Didja get your four page Notice of Public Hearing on Ordinance to Impose Sewer Service Charges in the Service Area of the Los Osos Wastewater Project?
Have you ever read anything as deliberately opaque as that thing? I doff my cap. It takes real talent to write something that impenetrable.
Not that it matters much. I mean, the property owners in the PZ don’t really need to be clearly informed about any of this since the whole idea is to make sure a successful “protest” vote, which is nearly impossible to pull off in the first place since those type of “votes” are set up to be a confusing “Vote Yes on No/ No on Yes” and requires a 50% plus 1 count, be made absolutely unbeatable. And the best way to do that is to send out a four page piece of argle-bargle that’s opaque AND impenetrable. And this one takes the cake.
Did you think your 218 vote to assess yourself $25,000 for the sewer was it? Did you know that that 218 vote did NOT include the additional capital/interest costs for undeveloped properties? A short fall, so to speak? You didn’t? We that’s o.k., I’m betting most of the homeowners getting this thing are equally in the dark. So, since this is supposed to be an information sheet, can you point out to me where that “short-fall” is clearly explained?
And then can you find the section that explains, in clear English, exactly how this thing is going to go down. For example, can you find a paragraph somewhere that states:
If the protest vote fails, (as intended) homeowners WILL be paying an additional fixed fee for the owners of undeveloped properties until such time as undeveloped lots are able to develop. Given the water shortage, that may be never and/or a long, long time.
Or, “If the protest vote fails (as intended) homeowners WILL NOT be paying for undeveloped lots. Instead, vacant lot owners will be charged their fair-share portion of the “short-fall.” And when and if they develop, they will also be charged OMR fees when they hook up.
And then our “informational” packet says that if the protest vote is successful, the sewer service charges cannot be imposed, but our “informational” packet fails to say what that would mean. If the short-fall isn’t met, . . . . . what then?
Wouldn’t you think that’s the kind of information a “voter” needs from an “informational” packet on an Ordinance asking for more assessments?
Ah, yes, but that’s only if the intention is to actually inform the public. This Ordinance process is strictly pro-forma so it only has to meet the minimum legal effort to actually inform. Which is why it deserves a Pulitzer Prize for Opacity!
Meantime, here’s my Prediction: At least 1/3 of the homeowners will toss this thing in the recycle bin, unread. They’ll say, “Uh, What the Hell is all this crap? Oh, something about the sewer.” And toss it. And 1/3 will actually read it and say, “Uh. . . Huh. . .I don’t get it. What are these charges all about. I already voted to assess myself for a sewer. I don’t know what this is about.” And toss it in the recycle bin. And 1/3 will read it and say, “Oh, yeah, the additional amounts we’ll be paying for this. Hmm, it’s not clear whether we’ll be paying for the undeveloped lots. Think I’ll email Mr. Will Clemens at the Public Works Department and ask him.” And days later, they’ll still be waiting for an answer.
Oh, and a couple of hundred (maybe) people will show up at the “Town Hall meeting” scheduled for the busy post Thanksgiving weekend, when a lot of people may still be out of town or busy with holiday visitors, where they’ll be allowed to fill out question cards that will be carefully sorted and edited, with selected ones answered after about an hour or more of soothing PaavoSpeak and general smiley-faced best case scenarios of non-existent grant-money and low interest loans falling down the crowd like soothing vaporized Soma.
And so any protest vote will, of course, fail. And when the bills start arriving, about 2/3rds of the community will start shrieking about how they wuz fooled by that original 218 vote since they thought that was it and why in hell are they paying extra and etc. etc. But it will be too late.