Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Quick Look at Bruce Gibson's Job Performance, SewerWatch style

Whadaya say we quickly examine Supervisor Bruce Gibson's job performance to date, SewerWatch style?

He began his term in office by immediately re-appointing Pandora Nash-Karner to the SLO County Parks Commission, a seat she has held since 1991, giving her access to influential county officials that none of us get, and, as many know these days, almost exclusively because of SewerWatch, Nash-Karner was the #1 supporter/developer/marketer of the wildly unpopular, illegal, waaaaay unnecessarily expensive, environmentally disastrous, Tri-W Project -- a "sewer" project that had to be located in the middle of Los Osos, on "Environmentally Sensitive" dune habitat, so the town folk could easily get to the public park that Nash-Karner, as LOCSD vice-president, had built into the project, because she couldn't get legitimate park funding for Los Osos through the ballot box. (She tried. It failed, but the fact that Los Ososans didn't want to be taxed for parks at the same time they were staring down a gigantic sewer assessment didn't seem to stop her, so she tucked her park into her sewer plant, and that locked in the illegal, mid-town, Tri-W site.)

Nash-Karner is also now-famous for developing a "strategy" to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence," because they didn't favor her project.

Then, a few months after re-appointing Nash-Karner to the SLO County Parks Commission -- AFTER she developed a "strategy" to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence"... a strategy that appears to be working -- when every other official, everywhere, that had anything whatsoever to do with the illegal, "bait and switchy" Tri-W Coastal Development Permit, was essentially saying, "Look, just let the permit expire, for God's sake -- just let it die a pathetic death on the vine," Gibson, at the 11th hour, out of nowhere, drafts a letter that counters EVERYTHING that EVERY OTHER OFFICIAL was saying, and attempts an end-around in a bizarre, completely unexplained effort to have the illegal, "bait and switchy" Tri-W CDP NOT expire. He then drags that letter to an official meeting, and tries to get his fellow Supervisors to play along. They, unlike Gibson, were in no mood to counter EVERYTHING that EVERY staff member was saying, EVERYWHERE.

His letter would flame out miserably, and embarrassingly, at that meeting, prompting Gibson himself to call the letter a "mistake," after outraged public comment types, understandably, threatened a recall effort on the spot.

THEN, just about a month ago, growing tired of that type of public comment, Gibson admits, at a Board of Supervisors' meeting, that he has actually gone so far as to crunch the numbers on which public comment types were saying what, and for how long. (I know it sounds like I'm making that up, but I'm not. He actually broke down tape, like a football coach prepping for a game, and took notes on who was saying what, and for how long.) Gibson's fascist-like number-crunching would play a large role in greatly reducing the amount of public comment on the sewer project.

THEN, just a few weeks ago, after Supervisors that actually care about Los Osos, like Katcho Achadjian and Jim Patterson, directed County staff to draft a resolution intended to show official County support for 45 randomly selected households in Los Osos that have gone through a horrific, health-jeopardizing, two-year-long enforcement action by the local Water Board, only to have County staff, namely, former LOCSD Interim General Manager (hired by Nash-Karner), Paavo Ogren, use that proposed resolution (and therefore use those 45 households) to play the "Los Osos Sewer Train Wreck Blame Game," then, AFTER listening to one CDO holder after another beg the Board to NOT pass Ogren's terribly worded resolution, Gibson couldn't motion fast enough to PASS the hastily written resolution -- a resolution that called the post-recall LOCSD Board a "failure" for NOT building the wildly unpopular, illegal, waaaaay unnecessarily expensive, environmentally disastrous Tri-W Project.

Fortunately for the citizens of Los Osos, there are people like Achadjian and Patterson on the Board of Supervisors, and Ogren's terribly worded resolution -- where he, and Gibson, attempted to use the 45 CDOers to officially play the blame game for the Tri-W disaster -- did not pass.

If you ask me, the worst part about Ogren and Gibson using the 45 CDO households to officially play the blame game (because they favor people like Roger Briggs, lead staff guy at the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Pandora Nash-Karner, over the citizens of Los Osos) when they popped out that terribly worded resolution a few weeks back -- that was originally intended to support those 45 households -- is that now, BECAUSE they tried to play the blame game with the language in that resolution, those 45 households don't have the official backing of the County today.

