Wednesday, November 05, 2014

OMG! OMG! Sewer Wars Half-Over?

Poor Pandora.  Her efforts at getting her Boys (Storm, Baltimore, Tornatzky) elected to the CSD by trying to re-start the Hideous Sewer Wars with her letter-to-the-editor (Oct 23) attacking candidates Cesena and/or Swanson failed.  One of her targets (Cesena) got elected to serve alongside her two boys, Storm and Tornatzky.

The immediate result of this "voter's choice" is that the LOCSD's general manager's job is safe, for now, but the meetings will likely remain a bit testy, which is as it should be.  A too-cozy board is a board that's not doing its job. And a board that defers with too few questions to an administrator is also a board that's not doing its job. So, with this new slate, it's the CSD that's the winner, IF everyone takes a deep breath and takes as a given that this vote was an indication that the voters did, indeed, want everyone -- Tri-Wers and Move the  Sewerers -- to serve together on the Board and . . .  "move forward."

Congratulations to the winners (and my deepest sympathy -- now comes the hard part: governing this growling, contentious bear of a community) and thank you to all the candidates for running for a tough, thankless job. 


Sandra Gore said...

I'm happy you've found something in last night's results to celebrate.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Well, I don't know if the three were "her boys." I got slammed by Gail for calling Senet, Fouche and Cesena "her boys."

Two out of three isn't bad for any batting average for those who voted Storm, Baltimre and Tornatzky.

Think how much fun Chuck will have being on the board again! At least the Basin Plan is safe from more tinkering by LOSG. Trying to stop the current sewer project one month before the County started construction wasn't the best move on their part if saving water was the idea.....

I am not sure who the Tri-W-ers were on the current board, except for Lou.

Ron said...

I have a question: What does the LOCSD do?

I mean, here's the first sentence of their current "Mission Statement":

"The Los Osos Community Services District shall provide the best possible services to the community of Los Osos including water, wastewater, drainage, parks, recreation, street lighting, solid waste, fire emergency and rescue response."

Well, AB 2701 means no more "wastewater." (And that was seven years ago.)

And the District was forced to sell the "solid waste" franchise a couple years back due to the bankruptcy, so no more "solid waste."

And, "fire emergency and rescue response" is no loner with the SBFD, as it was at the start of the CSD, and when that "Mission Statement" was written, and is now just a simple contract with Cal Fire.

So, if we were to update that first sentence to 2014, shouldn't it read more like:

"The Los Osos Community Services District shall provide the best possible services to the community of Los Osos including water, drainage, parks, recreation, street lighting."?

Well, "drainage and "street lighting?" Isn't that county stuff?

And "Parks" AND "Recreation" is bit a redundant, isn't it?

Sooooo... even further refined, in 2014:

The Los Osos Community Services District shall provide the best possible services to the community of Los Osos including water, recreation.

Now, at last check, the LOCSD has a staff of 12.

So, I have another question: What's the annual budget for the LOCSD?

What I'm getting at, is that now that the LOCSD has been reduced to little more than a small water business, does it really require THAT level of staffing?

The LOCSD was formed in 1998 to do one, and one thing only: Build a "better, cheaper, faster" ponding sewer system in the middle of town, and when that DOA disaster failed in 2000 -- as I first exposed in a New Times cover story -- well, that was that. The ONLY reason to form the LOCSD in the first place, failed.

And now, it seems like it's nothing more than an over-the-top-expensive-to-operate water business.

So, again, I ask: What does the LOCSD do? What kind of "governing this growling, contentious bear of a community" CAN it do?

Well, I can recommend one thing: Immediately update their highly misleading and inaccurate "Mission Statement."

Oh, and congratulations to the new LOCSD Water Business Directors.

Ron said...

I also want to add one more quick, important point to my comment above: The LOCSD's water biz boundary covers less than half of Los Osos.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ron, you don't live here. Other than having a convenient platform to beat up on Pandora, what is your purpose on this blog or to commenting on our town? If you think that you can dissolve the CSD good luck. It's not going to happen. I ought to know. You are in no position to comment on staffing either.

Churadogs said...

Ron: excellent questions. Yeah, I guess the CSD is a vastly overstaffed Water Company and since land-use remains with the County, even any attempts at getting parks out here would have to go through the county, so, hmmmm.

Toonces: How's about it? See if Lou would introduce a motion that we need to change our mission statement, at least until the county returns the sewer plant to CSD control?

Sandra: What's that old saying, This election is always about the
next election. So, it's going to be interesting to see if both parties suddenly know they're going to be hanged in the morning (2016) and so begin to concentrate their minds wonderfully. Well, we'll see.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"Yeah, I guess the CSD is a vastly overstaffed Water Company and since land-use remains with the County, even any attempts at getting parks out here would have to go through the county, so, hmmmm"

Exactly. So, again, I have no idea what the function of the LOCSD is, other than to be a "vastly overstaffed" small water biz for less than half the town, and to lie to its constituents about its "Mission."

