Saturday, May 12, 2007

She is Los Osos, Part I


For me, the sewer story is the second best story out of Los Osos, and it's a distant second.

Without question, the much richer, more fascinating, and blow-your-hair-back interesting story is the impact one person, Pandora Nash-Karner, and her marketing business has had on not only Los Osos, but even more astounding, on one powerful government agency after another -- from the California Coastal Commission to the Regional Water Quality Control Board -- agencies that should know better, yet, ultimately, were just more victims, in a long line of victims, of Nash-Karner's brand of marketing -- a brand she terms "behavior based."

I don't know how to put this nicely, so I'm just going to put it: There is no doubt about it, the marketing efforts in Los Osos of former Community Services District vice-president, Pandora Nash-Karner, since at least 1997, are directly responsible for every nickel poured down the Los Osos sewer drain over the last ten years, at least. The evidence is overwhelming, and ugly.

Awhile back, I wrote a piece on this blog called Contrast. In that piece, I showed how Nash-Karner developed a strategy to get people from her e-mail list to contact Roger Briggs, the executive officer at the local Water Quality Control Board, and demand that Briggs immediately begin fining the Los Community Services District, and individual property owners in Los Osos, many of whom are elderly and on fixed incomes.

The goal of that particular strategy was to "fine the LOCSD out of existence," according to Nash-Karner, in an effort to get the fate of the mid-town Tri-W project, a project that she deeply covets (for heretofore unknown reasons), out of the hands of the newly elected District Directors, that were never going to build it, and into the hands of administrators with the county of San Luis Obispo. That goal was ultimately accomplished not through enforcement actions, but through State legislation.

For this piece, I want to pull back the curtain on yet another Nash-Karner "strategy," a behind-the-scenes look at how she goes about her business.

This Nash-Karner strategy is from August, 2005, one month before the recall election that would see Nash-Karner's fellow Solution Group members, Gordon Hensley and Stan Gustafson, along with like-minded Director, Richard LeGros recalled. This time around, her strategy's goal was to publicly discredit then-minority board members, Lisa Schicker and Julie Tacker, both fierce opponents, understandably, of Nash-Karner's mid-town sewer plant located at the Tri-W location. Her reasoning went along these lines: Discredit Tacker and Schicker, and because they support the recall, then the recall itself is undermined.

Warning: The way she goes about her business is ugly. If you are susceptible to queasiness, take your nausea "medicine" now.

Let's pull back the curtain and take a peek, shall we?

In an e-mail to her "Undisclosed List", forwarded to me by a reliable source, Nash-Karner writes:

"Hello all,

It's time to launch a serious letter writing campaign to the local media."


I want to stop right there. It's time? So blasé, like she's done it a million times, "Yea, well, here we go again, time for me to orchestrate yet another one of my serious letter writing campaigns to the local media, blah, blah, blah..."

What kind of person does that? I've met a lot of people in my life, but I only know one person that coordinates "serious letter writing campaigns" time and time and time again. The weird thing is, she usually self-appoints herself to that role.

She continues:

"Attached is a lengthy list of ideas for letters to the editor." and; "Just use the ideas as CONCEPTS to write your own original letter."

Stop.

How is that not incredibly insulting to the people she's sending it to? A freaking "lengthy list of ideas?" "Use the ideas as CONCEPTS?" Are you kidding me? In essence, she's telling these people that they're too stupid to come up with their own solid arguments? She treats them like they're 12-years-old.

"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."

You know, some people read my posts, like this one, that deal with Nash-Karner, and think I dislike her. That is a misconception. I love Nash-Karner. She makes for one of the best stories I've ever seen, let alone covered... extensively. She's awesome, from a journalism point of view.

"... the media will recognize our efforts as a group effort and we lose our credibility."

- - -
Memo to Pandora Nash-Karner: I can't speak for all of the other media members in the county that you've coddled for decades, but, just so you're clear on this -- SewerWatch recognized your efforts long ago, and, long ago, you lost your credibility around here.
- - -

On her marketing business web site, she refers to the media as "tools."

Awhile back, I e-mailed local radio talk show host, Dave Congalton, to get his reaction to Nash-Karner referring to him as a "tool." He would just say that she is a "wonderful person." During the run-up to the crucial election in 1998 that formed the LOCSD, Nash-Karner appeared on Congalton's show frequently to promote the Solution Group's flawed ponding system project, a project that would eventually fail in dramatic, yet quiet, fashion two years later. Congalton nicknamed that project "Pandoraland," and to this day, the two remain on a first-name basis.

