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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stop The Press! Missing 10% Show Up!

The Tribune reports today that "About 6,000 of the nearly 8,700 ballots that were mailed to the town's propertyowners were returned, . . . about a 70 percent voter response. "

Oh, My Gaawwwwddd! During the first mini-assessment vote, about 40% of the ballots were never returned. During the hotly contested recall election, about 40% of the qualified voters didn't bother to vote. All of which led me to observe that maybe 40% of Los Osos is permanently out to lunch?

But if about 70 percent have returned their 218 assessment ballots . . . Gosh, maybe now we can say that only 30% of the community is out to lunch?

The count continues today, results maybe tonight or tomorrow morning . . . or sooner. Hmmm, is somebody calling their lawyers to challenge the vote or the assessment or the hanging chads, if there are some chads to be found, even as I type? Hey, this is Los Osos.

Is That A Lawsuit In Your Pocket Or Are You From The RWQCB And You’re Just Glad To See Me?

In case you believed the nice smiley-faced false info being bandied about by all parties that the RWQCB has backed off and are holding the CDOs in abeyance, Uh, WRONG. They’ve never been in abeyance. Only the full Board voting to vacate the CDOs now issued should be considered “abeyance.” That’s why the people who spoke at the protest hearing of feelings of coercion and intimidation and of retaliation by the water board weren’t just blowing smoke out of their ears. The following press release from PZLDF makes clear just what’s STILL happening to your friends and neighbors and . . . what waits for YOU at any time, completely at the whim of the Roger Briggs.

Lawsuits and Funding-----Meetings Monday Oct 22 and Oct 29 -------BOTH at 7:00 PM at Washington Mutual Bank..
I am not certain that the community fully understands that the enforcement has never been in abeyance for the PROHIBITION ZONE PROPERTY OWNERS.
In December 2006 and May 2007 the first 50 were randomly selected in 2005 were prosecuted, trials held, and then each was issued enforcement orders (CDO's=Cease and Desist Orders) and Settlements (CAO's=Clean Up and Abatement Orders). The appeal was required to be filed to the State Water board, and they rejected it. That was the point in June that allowed the legal challenge of the enforcement, the basis for enforcement, and all the 111 causes for actions, including the basis for enforcement (83-13 and the prohibition zone and faulty data etc) coercing the vote and requiring a 218 to pass. The appeal pleading are listed at www.pzldf.org . This is currently filed in superior court lawsuit IN BEHALF OF THOSE WITH ORDERS ---AND ALL THE PROPERTY OWNERS IN THE PROHIBITION ZONE. This has been funded entirely donations by PZLDF, the CSD and individuals, and more is needed.
Sullivan and Associates has made substantial progress advancing the enforcement appeal lawsuit in Superior Court for hearing. The appeal asks that all enforcement orders are vacated and the individual enforcement on ALL Prohibition Zone private homes and business property is halted. We have additional pleadings due this week and hearings being scheduled. The administrative record must be purchased, and donations are needed for this effort. Additionally the water board has set Dec 6 water board meeting to consider vacating the 46 orders already issued.
In the event the 218 is protested (no vote succeeds) the ENFORCEMENT warning noticed in each homeowners 'NOTICE OF VIOLATION' will be issued to every property owner. These are likely Clean up and Abatement orders, and these endanger your property with fines and enforcement.
Generally, the opportunity for you property to be listed under the enforcement appeal (that is already in motion) exists for all the properties. Listing your property but by retaining Sullivan and Associates, and joining the PZLDF lawsuit guards your rights for no delay in obtaining due process because the lawsuit is already filed. In joining the enforcement lawsuit you can move quickly and economically to halt the Regional Water Board taking actions against your property, and there is strength in numbers.
I understand that funding for the 218 challenge is also being sought by other parties, it is vitally important that the enforcement lawsuit is fully funded as well. If the current enforcement lawsuit is lost, due to a lack of funding, the 218 challenge may do little good to protect you home for enforcement.
A meeting to discuss how lawsuits might coordinate to achieve the best outcome is needed. We will also discuss the actions you need to consider taking to best protect your property interests.
Topics on actions and strategies to deal with the enforcement ALREADY in motion will be the topic in Meetings[ ,. . . . .] Oct 29 [. . . ] at 7:00 PM at Washington Mutual Bank..
Viewpoint, Gail McPherson, of PZLDF

