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Thursday, August 28, 2008

This 'n That

Addition to the August 26 posting, 'No Water! No Water Nowhere!", the press release about the upcoming WH2O water event, Sept 13, from 1 - 4 pm. at the Los Osos Community Center, add the "contact" name, Maria Kelly.

Regional Water Quality Control Board's regular meeting at Aerovista Place in SLO, on Sept 4 - 5, 200. Item #15 will be an update on the Los Osos wastewater project. It's suggested that you call the RWQCB office on Thursday to find out the agenda for Friday, since item 15 will be heard on Friday, but at this point nobody knows how the agenda will be arranged. So, call first, if you're planning on attending.

Uh, Oh, Ron Crawford's Mom gets into the deal with his new posting, "Unlike My Mom's Garden Club, Taxpayers Watch Doesn't Have A Website," over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com.

128 comments:

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven said...

More official, non-official press releases from the official Spokesperson of Taxpayer Watch, Richard LeGros (unofficially)...

Ron said...

Thanks for the link Ann.

Richard wrote:

"For those folks that want a copy of the TW court filings opposing the CSD-5's 'Motion for Summary Judgement' to be heard in Judge LaBarbera's court on September 10, please email me at archRBL@aol.com"

See, Richard? If Taxpayer's Watch HAD a web site, you guys (assuming that you are officially/unofficially with that group) could just post it on your web site, and then just link to it.

Just trying to help.

Also, just curious -- when you do that kind of misdirection away from the real story, do you actually get any requests, or is that for misdirection purposes only?

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Your question to Richard "Also, just curious -- when you do that kind of misdirection away from the real story, do you actually get any requests, or is that for misdirection purposes only?" is more of a comment or accusation.

What I find interesting is that you feel that court documents are not even part of the real story. Sad, really, that a "journalist" is so biased that he needs to ... um ... use the techniques of distraction and misdirection to get us to focus on what he believes is important.

Shoot, Ann keeps telling us that we should wait for a "real court" to hear these various issues before we reach conclusions. Why are you so unwilling to take her advice?

Ron, you don't get to determine for Los Osos what is important and what is not. Richard offered up information that some might find interesting. Whether TPW wins or loses this lawsuit is very very important to our town ... essentially the heart of this question is whether the post-recall CSD board violated the law or not. Even if one supports the idea of moving the sewer out of town and even if one hates TriW with a passion, it is not okay for the LOCSD board to break the law just to get their way. Please don't tell us that breaking the law is okay.

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Which is worse... A website that does ever seem to be up-dated, except for the last minute posting of a meeting adgenda or one that hasn't been touched since the executive director skipped town...

The agitation attempt being fomented by the non Los Osos Property Owner Crawford continues to amuse... Is it "confirmed" that TW has not met it's financial resposibilities...??? Is it also "confirmed" that the LOCSD is bankrupt and is actively considering doing exactly what TW asked LAFCo to approve...???

Maybe with enough agitation though, all of SLO County will be requested to pay off the bankruptcy of this nearly defunct LOCSD... Keep up the good work Ron, I sure would like to know you will be sharing the costs created by the post-recall kumbaya singers and financial mis-managers...

franc4 said...

Mr. Legros sez;

"As to whether or not I am the 'official spokesperson' for TW, I am not...just an enthusiastic TW supporter."

....then why were you present at depositions?

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
franc4 said...

Mr. Legros also sez;
"Julie, Lisa, Chuch, Steve and John are convicted and ordered to repay the LOCSD over $1,800,000 in damages plus an additional $450,000in attorney fees and court costs?"
......therein lies the ONLY reason for this lawsuit.......REVENGE!!....nothingless. The replaced 3 could care less about the community,(look at the $20M they mis-spent) the taxpayers or who ever.......REVENGE is their driving force.

Their folly happens every day in the courts of this land... frivolous lawsuits, which cause innocent "defendants" having to hire council therby causing financial hardships (the real and only goal of the plaintiffs) to innocent folks.

Mrs.Legros, Hensley and Gustavson, you will be long in your grave before one penny of the money you claim was mis-spent is paid, but you know that,I'm sure. Perhaps causing the INNOCENT folks you are harassing having to hire council will partially satisfy your evil desire for revenge, somewhat, after you have lost.....again.

franc4 said...

Mr. Legros replies;
"That's simple....I was there as a member and avid supporter of TW and to assist the TW lawyer during the deposition."

...yeah, right...and I am the Easter Bunny.

Shark Inlet said...

Mike,

Rest assured ... if the LOCSD board votes to ask LAFCO to dissolved ... Ron will be in favor of dissolution as long as the board majority at the time are people who view Pandora and Gordon as evil. If a new board majority is elected and if a new board majority requests dissolution, Ron will oppose dissolution.

It's not as much about dissolution as it is about Pandora.

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... Franc ...

If a judge determines that the post-recall board acted illegally and unwisely ... it would not be inappropriate to ask the board members at that time to pay. This may appear about revenge, but I don't think an impartial judge's decision should be cast this way in advance.

Your comments presume that the post recall board's actions are defensible. This is entirely a matter for the courts.

Richard LeGros said...

Franc4,

You are free to opine about the motives of others...but it is just speculation and not relevant to the TW lawsuit.

Why not just take a hard critical look at the public documents offered (both the CSD's Motion for Summary Judgement with attached declartations compared to the TW Motion of Opposition to the Summary Judgement with attached declarations. The documents speak for themselves.

Regards, Mr. LeGros

PS: The CSD has paid over $230,000 in taxpayer funds to defend themselves. The defendants in this case have not spent one cent of their own money; so just exactly how have they been put under financial distress?

Watershed Mark said...

It seems that for Gup' it's all about Ron "The Man" Crawford.

When are those so interested in sharing their opinions going to get going on their own blogspot?

You could be proactive instead of being reactive.

To find fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.
Plutarch
Year of Birth:
46
Year of Death:
120

Billy Dunne said...

"When are those so interested in sharing their opinions going to get going on their own blogspot?"

Speaking of blogspots, I've been to yours Mr. Mark over the months and have noticed there hasn't been an entry for quite some time. You know the blogspot, the one you started because you hijacked this site and wore Ann's patience thin months ago. The one where you prayed at the alter of Tom Murphy and the Wrecklamator? Incessantly, and arrogantly, and never-endingly? Where you worte things like:
"From obstructionists to world visionaries"- Technology and the law which supports its use, make it inevitable in the LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution."
and
"Ok. But seriously, The LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solutiom costs $15,000.00 qualifiesfor federal grant assistance and the monthly cost is contractual beginning at 45.75 and is tied to the cost of living index.
Oh and it also provides for 100% beneficial reuse because it does not discharge pollutants. It also remediates the soil think (CAO Here)at no charge. Can you say Cha CHING?!!! ...ibidy,ibidy, ibidy...that's all folks!"
and
"I'll let the "professional" tag go for now as I know change can be difficult for some and I see you are feeling the "change".
We can always visit that later;-)... Los Osos is to become the national/and first world headquarters for the AES RECLAMATOR so we can talk then."
and
"The LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution..."from obstructionists to world visionaries"- who would stand against it?"

Only to find out your words didn't exactly match your deeds, or even your beliefs:

"Murphy’s former partner, Mark Low, got fed up and left. After his departure in late May, Low started sending a string of e-mails to environmental bureaucrats, politicians, and reporters that poke holes in the Reclamator’s effectiveness, and Murphy’s business model."

Really? After all your bluster and long-winded bullshit on this site it became time to poke holes in the Reclamator? To bureaucrats, politicians and reporters? After telling us all we were idiots for not bellieving your Wrecklamator would save mankind? Holy God it's an epiphany I tell ya!!!!!!!!!!!
Why is that Mr. Mark?

"The LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution..."from obstructionists to world visionaries"- who would stand against it?"

Well, it seems, YOU would Mr. Mark!!!!!

And your partner (ex-partner) would seem to have credibility problems with you as well:

“They’re like sorry losers,” he says of the public agencies that criticize him. “They’re like Mark Low.”

Hmmmmm. Maybe I will go check your blogspot after all and see if you've addressed any of the, um, questions, many have about you.

A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.
Francis Bacon
Year of birth: 1561
Year of death: 1624

Rogues are preferable to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.
Alexandre Dumas
Year of Birth: 1802
Year of Death: 1870

Mike said...

billy dunne.....10
Wetspot Mark.... Zip..!!!

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Of course it's all about Ron. His skewed take "makes for a dynamite story."

No Mark, it's not all about Ron. I try to fight FUD wherever I find it. This is one of the reasons I was so harsh with you earlier this year. Ron's problem is that he uses every rhetorical trick he accuses Pandora and the Solutions Group of using. He also seems to be quite uninterested in tacking very important questions which tie directly to the issues he writes about. For example, anytime he discusses the costs of various systems he screws compares apples to kumquats and makes conclusions as if he was comparing Galas to Fujis.

Watershed Mark said...

Willy, I am not standing in the way of the LOSTEP RECLAMATOR SOLUTION.
In fact everything I wrote and everything you quoted me writing above remains fact.

Colin's interpretations in his recent New Times article are flawed.

Feel free to stick with the county's consulting engineer's "professional" study of leaky sewerage.

I guess you won't be putting your own opinions forward "blogspot" wise...
Why so angry Willie?

Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.
Plutarch

Stay tuned...

Shark Inlet said...

Oh yeah ...

Ain't It Fun?
Stiv Bator
Year of Birth:
1949
Year of Death:
1990

Watershed Mark said...

Mike,
I expected nothing more of you...
Gup,
I'm very proud of everything I have written on Ann's Land. Remember, I'm in the meat and wastewater business so you'll have to dig harder if you wish to "get harsh" when communicating with me.

I have read what Ron has written and what you have written and although everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, you have not been able to adequately "make your case"...

How about that I think Ron "The Man" Crawford is a *&%# blogspot?

There you “might” be able to cohesively make your point, following Ron "The Man" Crawford's and Ann "Mother" Calhoun's lead.

Watershed Mark said...

All for one, one for all, that is our device.
Alexandre Dumas
Date of Birth:
July 24, 1802
Date of Death:
December 5, 1870
Nationality:
French

Perhaps when the people Los Osos and Baywood Park understand what good can come from the above, they can get what they deserve.

I Love L.O.

Watershed Mark said...

He that hath knowledge spareth his words. Silence is the virtue of fools.
By indignities men come to dignities.
A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green. Knowledge is power...
Francis Bacon
Date of Birth:
January 21, 1561
Date of Death:
April 9, 1626
Nationality:
English

Mike said...

Reclamator
Date of Birth:
October 30, 2005
Date of Death
May 12, 2008

Watershed Mark said...

Steven John Bator, known as Stiv Bators (October 22, 1949 – June 2, 1990), was an American rock and roll and punk rock vocalist and guitarist from Youngstown, Ohio. He is best remembered for his bands, The Dead Boys and The Lords of the New Church.

In the summer of 1990, Bators, intoxicated, was struck by a taxi while crossing a street in Paris. He was taken to hospital but reportedly left before seeing a doctor after waiting several hours. Reports indicate that he died in his sleep as the result of a concussion. Unsubstantiated reports claim that Bators, a fan of rock legend Jim Morrison, had earlier requested that his ashes be spread over Morrison's Paris grave and that his girlfriend complied.

Truly Inspirational Gup!
I'm having a ball!

Watershed Mark said...

Actually I stepped up to the SLOCO BOS "Mic" August 28th. 2007.

The first installation was on or about March 1, 2008.

We are waiting to see...

Watershed Mark said...

While we wait...I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

The I Have a Dream Speech: http://www.usconstitution.net/dream.html

Watershed Mark said...

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
John F. Kennedy
Date of Birth:
May 29, 1917
Date of Death:
November 22, 1963
Nationality:
American

Watershed Mark said...

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.

Israel was not created in order to disappear - Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.

It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
John F. Kennedy

Mike said...

Ann Calhoun's Can(n)ons
Date of Birth:
Sometime in the Distant Past
Date of Death:
September 28, 2008

Wetspot Mark's 2nd Blog Takeover
Date of Birth:
September 28, 2008
Date of Death:
Not soon enough...!!!!

Watershed Mark said...

If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.
Barack Obama
Date of Birth:
August 4, 1961
Nationality:
American

Mike, I see you have been celebrating the Democratic Convention...

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Perhaps you didn't get the point. I was mocking your tendency to provide unnecessary quotes.

As to the issue of whether you are proud of what you wrote when promoting Tom's device ... if you are, in fact, proud of your comments, you should not be. You consistently told us that there was scientific proof that the Reclamtor worked ... but this proof was never provided. You should be embarrassed by what you wrote.

As for whether Ron is unbiased or biased, you suggest that I haven't convinced you. Not to offend, but I a not trying to convince you. I am trying to communicate with those who are willing to do some thinking and those who have not already convinced themselves that Pandora is always wrong or that Julie is always wrong.

alabamasue said...

Wow. Never have I seen someone write so much and say so little. It's a new low for you, Mark.

Watershed Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watershed Mark said...

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Date of Birth:
February 22, 1788
Date of Death:
September 21, 1860
Nationality:
German

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Sure, truth passes thru these three stages.

This doesn't mean that everything that is ridiculed, opposed or even accepted as self-evident is true.

Hell, you could have told us that cats are made of cheese and dental floss and, once ridiculed, take solace in the same quote. What is important is the truth and not whether you've got a snappy quote that you believe is relevant.

Churadogs said...

There's got to be something in the water. Full moon? Everybody forget to take their "sane" pills?

Yikes!

Mike said...

...just Mark drinking the output of a Reclamator....

Watershed Mark said...

Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.

Plato

alabamasue said...

QED

Watershed Mark said...

For Mike,Sue...

Q.E.D. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase "quod erat demonstrandum" (literally, "that which was to be demonstrated"). The phrase is written in its abbreviated form at the end of a mathematical proof or philosophical argument, to signify that the last statement deduced was the one to be demonstrated, so the proof is complete.

franc4 said...

shark sez,

"Your comments presume that the post recall board's actions are defensible. This is entirely a matter for the courts."

I agree, however my comment was/is on the fact that TW (Richard and Gordon)...not the judge, base the whole lawsuit STRICTLY to seek revenge and could care less about anything else, taxpayers included.

Depending on the judges agenda, "justice" should prevail.
...and yes, I DO feel the "defendants" have a defense, but that all depends on the judge, as you state.

Sewertoons said...

So franc, if the judge rules in TW's favor against the directors, there is something faulty with the judge? Any judge with that decision would have "an agenda?"

franc4 said...

Mr. Legros sez;

"The CSD has paid over $230,000 in taxpayer funds to defend themselves.".....thanks to you and TW. How do you justify that to the taxpayers who are having to pay the $20M you wasted?
Any THINKING person would see the lack of credibility you and Mr. Hensley possess. No offense intended....just an observation.

Mike said...

There is no having to justify the expenditure of up to $20M for a leagally design, permitted and funded project...!!!

"IF" the previous Directors "wasted" $20M as YOU continue to toss out here, then YOU should have sued the previous Directors... but all you are accomplishing is wasting your "emotions" and not providing any "legal" footing for your alligations... Either PROVE your case or shut up...!!! TW apparently has enough to substantiate their case or it would not have gotten this far... All the CSD has to show, is a self-inflicted backruptcy...

The TW suit has nothing to do with revenge, but does have everything to do with illegally spending public tax dollar for the defendants personal gain... To think otherwise is simply not understanding that we are all governed by laws... If you chose to ignore those laws, then you run the risk of being sued, arrested or both...

Sewertoons said...

franc, I personally am upset about having to pay back the money taken out of the reserve bond money. That means I get to pay twice. For that reason alone I am happy that the TW case is moving forward. The directors were either dishonest or idiots for spending as they did without checking to see what money was LEGAL for them to spend. I want them to be held accountable for making me pay twice. I want them to admit that they were either idiots or dishonest. I'm going to have to pay for what they did, they need to pay something too.

*PG-13 said...

Like Ann, I wonder if some of us forgot to take our meds today. Wow, I haven't seen such heated foolishness since ...... well, at least a week. I'm sooooo sorry I seem to have misplaced my copy of 'A Quote for Every Occasion'. Its been collecting dust on the bookshelf since my sophomore year when I purchased it thinking it would make me sound smarter. Q.E.D. - NOT! Or rather more the form of usage found here.

Working my way down through the sludge I happened upon:

ShedHead said > When are those so interested in sharing their opinions going to get going on their own blogspot?

