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Monday, October 25, 2010

Yeee HAW!

Hold onto your hats, folks.  It's time for the Final World Class Bait & Switchy to commence, tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct 26, at the Board of Supervisors starting at 9 a.m.

Yes, it's the old "Rates and Charges" "ballot," which will be mailed to property owners once the BOS votes, which they will.  The "ballot" is one of those wierd "reverse" ballots -- if you object to it, you return it; if you don't or if you don't know or care or think it's junque mail and toss it, that'll count as a "yes."  And you need 50% plus 1 to put the kabosh on the whole thing, an IMPOSSIBLE task. 

What makes this soooooo wonderful is that if you went around ringing doorbells and asked 1,000 people here in Sewerville, "When you passed the Prop 218 ballot agreeing to assess yourself $25,000 for the sewer for your property, did you know that the county was planning to add on to your bill the cost for undeveloped properties,  in case the undevelpoed property owners balked at paying for a "service/benefit" when they're sitting on an empty lot and getting no service or benefit?"  

I bet you wouldn't find one person who would say, "Oh, yeah, I knew all about that.  I'm happy to pay the cost for undeveloped lots.  And if those lots never get developed, (and so repay the charges owed when they do develop) because there isn't any water, well, that's O.K. with me."

My bet is that people would say, "Huh? What do you mean I've got to pay MORE than the assessed $25,000?  Huh?"

And here's my other bet.  That the Rates and Charges Bait & Switchy "ballot" will easily pass because 1) 1/3 of the community won't bother responding.  Like the preference survey the county sent out for the sewer, 1/3 of those surveys simply disappeared into the Black Hole of Sewerville, and 2) a whole lot of people will get this Rates & Charges " ballot" and they'll think, "Hey, look, the sewer's only going to cost about $80 a month.  That's GREAT!"  not realzing that that's merely the "add on"  to the original $25,000, an add-on about which they are clueless.  But it won't matter, because of that 50% plus 1.  Done deal. 

Plus, there's always the added threat from the County (watch for it in the Tribune, in the letters to the editor, in the carefully worded "information" packet from the county). It'll translate as: "Pass this "ballot" and pay for those vacant lots, or we'll drop the project altogether and walk away. Bwa-hahahah" 

Yes, Hobson's Choice.  It's great!

So, that's my bet.

What's yours?

On the bright side, the Rates and Charges discussed at the last BOS, did set a fixed cost, then tied the balance to individual water use, thereby adding a carrot and stick to the whole deal that might encourage more thrifty water use.  Which is the really important issue here. Water.  Out of which, we are running.  

25 comments:

Sewertoons said...

Well Ann, thank you for opining on the BOS rates & charges info. I see though that you missed this part of the BOS agenda:

PENDING LITIGATION (Gov. Code, §54956.9.) It is the intention of the Board to meet in Closed Session concerning the following items:

A.
Conference with Legal Counsel - Existing Litigation (Gov. Code, §54956.9(a).) (Formally initiated)

(1) In re Los Osos Community Services District (Bankruptcy);

(2) Coalition for Low Income Housing v. California Coastal Commission;

You seem not to want to respond to Richard's bankruptcy postings on the thread below - maybe you will respond to the BOS discussing it here on this one? You do seem to want to talk about money that we are all going to have to pay on rates and charges - well, how about all the money that we are going to pay for the bankruptcy?

And isn't that our pal Al's group - Coalition for Low Income Housing there on the agenda too? Got anything to say about that?

Spectator said...

This reverse vote is a crime against democracy. Of course, citizens who do not vote commit a crime against democracy.

In many countries one gets fined for not voting or not showing up at the polls.

Why should anyone be forced to pay for sewer service when they are not using the service? So sad, too bad those who use the service will have to pay for it. There is no free lunch except when rich people pay for it (usually being forced by government).

Good for nothings who eat at the trough of the government just love the free lunch!

M said...

I am reading something that states the County was granted approval for an SRF loan in 1990. Then in 2002 it was transfered to the LOCSD. Anyone know if this is true? If so, it has always been explained that the SRF loan was site specific. Am I reading too much into this?
Sincerely, M

Sewertoons said...

Hi M,

You are perhaps referring to a statement in the STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD RESOLUTION NO. 2005 – 0088, which reads,

1. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), on February 16, 1995, adopted the Policy for Implementing the State Revolving Fund for Construction of Wastewater Treatment Facilities (Policy), and amended it on January 22, 2003;

I think the words "amended it on January 22, 2003" is very telling. It is the same sort of amendment that the Lisa Board could have obtained for a new site out-of-town had it chosen to continue with the collection system.

