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Friday, March 09, 2007

Where’s Roger?

If you’re a Los Osos resident and/or a Sewer Jihadi (either side) you’ve probably already seen Patrick Klemz’ very interesting March 8, 07 cover story in New Times, “Where is Roger Briggs? Los Osos residents facing water board hearings question the absence of its leader” (They sought him here, they sought him there, they sought him everywhere, that Demned elusive Scarlet Pimpernell!)

Patrick’s article does contain a couple of interesting items. One, of course, is this: “[Bud] Sanford said he sent a packet of allegations and evidence he’d collected to the California Bureau of State Audits in January of 2006. Donna Neville, legal advisor to the watchdog group, said in early March of 2007 that she wouldn’t confirm receipt of the papers and couldn’t disclose details of any ongoing investigations, in compliance with the Whistleblower Act. The water board’s Thomas [Matt? Michael? It's not clear, an unfortunate name confusion that continues to plague anyone involved with the whole Mad Hatter CDO “trial”] said the agency received the packet when PZLDF submitted it as evidence for its defense case prior to the hearings. . . . “ Then goes on to list a whole series of claims, most of which are followed by Klemz’ notation . ..” The water board declined to comment.” (Uh, I’ll say and understandable since a handful of The Los Osos 45 have filed an appeal of their CDOs to the State water board so the whole thing should be considered under litigation from this point forward, so “no comment” makes sense.)

But the questions Mr. Sandford has submitted to this Bureau do raise another interesting question. So long as the RWQCB stayed in the realm of “generalized, elective, municipal, collective, administrative, legislative, voter-approved actions” they didn’t need to stick with “facts” and “evidence” as it pertained to individual people, who, unlike vague general populations, still carry the protections of “rights” under law. Hence, the RWQCB could assert whatever they wanted to assert, base their claims on “common sense,” (Ignore that tainted well over there! Use the test numbers anyway!) or simply claim such and such that “everyone knows,” and so move forward with a collective governmental project to deal with collective wastewater/pollution problems.

Whatever assertions they made could be challenged at the proper time and “common sense” and “everyone knows” has, in the past, been good enough since most judges view the Board as the “experts,” and defer to them, as they defer to “county government” or elected “CSDs” as the duly authorized “authority” and so go along with whatever they’re advocating so long as it’s . . . good enough.

HOWEVER, when it comes to individual rights, property rights, legal issues, rules of evidence, the notion that a person is individually “innocent” until proven guilty of whatever they’re accused of, this whole notion of asserting something may not survive in a “real” court of law.

Which is what has made this whole Torquemada’s Mad Hatter Teaparty & Traveling Beheading CDO Show so misguided and problematic -- those damned laws that individuals can call upon to defend themselves. Like laws pertaining to “evidence.”

To take one example, the RWQCB staff was asked repeatedly, “Do you have any direct evidence that so and so is polluting the waters of the state of California.” Answer: “No.”

But they’re guilty anyway, issued a CDO and dismissed. Off with their heads!

Here’s Klemz again: “Even in Los Osos, many view the 30-year old nitrate debate as pedantic. Common sense indicates that a high-density cluster of septic systems would prove damaging to water quality, so why talk about nitrates? But the case of The Los Osos 45 isn’t another political battle. It’s a legal one, and one based on specifics. As community patience for the nitrate topic continued to erode, water board chairman Jeff Young struck many of these specific reports from the evidence binder of the recent administrative hearings, calling them 'irrelevant.'”

Hence, we have the Chairman hearing cases that could result in people losing their property dismissing “evidence” as “irrelevant.” Quel apt!

And you wonder why some of The Los Osos 45 have appealed their cases to the State Water Board and intend to go into a “real” court of law where “evidence” apparently still remains “relevant?” Where this isn’t an issue of “politics,” but is, as Klemz said, “ . . . a legal one, and one based on specifics.”

On a related issue, Chuck Cesena, Los Osos CSD President has a Viewpoint, “Past Time For A Truce in Los Osos,” The Bay News, March 8, 07 that states, in part, “Two opportunities existed to challenge this mistake [a challenge to the basin plan, i.e. a challenge to how the Prohibition Zone lines were drawn which never did make scientific sense and make even less scientific sense now]. The first was in 1983 when the basin plan was adopted by the regional board. That was not done. The second is within 30 days after the first ACL or CDO enforcement actions.”

Question: Exactly when did/does the ACL or CDO enforcement action clocks kick in? When the RWQCB votes to issue one? Or when the State Water Board gets an appeal and can legally sit on that appeal for about a year? Or after the CDO is appealed to a “real court of law?” WHEN?

The issue becomes relevant since amending the basin plan is really critical on so many levels. However, opening that plan up for a challenge is undoubtedly feared by the RWQCB and the county because it would allow too many people to ask too many questions about how the original lines were drawn and why. So, is the plan to hold the CDOs in limbo until the 218 vote (how do you spell E-L-E-C-T-I-O-N-E-E-R-I-N-G?) and the county moves ahead with a project based on the old PZ plan lines, thereby making a reexamination moot?

That is something everyone in this community needs to be thinking about. County, too. A bad, short-sighted basin plan doesn’t get better floating unexamined in limbo. It just gets worse. And worse will come back to bite everyone on the butt.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, the jumbled, dangling phrases, half truths, unverified, unsubstantiated assertions painting the water boards as evil and mean spirited are BACKKK!

Just when it seemed safe to swim in the waters of rational discussion!

Mike Green said...

Rational? Waterboards?

The terms seem to be mutualy exclusive

Anonymous said...

If you are in line for a CDO, and you think that the Water Board is just a beleaguered group of earnest government regulators trying to clean up our little hamlet, then you haven't heard Harvey Packard and Matt Thompson's statements regarding the 1/1/11 deadline. According to them you have about three ways of complying with the terms of a Cease and Desist Order:
a)You can be hooked up or be reasonably close to being hooked up to a wastewater treatment facility.
b)You can be out of compliance
c)You can stop discharging

Of course, cessation of discharge in the current climate where the RWQCB won't approve any existing on-site remedy can mean only one thing - moving out. Harvey Packard said that. But he also said that the Water Board isn't telling people they have to move out, just because that is the only remedy available to ceasing discharge. Matt Thompson agrees. Nice symmetry.

Harvey also said that no one says you can't choose to be out of compliance as an alternative to "vacating the premises." The Water Board would have to hold a bunch more hearings, and of course they could also refer you to the AG for criminal prosecution, all of which would take a very long time - but that would be highly unlikely, right? Of course, there's that sticky issue of when the fines actually begin to accrue. Is it the day you begin violating the discharge or is it the day - maybe years later - that you finally are judged guilty by that oh-so-impartial group who directed the prosecution in the first place - or by the AG? By the time you are judged guilty,if the fines began on 1/1/11, your $5000 daily charge for living in your home may have accrued over quite some time (Check out the time it's taken for a few CDO hearings, and they're still not over.), perhaps enough time to eat up your savings and the value of your house, leaving you no choice but to put plywood over the windows and doors. Harvey and Matt, and actually Jeffrey Young and Reed Sato to boot, however, insist that this is not about the Water Board violating anyone's property rights. No one is telling you to vacate the premises.