(sigh) You seem to think that anybody who has anything to say about anything should start their own blog. You've said this often ever since wearing out your welcome here; after repeated requests by Ann and others to move the mass of your spiel elsewhere; and after some of us encouraged you and guided you through the process of creating your own blog; you actually started your own blog. I warned you then that starting a blog was the easy part. That authoring a regular stream of interesting content was the hard part. Seems you weren't up to the heavy lifting. You authored only three or four blogs relating to The Reclamator and sewer issues over the past seven months. And you've now removed even those from your blog.

Mark, please try to get this. Everybody shouldn't author their own blogs. It wouldn't work. Blogs are for people who have something to say and are willing to work to say it. And if the blog is set up for comments then others get to comment. And lively debates often ensue. If the blog doesn't accept comments the blog is just a series of articles published by the author for others to read. Blogs open to comments tend to be more interesting and fun. They are also often abused. Hence blog protocol and owner moderation.

Shark said > As to the issue of whether you are proud of what you wrote when promoting Tom's device ... if you are, in fact, proud of your comments, you should not be. You consistently told us that there was scientific proof that the Reclamtor worked ... but this proof was never provided. You should be embarrassed by what you wrote.

ShedHead >Willy, I am not standing in the way of the LOSTEP RECLAMATOR SOLUTION.
In fact everything I wrote and everything you quoted me writing above remains fact.


Which is why I suppose all reference to The Reclamator has been removed from your blog?

In this day of digital content another unwritten rule is that blogs - once published - stay published without further editing unless such editing is noted in addendum. It just doesn't work if you publish something and others respond and then you change the blog so their comments don't make sense. Or even worse just delete whole blogs because they are no longer convenient to your current game. Digitally published words are no less sacred than words published and distributed on paper. I raise these points because you regularly present yourself as somebody who is using technology for the common good and to extend & protect legal rights. For example,

From your Blog Profile > "Holding those who want to serve the public, accountable, in a lawful and fiduciary manner using the power of internet technology. Pursuit of happiness while thinking of those who will come after me first."

I question whether you are using the power of internet technology accountably or correctly. With publication comes responsibility. Just because it's easy to publish doesn't mean you are not responsible for your words. Just because published words are easy to delete is not grounds for deleting them. You publish a blog, stand by your blog. If you change what you want to say about something then simply say you are changing direction. And explain why.

A bunch of us have asked you to explain your recent change in feelings about The Reclamator. You said that was forthcoming. We're waiting to hear from you. TIA

franc4 said...

sewer sez;
"The directors were either dishonest or idiots"......must mean the former directors since (IMHO)the present BOD did (spent) what they had to with whatever there was, legal or otherwise....since the former BOD left them with no $$$$$ and a bad (expensive) project. What would you have done?
Should they have declared bankruptcy immediately upon being sworn in, or what? They were left in a "no win" situation and are to this day. No matter what they do or did, you folks just plain "pick them apart", offering no solutions, just criticism and hollow rhetoric. Will them having to payback, go to prison or whatever make the CSD financially sound? I maintain and always have, that more than the present BOD should be held accountable and like Ron, place most of the blame on Ms.Nash for "selling" the CSD concept to you folks.

franc4 said...

mike sez;

....the same old song and dance. To quote another adversary from another time and place, "will it ever end?"

Oh yes, don't y'all think if the SLC doesn't GOTDA and get an EIR QED, PDQ, you're all SOL?

Mike said...

This line of thought is going no where... BOTH Lisa AND Julie were on the previous Board... BOTH knew or should have known EXACTLY what the finances of the CSD were at the time of the recall...!!!!

For them to put on their innocent act after the recall is plain BS...!!! To say Lisa and Julie were ignorant of the finances PRIOR to the recall should have been a giant warning of impending financial disaster that Ann and Ron should have jumped all over...!! But that didn't happen, in fact Ann and Ron were cheerleading the emotional euphoria to "Stop the Sewer"... It was "damn the consequenses, we don't need no stinkin sewer in Los Osos"...

I'm not sure the post-recall 5 still realize their roles in creating this giagantic fiscal hole they created for the community... They still run the CSD meetings like it was some social club. They have not begun any plan to resolve the bankruptcy which is beginning to unravel in the US Bankrptcy Court due to the lack of any semblance of a plan... They still prefer to blame everyone else for the loss of the WWT Project without accepting their own lack of managerial skills... They blame TW or Pandora for everything from their lack of sleep, to broken marriages, to global warming... When will they ever admit they, themselves only were and are still wrong...!!!

Before automatically assuming the post re-call folks had their hands tied financially, remember that BOTH LISA and JULIE were part of the pre-recall CSD and KNEW exactly what the finances were before and after the recall...!!!

Like it or not, the pre-recall folks did complete a Plan and we would all be hooked up to a sewer system today and would not be bankrupt...!!!

Churadogs said...

Mike sez:"Before automatically assuming the post re-call folks had their hands tied financially, remember that BOTH LISA and JULIE were part of the pre-recall CSD and KNEW exactly what the finances were before and after the recall...!!!"

Remember when Dan Blesky came in and reported to the CSD that the books were in a mess, Bruce carried at lot of figures "in his head," that they were having great difficulty figuring out who put what where? I also know how easy it is for a divided Board to keep certain board members out of the loop. Saw it happen in SLO Coastal School Board -- in this case the GM just gets too busy to answer questions, or only partiially answers them, requests for agenda items get tabled by the Board Chairman & etc. Easy game to play. Julie & Lisa were the odd men out, so to speak. Did they know about how the finances were set up? Were they given accurate info? Think a few questions there would be in order.

As for the judge deciding. Yep, he will decide wich law prevails and if he guesses wrong, an appeals court will review it. Sometimes justice is done, sometimes not. Oliver Wendell Holmes dictum still pertains: "Young man, this is a court of law, not a court of justice."

I'm still scratching my head over the claim that the board members took public money for private gain. Did they go to France for a wild holiday with the taxpayer's money? Buy swimming pools for their back yards?

As for being idiots, well, that claim could well be made against the previous board as well, idiots for starting the old project weeks before an election, thereby gambling gazillions of taxpayer dollars. To date, however, Boards are free to be as idiotic as they wish. And acting as a board, if they screw up, they're covered by Board Insurance & etc. So, I'm waiting to see if the judge finds these Board members personally took money and went to France. Or, if they were acting on advice from their Board attorney concerning a board action on public expenditure, was that legal advice good or bad? If bad, then we may be looking at another lawsuit. And so it goes.

As for blog comments often going off the rails. Fascinating. Whole thing reminds me of my dogs. They have the entire house and yard to play in, but they always get into mock tussles DIRECTLY UNDER MY FEET, usually when I'm busy doing something. So I have to shoo them away to go tussle someplace else.

Mike said...

Private Gain in this case is not a trip to France, but the paying off of their personal lawyers with tax dollars for private work prior to the recall... but you already know that...

You also know the BOTH LISA and JULIE knew exactly what the districts finances were... If not, why didn't they call for an independent audit BEFORE they made one step forward or back...???

Since you watched a previous happening and like to hold Boards up to public scrutiny, then shouldn't you have been asking why would the Lisa Board pay off lawyers without knowing what the District finances actually were...??? The prior Board members tried to tell this community what was going to happen, but we apparently didn't listen... It was much more fun to blame the past without any idea of where the Distrct stood... I do hold Lisa and Julie up as being the most responsible for this financial train wreck, but they had help... They had their very own lawyers, lawyers who had already lost 11 lawsuits attaching the per-recall Boards...

It is interesting that this CSD, together or as individuals, have never filed suit against their sole-sourced legal advice... Yes, the October 6th trial will be an eye-opener for the community...

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...

Good Morning Ann,

All your questions about the TW lawsuit causes of action are answered below. It is, admittedly, a long read, but enlightening.

INTRODUCTION
This is a lawsuit about the accountability of public officials. The defendants clearly want none of it. They argue that they have complete legislative discretion, and even if not, the financial disasters they released on the Los Osos Community Services District (“CSD”) are all (however implausibly) the fault of the plaintiffs, who either laid the groundwork for defendants’ subsequent failures, or, alternately, didn’t do enough to halt defendants’ reckless actions. On the factual level, defendants attempt to escape liability by simply ignoring key facts, rewriting CSD financial history concerning others, and simple denial when all else fails. In opposition to this motion, plaintiffs Taxpayer Watch, Joyce Albright and Gordon Hensley will show:

1) Defendants have not met their initial burden of showing they have a complete defense or that the plaintiffs cannot establish an essential element of their claims.
2) There are clearly triable material issues of fact that preclude summary adjudication of any claim.
3) The evidence shows not only reckless conduct by the defendants, but clearly unlawful expenditures of public funds, including expenditures of bond revenues, special taxes and State loan funds for unauthorized purposes. Amazingly, the defendants essentially admit to such illegal expenditures in their moving papers.
4) The evidence also shows violation of conflict of interest laws and a blatant gift of public funds to a law firm that had served the “Concerned Citizens of Los Osos” – of which Defendants Tacker and Schicker were closet members -- in past lawsuits against the CSD, i.e. the public agency defendants now controlled. To complete the reward, defendants hired the law firm – Burke, Williams & Sorenson (“BWS”) as new special counsel for the CSD on the same day the settlement agreements were signed.

To be sure, this is partly a case about “waste” of public funds in the ordinary sense of the word. The defendants are five political zealots who oppose a wastewater treatment project for a community that desperately needs one. Defendants took control of a public agency by a razor-thin majority vote in a recall election, and promptly suspended (and ultimately fired) every competent official and legal counsel who might give them unwelcome advice. The defendants then embarked on a jihad against the State of California which resulted in multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits against the CSD by the State agencies and CSD contractors, numerous lesser claims by CSD’s own constituents, and fines exceeding $ 6 million for violating State pollution control laws. In the process, defendants violated legally binding commitments to complete the Tri-W wastewater project already begun by the CSD, and in which the CSD had already invested millions of dollars of bond revenues, assessment funds approved by CSD voters, and funds loaned by the State. Not surprisingly, the defendants drove the CSD into bankruptcy within less than a year after taking majority control.

But the case is not about “waste” alone. In this opposition, plaintiffs will show that in order to finance their efforts, the defendants plundered bond revenues and State loan funds which could not legally be accessed for their purposes. Defendants also used restricted State loan funds to pay off – and then hire – outside counsel, with whom at least two of the defendants had been secretly collaborating, under guise of “settling” cases which the same attorneys had pursued against the CSD and lost. While defendants claim to represent the “will of the people,” it can be safely assumed that even the narrow majority of voters who elected defendants did not intend them to bankrupt the CSD, make behind-closed-doors deals to pay off their political allies’ legal bills, or illegally spend restricted fire tax revenues, assessment bond revenues and funds from an already-recalled State loan.

STATEMENT OF FACTS
The unincorporated community of Los Osos consists of several thousand homes and businesses, mostly on small residential lots concentrated south of Morro Bay. Unlike virtually any other residential community of its size, Los Osos does not have a community sewer system. Human and other wastes are flushed into septic tanks and then leach, in quantities approaching 1 million gallons a day, into the local groundwater table. This massive pollution contaminates not only the local groundwater, but the water quality of adjacent Morro Bay and its estuaries and wetlands.

In 1983, the state Regional Water Quality Control Board (“RWQCB”) issued Order 83-13, prohibiting discharge from individual septic systems within an area defined as the “Prohibition Zone.” Since 1983, no new building has been allowed within that zone, and severe restrictions have been imposed on the landowners due to the risk of polluting Morro Bay. Individual property owners further face the risk of abatement actions and massive fines imposed by RWQCB if they continued to utilize individual septic systems. The only practical solution to the problem is the construction of a community wastewater collection, treatment and disposal facility; i.e., a sewer system.

Notwithstanding the RWQCB order, there was initially strong resistance to the sewer system in Los Osos based on costs, complaints about local control, and a certain level of denial about the seriousness of the pollution problem. County efforts to construct a sewer system were fiercely resisted. Nevertheless, in 1998, the voters established the CSD to develop a locally managed community wastewater system. Initial planning and environmental studies were completed, and in May of 2001 CSD voters approved (on an 83% vote) a $ 20,435,000 special assessment to fund land acquisition and initial development costs for what is generally known as the “Tri-W” project. (Declaration of Bruce Buel, 5-6.) Bonds were sold in reliance on the assessment revenue. (Buel Decl., 6-11; Def. Exhs. A, B.) The CSD was now financially committed to the Tri-W project. The CSD also worked, however, under threats of $ 10,000/day fines if it failed to timely complete the project. (Exh. 8, p. 73.) To secure additional financing, the CSD negotiated and ultimately secured a $ 134,761,398 low-interest loan from the State Revolving Fund (“SRF”) program administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”). (Buel Decl., 14-19; Exhs. 4, 6, 7.) The CSD was now further committed. Contracts were let and actual construction began in August, 2005.

Meanwhile, a backlash against the Tri-W project developed within the community. CSD Board members Lisa Schicker and Julie Tacker were elected on an anti-Tri-W platform in late 2004. Tacker was a founding member and president of a local opposition organization called Concerned Citizens of Los Osos (“CCLO”), but claimed to resign in October, 2004. Schicker claims never to have been a member or officer of CCLO, but signed a contract for legal services for CCLO in February 2004. (Schicker Deposition, p. 38:7-9; 39:18-19; pp. 40:19-41:25; Exh. 32, p. 244.) Unknown to Los Osos citizens, however, both Schicker and Tacker continued to participate in managing litigation commenced by CCLO against the CSD. (Exhibit 12.) Schicker and Tacker were also instrumental in engaging new counsel, Julie Biggs of Burke, Williams & Sorenson (“BWS”) to represent CCLO when its former attorneys grew tired of not being paid. (Exh. 12, pp. 94-95.)
In September, 2005 the growing split in the community resulted in the recall of three pro-Tri-W members of the CSD Board (Hensley, Legros and Gustafson) by a razor-thin margin. (Hensley Decl., 7.) Defendants Cesena, Fouche and Senet joined Schicker and Tacker on the CSD Board. Defendants promptly suspended or terminated every CSD officer they considered a threat to their plans, including long term General Manager Bruce Buel and district counsel John Seitz. (Hensley Decl., 8; Exh.15, pp. 146, 148.) Defendants then embarked on their principle objective of unraveling the Tri-W project in violation of legal obligations to CSD bondholders, assessment payers and the State of California, in the face of approximately $ 20 million in sunk costs, and in violation of State compliance orders that would soon result in imposition of $ 6 million dollars in fines on the CSD.

The full details of the ensuing legal and financial disasters need not discussed here. Suffice it to say that in December, 2005 the SWRCB recalled the SRF Loan and demanded immediate repayment of $ 6,530,484. (Exh. 9.) In January, 2006 the RWQCB imposed a $ 6,627,000 fine on the CSD. (Exhs. 8, 11.) Breach of contract claims were filed by CSD contractors and other suits by the RWQCB as well as Taxpayers’ Watch. (Exh. 22, pp. 177-178.) By August, 2006 the CSD was bankrupt.

None of this deterred the New Board from pursuing its war on the Tri-W project. Suits were defended, counter suits were commenced and consultants hired to study supposed alternatives. (Hensley Decl., 35-36; Exh. 22.) The new Board also did not forget its friends. In late November 23, 2005 the Board, with no public disclosure, approved “settlements” of five lawsuits, four of them effectively already won by CSD, resulting in promised payments of some $488,623 to the BWS lawfirm which represented the plaintiffs in these actions. (Schicker Decl., 20-21; Def. Exh. K.) On the same day, and also without public disclosure, the New Board hired BWS to serve as new Special Counsel for the CSD. (Schicker Deposition, p. 111:2 – 112:17; Exh. 32, p. 256.) There was no money in the CSD budget to pay BWS. So, when the first installments became due, defendants illegally paid BWS from SRF Loan funds dedicated to the Tri-W project, over the objections of RWQCB and its own chief financial officer, and despite the fact that the SRF Loan had already been recalled. (Declaration of Patricia McClenahan, 8, 11-12; Exhs. 1, 2.)

