PZLDF's Day In Court, Again
Yesterday, Judge LaBarbara issued a Tentative Ruling and in lieu of a hearing requested all parties to submit objections in writing within 10 days to his Tentative Ruling. According to PZLDF attorney Shaunna Sullivan, most of the Los Osos 45 arguments were upheld (meaning they can chug along) but that several need either more documentation (originally lacking because the RWQCB was dragging their feet getting the record together and when it was finally received it was a mess) so that info will be gathered together and re-submitted and re-argued. In short, stay tuned.
According to Ms. Sullivan, one of the points in the PZLDF lawsuit isn't just to get fair, legal treatment of the Los Osos 45, but to ensure that the abuses in this whole CDO Enforcement process won't be visited upon everyone else in town. That is, the actual CDO recipients who brought this case could "win" and have their CDOs vacated because of proceedural blunders, BUT twenty minutes later Harvey Packard, staff member of the RWQCB, has full authority to slap CAOs on everyone in the PZ with absolutely no public hearings required, a "paper hearing only" with, of course, an SWB automatic denial of any "appeal" guaranteed, period, end of sentence. He's free to also change the date the fines start, in short has authority to bring any enforcement proceedures he sees fit. All that will be required is a rubber-stamp agreement when the Board again meets and that's that. It's THAT sort of regulatory abuse, with no checks and balances, that this PZLDF case hopes to correct. And correct it to protect everyone in the PZ. Not just The 45.
Sadly, too many in the community don't seem to "get that" wider issue.
Oh, Lucy, Now Jooooo Reeellly, Reeeeellly Gotta Lotta 'Splainin' to Doooo
Part Duh-Duh. Headline in the March 5 Tribune: "Los Osos Sewer Plans Move Ahead," and notes that the county has authorized contracts to chug ahead on the EIR update and . . . "The draft of the environmental report will analyze nearly two dozen potential sites for a sewage treatment plant -- at least four of them in detail."
TWO DOZEN? AT LEAST FOUR OF THEM? If you want to understand the tragedy of what happened here in Los Osos, those seven words say it all. Two dozen sites, at least four sites worth a serious look. Note the one key thing missing from that sentence, the one key piece of information given to this community repeatedly by our [recalled] elected officials: "Tri-W is the ONLY and BEST and LEAST EXPENSIVE site, all out of town sites are waaaayyy more expensive or can't be done. We have no choice but to go with Tri-W. "
ONLY, BEST, NO CHOICE. TWO DOZEN. AT LEAST FOUR.
Read it and weep.
Also of interest in the Tribune article is this: Part of the money from the assessment will be spent on ". . . establishing a plan to help disadvantaged property owners pay for a wastewater treatment plant." Right now, the state does have two programs available for people over 62, with disabilities and/or limited income( i.e. you don't have to be disabled just over 62, have at least 20% equity in your home, limited income & etc.). One program is a yearly flat payment and the other a program to defer property taxes until the home is sold. And if you sign up for both, the flat payment can be applied against the defered tax amount. Both programs need to be "splained" by the County as well as other strageties available. The deferred property taxes program would have to be also considered side-by-side with the appreciation rate of homes in this area (ignore the present "bubble" downturn. I've seen at least three of those things come and go and house prices always start back up and in this area, one simple rule applies: Most Beautiful Spot On Earth +No water = no growth = limited housing stock = supply & demand = high prices. So the figure to consider is appreciation versus any taxes owed versus having to move.)
Further info is at the State Franchise Tax Board (www.ca.gov/individuals/hra/index.html) and/or the State Controller's Office. (www.sco.ca.gov/col/taxinfo/ptp/geninfo/obtaining.shtml (in hopes the link works)
At any rate, if you know anyone who might benefit from such help, let them know they need to start snooping early and often.