Friday, October 19, 2007

A Pope For Los Osos

The LOCSD voted last night, 3 - 2 to vote yes on the 218 for the properties held by the CSD. The folks making public comment seemed pretty evenly split between, Make Up Your Own Minds, Note No, Note Yes, Please Abstain. The arguments for each position were well articulated. In the end, the Board clearly "made up their own minds." And, after the vote count on the 24th, it will be interesting to see if, percentage-wise, that 3 -2 vote accurately reflects the citizen's votes, in a clearly divided, concerned, distrustful (for good reason) community.

Next up, the October 23 Protest Hearing at 2 pm. in the BOS, then the vote count on the 24th.
After which, things will get both dangerous and interesting.

Dangerous because my guess is this community will go back to sleep, thinking that Big Uncle Daddy is busy working to make all their Christmas dreams come true, just for them. Dangerous, because Big Uncle Daddy is under enormous pressure from all kinds of OTHER Big Uncles to do things that may not be in the best interests of the sleeping community. Which is why I have noted that my fellow Ursians better not think that now is the time for hibernation. Otherwise, they might wake up next spring with a great big surprise waiting on their doorstep and we'll be stuck in the middle of deja vu all over again.

Interesting, because there will be opportunities to fast-track this project (since everyone's so concerened with speed and time and cost) to what could be a total, competitive private design/build/finance options from pre-qualified top Sewer Guys who have been ready to roll for months. A total design-build (not just pieces put out to competitive bid later) competitive opportunity would get this communityt hard numbers really quickly, hard numbers locked into a bid proposal, a bid proposal locked into a contract, shovels at the ready, likely two years earlier than planned.

Is that something the community is interested in exploring seriously? If so, then the county needs to know that from we Ursine folk so they can move whole project design/build further up the schedule to-do list, instead of keeping it stuck in the back.

After all, I constantly hear that speed is of the essence, since speed is money, so why not consider issuing a nation-wide Request for Qualifications, prepare a project scope document for a complete package design/build, (the TAC has already laid out the criteria and critical goals), see who shows up, pre-qualified, then let the games begin. Having private design/build firms attacking and tackling the whole animal might result in some innovative total results, rather than simply handing them the already pre-decided, pre-digested, 30% already-engineered bits and pieces in a year or two. It's the difference between hiring someone to write the whole screenplay and hiring several writers to come in long after most of the movie's been shot and hope they can doctor it up to save a few bucks. By that time, the film's budget is already blown, the plot set and if it's gonna be a flop, no amount of competitive doctoring at that point will save it.

Is innovation and speed and serious cost issues of importance to the community? If so, then the BOS needs to hear from the Bears now. Not in the spring, all sleepy eyed and waking up to find another done deal sitting at their cave entrance.

Does the community understand that when it comes to Peer Review, there's, uh, Peers and then there's, uh, Peers. Do they understand that He who picks the reviewers controls the review? A lot of people have asked the BOS for some sort of formal, official agreement to make sure Dr. T and the Water Resources Institute will be the Big Guns brought in to do any reviewing. The BOS has refused to make that committment official, instead they reiterate the principles of peer review without a firm committment to Dr. T and the WRI. That's a serious concern I have, but is that concern shared with the community? If so, the BOS needs to hear from the community earlier than later.

And so it goes. Instead of clear sailing, this 218 vote, however it comes out, will result in a truly dangerous time. So if the community doesn't want a repeat of the past, they need to start drinking coffee and popping NoDoz and make sure their wide-awake eyes are on the prize and their growling voices are heard. Otherwise, they'll get what somebody else wishes to hand them, then they'll get the bill. It'll be a rerun, only this time with no do-over.

Officer, There's A Bug In My Soup. Call The Sheriff. Oh, Wait, It IS the Sheriff.

When I first posted comments on this Sheriff-sued-by-deputy case, I noted that it was likely to have "wrinkles." In the latest Tribune story, Sheriff Pat Hedges has released documents concerning the "why" of the bugging -- he was investigating allegations of various criminal activities involving drugs, money, jail imates, possible "dirty cops," etc. which he makes clear, turned out to be false allegations.

However, here's what I still don't get. In all the cop procedural shows on TV, there's usually a scene wherein cops, suspecting some evildoer of evildoing, rush a warrant for a wiretap to a judge in the middle of the night, much pounding on doors, judge tousel-headed and sleepy, in a bathrobe grumbling, "You'd better have probable cause here, McNulty, grumble, grumble," after which he reads the warrant, asks some Hollywood Questions, then either signs it, or if the plot requires some more rushing around, grouses, "Sorry officers, but you'll have to do better than that. You don't have sufficient evidence for me to sign this," which sends them rushing around some more until the next commercial break.

So, here's the question: If Sheriff Pat Hedges has sufficient evidence or sufficient probable cause that there was lawbreaking going on in his office, why didn't he rush over to, say Judge Piquet's house a 2 a.m., pound on the door, stand there while Judge Piquet sat at his desk in his bathrobe grumbling and reading the warrant and then either signed it or said, "Get outta here, Pat. Ya don't have sufficient probable cause. Bring me something I can sign. How's the wife and kids? See you at Rotary. How about a round of golf Sunday? "

That's what I don't get. As I said. Wrinkles. All the time, WRINKLES!