As the war continued, defendants began to drain other dedicated fund sources. Property tax (including special tax) revenues intended for fire services were illegally spent before the CSD’s biannual $ 760,000 contract payment to CDF became due. (Schicker Decl., 12.) Defendants’ solution was to take the $ 760,000 from restricted assessment bond proceeds held in the CSD’s LAIF account. (Schicker Decl., 12; Buel Decl., 12-13.) Next, special assessment revenues collected to make Bond payments were spent for unknown purposes, resulting in a near default on Bond payments. (Schicker Decl., 27.) Defendants’ solution was to borrow from a bond Reserve Fund, thus essentially ensuring that assessment payers would wind up paying twice to make up for the lost assessment revenues. Apparently only the subsequent filing for bankruptcy prevented further abuses by the New Board.

ARGUMENT

I. NONE OF DEFENDANTS DEFENSE ARGUMENT PROVIDE AN ACTUAL DEFENSE OR SUPPORT THE GRANTING OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Defendants make it clear in their papers that they would rather avoid discussion of their legal obligations, and focus on the alleged transgressions or failures of others. They also appear to contend that “legislative discretion” is an excuse for unlawful or arbitrary conduct. None of these arguments provide a legal excuse for the defendants’ actions in this case.

A. Legislative Discretion is Not a Defense to Illegal Conduct

As a background theme, defendants suggest that they have absolute legislative discretion over public funds, and simply cannot be held accountable by a separate branch of government, i.e. the court. This is not the law. It is settled that Courts have authority, granted by the State Legislature itself in Code of Civil Procedure § 526a, to remedy manifest abuses of government fiscal authority. Further, while elected officials have considerable discretion to allocate general funds among various public objectives, they have no discretion to approve expenditures that are flatly illegal. When they violate this basic principle of law, they may be held personally liable under Stanson v. Mott (1976) 17 Cal.3d 206, 225-226. Illegal expenditures include the following:
1) Expenditures made in violation of conflict of interest laws. (Govt.Code § 1090 et seq.)
2) Expenditures of restricted funds for an improper purpose, i.e. a purpose unrelated to those for which the funds were received or held. (Stevens v. Gelduldig (1986) 42 Cal.3d 24, 32; Stanson, 17 Cal.3d at 213.) Restrictions may arise from constitutional, statutory or contractual limitations such as those imposed on revenues derived from special taxes, bond revenues, and state or federal loans or grants for specified purposes.
3) Gifts of public funds. (Jordan v. California D.M.V. (2002) 100 Cal.App.4th 431, 450.)
Defendants in this case are guilty of all of the above.

B. Defendants Cannot Escape Liability By Blaming Others for Their Own Illegal or Reckless Actions

Defendants’ second overriding defense theme is the “blame Hensley” argument. Defendants do not seriously assert this as an affirmative defense; it is neither stated as such in the motion nor supported by citation to real evidence or legal authority. Nevertheless, defendants appear to believe they can sway the Court by blaming and maligning plaintiffs, the former CSD Board majority and officials, and anyone else who has objected to their actions. These tactics have certainly served defendants well in the political arena, but they have no place in this Court. Plaintiffs of course strongly disagree with the ludicrous claims advanced – without benefit of more than mere accusation – by defendants. (See Hensley Decl., 33-36.) Plaintiffs, however, will not waste the Court’s time with similar claims or unnecessary counter-argument.

C. The Case Is Not Barred by Plaintiffs’ Alleged Failure to Timely Demand Corrective Action

Defendants also contend this case is barred because they should have been given “notice and an opportunity to correct errors” before being sued for their transgressions. On the facts of this case, the defense borders on the cynical. Defendants first ignore the fact that this action was first commenced in October, 2005 before the actions now at issue even occurred. (Hensley Decl., 10.) Defendants cite no rule prohibiting plaintiffs from amending the complaint to address new unlawful acts after they occur. Beyond, this, the simple fact is that that the alleged violations in this case did not occur in public proceedings where objections could be heard before the actions were taken. After defendants actions were exposed, there was either considerable public outcry which defendants simply ignored, or it was too late to do effectively cure the violations, e.g. the illegal expenditure of assessment revenues (see section III.C.) (Hensley Decl., 15-28; Exhs. 20-25.) The plaintiff in a C.C.P. § 526a action need not make pre-litigation demands for cure where such demands would be unavailing. (Briare v. Mathews (1927) 202 Cal. 1, 9; Bank of America National Trust & Savings Assn. v. Cory (1985) 164 Cal.App.3d 66, 84.)

With respect the illegal settlements with BWS, the decisions were made in closed session without public notice as required by the Brown Act. (Hensley Decl., 15-19, 22; Exhs. 16-18.) When word of the settlements leaked out, there was massive public outcry and demands for corrective action by plaintiffs and others, culminating in a Grand Jury investigation which defendants stonewalled. (Hensley Decl, 20, 22; Exhs. 14; 18, p.159; 19, p. 162.) Given the collusive nature of the settlements and the fact that defendants had already hired BWS as CSD special counsel, it also cannot seriously be believed that further requests to abandon the settlements or have BWS return funds would have had any effect.

As far as the behind-the-scenes illegal use of SRF Loan funds to pay the settlements, defendants were warned by their own chief fiscal officer as well as the SWRCB that such expenditures were illegal. (McClenahan Decl., 11-12; Exhs. 2, 10.) Their response was to fire the messenger (Ms. McClenahan), ignore the SWRCB and make further payments to BWS with SRF Funds. (McClenahan Decl, 12, 14; Exhs. 1, 3; Def. Exh. L.) There is no evidence that the use of these funds was publicly disclosed until well after the fact.

With respect to illegal expenditure of fire revenue funds, objections were made as soon as these expenditures were detected through Public Record Act requests and ongoing monitoring of CSD activities, and in spite of consistent non-cooperation by new CSD staff. (Hensley Decl., 24-27; Exhs. 20-24.) Ironically, defendants themselves claim that CSD financial affairs were in chaos and beyond tracking during this period under their new Interim General Manager Daniel Bleskey. (Schicker Decl., p. 12:11-19.) Defendants were nevertheless warned that the LAIF funds could not be used to pay the CDF contract after these expenditures were discovered. (Exh. 24, p. 182.) Defendants did nothing to cure the violation. However, given the CSD’s admitted near-bankrupt position at this point, it is also impossible to see how any further demand for repayment of the funds would have been meaningful. (Schicker Decl., p. 12:26 – 13:5; 13:20-23.)

There is also no evidence that defendants ever publicly disclosed their misuse of assessment revenues before the fact. Nevertheless, when the shortage was discovered, objections were quickly raised. (Exhibit 24.) Defendants attempted to avoid the issue by raiding the Bond Reserve Fund. Defendants fail to acknowledge that resort to the Bond Reserve Fund was simply the consequence (although with further consequences for CSD assessment payers) of their previous fait accompli, i.e. the undisclosed previous expenditure of assessment revenue funds. Given the CSD’s Board-induced dire financial status, it may well be that the New Board had no alternative means of making Bond payments. By the same token, any demands for alternate corrective action would clearly have been futile.

II. DEFENDANTS HAVE FAILED TO MEET THEIR INITIAL BURDEN OF ESTABLISHING THAT THERE IS NO TRIABLE ISSUE OF FACT

Unfortunately for defendants, they cannot prevail on a motion for summary judgment simply by forcing plaintiffs to respond to a hodgepodge of arguments and concocted factual allegations. “First, and generally, from commencement to conclusion, the party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that there is no triable issue of material fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.) Consequently, before the opposing party is even required to respond with counter evidence, “the party moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable issue of material fact.” (Id.) To satisfy this burden, a moving defendant must present evidence that one or more elements of each cause of action at issue cannot be established, or that “there is a complete defense thereto.” (Id. emphasis added; C.C.P. 437c(p)(2).) Only once this initial burden of persuasion has been satisfied does the burden shift to the plaintiff to establish that there is a triable issue of material fact as to the asserted defense or disputed element of the cause of action.

As discussed in greater detail below, defendants have failed miserably to carry their initial burden of proof on virtually every substantial issue. In some cases, defendants rely on incompetent or conclusory evidence which is insufficient to establish their claim. On other issues, defendants appear not to understand the full extent of the issues actually raised in the complaint. Finally, defendants offer no evidence at all on such issues as whether defendants exercised due care in taking the illegal actions alleged. (Stanson, 17 Cal.3d at 225-227.)

Although plaintiffs could rest on these deficiencies alone, they will also show that there are indeed issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment or summary adjudication of any claim. Nevertheless, in considering the motion, the Court should first determine whether defendants have even met their initial burden of proof in light on any issue in light of the legal standards governing plaintiffs’ claims.

III. DEFENDANTS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO SUMMARY ADJUDICATION ON ANY ASSERTED ISSUE

A. THE BWS PAYOFFS DISGUISED AS SETTLEMENTS OF LITIGATION
Paragraphs 13-15 of the Second Amended Complaint allege that the settlements resulting in payments to BWS were invalid on conflict of interest grounds, and that the settlements were illegally paid with SRF Loan Funds. Defendants dispute the conflict of interest challenge, claim the settlements are a valid exercise of legislative discretion, and simply do not address the last issue. All three issues are entitled to go to trial.

1. Conflict of Interest
Under California law, elected public officials may not vote on contracts in which they have a personal interest. A settlement agreement is, of course, a contract. A codification of the basic common law doctrine is found in Govt. Code § 1090. Govt. Code § 1090 provides in relevant part “Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members.” The prohibited financial interest in a contract need not amount to cash payments directly to the public official. It may be any type of economic or other benefit, direct or indirect, conveyed to the official, a spouse, or a business, corporation or other entity in which the official is an interested party. (People v. Honig (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 289, 315-318.) The objective of the statute “is to remove or limit the possibility of any personal influence, either directly or indirectly which might bear on an official’s decision. . . .’ (Id. at 314, quoting Stigall v. City of Taft (1962) 58 Cal.2d 565, 569.) There is no requirement that the contract at issue be fraudulent or even unfair (although such elements certainly are present in this case). (Thomson v. Call (1985) 38 Cal.3d 633, 648-649; Honig, 48 Cal.App.4th 289, 314.) The statute is intended to eliminate temptation and even the appearance of impropriety as well as impropriety itself. (Id.) Any contract made in violation of Government Code § 1090 is void ab initio if any board member has a prohibited personal interest in the contract. (Klistoff v. Superior Court (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 469, 481; Thomson, 38 Cal.3d at 649-650.) Willful violations of Government Code § 1090, moreover, constitute a criminal offense. (Govt. Code § 1097.)

The law grants limited or partial exceptions for some contracts with non-profit agencies. Govt. Code § 1091 provides (emphasis added):

“(a) An officer shall not be deemed to be interested in a contract entered into by a body or board of which the officer is a member within the meaning of this article if the officer has only a remote interest in the contract and if the fact of that interest is disclosed to the body or board of which the officer is a member and noted in its official records, and thereafter the body or board authorizes, approves, or ratifies the contract in good faith by a vote of its membership sufficient for the purpose without counting the vote or votes of the officer or member with the remote interest.

(b) As used in this article, “remote interest” means any of the following:
(1) That of an officer or employee of a nonprofit entity exempt from taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3)) or a nonprofit corporation, except as provided in paragraph (8) of subdivision (a) of Section 1091.5

This partial exemption is subject to an important limitation. Subsection (c) of Govt. Code § 1091 provides that “This section is not applicable to any officer interested in a contract who influences or attempts to influence another member of the body or board of which he or she is a member to enter into the contract.” Therefore, a contract in which an officer or employee of a nonprofit corporation votes on in his or her official capacity, or even merely advocates for, is illegal and void. (See 85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 176 (2002); 84 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 158 (2001); 78 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 230, 237-238 (1995). Similarly, the contract is illegal if the interested official fails to publicly disclose the interest, or the official’s interest is not disclosed in the official records. (Id.; Govt. Code § 1091(a).)
Conflict of interest restrictions also apply to members of non-profit organizations. Under Govt. Code § 1091.5(a)(7) an unsalaried member of a nonprofit corporation may vote on the contract, but only “provided that this interest is disclosed to the body or board at the time of the first consideration of the contract, and provided further that this interest is noted in its official records.”

These limited exemptions for contracts with non-profit corporations reflect a balancing of interests. While a government agency’s ability to do business with genuine publicly-interested nonprofit organizations should not be unnecessarily restricted, the public obviously has a strong interest in knowing that contractual decisions are not being unduly influenced by favoritism or lack of objectivity towards non-profits whose officers, employees or members also happen to sit on official boards or commissions.

2. Tacker and Schicker Failed to Disclose Their Interests and Illegally Voted on the Settlement Agreements
In this case, all the defendant New Board members claim to have had no interest whatsoever in the settlement agreements approved in November, 2005. Although the issue is perhaps debatable with respect to Senet, Fouche and Cessna, it is clearly a lie with respect to Schicker and Tacker.

Defendant Tacker admits being a member, and indeed the president and an incorporor of CCLO in 2004. (Tacker Decl., 3.) Tacker claims to have “resigned” from CCLO in the fall of 2004 before taking office as Boardmember of the CSD. (Tacker Decl., 5.) Current CCLO president Keith Swanson attests to the same, and further declares that “decisions about the activities of CCLO are made only be officers of the corporation:” (Swanson Decl., p. 1:9-10, 18-22.) Schicker claims never to have been a member or employee of CCLO. (Schicker Decl. 9-10.) The evidence shows Schicker and Tacker are not truthful.

In February, 2004 both Tacker and Schicker signed a legal services agreement with the Parker Hawley lawfirm on behalf of CCLO. (Schicker Deposition, p. 38:7 – 41:25; Exh. 32, p. 244; Exhibit A to Swanson Decl., p. 2.) In light of this, Schicker can hardly claim to be a mere bystander. E-mail correspondence obtained through Public Record Act requests further shows that both Schicker and Tacker were actively involved in corresponding with CCLO’s litigation attorneys (Parker & Hawley) and in formulating CCLO’s litigation strategy long after they assumed office as CSD Board members in late 2004. (See Exhibit 12.) This rebuts Tacker’s claim that she “resigned” from CCLO before taking office, and further rebuts Schicker’s claim that she was “never” a member or employee of CCLO. Further, when Parker & Hawley apparently became insistent on being paid, Schicker and Tacker were instrumental in engaging Julie Biggs of BWS to serve as replacement counsel, and then continuing to cooperate with her on CCLO litigation. On February 8, 2005, Schicker gave Biggs a dollar “so we could be confidential,” but advised that Biggs could not be expected to work free. (Exh. 12, p. 94-95.) (In that at least, Schicker was certainly honest.) After BWS assumed control of the litigation, Schicker and Tacker apparently became more circumspect about traceable communications concerning their role in the CCLO litigation. Nevertheless, Schicker continued to consult with Biggs on potential litigation and other matters not only up until the time of the recall, but during the time BWS was actively negotiating its attorney fee demands in October. (Exh. 13.)

laintiffs have no doubt that defendants have concealed extensive additional evidence of their true role in CCLO. Nevertheless, there is clearly sufficient evidence that a trier of fact could conclude that both Tacker and Schicker were not only active members, employees, or even officers of CCLO under CCLO’s own definition, i.e. persons making decisions on behalf of the organization. (Swanson Decl., p. 1:9-22.)

Government Code § 1090 et seq. does not define the term “employee” to include only paid employees. The statute also does not define “members” of a non-profit organization to include only registered badge-wearers. Absent special definition, words in a statute are to be construed in their common and ordinary sense, as well as in a manner consistent with the intended purposes of the statute. (Dyna-Med, Inc. v. Fair Employment & Housing Comm. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1379, 1386-1387.) In ordinary parlance, and particularly in the context of non-profit organizations. a “member” is simply an active or ongoing participant in organizational activities. Badges and certificates are not required. Moreover, this simply definition is certainly consistent with the purposes of Government Code § 1090 et seq. Certainly from the public point of view, favoritism toward a particular organization is no less problematic because it springs from personal financial interest as opposed to a public official’s indirect interest in the financial wellbeing of an organization to which the member has strong personal ties, whether it be Planned Parenthood, the Chamber of Commerce or an advocacy organization like CCLO. The controlling consideration, regardless of whether the official’s interest is deemed small or indirect, is “whether it is such as deprives the [agency] of his overriding fidelity to and places him in the compromising situation where, in the exercise of his official judgment or discretion, he may be influenced by personal considerations rather than the public good.’” (Honig, 48 Cal.App.4th at 315, quoting Terry v. Bender (1956) 143 Cal.App.2d 198, 207-208.)

