Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tribune, You F-d Up, You Trusted Nash-Karner

[Warning: The following post is rated R. If adult language offends you, please do not read, and click here instead.]

One of my all-time, favorite screenplays is Animal House... so many great lines. And one of those great lines that I think of often in the context of Los Osos comes when, after a raucous road trip, Flounder is sobbing next to his brother's once-pristine Lincoln Continental, that is now trashed, and Otter walks up to him, slaps him on the back, and says, "You fucked up. You trusted us."

I see it all the time -- that great, great line applies to so many people and so many agencies, when it comes to Los Osos. And I hate to keep bringing up her name, but in all of those instances, the person they trusted was ubiquitous Los Osos resident, Pandora Nash-Karner.

For examples:

  • The residents of Los Osos fucked up and trusted her in 1998 when she, as marketing director for the Solution Group, told them that her plan would be, "better, cheaper, faster" with a "maximum monthly payment of $38.75," when she knew it wasn't going to be any of those.

  • The California Coastal Commission fucked up and trusted her in 2001 when she told them, as a CSD Director, that there was a "strongly held community value" in Los Osos that any sewer plant in the community must also double as a centrally located "recreational asset," when there is absolutely no documentation whatsoever that supports that extraordinary claim (by the way, I don't see how that doesn't constitute fraud... on a massive scale).

  • Anyone that voted against the recall fucked up and trusted her when she said that Tri-W was selected "primarily" because of "reduced pumping costs," and that the $2.3 million in park amenities included in the Tri-W sewer plant were "added by the California Coastal Commission." (Senior Coastal Commission staff member, Steve Monowitz, would later tell me, "It galls me when they say we added the amenities.")

  • The Bay News fucked up and trusted her, well, actually her husband, Gary Karner, when they published an opinion piece last year with his name attached to it (but it's safe to assume, it first had to meet with Nash-Karner's approval. Anyone that's followed this story closely over the last ten years, like I have, knows who wears the pants in that household) that said the Questa Study -- the study that accurately predicted that her "better, cheaper, faster" "Pandoraland" -- as radio host Dave Congalton called it -- wasn't going to work in Los Osos -- was conducted in 1999, when they knew full well that it was conducted in 1998 -- a full five months before the election that formed the LOCSD on the back of that "better, cheaper, faster" plan.

    And, now, poor Trib reporter, Abraham Hyatt, is the latest person who fucked up when he trusted Nash-Karner.

    In his June 27, story -- Los Osos lets pool funds soak up interest -- Hyatt writes:

    "Los Osos property owners paid the ($260,000 earmarked for a community pool) to the county through a tax they approved in 1996. The county then transferred the funds to the district when it was formed by voters in 1998."

    He wrote that because in a recent e-mail from the Board of Directors of the Los Osos Community Pool Association, with Pandora Nash-Karner as president, it reads:

    "... in November 1996, Los Osos residents voted to have SLO County assess each property owner $40.00 for a swimming pool. The item passed and the money was collected..."

    That is a typical Nash-Karner lie. (I've witnessed them for over ten years, now, and they jump out at me these days. I can spot them in a second.) It's not even close to being accurate, but there it is, printed in the Trib, for all regulators to see and believe, and for all of Los Osos to become even more confused than they already are, thanks, in large part, to Nash-Karner's marketing efforts.

    What makes that line from the LOCPA Board of Directors, with Nash-Karner as president, a blatant lie? Two tiny, little details. First, the assessment vote referred to in that e-mail didn't happen in 1996. It happened in 1997. It was called Measure D-97. And it didn't "pass" as Nash-Karner would have you, and Hyatt, believe. Nope. It failed. Yep, failed.

    However, what actually happened in July of 1996 is very, very interesting. According to Will Clemens, of the SLO County Public Works Department, that's when county Supervisors, following a lobbying effort by the community group, South Bay Community Pool Association, led by Nash-Karner, approved an ordinance that called for a one-time, $50 assessment on Los Osos property owners for "recreational services" in Los Osos.

    "That assessment raised about $275,000, and could have been used for any type of parks and recreation services in Los Osos, not just a pool," Clemens told me.

    However, in November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 218, a ballot measure that required a public vote on any new assessments on property taxes. The next year, in June 1997, Los Osos voters shot down Measure D-97, an assessment that would have added $40 a year to an individual homeowner's property taxes in Los Osos, specifically for a public pool.

    Incidentally, that 1997 election was also the same election that saw the failure of Measure E-97. That measure would have assessed property owners in Los Osos $10 a year for "recreational services."

    It seems, in all fairness, following the 1997 election, the $275,000 that was assessed Los Osos property owners in 1996 for "recreational services" that they didn't want to pay for after all, should have been returned by the County immediately to the property owners in Los Osos. It wasn't. And now, Nash-Karner is claiming that money can only be used for a pool, which, true to form, is not accurate... of course.

    In the LOCPA e-mail, it says, "For over a decade Los Osos residents have wanted a swimming pool." Another lie. If Los Osos voters wanted a swimming pool for over a decade, then why did D-97 fail?

    In a letter dated, October 19, 2005, Karol Vogt, Director, Los Osos Community Pool Association, and a partner in the law firm, Vogt and Drayton, writes, "Several years ago Los Osos voters approved a property assessment to build a community swimming pool. Based on that election, an assessment took place and money was collected."

    Apparently, we can add Vogt to the list of people that fucked up and trusted Nash-Karner.

    Three years after those two public recreation measures failed, Nash-Karner and former CSD General Manager, Bruce Buel convinced the California Coastal Commission in 2001, through a series of phone calls, according to Commission staff, that there was a "strongly held community value" that any sewer plant in Los Osos must also double as a "recreational asset."

