Sunday, November 18, 2007

Always Bet on SewerWatch

If you're looking to put some action down on who's going to win Assemblyman, Sam Blakeslee's, "What Ought to be a Law," contest, I've got a little inside tip for ya... always bet on SewerWatch.

If my "Ought to be a Law" idea doesn't win, I'm going to demand a recount.

Without a doubt, what ought to be a law in the great State of California, is that the Secretary of State should have the authority to set all recall election dates for elected officials that are facing recall.

Shockingly, as the law currently stands, elected officials that are facing recall get to set their own recall election date.

That law needs to be changed badly, yesterday.

About a year ago, I wrote a blog piece, California's Recall Election Code -- Always Bad Policy... Always, where I showed how Section 11240 of the California Elections Code (CEC) -- the law that allows for elected officials that are facing recall to set their own recall election date -- has just devastated, absolutely gutted two California communities, Rosemead and Los Osos, within the past few years, and unless it is changed, it will continue to rip communities apart.

In Rosemead, as I show in that piece, the city council was able to delay the recall election date, due to Section 11240, and that allowed for weeks more time for Wal-Mart -- with that annoying, sneaky, behind-the-scenes maneuvering that they do in communities, like Atascadero, for example -- to pour all kinds of money into the coffers of the candidates (Wal-Mart supporters, of course) facing recall (because of the Wal-Mart project), and the community was badly outspent. Not surprisingly, the recall failed.

The exact same thing happened in Los Osos because of Section 11240... just with different end results. The recall election date was pushed back to one of the latest possible dates by the three LOCSD members facing recall, and that allowed their campaigns to collect and outspend the community at about a 2 to 3-1 clip, from all the contributions coming in from all the contractors and everyone else that stood to make a lot of cash on the terribly ill-conceived Tri-W project.

Furthermore, in Los Osos, due solely to Section 11240 of the CEC, the extra month that the three CSD Directors afforded themselves, allowed them the window of time to begin construction on the wildly unpopular, mid-town sewer plant project -- the Tri-W project -- a site that is Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area. That was in September of 2005, and the site is still badly scarred today -- all due to Section 11240 of the California Elections Code (CEC).

Just a few weeks after construction began at the environmentally sensitive Tri-W site, the three LOCSD directors were recalled, the Tri-W project was immediately halted -- just like the majority of the community (that was badly outspent during the recall campaigns, due to 11240) wanted -- and the millions of dollars that was spent on the construction of the ill-conceived Tri-W project would be completely wasted -- all due to Section 11240 of the California Elections Code (CEC).

It's the worst law I've ever seen. It's so undemocratic.

And to massively further strengthen my argument on why I'm going to win this contest (as if my argument needs anymore support), I have already, last year, spoken with the top election official in SLO County, Julie Rodewald, regarding this exact topic.

Not surprisingly, Rodewald likes my idea, and she also told me that she, like me, attended the LOCSD meeting where, after a long line of public commentors asked the board to set the recall date at one of the earliest possible dates, they ignored that 10-1 ratio, and promptly set their own recall date at one of the latest possible dates... because they could... because of Section 11240 of the California Elections Code (CEC).

When I asked Rodewald if it had been her decision to make, would she have set the 2005 LOCSD recall election date closer to the latest possible date or the earliest, she told me, "I would have set it at one of the earliest dates."

In California's Recall Election Code -- Always Bad Policy... Always, I argue that the county election official should set the date. However, since I've published that piece, I've spoken, again, with Rodewald, and she recommended that a better change to 11240 than the one I recommend in my piece, would be to have the Secretary of State set the recall election date, that way, she told me, it would further remove any hint of impropriety. I want to say that I wholeheartedly agree with Rodewald.

What ought to be a law?

Without question, this: The language in Section 11240 of the California Elections Code should be changed to give the authority to set a recall election date to the Secretary of State, instead of those facing recall!

When's this "What Ought to be a Law" contest wrap up?

What do I win?


Los Osos writer, Ann Calhoun, has also chimed in with her excellent "What Ought to be a Law" suggestion, on her blog, Calhoun's Can(n)ons.


  • Thats a good one, it has my support.
    I'd like a law that removes elected officials from the LAFCO board. and I'd also like the ability to prosecute elected officials for making completely false election promises.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 1:37 PM, November 18, 2007  

  • It's early in the contest and already there are three great ideas. I bet Mr. Blakeslee will be surprised at how many good suggestions are being made.

    I just hope that the CCRWQCB doesn't ruin the lives of people currently living in California Valley by approving the proposed solar plant with the same lack of oversight they used in Los Osos. PG&E had a perfectly good PASSIVE solar plant out there and disassembled it when the incentives ended but now can't wait to buy the energy from a solar plant that will use 18,000 gallons of water a day to generate energy. Can anyone say STATE WATER after they drain the water table?
    Yes, there really ought to be a law about such bad decisions.

    By Blogger Brass Tacks, at 2:26 PM, November 18, 2007  

  • Ron,

    I like your idea. It has a similar flavor to having a panel of judges do the necessary gerrymandering rather than letting the legislature draw their own political boundaries.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 9:59 PM, November 20, 2007  

  • Way back on Jan 1, 2007 Ron wrote that by the end of 2007 the RWQCB would require composting toilets for Los Osos and that the State would provide micro-loans of about $500 each to folks in town. While this might be a good thing, it does seem rather unlikely to happen, let alone by the end of 2007.

    Ron, don't you think that your "Always Bet on SewerWatch" title should is based both on your celebration of things you've written in the past that would seem to have come true and your unwillingness to own up to your past mistakes?

    How's your reading on inflation and engineering going?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:15 PM, November 26, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home