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Friday, November 05, 2010

Pulitzer Prize for the County



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.

As intended.  

22 comments:

Sewertoons said...

So Ann, where did you ever get the idea that the $25,000 was going to be used on rates and charges to use the plant? Have you never paid rates and charges on other utility bills? I paid $39/bi monthly in LA for the sewer service when I lived there.

Yeah, the additional monthly money to cover the vacant lots is a pain - we'll just have to wait to see what the ISJ and the Water Master Plan have to say. As it is, we won't pay these rates and charges for the vacant lot owners until 2014 when the plant is operational - and ONLY ever if there is NOT enough water for the vacant lots to build.

Your question, "If the short-fall isn’t met, . . . . . what then?" The County did answer that question at the meeting on October 5. They won't get the cheap SRF money and will have to get a bond to cover it - at interest rates around 5% instead of SRF's 2.7% or maybe even 0%. And interim funding will have to be found elsewhere too, who knows how much THAT would up the cost of the project.

So by all means, if you want to pay even more - encourage people to deny this 218.

Sewertoons said...

Ann, you forgot a category in your assessment above - the people who are OK with paying what is necessary to get a sewer and who all along have said, "We Delay, We Pay."

(Although when that phrase was coined, I doubt people were so heavily focused on the penalty payment for putting off addressing the water supply issues as they are now.)

GetRealOsos said...

Of course what Lynette doesn't say is that like in Morro Bay, once the sewer system is in place there will be no more voting on anything!!

The costs will just keep on coming (especially if they use MWH) -- so this is just the beginning folks.
...and the project hasn't even started.

Who lives up there in the hills?...who is the County protecting from any sewer related costs? Must be some real important people up there in Cabrillo. They aren't getting a "general" benefit?

Nevada just built a wonderful bridge at Hoover Damn for less money!!

Churadogs said...

Toonces sez:"Your question, "If the short-fall isn’t met, . . . . . what then?" The County did answer that question at the meeting on October 5."

Actually, they didn't . . . entirely. My email to Mr. Clemmens was forwarded to Bruce Gibson who replied and noted that the FAQ on this was now posted at the LOWWP website, (down at the bottom, click on FAQ and find the one for the latest assessment. And a brochure will be coming shortly. Which is interestingly very Cart Before the Horse-ish; First incomprehensible argle-bargle, four pages of it, followed by a (hopefully?) clear brochure 'splaining some critical information.)

But, most interestingly, on the FAQ it notes that if the assessment fails the BOS can try again with a different number OR dump the entire project and walk away. Wouldn't you say, Toonces, that THAT was vital information needed to be on the four-page sheet of argle-bargle sent to homeowners who are supposed to make some critical decisions regarding a "protest" vote??
I sure would.

GRO sez:"Of course what Lynette doesn't say is that like in Morro Bay, once the sewer system is in place there will be no more voting on anything!!

The costs will just keep on coming (especially if they use MWH) -- so this is just the beginning folks.
...and the project hasn't even started."

I can't help getting a sad, sad smile when reading about Morro Bay/Cayucos' MWH sewer upgrades. Poor Morro Bay. They have no idea. Who was the wag who said, "We're ALL Los Osos Now?"

Sewertoons said...

There is time to protest Ann, and if the public really cares, they will show up at the Town Hall meeting. Cart before the horse or not, if you don't like how they did it, lobby to change the law. What they did was LEGAL. The mailing will happen in due time.

I'm sure the Step supporters and the NO SEWER people are getting tingles at the statement, "BOS can try again with a different number OR dump the entire project and walk away."

"Try again with a different number" means delay - I mean there were 3 numbers presented to the Supes - which would you have preferred - any of them? How does delay help?

And as to the "dump and walk away scenario," I mean really - the Supes will dump the $7+ million spent onto the rest of the County? REALLY? And if in that fantasy-land they did that, do you REALLY want to see those CDO's and NOV's in action - coupled with paying the CSD's bankruptcy? And a CSD that has NO MEANS to do a sewer project? You mean, things aren't tough enough?

Watershed Mark said...

Although raised Mormon, he smoked cigars and drank vodka as an adult. He moved to California in the 1930s due to a suggestion by Earl Warren.[2] Jarvis bought his home at 515 North Crescent Heights Boulevard in Los Angeles for $8,000 in 1941.[3] By 1976, it was assessed at $80,000.[2] He married his third wife, Estelle Garcia, around 1965.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Jarvis

Too bad there aren't more rational, vodka drinking thinkers and fewer whiners in Los Osos...

Watershed Mark said...

Pay attention:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1212013/Revealed-The-ghost-fleet-recession-anchored-just-east-Singapore.html#ixzz0Rpgo37Uy

The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination - and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year


The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination - and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year

The biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history lies at anchor east of Singapore. Never before photographed, it is bigger than the U.S. and British navies combined but has no crew, no cargo and no destination - and is why your Christmas stocking may be on the light side this year

The 'ghost fleet' near Singapore. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies

Churadogs said...

Mark, the above posting is why I often wonder if you've got some ADH problems or something missing that prevents you from coherence. You seem to think that context somehow magically appears? That everyone immediately knows what you're talking about (or why) so you plop totally unrelated items into the middle of something and somehow expect people to know what the hell you're talking about? Instead, people just think you're an idiot.

Context, Mark. Context.

Sewertoons said...