    A Coastal Commission document states, "... other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected because they did not accomplish the project objectives for centrally located community amenities."
    [ page 89 ]

    The community amenities, that included an amphitheater, dog park, and tot lot, in the Tri-W sewer plant would end up totaling $2.3 million.

    Included in the LOCPA e-mail is this line, "...the LOCSD has no way to raise money for parks."

    Steve Monowitz, senior staff member for the Coastal Commission, recently told me in a phone interview, "It was inappropriate of me to rely on members of the Solution Group to determine community values in Los Osos." Nash-Karner and Gary Karner formed the Solution Group.

    According to news reports, Nash-Karner, a current SLO County Parks Commissioner, aggressively lobbied for the passage of both public recreation measures in 1997. They both failed. Yet, nine years later, in 2006, an official e-mail from the Board of Directors of the LOCPA, with Nash-Karner as president, states, "Los Osos residents voted to have SLO County assess each property owner $40.00 for a swimming pool."

    That is a lie.

    As marketing director for Save the Dream, Nash-Karner coined the phrase, "Trust the Truth."

    In an e-mail to the LOCPA, SewerWatch wrote:

      Hello Los Osos Community Pool Association,

      I'm a freelance writer researching a story on Los Osos, and I was hoping you could answer two quick questions regarding your e-mail below.

      In the e-mail it says:

      "However, in November 1996, Los Osos residents voted to have SLO County assess each property owner $40.00 for a swimming pool. The item passed and the money was collected..."

      1) Could you please give me the name of the measure (D-96... or something like that) that was passed by Los Osos voters in 1996?

      and

      2) Could you please supply me with the names of the Board of Directors on the LOCPA?


    I have yet to receive a reply.

    When it comes to all things Los Osos, no one's name comes up as often as Nash-Karner's (a distant second would be her husband, Gary Karner).

    Her name is associated with:

    • Los Osos Community Advisory Council: 1994
    • The Vision Statement: 1995
    • South Bay Community Pool Association: 1997
    • The Solution Group (marketing director): 1997 - 1998
    • LOCSD Board Director (number one vote-getter): 1999 - 2001
    • SLO County Parks Commissioner: 1991 - present
    • Save the Dream (marketing director): 2005
    • Taxpayer's Watch: 2005 - present (in a kinda-sorta, shakey, behind-the-scenes way)
    • Los Osos Community Pool Association: Present


    In the e-mail from LOCPA, it reads, "PLEASE REQUEST THE LOCSD IMMEDIATELY TRANSFER THE MONEY TO SLO COUNTY PARKS IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR POOL MONEY."

    Nash-Karner is a current SLO County Parks Commissioner.

    She also led a lobbying campaign three days after the recall election last September, demanding that the Regional Water Quality Control Board begin fining the LOCSD and individual property owners in Los Osos.

    Shortly after the recall election, I read a comment on Ann Calhoun's great blog that called for Nash-Karner to "cease and desist" her marketing efforts in Los Osos.

    Without doubt, that would immediately pave the way to healing Los Osos.

    - - -

    Here's the official e-mail from the LOCPA Board of Directors:

    Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2006 6:26 PM
    Subject: Please help ASAP - $264,838.00 for Los Osos Poll (sic) in jeopardy!!!

    HELP SAVE THE LOS OSOS SWIMMING POOL MONEY!!!

    The LOCSD has transferred money specifically collected for a swimming pool into their bank account. We are very concerned the money will be spent for items not related to the pool.

    PLEASE!!!  Attend the LOCSD meeting, Thursday, June 29th, South Bay Community Center
    2180 Palisades Avenue, Los Osos; Time:  7:00 PM (The LOCSD agenda has not been posted yet and the time may change)

    PLEASE REQUEST THE LOCSD IMMEDIATELY TRANSFER THE MONEY TO SLO COUNTY PARKS IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR POOL MONEY.

    Details and history below -- documentation attached:

    Open letter to Los Osos -- please forward to your friends

    For over a decade Los Osos residents have wanted a swimming pool. Numerous fundraisers were held during the 90s and money was raised to go toward a swimming pool. That money is safe in a trust account and in CDs, and in the SLO County Community Foundation.

    However, in November 1996, Los Osos residents voted to have SLO County assess each property owner $40.00 for a swimming pool. The item passed and the money was collected and held in the County until the LOCSD was formed in November 1998. In 2000, the Pool Money was transferred to the LOCSD and the Board of Directors voted unanimously to place the Pool Money into a separate account restricted from ALL uses except a future swimming pool. This money has been in CDs with the interest growing in the account.

    Because the LOCSD has no way to raise money for parks or the design and construction of a swimming pool, the Los Osos Community Pool Association requested, on June  20, 2005, the LOCSD transfer the funds to SLO County Parks (See attached -- Transfer Request #1).

    The LOCSD promptly placed the item on their Consent Agenda to approve the transfer. Unfortunately, the consent calendar was never heard and after the recall election the item was removed.

    On October 19, 2005, a second letter was sent to the LOCSD requesting the money be transferred to SLO County Parks (See Attached -- Transfer Request #2). The LOCSD never responded to this request.

    This past week, on June 21, 2006, the Interim General Manager of the LOCSD removed the Pool Money from its special account and transferred it to the LOCSD's account (See attached "Ltr Transferring Pool Money"). The money has now been deposited into the LOCSD's account. Currently the money is marked as "restricted" however the restriction could easily be removed and the money could be spent on items other than a swimming pool.