M said...

But they kept saying it was site specific, it couldn't be changed.
Sincerely, M

Sewertoons said...

BUT, if you go through the proper channels and follow the direction outlined to do this, you CAN change the site. Here is something else I found that might be of interest to support site change being possible:

"STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD
BOARD MEETING SESSION -- DIVISION OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
DECEMBER 9, 2005

ITEM 1

SUBJECT
WITHDRAWAL OF FUNDING FOR THE LOS OSOS COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT (DISTRICT); WASTEWATER COLLECTION, TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL PROJECT (PROJECT); STATE REVOLVING FUND (SRF) LOAN PROJECT NO. C-06-4014-110

DISCUSSION

The District’s proposed Project has evolved through a long history of design changes and legal delays since the initial SRF loan commitment of $47,000,000 approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) on February 15, 1990."

1990!

So you see, it IS POSSIBLE to change the site - as for the lame reasons I've heard as to why the Lisa Board wouldn't do this - I don't know - maybe you have the connections to find out why M, I don't.

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

BTW - it is obvious I hope to say, that changing the site COSTS — no matter how you do it.

M said...

Yes. Just like the cost from changing from the Pismo st. site. Unnecessarily I might add.
Sincerely, M

Sewertoons said...

Here's a bit more history for you M.

In 1990, the County had a COMMITMENT for $47 million from the Water Board on SRF money to do a WWTF for Los Osos. The County did have a specific site, but until they had a CDP they weren't going to submit an application for the money. (Much like what we are going through now - getting the ducks in a row before we ask for the SRF money.) So the SRF money wasn't locked into any specific project yet. The County asking for this loan was never approved - the County gave in to formation of the CSD to take over the building of a WWTF.

When the District came into being, the Water Board was going to pull the funds as the County was no longer in charge. Rose Bowker and others went to the Water Board and pleaded with them to save the money for Los Osos, as really it was the same community, only the governmental entity had changed. The Water Board was convinced and saved the money - quite a feat as the money for LO was half of the entire SRF budget and the CSD was brand new - this was in 1999. So the SRF money was kept for Los Osos in its original priority listing instead of making the CSD go back to the beginning and reapply all over again —as the CSD.

So after the assessment bond passed, the CSD had the money to design and buy property for a specific project — then applied with that actual project. This is where it becomes site specific.

Now the Lisa Board was offered specific conditions to KEEP the SRF monies. As long as they continued with the collection system, etc., they would be allowed to look into MOVING THE SITE.

Sewertoons said...

80% of the community formed a CSD to avoid the Pismo site, but I sure see what you mean.

M said...

Are you saying 80% of the community wanted it at Tri-W at over twice the cost of the Pismo site? Enough. I'm tired of your justification of Tri-W.
Sincerely, M

Sewertoons said...

M,
I'm not justifying the Tri-W site - that just happened to be the location for the ponds that were being sold to get the project away from the County. 80% voted in favor of having a CSD to do this.

Mike said...

M's just playing... he's never wanted a sewer in LO... he'd have to have paid, so no matter what is said, he'll play some other argument...

Sorry 'toon, but it's just a game to him...

Sewertoons said...

Thanks Mike. I can never figure out why the facts seem to be viewed through amnesia glasses!

I don't know if you caught it - but he BOS meeting today was almost shut down by Mecham due to rowdiness. MWH was slammed again and that didn't play too well either!

Sewertoons said...

Oh and BTW M, I was FINE with the plant at Tri-W. I liked the fact that it couldn't be enlarged to accommodate more growth.

And also that it was so hi-tech - MBR - you know, like PERC was offering to Morro Bay until they backed out. Funny how MBR was great for Morro Bay but horrible for Los Osos according to Piper, Al, etc.. Amnesia glasses, or head-in-sand posture or something. Like we wouldn't notice the switcheroo? Like along the lines of ponds (old as the hills) being wonderful for Los Osos and gravity collection (also old as the hills) being dissed as old and outmoded. Hard to parse out a clear message in that.

FOGSWAMP said...

Toons ..... You state "80% of the community formed a CSD to avoid the Pismo site".

I don't think the "site" was even an issue when we initially formed a LOCSD.

As I recall "AFFORDABILITY" was rhe issue that brought out so many voters.

Not many that helped form the CSD at that time thought they could afford to pay the outrageous $87.00 or so monthly fee that the county was suggesting. This was two or three times what neighboring communities were paying.