Thank you Ann, you nailed it. (Maybe he likes people to think he is an idiot? Or maybe he thinks that he is just SO SPECIAL that context doesn't matter - the GREAT wsm has spoken, take heed peons!)

TheOpenEye said...

the above posting is why I often wonder if you've got some ADH problems or something missing that prevents you from coherence. You seem to think that context somehow magically appears? That everyone immediately knows what you're talking about (or why) so you plop totally unrelated items into the middle of something and somehow expect people to know what the hell you're talking about? Instead, people just think you're an idiot."

Bimbotoons... What are you SO SMUG about? Ann's comment could just as well apply to you!!!!

You are just too dumb to notice how dumb you are!!!

Watershed Mark said...

Too bad there aren't more rational, vodka drinking thinkers and fewer whiners in Los Osos...

Churadogs said...

Woa, woa, guys. I wasn't being mean. I've mentioned this to Mark before. I'm serious. If you're trying to communicate, there's some pretty basic things you have to have in place in order to make any sense. These weirdly out of context plops of disconnected information happens so open that I have to wonder if Mark is even aware of what he's doing? Or is there some disconnect going on. This happens so often that I have to wonder if maybe Mark THINKS he's being coherent, but he's missed several steps so his reader/listener is totally clueless because of all those missing steps.

all of us use a kind of short-hand and assume the reader will fill in the blanks, rather than spelling out EVERYTHING every single time. But if those gaps are too large or too unrelated or disconnected, or the connections are so obscure that they're known only to the writer, the reader is left completely out of the loop. Which begs the question: Then what's the point of writing anything in this space in the first place?

Sewertoons said...

Ann,
Perhaps because wsm doesn't like your politics and has no clue as to what is going on with the 218 here, he is attempting to become disruptive and pull the discussion over to his topic? Maybe he is attempting a filibuster? Maybe he is just being a spoiled brat looking for attention?

Churadogs said...

I honestly don't know what's up with Mark's context problems. They're consistent in almost all of his postings.

Sewertoons said...

Oh well, at least he doesn't show up much anymore. Maybe he is in a detox ward someplace getting help. Or maybe he employs chimpanzees to select his posts?

Watershed Mark said...

So as not to disappoint and in an effort to matain continuity:

Are you paying attention?

”Did you catch the strange missile event off LA yesterday? Nobody seems to own what was probably an ICBM. Deeply significant, I think, part of the old guard falling apart.

http://www.forbiddenknowledgetv.com/videos/security/mystery-missile-launched-in-los-angeles.html (MSLSD no Less)

”I think the comment at the end is right - this is a spectacular demonstration of capability in the military muscle sense. BUT NOT (as suggested in the video) by the US, but rather by either Russia or China, with the latter being far more likely. The Chinese have a reputation for extremely capable stealth technologies for subs, and I seem to remember it was reported that they surfaced near to a US carrier during naval exercises a couple of years back – and, until they ‘popped up’ to say ‘hello’ nobody knew they were there! (How embarrassing is that!!).

”This missile probably means that their sub got to within 35 miles of the coast without being detected (if so, then WOW). In recent months there have been reports of a number of Chinese submarines along both the East and West coasts of the USA. I think their reason to act now may be a combination of a) the US has apparently already defaulted on massive loans from China, and b) the USA is now simply putting two fingers up to them, shortly to be hugely exacerbated by a planned devaluation (which has been rumoured for a while), meaning further massive losses for the Chinese.

”So, based on the many reports of others, my best bet is that the missile demo is probably China, flexing its muscles to psyche out Washington. Must be a few tense people in both Washington and the military!


( I know your toilet water is sooooo much more important that your future personal safety and finacial well being...)

Watershed Mark said...

Again, pay attention:

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 (1788 - 1860)

Watershed Mark said...

Every person takes the limits of their own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 - 1860)

alabamasue said...

Verbal diarrhea? Something is seriously wrong with this guy- off topic, and spewing conspiracy theories (um, it was a jet contrail, not a missile- sorry)

Watershed Mark said...

alabamasue said...
So Mark Low in Mesa, AZ doesn't know the difference between a bivalve and a check valve? Why am I not surprised... The Arizona Ass strikes again!

11:47 AM, August 30, 2010

So Mimi Kalland of San Pedro, California why are you so involved with Lyin' Lynette's toilet water?



Listen up & PAY ATTENTION:

There was even dissent among negotiators as they struggled to find acceptable language for the closing statement that will be issued at the summit’s end on Friday. While a draft showed wording that said members would agree “to refrain from competitive devaluation" of currencies, there was debate over whether to use the term “competitive undervaluation," which refers to the way the U.S. regards China’s currency policy.

http://www.advisorone.com/article/g20-meeting-marked-dissent-inaction-concerns-over-ireland

Churadogs said...

Mark sez:"Did you catch the strange missile event off LA yesterday? Nobody seems to own what was probably an ICBM. Deeply significant, I think, part of the old guard falling apart"

Uh, think the consensus (after cable news had hyped it all into the stratosphere for maximum ratings, finally was, airplane contrail. What comes to mind with the amazing "story" you add to this is, maybe next time try "Ocam's Razor?"

Watershed Mark said...

Ann,

There is nothing to see here...move along.

"Why would anyone want to WAKE UP, when it "feels so good" to keep the covers pulled tightly over their head?"

"I love the smell of coffee in the morning...smells like FREEDOM." http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078788/quotes