The results of the failed Rates & Charges protest vote hearing at the BOS:
50% plus one of property owners needed for a successful protest
There were 5,262 notices sent out.
2,632 were needed for a successful protest
801 valid protests were actually received.
15% of the homeowners in the PZ protested
There’s no way of knowing how many people received the long, rambling, incomprehensive 2-page, double-sided notification letter dense with type and with protest vote information buried deep in the bottom half of the third page and figured it was just argle-bargle and tossed it out. As intended.
Public comment notes:
Mr. Murphy of Reclamator fame was there “on behalf of the people of Los Osos,” wearing a black cowboy hat, black leather jacket and sporting a spiffy grizzled goatee. God alone in his infinite, mysterious wisdom, knows what Murphy thought to do or say or accomplish. Until he plopped some sort of letter with signatures and a fancy-looking seal on it into the overhead projector and proceeded to announce that Los Osos was in line to receive piles of money from some really swell sounding organization with the words “water” and “green” and “international” in it and we’re talking PILES of money here, Midas-like piles, more money than what’s offered by Publisher’s Clearing House with their promises of vast riches, like BILLIONS, no, wait, multi—billions, TRILLIONS, free money just waiting to rain down on Los Osos, all sworn to by some people or other who, yes, right there, actually signed this here piece of paper, three signatures, look, right there, it’s official, all for the asking in this year of our Lord, 2010, money raining down from the south seas, Yes, Yes, money, piles of money and international and green and water and some signatures somewhere. Right. Sure. Swell hat, Murph.
The rest of the public comments were the usual: Questions about how this “vote” was set up and run, complaints of confusion over the procedure, complaints of not using best science (Paavo’s old “let the best technology rise to the top” ploy – Bwahahahah), demands of a neutral oversight/audit of what this project has morphed into (the old back-scratching Paavo/MWH/Wallace Group/ Corollo two-step? No design-build for you, Los Osos!), worries about affordability, questions about why the cost of the project was so quickly dismissed, protests over the violation of the original Mission Statement, requests that the BOS verify whether Dana Ripley’s plan actually would be $50 million cheaper and would be capped and guaranteed (a simple enough thing to check, one would think, if one were actually interested in a claim of $50 mil), questions about what’s going to happen to people who can’t afford this, what will happen to defaulted properties by people who can’t afford this, will those costs be dumped on the rest of the homeowners, protests about voting ourselves out of our own homes, objections that the water/sewer numbers for commercial properties are wrong, that homeowners are subsidizing the commercial users, (Will Clemmens later noted that the (slightly incorrect) numbers used now can be adjusted later from guesstimates to real water billing records, while one wit noted that with huge amounts of discretionary income being removed from the community, a lot of the businesses will close and won’t be using any water so if the numbers are wrong, it won’t matter anymore),a non-protest paean by Joyce Albright, lauding Paavo and the Board and dismissing the “obstructionists,” a protest by Keith Wimer of the Sustainability Group because the project doesn’t mitigate for financial devastation, that there has been no affordability studies done, no life cycle costs analysis done even though it’s supposed to be done, a claim that even high-tech on-site individual systems may now be cheaper than this project, yet not allowed by the RWQCB (more Bwahahahah), objections that Los Osos will have the highest water costs in the country, pleads that real-time issues with the different water purveyors be fixed before proceeding, notice of the non-protest by the CSD and the information that the CSD will now be starting work to have the Help Us We’re Poor and Dying Here cap in hand to try to get grants because the cost will hammer the town into the dust.
The BOS response to the really serious questions about people losing their homes because they cannot afford this project? Silence. Followed by Supervisor Gibson’s terse lecture to the audience that affordability is NOT an issue here. This project will be what it will be. Period.
And the palpable relief from the Board that they would no longer have to listen to all these pathetic whiners and complainers and “obstructionists” any more. Done. End game.
Moved that the rates and charges ordinance be adopted: 5-0. Adjourned.
You Need To Say That Again, The BOS Is No Longer Listening
Bev De-Witt Moylan read the following to the BOS during public comment at yesterday’s Rates & Charges hearing. I’m not sure Joyce Albright was in the audience at the time. I hope she was since she needed to hear Bev’s comments. Bev’s metaphor is one both citizens and elected officials should always keep in mind. Canaries in coal mines can be dismissed as “obstructionists,” and whiners and painted in other negative colors, but the conditions in the mine they are warning about with their deaths still need to be addressed. Posted with permission.
During a workshop on cancer I attended last spring a marriage and family therapist compared cancer in the body to the acting out child in a family. Like the acting-out child cancer tends to get people’s attention she said. It signals that some aspect of the patient’s life is out of balance.
The therapist said she loves acting-out children because they are the bravest members of their families. They are the ones who know the family secrets; they cannot tolerate them; and simply by virtue of their courage and honesty they cannot help sending out warning signals that something is terribly out of balance in the family.
Not surprisingly families view these children as the problem she said. The acting-out child is an inconvenient embarrassment. The family wants someone to cure the child, to remove the child, to make the child stop doing what he is doing so the family can live out their dysfunctional patterns in unspoken agreement.
The family investment in separating the acting-out child from themselves is great. Each family member’s ability to continue to ignore the truth depends on it, the therapist told us.
And so it is with the intrepid people who appear thanklessly before you every week at great personal hardship to be a voice for the underrepresented and unrepresented in Los Osos. With the naïve hope that perhaps this time said in this way you will hear, they repeat the secret aloud that something is terribly wrong. For that they are scolded, demeaned, threatened, silenced, removed, and apologized for.
These inconvenient embarrassments are courageous community members who risk scorn and public humiliation every time they appear. You perceive frustration; they perceive indifference. You perceive hostility; they perceive dysfunction. I respectfully request that this Board consider that what you perceive as acting-out is the desperate exercise of constitutional rights by citizens trying to defend themselves and their neighbors from a government that appears to be coercive and non-responsive. Scolding, threats, and shows of force only cement that perception. Respecting citizens by listening to their opinions, and responding to their concerns, even when you have to work hard to do it, is part of being a public servant.