Up to that point in time the County had been procrastinating the issue, ignored the SWB and kept on issuing septic tank permits for the tax revenue that they obviously didn't spend in Los Osos.

We were promised a fee of around $37.00 or so if we formed our own CSD.

The smoke & mirrors were most effective, therefore we turned out en mass.

We were soon enlightened, and very shortly our newly found CSD heros became as deaf to "AFFORDABILITY" as the stone heads of Easter Island.

Makes one think CSD's should be outlawed, eh?

Mike said...

Hang in there 'toons... Meacham has been getting an education in anti-governable by the Los Osos parade of fools... His patience is definitely wearing thin... He's begun to see through the smoke and mirrors of deception, fabrication and barely veiled threats...

It appears he is begining to see that the small band are really trying to obstruct any sewer, anywhere and to create costs so huge that they think the sewer couldn't possibly be constructed...

I'm sitting back laughing as the parade continues to show their ignorance and arrogance... they have lost all credibility...!!! I'll bet half of them will be moving out of the County within 2 years....

Sewertoons said...

Hi FOGSWAMP,

YES. Outlawed until some oversights can be formulated. I know CSDs are formed to build sewers and run water districts, etc.. In this case, forming a CSD to do a sewer where NO SEWER has reigned for so long was a mistake. It's great to have local control - but not a control centered on hot-button issues. The ballot box is far too slow a vehicle to stop the damage one bad board can do.

Affordability was certainly an issue - as was the location if you had kids in the middle school. This info came to me from long-time residents. Also, I spoke to one high school student who went to MB High and she said the stench from the plant was really bad on some days. Well, MB doesn't have an MBR plant with negatively vacuumed air, that's for sure!

Your quote, "…our newly found CSD heros became as deaf to "AFFORDABILITY…" is interesting. I see it more like they came to see the reality that sewers are not cheap. Their naivete was stripped away in the cold light of needing 10 years of testing and that sewering only part of the town was not going to fly. That they could not or did not convey this information to the town is the tragedy. But then, as we see now, if you don't want to hear, you just keep asking the same questions no matter how many times they are answered (hoping for a different answer). Refusing to learn is an option, although not an effective one for getting anything done and keeping costs lower.

Sewertoons said...

Hi Mike - Mecham and the rest of the BOS are learning. Board members have tried, but you can't be their friend, (they don't want you), unless you agree with STEP, sewers should cost $20/mo., and by hating MWH, etc.

Mike said...

The parade of fools doesn't want STEP...or any other sewer...and they hate just to hate... They don't even like each other... but they have shot their wad and have nothing left but to blame everyone they disagreed with.... They will still have their cheerleaders, but they have become just noise in the fog...

Sewertoons said...

Sad, very sad.

Churadogs said...

M sez:"Are you saying 80% of the community wanted it at Tri-W at over twice the cost of the Pismo site? Enough. I'm tired of your justification of Tri-W."

No, 80% wanted the Ponds of Avalon at $38 a month versus $105 at Pismo. It wasn't the site, it was the COST. It was ALWAYS the COST.

Toonces sez:"I don't know if you caught it - but he BOS meeting today was almost shut down by Mecham due to rowdiness. MWH was slammed again and that didn't play too well either!"

No it wasn't. Meacham pounded on the dais and threatened to shoo everyone out, but "almost shut down?" Naw. Not even close.

Mike sez:"M's just playing... he's never wanted a sewer in LO... he'd have to have paid, so no matter what is said, he'll play some other argument..."

Ooops, there's Mikee, making stuff up again. But wait, here's Toonces:"Thanks Mike. I can never figure out why the facts seem to be viewed through amnesia glasses!"
believing his made up stuff. Oh, Toonces, Toonces. Don't fall for Mikee's made up stuff. He's clockwork chronic.

toonces sez:"Hard to parse out a clear message in that."

Nothing hard about it: It was the cost. Always was, still is.

Toonces sez:"That they could not or did not convey this information to the town is the tragedy."

Could not, did not, WOULD not? That remains one of the most intersting parts of the puzzle -- why did the CSD (both original and next one) cling to TriW with such FEROCITY? Even to the point of trying to (LAFCO) destroy the CSD. Why not go back to the community and say, We were lied to, the Ponds always were DOA, we don't have the resources to do this right, do you want us to give it back to the county, Yes or No. Or, we're doing a design-build side by side comparison, we'll give you best guestimates and a vote on which you want. Or, we're going to hold off on construction until the recall vote because we don't want to do anything to financially harm this community, plus we want to give them a chance to vote on this matter. And if the recall succeeds, we'll do everything we can go work to amend the project, move the plant out of town and keep moving forward.