The statutes do not automatically void a contract in this situation, but they do require full public disclosure and official acknowledgement of the potential conflict of interest. (Govt.Code § 1091(a), 1091.5(a)(7); Honig, 48 Cal.App.4th at 317-318.) In other words, honesty of the type disdained by defendants here. Defendants make no claim that that such public disclosure or acknowledgement occurred here, nor do the relevant Board minutes indicate that they were. (Hensley Decl., 17-19, 21; Exhs. 16-18.) It is also undisputed that Schicker and Tacker voted on the settlements, which they certainly could not do if they had even an indirect interest under Government Code § 1091. (Schicker Deposition, pp. 72:11-15, 76:14-77:20; Exh. 32, pp. 252-253.) Lastly, given Schicker and Tacker’s senior status on the New Board and their closet relationship with BWS and CCLO, it is impossible to believe they did not influence the votes of other members. Whether or not defendants Fouche, Cesena and Senet also had conflicts, or were privy to the conflict or merely dupes is at this point immaterial. The settlements are void, and at least Schicker and Tacker liable for unlawful expenditures of public funds.

3. Gift of Public Funds
Under Article XVI, section 6 of the California Constitution, no public agency in California may make a “gift” of public funds or “any other thing of value” to private entities. Payments made in settlement of litigation do not normally qualify as “gifts” since the public agency usually receives valid consideration as part of the settlement. The pendency of litigation, however, cannot be used as a mere excuse for giving away public funds to favored constituents or interest groups. Payments made in settlement of an invalid claim are an unlawful gift of public funds, as are payments which clearly exceed the maximum probable liability that the public agency might otherwise incur. (Jordan, 100 Cal.App.4th 431, 450.)

Defendants recite general principles about the validity of settlement agreements, but provide no evidence to show that the amounts of the settlements were reasonable, or that there was any valid basis for the attorney fee claims at all in four of the five suits. They have thus failed to carry their initial burden of proof on this issue. In any event, there is ample evidence from which a trier of fact could conclude that the settlements amounted to an illegal giveaway of public funds. The salient points may be summarized as follows:
• None of the cases involved claims for money damages or other direct financial liability by CSD.
• As defendants admitted to the Grand Jury, the settlement amounts were agreed to with utterly no documentation or substantiation for the amounts claimed as attorney fees. (Exhibit 14, p. 142.) Defendants thus effectively simply allowed BWS to fill in the amount on blank checks written by CSD.
• The circumstances strongly suggest collusion if not outright corruption. The conflict-of-interest issue is discussed above. The fact that BWS was secretly hired as special counsel for CSD the same day the settlements were signed, and that defendants were colluding with BWS long before the settlements were even proposed further strongly supports a conclusion of corrupt motives.
• Above all, although the settlement amounts were nominally awarded in compromise of possible attorney fee claims, CSD was actually the prevailing party in every case. There was thus utterly no legal basis for an award of attorney fees to CCLO or CASE.

A full discussion of this last point will have to await trial. It may be noted, however, that the nominal pretext for the settlement was to resolve claims for attorney fees under the “private attorney general doctrine” codified in C.C.P. § 1021.5. To obtain any award of attorney fees under C.C.P. § 1021.5, however, the fee claimant first must actually be a “successful” party in the litigation. (Marine Forests Society v. California Coastal Comm. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 867, 877; Urbaniak v. Newton (1994) 19 Cal.App.4th 1837, 1842.) Next, the fee claimant must establish that the litigation (1) vindicated important public rights, (2) conferred a substantial benefit on the general public or a large class of persons; and (3) that the costs of the litigation were disproportionate to any private benefit reaped by the claimant. (Concerned Citizens of La Habra v. City of La Habra (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 329, 334.)

Defendants have not even attempted to show that CCLO had a colorable claim for attorney fees under these standards in any of the four lawsuits initiated or participated in by CCLO. Again, defendants fail to meet their burden. The actual evidence further shows that all four of these cases either were filed and never even litigated, or comprised an unbroken string of defeats for CCLO and CASE before being “settled” for large sums. (Defs. Exh. K; Seymour Decl., 8-13; Exhs. 26-29.) To be a “successful” party for purposes of C.C.P. § 1021.5, the plaintiff must obtain an actual favorable judicial decision or, at a minimum, show that the action resulted in some recognized change in the legal relationship of the parties. (Marine Forests, 160 Cal.App.4th at 877-879; Miller v. California Comm. on the Status of Women (1985) 176 Cal.App.3d 454, 457-458 [“There must be some relief to which the plaintiff’s actions were causally connected.].) Mere temporary procedural successes that are later reversed or rendered moot do not qualify a party as “successful.” (Id.)

Defendants contend there was a colorable basis for an attorney fee award in the CASE v. Superior Court litigation because CASE succeeded in keeping Measure B on the ballot despite the fact that the measure was found illegal by this Court both before and after the election. (Exh. 30.) However, defendants provide no evidence that the amount paid to BWS was in any way reasonable or proportionate to fees actually incurred in the litigation. (See Press v. Lucky Stores (1983) 34 Cal.3d 311, 322 [attorney fee awards under C.C.P. § 1021.5 must be based on lodestar calculations based on attorney hours reasonably spent in litigation].) In any event, defendants have not requested and cannot obtain summary adjudication on the validity of only one settlement agreement. (C.C.P. § 437c(f)(1).)

4. Illegal Use of Restricted Funds

The final problem with the illegal settlements is that defendants illegally used restricted funds to pay the settlements. (Second Am. Comp., 14.) Defendants do not offer evidence of the source of funds used to pay BWS, and therefore fail to meet their initial burden on this issue. CSD records show, however, the source was SRF Loan funds which defendants had utterly no legal ability to use for this purpose. (McClenahan Decl., 11-12; Exhs. 1, 2.) Moreover, defendants were fully warned that these expenditures were illegal before they were made. Defendants were first warned by CSD’s own chief financial officer Administrative Services Manager and chief financial officer Patricia. McClenahan that SRF Loan funds could not (McClenahan Decl., 11; Exh. 2.) As the last surviving CSD officer apparently still willing to resist the New Board on legal and ethical grounds. Ms. McClenahan was predictably thereafter terminated for her efforts. (McClenahan Decl., 14; Exhibit 3.) Defendants were subsequently warned to cease and desist payments to BWS from SRF Funds by the SWRCB itself after the state learned of the settlements in December, 2005. (Exh. 10.) Even more incredibly, these illegal payments continued even after the SWRCB terminated the SRF Loan and demanded immediate payment of all funds on December 13, 2005. (Exhibit 9.)

Defendants cannot seriously contend that the SRF Loan funds could be used to pay off BWS for attorney fees incurred by defendants’ political allies in past litigation. The history and terms of the SRF Loan Agreement make it absolutely clear that funds were loaned solely and expressly for construction costs for the Tri-W Project. (See Buel Decl., 18-19; Exhibit 4.) These funds could not be used as a slush fund for the New Board’s favorite political supporters or attorneys.

B. THE ILLEGAL EXPENDITURE OF FIRE FUNDS
The defendants start their argument on misuse of fire funds with the remarkable admission that when it came time to pay the annual CDF contract fee, they had already expended the property tax revenue funds collected to pay fire expenses. (Schicker Decl., 26.) This is in itself an admission of liability. The evidence shows, and defendants do not seriously dispute that the only major source of funding for CSD fire and emergency services are property tax and special tax revenues collected by the County and remitted to the CSD. (Buel Decl., 21-23.) Defendants further admit that these funds are largely committed by contract to payments to the CDF/SLO County Fire Department which actually provides fire services. (Schicker Decl., 25; Def. Exh. P.) Given these facts, defendants’ admission that they had already spent their sole fire revenue funds on other matters is sufficient to support a claim for waste of public funds.

There is more, however. A substantial portion of the CSD’s fire revenues comes from special taxes. (Buel Decl., 23; Exh. 5.) Pursuant to Ordinance No. 2005-01, which established the special tax in effect in 2005-2006, these special taxes could be used for fire and emergency service expenses only “and for no other purpose.” (Exh. 5, p. 62, Section 2.) This is no mere recital but a requirement of state law. (Govt.Code §§ 50075.1(b), 53978(e) [special taxes for fire services may be used only for that purpose].) Defendants’ use of these funds for other purposes was a classic illegal expenditure of public funds.

Having already essentially admitted liability for illegal expenditures, defendants dig themselves in even deeper by admitting that they paid the $ 760,000 CDF contract payment with funds from CSD’s restricted LAIF account. Defendants admit that the funds in the LAIF were originally derived from the 2002 Wastewater Project bond sales, but contend the funds left in the LAIF account in June, 2006 represented Bond funds that were still owed to fire reserves to repay an interfund loan to the Wastewater Project in 2002. (Schicker Decl., 4, 26; Defs. Exh. C; but see Buel Decl. 12-13.) Defendants, however, are simply wrong. While the CSD did advance substantial funds from fire and water reserves to the Wastewater Project against expected Bond proceeds in 2002, these funds were repaid pursuant to Resolution No. 2002-48 soon after the Bond proceeds were received. (Buel Decl., 13.) The LAIF funds raided by defendants in 2006 were thus Bond proceeds which by law could only be used for the Tri-W project. (Buel Decl., 7-8.)

However noble the goal of maintaining fire service, defendants cannot seriously claim that the Wastewater Project Bond proceeds could lawfully be used to make up for misspent fire revenues. The Bond Agreement and CSD Resolution No. 2002-33 required Bond proceeds (subject to minor exceptions that are immaterial here) to be treated as a special “Improvement Fund” and used exclusively for Wastewater Project costs or reimbursement of assessments. (Def. Exh A, p. 10; Def. Exh. B, p. 19.) These restrictions simply reflect settled principles and state statutory law governing use of bond funds. (See Streets & Highway Code §§ 10424, 10602.) Defendants had no discretion to effectively steal money held in trust, particularly where they utterly no hope of repaying or any plan to repay the funds.

C. ILLEGAL EXPENDITURE OF BOND/SRF FUNDS
Defendants begin their defense concerning the illegal expenditure of Bond funds with another startling admission. They assert that when the annual bond repayment installment became due in 2006, they had insufficient funds to pay the $ 716,000 due. (Memorandum, p 15:21-24; Schicker Decl., 27.) Under the terms of Resolution 2002-33 and the Bond Agreement, however, CSD was required to make the bond payment with assessment revenues held in the Redemption Fund established for that purpose. (Buel Decl., 7, 8.a; Def. Exh. A, p. 10, Exh. B, p. 18, sec. 8.) The assessment revenues were in turn held in trust for bondholders. (Id.) In other words, defendants essentially admit that they had already illegally spent the assessment proceeds pledged to repayment of the bonds on other uses. Defendants do not claim the shortfall occurred because LOCSD property owners failed to pay their annual assessments during the previous assessment period.
Defendants apparently imagine that they can ignore this admitted illegal expenditure of assessment revenues by contending the shortfall was made good from the bond Reserve Fund established pursuant to Resolution 2002-33 and the Bond Agreement. There are two rather obvious faults with this argument. First, it does not address the problem that the assessment revenues were illegally diverted to begin with. (See Second Amended Complaint, 17-18.) Second, the funds held in the Reserve Fund were not free money, but funds derived from the original bond proceeds and assessment revenues which would have to be paid either to bondholders or refunded to assessment payers at some date. (Def. Exh. B, pp. 20-21.) By using these funds to cover a shortfall caused by their own illegal expenditures of assessment revenues, were essentially imposing a new illegal assessment or tax on CSD property owners to repay the illegal expenditure of the previous annual assessment. While it is too late to enjoin defendants’ use of the Reserve Fund, it is not too late to require defendants to reimburse the Reserve Fund for their improper use of assessment funds.

CONCLUSION
Defendants have failed to show that they are entitled to summary judgment or summary adjudication on any issue. The motion should be denied.

Date: August 19, 2008

______________________
Philip A. Seymour
Attorney for Plaintiffs Taxpayers Watch, Joyce Albright and Gordon Hensley

Mike said...

...looks like TW ain't your Mom's Garden Club...

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

I would suggest that you might not want to use a Dan Blesky comment as a way of shedding any lite on Bruce Buel's administration. Dan transferred money without permission and forgot to do basic stuff like update the budgets based on financial commitments made by the board (like, for example, paying BWS a gazillion dollars for sloppy pro-bono work done on Measure B).

Ron said...

Seymour signed that mess?

He does realize that the "STATEMENT OF FACTS" aren't really facts, doesn't he?

I didn't even need to read one word past this:

"County efforts to construct a sewer system were fiercely resisted. Nevertheless, in 1998, the voters established the CSD to develop a locally managed community wastewater system. Initial planning and environmental studies were completed, and in May of 2001 CSD voters approved (on an 83% vote) a $20,435,000 special assessment to fund land acquisition and initial development costs for what is generally known as the “Tri-W” project."

I've picked those lies apart piece by piece on SewerWatch for three years now.

As we all know now, LO voters were tricked into forming the LOCSD in 1998 by Nash-Karner and and Hensley with their dead-on-arrival, "better cheaper faster" project.

Wasting two years chasing the "better cheaper faster" project wasn't "initial planning and environmental studies." That was an embarrassing waste of two years.

And then the people responsible for that disaster (namely, Nash-Karner and Hensley) tricked Los Osos voters again in 2001 into approving that "$20,435,000 special assessment" because those voters still believed that "better cheaper faster" was still on the table.

It wasn't.

The MUCH more expensive, NOT better, NOT faster, nonsensical second Tri-W "sewer-park" was on the table... and LO voters didn't even know it, because CSD Directors like Hensley and Nash-Karner never told them.

Such BS.

Is that how you guys roll, Taxpayers Watch? Just leave gigantic holes in the story, and call it "facts?"

Sounds like Philip Seymour needs to mix in a little research of his OWN, because right now he's f-ing up and trusting Taxpayer Watch types.

HUUUUUUUGE mistake.

(Yo, P. Sey. I'll do you a solid: Between me and you -- get out! Get out of fast, man, and run like the wind in the opposite direction! And if anyone ever asks if you've ever heard of "Taxpayers Watch?" Simply say, Who?")

Mike said...

What ever... So far Ron, you have only been a fart in the wind...

As much stink as you have tried for years to raise was never more than your lack of understanding of the legal process directing local government... Since all you are is a shriveled wind bag and damn poor journalist, you will never understand the previous Boards work to bring about a much needed waste water treatment system in this community...

If you had half the guts you try to portray, you would have been "investigating" the post-recall Directors with the enthusiasm you seem to have for the pre-recall Directors... You would have been screaming long about the illegal activities of this CSD... You would have wanted an honest accounting and not the skimming of funds to pay the lawyers... No Ron, you are simply a fraud who likes to smell his own scat... It is you who should turn tail and run... You don't live in Los Osos, so you really have no say in how we feel about having had the infrastructure of this population hi-jacked and bankrupted by a small handful of extremely vocal and yet incompetent managers...

Richard LeGros said...
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Richard LeGros said...
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Richard LeGros said...

Ron,

PS. The TW lawsuit does not care one iota about the Tri-W Project or if it is ever built.

Neither do I.

The TW lawsuit is about the illegal behavior of the post-recall board that has bankruptted a previously healthy, productive and financially sound LOCSD.

*PG-13 said...

Thank you Richard. For the as you note admittedly long but enlightening read. Although I suggest it is more edifying than enlightening. Edifying in that it shows how a very long, convoluted and complex project management and governing scenario can be cast, presumably very much within a proper legal framework, in one light when there are other equally logical (and legal) perspectives of the same. While this has been a multi-act drama with a large cast of players crossing the stage, some of them acting with hidden agendas, I can't help but think this is more than anything else a grown-up game of hot potato. He or she holding the potato when the music stops loses. And the music continues to play as long as lawyers can be paid.

As a citizen of Los Osos I am saddened that those who choose to serve their community - and I have no doubt that all of you have done your best to give good service - end up exposed to such liability. I wouldn't wish this on even the most conniving of you. Our sewer has been such a challenging and divisive issue for such a long time it's impossible to chart a clean path through the many twists and turns of developments. So for one group to try to lay blame for the entire mess on another group just seems wrong. And a terrible waste of time. And expense. There's fault enough to share around. I daresay there is legal liability all around too. The game now seems to be: Who is MORE liable than another? Last one standing wins?