To put it another way: If Gibson and Ogren had NOT tried to play the blame game with that resolution, then it would have easily passed, but since they decided to use those 45 households to try and officially blame the post-recall LOCSD Board for the sewer train wreck, by calling them a "failure," (and, of course, that led to yet another barrage of outraged public comment types), those 45 households don't have the County's official support. And that's too bad, because they could sure use that document right around now.

A disgusted Supervisor Achadjian, at that meeting, directed Ogren to bring the resolution back at a later date, "without all of the blame" language.

Just today, I sent Ogren this e-mail:

- - -
Hello Paavo,

What's the status of the proposed resolution intended to support the CDO holders in Los Osos?

Is it being re-worded?

When is it coming before the Supervisors again?

WILL it come before the Supervisors again?

Thank you in advance for your prompt response,
- - -

I've followed/covered SLO County Government since about 1990, and I've never seen anything like it -- Supervisors OUTSIDE of a District care more about the people in that District than that District's own Supervisor... if ya follow.

After witnessing Gibson's act over the last couple of years, I have to wonder: How did this guy get elected? Was it because of the Cayucos viewshed issue, that he can't even vote on due to a conflict of interests?

Heck of a job, District 2.


[3/6/08: Quick addition: Oh, how could I forget this -- Nash-Karner is also listed as an "Endorsement" at Next time I'm in SLO, I'll try to swing by the Clerk-Recorder's office to check Gibson's campaign contributions to see if Nash-Karner donated, and, if so, how much. Of course, I'll publish that information here, along with any other newsworthy stuff I might find in those documents.]

[March 11, 2008: UPDATE TO MY UPDATE:

As promised, the last time I was in SLO, I swung by the CCR office.

Is anyone really surprised by this? Nash-Karner donated to Bruce Gibson's campaign. On 5/19/06, she donated $100. Why is that interesting? Because in that same entry, her year-to-date total is "$199.00," and on the "Gibson for Supervisor" site, it reads:

"For donations of $100 or more, providing your occupation and employer is required by law."


"Sorry, we can not accept cash for contributions of $100 or more."

So, as usual, Nash-Karner is up to something sneaky. By donating just one dollar below the $100, like she did, she gets to anonymously contribute as much "cash" as she wants, and apparently, no one, including some smart-ass reporter, can track it. Incidentally, in Gibson's books, nearly every other donator's dollar total ends in a "0," but not Nash-Karner's, of course.

Here are some other interesting "Gibson for Supervisor" contributors:

- Bill Garfinkel: Garfinkel is the chairman of the county's Technical Advisory Committee for the Los Osos project.

- Frank Freiler: Freiler was a former LOCSD Director partly responsible for throwing over $20 million towards the development of the Tri-W project.

- Les Bowker: Bowker is perhaps the "below the radar"-est person in this whole affair. He's been on the RWQCB forever, and his wife, Rose Bowker (now deceased) was an initial LOCSD Director that spent two years chasing the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster" ponding system that formed the LOCSD, yet, predictably, failed two years later. Les Bowker was also a member of the Solution Group, according to a Solution Group newsletter.

- Longtime Nash-Karner friend, and previous 2nd District Supervisor, Shirley Bianchi, of course. She gave $500.00 on 12/28/05... merry Christmas, Bruce.

And, I found this interesting: On 4/12/07, Gibson's campaign donated $500.00 to the "Visclosky for Congress" campaign. Pete Visclosky is "an Indiana congressman with heavy sway on whether the Los Osos sewer project gets" millions in Federal funding.

You scratch my back...

And, finally, let the record reflect: SewerWatch has never been above juvenile humor (wait, did that come out right?), as long as it makes me laugh, and this makes me laugh...

Ever since I posted that mug shot of Gibson, at the top of this blog entry, I just can't help but notice the similarity every time I come back to do an update:

I mean, c'mon. Is it just me?

(I'm by no means a Star Wars dork, because I'm not 12, but I must find humor in Star Wars comparisons, because this is the second time I've done it. The first was when I showed how Nash-Karner "Jedi mind-tricks" regulators, politicians, journalists, and voters into doing things they normally wouldn't do.

"These are not the droids you're looking for."

"These are not the droids we're looking for."

Funny, sad, and true.)]


  • All that fuss over Bruce and Pandora.

    What gives? Why no fuss over Julie Tacker and her plan to derail a sewer project even though she knew ... or should have known ... that it would bankrupt the district, cause additional delay, additional pollution and additional skyrocketing costs.

    Hardly seems fair to me ...

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 8:31 PM, March 05, 2008  

  • AHHHHHH! If Gibson and Pandora were only as smart as Ron Crawford!