    PLEASE HELP in our efforts for a future pool in Los Osos. Attend the LOCSD meeting and speak during public comment. Request the LOCSD immediately transfer the money to County Parks. Pete Jenny, Manager of County Parks has guaranteed the money will be protected (plus its interest) for a future pool. (See both attached transfer letters for details).

    The reasons for transferring the money to County Parks are simple:
    1.  The SLO County Park Department has the jurisdiction, staff, expertise and the resources to pursue the design and building of a pool through available funding, grants and multiple public-private partnerships.
    2. The Park Department can use this money for matching funds for grant purposes.
    3. The Park Department's purpose is to provide facilities and opportunities for people to recreate.
    4.  A Swimming Pool (Aquatic Center) is specifically listed in the new Park & Rec Element currently being reviewed by the SLO County Planning Commission prior to it's going onto the Board of Supervisors later this year. (SewerWatch note: If Measure D-97 failed, why is an aquatic center "specifically listed in the new Park & Rec Element currently being reviewed by the SLO County Planning Commission?" That doesn't make any sense.)
    5. If the LOCSD is dissolved or goes bankrupt the money will probably be lost.
    6. If the LOCSD spends this money they have no way to repay it and the money will be lost.

    The LOCSD states they can get higher interest in the combined account than in a long-term CD. The good news is that whatever the LOCSD can get in interest, the County can also. But more importantly, since the LOCSD is busy with many pressing issues they will not be able to focus on a swimming pool.

    PLEASE ATTEND ÷ SPEAK UP ÷ HELP SAVE OUR POOL MONEY!!!

    Thank you,

    The Board of Directors
    Los Osos Community Pool Association

    - - -

    On a related topic, on Friday, June 23, 2006, I sent the following e-mail to Darrin Polhemus of the Financial Assistance office of the State Water Resources Control Board. He has yet to reply:

    Hello Mr. Polhemus,

    I'm a freelance journalist researching a story on the Los Osos sewer situation, and I was hoping you could clarify something for me regarding the SRF loan that was designated for the Los Osos sewer project at Tri-W.

    First, please consider the following quotes:

    - Steve Monowitz, permit supervisor for the California Coastal Commission, wrote:

    "... other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected because they did not accomplish the project objectives for centrally located community amenities."
    [ http://www.coastal.ca.gov/sc/W11b-8-2004.pdf / page 89 ]

    - The County of San Luis Obispo, in response to a Coastal Commission request for information regarding alternative sites, wrote:

    "One of those sites, the "Andre" site, like others located outside of the LOCSD service area, did not meet the objectives of the project, including affordability (SewerWatch note: that would prove to be false, according to CSD documents), proximity to the community, and opportunities for community assets (park and offices).

    - The 2001 Los Osos Community Services District, in the Final Project Report, wrote:

    “The size and location of the other sites did not provide an opportunity to create a community amenity. The sites on the outskirts of town, could not deliver a community use area that was readily accessible to the majority of residents in the manner that a central location such as (Tri-W) could.”

    Since, according to the California Coastal Commission, the County of San Luis Obispo, and the 2001 Los Osos Community Services District, the "community amenities" are dictating the Tri-W site, and the project included, among other things, an amphitheater, public gardens, a dog park, and play fields, how was the LOCSD's Tri-W project not a $160 million park project that included a sewer system?

    How is that not a park project? I don't understand.

    And, if it is indeed a park project (and I don't see how it's not) -- then how could it be eligible for SRF money, when the SRF Policy says:

    "The SRF is intended to provide loans in perpetuity for construction of wastewater treatment and water recycling facilities..."?

    According to SRF policy, it seems the only portion of the project that should have been funded by the SRF loan was the "construction of wastewater treatment and water recycling facilities," yet the entire $160 million park project, including the $2.3 million in community amenities, along with the decorative "wave wall," and the buried facilities to create more parkland, etc. was, according to you, being financed by the SRF loan, before that loan was cancelled by the SWRQB shortly after the recall election last September.

    I trust you, as a fellow California taxpayer, can see my concern there.

    Last year, you told me that your office had made the decision to fund the $2.3 million worth of amenities in the Tri-W project because your office considers them to be "mitigation," since they were mentioned in the Coastal Development Permit for Tri-W, issued by the California Coastal Commission in 2004. However, if you were to call and speak with Mr. Monowitz, as I have, he would tell you that terming the amenities "mitigation" is not accurate.

    In fact, in 2002, the Coastal Commission required extensive mitigation for Tri-W because of the inclusion of the $2.3 million of "community amenities" in the project.

    In the document, SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY LOCAL COASTAL PROGRAM MAJOR AMENDMENT NO. 3-01: Designation of the Los Osos Wastewater Treatment Facility Site, Monowitz writes:

    "The development of other public facility uses, such as the outdoor recreation uses and public amenities proposed for the site by the LOCSD, must be made contingent upon the adoption and implementation of an area wide program that will effectively protect the region’s sensitive habitat values as infill of sensitive habitats within the urban area occurs."

    He continues:

    "The loss of approximately 11.5 acres of degraded ESHA associated with the development of public facilities on the Tri-W site, as accommodated by the amendment, is inconsistent with the requirements of Coastal Act Section 30240 that prohibit the significant disruption of ESHA and limit development within ESHA to uses that are dependent upon the resources."

    And adds:

    "... the standards of the amendment appropriately focus on offsetting the loss of habitat on the Tri-W site by preserving significant amounts of similar habitat at an offsite location, as further discussed below.

    These standards have been developed specifically to address the biological impacts associated with the public facilities proposed by the LOCSD..." (Bolding is mine for emphasis.)

    In other words, the inclusion of the park required extensive mitigation. So, I'm very confused, as you can imagine.