Also on her web site, she lists another local talk radio show host, Bill Benica, as a "consultant" for her marketing business. Benica has been taking phone calls and discussing the Los Osos sewer situation on his radio show for years, at the same time working closely with, and pulling a check from, Nash-Karner.

She is also on a first-name basis with the Opinion page editor at the Tribune, Bill Morem, and has been since at least 1990, documents show. During the run-up to the recall election in 2005, the Tribune ran three separate editorials, including one on election day, that backed Nash-Karner's efforts.

On her web site, she refers to the media as "tools." (Oh, I'm sorry. Did I already mention that?)

When I was the editor of The Bay Breeze (now The Bay News) from 1996-99, I witnessed, first-hand, all up-close and personal like, her attempts to manipulate the media. She used to contact our office all the time, and send me an endless stream of marketing material and press releases, by far more than any other individual, or organization... BY FAR!

In 1997, when I, unlike Nash-Karner's friends at the Sun Bulletin, waited to publicize the Solution Group's Community Plan, the first project slated for Tri-W, until a study determining the merits of that project was completed, she flipped. Lots of angry phone calls and threatening letters, the "you're going to lose advertising and go out of business" type of letters. Nasty, ugly stuff. Bad noise. By the way, good thing I waited. That study -- the Questa Study -- showed that her Community Plan was deeply, deeply flawed. Now THAT I published... on the front page... above the fold... in the biggest font size that I ever used for a headline the entire three years I was editing the Breeze.

The Questa Study would eventually prove to be 100-percent accurate. After the results of the Questa Study were published, first by The Bay Breeze (a scoop that I am still proud of today), Nash-Karner launched in to yet another, community-wide-saturation, behavior based marketing strategy in an effort to discredit Questa Engineering, the authors of the study. However, in the end, Questa Engineering was uncannily accurate, and if Nash-Karner's Solution Group had simply heeded the gigantic red flags raised in that 1998 study, the Los Osos Community Services District would have never formed and the county's project would have been completed years ago.

I mean it. Pandora Nash-Karner makes for one of the best stories I've ever seen. The profound impact one person's marketing can have on a community is a much richer story than a public works disaster, which is nothing more than a by-product of the awesome Nash-Karner story, anyway.

She took me out to lunch one time in the early 90s. I was fresh out of journalism school and working as a reporter for The Bay News (The Bay News morphed into The Bay Breeze and then it morphed back into The Bay News... long story). In fact, she treated the entire staff of The Bay News, all five of us, including a current editor at the Tribune, Jay Thompson (great guy, great journalist), to lunch that day at Don Eduardo's (that restaurant is called something else these days, but I forgot what it is), at the end of Second Street, near the pier.

I'll never forget sitting there, eating my tacos, and thinking to myself, "Why is this person schmoozing us? No other individual schmoozes us. Is she expecting some sort of repayment for this lunch?" I was uncomfortable with that strange setting -- the five of us, and Nash-Karner. That was the first time I viewed Nash-Karner with a hint of suspicion. After that lunch, she would contact us repeatedly, for years, but she never took us out to lunch again.

Back to Nash-Karner's 2005 strategy:

"We need to repetitiously communicate a simple message: A VOTE FOR THE FUTURE OF LOS OSOS IS A NO VOTE ON C, D & E, AND A NO VOTE ON MEASURE B. (Please do not use the word initiative)."

One of my favorite aspects of Nash-Karner is that she thinks she is much better at manipulating people than she actually is, as the last three elections in Los Osos show. (Los Ososans might also remember a silly publicity stunt she pulled a couple of years back (see photo above) where she rented of a bunch of port-a-potties, blanketed them with a lot of confusing campaign slogans, and then drug them around town for a few days. Yeah... that seemed to work out good for her. Not too embarrassing.) For example, in that quote above, she's attempting to "communicate a simple message" to the people of Los Osos because, apparently, she considers them too stupid to grasp a message filled with honest, meaningful content, and her "simple" message is this:

"A VOTE FOR THE FUTURE OF LOS OSOS IS A NO VOTE ON C, D & E, AND A NO VOTE ON MEASURE B."

Huh?

