Thursday, October 18, 2007


Los Osos Sewerish Stuff

Email from Mike in Los Osos states: "The emergency Services Committee voted to not give the [CSD] Board a 218 vote recommendation. The Committee will report that the Fire Department assessment will be around $170 per month and will come from reserves. The vote was 3-2.

It was reported taht the Water Ops voted for the Board to abstain from voting on the 218. The Finance Committee also recommends abstention. . . . . "


Supervisor Gibson and Paavo Ogren have requested to bump up the time they'll be on Dave's show from 5:30 to 5 - 6. So, to hear the latest from them and get your calls and questions in, tune into The Dave Congalton Show, KVEC, 920 am from 5 - 6 pm this evening.


Trot down to the community center for pre-closed session public comment at tonight's LOCSD meeting regarding the 218 vote scheduled for this evening. The bankruptcy issues will be affected one way or the other, so you can sick in your nickle's worth of comment then and again at the 7:30 regular meeting.

And now, the "Yup, I figgered As Much" Department

Tribune announces this morning that "Paavo Ogren is likely to be tapped to succeed Noel King as director of county Public Works."

First off, congratulations to Noel King, who will be retiring. And a warning: Get some rest now because after you retire you're likely to find yourself busier than you ever were in "real life" and will start longing for the "easy" 18 hour days of being back at work. Rocking Chair Retirements are sooo over.

As for Paavo, when this Sewer Trainwreck was bifurcated and the county was given a shot at solving the Gordian Knot, I knew then that whoever is involved in any way with this project, if it fails, it will be a career-buster and everyone involved will end up with "mud on their face." But, if anyone involved manages to pull this off successfully, they will end up with a ginormous "feather in the cap."

Reason? The Hideous Los Osos Sewer has been watched by many, many eyes over the years, most on faces with mouths hanging open, the jaw dropping to the floor and the sound, "Whaaa, whaaaaaaa?" coming out of the gaping maw. With this specacular train wreck (totally predictable, and totally unnecessary, alas) now the whole world is watching -- literally -- the engineering world, the financial world, the legal world, the sewer world. Agog. Curious. Checking the numbers. Eyeballing the page. Emails flying fast and furious. Say What? Say Whaaaatt? From Dr. T. & the Water Resources Institute, the Ripley Team, , Orenco, Lombardo, you name it. They're watching this extraordinary Saga, the tightrope walker over the chasm, while little Sewer Jihadi-mices of various stripes jump up and down on the wire -- boing-boing-boing.

All these eyes know the perils, the complexities, the promises. They're watching. Dooo-deee--doooo-dooo. And whoever is involved with a "success" will find feathers in their caps and job offers on the table.

Failure will bring coffee-blown-through-the-nose contempt and calumny. Mass mud on face all 'round. No promotions for you! Nuh-huh.

The stakes couldn't be higher for everyone involved.

Who Is That Masked Man?

This morning's headlines from Sona's story: "Sewer competitor's ads called misleading." Story concerns AES and Mr. Murphy and Mr. Low's "Reclamator," of course.

Now the powers that be are going after the ads that are flooding the airwaves and appearing in print. As I posted previously, at the BOS meeting Tuesday, it looked like a case now of Humpty Dumpty, meet Humpty Dumpty, as Mr. Murphy claims he'll be going head to head with Roger Briggs of the RWQCB. Good luck to 'em both.

When I met Mr. Murphy at a public information meeting months ago, I told him I had two words for him: Roger Briggs. He maintained that he didn't need no stinkin' Roger Briggs, that federal laws trumped Roger Briggs and a federal court would settle that hash right quick.