    Two questions:

    1) How can something that requires "significant" mitigation, be considered mitigation?

    and,

    2) How is the Tri-W project not a $160 million park project, considering that the project includes an amphitheater, play fields, community gardens, public restroom, a public parking lot, off-leash dog-park, bike paths, and more, and also considering the fact that the park element of the project is dictating the Tri-W location according to the California Coastal Commission, the County of San Luis Obispo, and the early Los Osos Community Services District?

    Thank you for your time,
    Ron

    ###

  • 33 Comments:

    • Ron, why don't you tackle something of current interest, like the Blakeslee proposal?

      Also, the $2.3 million you complain about will be about the same amount we will spend on NOTHING for the next 6 months waiting for the Blakeslee thing to happen.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:42 PM, June 27, 2006  

    • I read Ron's rated R post this afternoon, actually printed it to read while a ate dinner, and nearly choked on my turkey burger at the interview with Will Clemens, of the SLO County Public Works Department.
      Over the last 4+ years that I've been involved in CSD issues, I had heard Pandora's "pool money" story several times and just like others Ron mentions "trusted" she was truthful and accurate.
      This posting had me perplexed, I took the print-out with me to mull over again at tonights LOCSD joint Wastewater/Environmental Committee meeting, where in addition to about 50 Los Ososian's gathered to hear of the Project Report Update, was David Edge (SLO County Administrative Officer).
      I couldn't help myself and asked "Do you read the blogs?" He said, "No". So I handed him the print out, he read for a minute or so and looked up and said, "Yeah, that's what we did; it's Park & Rec. money."
      Ron's story confirmed; right before my eyes, from THE County $$ authority.
      I understand a large contingency of "pool advocates" (I am one) will be in attendance Thursday night to chime in on the LOCSD's movement of those (now in question) funds to find better interest (the CD had matured). I will be eager to hear what the citizens have to say about the fund, now that it is not necessarily for a pool. $264,838.00, doesn't buy much these days, if it were applied to a pool, it might cover the cost of permitting. So, I'm not sure what to think, and will need more information before a decission is made what to do with it. Ron suggests it go back to the property owners, it's been dormant for nearly 10 years, that seems logical. I am looking forward to the entire communities thoughts on this one. Please write the board or attend the June 29, LOCSD Board meeting, 7pm at SBCC.

      By Blogger Julie Tacker, at 10:01 PM, June 27, 2006  

    • The journalist Ron Crawford writes:
      "In the e-mail from LOCPA, it reads, "PLEASE REQUEST THE LOCSD IMMEDIATELY TRANSFER THE MONEY TO SLO COUNTY PARKS IN ORDER TO PROTECT OUR POOL MONEY."

      Nash-Karner is a current SLO County Parks Commissioner."

      LMAO falling on the floor!

      Just her NAME makes this a good story...Pandora. Damn, if that ain't living the legacy, I don't know what is...
      You know all the usual suspects are going to hit with that "forget the past" BS. wonder why.
      Great job as always. Our town owes you. These days, journalists are suspposed to shut up and toe the line.
      Los Osos politik is getting scary because USA politik is getting scary.
      Class war is real. One of its crusaders lives on the end of Mitchell St. in Los Osos, in a fine designer home,overlooking one of the no shit finest views in the whole nation. The bay literally lapping at the foundation of her home.
      I hear she complains about it being windy & cold...

      By Anonymous Dogpatch Refugee, at 10:19 PM, June 27, 2006  

    • So perhaps DPR, the current CSD board, ever complaining about the old board and of course presumably from the less wealthy "class" is GETTING EVEN by spending like the noveau riche? 18th century France comes to mind…

      This suspect is bored with the past, realizes she can't fix it and wishes to move on to relevant topics.

      What would happen DRP, if you pitched that log sized chip off your shoulder and stopped seeing everything in black and white?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:37 PM, June 27, 2006  

    • Sewertoons sez:"
      This suspect is bored with the past, realizes she can't fix it and wishes to move on to relevant topics.

      What would happen DRP, if you pitched that log sized chip off your shoulder and stopped seeing everything in black and white? "

      "The Past is Prologue," sayeth some famous personage. What Ron has been diligently researching and pointing out repeatedly is . . . pattern. Here it is again. Same players, same pattern. It's not about chips or black and white, it's about credibility and honesty and the weird use of "truth," when truth and facts are little more than marketing tools to manipulate people and sell them soap.

      There's a reason for the phrase, Caveat Emptor in the marketplace.

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:34 AM, June 28, 2006  

    • Ron,

      I think you are missing something? A major part of the pool money, approximately $100,000 was donated by one gentleman. Jule Tacker mentioned who he was at the most recent Outreach Committee meeting before all of this hit the Trib.

      So, really most of the money came in the form of a bequest or gift, not from assessments.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:38 AM, June 28, 2006  

    • Oh Ann how could you get the old cliche'?

      "If you do not learn from the past you are doomed to repeat it."

      IN A WAY Los Osos accidently "learned from the past". Through a major stroke of good fortune Los Ososans did not build a circa 1983 sewage treatment plant like Morro Bay. Currently an out of compliance, way past (1997) sunset, section 301h ocean out fall National Marine Estuary cess pool maker. One of the worst on the CA coast.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 AM, June 28, 2006  

    • At what point will Los Osos "get" that there is always going to be a better WWTF out there in the future and just get something built NOW before those of us who live here NOW are replaced by Newport Beach North folks?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:55 AM, June 28, 2006  

    • J.T. said:

      "Ron suggests it go back to the property owners..."