This treatise presents a fairly compelling and straightforward description of something nobody else involved in it has been able to describe so clearly. Until now. (!?) Certainly not with the clarity of this explanation. Which begs the question, what is being left out? How can something be described here so simply and clearly when the entire history of the thing has been more akin to the clarity of mud? I admire the writing - some minor editing notwithstanding. For a legal document it is exceptionally readable. And I can't deny the basis of many if not most of the historical facts disclosed. I'm not so plugged in to make that assessment. But it sure seems to be written from one perspective. A slanted history. There is a huge lot of missing content between the lines. For some reason I just can't seem to get the phrase "The best defense is a strong offense" out of my mind.

So I'm left with this. Yes, illegal malfeasance must, by definition, be punished. But some of the malfeasance described here is, uh, just too perfect in an imperfect situation. Yeah, it's probably there. And it should be noted. But context should also be noted. I'm not defending her, or him, or them, or them but I gotta ask what would I have done in the same situation? I'm glad I've never tried to serve this community. And I feel sorry for those who do. So is that what we take away from this?

Other than I don't have the testes to want to try to prove or disprove or argue any more about any of this. I'm tired of the finger pointing. I'm tired of the discord. I'm sad for our community. I don't see how any of this benefits the community. It's not like we're going to retrieve 5 or 15 or 30 or 80 million dollars out of any judgment. We all lose. (sigh)

Shark Inlet said...

Ron wrote: "I didn't even need to read one word past this:"

"County efforts to construct a sewer system were fiercely resisted. Nevertheless, in 1998, the voters established the CSD to develop a locally managed community wastewater system. Initial planning and environmental studies were completed, and in May of 2001 CSD voters approved (on an 83% vote) a $20,435,000 special assessment to fund land acquisition and initial development costs for what is generally known as the “Tri-W” project."

And then Ron commented"
I've picked those lies apart piece by piece on SewerWatch for three years now."


Um ... are you high today?

Item by item:
"County efforts to construct a sewer system were fiercely resisted.

Um ... true.

Nevertheless, in 1998, the voters established the CSD to develop a locally managed community wastewater system.

Yet again, true.

Initial planning and environmental studies were completed,

Another true statement.

and in May of 2001 CSD voters approved (on an 83% vote) a $20,435,000 special assessment to fund land acquisition and initial development costs for what is generally known as the “Tri-W” project."

One more truth.


While you may have chosen your own way of describing what happened, these statements are by no means "lies".

Sewertoons said...

I think it is sad that there is no legal checks and balances framework for keeping CSD's in line. This was a gross oversight in the creating of such an entity and has certainly led to a lot of divisiveness here in Los Osos. But then the people who have not wanted a sewer here have caused a lot of turmoil, and are perhaps the perpetrators of most of the grief.

pg-13, you admire the writing yet say things are left out. Are you sure? What are those things? Why has high priced BWS never written something like this and gone after members of the old Board? Maybe the missing content you refer to is spin?

How do you think malfeasance from a CSD board should be handled? Does simple stupidity lift the burden of malfeasance?

The only way to retrieve real money our of this situation is to go after BWS and Willdan - who certainly could not be accused of being stupid - but perhaps instead of some other unsavory motives.

The healing of the many emotional rifts will take charity, forgiveness and time.

Richard LeGros said...
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*PG-13 said...

Sewertoons said > pg-13, you admire the writing yet say things are left out. Are you sure? What are those things?

Short answer: No, I'm not sure. And I haven't the wherewithal to write a complete history. As noted, my conclusions are more inductive than deductive.

Long answer:
I'm not a lawyer. Nor am I being paid lawyer wages to parse the history of this mess. Even if I had the will and was given enough time (and money ;-) all I could do is hash the same-old same-old the same old ways. Haven't we all been there and done that over and over again already? Bloggers can't be sure of anything. We can only have opinions based on limited second-hand facts. So no, I'm not sure. But my nose works. And in this case I smell something in the air. As noted in my previous comment what I'm smelling is an effort to write an unrealistically clean sanitized story-line: The TW suit. I should also add that my recent comments are based upon Richard Legros' description above. I haven't read the legal filings and supporting records so I'll concede familiarity with these documents and their implications to those who have studied these. Yet another degree of separation from the facts. Yet I gotta ask if all of the facts reported so cleanly in Richard's report are the full story then why hasn't this full story been reported so neatly before? I guess that's why TW's bringing suit. To present their version of the story. But I have to say this Full Story seems slanted. The messiness of context has been removed. And if we have learned anything from this long sordid tale it is that context is important. Richard's description is typical of so many of Richard's previous postings in the past. It is thorough. It seems precise. It sounds good. But his versions seem always cast to clear him of any wrong decisions or questionable actions. They seem always a sanitized re-write of a messy scene. Maybe Richard and his cohorts are as perfect as he claims. But how anybody could get through this so clean defies logic and context. There are just too many claims (and counter-claims) of improprieties and questionable handling of affairs to believe his/their perfection can be so true. Sorry, gotta call 'em as I see 'em. I just don't buy Mr Legros' explanations at face value because they seem so self-serving.

Granted, context doesn't get traction in court. Facts are facts and malfeasance is malfeasance and neither of them have much to do with context. If you cross your t's and dot your i's you can be free and clear of the law no matter how questionable your decisions or how ugly your actions. That seems to be the TW strategy from the very beginning. Place the post-recall CSD into such a bind they can't possibly fulfill the commitments of their election. Granted, the post-recall board did themselves no favors with their clumsy handling of soooo many things. So they probably deserve to be called out. Maybe even sued. But I still don't see financial benefit in the suit for Los Osos.

Sewertoons thinks > The only way to retrieve real money our of this situation is to go after BWS and Willdan - who certainly could not be accused of being stupid - but perhaps instead of some other unsavory motives.

Unsavory motives - like context - don't get traction in court. Are BWS and Willdan on the hook for financial penalties in this suit? What is the basis of their malfeasance? That's gonna be a tougher win don't ya think?

And please note. I didn't propose forgiveness as grounds for anything. Sewertoons added forgiveness to the mix. I'm a big fan of forgiveness but I don't see it happening in Los Osos for a long long time. And it has nothing to do with a determination of malfeasance.

Richard LeGros said...

Good Morning PG-13,

The history of the Tri-W project, from its inception to the present, is not part of, or relevant to, the TW lawsuit. Additionally, the motives, actual or speculative, behind the prosecution of the TW lawsuit are not relevant either.

The TW lawsuit focuses entirely upon the law(s); and the actions of the CSD-5 that are contrary to said law(s).

The TW lawsuit is actually very simple;

1. The CSD-5 settled lawsuits which, by law, are VOID because Julie and Lisa were covert members of CCLO at the time that the settlements were awarded; hence they had a personal interest to see CCLO legal bills paid by others instead of being paid by the CCLO itself. The law is very clear that issue.

2. The CSD-5, regardless of the then-financial condition of the LOCSD, had IN HAND the $1,600,000 from the April 2006 property taxes. Of this amount, over $1,450,000 was obligated, by law, for the payment of the CDF fire fee and the Assessment Bond payment. Within 6 weeks of receiving the money, only $210,000 remained in the CSD operations account. When the fire fee and assessment payment were due, the obligated tax funds collected were not there to pay said obligations. Again, the law is very clear that misappriation of obligated tax revenues is illegal.

The actions of prior CSD boards are not part of this lawsuit. I have no doubt that if there was a legal basis for suing the prior CSD boards that the current CSD board would have done so (one of their campaign promises). Unfortunately for them, despite their intense and through review of past CSD actions and documents, they have not found any basis or legal theory for a lawsuit. So it is not a matter of ‘covering my butt' as nothing illegal occurred.

If private citizens want to vent their anger by filing lawsuits against old board members that is their right; but said lawsuits would be losers. Also, the CSD would be obligated to pay for a defense.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Ron said...

Richard,

Two questions for my next story:

Where are you guys getting all of your money -- the $50k for the dissolution attempt -- the unknown thousands for your lawsuits -- where is all of that coming from?

and;

What happened to your other attorney, Kate Nesleinder (or, whatever her name is)?

Or do the four "members" of Taxpayers Watch have TWO attorneys on the payroll these days.

I guess Taxpayers Watch can afford two attorneys now... now that you got your LAFCO payment extension.

Unlimited funds? Must be nice. Where does it come from? Clearly not from you, Richard.

So, who's got the deep pockets? (And, I'd love a straight answer to that question, however, considering the over-the-top-shadiness of Taxpayers Watch [that's why I love you guys], I already know I'm not going to get one. Great question, though.)

Now that I think about it, I have another question. And this question is for the community of Los Osos.

Do Los Osos residents consider Taxpayer Watch's lawsuit a noble cause?

Do residents even care?

Or is that lawsuit exactly like the dissolution attempt: Motivated solely by bitterness and vindictiveness by a tiny handful of mysteriously-well-funded people that wasted six years and over $20-million developing the Tri-W embarrassment?

I'm with *PG-13. Considering your guys' act from 1998-2005, your actions these days don't pass the smell test. And the more you meddle, the more you stink. And the more you stink, the more I smell an excellent story.

Keep it up, please. Luvya (on a journalism level, of course)!

franc4 said...

Mike whines:
"investigating" the post-recall Directors with the enthusiasm you seem to have for the pre-recall Directors..."

What you don't understand, and probably NEVER WILL, Ron "investigates" the "pre-recall Directors" because they are the CAUSE (formation of the CSD thingy) for ALL your problems.

Why don't you "get" that or accept that your "HEROS" are the MAIN cause?

....and PULEEEZE don't tell me that same old song and dance...."permited, approved....blah, blah.

franc4 said...

Mr. Legros sez;

"Governmental officals, elected and entrusted with the protection of the publics interest and money, must be held accoutable for their actions;"

.....why didn't you have those feelings while you and your pals were milking the community?

...and further sez;
"has bankruptted a previously healthy, productive and financially sound LOCSD."

...surely you jest!

...and "If private citizens want to vent their anger by filing lawsuits against old board members that is their right; but said lawsuits would be losers. Also, the CSD would be obligated to pay for a defense."

is that a threat or what?

...then boasts;
". Unfortunately for them, despite their intense and through review of past CSD actions and documents, they have not found any basis or legal theory for a lawsuit."

.......YET!

Richard LeGros said...

Ron,

1. TW has 2 attorneys.
Phil Seymore is regarded in the legal profession as one of the top 100 litigators regarding governmental law in the State of California.
Kate Neiswender specializes in environmental law.

2. TW is EXCLUSIVELY funded by donations by hundreds of local citizens. The exact dollar amount collected is not relevant; but let us say that folks are generous.

3. TW does not have, or need, a web site for we have an extensive e-mailing list to get information out. You are not on said list. Do you wish to be? That way you can get information from the source.

4. The TW lawsuit is to hold public officials accountable for the causes of action explained above. If you find holding public officials accountable in order to root out corruption 'noble', then you have your answer.

5. The actions from 1998 to 2005 are not at issue in the TW lawsuit.
Again, sue if you believe you have valid causes of action. Obviously you do not as prior CSD boards would have been sued long ago by somebody.

Ron, you are welcome to the CSD-5's and TW legal documents if you ask

Lastly, I sure your story will be a real knee-slapper of fiction. We all could use a good laugh.


Richard LeGros

Richard LeGros said...
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Mike said...

How many more years does Lisa need to find her "missing" $2M... How many more years will it take to find Mr.Hensley's "missing' credit cards... Are the missing documents still in Gail's front room...???

Sorry friends, the posthaste-recall twits haven't been able to find one item that they could take to court as having smelled of anything illegal...they've sued everyone else, why haven't they sued TW...??? If they and their several legal advisors couldn't find anything illegal and inspite of Crawfords best blog sluething, no one has been able to put a lawsuit on the table to show the pre-recall Directors did anything illegal... NONE, NOTHING, NADA...!!!!

HOWEVER.... There is a very real lawsuit backed by very solid evidence, that this post-recall CSD has violated a number of basic laws governing the financial operation of a CSD... This CSD has tried to claim immunity from State and Federal Laws... They operated as if they were some sovereign nation and could spend tax payer dollars in any fashion they wished... They awarded legal council contracts with no competitive bids, they just charged down the path to bankruptcy and all the while blaming the past Directors...

The Past Directors did NOTHING ILLEGAL, but the post-recall Directors never-the-less went on a fruitless witch hunt to divert attention from the real damage being done... The post recall Directors purposely bankrupted this District because they had absolutely no intention of moving forward on any sewer, in LO or anywhere else... Their sole purpose was to create such high costs that no sewer could be constructed...

These post-recall Directors could care less about costs and need to be held accountable for their very real ILLEGAL activities... Thank you Taxpayers Watch for hanging in there...

franc4 said...

Thanks, I think. ;-)

By the way, I liked (and agree...(believe it or not) with your comments on Sara Palin.

franc4 said...

mike sez;

"If they and their several legal advisors couldn't find anything illegal and inspite of Crawfords best blog sluething,"

....probably because they are busy preparing a defense for TW frivilous lawsuit......but, wait!

franc4 said...

Mike sez:

"How many more years does Lisa need to find her "missing" $2M... "

...maybe you should tell her what your pals did with it.

franc4 said...

pg13 points out;
"But I have to say this Full Story seems slanted. The messiness of context has been removed. And if we have learned anything from this long sordid tale it is that context is important. "

...right! I am sure that if a member of the current BOD were posting here, we would see a story "slanted" 180% from Mr. Legros' version.

Mike said...

Great job franc... You continue to show how on much you know of the LOCSD workings and provide such excellent retorts... very factual and right on the subject... Keep up the good work...

Sewertoons said...

franc says:
" I am sure that if a member of the current BOD were posting here, we would see a story "slanted" 180% from Mr. Legros' version."

Well, duh. They are trying to defend/cover up/deflect attention from their culpability in misappropriating public funds! They are indignant at being caught!

pg-13, bloggers have access to public documents and many facts have been posted on the blogs over the past couple of years. The logic of Richard and Shark Inlet has been very powerful in revealing what impacts those facts have meant to the Community.

I'm not trying to be nasty here, but perhaps you are confusing empathy for viewpoints around Tri-W or dislike of Old Board decisions made, which now result in the "smell" you are experiencing. Spin is a very powerful tool which the Old Board fumbled badly at the end, but the opposition was very adept at using regarding Measure B and other blocks to stop a sewer. Emotions cloud thinking around issues, but the law is pretty clear.

Do you not think that the two lawyers employed by the New Board who combed over District documents for months in that upstairs office would not have initiated a lawsuit against the Old Board if they had found anything that would hold water, even the tiniest drop of water, in a courtroom? Do you not think that this was their "prime directive" by the New Board?

get real said...
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Churadogs said...

Uh, I'm missing something here. What Richard posted was TWP's claims filed in court, wasn't it? So then, the CSD files their counter claims. Each side cites chapter and verse of various legal points, many conflicting. The "facts" listed in what was posted here are TWP's "facts." The CSD will bring forth their "facts." If the judge reads this enormous pile of "facts" and "citations" and figures out there's sufficient "evidence" to proceed to trial the case will go forward. Then even more "facts" will be presented by both sides and eventually the The Judge or a Jury will have to figure out which "facts" are actually factual and which statutes actually apply or even whether there's enough "reasonable doubt" to have the case tossed out or judged on, after which there will be more "facts" sent up for an appeal. And so forth.

Meantime, I wouldn't take anything posted here as part of a trial document as "fact." As both Ilet and I say: The judge (or jury) will be the one to determine what the "facts" are, and with any luck "justice," not merely the law, will prevail. Maybe.

As for PG-13's comment that context is missing here. Oh, yes, indeed. Which is why I would love to see a Truth & Reconciliation Hearing -- with full immunity for all who actually tell the truth. It'll be a hell of a story, incredibly complex, full of mudddlements and agendas all 'round.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Perhaps you didn't e-mail Richard asking him for the other documents he is willing to provide. Perhaps you didn't read very carefully what he posted here.

Essentially, none of LOCSD directors deny some of the actions in question here ... like the use of bond repayment and fire fund money to pay for other things.

Suppose you make an agreement with a deck contractor to build you a deck. If you give this guy $200 in advance and the blows it on hookers and cheap whiskey or, say, BWS legal services and if he has not provided you the deck or even started on the project and if this guy has stated he doesn't intend to build you the deck as promised ... would you be in the right if you asked for your $200 back?

Anyone who answers this question "yes" or even "maybe" you essentially support the TPW lawsuit.