When you have a CDO of your very own and can stop dreaming about what you would do if YOU had one, then I'll be interested in seeing your comments about those very nice, very helpful Water Boarders who are just doing their jobs and following orders in an unappreciated attempt to be helpful.

Georges-Antoine Kurtz said...

Just a question.

Why blame the RWQCB when they made it clear before the recall that a change in board membership would not affect the timetable to compliance?

Why blame the RWQCB when during the ACL hearings it was the Los Osos lawyer who told the RWQCB that they should not take actions against the CSD but instead that CDOs against individual property owners was an appropriate action?

Why blame the RWQCB that your favorite board was the group who screwed the pooch here and promised something they had no hope of delivering and in the process, destroyed any chance of us achieving our required deadlines?

Anonymous said...

Because the TSO was held in abeyance at the time of the recall, that's why.

Anonymous said...

Because the TSO was held in abeyance at the time of the recall, that's why.

4crapkiller said...

This week, the Bay News published a viewpoint from Chuck Cessena. It was a blatant attempt to discredit Joe Sparks and to absolve the previous "foolish five" from blame for stopping the sewer.

He says he wants peace in Los Osos, for the voters to forget the past, and seriously wants us to know that the board is fully cognizant of the bankruptcy proceedings. Of course, he would deny and does, that the bankruptcy is a direct result of the board's actions. The key and deciding action was that they stopped the construction of the sewer without considering the effects on the community as a whole, and especially the property owners.

At this time Cessena and the former board is facing personal suit for "gift of public funds", a suit of merit. He is concerned, very concerned. He would wish to sway public opinion to absolve him and the "stoppers" with his viewpoint.

With the recalled three on the board, for seven years we had no CDOs. We had strong fiscal disipline with our limited resources. We had a sewer under construction, permitted, and financed. There was no insolvency or threat thereof. Their political defeat was based upon false promises, lies, and speculation: the effects clear!

When will Cessena stop spinning and apologise? I guess if he apologises, it will weaken his attempted defense.

The property owners of the LOCSD have been raped and continue to be raped by an elected board in violation of their oath of office and due dilligence. The rapists belong in jail. The voters, many of them renters, were raped by sweet words and impossible promises. The voters did NOT decide, it was the board who made the decisions.

I am not enjoying this rape! And yet there seems to be nothing that I or anyone else can do about it legally.

This is an absolute failure in government by those who should have known better should they have lived up to their oath of office and done due dilligence.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the PZ plan lines, one should ask Mr Frank Demarco of the water board staff how he came up with his lines as he was the author.
Also, per water board staff, the CSD can request that the PZ lines be expanded to include all of the water basin users. Why haven't they? County pressure?

4Crapkiller said...

There is a large problem throughout the US with aquifer polution. Municipality and county property owners do not have the resources to cope with this. This is recognized.

A bill has just been introduced and passed Wednesday into the Federal House of Reps to make Federal money, paid by all taxpayers in the US through their income tax, available to take the burden off localities and spread it around.

Every person requires clean water. I salute this effort, and hope everyone would support the bill. This bill is being pushed while our county people are in Washington looking for grants and lobbying. I hope they contribute to the passage of this bill through both the house and senate. I can think of nothing more important to everyone's future.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070307/ap_on_go_co/congress_sewers

Georges-Antoine Kurtz said...

To blame the RWQCB for doing exactly what they said they would do is foolishness.

The TSO was being held in abeyance because there was progress being made. The choice to stop that progress pretty much was the LOCSD way of saying "we don't care if you fine us."

Sounds like you are blaming the mother for putting her kid in a time out for refusing to pick up the toys even after several warnings instead of blaming the kid for refusing to pick up the toys.

Anonymous said...

To presume that the entire US should pay for this recalcitrant little berg's sewer is the essence of chutzpah.
Fifty-one percent of Los Osos' population have either been hoodwinked or are the very perpetrators of deceipt and lies.
The original Lisa Board should be held accountable for this travesty of public trust and funds.

That anyone in their right mind can defend these egotistical spoiled brats is unconscionable.

Mike Green said...

Chutzpa! good very good!
I wonder what your deffinition of requireing the largest (nearly) per capita publick works project on a community would be.
Chutzpa?
How about complete fantasy!
Affordability is a "trickey problem"
That ,my friend, is a direct quote from Sam Blakeslee's good offices.
The Chutzpa in this case is trickle down.

Anonymous said...

What would it have been had the project not been stopped?

Mike Green said...

'What would it have been had the project not been stopped?

well, my guess is a WWTF at TriW.

Next question.

Anonymous said...

How dare the RWQCB give CDO's when they know full well that their lead agency, State Water Board, had no secure funding for the SRF and the recalled CSD avoided a prop 218 vote. The should want everyone to follow the law, but obviously, they are perfectly fine with allowing the laws to be broken and give CDO's to boot!

Oh yes, they are just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

to 4crapkiller, Stop putting all the "BLAME" on the current Board Majority...If you recall, the HORRIBLE RE-called 3 wouldn't listen to the citizens. We did NOT want a SEWER at TRI W...What don't you people understand? Chuck is right, there will be NO HEALING in this community because all you dreamers keep pointing fingers & are "HATE-mongers"

Anonymous said...

To 11:31:

Good question. The CSD can ask about expanding the PZ line. They SHOULD. The county clearly wants just the PZ to pay (which the 218 says District pays as a "whole") yet the county wants just the PZ. Our CSD knows all this, and aren't doing anything about it. Have they just rolled over to let the county rape all PZ homeowners?

Why does the county (and Blakeslee) want to keep the PZ even though it's not really legal? Riff-raff out -- the wealthy in -- AND THE COUNTY GETS MORE PROPERTY TAX DOLLARS, AND THEIR DEVELOPER FRIENDS (AND PANDORA OF COURSE) GET VERY RICH...

Does anyone on the RWQCB own property outside the PZ? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

WE???

"We" didn't make a legal crusade that bankrupted the District. "We" didn't lose a low interest loan. "We" didn't try to create an unacceptable sewer. "We" did work for 8 years and through many revisions to produce a fully planned sewer/WWTF. "We" obtained funding for that legal project.

Keep right on following Chuck, he is going to need your support to pay back the "gift of public funds" that he and the other 4 spent on their personal lawyers.

"We" don't need to point fingers and if there are any "HATE-mongers" they learned their craft from the wonderfully civil recall campaign. You taught us well!

Hope you enjoy the WWTF and community park at Tri-W!

Anonymous said...

To 7:33 PM:

Oh Gee. YOU did not want a WWP at Tri-W! So, you and your little friends threw yourselves down and kicked the floor and held your breath until you got your own way.

But, like children, you never gave a thought to the consequences of what you had done. You thought it was "do over" time, just like in some little game of hop-scotch.

Well, it isn't turning out that way, is it?

Lisa, Julie, and all their little rug-rat supporters really shafted the ignorant folks of Los Osos with all that crap about, "We'll get in line for another loan" and, We won't get fined, they don't have enough manpower to enforce that." and "Fines? There ain't gonna be no stinkin' fines!"

Not a damned one of them had any kind of a grip on reality.