At least the less-than-half of the Los Ososans that use the CSD as their water company are getting something from the agency.

A for the other nearly 2/3rds? The CSD's Mission Statement for them looks more like this:

"The Los Osos Community Services District shall provide the best possible services to the community of Los Osos including... ummm... errrrrr... OUT!"

Hey, maybe THAT could be the new Mission Statement that Lou introduces.

It'd sure be a lot more accurate than the gigantic, obvious lie they are currently telling Los Ososans.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Good golly, the water department staff does more than just water. Drainage, Vista de Oro, Bayridge, all needs some tending to. The water department is the water department and needs the same amount of bodies as it ever did. If we had control of the sewer, there would be more staff to be added to do that.

Sure, if we had the money to install smart meters, that would cut down on water staff. But then, remember the hue and cry the last time "smart meters" came up from PG&E?

There was money chaos for many years and some screw ups so the books are finally being gone over and done electronically and will be finally correct. Interfund loans are being correctly written off from that failed septic management plan, for instance. Remember all the part time staffing due to budget issues because of the bankruptcy? Well, the CSD is finally getting back on track. I don't know where this overstaffing thing is coming from....oh wait. Keith Swanson.

Where sewer control was last left was at the State Water Board. The 0% interest on the SRF is still on the table. IF, and ONLY IF, the County agrees to keep the sewer project. KEEP IT. No movement on that however. We may or may not get it back. What do you want? The sewer or the lower interest on the loan?

Well, maybe that the CSD is getting back on its feet, it can spend some energy on the frills—the Mission Statement. I'll throw it out there. There have been weightier problems than this to deal with over the past 8 years. I doubt anyone but Ron has looked at the Mission Statement. Any hands out there?

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I forgot to answer Ron's question:

Well, "drainage and "street lighting?" Isn't that county stuff?

Well, not exactly. The County has some drainage responsibilities in Los Osos and Los Osos has a bunch of drainage responsibilities too, which includes the operation and maintenance of pumps during rainy season and brush maintenance year around so the water, when it does come, will flow.

There is street lighting on the main thoroughfares which the County does, then there is the lighting assessment district up in Cabrillo Estates that the CSD manages. Otherwise, there are no street lights in Los Osos.

So again Ron, why does this matter to you?

Churadogs said...

Smart Water Meters? YES! HELL Yes. We used to get water bills with visually useful bar graphs showing water usages in easily graspable images. Those were nice. Now, you have to hunt around on the bill to try to figure out what's going on.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"... at least until the county returns the sewer plant to CSD control?"

IF the county returns the sewer plant to CSD control.

And, right about now, if I'm betting my 12-ver of Heineken, I'm putting it on the "No f-ing way does that EVER happen" side.

I mean, think about it: Who, in their right mind, would take a complex sewer system, and hand its operation over to... wait for it... The LOCSD!?

We're talking about a baseless agency, that wasted two years (1999 - 2000) and millions of dollars, futilely chasing a now-miserably-failed ponding disaster in the middle of town, and when that disaster failed, as predicted by everyone BUT the CSD, the agency turns right around and wastes ANOTHER five years (2001 - 2005) and another $20 million on their SECOND, now-miserably-failed, mid-town-sewer-plant-"picnic area" disaster.

And the County's going to hand over their functioning, reality-based, sewer system to THAT agency -- an agency, that by all appearances, does absolutely nothing for 2/3rds of the town, except lie to them with their "Mission Statement?'

Are... you... friggin'... kidding.... me?

Lord, I can hear the eyes of the State Water Resources Control Board (AND staff) roll at the thought.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Well Ron, why don't you just move right down here and express your views as a Los Osos citizen instead of kvetching from afar where you aren't even current on what's happening here? Perhaps run in the next election? Maybe YOU can change the CSD, as it certainly is NOT going away.

BTW—you forgot to dis the County's old proposal, next to the Middle School which was soundly hated by the Los Osos citizens. Please, a bit more on that part, OK?

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Smart water meters would be a huge boon to knowing how much water you are using IMMEDIATELY, rather than having to wait for 2 months to get the bill, and then, OOPS, if you went over the amount that you should have been using. They are EXPENSIVE unfortunately. And then there is the tin-foil hat bunch that will protest against the "health issues" of having such a meter on their property..... How much did PG & E spend on education and PR to make their project acceptable to residents? That would be an additional cost.

Churadogs said...

Re smart meters. Any new technology involves a certain (expensive) learning curve but, I'm presuming, in the long term that expense is more than made up for in saved resources. So I say, bring 'em on. Would be wonderful to track water use much quicker than every 2 months.

And as for Ron needing to move here in order to criticize? Naw. Everyone's free to kick Los Osos around. It's become a county-wide support as you'll see if you read the letters-to=the editor.