Franc (yes, I'm lookin' at you here), how can you justify the mis-use of bond revenues and the mis-use of taxes collected for fire services? Heck, let's open this up to everyone. Is there any valid reason for collecting money to pay CDF and then spending that money on hookers and cheap whiskey like a drunken sailor? Even if a sailor doesn't know how much money he has in his pocket, if the Captain gives him $200 to deliver to the Lieutenant Commander, it is simply wrong to spend that money on hookers and beer. It is even wrong to give that money to a religious charity (the STEP sisters of charity, perhaps).

That is what this lawsuit is about.

Even if Gordon and Joyce are "mean spirited", the facts are not disputed and the undisputed facts tell a story of fiscal malfeasance. The district needs to be reimbursed for this waste.

Richard LeGros said...

Nice attempt to avoid facing the facts and issues of the TW lawsuit, Ann.

It is clear that you are terrified of the TW lawsuit, try to shut down any blog discussion of the issues thru pure denial; and hence unwilling to take a hard critical look at the causes of action.

Why not? You unhesitatingly inject yourself into all other issues; criticizing everything else under the sun while relying upon only hearsay and speculation. Yet here are verifiable, undeniable facts that you avoid for they are, um, a distressing truth.

Over the last few weeks I have offered Court documents, with corresponding evidence, from BOTH PLAINTIFFS AND DEFENDANTS for the public to read, analyze and reach their own conclusions; yet to date neither you nor Ron have shown the slightest interest in looking at these public documents or educating yourself on the issues.

Again, I offer to you all documentation. Just email me at archRBL@aol.com

-R

Mike said...

Don't hold your breath Richard...

The cavalier attitude of Ann's last post directly reflects the direction of the post-recall CSD... Ann nor the CSD recognize the post-recall financial mismanagement and down right illegal raiding of tax money accounts mandated by law for specific purposes...

Ann apparently does not know just where in the long process leading to the October 6th trial that your posting is from... She has no idea what steps have already been taken and how many times the CSD has gone into court unprepared with anything but the emotional finger pointing they are already infamous for... They have presented no facts, just their haughty attitude and they continue to blame TW and Pandora for all this CSD's individual failures...

But on the cheerful side, unless something changes significantly, TW will win their lawsuit easily and swing the door wide open for Jerry Brown to step up with Criminal Charges before the CSD5 can even file their next meaningless appeal...

Ron said...

Richard wrote:

"Again, sue if you believe you have valid causes of action. Obviously you do not as prior CSD boards would have been sued long ago by somebody."

Again, sue if you can afford it.

The reason no one sued the pre-recall CSD Directors is because 1) we all aren't mysteriously-well-funded, and 2), we're not bitter and vindictive to the extreme like Taxpayers Watch.

We're like, you know, normal people... that didn't waste six years and over $20 million developing the Tri-W embarrassment.

We don't run around spending $50,000 attempting to dissolve government agencies. Or file lawsuits to deflect attention away from the fact that we wasted six years and over $20 million developing the Tri-W embarrassment.

However, if I could have afforded to sue the LOCSD, it would have been in 2001 for using public funds to finance campaign material, and then used that publicly funded campaign material to trick the voters of Los Osos into approving the 218 assessment for the Tri-W embarrassment.

I wrote about that here:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/04/language-in-2001-public-opinion-survey.html

Great story.

The other lawsuit I would have done would have been against the State Water Resources Control Board for illegally funding a multi-million dollar park for Los Osos via that illegal SRF loan, when their own policy clearly states:

"Ineligible for SRF funding: Decorative Items.

I wrote about that here:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/04/language-in-2001-public-opinion-survey.html

Now that I think about it, I also would have sued the Coastal Commission for issuing the illegal Tri-W development permit after they called the project "bait and switchy."

I wrote about that here:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2005/09/bait-and-switchy-pays-off-for-los-osos.html

And, I would have won all three of those lawsuits, had I been able to afford them.

Damn. Those "hundreds" of "generous" donators (if they exist) should be throwing their money at me, instead. Not only would I have nipped this mess in the bud starting in 2001, but THE #1 SewerWatch way to drmatically reduce the cost of the sewer is to sue those state agencies I mentioned above, for the reasons I mentioned above.

I wrote about that here.

-SW

Mike said...

Coulda, shoulda, ...but Ron, YOU didn't...!!!

It's really nice to know that you live outside our community... maybe you should be using your mighty talents to stop the Nacimiento Water Project, it's beyond time you stop living in the past... you need new material if you would want anyone to contribute to your BS... but feel free to sue all the State agencies you think necessary... just don't count on many contributions from Los Osos, we already are supporting TaxPayers Watch...!!!!

Ron said...

oooops... I f-d up a link.

I wrote:

"The other lawsuit I would have done would have been against the State Water Resources Control Board for illegally funding a multi-million dollar park for Los Osos via that illegal SRF loan, when their own policy clearly states:

"Ineligible for SRF funding: Decorative Items.

I wrote about that here:"


The link is, in reality, here:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2005/08/sewerwatch-challenges-funding-for-los.html

I wanted to correct that, because that is an excellent story. I was (and still am) SOOOOOO right.

AND -- and this is HUGE -- I officially challenged that illegal loan BEFORE it was illegally issued.

If you ask me, Los Osos shouldn't have to pay back that $6+-million illegal SRF loan.

Why should Los Osos have to pay for the SWRCB's Division of Financial Assistance's f-up?

That doesn't sound fair.

Awesome point!

Richard LeGros said...

Ron,

No one sane seriously believes your fiction about the Tri-W project or process. In fact, your 'story' has nothing to do with what is happening today in Los Osos. Your endless spin, droning on and on and on about the past, is as interesting as reading last weeks newspaper; best used for lining the proverbial birdcage.

Your response that none of the old CSD boards have been sued due to lack is funding is laughable. The way the recall board freely spends the public’s money, coupled with the their campaign promises to prosecute, just further reinforces the silliness of your comment.

The CSD-5 has had YEARS to file a lawsuit. I suggest investigate the recall board as to why they have failed to prosecute. You’re obviously angry with them for failing to prosecute your three lawsuits, so why not call them out? They had the money in 2005-2006 to do so....oh!!!!!, I forgot, they improperly spent all the money before they could do so.

-R

Ron said...

Hey, if Los Osos doesn't want to save $6 million bucks, and make the Gov's AB2701 "signing message" disappear, well, there ya go.

I'll tell you what I'll do, since I REALLY "watch" out for "taxpayers," I'll contact an attorney, and get an estimate on how much it would cost to sue the SWRCB's Division of Financial Assistance for issuing that illegal loan, AFTER I officially notified them that it is WAS illegal.

Then, I'll post a story on my blog asking for the funds to cover the lawsuit.

That way, any Los Ososan that wants to save $6 million bucks, and make the Gov's AB2701 "signing message" disappear, thus greasing the way for another SRF loan (this one legal) can donate to my cause.

Spread the word on your Taxpaers Watch e-mail list. Get yor ones of "members" to kick down some fat jack.

I'll save you guys a ton of cash!

You're welcome!

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

OK Ron... Call 800-333-4297

Burke, Williams & Sorensen

...and they have a neat website...says as mush as yours...

http://www.bwslaw.com/

Churadogs said...

"Richard sez:"It is clear that you are terrified of the TW lawsuit, try to shut down any blog discussion of the issues thru pure denial;

Shut down any blog discussion? hahahahahahah that's funny. Go back and count the number of comment entries on this small blog posting.

And sez:"Over the last few weeks I have offered Court documents, with corresponding evidence, from BOTH PLAINTIFFS AND DEFENDANTS for the public to read, analyze and reach their own conclusions; yet to date neither you nor Ron have shown the slightest interest in looking at these public documents or educating yourself on the issues."

MY conclusions are pointless as are yours, at this point. It's judge LeBarbara's conclusions that are important. We'll have to see what those are and why.

And sez:"The CSD-5 has had YEARS to file a lawsuit." Uh, I thought the CSD had a lawsuit -- breach of contract -- now "frozen" in bankruptcy court. Any speculation on how THAT suit would have gone, had it been able to go forward?

Ron raises an interesting point: God blesses the child that has his own. (Or secret financial backers) Got the money and the focused dtermination to sue at all cost,no matter what or why? then you'll sue whether your case has merit or not and merit or not, you sometimes win. If you have No money, you'll have no way to present your case, and will get no hearing. It's the American way.

I'm curious as to Richard's belief that the AG will put the CSD5 in jail. He doesn't seem interested in prosecuting Sheriff Hedges, so I wonder what he'll do in this case.

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ron said...

Richard wrote:

"if the community is behind you then they will rally and provide the cash to sue;"

Richard, if the community was behind you, you would be a CSD Director right now. It's called "Democracy." Or, as Taxpayers Watch calls it: "Liitgaiton."

You said that "hundreds" of people donate to Taxpayers Watch, even if that's true, there are over 15,000 people in Los Osos.

Just because a few people guzzled Nash-Karner's "behavior based marketing" Kool-aid and allegedly funnel you guys cash for things like dissolving government agencies and suing people that you don't like, doesn't mean "the community is behind you."

It means a few people with deep pockets guzzled Nash-Karner's "behavior based marketing" Kool-aid .

Richard wrote:

"you nor Ron have shown the slightest interest in looking at these public documents or educating yourself on the issues."

and;

"the CSD-5 is, ahem, screwed."

And that's the bottom line, isn't it?

Oh, I've educated myself. Taxpayers Watch -- founded by the recalled CSD Directors -- will do ANYTHING to "screw the CSD-5," because they beat you in an election. Absolutely pathetic.

So, Richard, since you guys have all of that cash (even though you had to beg LAFCO for an payment extension so you could continue to "screw the CSD-5" instead of paying LAFCO back on time) will you be donating to my lawsuit that will save Los Osos over $6 million and pave the way so the town can get another SRF loan (this one legal), and thus saving your town many more millions?

Although, I have to warn Taxpayers Watch, my lawsuit will actually help the people of Los Osos, and not "screw the CSD-5."

So, I probably can't count on your support, huh?

Shark Inlet said...

The last day and a half worth of comments from Richard, Ann and Ron.


Richard: Here are a whole bunch of documents that cause me to reach some conclusions.

Ron: The only reason Taxpayer's Watch might possibly win any lawsuit is that they are well funded. See my witty article on Pandora from 2003 and donate to me (paypal link (TM) provided at right).

Ann: I don't want to be bothered with reading what is presented and to avoid appearing a total idiot I will say that every point is just as valid as any other point until a "Real Judge" (TM) renders a verdict. And Ron has a good point ... even if my side loses the before a real judge the only reason my side is ever wrong is because of the medean (a fancy word for mean) TPW group who has all the money in the world because judges are so quick to ignore facts when the lawyers in the fancy suits show up.

Richard: Why not read these documents ... after all, I have provided documents from both "sides" in this matter and to be informed is a good thing.

Ron: I don't need to look at any new facts because I've reached my conclusions years ago. (See this article on Stan and Gordon and the way they abused gophers in 2002.) By the way, the elections of 2005 counted as a measure of public opinion in Los Osos and prove that the people are on my side but if the election this year results in Maria Kelley being elected, I will ignore it just like I've ignored the fact that Joe Sparks ... who disagrees with me on every issue ... was the largest vote getter in the last election. Donate to me.




This script is so predictable it is getting to be just as funny as Groundhog Day.

Funny ... but sad as well. The two people in this conversation who tell us that they are journalists or commentators (or whatever) actually refusing to read information about the matters they love commenting on the most.

It is like a preacher who wants to preach on a topic forms his opinion on the topic by watching Fox News rather than by reading the Bible. It is pathetic when people who tell us they are authorities (or act as if they are even if they don't proclaim it in writing) refuse to listen, think and learn.

*PG-13 said...

This is like spitting into the ocean, peeing into the wind, and beating your head against a wall. All at the same time. This is futile. Face it, there are no right or even clear answers here. Any of us can couch their argument and slant their case in such a way as to make it obvious their points are the facts. The only facts that matter. And around and around we go. The best we can hope for is a final judgment by a judge in a court of law. But even that won't necessarily result in a true or even fair conclusion. It simply reflects a legal judgment based upon what is considered admissible evidence for however the case is narrowly defined. Garbage in, garbage out. Any judgment is a foregone conclusion depending upon how the issue is framed. TW (and Richard) are narrowing the focus to a particular time period and a set of decisions by the CSD. Framed this way, for this time period and these decisions they probably can prove some degree of malfeasance. Only the most zealot post-recall CSD supporter would suggest the board didn't screw up. Of course some degree of malfeasance is like saying some degree of pregnancy. (Uh oh, can we use that analogy anymore?) It either is or isn't. Context not-withstanding. And any improprieties, much less malfeasance, that occurred elsewhere on the sewer timeline is irrelevant.

Richard Legros in response to Ron > No one sane seriously believes your fiction about the Tri-W project or process. In fact, your 'story' has nothing to do with what is happening today in Los Osos. Your endless spin, droning on and on and on about the past, is as interesting as reading last weeks newspaper; best used for lining the proverbial birdcage.

I admit Ron's regular (some would say strident, others might say constant) spiel does seem overly repetitive sometimes. But I also gotta say I've learned more about the many in's and out's and up's and down's of the sewer story from his articles than anywhere else. Heaven help us if we were solely dependent on The Triv, the other local media or even the government (shudder) for our information. Or, for that matter, Richard's detailed posts. All of them bring something. Some more than others. Each with its own spin. Ron has brought a lot. And a lot of spin too. So what? Get over it. To belittle his investigations as fiction ignores a huge lot of good data he has uncovered. Also, History is important. Process in government is what good government is all about. It is fundamental. To say the 'story' has nothing to do with what is happening today in Los Osos is just plain stupid. That is how we got into this mess. To ignore the story and focus solely on narrowly defined and highly filtered sets of 'facts' is narrow-sightedness bordering on blindness. Hate to say it but no matter how narrowly you define current reality in Los Osos today there is still a lot of story left before we have a place to flush. You can claim the past has no relevance but that don't make it so.

It's still not clear to me what TW gets out of this. Other than sheer vindictiveness. That's not to suggest vindictiveness is not powerful motive. I agree with TW that governmental malfeasance (is that an oxymoron?) should not go un-documented and unpunished. But we're paying the tab on every exposed end of this litigation. And we already don't have any money. Simply put this seems a continuation of the pre-recall CSD's financial manipulations. Their vindictiveness has/is/and will cost me/us big money. Money I don't have. Win or lose, I lose. To what end? We're throwing a lot of money (and attention) at something that has nothing to do with building a sewer. We're already in so deep I don't see how we're ever going to afford a sewer. If we don't manage to wiggle out with a bankruptcy and slip at least a good amount of the cost to the county we're pretty much signing our own funeral arrangements. I'll leave the calculations to the number crunchers but I'm guessing we've long since passed the point of us paying for a sewer regardless of design and even with special financing. Talk about current realities? The Los Osos of tomorrow is not going to look anything like the Los Osos of today when only corporations can afford to live here. All of which suggests something else is afoot. When something doesn't make good sense and there is money involved the appropriate response is Follow The Money. Who really benefits financially from the TW lawsuit? And who is paying for us to keep digging the hole deeper and deeper?

Sewertoons said...

What has been afoot *pg-13 at every blockage of a sewer for Los Osos? What has every lawsuit thrown in path of a sewer for Los Osos cost? Is it a big conspiracy - or does it just look that way in hindsight? Seems simply like those not wanting to pay for the darn thing when it was affordable has resulted in making it a whole lot more difficult for us who are still alive and still live here. Maybe they have played Los Osos right into the hands of the corporations to which you allude?

Are you saying that the misuse of public funds should be let go, but that it is still OK to keep lawsuits going against the Water Board, the state of California, defending Measure B and that to keep paying Shaunna Sullivan on the PZLDF suit is OK - despite the fact that the County has the sewer project and we may need these agencies on our side to get the sewer?

What has been the cost of every cockamamie lawsuit the new Board has brought? Why aren't those outrageous costs of BWS been discussed by you, pg -and ONLY the TW lawsuit cost been singled out?

It has been discussed for the past 2 years that BWS and Willdan should be gone after. Now that is a strategy that might get some BIG money back into Los Osos. Why do you suppose the new Board has not done this?

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Osos Change said...

It's so easy to paint the opposition as having the worst intent and being the most fallible strawman, but Taxpayers Watch has committed many misdeeds and their intent, to this day, has remained questionable at best. Even if you're a Taxpayers Watch, you'd have to agree that the general consensus in town is that people don't know what TW is and seeing that a few TW members were part of the recalled board, it raises a few eyebrows.

