate most boards need some privacy in order to do business. But this board isn't doing much business any more. At least they shouldn't be. They're no longer in the sewer business. They're only 'an interested party' in the CDO's. At least that's the role they're supposed be playing. They don't have any money to hire lawyers. And they don't have a pot to piss in unless they sneak a piss into somebody else's pot. Truth is, they seem to have lost their way. Oh, I'm sure they're trying hard to save the day. Good for them. Unfortunately that day has passed. There is a time to be strong and fight the good fight. It is honorable to hold true a course if you believe in it strongly. But when you're robbing from Peter and Mary and Sam in order to cover Paul's ass its time to step away from the game. They drew a short hand and played it out as long as they could. Some say they should have folded earlier. For them to ignore they have no play in this game and they need to move to the penny slots reflects addictive behavior. If they want to make a case that they can save the day by liquidating certain assets they should say it up front. Hence the letter. If they've got a plan let's see it. But no more shell games. Funds invested in Tri-W are sewer funds. Paying lawyers to fight CDO's - regardless how we feel about the RWQCB and their silly CDO's - has nothing to do with building a sewer. The county should inherit that sewer asset. If they don't need it to build a sewer then I hope they do something wise with it. Gee, maybe they'll build a park en lieu of paving our roads. I'd go with that. But if they liquidate it and turn it into strip mall to finance a sewer someplace else then that's the price we pay for not doing the job right when we had the first three chances.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry. Correct me if I'm wrong here. Dont't the bond holders technically own Tri-W? Kinda like the bank technically owns your house. The money to purchase Tri-W (and Broderson?) came from the proceeds of a bond sale, for which property owners are currently assessed to repay. If the District sells Tri-W, shouldn't the proceeds be used to reduce the bond debt? If not, and the money is used to pay something else, when the County charges property owners for the purchase of a new treatment site, aren't we still obligated to pay the original assessment? Doesn't that mean we are paying for two sites (one that won't be used)? Isn't that double dipping at the public trough?

I'm just asking...

Anonymous said...

My goodness, Ann. Spin is only effective when it is not obvious!

You are simply a blatant apologist for very bad actions of the board that have brought the district to insolvency.

When have we ever read from you: "Whoa, whoa, do not stop the sewer unless full consequences are clear". Your silence has been deafening.

The lawyer speaks for the LOCSD Board and at their direction. It is clear that they wish TRI-W to be removed as an option, and will do any kind of trick to assure that. Hands on a scale? Surely not your friends!

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Just so that the readership (many of them are quite new) can get a sense of what you believe, perhaps you could answer two questions for us.

Question 1. The pre-recall LOCSD board was (pick one) "mostly successful and mostly right", "mostly successful but mostly wrong", "mostly unsuccessful but mostly right" or "mostly unsuccessful and mostly wrong".

Question 2. The post-recall LOCSD board has been (pick one) "mostly successful and mostly right", "mostly successful but mostly wrong", "mostly unsuccessful but mostly right" or "mostly unsuccessful and mostly wrong".

Please give a brief reason for each answer.

Anonymous said...

1) How much did the current board (-Joe) spend to insure that STEP-STEG was an option when the project was passed over to the county?

This money was spent working towards the alternative wastewater treatment facility that the voters have been asking for since the beginning of time.

2) Why are some folks so adamantly opposed fighting the Water Board? Do they somehow believe that the WB is above the laws of our country? Or will they personally be vulnerable if this ever gets into a real courtroom?

Anonymous said...

Really, Ann!!

Who gives a rat's ass WHO leaked the letter? The point is, this Board, who screamed and screamed at the previous Board, accusing them of everything including secrecy, has violated the very *OATH* they took to provide TRANSPARENCY!

Oh, and Lisa's comment, about it being so, "UNFAIR!!!" for this to be printed. What an absolute hypocritical farce.

Face it, Ann. There is absolutely no way you can continue to whitewash this lame-ass BOD. I guess you figure that if you use William Wrigley's motto: "Tell 'em fast, and tell 'em often" that you can continue to try pulling the wool over the eyes of Los Osos.

Guess what, dearie? The moths of deception continue to eat at that thin bit of wool. Hell, you can read a newspaper through it.

Anonymous said...

Definition of the LOCSD:

Fiscally foolish failures, facing financial fade-out.

Anonymous said...

The LOCSD is on their way out. Anyone with half a brain can see that. Vote for the recall or not-who cares now? The situation sucks! I say (and I voted twice for better and cheaper) get rid of the LOCSD! They have done nothing, since 1998, but hoodwink this community. We have never had a board in place that could get the job done. Many have tried but none have succeeded. Get rid of them before they spend any more $$$. I am very upset about his.

FBLeG said...

I think that one point that is not being discussed is the following dilemma for the County:

1. Keep the LOCSD afloat by buying TriW, and hope that it remains a solvent local agency so the County doesn't inherit all of the CSD debt.