When I noted that few people in this town can afford to hire a lawyer and go into federal court, Mr. Murphy pointed out that you don't need an attorney in federal court. You can go pro per. I didn't bother to point out to him that very few people in this town can afford to go into federal court representing themselves because they can't afford the hotel bills to go and stay in L.A. weeks or months or years on end, including meals, gas, & etc, not to mention loss of time from work, all of which time can be strung out FOR YEARS by the RWQCB (who are being paid by the taxpayers so they have all the paid time in the world to drag out cases until everyone dies of old age and a whole new generation comes along in some Dickensian Bleak House scenario), not to mention the gazillions required for court reporters during discovery and depositions, the gazillions required to pay for a court record, pay for subpoenas (like the case of the Los Osos 45, the subpoenas can be quashed by the Board as the subject of the subpoenas, Mr. Briggs, sails off to sea, out of reach, for a long vacation, & etc.), and pay for the gazaillion things needed to successfully get a case in court. Not to mention, one misfililed document, one missed deadline and, ka-poof! your case is out the door along with all the money you've spent so far.

And that's just the start up case. If you survive all that you may still end up in appeals court for CENTURIES.

As noted in the Tribune story, and noted in yesterday's BOS meeting, the Reclamator will be evaluated along with other alternative systems during the CEQA process. But, in order to evaluate a system, the engineers (and the RWQCB) will need to see complete data. So far, that data hasn't been made available, to my knowledge. Simply asserting you don't need no stinkin' data puts you in league with the RWQCB that asserts they don't need "proof" of pollution to torture people for nearly two years then hang them anyway. In these parts, it's all "Chinatown, Jake. Chinatown."

As I noted: Humpty Dumpty? Meet Humpty Dumpty.


Area51 said...

Ann, you put waaaaaaay too much emphasis on the CSD's decision concerning the assessment. Why should the recommendation of the committees surprise anyone, since their members by and large, are exactly like the 12-15 people who go to meetings every week: CSD supporters. Which makes them anti-county at the very least, and anti-sewer at the worst. Of course they are not going to recommend the assessment. Big deal.

And of course the board will take their recommendation. It's the perfect excuse to avoid making a logical decision which will benefit every homeowner in the PZ. And when have they ever done that? And why piss off their base (of 12-15 people.)?

But really, who cares? I think most probably a no vote by them, or absention, will do more good for the yes on 218 position than harm. They have no credibility. Zero. Zilch.

Vote yes on the 218.

Rick said...

Mr. Murphy apparently doesn't understand the interaction between state and federal environmental laws. The Clean Water Act is designed to work *with* state clean water laws, and DOES NOT PREEMPT them.

Accordingly, a state agency with proper authority under a state clean water act has proper jurisdiction to meet OR EXCEED federal standards.

Furthermore, states have the power to regulate matters that go beyond the reach of the federal commerce power, or their power to regulate "navigable waters."

What all this means is, the federal court will probably kick the case out and send him back to state court.

He is misinformed about the power of the RWQCB vis-a-vis the federal government, he is misinformed about the fact that the RWQCB must or will certify his device.

If he wants to bamboozle us, he should at least get his law straight.

Show me the permit, Mr. Murphy, show me the permit.

Mike Green said...

A51, Right you are, The LOCSD board has three votes and no credibility.
I'm more worried about the Triv doing their famous King Midas number on the 218.
Historically they do not have a good track record of helping causes that they promote in the opinion section. Yikes!
I wonder what the combined vote tally will be, any guesses?
I'll hazard 60%.

Area51 said...

Jeez Mike you're right about the curse of the TT. Reminds me of the democrats courting Al Gore's endorsement this campain season, only to realize he endorsed John Dean in '04. Ouch.

60% total "turnout" for the vote? I just can't/don't venture a guess anymore in Los Osos. I honestly don't know, but I'm preparing for the worst.

Has anybody considered the possibility of the 218 failing, then the CSD voting to dissolve itself so the county ends up with not only the project again, but all the associated debt of the CSD? For some time now I have seen this as a definite course of action for these board members (sans Joe)to take. I know it sounds odd, but isn't it very conceivable this board could try to do this?

Mike Green said...