      That does seem like the only fair thing to do. Think about it, the moment property owners had a chance to vote on that assessment, it failed. That shows two things:

      1) County Supervisors fucked up when they trusted Nash-Karner in 1996 that Los Osos actually wanted to be taxed for public recreation stuff in Los Osos.

      and

      2) Now we see the wisdom of Prop 218, huh?

      'toons said:

      "Ron, why don't you tackle something of current interest, like the Blakeslee proposal?'

      ... or a deliberate misinformation campaign by LOCPA, Pandora Nash-Karner, president, in an effort to whip up angry public sentiment towards the current board. (I'd love to know how Vogt, an attorney, feels about being used as a pawn in Nash-Karner's misinformation game. It's my guess that she's pissed.)

      DPR said:

      "I hear she complains about it being windy & cold."

      Hmmmm... that brings to mind something about a pot, a kettle, and black.

      Like I said in my main post, I hate to keep bringing up her name, but she won't get out of the way. Everywhere I step in this story, there she is.

      'toons said:

      "This suspect is bored with the past, realizes she can't fix it and wishes to move on to relevant topics."

      Could you imagine if Ken Lay's jury had that opinion?

      Churadogs said:

      "What Ron has been diligently researching and pointing out repeatedly is . . . pattern."

      That is exactly right. And, if anyone thinks that pattern isn't going to continue, you would be wrong.

      An anon said:

      "So, really most of the money came in the form of a bequest or gift, not from assessments.

      Not according to Will Clemens, of the SLO County Public Works Department. ($50 x 5,000 properties = $250,000.) By the way, according to one document I read, the pool will cost over $4 million... let's see Los Osos, you only have about $4 million more to raise for the pool that you already voted you don't want to pay for. Good luck raising the remaining amount with a fat sewer assessment looming.

      If I've noticed one thing over the years that fails to get differentiated in Los Osos, it's that there may, indeed, be a "strongly held community value" for parks and pools, there just isn't a "strongly held community value" to pay for them.

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:23 AM, June 28, 2006  

    • Sure, give the money back to the property owners ... sounds reasonable, if allowed. If it would not be allowable, the money should head back to the County Parks and Rec so they can do something with it. I doubt a pool will ever happen in Los Osos without a major donation to cover nearly all the costs plus enough money to set up an endowment to cover ongoing expenses.

      However, let's consider the big deal here ... the LOCSD GM moved the money from an account which clearly separated it from general CSD funds into an account that acts largely like a checkbook. He should be wise enough to know not to do such things. Why not just get a new CD instead? The interest rate would be better and it would avoid the appearance of doing something shifty.

      In any case, the key to this discussion is something our anoymous friend tells us: "If you do not learn from the past you are doomed to repeat it.". Supposing that everything Ron tells us about PNK and the Solutions group is true. In particular, suppose that "better, faster, cheaper" was a lie or just far too much optimism that the regulatory boards would bend to what Los Osos wanted. If people in the past who have told us they could cut our costs were wrong, why should we trust the current group who tells us they can cut our costs? The campaign material for the Recall candidates tells us that they can do it for less than $100/month. Even without various costs associated with the stopping of construction at TriW, that claim appears to be simply false.

      No offense, Julie, but the choices of the current board of directors seems to have raised our costs considerably and I resent it. We haven't paid anything yet, but if our bills down the road are above $250-300/month, you had better believe people will remember that TriW would have been cheaper and they will regret voting in the folks who pushed for the more expensive option.

      I trust that the LOCSD board will wholeheartedly support the Blakslee proposal to take the project from the LOCSD who cannot hope to get the thing financed and give it to the County who can. When one considers that key aspects of the Blakeslee proposal are the delay of penalties and the return of a low interest rate, it makes too much sense to pass up.

      Furthermore, if there really is traction to the idea that TriW is simply the wrong site, the County won't choose it. If it is that bad, why not trust the unbiased County engineers to make a determination about what is best. Certainly if Ron is more than just hot air, if the County wants to go with TriW, the CCC will consider a permit revocation hearing.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:16 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • Sorry sharky ... Tricks are for kids, and G.G. Liddy,

      Tri-W was estimated out at a cost of $60,000 per household. Let me repeat that: $60,000 that's right
      $60,000. Dick Sargent underestimated the amount but
      came close when he told the water board that it would cost around $48,000 a household. He stated that he had no problem with that. Let's review the PAST: $48,000 per household for a system that would likely have become illegal within a small span of years.

      I think I'd remember that bill for a long, long time ... wouldn't you? Unless of course you were some of those rich types who think $60,000 is chump change and pay that amount to country clubs for yearly dues.

      Ah sharkey you are definitely the type that would hire a dentist to do cancer surgery on you because it is cheaper ... dentists are surgeons. Either that or you have way too much money and too much time on your hands.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:03 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • BTW, before I would given any money to Parks and Rec and Pandora ... as sharky suggests I would get them to finally finish building the roads ... as a good faith gesture dontcha know?

      Sort of well, we might let you build our sewer, we might give you our swimming pool fund if you would finally get around to taking care of the roads. The most atrocious for a community this size and "density" (for all you anti-septic fans) in the county. Atrocious, public works ought to be deeply, deeply ashamed. We have a lot of retired people living here on fixed incomes. How would you feel if your mother had to drive through some of our "roads" ... in a rain storm. Its really pretty disgusting.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:08 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • Ron, you are absolutely correct, that pool money needs to be returned to the rightful owners, the TAXPAYERS. We voted down Pandoras park scam, its's time to return OUR MONEY.