Let me see if I have her "simple" message straight: A VOTE for the future of Los Osos (I'm already confused) is if I VOTE on... no, no, no... don't VOTE ON B so the future... ummmm... errrrrrr... Los Osos is a NO vote ON A & E, D, C, and sometimes B, I think, which is an Initiative... or is it a Measure? And if B is a Measure, then what are C, E... oh wait, I see now... E, A, D, C & B are Measure Initiatives from the future that are a VOTE for a NO VOTE... ahhhh, screw it.

Why wasn't her simple message something like this:

"Reject the recall"

(Hey, that's pretty damn good. Maybe "Save the Dream," the shady, private group that Nash-Karner formed and marketed for during the recall campaign, should have thrown all their money at me, instead.)

Her skills (and I'm not comfortable using that word to describe the way she goes about her marketing business) seem to have slipped over the years. For example, in 1998, when she was in her prime, during the run-up to the CSD election, the simple message she chose to "repetitiously communicate" in Los Osos was, "Better, Cheaper, Faster."

Now THAT'S simple.

And when it comes to repetition, there's no contest. Check it out:

"Better, Cheaper, Faster."
"Better, Cheaper, Faster."
"Better, Cheaper, Faster."

Yeah, that works. Clean, easy to remember, effective. Good job.

But, now, 10 years after "Better, Cheaper, Faster," this is the best she can come up with:

"A VOTE FOR THE FUTURE OF LOS OSOS IS A NO VOTE ON C, D & E, AND A NO VOTE ON MEASURE B.
"A VOTE FOR THE FUTURE OF LOS OSOS IS A NO VOTE ON C, D & E, AND A NO VOTE ON MEASURE B.
"A VOTE FOR THE FUTURE OF LOS OSOS IS A NO VOTE ON C, D & E, AND A NO VOTE ON MEASURE B.

See? The repetition just doesn't quite have the same snap, the same impact that it used to.

"Please do not use the word initiative."

Right, good advice. That's always an integral part of any good smear campaign. I bet I know why the recall was successful. Because one of Nash-Karner's letter writers inadvertently used the word "initiative" when they should have used "Measure." Oh, so close.

Again, if I was on her e-mail list and she sent me that stuff, I'd be pissed. "How stupid do you think I am? Who are you to tell me which words to use?"... would be my reply. But her recipients don't do that. They actually listen to her. Big mistake.

"SCHICKER AND TACKER: Please do not refer to them as "women," let's not make a gender issue out of the campaign. You can refer to them as: CSD dissidents, CSD minority members, anti-project CSD members, CSD opposition leaders, etc."

I don't even know what to say to that. It's so creepy. Every time I see a real-life example of Nash-Karner's behind-the-scenes string-pulling, her behavior based marketing in action, I feel like I need a shower. It's so unscrupulous, cruel, and downright gross.

"You can refer to them as..."

I'm sure your followers thank you, Pandora, for allowing them to refer to Julie Tacker and Lisa Schicker as "CSD opposition leaders," whatever that means.

Have you, dear reader, ever ONCE told a group of adults which words they can and can not use? Me neither. I'm much too nice of a person to be that insulting and condescending. To me, statements like, "You can refer to them as...," are an interesting glimpse into her mind set, and that set is this: "I'll tell YOU what's best."

My favorite Nash-Karner approved title for Schicker and Tacker is, "anti-project CSD members." That's typical Nash-Karner.

You see, Schicker and Tacker, as Nash-Karner is well aware, have always favored a wastewater project in Los Osos, just not Nash-Karner's nonsensical Tri-W project, but she deliberately attempts to paint both of them as anti-any-project. Completely false. But that's not surprising. The truth is discarded as easily as a cigarette butt in the world of Nash-Karner's behavior based marketing strategies. On her web site she refers to that kind of deliberate confusion as "compelling language." I have another two word phrase I use to describe her "compelling language": compulsive lying.

"Going before the Coastal Commission in April to revoke a permit was negative because it would have devalued the permit, a permit that cost about $20 million to get."

I can't think of one single person from Los Osos -- woah-wo-wo, check that -- I can't think of one single person anywhere that has appeared before the Coastal Commission more than Nash-Karner, including throughout 1998, when she Jedi mind tricked the California Coastal Commission into letting her also Jedi mind trick the community of Los Osos into forming the Los Osos Community Services District.

And that "$20 million to get" crack? She seems to be real familiar with that figure.