The reality of bankruptcy when they spent SRF funds on exorbitant legal fees; the reality of having the Water Board do EXACTLY what they SAID they would do( what the hell did they expect?); the reality of NOT being able to con the Water Board (whom they had insulted) into playing their stupid games.

Lisa, Julie, John, Steve and Chuck are all NOW on the hook for "Gifts of public funds" to the overpriced attorneys. And, THEY should have to answer to these charges. And they should have to pay restitution (and that weasel Dan Bleskey, too!!), for the funds they illegally diverted.

And NOW, each and every person in the PZ is in danger of losing their most valuable asset- their HOME- just because of this bullshit.

So, all you people preaching "healing" must be renters, right? because IN REALITY, there will be NO healing for property owners. Only a hemorrhage of funds akin to the Great Deluge.

You people with your heads in the sand need a good,swift kick in the backside.

Anonymous said...

The developers have 51% of Los Osos in their trap. The developers want the sewer situation to be a long, drawn-out drama, decreasing property values, making refinancing impossible, red-lining the entirety of Los Osos so that folks will eventually abandon properties just because they cannot afford to live in them and because they cannot find a buyer for their properties.

The "developers" are none other than the usual gang of local thugs, one of which is cozy with an LOCSD director.

What a lovely prospect: collusion, malfeasance of office, gift of public funds, etc.

And yet, stupid people blog their complete disbelief at facts.

Well, hope all these fine folk are in the PZ, and they reap what they have sown.

Point of information said...

Ann:

You make a good point. The basin is the basin. Everyone in the basin draws water from the basin. To protect the basin, all homes and businesses should be sewered according to the no discharge ruling.

However, are you of mind that property owners should pay for a sewer and pay fees without having the benefit of a sewer?

At the same time everyone in the basin uses the water. Should meters be put on the wells of the farmers and homes who use wells and should ALL be charged the same rates for water use? Or should water lines be extended to all users in the basin and wells decommissioned to assure fair play?

Please explain. What would be the costs and consequences?

Anonymous said...

That Klutz at the New Times seemed pretty biased and also ignorant. One of the notable statements was that only reverse osmosis could remove nitrates.

The other strange statement was that the water used by the golf course was recycled with plenty of nitrates, and yet the golf course had to use fertilizer to keep it green.

Apparently he got all of his information from really bitter anti CCRWQCB folks.

Some people will do anything to justify breaking the anti-polution laws. Their first defense is that there is no polution. Let them drink the raw water directly from the upper aquifer.

FBLeG said...

An Anon said,

" ... Blah, blah, ... 'gift of public funds' ... Blah, blah..."

I'm starting to really like this term "gift of public funds". It seems to keep popping up in Anon posts faster than weeds in my garden. Can someone get me some "Roundup"?

While on the subject of "gifts of public funds" - a couple of thoughts.

As near as I can tell one such gift was the SRF loan without the 218 vote. What's that phrase about a gift horse? In retrospect, I think I would have liked to have a look at those tonsils.

Another one that comes to mind is the gift TW has received from LAFCO for unpaid fees incurred as a result of the dissolution fiasco. I know that TW is on the record that this is a gift they'd like to refuse, but are waiting until after they hold a fundraising BBQ with their legion supporters to pay up.

Anonymous said...

flebg,

Now how many times must it be said - those were the old rules for the SRF monies. You had a dedicated revenue source to pay it back - the fees from hooking up and using the sewer - and that was what it took. Now, thanks to this CSD, that is no longer the case. Great to be identified as the only town in the history of SRF loans to have lost one.

My big source of bitter laughter is thinking of the CSD all huffy about the illegal money and all the while spending it like mad until the judge froze what was left. Now who do you think is going to pay back that money that they spent on Biggs and Bleskey? Lisa and Julie? No, that is a gift for us to pay back.

The tune about TW might just change when the Lisa board is outfitted for orange jumpsuits.

You are confused - it is PZLDF that is holding the BBQ. Perhaps so they can pay the money they still owe Shaunna Sullivan. The CSD only picking up a quarter of her fees since January 1st. Never thought I'd see the day I'd agree with Keith Swanson on anything. But here it is.

Anonymous said...

Why do some of you seem to feel that it is okay that the RWQCB knowingly used falsified data to establish the PZ, and it is okay that the people within the PZ were deceived with ponding marketing long after the concept was shot down, but that the current CSD are sinners for trying to correct the violations of the past? It is not easy to stand up to the RWQCB, but if you allow their corruption, you become one of them. This board has not taken the easy path, but they have tried their best to stay on the higher road. This is something that the previous boards did not do. Instead they sold us out.

Anonymous said...

"This board has not taken the easy path, but they have tried their best to stay on the higher road."

That may play well in church, but is just another misguided attempt to cover up the outright lies given this community by this CSD!

This CSD lied and continues to lie folks, wake up!

They had absolutely NO PLAN for any sewer any where! They complained that the SRF loan money was illegal and then instead of giving it back, they spent it on lawyers to sue the RWQCB! They never ever had a sewer plan! They failed so miseably that the State of California Legislature voted 117 ot 0 to take the sewer project away from this incompetent Board!

Wake up Los Osos, not every government agency is against us! They are concerned that the CSD local govenment could get so out of control that instead of trying to build a much needed sewer, they bankrupted the entire District and gave public funds away to their lawyers!

This CSD had been given warning after warning and still chose to ignore all reason and now you and I and every one in Los Osos will be paying for that total mismanagement of public trust for a very long time.

Churadogs said...

4crapkiller sez:"The voters did NOT decide, it was the board who made the decisions."

I wonder who it was who voted Measure B into existence? Who? Do you suppose the recall candidates or a handful of nefarious citizens got ahold of thousands of ballots and marked them all with a Yes on Measure B? Ditto as to who voted the recall candidates IN and the previous board members OUT. Gosh, this makes the Ohio election look positively tame.

Mista Kurtz sez:"Why blame the RWQCB when during the ACL hearings it was the Los Osos lawyer who told the RWQCB that they should not take actions against the CSD but instead that CDOs against individual property owners was an appropriate action?"

I love thatlittle "fact." I remember it well. It always gets overlooked. and remains to this day a puzzle, along with why in the world Seitz (if he did) advised the prvious CSD board majority to vote to file in court to block Measure B from getting on the ballot, a move that guaranteed the slide into bankruptcy since that was a no-win case that a quick case review via google or some such would have indicated a terrible outcome for the community. Mista Seitz has some 'splainin' to do, methinks.

anonymous sez:"To presume that the entire US should pay for this recalcitrant little berg's sewer is the essence of chutzpah."

Depending on how old you are, most of the people in this burg have been paying for other people's infrastructure via federal funds for years. In other words, for years -- before federal cuts began -- I paid for a whole lot of other people's sewers. When Iitame "our turn" to get help, it had all dried up. A previous poster noted the feds are finally realzing that clean water is simply too big a job for individuals and may pass some infrastructure monies. This is good. We're looking at a national problem, way too big for small communities to deal with alone. Thus the benefit of The Commons.

Poinht of information sez:"However, are you of mind that property owners should pay for a sewer and pay fees without having the benefit of a sewer?