Never happened and the WHY of it still is the most interesting puzzle of all.

Mikee sez:"The parade of fools doesn't want STEP...or any other sewer...and they hate just to hate... "

Aw, Mikee. you're projecting again. I'm telling ya, clockwork, clockwork.

Sewertoons said...

I disagree to a point Ann, the people I've talked to had kids in school and they didn't want it there. But yes, cost was it for most - especially those who didn't have kids.

I guess I'll have to advise everyone to look at the meeting and decide for themselves. I heard differently what Mecham said. And it is spelled Mecham.

Wait Ann, I'm part of TW so I feel that I can speak to this from the inside. Richard may chime in to correct me if I am wrong — but the idea wasn't to destroy the CSD, it was to lessen the cost to the community if we could only get the old project back on track. Does your current apparent unhappiness with the second 218 signify that you are unhappy with the present project's costs? Will you be satisfied with the cost to you from the bankruptcy? Add those up and see if out-of-town is worth it. (Don't forget to add in the cost to the aquifers of delaying ANY project for 6+ years. I'm sure that you remember the rate of SWI as presented by YOUR group, LOSG.)

Your question, "why did the CSD (both original and next one) cling to TriW with such FEROCITY?" is a good one. There were reasons. But would you believe them? As to the rest in that paragraph - best guesstimates, etc., I see how on every point that the County - with FAR GREATER resources than a little CSD could ever have, and BETTER answers - was told that ITS answers were incorrect or biased, so I don't have any faith that this sort of approach would have worked.

Also, how many times has it been stated that the CONTRACTS with the contractors were signed AGES before the recall, so I still don't get why you think not starting the project before the recall would have mattered. They still would have sued. Amnesia glasses?

The recall did happen and the steps taken by the New Board COULD HAVE FOLLOWED what the Old Board would have done in these circumstances, but they kept shoving dirt into the faces of the Water Board, which the Old Board never would have done. (Remember, at this point the Old Board was out of office - and they DID try to advise the New Board but were basically jeered at).

Could you please opine on how the New Board SHOULD have acted instead of the way that they did to accomplish your goals and NOT LOSE the project?

Churadogs said...

Toonces sez:"Your question, "why did the CSD (both original and next one) cling to TriW with such FEROCITY?" is a good one. There were reasons. But would you believe them? "

To date, we've heard very few of them -- under oath -- Some seem plausible, others must be inferred, many are simply self-serving. There's a lot of stuff Ron's dug up and documented that help sketch the outline of when happened and why. but until the major players are honest about all of this, it's likely we'll never know for sure. Not to mention the fascinating vagaries of the angry/fearful/wounded ego at work.

and sez:"I see how on every point that the County - with FAR GREATER resources than a little CSD could ever have, and BETTER answers - was told that ITS answers were incorrect or biased, so I don't have any faith that this sort of approach would have worked."

Paavo, who was "present at the creation" later said (when the County took over ) that the CSD never had the resources to do what the county did, vis a vis "The Process." Which raises a question: Did Paavo know the Ponds were DOA? He obviously knew the CSD didn't have the resources to do a proper job, but he kept quiet. How much did that silence set in motion the trainwreck? Did he, in closed session, counsel the original CSD that they had an obligation to stop, go back to the community and let them know that they simply don't have the resources to do this right? Did they listen? So many quesitons.

and sez:"so I still don't get why you think not starting the project before the recall would have mattered. They still would have sued. Amnesia glasses?"

Two things: a good chance that if they hadn't signaled to the community a F--k you and the horses you rode in on, if you don't vote the way we want you to we're going to make sure you pay big time for it, it's highly likely the recall would have failed. AND, if they hadn't started work, we wouldn't be stuck with huge holes in the ground to repair for big bucks.

As for suing, there was a 90-day stand down clause, so you mentioned in earlier comments, amending the plan & etc. which happens all the time and IF people hadn't lost their marbles (another reason to put everyone under oath all the way to Sacramento and ask, WTF???)continuing the project was a real possibility . . . until it was made impossible. And, re contracts & suing, there was also a no-play, no-pay clause, reasonable start up/close down clause put in there by Seitz which was far different from the initial "damage" claims.
And sez:"Could you please opine on how the New Board SHOULD have acted"

My Opine ain't important. What's needed is . . . a truth and reconciliation hearing -- under oath. We first need to know who did what and when, i.e. the facts what what actually went down, before anyone can Opine anything.