      Mrs. Pearl Seiberg

      By Anonymous Mrs. Pearl Seiberg, at 5:03 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • I have no problem with giving the money back, but if the money was collected by the County for the purpose of Parks and Rec and was targeted for Los Osos, it might not be legal to simply cut a check for each property owner.

      As to our anonymous friend who says that TriW was $60k/household ... you must be talking about the total we would be paying over 20 years.

      With that being the case, $60k/household translates into $250/month.

      Certainly a whole lot cheaper than what we're facing now, even if Blakeslee gets us the SRF back and gets the RWQCB to hold off on fines and CDOs.

      By the way, how does Dick feel about the current board's actions?

      Maybe I misunderstand your surgeon/dentist analogy. As I see it, it still looks like TriW has considerable cost advantages over other locations. Are you arguing that we should all pay a whole lot more just because out of town would be better? Certainly a reasonable position, but not one that many can afford.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 8:01 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • Julie Tacker, here, again, I vaguely remember (wasn't it) Henry Bumpus who dontated to the ppol fund, had heard it was $100K, but of course, THIS particular pool fund appears not to be the "pool fund" after all, there is another pool fund with the Los Osos Community Pool Association, and I'll admit, I could be altogether wrong on Mr. Bumpus' generosity, maybe Pandora knows?

      By Blogger Julie, at 9:13 PM, June 28, 2006  

    • If memory serves, besides the original vote that was then undone by the later Prop 218 vote, there were a lot of private donations, fund-raisers, community garage sales & etc. And, I believe Mr. Bumpus did donate a huge chunk originally. The Pool Association should have a complete accounting of moneys spent and monies taken in over the years. I seem to remember there were professional plans drawn up at one point (unless that work was donated, that may have cost some $)Terry Benko should have the books and account ledgers. As for the "tax" money, maybe the community should be asked for an advisory vote if they want their $50 back? or just keep it in the recreation fund or ???? But I don't know who'd want to pay to have an "election" on the matter. I do know that this present kerfluffle has nothing to do with wanting the county to have that money because they're the expert pool builders. If that really were the case, Pandora could have asked her Board (when she was Prez of the CSD) to vote to move the money over to the county any time. But the request to move the money (according tot he Pool Assoc letter making the rounds) on June 20 (when the recall looked like it actually would fly) and again on October 29 (Oh, lord, that puppy really WAS gonna fly.) Those dates make me wonder what the real reasons are. They're certainly not about the county's expertise in pool building.

      Another example of why so much that goes on in Los Osos is so crazy making: Can nobody speak straight?

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:49 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • Ahhh me,

      I love those silly people who swim out to where I am watching you between white cap and trough ... eyeing
      you in your silly black seal-like wet suits ...

      I turn, and surge smoothly toward the latest thrum of a bicker:

      "As to our anonymous friend who says that TriW was $60k/household ... you must be talking about the total we would be paying over 20 years.

      With that being the case, $60k/household translates into $250/month."

      Ah another tasty morsel that enjoys eating shit-on-a-shingle, surf or boogie board as the case may be ...

      $165,000 loan at a "low interest rate" presumably paid only by residents of a the prohibition zone. Just 2 months in Bruce Buel reports that it has topped 200 mil and maybe the affordability study (that was never done)to get grants becomes imperative. 2 months in ... already 200 million dohllars as Dr. Evil might say ...
      Hmmm well having spent much time on high ticket gov't contracts after 1 year that will easily translate into 300 million. So, let's recap: $165 million already sucked up before project start ... as our contractors are such typical gov't contractors they sucked up every penny in their bid. Cost over-runs that would exceed another 140 million.

      ONE HUNDRED FORTY MILLION at what INTEREST RATE? In addition to a 165 millon dollar LOAN not grant.

      And who pays? Why the poor sap homeowner in the PZ.
      And the PZ ONLY. While savvy local and foreign developers await, slavering, ready to jump when they sell.

      CHOMP!

      Ah just taking another big bite out of another poor unlucky, racous and silly wet suit laden putz.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:24 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • Dear Julie, board, and Dan Blesky:

      Please agendize and vote on the following item:

      Request for a full accounting of the funds currently managed by the Los Osos Pool and Recreation Association
      (Pandora Nash-Karner president). Please ask Julie Biggs to use all means necessary to find out where Mr. Bumpus' $100,000 is.

      Thank you.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:08 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • To our anonymous friend who claims that a $165M construction project will certainly have $140M in cost over-runs ... where do you get that?

      You do have a good point, however, that costs seem to keep going up. No matter what Ripley estimates our cost will be, it is a safe bet that it will be higher because of factors not considered in the Ripley report.

      That being said, the question of the day is whether we think the County can do a better job than the CSD at getting a project built. Certainly with the CSD in a state of shambles and with no money and a butt-load of debts, it would seem that they have no chance of getting any project accomplished.

      Would you rather have no project with the CSD and then enforcement actions from the RWQCB because our government (the CSD) isn't doing what they need to do to protect us from fines ... or would you rather the County take over and get something done?

      The choice seem very expensive either way even if we don't know the real costs of either option, but I would bet that the County option would be far cheaper in the long run ... unless someone changes the water laws which govern waterboard actions.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:04 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • Pool Association should be investigated by the Grand Jury, not the LOCSD.
      They say they are a 501c3, I can't find them in the State registry for non profits, can you? Maybe the Grand Jury will. That report on the ppol was slick and glossy, I can't imagine someone donated that much work, unless they thought they'd get the contract to build it or do the PR for it.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:13 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • Shark said:

      "Furthermore, if there really is traction to the idea that TriW is simply the wrong site, the County won't choose it. If it is that bad, why not trust the unbiased County engineers to make a determination about what is best. Certainly if Ron is more than just hot air, if the County wants to go with TriW, the CCC will consider a permit revocation hearing."