At the same time everyone in the basin uses the water. Should meters be put on the wells of the farmers and homes who use wells and should ALL be charged the same rates for water use? Or should water lines be extended to all users in the basin and wells decommissioned to assure fair play?"

If you got a chance to attend any of the Q&A meetings with Paavo or the large workshop, you would know that the county has to separate out assessments for direct benefit of a wastewater plant, for the "sewer" part. However, there is also a "water" component to all that, i.e., CLEAN water. For that the county is looking at water purveyors in Los Osos to pay "their fair share" towards contributing to the "clean" water they're delivering to to their customers. Viewing the basin as a whole allows for everyone to be in the game for real. Right now, water "rights" law is an unbelievable tangle, but one that will get more and more attention as time goes on for the simple reason that water , like air, is something that does "belong" to all of us. Unfortunately, the law needs a whole lot of updating to reflect current (not 1850) realities of use and reuse & etc. All over the west, we're seeing cases where Rancher X pumps from his well (without legal restriction) and his pumping depletes the aquifer of Rancher Y, thereby putting Y out of house and home (no water, no cows,no cows no ranch, no ranch no income, no home, bye-bye) Lawsuit city? You betcha. Surely there's got to be a better, fairer way. amending the basin plan, mening laws that will allow for county-wide adjustments, re-looking at state and federal water laws, all needed.

I hope you'll attend the next community workshop with the county and ask those questions of the engineers.

anonymous sez:"You are confused - it is PZLDF that is holding the BBQ. Perhaps so they can pay the money they still owe Shaunna Sullivan. The CSD only picking up a quarter of her fees since January 1st. Never thought I'd see the day I'd agree with Keith Swanson on anything. But here it"

the BBQ fund-raiser is to raise money to help some of The Los Osos 45 (friends and neighbors and fellow community members) who have spent a year battling to secure their legal rights, have filed an appeal to the State Water board of their CDOs (the list of alleged "legal/rights'evidentiary' violations during the CDO hearings is several pages long; it is list that needs to be heard in an actual "court", because as Patrick Klemz notes in the New Times piece, a CDO is an individual LEGAL matter, not some collective "political" or generalized governmental policy deal, and so individual legal rights actually DO matter to everyone in this community.)so these folks need all our help, since helping them may well end up helping ourselves. So, I hope you'll buy a BBQ ticket and attend for some eats and maybe win a raffle item, but above all simply to support The Los Osos 45-- your friends, your neighbors . . . yourself.

anonymous sez:"Why do some of you seem to feel that it is okay that the RWQCB knowingly used falsified data to establish the PZ, and it is okay that the people within the PZ were deceived with ponding marketing long after the concept was shot down, but that the current CSD are sinners for trying to correct the violations of the past? It is not easy to stand up to the RWQCB, but if you allow their corruption, you become one of them. This board has not taken the easy path, but they have tried their best to stay on the higher road. This is something that the previous boards did not do. Instead they sold us out."

anonymous raises an interesting question: Does PROCESS matter? Does HONEST process matter? Do ends justifiy the means? Do "regulators" need to abide by high ethical/scientific/legal standards or is expediency the only measure? (i.e. the New Times reference to Briggs 1984 memo on . . . "'poorly constructed monitoring wells,' many of which remain in use to this day."(p.9) Should "bad science" take prescedence over "good science" for the sake of political expediency? What responsibility do citizens have for making sure those who govern them stay honest and keep processes clean? What responsibility do government agencies have to ensure they follow process, keep it clean, and see to it they haven't also fallen asleep at the switch? (remember the Coastal Commission "bait & switch" comment, which should have been a clear red flag, but one which was ignored. Ron Crawford over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com lists a whole bunch more of these failures of oversights. Also remember Bruce Buel's testimony that the TSO was "unreasonable." The list is sadly too long.)

And son on and so on for more such questions. From a lot of posters on this blog, it appears that X% of posters don't care if so much of this story points to so many wrong or bad or sloppy deicisions or a failed "process." Their additude seems to be We Don Care About Clean Process, We Just Want Something Done No Matter What. While there's Y% of people who appear to be saying, Nope, Stop Right There, Clean, Honest Process DOES Matter.

Hence some of the squabbling, and certainly and explanation of why we are where we are. But anon does raise some very interesting questions with his comment. THanks.

Anonymous said...

Ann, in your Feb. 27th column, you said:
"PROHIBITION ZONE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND DISMISSES LAWSUIT…"
"As a cost saving measure PZLDF has decided to dismiss, without prejudice, their Petition for Writ of Mandamus which was amended and filed on November 28, 2006."

Please clarify. This is only PART of the lawsuit?

4crapkiller said...

To Ann:

I guess you have not read a copy of the LOCSD Board of directors oath of office as yet! And then you spin that it was the voters who voted to stop the sewer. No, it was the decision of the board. They are responsible for the decision, not the voters. We have a representative form of government where the rights of the minority are to be respected. This is "clean process".

And then you spin that an illegal proposition was a valid factor? Perhaps the board should have looked at a "what if" scenario and exercised due dilligence. More "clean process".

Then you avoid the question and do not take a position on sewering the whole basin and metering all water usage. Where the hell do you stand on anything specific.

Ann states:

"From a lot of posters on this blog, it appears that X% of posters don't care if so much of this story points to so many wrong or bad or sloppy deicisions or a failed "process." Their additude seems to be We Don Care About Clean Process, We Just Want Something Done No Matter What. While there's Y% of people who appear to be saying, Nope, Stop Right There, Clean, Honest Process DOES Matter."

The above is totally correct. Are you with the x or y group? There are consequences to each. Where the hell do you stand? Should we have stopped the sewer and brought us to bankruptcy and county control? Was there "clean process" there?

We would not be at the mercy of the water board had the sewer not been stopped! Clearly it was an attempt to avoid compliance with the law and obstruct.

What "clean process" in the mind of any law breaker occurs? The law breaker is always innocent and a victim of the prosecuter, law enforcement, and the judge/jury. He will wiggle any way he can to avoid consequences, and blame anyone else for his actions.

And that is the crux of the matter! Poluters wiggling!

We will see what the courts say, IF there is money to bring these matters to court. The LOCSD has no money and is almost insolvent. The money will have to come from individuals. Not me. I know I am a poluter. You are either a poluter or you are not. Ann: Are you a poluter or are you in denial?

Anonymous said...

anon 4:18am,
You wrote, " the current CSD are sinners for trying to correct the violations of the past?"

Can you please explain how losing an SRF loan, bring CDO's and fines to the community, and above all having NO PLAN at $100/mo. ready to go, supports your statement?

Shark Inlet said...

Anon 7:32pm of March 9:

The RWQCB and the SWRCB are not linked at the hip the way you suggest. They act independently and are supposed to. Even if they were working together, the technical details of how the LOCSD project is financed (or not) have nothing to do with whether progress is being made (or not). The LOCSD board decision to stop progress was what caused the RWQCB to take action, not anything else. Perhaps if the LOCSD board had acted more wisely on the issue of Measure B prohibited TriW the RWQCB wouldn't have had the ammunition in the ACL hearings and the CDOs.