Yes, that permit did cost $20 million to get, at least. And what I find interesting these days, is that I frequently hear that number come up as an argument for the Tri-W project, including, and this is great, at a recent county supervisors meeting when Paavo Ogren of the public works department was fumbling around for an answer to, "Why is the Tri-W project still on the table," when he finally just blurted out, "A lot of money has been spent on it."

Yep. Sure has. So why is that an argument to keep the unpopular, fatally flawed, never-going-to-work project around today? Look, just because Nash-Karner is good at wasting money, doesn't mean her project is any more valid today than it was the nano-second after her Community Plan failed (more on that later).

The rest of Nash-Karner's "lengthy list of ideas for letters to the editor" from her 2005 smear campaign is nothing more than conjecture, most of which would prove to be flat-out wrong. But one of her "ideas," in particular, just kills me:

"They (Tacker and Schicker) have expended an enormous amount of time and energy in negative acts."

What a nauseating hypocrite. By the time Schicker and Tacker were elected in late 2004, the path of destruction from Hurricane Pandora over the previous seven years in Los Osos was wide, total, and very, very expensive.

I often wonder how much money Nash-Karner's meddling has cost taxpayers over the years. From the mind-boggling amount of staff time she's consumed, to the wasted $20 - $30 million spent on her two Tri-W projects, to the wasted $6 million dollars that she cost county taxpayers in 1999 when she dumped the county's project in favor of her Community Plan that never worked, to the millions spent on all the sewer related elections she's caused, to the cost of the equipment required at all those meetings, and the cost of the maintenance people it takes to set up all that equipment, and the energy to power all that equipment at all of those meetings, and all the gas and car trips it takes for all the people to get to all of those meetings that are needed solely because of her incessant marketing strategies in Los Osos dating back to 1997, at least.

And the aggregate amount of people hours she's consumed during that time? That one just leaves me shaking my head.

So, what kind of combined costs are we talking about here, since Nash-Karner began her sewer meddling? If a credible source were to tell me that figure is somewhere around $100 million, I wouldn't even blink.

$100 million bucks, straight down the behavior based marketing drain, and she has the nerve to conduct a smear campaign on Schicker and Tacker because they, according to Nash-Karner, "have expended an enormous amount of time and energy in negative acts."

I told you you were going to need some nausea "medicine."

"Questions? Please call me."

One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingies... Hello, Pandora? I've been examining some of your self-called "strategies" over the years, and here are my questions:

Would you and your "behavior based marketing" strategies just go away? Please?

(SewerWatch note: Part two of "She is Los Osos" is continued on the post directly beneath this one, linked here. The single post was too long to put in one post.)

17 Comments:

  • WOW! Ron great read!
    Just to throw in my cent and a half, I feel one of the major reasons the LO train wreck happened is the utter failure the Tribune (Trivial) to expose this stuff, most times (if at all) they get it completely wrong.
    Take for instance the May 13 Sunday opinion piece, headlined "Heartening Headway In Osos"
    The last paragraph reads:
    "The next step in pursuing a sewer is critical: Determining a design that best fits the community,
    and selling that design to the residents so they will assess themselves to build it"
    Evidently someone there is either drunk or too lazy to research anything.
    This is completely backwards, as ANYONE that has paid the least amount of time following this process will tell you
    Is it any wonder that Pandora & Co. have so much influence when there is no one in their road?

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 11:37 AM, May 13, 2007  

  • Nice work Ron. I always enjoy it when you do a particularly potent expose on the LO sewer. I agree that Pandora has played a huge role in this situation. I can't believe she still lives here. Isn't she ashamed of how much she has hurt this community?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:11 PM, May 13, 2007  

  • Right on Ron (that should be your new handle!) RightOnRon. I can't believe that going over and over THE TRUTH stills gets people mad. Not me, I'm all for it. This is a great article. Will you try to get it published somewhere else? I think it's important. Many newer folks don't have the whole story and if they did it would help alot. Maybe they would understand why we are so upset about what happened to us and our community over a freakin' sewer. Because the Wizard of Odd just had to have her way!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:26 PM, May 13, 2007  

  • Ron,

    Not that it's super relevant to bring up ancient history when we're trying to focus on how to move forward ... if you're going to do so, I've got to ask you the same question I've asked you repeatedly since 2005 ...