    OHHHH! If they only were as knowledgeable as Joey Racano!

    Yesssss! The brilliance of Ann Calhoun!

    It's over Ron: the county will decide. The rehashing of the old is moot. Let us ponder the stupidities of the future.

    By Blogger 4crapkiller, at 6:30 AM, March 06, 2008  

  • Ron, sent you an email but your mailbox is "full", as the daemon came back to tell me. Time to dump yer mailbox?

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:22 AM, March 06, 2008  

  • chura wrote:

    "Time to dump yer mailbox?"

    Damn, I hate it when that happens.

    It's dumped. Thanks for the note. Please resend.

    SI wrote:

    "All that fuss over Bruce and Pandora."

    Isn't it great?

    Some of my favorite stories to report on are the ones where people f-up and trust Nash-Karner, like Abraham Hyatt, Darrin Polhemus, the 1998 LO electorate, etc., etc., etc.... and, now, Bruce Gibson. (When will they ever learn?) Gibson is just ONE of the latest.

    What can I say? I'm fascinated by that angle, because it's such a rich, consistent tradition, not only in Los Osos, but in SLO County and California, as well.

    By Blogger Ron, at 8:52 AM, March 06, 2008  

  • Ron,

    I would contend that (among other things) Los Osos f-ed up when they trusted Julie and Lisa and the recall candidates when they told us that we could move the sewer and save money.

    Why do you criticize Pandora for lies but not criticize others for the same?

    Just curious...

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:07 PM, March 06, 2008  

  • 4C are you G Flea or Pandora Kash-Karner?
    the county will decide....wanna bet?
    Don't get stuck on stupid 4C. Pay close attention to the LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution. Your future depends on it.

    Those that want to serve the public will be held accountable, this time around. Come out , come out where ever you are...

    All that fuss over Bruce and Pandora....
    When a man assumes a public trust he should consider himself a public property.
    Thomas Jefferson

    The Bear is not tied down this time around...

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 9:22 PM, March 07, 2008  

  • The cat is out of the bag and is looking for tounge. I'm looking for "bull".
    "Crapkiller"- let's see yours... come out, come out whoever you are:

    Think Grizzy Bear UNCHAINED, inside the ring, waiting for the last "bull".

    "The bull began the fight by charging the grizzly with his horns. A blow from the grizzly's paw did not stop the onset. In a moment they were rolling over each other in the dust. But the bear finally, though badly gored, got his teeth fastened into the bull's neck, and bull was pulled to his knees. The bull's tongue hung out. This was what the bear wanted. He got his claw into the bull's mouth, pulled the tongue out still further, and then bit it off. With this the bull gave up the contest, and soon after both animals were dispatched."

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 6:39 AM, March 08, 2008  

  • AHHHHHH! If Gibson and Pandora were only as smart as Ron Crawford!

    OHHHH! If they only were as knowledgeable as Joey Racano!

    Yesssss! The brilliance of Ann Calhoun!

    I can only AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY with you Pandora. I look forward to having better government through better citizenship, soon...

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 8:21 AM, March 09, 2008  

  • Hooray!

    Ron publishes a long overdue muckracking expose on very old news. Of course its on Pandora. And Bruce. I mean, who else?

    Then Shark & Crapkiller complain that Julie and Lisa and the post-recall board aren't being properly chastised too.

    Then Ann warns Ron that somebody is hosing his inbox. Gee, I wonder who?

    Then Ron explains his twisted fascination with all things Pandorish. Which is, by any account, a large smelly net cast over many people and issues. Making ripe pickings for an independent journalist.

    Finally, ShedHead posts three typically obtuse comments. Including a Jefferson quote, acknowledgement of Joey Racano's acumen and a few references to bull/bear fighting in Spain, ending with accusations that somebody on this list is - Ta Daaa - Pandora!

    Even for this crowd this is a great start. What can I possibly add?

    Other than isn't it odd that you never see Ron Crawford and Pandora Nash together? What d'ya make of that?

    By Blogger *PG-13, at 9:08 PM, March 10, 2008  

  • I should have also said, regardless of who is and is not on the blame list - and putting aside for a moment whatever role(s) Pandora may have played - don't we all have to agree that Bruce Gibson has provided notably poor performance? If you disagree please help me out. Why aren't the things Ron describes more than a little suspect?

    When in doubt. When things aren't clear ....

    "Just... follow the money." -- Deep Throat

    Always good advice I think.