Have Some Coffee. It's Not Time To Fall Asleep

I have previously written here of the importance that this community NOT fall asleep after the vote is in, with everyone heaving a huge sigh, Awwww, Whew, Now Big Uncle Daddy Will Make Magic And Give Me Free Purple Pudding With Cherries On Top So I Won’t Have To Trouble My Pretty Little Head About All This Anymore. That's what happened last time and look where it got us today.

The really dangerous/exciting part of this process will occur AFTER the vote, and that will require careful attention to see that the train continues to chug along on the track the
majority of the community wants –you know, the silent, asleep, clueless, out to lunch, pay-no-attention-until-it’s-too-late majority. If people fall asleep again, it’s likely this whole mess will simply repeat itself – community wakes up to find something on their doorstep which they didn’t want, put there by subtle and not so subtle little sticky fingers on the scales. It’s all about squeaky wheels and getting grease; it’s eyes on the prize and flyswatters in hand to smack away sticky fingers, it’s constant attention to the fee-back loop to catch those critical moments when the track can branch off to make sure it's branching where the majority of the community wants it to branch.

So, please stay awake, Los Osos, this bumpy ride ain’t over ‘till it’s over. Even now, before the vote’s dust has even hit the ground, there’s already whispers in the chaparral, Ursine grumbling in Banded Dune Snail land, rumbles in the shrubbery, unsettled ghosts returning to haunt unresolved issues yet again. So, eyes open, folks.


Viewpoint by Gail McPherson.


Will we wake up on Oct. 24th to 'ground hog day' Los Osos style? Just as in the Bill Murray movie, we just can't seen to get it right. I have been asked about how I think the vote will go. Without pontificating on the outcome, I believe the vote will be close, in spite of all the risks and pressures applied against the NO vote.

Those who vote no may do so, not because the people aren't sincerely committed to solving the sewer issue, but because they either simply can't afford it, or because the county has repeated the mistakes of the past, and once again made the project just as confusing, costly, uncertain and unknown as the bait and switchy project. (The county even kept TRI W on the table) And that may prove to be a huge mistake.

Most know the Vote is a "damned if you do and damned if you don't" decision, But the county could have done better than zero-sum. They spent $2mil more on top of the millions already invested. Without insulting the hard working TAC, most thought the process was more smoke screen than fine screening of alternatives. At the end of the day, they don't have a clue what project or location they are committing a huge chunk of their home to.

That makes it plain risky to vote YES, but where we are in history, many sense it may be more risky to vote NO. It is just too bad that the County adopted that obsolete parental process before they understood the real needs of the community. They used that same formula from the past. Pay now and eventually, you will know what it is, where it will be, and the complete cost. It is the purest definition of insanity to keep repeating the same actions over and over and wondering why the results are the same.

There are angry voters, hopeful voters, tired and obstinate voters. Even the most optimistic voters, who know the technical reasons and practical justifications for "the county process" fear voters are in the dark feeling like they are trapped with a pickpocket or worse. I don't disagree with the county's reasons, logic for some of their process decisions and timing, but that is the flaw. The cart is before the horse and that just doesn't build the trust needed to succeed. Promise Accountability builds trust, and accountability to the community is completely missing before the vote. The vote should be the county's scorecard, but most feel a whiff of extortion and coercion.

In any event, many will refrain from voting at all. To date less than half the ballots have been returned. from what I hear it will be close. If it is a yes, I believe the assessment will be challenged, resulting in more wasted time and expense. But the real message of this vote, if Gibson and the county will just listen and respond, is you need to work hard on trust . If the voter hires you to complete this job, you must install a process that includes holding you accountable.