I find it humorous because Taxpayers Watch has had an unmovable agenda filled with pre-conceived notions and shark inlet, when sarcastically addressing Ron, summarized the TW mentality perfectly: "I don't need to look at any new facts because I've reached my conclusions years ago." My response to that is this: several years have passed since you've come to your conclusions. Lots of change has occurred between the time you made your conclusions and now and that's not even considering the future as a factor.

And Richard, I suggest you upload the court documents as PDFs somewhere like yousendit.com.

I've seen the court documents and I find the lawsuits to be a mixed bag. Despite of what I think about the nature of the lawsuit, I find that case precedent would allow the lawsuit to continue against the district rather than the individuals involved. The double-whammy is that these lawsuits are basically taking money away from the district and taxpayers who finance the district and the petitioners have the nerve to call themselves "Taxpayers Watch." In short, you, Taxpayers Watch, are taking money out of the community's pocket: the very same community you swore to protect.

I wanted to discuss a few of Ron's points because I find them to be valid.

So Richard, you say you have hundreds of Taxpayers Watch who donate. If that's so, how come -- according to LAFCO officials -- say Taxpayers Watch has been unable to pay the $1,000 a month? If these "hundreds" of people are donating, where is the money? So you're telling me, Richard, that Taxpayers Watch has enough financial stability to support not only these lawsuits and court costs but the debt as well? And your biggest gripe is that the current board has been wasting money? Sir, are you kidding me?

It boggles the mind that people like you, Richard, have the nerve to post on these blogs regularly. It boggles the mind that you really believe what you're saying. At the same time, it makes me smile, knowing that your close association with Maria Kelly will cost her the election.

Sewertoons said...

osos change - you were asked on another blog to point us to where LAFCo says TW has not made the required payments.

I'll ask on this blog - show us where that documentation is please. If you cannot substantiate this, then you are spreading lies.

Shark Inlet said...

PG,

If it all depends on how the issue is framed ...

I would suggest that Pandora and the Solutions Group screwed up two times. First, when they told us that they were gonna do STEP and a fancy ponding system even though they had some reason to believe that this "solution" would not pass muster with the RWQCB. The second time? When they didn't make clear in 2001 that there are other options for the treatment plant location than TriW. Sure, the documents show that other sites were considered and sure, the public has the responsibility of commenting on potential projects when they come up, but they really didn't make clear the various cost/site options to us at that point in time.

Since 2001 when TriW was selected, every sewer problem in Los Osos can be laid at the feet of CCLO, Julie, Lisa and the like.

A narrow look at a problem, as the TW lawsuit is, shows that the post-recall board chose to willingly violate laws and did, indeed, waste our money. Simply put, had the post-recall board really wanted to "move the sewer", they played their cards waaaaaay wrong. Rather than doing something legal that might possibly work ... they chose to do something illegal.

Like most, I don't give a rip where the treatment plant is ... I would even prefer out of town if it wouldn't cost us more and would do a comparable job with aquifer recharge and saltwater intrusion ... which I view as the big deal for our community. I will oppose any actions which will delay the solution and I will support any wise move toward the solution of our problems.

As for the question of the TW lawsuit ... I would say that it is the post-recall board who has chosen to use LOCSD funds to defend themselves. Should TW win the lawsuit, I suspect that the LOCSD board reasonably request repayment for those legal bills.

If the post-recall board members somehow defeat TW on this lawsuit (and if this happens I will be quite surprised as their actions don't even appear legal at face value) then your point will be valid ... because the LOCSD rate payers will have to pay more ... but probably less than $30 per household. On the other hand, if TW wins, the LOCSD will have a windfall of more than 10 times as much per household.

Considering the odds that TW wins the suit, I would say that our community should be grateful that they've pursued this issue, even if it is out of vindictiveness.


Lastly to Osos Change, your suggestion TW has committed misdeeds is no more than misdirection toward an off-topic issue. If they are right on the public waste issue, the judge will find that and the post-recall board will have to write some big checks because of their misdeeds which will more than cover the costs you are saying TW is imposing on our community. To suggest that people named Lisa and Chuck should be allowed to do illegal things without any accountability just because people named Gordon and Joyce are "mean" is simply silly. You should be embarrassed for even suggesting this.

Lastly, I would like to point out to all those reading here, it is Osos Change who is attempting to paint Maria as being associated with TW ... and yet ... you have not offered us any evidence at all of this association. You are trying to use clever words and yet are using the slimiest of tactics. Do you really view Los Osos residents with so little respect that you would try to fool them into believing something false just so that you can get your way at their expense yet again?

Osos Change said...

Boy, where have I heard that line before? "Show us evidence and documentation or else you're spreading lies." I don't see the point to disclosing documentation in its entirety. I'd rather disclose my information at a better, more public venue in the community. Sorry, blogs don't get press attention.

I will disclose people I've talked to. I spoke to Paul Hood, Executive Officer of LAFCO, on Tuesday, August 26th, regarding Taxpayers Watch and Bruce Gibson a week earlier. I followed up on Gibson's statements by contacting Jack Beardwood, who wrote the article about Taxpayers Watch and LAFCO in The Bay News.

As far as Maria Kelly's association with Taxpayers Watch, I can say with uttermost confidence that the evidence I have is well-documented, verified, and ready to fire. Rest assured. The truth will come.

I promise you that Maria Kelly will lose this election.

Realistic1 said...

"I promise you that Maria Kelly will lose this election."

I'm sure Maria is shaking in her boots at your "guarantee".

Given that she narrowly lost to Senet in the last CSD election, I find your statement hilarious.

Please name the misdeeds you believe TPW guilty of. Filing a dissolution petition and two lawsuits don't qualify.

*PG-13 said...

All good questions. For which I have no good answers. But let me try .....

Sewertoons said > Is it a big conspiracy - or does it just look that way in hindsight?

Follow the Money. Look for fingerprints. I'm still not totally convinced about the Kennedy assassination. And I think UFO's are still an open issue ;-)

Toons > Seems simply like those not wanting to pay for the darn thing when it was affordable has resulted in making it a whole lot more difficult for us who are still alive and still live here. Maybe they have played Los Osos right into the hands of the corporations to which you allude?

Perhaps. There probably has been some of that. Los Osos is weird like that. But my sense tells me not enough of that to create quite the mess we've created. If there was some of that in the beginning I think we've long sense passed the point where that position can be rationalized. As if it ever could; zealots are zealots and they will die on the walls. The question is who is investing in process roadblocks? IF, after Following the Money there is no financial benefit to anybody or any group other than those not wanting to pay for a sewer I'll concede the point. But that's going to be tough proof because there is ALWAYS financial benefit for somebody in every transaction. Those who are investing in de-railing the process are most suspect. Nobody invests cash without expectation of return.

Toons > Are you saying that the misuse of public funds should be let go, but that it is still OK to keep lawsuits going against ......

No, but I don't have a good answer for where to draw the line. Real malfeasance should be prosecuted. But malfeasance born of strategic planning and insubordination of previous office holders? I'm less sure about that. This is the context. Where do you draw the line? And what is the cost of proof? As previously noted the post-recall CSD did some dumb, bad, and probably illegal things. But was it all of their doing? Are they the only liable parties?

One criteria that might be useful in drawing some of these lines is: If we win what do we win? We're broker than broke. If we don't win anything when we win (i.e., huge gobs of money or a free sewer) why are we spending money trying to win? Assuming a legitimate case (?!), if a potential win can seriously reset the table and/or significantly diminish debt and/or jump us miles down the road to a sewer then it might be a worthwhile gamble. Anything else? Forget about it. I think the whole PZ/CDO/PZLDF thing is a travesty of justice but un-winnable. I bleed for the CDO recipients. And the water board should be given 20 years hard labor. I regret we may have to wait for karma on that one. But karma is not fooled. They are going to reap what they have sowed. Well deserved I think. I just don't see there is anything to win there. Again, I don't have a good answer for you. Isn't life a bitch?

Shark Inlet said > ... because the LOCSD rate payers will have to pay more ... but probably less than $30 per household. On the other hand, if TW wins, the LOCSD will have a windfall of more than 10 times as much per household.

You lost me there. How will a TW win generate a windfall for the LOCSD? Also, please note, the way you describe it makes it sound a worthy sum. Let's see, $300 times ~5k households equals 1.5 million dollars. Is that what you're talking about? That's a pittance not even worth the bad blood.

Sewertoons > Why aren't those outrageous costs of BWS been discussed by you, pg -and ONLY the TW lawsuit cost been singled out?

Because the TW lawsuit is the thread we're discussing? And it raises lots of questionable issues - more issues than it resolves? And it smells?

Sewertoons > BWS and Willdan should be gone after. Now that is a strategy that might get some BIG money back into Los Osos. Why do you suppose the new Board has not done this?

As previously noted, that would be very difficult to prove in court. We're talking winnable gambles not fantasies. And, to be honest, I'm not even sure a big win would even scratch the itch. As usual the lawyers (on both sides) would make out like bandits but would a win begin to fill the hole we've dug? I mean what's 5 or 10 or 15 million dollars among friends? Call me when it gets to 100 million. If their liability will get us a sewer take up a collection and sue the h*** out 'em!

I realize these aren't good answers. There are no good answers. Didn't I previously say there are no right or even clear answers here? And certainly no easy ones. Nor cheap ones. I don't presume to have answers. I'm just a blogger ;-)

Sewertoons said...

Wasn't it the town of Glendora that won big against BWS and their bad advice?

*PG-13 said...

Sewertoons > Wasn't it the town of Glendora that won big against BWS and their bad advice?

Not sure exactly what you're referring to here. Not sure exactly what you consider winning big. I vaguely recall something about past BWS indiscretions so I did a quick i-net search and found this. Is this what you are referring to? (And isn't the internet wonderful ;-)

From the minutes of the City of Glendora City Council meeting of July 9, 2002: (ed: some formating and Highlighting mine)

> 4A COUNCIL AND CITY STAFF -
(2) Mayor Pro Tem Conway asked City Attorney D. Wayne Leech to address the settlement of the City of Glendora vs. Burke, Williams & Sorensen lawsuit. Mr. Leech said the City filed a legal malpractice lawsuit against Burke, Williams & Sorensen (BWS). This arose from primarily three different claims.

(2-A) The first claim was the underlying lawsuit brought against the City by the Gagnes. In that action, the City incurred approximately $800,000 in attorney fees and costs and the City paid out $800,000 to the Gagnes to settle the case. So, the City was out-of-pocket approximately $1.6 million.

(2-B) The second claim in the case related to the Vintage Homes litigation. The claim was that BWS gave bad advice to the City, to encourage the City to file a lawsuit in that action for declaratory relief. The damage in that matter was approximately $90,000 in legal fees incurred to BWS by the City.

(2-C) The third claim in that lawsuit related to an allegation that during the course of the legal malpractice action, and before the settlement of the Gagne lawsuit, that BWS’s attorney, Mr. Craig, representing them in the legal malpractice action, had some communications with the Gagne’s attorneys, which perhaps jeopardized the City’s position and maybe increased the Gagne’s leverage in settling the case. The damages in that case were minimal, although there was a claim for punitive damages.

Mr. Leech said in any litigation there are usually attempts to settle the case. There are various factors that both sides will look at in determining what is and is not a good settlement. One of the considerations that both sides have to weigh is what would happen if the case went to trial in front of a jury. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a slam-dunk win in any case. Part of the consideration in a case like this is, can we win and if we can win, how much do we get? In determining the second part of that question, you can look at the $1.6 million that the City is out-of-pocket on the Gagne case, plus the approximate $90,000 out-of-pocket on the Vintage Homes case and see that we’re almost up to $1.7 million, and maybe some small potential for a punitive damage award against BWS on the third claim, the communication by Mr. Craig. In California, punitive damages are not awarded for negligence. Primary claim in this case was negligence; that BWS was negligent in their representation of the City. As far as compensatory damages, the maximum amount that the City could have received had it gone to trial was a little bit less than $1.7 million. When the City first proceeded with the action, it retained a qualified law firm to pursue the case and the lead attorney was Alan Weil. They were representing the City on an hourly retainer, and the City paid approximately $407,000 to Alan Weil’s firm before the City brought on Bruce Broillette on a contingency retainer in September 2001. Mr. Leech said he believed that bringing on the contingency counsel was a good move by Council. The retainer agreement provided that, by February 2002, the percentage that that firm would take for its fee would be 40% whether the case was settled or went to judgment. In addition, that firm would advance various court costs and that the amount advanced for costs would come off the settlement. In reaching the $935,000 settlement Mr. Bruce Broillette, who is one of the foremost plaintive attorneys in the nation, agreed to reduce their percentage to 30% instead of 40%. This resulted in a savings in attorney fees of approximately $93,000. Had this case gone to trial, Mr. Broillette’s firm would not have agreed to reduce their retainer. The City incurred approximately $122,000 advanced by Broillette’s firm for costs. Had this case gone to trial, it is estimated that the City would have incurred approximately another $100,000 in costs. If this case had gone to trial and the City had received a verdict of $1.6 million, after the City paid the increased attorney fees and increased costs, the City would have netted approximately $737,000. That is assuming that everything went well for the City. With the settlement of $935,000 and the reduction by Bruce Broillette’s firm on attorney fees, the City is netting $532,000. If the case had gone to trial, the case could have received a defense verdict in which the City gets nothing, or the City could have received something less than $1.6 million, at best the City could net approximately $200,000 more than it is netting with the $935,000 settlement.

Mr. Leech said Council made a fair and reasonable assessment of the risks and awards and he concurred that this was a fair and reasonable settlement. Considering the fact that BWS, after hardnosed negotiations and after a very lengthy litigation in which over 50 depositions were taken, said they were willing to put $935,000 on the table to buy their peace and not a penny more.


So, uh, what are the take aways here? Other than that lawyers always win. Even when they lose.

(1) If this is a good example of recovering costs by making BWS pay for bad advice its not a good example.

(2) Ya gotta pay more to get a little back.

(3) Punitive damages are not awarded for lawyer negligence.

So, how much would it cost us to bring BWS front-and-center? And what might we get in return? Sewertoons, Shark & Richard, do you really think the CSD should chase this? Why? You've suggested that if there was anything here the CSD would have chased it. Sorry, maybe this is why the post-recall CSD didn't move on this. Bummer about bad legal advice, eh?

Mike said...

..so it's perfectly ok with you that elected officials pay off their personal lawyers with tax dollars..??? Is it also perfectly ok to then hire those same lawyers for the District without competitive bids and no cap on the amount to be paid to those lawyers..??? Is it possible for kickbacks to be paid under the table for such an arrangement...??? Are conflicts of interest perfectly ok...???

Have you ever heard of disbarment...??? I can assure you that BW&S is very aware of that term and the ramifications... There are reasons that BW&S is not defending the CSD-5... Lawyers can and do give poor advice, lawyers to get disbarred and law firms do get sued and do lose... BW&S is not off the hook here or with the State AG...

Sewertoons said...

*pg-13 said:

"You've suggested that if there was anything here the CSD would have chased it."

I said that the New Board spent lots of money on two lawyers sitting upstairs sifting through records to FIND SOMETHING on the Old Board.

I meant and didn't say it well, that BWS and the NEW Board are in this so thickly together, one cannot accuse the other without revealing their own guilt.

Osos Change said...

Before I head to bed for the night, I did some research on a whim and came across something interesting about Maria Kelly.

Maria Kelly has a web site, maria4csd.com. The domain was registered on July 12, 2008 so Maria had the intent to run for quite a while now, but not only that, Maria doesn't pay for the domain or the hosting. Lynette Tornatzky, her former running mate and Taxpayers Watch member, does.

A simple WHOIS lookup can be made here.

One could say, as a counterargument, "Lynette designed the site so it would make sense that she also registered the domain and did the hosting," but while that may be true, it symbolically shows that there is some Taxpayers Watch backing. I'm sure that other TW members knew about the web site.

Just thought I'd share that.

Shark Inlet said...

Oooh!

That Maria has a friend running her website is certainly damning information. That she set it up month and a half ago (when was the filing deadline) is killer.

If you really have documented evidence, why waste your time and ours with such meaningless trivia?

Osos Change said...

You and I both know Maria has been campaigning since she lost.