A51, The LOCSD board cannot just "vote" to dissolve,
They can petition LAFCO to hold an election for the general populace.(of course LAFCO would deny the petition)
After all, the real CSD is.... us.
They CAN resign in mass, that would force the county to appoint directors, who knows what would happen then.
If they wanted the No vote to win that would do it.
Members of TW would be fighting for spots in line to change their votes for sure.
Of course they could just "say" they would resign and then not do it, you know, lie.
Naw, they wouldn't step that low, would they?

Mike said...

How much lower can the CSD, sink....

Sewertoons said...

I hope everyone on the YES side shows up tonight at the CSD meeting. I'm not so sure there will be only one YES vote from the Board, as the bankruptcy plan hinges on the 218 passing. You could hear the tentative steps of YES in the words of Chuck and Steve last meeting. (Asking for dissolution is even a more heinous act than voting YES, and without the YES, the board is in dire straits and it KNOWS it.) One would think too, that a cooperative discharge case could be made for the CSD before the Water Board should the 218 fail - they will REALLY be under the gun if this fails. (I don't think that they are getting too far with the Shaunna Sullivan case.)

If there is a chance that Chuck and Steve will support Joe in a YES, we need to give our support to them. It only takes three votes to carry it. You know they will be booed by the hardcores.

Lisa even put out to the public reasons to vote yes last meeting- she posed the question to the audience if the public wanted her to respond as a Board member, (YES passing and keeping the District solvent), OR is her primary role only to respond to the people (meaning her support base of don't vote, abstain). I don't know if she got the support she was asking for out of Paavo's statements at the BOS on Tuesday to be able to vote YES, but for the first time, she has shown sense in acknowledging that the 218 is a way to go to keep the District going. She is out of town and unavailable for the spitwads hurled in her direction should she vote to vote YES. (Julie will of course vote to abstain.)

So I think we should be there to applaud and show support to any director who votes to say YES, rather than abstain. They are who we have to represent us for years to come, so we might as well support them when they show sense in their decisions - you know - positive reinforcement!

Bottom line, I truly think LAFCo will not dissolve the CSD and throw the debt out to the much more able entity to pay for the debt - the County. Think who sits on LAFCo! ELECTED people from all over the County!

There are people who have not yet voted - and elections are close here in LO - every YES vote counts. We need to pass this thing and we need the CSD to support YES.

Shark Inlet said...

As stated before,

If Lisa, Chuck and Steve vote anything but to support a "yes on 218" position, they should explain why they voted for AB2701 a year ago. The two issues are exactly the same ... who should have the project, the bankrupt and dysfunctional LOCSD or the County?

A "no on 218" or even an "abstain on 218" position is essentially a statement that the LOCSD board believes they could handle a sewer project. If that is the case, they should have opposed AB2701 a year ago.

You can't have it both ways, Chuck!

Shark Inlet said...

On a mostly unrelated topic ...

I think that Ann deserves some credit for continually emphasizing a few things, like the importance of following a clean process, like the importance of good science to justify conclusions and like the necessity of quality and thoughtful input from staff and citizens before decisions are made by boards.

That being said ... looking back to 2005 right after the recall, I wonder whether the decision to stop TriW was based on any thoughtful input of staff members or the public or was it political? Was the decision based on a solid cost-benefit analysis of the options (continuing with TriW versus stopping TriW)? Was there a clean process, or did the new board take action without properly agendizing the item a week in advance?

I agree with Ann's continued harping on these key issues that should help govern any board. It is sad that those on the post-recall board don't agree with us.

Richard LeGros said...

Hi All,

Regarding tonight's vote;

The CSD board must realize that there are many LO property owners (hundreds?)that have not yet voted as they are waiting to see how the CSD will vote on the 218. Now, I will not harp on the board how they must vote...yes, no or abstain.

However, I will say that if the board members abstain they are sending the message to those waiting for CSD direction NOT TO VOTE AT ALL. An abstention mean do not vote; hence leaving the 218 decision to others who do vote.