You can build trust adopting policies for the formation of a community commission, whose purpose is to assure affordability criteria is developed and met, and can work on funding and payment plans to halt displacement and ease hardships. Deliver the best value through competitive and creative solutions, and loosen up with flexible out-of-the-box funding plans.

Above all- as true servants of the public, the best advise I was ever given was take care of the community like you'd take care of you own family members.. "If one family is displaced-it diminishes us all" was a statement to the Governor from the original CSD board. That should be printed up and replace every YES and NO signs in Los Osos to remind us all of our duty to our neighbors, and what makes a community.

Gail McPherson
Los Osos


And, finally,



O.M.G.! Starbucks Finally Found . . . Small.

So, I go into Starbucks in Arroyo Grande and order a “small” coffee and the nice young lady behind the counter says, “Do you want a “short” or a “small?” And I laughingly say, “Isn’t the “Tall” your “small” heh-heh?” pointing to the sign that says they have “Tall” and “Grande” and Venti, and nowhere does it say anything about “short.”

“Oh,” she pleasantly pipes, “Besides the “tall,” which is “small,” we have a “SHORT,” and then shows me, you know, like a NORMAL paper cup, like the kind you used to get when you went into a coffee shop and ordered a “small” coffee, before this Venti, Talli, Realli-Talli, Grande, Grandiosi, Humongous, Ginormous, Oh Jeeze Get A Crane! sizing took place?

So, I sez, “Uh, when did you guys get a NORMAL “small” cup size?” And she said, “Oh, we ALWAYS had what we called the “short.” We originally started out with only two sizes, “short” and “tall,” then I guess people wanted bigger sizes, so we shifted our “short” to being “tall,” and now use our original “shorts” for Kid’s hot chocolate servings.”

I gazed in wonder at the menu board and all around the counter, looking for this miraculous word “short,” as she quickly added, “No we don’t have that posted anywhere.”

Duh, of course not. The “short” costs a “normal” $1.50. Why would you post that when you can con people into thinking that small is tall and then charge them waaaay more money and send them out the door with waaaayyy more caffeine than they really want? This is America, folks. Change the name, jack the price.

So, if you ever want a “normal” cup of coffee and find yourself in a Starbucks, just ask for a “short.”

28 comments:

Steve said...

Ann, I first heard about the "short" almost 2 years ago from this article at Slate.com

http://www.slate.com/id/2133754/

They claim it is the best cup of coffee at Starbucks. Check it out.

And less profitable... that's why its not on the menu.

Mike said...

Ballots aren't counted and Gail is already trying to swing support for yet another lawsuit... I hope it's on her dime this time around!

Mike Green said...

70% Wow, but then again the Triv. says that 2000 had been counted as of 2pm Thursday (on Thursday morning) Oh well, just a typo I'm sure,
I'll wait patiently for the clerk recorder.

Ron said...

Gail wrote:

"If one family is displaced-it diminishes us all" was a statement to the Governor from the original CSD board."

I'm not so sure about the source on that quote.

However, I AM sure about the source of this quote:

"It must be affordable; we can't displace even one family.”

That's from Pandora Nash-Karner, in the Spring of 2000. She said it to a reporter for Coast & Ocean.

I wrote about it here.

Gail wrote:

"(The county even kept TRI W on the table) And that may prove to be a huge mistake."

It's not so much that they kept it on the table, it's that they kept it on the table as a "viable alternative." THAT was the HUUUUGE mistake.

For example, the Andre1 site is still technically "on the table." As part of the CEQA process, that site will still be included in the final EIR, and it will say that it was eliminated from consideration due to its deed restrictions. Fair enough, but it's not on the table as a "viable alternative."

THAT's where the county f-d up. They could have "eliminated" Tri-W from "further consideration" before the 218 deadline, and STILL evaluated it in the final EIR, just like they're going to do with Andre1, and all they had to do was say something like, "Hey, we evaluated it, and it is in violation of the Coastal Zone Land Use Ordinance," which it is. But they didn't do that, and instead kept an obviously unviable, illegal and "divisive" project around as a "viable alternative." And judging by the public comments, that horrible, nonsensical decision -- obviously influenced by behind-the-scenes pressure from the handful of people that developed the embarrassing Tri-W project -- cost an untold amount of "yes" votes.