Point of Information ...

While the entirety of Los Osos takes water from the aquifer it seems that (at least in a regulatory sense) only the PZ is polluting. Some have argued that because Cabrillo will get cleaner water, they should pay some of the costs associated with the cleanup. I'll argue that if anything, the PZ should pay Cabrillo's way if state water is required. After all, it is the nitrates in the aquifer that may make state water necessary and because Cabrillo (and Monarch Grove and East of South Bay, etc.) aren't the group forcing state water on us by their pollution ... they shouldn't be forced to pay. It's sort of like this ... the people doing the damage are those obligated to pay for the costs of correcting the damage.


To Ann ... you ask about why Seitz would argue for CDOs. The reason seems pretty obvious. He was hired to keep the LOCSD penalties as low as possible. Any way he can deflect blame or tell the RWQCB that they're doing something wrong is what he was hired to do. Essentially I view this as the LOCSD board being willing to sell the rest of us out to limit LOCSD penalties. A short-term decision that had long-term implications.

Seitz was paid to give legal opinion and to argue on behalf of the district. The LOCSD board, not Seitz is the group you should be asking to be held accountable. They are the group that chose to go along with his advice. If he was wrong, they are still on the hook because they could (and should) have obtained a 2nd opinion.


No matter ... we are where we are today because a whole mess of past decisions that many people should regret.

The question now would seem to be this ... what is the wisest thing we should do next.

Anonymous said...

11:48 PM March 9, 2007 said:

"An Anon said,

" ... Blah, blah, ... 'gift of public funds' ... Blah, blah..."

I'm starting to really like this term "gift of public funds". It seems to keep popping up in Anon posts faster than weeds in my garden. Can someone get me some "Roundup"?

While on the subject of "gifts of public funds" - a couple of thoughts.

As near as I can tell one such gift was the SRF loan without the 218 vote. What's that phrase about a gift horse? In retrospect, I think I would have liked to have a look at those tonsils.

Another one that comes to mind is the gift TW has received from LAFCO for unpaid fees incurred as a result of the dissolution fiasco. I know that TW is on the record that this is a gift they'd like to refuse, but are waiting until after they hold a fundraising BBQ with their legion supporters to pay up.

11:48 PM, March 09, 2007"

Just WHAT do you not understand about "Gift of public funds"?

Let me explain it as simply as possible, since you seem to be a slow learner:

Most of the Lisa Board were directly involved in lawsuits initiated by groups in which they were involved: CCLO, CASE, etc. These cases were being litigated by Burke, Williams and Sorenson, PRO BONO!!!! The LOCSD attorney at the time the lawsuits were initiated was Jon Seitz, who had been legal counsel from the onset of the District, and who had never LOST any case against the LOCSD.

These cases from CCLO, Swanson, Barow, CASE, etc., were **not successful**. By default, the LOCSD had won them, hands down.

BUT THEN!! After the recall, the Lisa BOD decided to LOSE these cases, and PAY off those **PRO-BONO** fees, to the tune of $488,000!!!!!

This was a blatent and outright gift of public funds to attorneys who were working pro-bono! How ludicrous is this??

Additionally, the Lisa Board decided to employ Shaunna Sullivan, attorney for the CDO-45.

If they are funding attorney fees for those living in the Prohibition Zone, then they are FUNDING their OWN LEGAL DEFENSE with PUBLIC FUNDS, since they LIVE in the PZ. Joe Sparks did NOT vote for this and recused himself for the obvious conflict of interest NOT ADMITTED by the other Board members.

Pity only Joe has integrity.

So, Mr. Smart-ass 11:48 PM March 9, 2007, do you NOW understand what is meant by "Gift of public funds"??

And if you DO, can you see how these practices are unethical???

Anonymous said...

Ann, You said:

"A bad, short-sighted basin plan doesn’t get better floating unexamined in limbo. It just gets worse. And worse will come back to bite everyone on the butt."

Seems to me we're already there. We had a WWP under construction but the apolitical, deluded,and dingbats within the community voted in a bunch of people who did not know WWP from their left ankle. They promised a sewer at $100 per month, said we wouldn't lost the SRF loan, or we could get in line again, then when it was down the tubes, they said the loan was illegal. The Lisa Board talked out of both sides of their mouths at once!

The said there would not be fines, no CDO's, but all they did was lie! Now they have a convicted lawbreaker for a spokesperson, the District owes a whopping $41 million and the District is bankrupt.

The Lisa Board were shortsighted. The did NOT have a plan, even they lied and said they DID.

I don't know about you, but everybody in my neighborhood has already been bitten in the butt by the lies, duplicity and outrageous, amateurish behavoir of this "kangaroo court" of a BOD.

Anonymous said...

El Tiburon is correct! What do we do next? I quess wait and see.

Anonymous said...

The PZ isn't legal.

To Shark: Everyone benefits from clean water. The county is screwing up there. We'll see what happens, it looks like they think no one will bring a lawsuit challenging the 218. When you talk about outside the PZ, you talk about Cabrillo, but there are homes behind Green Oaks that are just feet away from the PZ. The PZ is nuts and should be looked at very hard.

Churadogs said...

anonymous sez:"Ann, in your Feb. 27th column, you said:
"PROHIBITION ZONE LEGAL DEFENSE FUND DISMISSES LAWSUIT…"
"As a cost saving measure PZLDF has decided to dismiss, without prejudice, their Petition for Writ of Mandamus which was amended and filed on November 28, 2006."

Please clarify. This is only PART of the lawsuit? "

If I understand correctly, part of the lawsuit asking for court intervention now was dismissed without prejudice because the administrative process hasn't yet been completed. Courts don't usually touch civil administrative cases until all administrative processes and appeals and "remeies" are done. The request for relief from a "real" judge can be refiled when it becomes clear, for example, the State Water board has no intention of hearing the appeal in a timely manner (remember, as far as I can see, the only reason for the CDOs is electioneering, if the SWB sits on all these cases until after the election, they can likely make much of whis whole plan moot . . . for now) and intends instead to run the clock out the allowed 270 days plus, plus, plus, thereby making it impossible for citizens to have justice since the idea is justice delayed is justice denied, so the PZLDF attorney would then step in at that point and refile. Hopefully, someone involved with this case is reading some of these comments and can comment in greater detail as well.

4crapkiller sez:'I guess you have not read a copy of the LOCSD Board of directors oath of office as yet! And then you spin that it was the voters who voted to stop the sewer."

So far as I know, Measure B was voted into "law" by the citizens. Until a court (and appeals etc) "un-voted" it out of law, i.e. declared it invlid, unconstitutionak, whatever, it was a law on the books and the CSD had to follow it, which meant provisions of the law required voter input on siting of sewer & etc. If the newly elected CSD had simply said, Nah, we don't like Measure B and continued ahead building Tri W, they would be breaking the law.

anonymous sez"I don't know about you, but everybody in my neighborhood has already been bitten in the butt by the lies, duplicity and outrageous, amateurish behavoir of this "kangaroo court" of a BOD."

I'm curious. Can you share with us EXACTLY how people in your neighborhood have been "bitten in the butt?" Not generalities, but in day to day problems and costs and butt biting?