I hope the board members take a clear stand either way...yes or no. Their vote is important as the local citizens, the County and the State are watching to see if this board can function. If a definitve decision cannot be reached the CSD board will have clearly demonstrated that they are politically hogtied and incapable of reaching concensus.

But most important of all that that the board was elected TO MAKE DECISIONS. So CSD board; do not be shy or coy; vote as your personal analysis tells you too. Yes or No? What will it be?

Regards, Richard LeGros

Shark Inlet said...


Are you sure? Were our elected officials actually elected to make decisions for us as opposed to avoiding all decisions for fear that they might influence our opinions?

Your ideas are scary and frightening.

Mike said...

They didn't shy away from making a couple of "decisions" 24 months ago... why stop now...???

Then again, maybe a non-vote would be perfect ending to this sad tale of mis-management...

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Sharkinlet,

LOL. I enjoy a tongue-in-cheek post! Thanks

Regards, Richard LeGros

PS: I have been following your posts on the varius blogs....I just want you to know how much I appreciate your posts. They are logical, compelling and epigrammatic.

TCG said...

Regarding the concept of the vote failing and the CSD closing up shop and dumping the debt and sewer responsibility on the County, Gail McPherson asked Bruce Gibson and Paavo Ogren about that on the Dave Congelton show yesterday.

They made it VERY clear the the County would do everything in it's power to prevent that from happening. I believe them.

There is no easy way out of this mess. The CSD Board needs to step up and handle it's responsibilies.

Shark Inlet said...

While the County and LAFCO might fight it, the law is clear. If enough in the LOCSD request a dissolution vote it must occur and if the vote is to dissolve, it will happen.

Even though it sounds as if I'm trying to sluff off various uncomfortable problems and costs on the County, I don't view such an action as necessarily wrong. If the law provides for dissolution, it is an option we have.

My thornier question is this ... if we were to try to pull such a stunt and burden the County as a whole with the cost of our mistakes, could the County somehow try to charge us extra for the sewer or lower the services they provide to us but not to other communities. I would think that this would not be legal, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't try it. We would certainly need a group of folks to hire a good lawyer (I think that Seitz would be great for the job) to continue to represent the interests of the community.

Note: I wouldn't feel too bad about burdening the County because of the fact that the County created the problem and made it worse by continuing to approve development in Los Osos long after it was known that there wouldn't be a sewer anytime soon. I would also claim the County has underserved Los Osos (look at the roads and park) compared to other communities that aren't cities in their own right.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey! YES! Force LAFCo to dissolve us!
Here is how, next election you and I will run for seats, our platform will be to dissolve the CSD! with a promise of resignation if our efforts fail!
I think our chances are waaaay good! and we wouldn't have to do much work because we would be single issue candidates.
What do ya think?

Area51 said...

Can I get a lawn sign from you guys?

Something like "Here today, gone tomorrow. Green/Sharky for CSD." (You guys will have to quibble about the order of your names).

But of course, let's pass the 218 first......

Mike Green said...

A51 How about, "If we can't quit we will quit"


Mike said...

...ahhhh, yes... I see the words, but is that really a "PLAN"...???

We may need some proof of your plan before we can trust any candidate ever again...

Mike Green said...

PLAN! We don't need no stinkin PLAN!

We've got SLOGANS!

Its worked like a charm every time! (almost)

So if you want to TAKE A STAND and MAKE A DIFFERENCE (Bud Laurent) In order to SAVE THE DREAM of sticking this mess right back to the county where it belongs and you want a CHEAPER FASTER BETTER way to rid yourself of incompetent local government with NO MYSTERY then vote for Green/Sharkey WE HAVE A PLAN, "If we can't quit we will quit".

Hows that?

Mike said...

Fantastic.. truly fantastic... with that "Plan", you waste your talents on poor Lost Osos, you should be running for President...!!!! You have my vote...!!!

Mike Green said...

Thank you thank you, but I'm sure your just saying that because your a Mike.