      I don't believe I'm about to say this, but, well put, Shark.

      The county is not going to choose Tri-Dub, because, like I've reported many times, there simply is no rationale to build a sewer plant there. It should have never been selected in the first place. I read a comment recently on Ann's blog that said it should not even be an option in the project update. That is 100-percent correct. (By the way, I hear it came in 9th out 9 sites in the project update. See what happens when you take out the "park" in "sewer-park?").

      I guarantee you, the county will not identify a "project objective for centrally located community amenities," and, like I've also reported many times, without that "project objective" there is no reason to build a sewer plant at Tri-Dub. None. The county will not build there.

      If the main reason that some folks in Los Osos are upset with Blakeslee's bill is because they think it will lead to a plant at Tri-Dub, don't worry about that. That is not going to happen. As Ann would say, I am "%99.9999999999999999999999999999" sure of that. There's no reason to build there, and I also happen to know that there are one or two county engineers that are big SewerWatch fans.

      Plus, the Tri-Dub project will never get State funding again, the SRF can't cover it again, now that the folks at the Financial Assistance office know that it was a park project all along. The SRF can't fund park projects.

      The question that keeps coming to my mind is, what will Nash-Karner do when the county decides not to build at Tri-Dub? That will be very interesting to see. Dissolution of the county, perhaps?

      Mrs. Seiberg said:

      "Ron, you are absolutely correct, that pool money needs to be returned to the rightful owners, the TAXPAYERS."

      Yep, I am, even if it is just $50-plus-interest. To me, the amount is irrelevant. But remember, that's not "pool" money, as I showed in my main post, it can be used for anything park and rec related in Los Osos, but since both E-97 and D-97 failed just one year after that original assessment by the BOS, the money should be returned. It's the right thing to do. Thank you for the post.

      An Anon said:

      "Pool Association should be investigated by the Grand Jury..."

      That would be interesting. I smell fish.

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:50 AM, June 29, 2006  

    • Glad to hear that you agree, Ron ... I always thought that two brilliant people could agree on at least a few things.

      About the Ripley "project update" discussed at the June 8 meeting ... it looked like the way the sites were evaluated was either stacked or at least using only a partial set of criteria (overlooking many of the big ticket items).

      As an update, it only convinced me that Ripley either needs to do a whole lot more work before giving such reports or that Ripley is pretty much unable to do a serious cost-benefit analysis, let alone which incorporates a very real uncertainty. Maybe a sensitivity analysis should be done ... maybe if we were to alter the formula a bit it would be interesting to see how the site rankings change. That sort of analysis should typically be done in such situations. For example, if TriW would still have come out as best even without the park, you would have been somewhat happer with it's selection.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:55 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • Ah ...

      This sharkster is having a frenzy sampling so many varied and sundry BITES out here ... still in your black, seal like wet suit Mr. Inlet? Hmmmm by white cap and trough you must really like SOS Pathogens, Nitrates and all.

      Tri-W is not a nonsensical choice. The real CHOICE here is not about the site its about the type of system. As a bona fidee engineer that is clear. Its about requirements, first thing they teach peach fuzzed faced frosh.

      And this goes for Ron too.

      WHAT ARE YOUR REQUIREMENTS?
      1. Are you interested in clean water, continued use and conservation of the aquifer and compliance with even more stringent laws that are just down the pike. As is the price of that all-important comodity ... no not petroleum, water.

      2. Are you interested in unlimited development? Plug-and-play sewer hookups. Flush-and-forget with no worries and no liabilities. Oxnard from pop. 35,000 to hundreds of thousands. Billions and billions of dohlars.

      3. OR are you interested in striking a balance. Careful development planned around environmental necessity and scarce resources? Clean water and a clean aquifer would be a must. Not enough revenue to handle future fines and upgrades to extravagant and expensive systems.

      When you speak of sites you dodge the issue. The real goal should be a management district where projects are created throughout the town on a staged piece-by-piece basis depending on need, regulations and environmental issues. This has already been done by the water department for drinking water et al. I don't see why the same careful approach cannot be used within the auspices of a management district, extended timeline in hand, with most if not all water board enforcement powers passed to that entity.

      Sewers do not equate to clean water. They never, ever have.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:23 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • Anonymous,

      I appreciate your comments ... but we're under a mandate from the RWQCB to put in a sewer.

      I am taking that as a given becuase typically it doesn't pay to fight the government. Even if I were the sort of person who was willing to fight the water board and water laws, I would have to be convinced first that the nitrate (and possibly other nasties) problem could be tackled in some places and avoided in others or that everyone getting a nitrohammer would be good enough.

      Supposing we do need a sewer and WWTF or some such, you have a good question ... do we want the sort of system that is easily expandable or not. Myself, I thought that was one of the beauties of TriW ... it could handle the PZ at buildout but no more.

      While sewers don't equate to clean water, we do know that too many septic systems per acre too close to groundwater does equate to pissing in your drinking cup.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 4:00 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • "While sewers don't equate to clean water, we do know that too many septic systems per acre too close to groundwater does equate to pissing in your drinking cup."

      But not with Wickham's system and a few appropriate species of trees planted near the drip irrigation / leach field area.

      Again 1-2 mg/l nitrates less than 2 feet down. With a $500 UV system which eliminates the Pathogens you have achieved full tertiary. Congratulations, you have just exceeded any and all centralized sewer systems, past, present and planned for the future on the central coast.

      Making us sharksterspeares off of your inlet very happy ... we do not enjoy surging through brown
      caps and cess pools ... we much prefer white caps
      and deep blue troughs ...