    Even if Pandora is all that and a bag of chips ... even if the Gordon Hensley is Yoda the Hut, LeGros is Darth Vader and Pandora is Palpatine ... why would the recall be a good move and why would stopping TriW no matter what the cost be a good thing for our community?

    As I suggested about two years ago, if one's car has been in an accident, it might be wiser to get some of the major damage fixed and not bother with some of the cosmetic issues. If you insist on fixing every damaged part of the car you end up with a far more expensive car that is no more functional. Heck, I want the entire car repainted because otherwise the paint will fade a different rates on the fender than on the rest of the vehicle, but the cost of getting a good paintjob for a 1994 Nissan Sentra just isn't worth it.

    Similarly, even if TriW has flaws, it is only worth going to another site and/or technology if the costs of doing so aren't too high. The question, once rephrased for Los Osos is this ... would you prefer TriW at $205/month (or whatever) or would you rather pay $300/month (or whatever) for out-of-town? If the actual costs of getting an out of town plant would run us far more than TriW, I am sure that the majority of those of us who live here would prefer the lower cost in town solution.

    With that in mind ... even if Pandora is to blame for everything bad that happened before 2004 and has even done some shifty stuff since then ... why does this mean that Julie and Lisa's move the sewer efforts are good for our community?


    While and interesting read ... I don't think this opinion piece (with footnotes) of yours will really help our community heal. Unfortunately I suspect it will get us another round of the blame game.

    But that's where we are as a community. If we're going to heal we've got to simply pass up the opportunities to paint current participants with the same wide brushstrokes we've used to tar others in the past. Even if tempting, it isn't as helpful as one might think.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 9:40 PM, May 13, 2007  

  • Shark said > Not that it's super relevant to bring up ancient history when we're trying to focus on how to move forward ... Even if tempting, it isn't as helpful as one might think.

    Truth-be-said, I think Ron discloses his reasons for mucking about in the past right up front in his first sentence: "For me, the sewer story is the second best story out of Los Osos, and it's a distant second." In a perfect world we would all be dipping our oars into the water in unison and we'd all be pulling in the same direction. We would leave the past behind and focus - all together now - only on the task ahead in a way that best serves us all. Gawd, what a vision eh? Ever see that happening here? To paraphrase 4CrapKiller, "Why can't we all just be happy living in Mayberry?"

    > While and interesting read ...

    Yes, it was interesting wasn't it? And I agree with you, its not particularly forgiving or healing. Probably wasn't meant to be. And it will no doubt spawn just more of the same as you sooooo perfectly model by stepping immediately, without even a token pause, back into your old argument: 'Tri-W, for better AND for worse, would be cheaper and thus better than any other option'. Personalities and mis-leadership aside why would the recall be a good move and why would stopping TriW no matter what the cost be a good thing for our community? ..... even if TriW has flaws, it is only worth going to another site and/or technology if the costs of doing so aren't too high

    Seems we've been here before, no? You and I. If we go around this track again and again we do tend to converge on agreement. As your analogy so perfectly exemplifies: You would be happy with any old beater sewer as long as it was cheap. Bad paint, dented fenders, missing parts and all. As long as it was 'functional'. Functional being only lossely defined. I've had cars like that. More than one in fact. And I don't want my sewer to be like that. On good days they might be functional. But when they aren't it is a real pain and very aggravating. We live in too pristine and sensitive a location to build a half-ass sewer. There were - and still are - sufficient concerns about the probity and functionality of Tri-W to cause me concern. Oh please, not again. Please don't say 'Tri-W was a fully licensed' design. Too many aspects of that licensing are suspect. Such license, by definition, says a project has been fully and faithfully vetted and certified within the rules that apply to such structure and operations. Not much about the pre-Recall Tri-W meets that criteria. It was a pig in a poke born of ugly process. And yes, there is a very good - but not absolute - chance that what we end up with will cost more than Tri-W. But it will be more fully vetted and will probably be a better sewer solution. It is what it is.

    By Anonymous *pg-13, at 10:02 AM, May 14, 2007  

  • Good points, PG.

    My key frustration with our town is that those who keep telling us that TriW is evil, wrong and toooo expensive haven't offered up something that is better and the same cost, cheaper and no worse or both better and cheaper.

    Didn't we learn our lesson from "better, cheaper, faster"?

    It is also Ron's role to stir the pot from time to time. I just wonder when someone else will come out with some comparably interesting reading about the SNAFU that is the other side. I would love some real investigative reporting here ... a book, perhaps.