And Sharky baby, I don't care whether you think it's "meaningless trivia" or not. Your opinion hasn't really mattered since you never once provided any of your own "documented evidence." I don't want to resort to name-calling, but since the evidence that you are one is overwhelming and undisputed, you're a moron -- and that's a killer.

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... Osos Change.

Even if Maria has been campaigning for two years (while you might view volunteering to help meet community needs campaigning, not all of us would agree), why should it matter. Is her willingness to serve on the TAC somehow making her a less qualified candidate than Alon, David or Karen? I don't get your logic.

As for whether my opinion matters ... you clearly don't care about my opinion ... but if you blow me off it will show that you are not that interested in an open and reasoned discussion of these various issues. Folks who are put off by such an attitude may not view your preferred candidates as reasonable choices.

You suggest that I've claimed to have "documented evidence" that I've never provided. (I don't remember this, by the way ... would you be so kind as to let me know the approximate timeframe and topic?) The funny thing here is that you are saying that my opinion doesn't matter because I've not provided evidence to back up my claim ... when just yesterday you did exactly that yourself.


I would also want to point out that you've not yet really addressed any of the issues others have raised in reply to your comments. It seems as if you are more interested in making outlandish charges than in having a good discussion.

Maria M. Kelly said...

Dear "Osos Remain the Same",
Lynette has become a great friend since I met her in the beginning of the campaign in 2006. She is taking classes at Cuesta to learn how to do web design and you bet I'm going to ask her for help.

The character assassination method of winning elections in LO is getting to be absurd. I know what I say won't change your mind about how you will promote the candidate to maintain the "board majority" but how about letting them win on their own merits and establish their ability to do the job.

For now, you just sound like the negative undermining tone coming out of the current convention.
Hammer on the other guy so your flaws won't be so obvious. Honest scrutiny on the issues is what this community deserves - period.

By the way - Richard and I became neighbors in March of 2005. If there is something insidious about buying a house in LO and having it be next to someone who may be for a sewer then we are in some serious trouble. I've stated before and I'll say it again, I don't dump my friends for having differing opinions, thoughts or views and the whole "sins of our fathers" type of rhetoric doesn't hold much for me at this point in time either.

I've heard past board members and Solution's groupers comment on where they erred - something I have never heard from the current regime.

Keep digging. If your candidate needs me to look "scary" to make them look "o.k."- we all suffer.
I think Marshall is the best candidate out there to take a serious look at how we can get beyond this. I think I'm the best candidate out there that doesn't hold a grudge or preconceived notions of "woulda, coulda shoulda". For me, it's not personal.

Thanks Shark, you are obviously a very reasonable person. It is much appreciated.

franc4 said...

toons said....a while back (must have missed it)
"So franc, if the judge rules in TW's favor against the directors, there is something faulty with the judge? Any judge with that decision would have "an agenda?"

11:50 AM, August 29, 2008

Are you that naive to think ALL judges make GOOD or correct decisions with out considering re-election?

franc4 said...

Shark,

"while you might view volunteering to help meet community needs campaigning, not all of us would agree), "

...excuse me? Isn't that what Lisa a Julie were doing and which TW is calling "being an OFFICER in the CCLO or whatever the group was called?

Shark Inlet said...

Three things ...

First, we're still waiting for Osos Change to reply. Should she not do so, we'll know how much weight we ought to give her words here.

Second, Franc ... not all judges are honest or wise. However, the strength of the decision, along with the quality of any potential appeal, when taken with the verdict in question, can be viewed as a way of triangulating the truth. If the verdict goes against the post-recall board ... on all counts related to the mis-use of funds to pay BWS ... all we need to know is whether there is an appeal. No appeal means that we know the truth and that the post-recall board violated the law and wasted public money.


Third ... I think that Lisa being an officer of CCLO could reasonably be considered an attempt to meet community needs (even if wholly misguided) just like someone willing to serve on the TAC should be. The degree to which CCLO is a political organization rather than a public service organization may cause some to view such a role (CCLO officer) as more campaigning than, say, being a member of a water conservation task force or some such activity.

Osos Change said...

First I want to open the floor to Shark Inlet.

I personally don't feel that you bring anything to table except for your repeated requests to show "documented evidence" -- something you've never provided in any discussions you've brought to the table. That really speaks volumes about the lack of communicative decency in Los Osos.

I said what I've had to say and I have backing to my words -- and again, I said I did not want to disclose information on Calhoun's Cannon because I find that it's more effective to disclose these faults in a more public venue. I think Los Osos deserves to know the truth.

And to lovely Maria:

The truth can be painful, Maria. I think you deserve the character assassinations seeing that you've spent a great time of time assassinating other people's character by spreading fictitious rumors and propaganda about people without having the balls to admit that you're behind it all -- and at least on this blog, I will hold you accountable, I will hold your feet over the fire, I will make sure that no stone is unturned.

I am deeply, deeply offended that you try to bring partisan politics into a non-partisan election. National politics should not serve as a crutch for your egotistical dribble. The people you represent, the Taxpayers Watch members who you serve, have expressed the same "more of the same" rhetoric since they pushed for gravity collection at Tri-W, the very same solution you've actively advocated in public including Calhoun's Cannon.

That's not change, that's more of the same, Maria. You're not change; you're just more of the same. It's painfully pathetic that you hide behind leaders who have a clearer vision of change than you do. It's sickening. You have the nerve to refer to the new board as a "regime," which is a Bush term. You sure are a flake.

I don't care if Richard LeGros is your neighbor. I'm just livid that you bask in this ambiguous claim of objectivity when you've been actively mentored by LeGros and Hensley, two disgraced members of the previous board as determined by the Recall vote for suspicious activity and relentlessly shameless, criminal conduct. Both are members of Taxpayers Watch. It's like sleeping in bed with an oil lobbyist who wants you to run so that you can approve legislation in the lobbyist's favor and say that you live next door to the lobbyist. That analogy isn't really that far from the truth in your case.

You're not the best candidate. You're unfit to run, unfit for Los Osos and you're nothing more than a filthy liar whose embedded with people of the worst intent for Los Osos. This is an unarguable fact. You may call them your "friends," but candidates have "friends" too, like Jack Abramoff and Kenneth Lay. You're no different.

Realistic1 said...
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Realistic1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Realistic1 said...

CCLO was a defacto pro-recall campaign committee masquerading as a "community group". They called themselves a non-profit to avoid campaign finance reporting laws.

The only events they ever sponsored were to raise money for their efforts to derail the Tri-W project and promote pro-recall candidates. All they did was produce literature and signs in favor of the recall and against Tri-W.

The group formed recently to promote water conservation, does just that - promote water conservation. They don't campaign for or against candidates or ballot measures. Their fundraising pays for producing water conservation "how-to" literature and devices.

Comparing them to CCLO is like comparing gazelles and kangaroos.

Mike said...

Osos Change... Do you still maintain dossiers on all the Board members and half the community...???

None of the pre-recall Board Members are in disgrace, in fact quite the contrary...!!!! If you want to throw mud, then discuss lovely Julie...

You really have no clue as to what it takes to stand up and run for a CSD Director's seat... I admire any that have the courage to run and have to put up with the character attacks that they have all endured...

As for criminal conduct by the past Board Members, just put your evidence on the table... sue them if you have the guts... You have already been tossed out of the DA's office for being such an offensive ass...

My Vote will go to Maria to put an honest person on the Board along with Joe...!!!! and yes, I especially contribute monthly to TW because of morons like YOU...!!!!

Shark Inlet said...

Osos Change,

I find it necessary to call people out on their statements which are based in questionable facts or logic. You yourself, in your most recent comment, say that Maria has participated in character assassination with rumors and falsehood. Ma'am, unless you have evidence of your charge, you are the one doing the character assassination.

(Note: you shouldn't be reluctant to tell the truth both here and in more public forums ... although I wonder what forum is more public than one open to all ... to refuse to offer us information that you say you will provide to others elsewhere is truly insulting ... at least let us know where and when you will provide those "facts".)

As to your claim that I've not presented evidence and logic that back up my assertions ... I would ask you again, when? I don't believe I've made statements that aren't backed up in some form.

Again, if what you say is true, you can provide ... um ... "documented evidence" (your quote, by the way).

Until you do so or at least point out places where I've done what you suggest ... please realize that the typical reader will recognize that you've not even bothering to back up your claims ... certainly a poor way of convincing those in the middle of the road on this issue.


To me you seem more like a Shakespeare quote ("a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing") than a real person with an opinion worth listening to. However, I remain hopeful that you will engage in conversation and convince us that you are more than a chock-full-o-hate angry person who views any who oppose CCLO's agenda as evil. Such small-minded-thinking is the true reason Los Osos is in such poor shape today ... people who are unwilling to have a reasoned discussion.

*PG-13 said...

Lot's of heat. So there must something at stake. But I'm not sure what it is. I'm feeling very left out and a bit confused. Could some of you word-mongers please help me? Is there a website listing the candidates and their positions? And what is really at stake in this election? What degrees of freedom and decision making remain for the CSD going forward? Seems to me previous captains of the ship have already run the ship aground. So what difference does it make who the captains are now? Does the CSD still have a decision making role anymore regarding the sewer? Or is this election more about who sits on a board directing its response to the many lawsuits? And/Or tries to dissolve the board?

Also, I hate being such a doofus. But would somebody please explain to me how TaxPayers Watch winning their suit against the CSD is going to save AND generate money for Los Osos (read: me)? Who really benefits financially from the TW lawsuit? And in what amount?

Shark says > As for the question of the TW lawsuit ... I would say that it is the post-recall board who has chosen to use LOCSD funds to defend themselves. Should TW win the lawsuit, I suspect that the LOCSD board reasonably request repayment for those legal bills. If the post-recall board members somehow defeat TW on this lawsuit (....) then your point will be valid ... because the LOCSD rate payers will have to pay more ... but probably less than $30 per household. On the other hand, if TW wins, the LOCSD will have a windfall of more than 10 times as much per household.

So the benefit to Los Osos (read: me) of the TW suit is repayment TO the CSD of the funds used to represent the CSD against TW? That's all? An appropriate penalty perhaps but this is a windfall? How did you come up with these numbers? And this will be paid out-of-pocket by the individuals composing the post-recall board? If malfeasance is proven (is that the ultimate purpose of this suit?) are damages resulting from the malfeasance determined? How are they determined? And can they be recovered? I recall hearing there is insurance to cover CSD failures but is this in play here?

Thanks for any help.

Richard LeGros said...

PG-13,

Copied below is the latest news report from TW; which answers many of your questions. Also, if you want to be updated over time, do you wish to be on the TW mailng list?
**********************************
FOLLOW THE MONEY


Over the past 7 installment of our series TW has explained why Your Taxpayers Watch attorneys, Kate Neiswender and Phil Seymour, expect the Court to hold Julie Tacker, Lisa Schicker, Chuck Cesena, Steve Senet, and John Fouche personally responsible to return approximately $2,000,000.00 of your tax dollars mis-spent during their time in office.

Your Taxpayer Watch attorneys, Kate Neiswender and Phil Seymour have gathered sufficient evidence and are ready to prove in court that the 5 individual Board members directed illegal and unethical expenditures. This evidence shows that Julie Tacker, Lisa Schicker, Chuck Cesena, Steve Senet, and John Fouche failed to fulfill their fiduciary obligations to the community, violated conflict of interest laws, made gifts of public funds to their political allies, and illegally plundered assessment bond revenues as well as restricted State Revolving Fund loan money.

Lacking a real defense for their actions Tacker, Schicker, Cesena, Senet, and Fouche and their political cronies have barraged the community with a campaign to malign the efforts of TW and avoid accountability for illegal acts. This effort to blame all the CSD's financial trouble on TW and shame TW into withdrawing from pursuit of truth and the return of mis-spent tax money came to a head in the CSD5 attempt to file a Cross-Complaint in court. While Lisa Schicker admits in court documents that illegal expenditures were made, attorneys for the 5 still attempted to persuade the Judge that everything Tacker, Schicker, Cesena, Senet, and Fouche did was OK because TW is relentless in attempts to hold the 5 accountable.

Even though attorneys for the CSD5 made their accusations with a great deal of emotion and underlying anger, the Judge didn't buy it. On August 11, Judge LaBarbera found in Your favor and denied the CSD5 request to file a cross-complaint.

However, desperate people do desperate things and the CSD5 will try to avoid accountability one last time in October when their Motion for Summary Judgment is to be heard. A Summary Judgment is a strategic legal maneuver where the CSD5 will attempt to convince Judge La Barbera that Your TW attorneys do not have a chance of winning. But, Your Taxpayer Watch attorneys, Kate Neiswender and Phil Seymour are firm that the law IS on our side.

The evidence is clear that the CSD5 took control of the CSD by a razor-thin majority vote in a recall election, and promptly suspended (and ultimately fired) every competent official and legal counsel who might have given them unwelcome advice. The 5 then embarked on a jihad against the State of California which resulted in multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits against the CSD by the State agencies and CSD contractors, numerous lesser claims by Los Osos citizens, and fines exceeding $ 6 million for violating State pollution control laws. In the process, Tacker, Schicker, Cesena, Senet, and Fouche violated legally binding commitments to complete the Tri-W wastewater project already begun by the CSD, and in which the CSD had already invested millions of dollars of bond assessment funds approved by CSD voters, and funds loaned by the State. Not surprisingly, Tacker, Schicker, Cesena, Senet, and Fouche drove the CSD into bankruptcy within less than a year after taking majority control.

But our case is not about the sheer waste alone. In order to finance their efforts, the CSD5 plundered bond revenues and State loan funds which could not legally be accessed for their purposes. Tacker, Schicker, Cesena, Senet, and Fouche also used restricted State loan funds to pay off - and then hire - outside counsel, with whom at least two of these Directors had been secretly collaborating, under guise of "settling" cases which those same attorneys had brought against the CSD and lost. While the CSD5 claim to represent the "will of the people," TW is certain that even the narrow majority of voters who elected defendants did not intend them to bankrupt the CSD, make behind-closed-doors deals to pay off their political cronies' legal bills, or illegally spend restricted fire tax revenues, assessment bond revenues and funds from an already cancelled State loan.

Since the argument presented in the CSD5 request for Summary Judgment is almost identical to that in the cross complaint, TW anticipates an identical outcome. Your TW Attorney Phil Seymour will represent TW.

Osos Change said...

Shark,

You haven't backed up a thing.

You're still a moron. It's not a matter of hate. It's a matter of fact.

*PG-13 said...

Thanks Richard. All good information. But it doesn't really answer my questions. Regarding my questions about the TW suit only, let me be more precise:

I'd like to Follow the Money but .....

Would somebody please explain to me how TaxPayers Watch winning their suit against the CSD is going to save AND generate money for Los Osos (read: me)? Who really benefits financially from the TW lawsuit? And in what amount?

Your post explains the why of the suit. And offers projections about the likely outcome of the suit. But it doesn't explain where the proceeds of the suit are going. I presume My Taxpayer Watch attorneys, Kate Neiswender and Phil Seymour, will pocket their good share. But where does the rest of settlement go? Back to the CSD? Or to TW? Exactly how does this settlement benefit Los Osos (read: me)? Sorry. Maybe this is obvious. But it isn't obvious to me. I've learned not to trust implied answers. I'd much prefer an explicit answer.

And how much are we talking about? Your post notes the cost of the CSD's questionable actions ($6 million in pollution fines alone plus ....?) but it notes only an approximate $2 million dollar pay-off from the suit. (Less the lawyer fees and expenses, I estimate this at closer to $1 million.) No, that's not small change. Certainly not to the individual board members who might be paying it out-of-pocket. But it is an insignificant amount in the big picture. So the suit appears to be mostly punitive in nature. Is that correct?

> The 5 then embarked on a jihad against the State of California which resulted in multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits against the CSD by the State agencies and CSD contractors, numerous lesser claims by Los Osos citizens, and fines exceeding $ 6 million for violating State pollution control laws.

How will any of these be effected by the TW suit?

And my questions regarding the next CSD election, the positions of the candidates, and the future of the CSD are still looking for a response. TIA.

Richard LeGros said...
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Anonymous said...

Here it is 2012.
FYI:
TAXPAYERS WATCH FORCED THE CSD5 DEFENDANTS TO SETTLE THE TW LAWSUIT, in the amount of $1,450,000, of which $1,150,000 WAS RETURNED TO THE TAXPAYERS OF LOS OSOS.

So much for the crap posted by Ann, Ron, and other LONS.