Inlet sez:"While the entirety of Los Osos takes water from the aquifer it seems that (at least in a regulatory sense) only the PZ is polluting. "

While Anonymous sez:"When you talk about outside the PZ, you talk about Cabrillo, but there are homes behind Green Oaks that are just feet away from the PZ. The PZ is nuts and should be looked at very hard."

That's the problem. Plus, there are people in the middle of the PZ who are high enough from ground water that it's unlikely they are polluting (they get a CDO) and there's people east of South Bay Blvd sitting right near the creek who likely are polluting but they're not in the PZ so they don't get a CDO) Go figure.

Shark Inlet said...

Sure everyone benefits from clean water.

However, if you are pissing in my water, it is you who should make it right. I shouldn't have to pay to clean up your mess.

You are right to suggest that there are some odd features of the PZ, but by-n-large, the PZ makes sense and it's certainly been litigated in the past and the PZ has withstood the test of the courts.

Thus, no matter how evil the people of Cabrillo or East of South Bay are, they are not legally responsible. Furthermore, based on the nitrate levels in the aquifer, it most definitely looks like they are a minimal contributer to the pollution at best.

However, just because there is a bit of contention about the matter of the exact best boundaries for the PZ perhaps we can agree on at least one thing. Because Monarch Grove (the neighborhood, not the school) has their own treatment plant, at least they shouldn't have to pay. Even if the PZ is expanded (which wouldn't be unreasonable, even if contentious), the folks who already are doing the right thing shouldn't have to pay even more than they already do. Agreed?

Anonymous said...

To Ann:
As far as I know Prop "B" was found illegal before the election and appealed (Not by the LOCSD, C.A.S.E?). The LOCSD then tried to sue the County Clerk recorder to remove it from the ballet and lost.

When the new board came in, the board settled the Prop B appeal, in effect saying the appeal was correct, and a formerly found illegal proposition stayed on the books. Pretty slick! How about this for "clean process"?

And now the individual board members are being sued for gift of public funds. We shall see what happens.

I hope the PZLDF made lots of money at the barbeque. This is the "clean process" democratic way.

Anonymous said...

Shark,

Pissing in your water? Who is doing that? Can you prove and document this? The RWQCB used data from illegal wells.

Again I have to tell you that if anyone benefits from clean water and bay, they have to pay their share of benefit. The county can't get away with having only the PZ pay.

Anonymous said...

And now the CSD is making the whole of Los Osos pay for the defense of the 45. Just where is THAT money coming from?

*PG-13 said...

Shark Inlet > You are right to suggest that there are some odd features of the PZ, but by-n-large, the PZ makes sense and it's certainly been litigated in the past and the PZ has withstood the test of the courts. ...... However, just because there is a bit of contention about the matter of the exact best boundaries for the PZ perhaps we can agree on at least one thing. Because Monarch Grove (the neighborhood, not the school) has their own treatment plant, at least they shouldn't have to pay. Even if the PZ is expanded (which wouldn't be unreasonable, even if contentious), the folks who already are doing the right thing shouldn't have to pay even more than they already do. Agreed?

Interesting. I don't take issue with your comment. Indeed, it makes sense. I agree. If you've already got a licensed and operating sewer why should they have to pay for another? But let's follow some of the other loose ends in this silly scenario.

The CSD represents a much larger population and geographic area than just the PZ but ya certainly wouldn't know it based upon the recent headlines and history of the CSD. As near as I can tell the CSD provides a funky pastiche of services to the Los Osos/Bayview/Cabrillo Estates neighborhoods. They provide some services such as parks, recreation, street lighting, fire and emergency services to pretty much all of their service area. They provide water to some neighborhoods but not to all neighborhoods. They provide wastewater and drainage services to some neighborhoods but not all the neighborhoods. Sorry, I don't know just how many houses & businesses the CSD provides services of one kind or another to but I'm guessing its about 3-4 times the population of the PZ. (Can somebody else please help me and/or confirm these numbers?) Regardless, the CSD pie is cut into lots of interestingly small and uniquely defined service areas. Most of them falling outside the boundaries of the PZ. The CSD provides services and bills and collects for these services based, presumably, only on the services provided. With administrative costs presumably shared fairly and accordingly based on services provided. As I understand it the apportionment of costs to services is calculated by the CSD staff but the final apportionment is decided by the CSD board. I'm sure - indeed, I'm hoping - somebody from the CSD (either past or present) might explain how all of these fractional services are monitored, assessed, billed and collected.

But that's all just for the simple stuff: actual services provided. I have no idea how the CSD is keeping track of and keeping fair accountability of all the many PZ sewer-related expenses. Presumably the insolvency and the ultimate bankruptcy of the CSD is going to have an impact upon all the neighborhoods of our community. Not just the PZ. The county seemingly wants to keep the CSD solvent. Not the least of reasons being the CSD can still manage these other services to the larger community. Plus the CSD can serve as an intermediary accounting and management bureaucracy for managing the new sewer. Who wants that job? So even if the county does assume responsibility for designing and building the sewer and these costs are passed through to whomever the new sewer serves there are still many in the community who will be shouldering the burdened costs of the PZ sewer whether they are hooked up to the sewer or not.

Yet everybody will be drawing from the same well. I'm sorry, please help me, I'm a bit slow, why isn't this a basin plan issue instead of a PZ / RWQCB dance-to-the-death?

Shark Inlet said...

To our anonymous friend of 10:31pm on Sunday:

Perhaps you've not been paying too much attention of late.

The LOCSD commissioned Tim Cleath to do a water study and in that study of water quality it was found that the nitrate levels were too high. In fact, they were higher under the PZ than elsewhere and the levels have been increasing over time.

Can I tell you it is from your urine in particular? No. However if you live in the PZ and pee in your toilet it seems pretty likely that you're partially to blame. This is especially true if you have more than one home per acre in your neighborhood and if the distance to the groundwater is less than 25 feet.

You've not put forward a reasonable argument for having folks outside the PZ pay to clean up the damage of our aquifer ... damage which has been determined over and over to be caused by the PZ septics. Just because you don't believe it doesn't mean that it's not true. My neighbor doesn't believe he's an alcoholic, but he most certainly is.

Aside from the linkage of the PZ to the elevated nitrates, do you have an argument for spreading the bills across the whole of Los Osos? The best argument I can see on your side is that the County approved development that exceeded reasonable density limits for septics and the County didn't put in a sewer when they knew there was a need. But this would be an argument that the County as a whole should step up and pay, not that the folks in the CSD but outside the PZ should be put on the hook as well.

Thoughts?

Shark Inlet said...

PG ...

The CSD takes a cut of all property taxes paid in the district. They get a special fire tax assessment as well.

An economist would argue that the benefit one gets should be clearly tied to the costs one should bear. This is pretty difficult for government when the issue is one where some benefit greatly and others don't benefit at all; an issue like drainage. The County had an obligation to pay to clean up the drainage issues where standing water would develop after rains. They didn't. The LOCSD was then on the hook to solve the problem.

To some extent we all have to pay into the system and well all get benefits from the system.