    I'll toss out there an agreement ... the County is far better suited to get this thing done right. A good mechanic is far better helping one figure out which repairs are necessary and which aren't as much.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:30 AM, May 14, 2007  

  • Ron,

    Just curious ... if the Questa study showed that deep flaws of the Solutions Group's plan, why haven't you commented on the similarities between the Solutions Group's plan and the CCLO/LOTTF/Ripley plan which were identified as flaws?

    Sure, the point of your article is to skewer Pandora ... but you give the readers a false impression that only the Solutions Group plan was deeply flawed and that Julie, Lisa and the rest were promoting a plan which would be acceptable to the waterboard. Perhaps if you correct this (and other such) oversights your readership would be more solid on the facts and less strident.

    I beg of you ... please be willing to explore the nuances ... please be willing to point out mistakes by both sides ... please be willing to engage with folks on the other side with whom you may disagree. It is only when that happens that we'll be able to truly move forward and to achieve healing.

    I'm reminded of John Stewart on Crossfire. While he isn't unbiased, he is at least civil and willing to engage those of all beliefs ... and his way is far better than that of Tucker Carlson. Your approach, Ron, is no better than Pandora's. If you're hell-bent on painting her as the villain you'll miss the subtleties and technical details (like financial considerations) that should cause us all to pause and that should steer us all toward a real community healing and a real community solution.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:48 AM, May 14, 2007  

  • Shark - Did you ever stop to consider that maybe no one else gives "the other side" because it can't pass muster? Think about it. Why isn't Pandora here telling us her "truth?" Face it! She caused a huge problem and now the county, because our CSD was not given ONE FREAKING CHANCE, is going to try to clean up the mess. The early folks blew it big time. They created a situation where only outsiders with clout could help. Now they're doing it with the support of the community. You are just as "bad" as Ron! Give it up! TRIW is not evil or bad, it's an ill-conceived project and we don't want it. When the county gives us choices we'll see what floats to the top (pun intended).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:45 PM, May 14, 2007  

  • I'm sorry ... I must have been unclear. By my other side comments I meant that it would be nice for someone to dig into how CCLO/LOTTF should have known before the recall election that their "move the sewer" idea would not work ... yet they continued to tell us that they would accomplish that goal. That it would be nice for someone to dig into the inner workings of Julie Biggs, Dan Blesky, Gail, Lisa, Julie and Chuck. That it would be nice for someone to write lengthy articles about how Julie and Lisa should have known that the SRF was site specific (having been told that face-to-face) yet claimed otherwise.

    You are right that I'm as bad as Ron in some sense. I'm unwilling to let sloppy thinking pass as wisdom.

    For those (like you) who say that you don't want TriW (which is quite reasonable) to not tell us why "something else" will be better or save us money or both. Myself I can see that some other sites might have real benefits but the cost of switching to those other sites is so high that the package deal isn't worth it. If you would explain what the better plan is and how much it costs, you'll have an audience.

    As for giving the new board a chance to clean up the mess ... there are some things that you should know not to try. Would you be wise to attempt to clean a swimming pool if the only tool you have is a toothbrush? Even with a whole lot of good intentions, the resources don't match the job.

    Perhaps the new board should have done what I suggested back in 2005. Maybe they should have asked the SWRCB permission to pause construction until the legality of Measure B could be determined and during that timeframe they could have gone to the property owners with a 218 vote asking to borrow some $20M to design yet another new plant. The SWRCB would have agreed and if the property owners had agreed as well, the new board would have had a very real chance to get the job done right.

    It isn't that no one gave them a chance ... they tackled a HUGE problem with the wrong approach. They didn't bother building consensus in our town but instead acted like they had an overwhelming mandate.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 6:38 PM, May 14, 2007  

  • Ron, the secret to getting any large public works project completed has always been to do it before anyone notices.

    It seems that Pandora's schemes worked best when everyone was just half paying attention... once we were all shocked into listening to the truth, her strategies plans started failing (as you noted in your article).

    It took certain individuals to become vocal, and sometime downright shouting, to get the masses to listen. And then they had to endure the attempts to discredit them by Pandora and her minions.

    The challenge was always one of credibility... how to overcome the professional smear campaign of Pandora to a town only half listening... and to do that when there were a few "wildcards" out there that had little credibility.