Laguna Lake Nighmare

Leo Tolstoy noted that , "All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I was reminded of that last night, watching the latest TV news report of the police findings about the murder/suicide of the Rivard family.

Few of us know the sorrows that others around us carry in their hearts and souls. Old wounds, unimaginable past histories, new troubles, secrets, lies, desperations and fears of all kinds. As a species, we are particularly adept at Smiley-Faced Denial and Hiding.

But two things are absolutely known: We are only as sick as our secrets. Only our deluded ego thinks that we're unique and that everyone else is "normal," hence the secrets and hiding. If it weren't so tragic, it would be hilarious. None of us is exempt from our follies and burdens and bungles and failures. None of us.

And, two, the death spiral of drug and alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, family abuse, untreated mental illness, and the slow unraveling of the mind and soul that unspools into the unrecoverable depths is a clearly understood, well-marked, well-trod path. Absolutely predictable without some sort of miracle or intervention.

That miracle didn't come for the Rivards and their one daughter. I can only hope that the miracle will arrive for the other two surviving children, that their burden of sorrow and horror can be mitigated and lessened somehow, that their paths can be kept in the light.

As for John, Barbara and Olivia, I can only feel the deepest sorrow and pity and empathy, and pray for the peace of their souls.


Shark Inlet said...

Just quickly, who was the other "no" vote besides Julie?

Did that boardmember explain why they had voted to support a County-led project AB2701 but is voting against a County-led project now?

I also wonder if that same "no" voter explained how they were confident the LOCSD could get a project online at least as quickly as the County could and I wonder whether they explained how they intend to fund the process of getting a project together.

Area51 said...

"Tacker said at Thursday’s board meeting that she changed her vote to “no” because the county Board of Supervisors and the San Luis Coastal Unified School District voted in favor of the tax. She said she was disappointed that as leaders of public agencies both panels felt they needed to cast a vote."

The school board's position was stated as this:

"Board President Chris Ungar expressed worry that the schools would not be able to continue to use their septic systems if the Proposition 218 assessment does not pass, because of enforcement action from the regional water board.

Ungar said the sewer was a serious health and safety issue that could affect students and staff."

Repeat: "A serious health and safety issue that could affect students and staff."

And for this Tacker changes her vote to no. Because the school board voted to protect the health and safety of it's students and staff.

I don't think anyone needs to know anything more than this about Julie Tacker. For the love of God why doesn't this walking disaster for Los Osos finally just resign, and take Lisa Schicker and Gail McPherson with her. Ugh.

Shark Inlet said...

I'm not all that troubled by Julie's vote because it is at least consistent with her AB2701 vote. What troubles me is Lisa's vote. Did she explain why she is now thinks the LOCSD can better manage the project than the County when just a year ago she felt exactly the opposite?

Sewertoons said...

I think Lisa knew the vote would carry with the three other directors, so she didn't need to disappoint the people who support her with hard facts like money and fines which they seem to disregard as important anyway. It's called self interest.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

" If Sheriff Pat Hedges has sufficient evidence or sufficient probable cause that there was lawbreaking going on in his office, why didn't he rush over to, say Judge Piquet's house a 2 a.m., pound on the door, stand there while Judge Piquet sat at his desk in his bathrobe grumbling and reading the warrant and then either signed it or said, "Get outta here, Pat. Ya don't have sufficient probable cause. Bring me something I can sign."

Then, there's this from today's Trib:

"Picquet also rejected the (Hedges') second request for the county to pay for outside legal representation regarding eavesdropping allegations against him."

Then, there's also this from today's Trib:

Sheriff-Coroner Pat Hedges (annual salary increase to): $180,396


"Equipment for my volunteer and tactical units has vastly improved. Updated communications networks and department automation have improved safety and efficiency."

And illegal eavesdropping.

You know who I think of at times like these? All the young women -- daughters, sisters, moms -- that are rotting away in county jail -- tossed in there by Hedges' deputies -- simply because they can't afford adequate legal representation, and their only offense is that they have a treatable drug problem.

Turns my stomach.

Ron said...

Of course, when I wrote:

"And illegal eavesdropping."

what I meant was:

"And illegal eavesdropping........................................................................................................... allegedly."

Mike said...

..hmmm, I thought judges and juries somehow decided there were some LAWS broken and those who broke the LAWS should spend some time in jail.... To be honest, Sheriff Hedges is merely the ENFORCEMENT arm we hired him to be... Those in jail, broke LAWS society wants. If one does not chose to break LAWS, they do not end up in court or jail... Taking drugs is NOT a right as decided by our society... If you chose to take drugs, then you know you are breaking the LAW... It's your choice, so quit crying about how the LAW and Sheriff Hedges are against you... Just say NO to drugs...!!!!!