2. Remove their objection of selling TriW to a private party and hope the CSD remains a solvent local agency so the County doesn't inherit all of the CSD debt.

3. Refuse to buy TriW or refuse to allow it to be sold to a private party, and watch the CSD go bankrupt and have the County inherit all of its debt.

Unfortunately, I think the CSD is headed for bankruptcy and the County is going to inherit the CSD debt. The sad irony of all of this is that the County could have built the sewer 20 years ago, but now they are going to inherit a bunch of debt in addition to the responsibility once again to build a sewer. Now, we ask, who was responsible for taking the onus for building a sewer from the County 10 years ago? Ron knows the answer and I'm sure many others here do also. In retrospect, that was the biggest F**k up in the history of SLO county and it's going to cost everyone in the County.

Lastly, people seem to forget/ignore that the CSD is a DESIGNATED PARTY to the CDO hearings. The RWQCB has already levied a 6.5 million dollar fine against the CSD. I don't want to pay that fine and I'm sure the good people in Cabrillo don't either. So, we need a lawyer to contest the fine. That costs money. Of course, if the CSD goes bankrupt the County would inherit the fine, and I'm sure the good people of Paso Robles don't want to pay the fine either. So, the County will hire a lawyer too. Is there anyone out there that wants to pay the fine? Please speak up and we'll send you the bill. I didn't think so. A successful appeal of this fine will benefit the whole County, so why is everyone up in arms about hiring a lawyer? It seems like money well spent.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

My money is on Richard LeGros for leaking the letter.

Isn't he right there on the Bankruptcy committee?

Anonymous said...

FBLeG said: "and watch the CSD go bankrupt and have the County inherit all of its debt."


In case you haven't heard, the CSD IS in bankruptcy and have done nothing to develop a recovery plan to repay the creditors being held off by the Bankruptcy Court. They have further damaged their chances of ever climbing out of the hole by once again hiring another lawyer without a stram of income by which to pay her.

The next step in to declare insolventcy and resign. The County Board of Supervisors would then take over and appoint fiscally responsible folks to over and work out a plan to repay the debts.

It appears insolventcy will occur in April. It also appears the County will have to step in to help financially. The local CSD has failed in all it's responsibilities and is being investigated for criminal acts.

Churadogs said...

4Crapkiller sez:"Where has the FINANCE COMMITTEE been on all this stuff about insolvency. It seems to me that they sit on their brains and do nothing except support their board."

Excellent question. Maybe you can ask it at the next CSD meeting.

FBLeG sez..."
I think that one point that is not being discussed is the following dilemma for the County:

1. Keep the LOCSD afloat by buying TriW, and hope that it remains a solvent local agency so the County doesn't inherit all of the CSD debt.

2. Remove their objection of selling TriW to a private party and hope the CSD remains a solvent local agency so the County doesn't inherit all of the CSD debt.

3. Refuse to buy TriW or refuse to allow it to be sold to a private party, and watch the CSD go bankrupt and have the County inherit all of its debt. . . ." etc.

Excellent point, just posted the same this morning (above)

What all the huffers and puffers above seem to be ignoring is the financial info is not new, the proposed sale of Tri W is not new, the CSD is already IN bankruptcy court, LAFCO has already ruled that they wouldn't dissolve the CSD, the recent CPA/Budget audit noted the reserves are razor thin, (one emergency and ka-boom), the CSD IS a CDO Designated Party, is an ACL recipient, etc. etc. ALL of this is OLD NEWS, dead ducks, dead horses, a linked train wreck that has been moving in Slo Mo since, umm, Ron would put it at Day One, I'd put the final trip wire with the failure to follow through by the Coastal Commission's de novo hearing, and with the absolute final failure of a Dead Man Switch by the State Water Board in letting the additional $40 mil go without a 218 vote -- those key chances were missed so the rest was as fixed as Fate, link by link, one bad decision causing another bad decision. So why all the faux outrage now?

To me, who and why the letter was "leaked" is of interest, plus the direction the questions are going are, as you noted above, headed for putting the County on notice that they may well be on the horns of a dilemma. As I said, This is Los Osos, stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Notice how the linked train wreck once again stops before it gets to the Schicker/Tacker/Fouche/Cesena/Senet board. Wouldn't even be considered by Ann.
Amazing. Only the staunchest Bush loyalists walk around with such blinders, such ignorance, such absolute disregard for history as Ann does. Just simply amazing.

Anonymous said...

My money is in Julie Tacker as the leaker!

Anonymous said...

My money is on Ann Calhoun as the leaker.....We all know she as a bladder control problem.

Anonymous said...

…and a spin control problem.

Anonymous said...

You guys are mean. Cut it out. That kind of talk is acceptable on the Tribune blog but not here.

Anonymous said...

Darn, you mean only spin and lies are acceptable on this private blog?

Churadogs said...

Sigh. Looks like the stupidity level is rising again. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Ann,
There you go pi$$ing and moaning again....sure signs of your bladder control problem.