    By Blogger *PG-13, at 9:31 PM, March 10, 2008  

  • A Brucewock,
    I cannot describe the amount of gut pain that caused me, DAMN YOU RON!!!!!!!!

    I suggest that politics makes strange bedfellows and that the L.O. train has a few more swerves left in it.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 4:32 PM, March 11, 2008  

  • PG,

    I think that during the campaign process then during his first few months in office Bruce figured out that the "move the sewer no matter what it costs" crowd are either short-sighted vindictive folks or just plain nutjobs. If that is the case, don't you think that he would take the easy way out and just oppose anything Ron or Julie or the sewer dragon lady would be in favor of and that he would be in favor of whatever they would oppose?

    I'm not arguing here that he's doing a bang-up job, but that he's reacting to others and their flaws ... um ... much like Ron is. In that regard, Ron's flaw is that he doesn't see himself as biased but he sees everyone who disagrees with him as being so.

    Oh ... and for clarity, I am not complaining that Julie isn't being chastised ... but that Ron is unwilling to look into all aspects of the story but only those which make his original take look good. That he supported the recall which clearly failed to achieve its goals is something he doesn't bring up because it makes him look bad.

    Oh well, I suppose that if Ron doesn't like this comment he'll delete it or the whole comment section.

    Sad that someone who claims to be a journalist would be so UNinterested in publishing the whole story.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 3:54 PM, March 17, 2008  

  • An anonymous commenter wrote:

    "Sad that someone who claims to be a journalist would be so UNinterested in publishing the whole story."

    Now, anonymous, I realize that your short-term memory is shot, so I'll remind you for about the 20th time: It's not that I'm "UNinterested," in that side of the story, it's that I find that side of the story incredibly boring.

    I mean, all you have to do is think about it (and I know that's a stretch for your tiny, little anonymous mind): The post recall board said, "If we're elected, we'll stop the embarrassing, waaaay unnecessarily expensive, illegal, wildly unpopular, mid-town park-with-a-sewer-plant on ESHA."

    There were elected, and they stopped the embarrassing, waaaay unnecessarily expensive, illegal, wildly unpopular, mid-town park-with-a-sewer-plant on ESHA.

    Anonymous, since journalism can be a complex subject, and, therefore, I don't expect you to understand it, but that angle I just laid out there, sucks as a story.

    Now, on the other hand, one person running around, positioning herself to be on a first-name basis with every influential administrator, journalist, regulator and politician (like Gibson... AND Bianchi, AND Laurent, for that matter), and then, because she was able to Jedi Mind-Trick (read: behavior based marketing) ALL of those people into doing things they normally wouldn't do, she has cost California taxpayers upwards of $100 million over a 10-year span, AND ripped the community fabric of a town into iddy-biddy shreds -- THAT'S one helluva story... and the ONLY f-ing thing I "favor," is a killer story.

    By the way, do me a solid, anonymous, ask your Taxpayer Watch buddies how their LAFCO bill is coming along. (I have to admit, THAT's another side of the story I'm interested in -- spending thousands of dollars of their own money (for a change) attempting to dissolve the very government agency they created, just because that agency no longer favored their embarrassing, waaaay unnecessarily expensive, illegal, wildly unpopular, mid-town park-with-a-sewer-plant on ESHA, is a very interesting story. However, when you get right down to it, THAT story, just like the entire sewer story, is nothing more than a sidebar of the amazingly awesome Nash-Karner story.)

    Finally, I LOVE the Sewer Dragon Lady. She, unlike you, anon, is imaginative.

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:46 AM, March 18, 2008  

  • Ron,

    You are right. I was unclear in what I wrote. Damn, I hate it when I make a rare mistake.

    Rather than writing "Sad that someone who claims to be a journalist would be so UNinterested in publishing the whole story" I should have written "Sad that someone who claims to be a journalist would have never written on the most recent portion of the story". My bad.

    As for my "tiny, little anonymous mind" and how I am unable to understand the complexities of journalism ... I would suggest that back before the recall I raised some complex questions for you about how much it would cost to stop TriW and to move the treatment plant out town. If, as an independent journalist, you didn't think *that* was an important question to answer before the election because somehow it wouldn't be sexy enough ... it reflects poorly on you. If you are telling us that journalism is only to provide the public with the sort of information that will cause them to go out and buy the products advertised on the page next to your stories, it is you who has bought into a lie about your own profession.

