Sunday, November 02, 2014

Oooooo Nooooo, Not The Sewer Wars Redux

Aw, dang!  And things were going along so nicely here in Sewerville.  The sewer pipes are in, the sewer plant is a-building right along.  A new Los Osos CSD election was on its way.  The letters to the editor pages were filled with snarking about every other race but our own.  The CSD candidates' forum was very  informative and collegial and collectively respectful, the only "controversy" was over why two of the candidates apparently failed to contact the organizers (the local Democratic club and/or whoever was handling the arrangements) to say they couldn't attend and could we please set another night. But, everyone soldiered on nonetheless.

Then everything started to go sideways: The CSD decided that use of Channel 20 to broadcast the debate was verboten because the group organizing the debate was considered a "political" group, even though political affiliation has never been a part of the CSD candidate qualifications or of the CSD election itself.  So the debate had to air on You Tube, of all places, until it finally aired on AGP's Channel 21.

Then Pandora Nash-Karner fired an opening salvo in the pages of the Tribune, directly attacking two of the candidates, dredging up the Old Sewer Wars, then touting her own slate of candidates.  It was a letter that caused me to snort coffee out of my nose and think:  It is supremely delicious how the architect of the original disaster now points with faux-dismay at those who were left to deal with the inevitable cascading debacle that resulted from the original disaster.  Sudden concern about the fate of the CSD from the woman who demanded Roger Briggs fine the CSD out of existence?  Quel gall.  

But I said nary a word on this blog and hoped everyone else would zip-it.  A few days later a clone of Pandora's letter appeared.  Again, I posted nothing. And waited, with bated breath, but no counter letters appeared, so I figured maybe Pandora's targets and her Chosen Three would ALL rise above her baited opening salvo and stay focused on what's become our favorite mantra out here: A relentlessly smiley-faced "Moving Forward!

But, no such luck.  Saturday front page, the Sewer Wars erupted, with Pandora's Chosen Three now joined up and issuing a flier attacking their two opponents over the (ancient history) sewer while defending their own attack flier by saying that Cesena and Swanson are to blame since they criticized  the two incumbants over "not holding the [current] district's administration accountable."

Yikes!  Criticizing incumbents over current issues.  In an election, no less.  Who would have thought? 

Well,  you can see how splendidly our smiley-faced "Moving Forward!" mantra is working.  As is our loudly stated insistence on not dredging up the Bad Old Days, our relentlessly positive efforts to just focus on current-and-future CSD issues, so long as candidates don't disagree with or criticize any incumbents for present-day administrative difficulties?  

So, here we are once again in a fifth-grade Poo fight. With an added bonus: A Tribune front-page story that also tosses Mr. Storm's temper and obscene gesture issues front and center, a piece of information I doubt the average voter had been aware of prior to this.

Sigh.  More proof positive that knives in a knife fight have blades that can cut both ways.

Since a good many people in Los Osos use mail-in ballots and vote early, the CSD election may well have been decided after the candidate forum but before Pandora's first shot and/or the Tribune headlines and this morning's final tit-for-tat final two letters. Wouldn't that be interesting to contemplate? Well, two more days and we'll see what happens.  Good luck to all the candidates and thanks for running. 

Except for the Tribune's final parting shot: The CSD candidates didn't even rate an editorial recommendation.  Poor Los Osos.  Still the county's Red-Haired Stepchild.  


Ron said...

"Everything old is newwww again, everything under the sun..."

Oh, I'm sorry, for some reason, that Barenaked Ladies song is stuck in my head.

Ann writes:

"Then Pandora Nash-Karner fired an opening salvo in the pages of the Tribune..."

Of course she did, because that's her job, but my favorite part about that "salvo," is that the Trib printed it, after I showed them (about a million times) this GREAT quote, from Pandora to her followers, in 2005:

""It's time to launch a serious letter writing campaign to the local media... Joyce Albright found out today that the Tribune will be allowing a section, once per week, on the sewer issue. Please do NOT copy the concepts in your letter, otherwise, the media will recognize our efforts as a group effort and we lose our credibility.""

See? Pandora was wrong there. I showed them how Pandora organizes, all behind-the-scenes like, "serious letter writing campaign to the local media," and the Trib, recklessly, STILL gives her, and her followers, "credibility."

So, Pandora got that wrong: The Trib does "recognize (her) efforts as a group effort," and they STILL give her "credibility."