    We all know which "wildcards" I am talking about... and we know that Pandora loved to paint all of her opponents with that brush.

    Ron, maybe an interesting story for you... without a few of the crazies, could Pandora's plan been prevented much sooner?

    Would our message have been heard and heeded much sooner if the message been delivered more professionally, sooner?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:27 AM, May 15, 2007  

  • You know... there is a group that sends a "welcome packet" to all new residents in Los Osos. Somehow they get the addresses of new renters and owners and send them a packet of local information, coupons, maps, etc.

    Wouldnt it be great to include a copy of this article in that packet... so everyone coming to Los Osos for the first time could be warned about Pandora before she gets her meathooks... er, behavior based marketing tactics to work on them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 AM, May 15, 2007  

  • I sent the article to a friend who emailed me the following:


    "I haven't had this much fun in a loooong time!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sending this. It took me a few minutes to pick myself off the floor after the "ringy dingies." I'm printing it...it's a keeper

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:37 PM, May 15, 2007  

  • Ron,

    Thanks for linking this on my blog. You're certainly correct in pointing out the conflict of interest that Bill Benica has by both being a radio talk show host and also working for Pandora without disclosing that relationship.

    In my case, I'm not sure what to infer from your phrase that Pandora and I "remain on a first name basis." I have not seen Pandora nor her husband Gary in years and the only contact I've had with them is when they called into my radio show during the recall election. They haven't called in since then.

    So I think the repeated appearances of Gail McPherson on my show in the last three years is the best indicator of my thinking on the Los Osos issue.

    I do try to remain on a first name basis with everyone in town and try to separate the personal from the poitical.

    Dave Congalton
    NewsTalk 920 KVEC

    By Blogger Dave Congalton, at 10:23 AM, September 09, 2007  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger motomom, at 2:42 PM, September 09, 2007  

  • Very typical of Dave. He thinks he is Bubba Clinton and covered in teflon.
    Nobody back peddals better than Dave.

    His blog got shut down literally by the culture warriors that would not stand for the BS he promoted on his blog including supporting a female meber of hezbullah that blogged adnauseum about how much she hates everything American, all while feeding at the public trough.

    Now he "samitizes" posts and does not allow any post that do not fit with his "radical left secular progressive socialism".

    This blog is what a blog should be! Free for folks to share their thoughts.

    Thanks for the great article and thanks for letting folks post their opinions here.
    Best of luck!

    By Blogger motomom, at 2:44 PM, September 09, 2007  

  • Dave wrote:

    "Thanks for linking this on my blog."

    Thank YOU for allowing the link on your blog.

    "In my case, I'm not sure what to infer from your phrase that Pandora and I "remain on a first name basis." I have not seen Pandora nor her husband Gary in years and the only contact I've had with them is when they called into my radio show during the recall election. They haven't called in since then."

    Thanks for clearing that up. The reason I wrote that is because in a 2/14/06 e-mail to me, you wrote:

    "I've known Pandora for 15 years and I do think she's a nice person."

    motomom wrote:

    "Thanks for the great article and thanks for letting folks post their opinions here."

    You're welcome, and thank you for posting your opinions here...

    "... radical left secular progressive socialism."

    ... now back away from your talk radio programming. You're starting to sound like Bill O'Reilly, and that's never a good thing.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:00 AM, September 10, 2007  

  • More classic Dave. The same old liberal drivel!
    These "Daily Kooks" are never accountable for anything. It's always a right wing conspiracy.

    Step up Dave, you're getting your chops busted and you have no where to hide because you can't control the content on every BLOG.

    Your Code pinko, hezbullah supporting scam has been busted open for all to see.

    Even this intelleigent author has you playing both ends against the middle and yet you deny deny deny...a typical backpeddler tactic.

    Just fess up. Tell us you keep both sides in your pocket as long as it serves your personal agenda.

    Ron Crawford has you dead to rights and you hate getting caught at your own game. Well Bill Oreilly doesn't have time to waste on liberal towns of 40,000, heck! he's probablly on that many stations as he dominates cable news. Poopoo him all you want, but he has put many better than you to shame.

    Now apologize the folks and wise up! A line has been drawn in the sand. The BS is over. You play both sides against the middle, you will be caught and exposed. You keep ranting your radical left BS and you will be exposed. Game over.

    By Blogger motomom, at 7:11 PM, September 10, 2007  

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