    Nope, you're not that dumb. I have to conclude that you are just trying to pull rank ... yet oddly enuf, your efforts only reveal how much you want to wriggle out of this one. Face it ... you dropped the ball, you screwed up and Los Osos has been suffering since the recall because people trusted you and your slip-shod "take" on the story. They f-ed up.

    I gave you your chance to do some easy research. I gave you some cost analyses to study and take to real experts so that you could report on the question of whether moving the sewer would save us money (as the recall candidates and you claimed) or not (as I argued).

    That you didn't bother addressing my crystal-clear insightful questions and that you've never really addressed the massive f-ups of the post-recall LOCSD board (stopping the project without first getting any legal opinion on how to best do so, paying BWS off, etc.) seems to show that you aren't an unbiased journalist but rather interested ... for some unexplained reason ... in supporting only one side in the discussion and criticizing only the other side.

    Sewerwatch is not an attempt to watch or report on sewer developments but has tranmogrified into an after-the-fact attempt to justify poor decisions and to disttract folks in Los Osos from the very real questions we face.

    As to your Taxpayer Watch question ... I don't know anyone from TW, so I can't ask them. However, if you're gonna be so darn rude to me in your earlier comments, what would make you think that I would do you a favor at all?

    Finally ... I can see why you might prefer an imaginative take on Los Osos issues ... it seems that you are uncomfortable dealing with the full array of facts and the sorts of complex questions we need to deal with.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:21 PM, March 18, 2008  

  • Anonymous person(s) wrote:

    "Los Osos has been suffering since the recall because people trusted you and your slip-shod "take" on the story

    Guy Rathbun, host of KCBX's excellent program AN Evening With..., had a great guest on his show the other day, where his guest, an author, was talking about how disgusting anonymous posters to blogs, like Shark Inlet, can be, because of their anonymity, and how that dynamic drags down civility everywhere.

    Guy's guest (whose names escapes me right now) also made an excellent point when he said that the blog operators, like me and Ann, are partly to blame for the erosion of civility in pretty much every arena, because not only do we allow disgusting, agenda-driven, losers, like SI, to post anonymously, but we also engage them.

    I tried to find the link to the podcast, but I can't find the show on KCBX's web site.

    Now, I know that Guy lives in Los Osos, so, if he happens to read this, or if somebody that's reading this knows him, please have him put that show's podcast up on the KCBX web site, and I'll link to it.

    It was a very interesting show.

    (All smack aside, get well soon, Bruce.)

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:19 AM, March 19, 2008  

  • Ron,

    I would humbly suggest that the way in which you've help erode civil discussion is more due to your willingness to tell people "f you" and in your oversimplification of all things sewer into a "Pandora is evil and the rest of you f-ed up when you trusted her."

    That being said, Guy would have a good opinion ... that anonymity can be a bad thing. On the other hand, surely you recognize that anonymous sources are sometimes necessary for journalism. Along those same lines, anonymous opinion is no less valid because of the anonymity

    Readers on this topic over time know who I am based on the opinions and facts I present. That being said, they know full well that I am not a troll and that I am in for the long haul.

    Would you argue that the Federalist papers with authorship in dispute are less worthy because we don't know who authored them? Would you argue that the book of Romans in the Bible isn't important because we don't know the author?

    Rathbun is right ... anonymity can cause some folks to say what they otherwise might not say and this can be a bad thing if what they would say is inflammatory. This shouldn't cause anyone to think that the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater.

    Lastly, I find it really sad that you write of "disgusting, agenda-driven, losers, like SI" in the very same comment that you bemoan a lack of civility. Simply put, I have been at least as polite as you have been if not far more so. I think that my unwillingness to let your off-base remarks go unchallenged may have angered you and because of that anger you aren't seeing things very clearly. As a case in point, you haven't yet addressed any of the many issues I've raised like whether the recall campaign was based in a promise of lowering sewer costs ... a promise which was clearly way off base.

    So Ron, did you want to discuss all aspects of the Los Osos sewer issue in your blog or ONLY those where you can paint Pandora as evil? Are you going to ever discuss the issues her or are you going to continue to take the cowardly way out and insult those with a different opinion than your own?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:54 AM, March 19, 2008  

  • Shark: Did you just jump from anonymous blogger to "anonymous source"?

    Perhaps you can begin/host your own blog: That proposed park on sewer treatment facility formerly known as the Tri-W/I love a big pipe and everyone associated with it...or something like that.

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 9:05 PM, March 20, 2008  

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