Paavo and friends must be on their knees, right now, praying that the 218 vote passes. If it doesn't, they're going to have to answer some form of this question:

"Why did you torpedo your own 218 vote and cost county taxpayers another $2 million, when you had a perfectly legitimate and legal way to "eliminate" the "divisive" Tri-W project as a "viable alternative" before the 218 election, and STILL meet CEQA requirements?"

On their knees praying... I'm tellin' ya.

I wrote about all that here.


What's a Starbucks?

Mike Green said...

Ron, A Starbucks is a portal at the end of the universe wherein the compressing value of money reaches a swartzchilds radius of near infinite worthlessness.
They take nearly free water add heat and the ground up remains of burned beans and sell it for a nearly infinite profit, in fact, the profit is so huge that they can have Starbucks right across the street from each other and there will be no measurable competitive effects.
It would be wise to avoid them.

Mike Green said...

Oops, I meant infinitesimal worthlessness.

TCG said...

In response to Ron, above, it's not Paavo who is on his knees praying for a "Yes" result, it is me and my neighbors.It's a Los Osos thing--something Ron can't understand.

Mike Green said...

tcg, yes indeed, we traded our sticks and cardboard effigies for ballots,
May the Water Gods be appeased!
We await the county cargo!
Bow and chant, bow and chant!

Mike said...

Votes counted so far lean heavily toward 'yes' in Los Osos sewer tax vote.....

County officials have counted about 2,000 assessment ballots as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday – with a little more than 80 percent voting in favor of the $127 million tax to pay for a sewer in Los Osos. About 6,000 of the nearly 8,700 ballots that were mailed to the town’s property owners were returned, according to Vicki Shelby, the county's chief deputy clerk recorder — about 70 percent voter response.

....Let's hope the 80% trend continues and this whole sewer fiasco should be finally wrenched from the LOCSD, NEVER to return until it's a completed and simply a matter of daily operation....!!!

80%, WOW!!!!! Have the people spoken now Lisa....??? maybe it will finally sink in even to Gail's brain that the fight for bankrupt, mismanaged local control is finally dead and buried!

Area51 said...

Mike Mike Mike!!!

80%......hmhmhmhmmh...that's about where the Trib had Maria Kelly over Senet last November.....

it's a chickens before they're hatched thing......and a little thing called the Trib Curse...

and don't talk to the pitcher when he's throwing a no hitter....

i'm not reading a thing until it's all over......and staying away from mirrors ladders and black cats.....

Shark Inlet said...

Eighty percent of the first third of the votes counted means there is pretty much a guaranteed win.

Ignoring the fact that the votes are each weighted differently ...

If even 40% of the remaining 4000 votes are for the 218 vote, the "yes" side will have carried the day.

Sewertoons said...

200 votes left to count - almost 80% YES!!!!!

Mike said...

UPDATE: The sewer has been approved; nearly 80 percent of ballots returned were in favor of assessment
Nearly 80 percent of a majority of Los Osos property owners approved a $127 million assessment to pay for a sewer.

County officials finished counting the more than 6,000 assessment ballots shortly before 5:30 p.m. today. About 80 percent voted in favor of the tax, while 20 percent voted against it.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to certify the results at its Nov. 6 meeting.

About 6,000 of the nearly 8,700 ballots that were mailed to the town’s property owners were returned, according to Vicki Shelby, the county's chief deputy clerk recorder — about 70 percent voter response. The county is asking property owners to agree to pay an assessment – for most homeowners, about $25,000 or $960 in twice-annual installments on their property tax bills — to pay for a sewer. The town of about 14,000 people operates entirely on septic systems now. -Sona Patel

Rick said...

80 f---n percent?

Wow.

Can those NRA lookin' dudes still stand out on the street with their dont tread on me flag every day, though? I think that's really good for our town image.