That's not on Pandora (hey, she's just doing her job), that's on the Trib for being journalistically reckless.

Ann writes:

"Sudden concern about the fate of the CSD from the woman who demanded Roger Briggs fine the CSD out of existence?"

Of course, my favorite part of that story -- Pandora wanting her CSD "fined out of existence" -- is that she wrote that the day after she lost the 2005 recall election, however, in her newsletters during the campaign of that election, she writes:

"(If the recall is successful) the LOCSD may be fined out of existence."
-- Pandora Nash-Karner, from Save the Dream Newsletter #4, March 25, 2005

So, you know, journalistically speaking, how great is that?

Pandora in front-of-the-scenes?: "(If the recall is successful) the LOCSD may be fined out of existence."

And, Pandora behind-the-scenes?: "I hope the CSD gets fined out of existence..."

And she's STILL at it, in 2014.

Awesome. [journalistically speaking, of course]

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Memory is short and the turnover rate is high in Los Osos. "We Delay, We Pay," seems to be a lesson yet to be learned. History might to need a refresher course. You might vote for a candidate not realizing how prior actions have impacted this community. Of course, you take a chance on someone new. You might like past actions or not, but it is good to know what someone did in the past. Most (not all) candidates have websites. They can defend their past actions if they so choose.

Churadogs said...

Ron, Sadly, the Tribune's effort at being "investigative" journalists is sorely lacking. Once they bought into the false narrative, they weren't about to change the story. That would require too much work. All that 'splaining.

Toonces: Yes, indeed, Memory is short, incomplete, false, confused, partial, and turnover means "newbies" will have no clue what went before. But I thought the current mantra was that the community is sick to death of the old sewer wars and it was long past time to "move forward," which should mean that candidates should quarrel over the recent CSD's activities and issues, not ancient history.

Or as the old country western singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphy put it, "There ain't no future in the past."

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I'll go down what was posted in that article and since I do go to CSD meetings and two of the three committee meetings, I feel I have an opinion based on observation.

The District's administration actually has been doing a great job, and finding out where all the money went and how it was entered in the books, is very useful to the District. But I can see how some people would not like that. The candidate for GM that Cesena and Swanson wanted was not chosen by the Board. Personally, my take is, certain public speakers just plain don't like her, so if Cesena, Swanson and one other who being new and not knowing enough will "go along to get along" are elected, we can see hiring a new GM in the future. How much will that cost? AND, Kivley should not get blamed by Swanson and Cesena for rules Seitz told her she must follow!

Then there is the water basin management. Two years AFTER the CDP was issued and ONE MONTH before the County was to start digging, a group that Chuck is the most vocal and visible member of, the Los Osos Sustainability Group, went to the Coastal Commission to pull the permit because they disagree with some water issues! What kind of judgment was that??? Fortunately, the CCC found that they didn't have a case and remarked that the material presented had been presented before. LOSG's angle was that the County LIED and withheld information!

Now Chuck and LOSG has said that the Basin Plan, which is poised to be finished up in December (according to the District's attorney Mike Seitz) and to be released most likely in January (FINALLY, after TEN YEARS), needs ANOTHER public review. It already had one and they submitted their suggestions already! How long can this basin wait while people squabble over details? This "review" can only be accomplished if Cesena and Swanson and one uneducated newby get in.

Swanson, a supporter of Cesena all along, claims to be proud that the sewer was moved out of town. And as we say from the old saw, "We Delay, We Pay," that sewer is $29 million more. We will be paying for 30 years on one loan and 40 years on the other, as opposed to Tri-W's 20 years. Swanson sued the CSD 3 times and LOST, then the Lisa Board paid him a hefty settlement! Chuck was on that board!

Where were these people in 2000 when they could have had a hand in creating a project THEY wanted for FREE and not cost the CSD millions?

In listening to old meetings just lately (11/22/05), I feel that the Lisa Board COULD have kept the money. But at this critical point, they actually turned down the State SRF money, with the very unsophisticated caveat that they would TAKE IT if, IF!, the State made some concessions TO THEM! And BTW, at that same meeting they decided to do that, they initiated a lawsuit that the last State SRF loan was illegal! Really two moves designed to say, "we don't know what we are doing," OR, "we don't want your stinkin' State money."