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:48 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • Shark Inlet claims himself to be a "brilliant mind." God I can't take it anymore.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:11 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • To the anonymous two back ... if the Wickham solution works, great ... you have yet to convince me that the RWQCB will buy it as a permanent solution or that it is likely that we can change the laws which govern the water boards. Once you've done so, we can talk about whether the Wickham solution is really as good and as cheap as is claimed.

      To the previous anonymous ... blow it out your cloaca ...

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 7:54 PM, June 29, 2006  

    • "To the anonymous two back ... if the Wickham solution works, great ... you have yet to convince me that the RWQCB will buy it as a permanent solution or that it is likely that we can change the laws which govern the water boards."

      Hmmm, lots of ponderances between white cap and trough ... many sunsets and sleepless nights navigating the kelp beds of AB 885 and the basin plan.

      Gray area it is due to the fact that AB 885 is still a draft albeit close to final draft. Does anyone out there in the murky internet depths of Los Osos that it has taken over 7 years for the water board to make regulations out of laws that were chaptered in 2000? And they want us to build a SUPER sewer in 3? Something seems very unfair about that?

      AB 885 does indeed seem to spell out a prescription for our predicament. And that is not the PZ so much as the LO is literally surrounded by 3 open impaired bodies of water. One of which is a National Marine Estuary cum future National Monument. Not a good place to be when you are constructing ANY waste treatment system.

      BUT AB 885 does spell it what you need in terms of supplemental onsite systems. The jury is still out but Wickham's system actually appears to EXCEED the special requirements listed for the above situation. AGAIN, NO CENTRALIZED system will be able to even come close.

      BUT, because LO is surrounded as it were the kelp beds thicken because under those circumstance the Water Board is allowed to make even tighter constraints if they so choose. Yes, having a PZ is really just "sauce for the goose" in terms of the law. More a politcal thingy as any astutue WB watcher will tell you. However, this water board is not just the water board for LOS OSOS (which of course as I have stated before is MY GREATEST DESIRE via the language inherent in AB 885), they are a regional board. And what is good for Los Osos is good for the region.

      Ah, I see a shivering mayor donning a dainty wet suit about to head my way ... yes fear these waters they may soon flow unceasing through your door your honor.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:45 AM, June 30, 2006  

    • If Wickham's system would fit the needs of our community (which we don't know for sure ... the studies that would verify that for us and the RWQCB haven't been completed yet) and if the RWQCB would sign on to the idea (which seems pretty doubtful) and if it is cheaper (in $/month in the long run which we also don't know because we don't know the longterm costs) I'll agree with you.

      I like the Wickham idea because it is the best way of recharging the groundwater (aside from possibly the Broderson disposal method) and doesn't require costly and problematic ag-exchange. Such a system would be great.

      You have a lot of agreement from me. Just convince me that fighting the state would pay off and convince me that Wickham's system will work and will be less expensive...

      Your comments about the water board are well taken. Witness the way they slapped the Monarch Grove homeowners for a minor water quality issue by comparrison to the way they've treated more serious water quality issues (like actual sewage spills in creeks at CMC and in SLO). I think the Monarch homeowners were treated more harshly because they were in Los Osos so that the others in the community wouldn't think that the RWQCB is a "paper tiger."

      Your thoughts about AB885 are pretty much premature. Even if things pan out the way you think (and there are a lot of legal issues that would need to be resolved first), it is years before anyone outside the PZ will be required to hook up. Even if they are, I would imagine that it may be better to allow those outside the PZ to pay their own way then than to hope they'll pay for those inside the PZ. Based on some quick cost estimates a few months back, I remember anything less than $100/month from every household outside the PZ do much to lower the costs to those inside the PZ.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:00 AM, July 03, 2006  

    • "If Wickham's system would fit the needs of our community (which we don't know for sure ... the studies that would verify that for us and the RWQCB haven't been completed yet) and if the RWQCB would sign on to the idea (which seems pretty doubtful) and if it is cheaper (in $/month in the long run which we also don't know because we don't know the longterm costs) I'll agree with you."

      The sharkster sez:

      "Did you know that Mr. Briggs is out of the country for an extended period of time : six months or so? AND did you further know that Steve Paige has already received the go-ahead to implement his onsite system that sequesters urine from solids in the PZ? By Harvey Packard? And did you further know that Dr. Dan Wickham is following the recipe to gain acceptance via the draft AB 885 regs as a supplemental system via testing done at the fire house and other sites in Los Osos? AND did you further know that most of the legislation (apart from the rather small Los Osos rider) in that legislation is to make the county an integrated water management district essentially replacing the RWQCB (per ABG 885) for most functions including enforcement?"

      CHOMP!

      A swirl with flourish and a surge through white cap and trough after taking another bite out of silly black wet suited inlet.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:29 AM, July 03, 2006  

    • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 3:58 PM, July 03, 2006  

    • Anon, I believe Steve Paige got a CDO from the RWQCB and then the OK from them for his system to replace the bi-monthly pumping. That's all.

      If it took 10 years of proof to satisfy the RWQCB on the technology of the first ponding system at Tri-W site - which it failed to pass - what gives anyone the idea that one year of lycimeter testing under a firestation is going to satisfy the RWQCB that a Pirana under every pot is OK in place of a WWTF???

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:27 PM, July 03, 2006  

    • Doesn't matter. The RWQCB authorized the permit for Steve Paige because he does not discharge. With the Pirana it is possible to implement the same no-discharge system.
      But with the removal of solids and the ability to immediately reuse the "gray water".

      There is nothing stopping you from doing the same thing.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 PM, July 17, 2006  

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