Mike said...

It should be damn difficult for ANY of McPherson's and the LOCSD lawsuits to stand up in any court given the OVERWELMING vote for the County to proceed...

God Bless the PROPERTY OWNERS who took this step to say no more to the extremist delays and terrible waste of OUR TAX DOLLARS...!!!!

The LOCSD is officially out of the sewer business....!!!!!!!

Thursday's meeting ought to be a real pronouncement that the PEOPLE have indeed SPOKEN....!!!!!!!

Mike Green said...

Oh BOY! I sure wouldn't want to be a county supervisor now!
Imagine the spam and crap they will have to suffer from the sewer saviors now, he he he........
Something karmic eh?

Anyhoo! Great news with a great turnout and a great mandate!

GIT R DONE!

Mike Green said...

mike said:
It should be damn difficult for ANY of McPherson's and the LOCSD lawsuits to stand up in any court given the OVERWELMING vote for the County to proceed..."

Hey, I have a better Idea. The Water board should immediately vacate all CDO/ CAO actions as the individual property owners have NO ability beyond theses means to comply with state law.
Hows that?

Mike said...

Agreed.... I'm sure they have been watching the 218 vote... If certain members of our community can refrain from pissing off the Water Board any further, we might just see a different stance now that the County has the lead...

I'd like to see the fines already levied parked also, but the CSD has gone out of their way to challenge the States authority for the past 2 years... I'm pretty certain the RWQCB will be wary until some serious steps are taken here locally.... and I don't mean more legal manuevering by our anti-social mob of extremists...

...but WOW! an 80% Yes on a 70% ballot return...!!!! Thank YOu Property Owners...!!!!

Kari said...

The ballots have been counted and it is a complete landslide for YES ON 218!

Better look around your house for more lawn chairs to write about, because the sewer debate is over.

And, to your Siamese twin Ron Crawford, he can crawl back under his rock in Santa Margarita.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

It would appear that the County played their cards right (at least by comparison to the opposition) on the TriW question.

Keeping it in thru the fine screening didn't torpedo the 218 vote as you and some others had suggested might be the case.

Now we can continue to study the various options and find out which site and technology is really the cheapest. I'll bet that if the County feels TriW is the best bang for the buck during the CEQA process, they'll contact the CCC staff and develop a SOC to explain that position. If TriW ends up being not the best location, we'll get a treatment plant elsewhere and TriW will hopefully end up a park.

Hell, I would be willing to pay an extra assessment just to get TriW permanent park status if it isn't needed as a treatment plant location. At least then we wouldn't have offices and condos there, blocking the views.


After thinking about it a bit, I am convinced that those arguing that more information may have been helpful for voters are at least partially right In particular, the idea that more information would have caused them to vote "no", makes good sense in one way. If the LOCSD and those advocating a no vote had presented a information explaining how the LOCSD could have pulled off a sewer, there was a chance that some votes would have been in the no camp.

Several folks commented that they didn't necessarily like the County taking charge or that they didn't like the cost, but pretty much all 80% who voted for the 218 felt that whatever the County comes up with will be cheaper, more well thought out and less subject to being hijacked by the strident few on either side than had the project reverted to the LOCSD.

In short, the issue wasn't the cost or the location or even whether the County had not provided full information ... it boiled down to whether we trust the County more than the LOCSD at this stage. The result? As Joe Sparks noted in the newspaper this morning, we want the LOCSD to focus on Fire and Water and Drainage getting a resolution to the Bankrupcy and we want the County to do the sewer.


One last thought about this morning's newspaper article. I find it odd that only Pam Ochs gave a comment from those who were advocating a no on 218 position. Did the reporter not have Lisa, Julie or Gail's phone number? Did Linde and Bo and Richard not return the her calls? I seriously don't know how this lack of comment played out, but I find it very unusual. Typically on a big deal vote such as this one, the folks like Gail and Julie will be found commenting in the newspaper.

Churadogs said...

Kari sez:"Better look around your house for more lawn chairs to write about, because the sewer debate is over.