The notion that folks outside the PZ should be forced to pay "their share" seems a bit silly to me when it is people inside the PZ who are legally responsible to stop their discharges which are polluting the common resource. If my kid breaks someone's tail light with his bike when learning to ride, do I tell my neighbor "you should help pay to fix your tail light because you'll benefit from having a working one on your car"? No. That would be silly.

Now, if the PZ were defined differently because the LOCSD and RWQCB agreed that it should be larger based on a scientific discussion that would justify enlarging the PZ, great. However, to ask others to pay a lot just because you'll have to pay a lot yourself just isn't right.

As some have argued (Mike, I'm sure you'll remember ... was it Publicworks?), people inside the PZ who bought since 1983 received a discount on what the home would sell for had there been a sewer in place. Back in 1998 a realtor in Los Osos told me that homes inside the PZ were selling for about $10-20k less than if they were outside the PZ. The folks who bought in the PZ obtained a benefit from the lack of sewer ... lower prices. If we now want to stick others who had to pay full fare with our bills it seems just a bit rude.

Far too long and rambling, I know, but I don't have the time to edit.

Sorry...

Anonymous said...

Building on what Shark is saying. We are going to be paying more because there has been nothing in place for 20 years. Had the infrastructure been built, there would be 20 years of rates and fees already collected and we would be seeing an increase for the upgrades about now. How do we go back 20 years and ask all past owners to chip in for what they were able to avoid since the PZ was defined? At some point, there has to be a limit or a line to define the space and the time. The only way to decrease the price of this project is to work on 30-40 year financing. Even that would likely bring TriW under $200 a month. Yes, it will be more in the long run but it will help spread the cost out to all who will benefit in the future as well.

The overall delay of the infrastructure construction has placed the bulk of the burden on us. It doesn't feel great but it needs to be done and there are other solutions to ease the burden on property owners and hence renters.

It would be appropriate for the county to tack on a fee at the permit stage of any construction done in Los Osos to also contribute to infrastructure costs. This could be applied to the O&M of whatever treatment plant we end up with. I am not emotionaly tied to one type or another. It needs to be practical and it needs to address our compliance. Technology is not my Holy Grail, just a resolution for our community without complete social disinegration.

Have a nice week.
Sincerely,
Maria M. Kelly

*PG-13 said...

Thanks Shark, nice reply. And on this one we're in agreement. Sort of.

Shark Inlet > The notion that folks outside the PZ should be forced to pay "their share" seems a bit silly to me when it is people inside the PZ who are legally responsible to stop their discharges which are polluting the common resource.

My point is that the folks outside the PZ are already being forced to pay MORE than "their share" by being part of a CSD that has been myopically mis-focused on one issue that - at least as far as the rules are defined and the game is being played - is of import to only a sub-set of their customers. I expect CSD expenditures for PZ related sewer issues far exceeds that portion of their budget which corresponds to the PZ. And the costs of bankruptcy (and associated fall-out) will be borne by all the neighborhoods served by the CSD and not just the PZ. Yes, the entire community is paying for this great drama.

And we agree that if the PZ were to be redefined - based on a scientific premise that would justify such redefinition - then that would be fair grounds to spread the burden of the sewer to the broader area. Which brings us back to one of the original presuppositions: proof of exactly who is causing the problem. I don't think science has proven the boundaries of the PZ. You say ".... by-n-large, the PZ makes sense and it's certainly been litigated in the past and the PZ has withstood the test of the courts." By-n-large in something like this is troublesome. One would hope for and I think one should expect something a little more precise than a by-n-large assessment. I've joined this game relatively late so I can't recall the finer points of legal testing of the boundaries of the definition of the PZ. I don't contest that the circumstantial evidence of small lot sizes and population density and low lying septic tanks don't suggest that the PZ - however it is drawn - isn't a primary factor in nitrate pollution. Common sense may not be rigorous scientific proof but it is generally more right than wrong. And in cases such as this where we are talking about common key environmental resources which we all share and upon which we all depend (drinkable water, the bay, the local eco-system) I think the burden of proof - exactly who is or is not adding to the problem - should be broad rather than minimal. We all live in a basin. We all share that basin. Building a sewer that serves only the PZ - indeed barely even that - isn't even buying time against the inevitable. By the time the sewer is built we'll already be addressing more critical environmental resource issues. Anybody who doesn't believe that is still stuck in the first half of the last century. Planning for the longer-term future of the basin requires a broader perspective than a minimalist sewer serving only the PZ. That's akin to Solomon cutting the baby in half to satisfy both mothers. What is required is a Solomonesque decision which considers the baby.

Granted, Los Osos real estate (excepting Monarch Grove) has benefited from not having a sewer system for many many years. Granted, the PZ probably gains the most benefit from a new WWTF. But wouldn't everybody gain from a WWTF which addresses inevitable build-out, effectively re-charges the water supply and reverses salt water intrusion, and assures a long-term solution for keeping the bay and local eco-systems free of as much pollution as possible? Common sense says yes to this too. We live in a pristine and sensitive area which demands aggressive solutions against future problems. And there are extraordinary costs associated with living here. We've not honored these extra costs in the past. Indeed, we've pretty much ignored them. Its way past time we begin honoring them now.

Anonymous said...

PG and Shark will a lot of words, but doesn't it really come down to that "the PZ has to pay for the developers to develop.."

The last Cleath study didn't test wells outside the PZ, did they?

There has to be a septic study on the homes to see if they are polluting. The Dept. of Health & Safety is required to prove that you are polluting, don't they?

Anyone know??

And if our water is good enough to drink (per the Health Dept.) then why the hell do we need this sewer?

Anonymous said...

Because we are sole sourcing the lower aquifer and are now in overdraft and the top one isn't drinkable right now.

The PZ isn't paying for developers to develop, we are paying for it so we can stay in our homes. The developers will pay their share, future property owners will pay their share and we will be the heros for getting a project online. We can't afford, literally, another failed generation.

Generations to come will be paying for our misuse of the environement and the time we spent debating it. Watch an "Inconvenient Truth" and apply to local issues. Covering your ears and singing "nah,nah,nah" can't close out the deafening sound of "do the right thing"....
REVOLUTION!

Anonymous said...

no, no annon 11:48 3/9/07, it is YOU who do not understand "gift of etc)
Once the folks were elected to the CSD, they were no longer members of the groups you mention who were suing againts the MB thing. Therefore their duty was to protect the CSD from losing the suit, which they saw (from a different prospective... as now the defendant) that they were going to lose.(a point that none of you could see, since you were not directly involved) So what so many of you call "pay-ola",(gift of public funds), was actually "save-ola", of big bucks should the case be allowed to continue. You should be gratefulto the CSD, just as should the RWQCB for letting them off the hook for the illegal loan. The RWQCB is who you should be accusing of "gift of public funds" because, they gave the (old)CSD 6M with no guarantee of repayment....like a 218 vote, maybe?

Anonymous said...

shark says:
"Essentially I view this as the LOCSD board being willing to sell the rest of us out to limit LOCSD penalties. A short-term decision that had long-term implications."

So the tax money you spend to support the CSD is different than the tax money you pay to suppoet the county? Taxes is taxes, aint it?

Shark Inlet said...

