Is That A Lawsuit In Your Pocket Or Are You Just . . . Oh, Wait, It’s Taxpayers Watch, of Course It’s a Lawsuit . . .
County Roundup notice, on Thursday the CSD will consider hiring another law firm to represent four CSD Board Members (three presently seated, one former) in a lawsuit brought by Taxpayers Watch suing the board members personally.
Notes the Tribune, “The lawsuit alleges that the board members paid more than $600,000 in “sham settlement monies to their political supporters” and asks for those board members to be held individually responsible for reimbursing the district’s coffers.” The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the South Bay Community Center . . .
Personally, I don't know where Taxpayers Watch is getting the money for this lawsuit. They tried and failed to get LAFCO to destroy the CSD. LAFCO sent them a ginormous bill for their efforts, a bill that still hasn't been paid off. And I find it odd that Taxpayers Watch's rationale for all this suing is to safeguard the taxpayers' money, when, in reality, these lawsuits are costing the taxpayer a bundle. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.
I’ll sure attend that meeting because somebody has to ‘splain something to me. It was ‘splained years ago by attorney McClendon, who was representing the CSD after the recall election. So, let’s hope my memory of it is reasonably correct:
According to McClendon, part of the settlement agreement – a big chunk of it – was made because the previous, recalled board majority – Stan Gufstafson, Gordon Hensley and Richard Le Gros – had voted to file a lawsuit to stop Measure B from getting on the ballot. If memory serves, a local judge agreed with the "old" CSD and blocked the initiative, but the initiative's backers filed an appeal and the appeals court in Ventura set that first judgment aside in, what, 20 minutes, which allowed the election to proceed.
According to McClendon again, the California courts have a long record of really, reeeeeely hammering anyone who tries that – stopping initiatives before the election, no matter how silly the initiatives may be. Again, according to McClendon, the courts feel the vote is “sacred” and so elections must be allowed to go ahead unless the issue is clearly unconstitutional, and then, AFTER the election, folks can file in court to block the implementation of whatever was voted on.
Again, according to McClendon, in filing to block Measure B, the recalled Board members set up the CSD for a real hammering since Measure B was “arguable” as to its constitutionality and "arguable" on its technicalities, so the CSD would have lost on that narrow basis and having lost would face settlement “damages” in an amount mandated by a Judge using a set formula that very likely would have resulted in the CSD getting hammered for 3 -5 times the “regular” damages amount.
In short, the recalled three CSD members set up the community (and the new board) for a difficult decision – continue to defend the suit (that they didn't file but inherited) and lose and face 3-5 times a “regular” damages amount or settle for the smaller amount and consider that you got off lucky. Either way, it was a huge and totally unnecessary financial hit for everyone in the community.
So, here’s the question: Why isn’t somebody suing Stan, Gordon and Richard – personally – for unnecessarily costing the CSD a pile of money? Even more interesting, since these three unnecessarily voted to start work on the Formerly-Known-As-Tri-W project shortly before the recall election, thereby gambling with and (as it turned out) pounding gazillions into the ground, why aren’t they being sued individually for . . . well, wastefully pounding millions of tax dollars into the ground? Or maybe running a “sham” start-up so as to ensure their “political supporters,” i.e. the construction companies who donated to their “No on the Recall” campaign, got a good chunk of money into their pockets before the whole deal was shut down?
In short, maybe what we need here is another group playing Medea to the teeth, (their motto: Let's sauce the goose AND the gander!) by suing Stan, Gordon & Richard -- personally.
Well, surely one of the attorneys for the CSD will need to ‘splain all this to me at Thursday’s meeting.
And Now For The Oh, You Just Knew THAT Was Gonna Happen Department:
Yes, yes, we know. It was just a matter of time. . . .
Rabobank got robbed.
And Finally, A Sad Goodbye
Was downtown over the holiday only to see the huge Going Out Of Business sign in the window of Country Classics in the wonderful Sinsheimer Bros Building on Monterrey St. Spoke with the owner, Janet Baird, and alas, one of my favorite places to just poke around and smell of pot pourri, will be closing. Lagging sales for a variety of reasons, high rent and even higher rent once the earthquake retrofit is finished, interrupted business when the Big Dig for the Copeland Project gets underway across the street, all contributed to her decision to close.
It’s a story that will repeat itself throughout the downtown area as more and more small businesse move or go out of business. How it will ultimately shake out is anyone’s guess. It’s sad to me that Downtown SLOtown may turn into Anywhere USA, a place filled with little more than high end chain stores. Same old, same old.
On the other hand, if wonderful and unique places like County Classics can successfully relocate in another town, well, maybe that’s to the good. No need to go to SLOTown at all, just head for the outlying areas to find the special businesses that make this county such a great place to live.
Meantime, Get Out The Bumpershoots.
And pray for the kind of plentiful but soft rain that will fill the aquifers and lakes. Then get out your brelly and go puddle jumping.