Mater Mia! No Pope For Los Osos, Yet.
The Los Osos CSD voted last night to postpone their vote on their 218 ballots until the next CSD meeting on Oct 18th. I had likened their vote to that of the faithful peering at the Vatican chimney waiting to see a puff of black smoke or a puff of white smoke signaling a the status on the election for a new pope. In this case, the Sewerville Faithful gathered and listened and watched and spoke, but there was no smoke . . . yet. The reasons given by CSD members for the postponement of the vote included some of the following:
-- They didn’t wish to appear to be “electioneering,” even though CSD Attorney Murphy noted that a Prop 218 vote isn’t an “election,” in the usual sense, and the board is free to discuss and express opinions on the matter and even vote to adopt an official position without being guilty of electioneering, since electioneering would involve spending public money to promote, campaign, print ads and flyers, etc. advocating for or against some position or other. (It was also noted that the Board can’t simply vote in closed session and announce they’ve voted but give no further information since the vote involves expenditure of public $$ for the assessment fees, so it needs to be an agenda item, publicly discussed and decided.)
-- Several members expressed the strong belief that, in this matter, they didn’t want to signal one way or the other to the community and so not influence any of the homeowners who have yet to vote. Clearly, the Board’s vote either way will be a sort of Rorschach Blot, the interpretation of which depends on who’s doing the looking. The sentiment expressed was this: We need to wait to determine the community’s will in this matter. Of course, that would be impossible since the community’s will in this matter won’t be known until AFTER the vote is closed, so if the Board applies that logic, it would mean that they would have to abstain entirely. (Oddly enough, the majority of public speakers asked them to abstain with the next highest tally asking them for a Yes vote.)
-- Waiting until the 18th, would give a chance for the emergency services committee to weigh in with impact costs to the Fire Dept for the assessment fees, so some Board members felt they wanted to get that information before voting.
-- Interestingly, one speaker noted that if they voted last night – several weeks before the Oct 23 deadline – they’d be acting like the Recalled Three who voted to start digging up Tri W weeks before the recall vote, instead of waiting until after – an interesting piece of irony. However, in this case, as mentioned above, waiting to vote until after the vot’s over would result in no vote at all. Not that the two CSD properties are sufficiently weighted to influence the count one way or the other, something that may not be true of the SLO Coastal School District, which, according to Julie Tacker, voted Yes on 218 for their huge holdings, which, if true, is a weighted vote, indeed.
-- But one key reason given for waiting is that the Board expressed a desire to – once again – get a commitment and/or assurances or a resolution or something from the BOS on Sept 16 stating that they formally, officially resolve to have Dr. T and the Peer Review Group come in to vet whatever projects survive the Process. Dr. T and his group have already done a similar vetting of the Ripley Report, were lauded by the county and RWQCB and other participants in that workshop, have agreed they’d be willing to return, and Paavo has already stated he’d favor such an evaluation, however, all of that is not worth the paper it hasn’t been printed on.
Right now it’s all just a vague Wish List Hope that can be ignored or denied later. So, what would be really helpful for the undecided voters is if the BOS would make that request much more binding and formal and public. Having some sort of formal promise that top experts will put their eyes on the page would go a long way to assuring the public that their auto de fe vote will have an expert vetting to make sure there’s no “bait and switchy” going on and that engineering calculations are correct and there haven’t been any “Ooops,” missed that can come back to bite or betray the community – again.
That is certainly something I support and hope it’s something Paavo and the Board will take seriously before it’s too late.
Meantime, the CSD will meet again on the 18th to vote their properties, or not, and to discuss the options should the 218 fail, if any.
Again, for your Calendars . . .
The Orenco design team’s presentation and Q&A at the Community Center, Wednesday, Oct 10th. 7:30 pm.
Mr. Murphy, whose company is promoting the “Reclamator,” noted that their website www.nowastewater.com will be up and running Monday and they’re planning a public presentation of their system, to be announced on their website.
As mentioned, the Oct 16 BOS meeting at 2.p.m. if you’d like to speak to having the Board make sure Dr. T’s Team is on board for a Peer Review vetting of whatever project survives the winnowing Process.
Morro Bay’s Harbor Festival this weekend, plus always lots of other great events around the county. So, have a nice weekend.