And, to your Siamese twin Ron Crawford, he can crawl back under his rock in Santa Margarita."

You must be a "newbie" if you think the sewer debate is over.

You must really be a "newbie" if you think Ron lives under a rock. He was editor of the Bay News a while back and during that time he created and regularly ran a pro/con Sewer page just loaded with "official" information, and he has been following and paying very, very close attention to this whole mess for years, especially reading and caching all kinds of, you know, official documents, that tell a very interesting (and verifiable) story. You really would be well served to go read his whole blog, especially those documents, because I'm willing to bet that Ron knows a hell of a lot more about this Sewer Saga than you'll ever know.

Inlet sez:"One last thought about this morning's newspaper article. I find it odd that only Pam Ochs gave a comment from those who were advocating a no on 218 position. Did the reporter not have Lisa, Julie or Gail's phone number? Did Linde and Bo and Richard not return the her calls? I seriously don't know how this lack of comment played out, but I find it very unusual. Typically on a big deal vote such as this one, the folks like Gail and Julie will be found commenting in the newspaper."

Interesting, isn't it, how a reporter can "shape" a story just by the quotes used. Sona had access to dozens of different "voices," yet she chose Pam's. Why? Did Pam's comment encompass the whole debate? I think not. Did her comment cover some of the issues with this vote? Yes. Were there other quotes that would have given better balance to the story. Sure. Does the word "spin" come to mind? That's how this game has been played for years and is one of the reasons this town has been so poorly served by the Trib.

Mike Green sez:" Ron, A Starbucks is a portal at the end of the universe wherein the compressing value of money reaches a swartzchilds radius of near infinite worthlessness.
They take nearly free water add heat and the ground up remains of burned beans and sell it for a nearly infinite profit, in fact, the profit is so huge that they can have Starbucks right across the street from each other and there will be no measurable competitive effects.
It would be wise to avoid them."

BWA-HAHAHAHAHAH. That's wonderful! Thanks, I just blew some non-Starbucks coffee thru my nose laughing. Great way to start the day.

Mike Green said...

I do hope that was slo roast!
Best dang coffee in the world, I send it to family all over.

Slo roast, I can be reached by clicking on my name (hint hint)

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

I was not trying to suggest any bias in the article ... but you might know whether any of Gail, Lisa and Julie were even contacted by the reporter.

It would trouble me greatly had she not even bothered to try to get hold of these three.

On the other hand, it would trouble me at least as much, if the calls had been placed but none were willing to comment.

Somehow, it smells fishy. Whether it's the Trib (as you suggest) or the shock of losing that has caused these three individuals ... who are typically quite willing to step up to make comments ... to not say anything, I am curious.

Sewertoons said...

Julie had comments at last night's LOCAC meeting anyway. She was telling Bruce Gibson how futile it was to look for grant money, that we would never see any. And that she would be keeping her eye on what he does.

Shark Inlet said...

Awesome work, Julie!

Good job poisoning the well because things aren't going your way.

Who cares whether Julie watches carefully or not. She's not important now in the whole sewer discussion. Furthermore, she's out of a job next November and even less important after that.

Sure, she can count on getting Bo Cooper's vote, but I suspect that the bulk of this town views her tenure on the LOCSD board as chock-full-o-strife and views the actions she advocated as unsound.

You never know, however. Maybe no one will run against her.

Sewertoons said...

Or maybe, being with child, she may not run at all.

Hope someone steps up to the plate, as the 218 passing gives the "get-out-of-bankruptcy" plan some legs to stand on. There WILL be a CSD! There are important issues that the Board needs to deal with!

Start looking for candidates! I have one in mind right now - a brave gentleman who has been very helpful to this community.

Mike Green said...

Sorry Toons, If nominated I can not run, I know this is a bitter disappointment, but I and my wife are planning on becoming expats in La Paz.
Jon Arcuni already took all the good spots in Panama

Mike Green said...

Then again, maybe I can get Slo roast ,"The best dang coffee in the world" to sponsor my campaign!
I really am in no hurry .