Now where the financial planning was to accomplish anything with NO MONEY is not such a big mystery as it turned out. They raided the Fire Tax, the reserves AND the Bond Payment. And, as had been throughly predicted, they went bankrupt. Now how were they going to find credit to build ANYTHING with a credit rating in the toilet, I have no idea. What sort of interest rates would we be getting on what sort of a loan? It was TOO LATE to NOT USE SRF money!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

I wrote too much, here is the rest:

Yeah, you could look at that candidates forum and see everyone playing nicey-nice. But NO hard questions were asked, none of these facts came out. You can say that people don't want to revisit old history, but how do you make an informed vote if you don't know what happened? How can you evaluate a candidate's decision making if you don't know the kinds of decisions that were made in the past?

If Gordon or Richard were running in this election do you think their pasts would not be out there in screaming red headlines on mailers paid for by the Recall people? Of COURSE they would!

Isn't the best predictor of future behavior one's past behavior? Shouldn't voters KNOW that? Sorry if you are tired folks, but look before you vote.

Churadogs said...

Need I point out, in the name of full disclosure, that Lynette's husband is one of the CSD candidates?

Also, the point of my poking fun at this latest blow up wasn't because I don't believe a candidate's record is moot in a campaign, but because I kept hearing the mantra that this community needs to "heal," and "come together," and put the past behind us and "move forward," . . . until Pandora and her candidates apparently found it useful to themselves to revisit the Sewer Wars. So then "healing" and "moving forward?" Eh, not so much.

As for me, I've called for years for a Truth and Reconciliation Hearing -- complete with subpoena power (Hey, we could hire Darrell (I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille) Issa to run it.) Ron's done a darned good job of digging up tons of documents but there's still a whole lot missing. If people really want to "heal" they can make an effort to understand what actually happened here (a task that would take YEARS because, as I have previously written, for every footnote -- and there would be millions of those -- there would have to be at least 6-12+ other footnotes to 'splain the first footnote.)
Or everybody can agree to just let it go and . . . move forward.

Right now, we're doing neither.
Well, let's see if this CSD election does the trick. Past a certain point, new voices, new issues will gradually replace the old. And the Sewer Wars will be what they really are: Interesting, arcane Ancient history.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"Sadly, the Tribune's effort at being "investigative" journalists is sorely lacking."

Well, obviously that's true, but, what I'm getting at actually has nothing to do with investigative journalism.

When I show the Trib's editors (over, and over, and over again) that I intercepted this quote:

"It's time to launch a serious letter writing campaign to the local media... Joyce Albright found out today that the Tribune will be allowing a section, once per week, on the sewer issue. Please do NOT copy the concepts in your letter, otherwise, the media will recognize our efforts as a group effort and we lose our credibility."

... from a 2005 Pandora email to her followers, and they STILL give her "credibility" by publishing her "group effort" letters to the editor (that she's paid to do)? Well, that's just reckless journalism. They allow her to play them, when they know they are being played.

That's flat-out terrible.

Quick show of hands: How many people reading this have ever organized "a serious letter writing campaign to the local media?"

O.K... I'm looking around the room, and I see exactly one hand in the air.

And, as far as these kind of takes go:

"And the Sewer Wars will be what they really are... Ancient history."

Again, considering that "more than 4,000" LOPZ property owners will be paying for the now-miserably-failed Tri-W disaster until the year 2034, the "Sewer Wars" won't be "ancient history" until the year 2035.

And I'm just getting started on the GREAT, "Some LOPZ property owners got a refund on their Tri-W disaster assessment, while the vast majority didn't" story.

So, you know, that doesn't sound like "ancient history" to me.

Churadogs said...

Here's one definition of "Ancient History" that applies here: Events that have already happened, the effects of which may still continue to play out in real time, BUT the causation of which will NEVER be revisited or rectified or changed or acknowledged in any way. Instead, the survivors (and witnesses) will be buried and the "history" re-written and business will go on as usual. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Has anyone (not Ron though, he is famous for people not talking to him) talked to anyone who got the refund? What didi they do differently than those who didn't?

Churadogs said...

JuliE Tacker said she knew that the Board and votred to deny a good many of those things yet somehow in the bankruptcy court that denial was overriddn and she doesn't know why. Tuess you have to track down the bankruptcy hearing transcripts to see why some but not all were reinstated. Very weird. And certainly unfair to the rest of the community. But then, what else is new.