To our most recent friend.

It seems that you've forgotten the context of that part of the discussion.

We were discussing the ACL hearings where the LOCSD sold us out by telling the RWQCB to go ahead and impose CDOs. CDOs on top of sewer charges will certainly cost us far more than sewer charges plus our share of the ACL fines.

No matter ... the the RWQCB was pissed off that the LOCSD had chosen to stop the project and they might have well started the CDO process even if the LOCSD hadn't suggested it.


On the issue of whether the LOCSD had "won" those cases that they settled shortly after the recall. I would suggest that it was pretty clearly the case that the LOCSD was quite unlikely to end up losing any of the cases (except, oddly enuf, the LOTA suit, the one that wasn't settled). It seems that he cases were settled so that the LOCSD could hire thier favorite attorney. She might just have required a settlement and payoff to get hired.

One thing I've mentioned before is that the settlement was unlikely to have saved any money even though that was the LOCSD claim. They claimed that because the costs of a loss would be about triple the settlement amount, it was a good idea to settle. This would only make sense if the chance the LOCSD would win is considerably below 75%, something the previous legal judgments would make us think unlikely.

It's just too darn convenient for the LOCSD to tell us that the cases the were winning with regularity are now all of a sudden quite unlikely to win so they must settle these cases filed by former associates and current friends and pay a great sum of money to a lawyer friend they could not hire without such a payout. Nope, connecting the dots in this case, reaching the most plausible conclusion would make us think they were more interested in settling for non-financial reasons.


On the question of who should pay, the difficult issue is getting folks in Cabrillo to pay now when they are under no obligation to do so. Perhaps the "inconvenient truth" that the costs to Cabrillo will go up (should they need a sewer in the future) would be a good way to get some buy in.

On the other hand, an older resident might very well think that they won't be under any obligation to put in a sewer for the next 10 years, so why pay now when they can avoid paying altogether for at least 10 years.

This is somewhat like the problem the PZ has ... to delay the sewer by supporting a recall election (where is Steve Sawyer anyways) may allow one to avoid paying entirely for some time even if the costs will be lower in total by starting as soon as possible.

Maria has a great point when she writes that a 40 year loan might just be a good way to equalize payments across the generations, even if it ends up costing more in total.


Lots of comments. Hopefully at least one or two were worth making.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"One thing I've mentioned before is that the settlement was unlikely to have saved any money even though that was the LOCSD claim. They claimed that because the costs of a loss would be about triple the settlement amount, it was a good idea to settle. This would only make sense if the chance the LOCSD would win is considerably below 75%, something the previous legal judgments would make us think unlikely."

I think you're confusing two cases?: One, the one that really cost the community a bundle, was brought by the Recalled Board Majority and that was to STOP measure B from even getting put on the ballot. THAT was a total loser, as any legal google search would have shown. Even I, a rank amature, knew that the courts have always taken a dim view of preventing voters from voting on something no matter how cockamamie it is. If memory serves, McClendon, the CSD attorney at the time, said he'd just won a similar case that summer against an attempt to block a vote on a WalMart somewhere, and AGAIN, the court reaffirmed their extreme displeasure at BLOCKING votes on stuff, even a WalMart siting. If Seitz had done a quick legal search, that would have come absolutely clear. Instead, the Board voted to go ahead with the block, and, as I said, that settlemnt (more than 75% certain) cost this community a bundle but far less than not settling would have, under a court-mandated 3 for 1 formula, if memory serves. The other case filed was to challenge Measure B after the vote. That very likely would have been won.

Shark Inlet said...

So then ... supposing you are correct and ignoring the fact that three cases were settled not just the one you refer to ...

The LOCSD board sued to stop Measure B from appearing on the ballot. Biggs and Al were able to successfully block that move because if Measure B had won, the legality of Measure B could have been determined after the passage. In fact, Measure B did pass and the new board majority decided not to continue the suit to block it. They could have just asked for the case to be dismissed without BWS incurring any charges. If they never need to argue the case, they don't have the right to ask us to pay their pro-bono charges.



The problem here is that even if you are 100% right, it appears that the hours charged for the "slam dunk" case were quite excessive. The hours don't match the amount of work done to fight the CSD's suit ... but the hours do match up far better to the total number of hours spent drafting Measure B and doing other odd Measure B related jobs for Al.


Nope Ann, I believe you are incorrect. If it had just been about stopping Measure B from appearing, it would not have cost so much to settle.

Anonymous said...

Shark,

What you are conveniently forgetting is that the project HAD to be stopped, there was no 218 vote!

The bankruptcy judge said the loan was unsecured and indicated that the state should pay the contractors instead of the CSD.

Your spin is incredible.

Anonymous said...

Shark,

Steve Sawyer is down in Oak Park (by Westlake Village) though he still talks to Lisa all the time. One day Lisa and Julie took Dan down to meet with Steve.

Regarding Julie Biggs, how she could have let the CSD pay her out of the SRF funds is incredible. Very unethical. Even the fact that she solicited Al Barrow from day one was unethical. Why the CSD never fired her is beyond me.

BTW, all Tri-W people are very happy today. The BOS didn't pick one person for the TAC committee that would look at step/steg. Everyone selected is "big pipe" -- the county didn't even feel it necessary to make it look "balanced" -- looks like we'll get what Noel King promised.

Ann, good job from your friend Gail. What a gal. Hope you can pay the big bill she got you!

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"
Nope Ann, I believe you are incorrect. If it had just been about stopping Measure B from appearing, it would not have cost so much to settle."

You need to go back to listen to McClendon at the CSD meeting. He explained exactly why they settled. It was settle at X amount or continue to fight and lose in court because the courts have a long, long history of NOT supporting suits that block votes ( plus McClendon noted he'd just won such a suit that summer against Wal mart blocking a vote, I believe) and when you lose that fight (which you will) the court imposes a court set formula for up to, I believe, three times your legal fees & etc.as a "punishment." So, the settlment was way cheaper than to fight on and risk losing way more. The CSD should have those tapes on file.

Shark Inlet said...

When Jon made that comment I thought he was full of crap.

The settlement values for the three suits make me wonder how BWS was able to do so much work on the one case which seems to be the least complex, resolved the soonest and most clearly winnable.

To me it looks like BWS included a lot of bogus charges on that one issue. But then perhaps we'll never know because the CSD and Al have refused to give that information out. Either side could give us BWS billing records and both have refused. Something is very fishy here. If the settlement was on the up-n-up, both sides should be quite happy to trot out the itemized (not redacted) BWS bills that justify the charges as being directly associated with the cases settled.

I think that Julie is charging us for writing Measure B and other things not associated with the case, other things that CASE and Al should owe her for, not the CSD.

Anonymous said...

A certain Los Osos step proponent must be reading the blogs, as he is ranting about how everyone picked for the TAC will only consider gravity. I know a couple of people chosen for the TAC and I know that they WILL look fairly at step/steg. If it really is better, they will say so.

I suspect tho, each type of collection system will have some "better" features and some "worse" ones. I suspect each type will have some surprise elements, too. Nothing is black and white, despite how portrayed by the nuts who would never see the good in what they hate. That is why they were NOT chosen for the TAC.