Monday, July 28, 2008

Taxpayers Watch? We Want Our $9,247.50, and We Want it Now!

Los Osos? On July 31 (Thursday morning), you have a rare and beautiful opportunity to get a little sweet, sweet payback at the people that did this to you.

That's when the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) will consider a "request" by the shady citizens group, "Taxpayers Watch," to allow that group more time to pay off a nearly $30,000 bill they racked-up during their frivolous attempt to "dissolve" the Los Osos Community Services District beginning in 2006, shortly after the same people behind Taxpayers Watch were recalled from that same LOCSD Board.

[Yep. That's exactly how that sequence went down: They got recalled, and instantly turned so bitter that they spent $30,000 (at least) of their own money trying to eliminate the very government agency that they were just recalled from. The gall impresses me.]

If you're one of the thousands that witnessed recalled CSD Directors', Gordon Hensley and Richard LeGros (aka: Taxpayers Watch), act before and after the recall -- like ignoring the vast majority of Los Osos, and deliberately setting their own recall date at one of the latest possible dates, and, of course, by doing so, bought themselves the extra month needed to cash a $6.5 million state check and immediately begin ripping up environmentally sensitive land to build an extremely unpopular, technically embarrassing, mid-town sewer plant, and that action needlessly saddled the town with millions upon millions of dollars of debt, or how, after they lost the recall election, before the results were even certified, their operatives developed (and implemented) a "strategy" to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence" -- then you HAVE to carve out some time on the morning of July 31, and go to that LAFCO meeting, and speak up.

Not since the recall has the town of Los Osos had such a beautiful "get 'em" moment.

Here's all you have to do: Show up, en masse, at that meeting and tell the LAFCO Board to NOT grant Taxpayers Watch an "extension" on their payment schedule -- an extension that LAFCO staff is recommending.

That's it. That's all you have to do. If you can convince LAFCO to NOT grant that time extension, Taxpayers Watch is going to be forced to come up with $9,000, pronto... or else!

After the Taxpayers Watch dissolution attempt officially failed in late 2006, following "4 hearings over a nine month period," LAFCO wasn't about to pick up the hefty administrative tab for such a blatantly frivolous action, so they told Taxpayers Watch to pay nearly $30,000 to help cover the cost of the fiasco, which they have been paying, at a clip of $1,000 per month.

However, here's where it gets interesting: They got behind on their payments.

"If the (LAFCO) Commission doesn’t follow the staff recommendation (and grant the time extension), Taxpayers Watch would be required to pay the balance pursuant to the terms of the Stipulation for Entry of Judgment," wrote Paul Hood, LAFCO executive officer, in an e-mail for this story.

He added, "Taxpayers Watch continued with the payment of $1,000 at the end of June and another payment is due at the end of July. After the July payment the balance will be $8,247.50 out of a beginning balance of $27,747.50."

According to Hood, if Taxpayers Watch does not get their extension on July 31, and can't come up with $9-large in a hurry, "Enforcement would be through the courts because they signed the Stipulation as a condition of LAFCO not pursuing the lawsuit to require payment in 2007."

How sweet would that be... "enforcement" would rain down on the same people that are attempting (present tense) to get the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence." (Payback's a bitch, huh, Taxpayers Watch?)

Furthermore, and this is huge, had the dissolution attempt been successful, and the LOCSD had been wiped off the map, the millions upon millions of dollars in debt that the pre-recall board (aka: Taxpayers Watch) needlessly racked-up in the few weeks before the recall election (that they deliberately set at one of the latest possible dates), would have been transferred to county taxpayers... and Taxpayers Watch knew that, and didn't give a flip!

With their dissolution attempt, Taxpayers Watch essentially said to county taxpayers, "Look, we don't care if you guys get stuck paying the millions upon millions of dollars we wasted covering up our sewer plant lies over a seven year period in Los Osos, we're unbelievably bitter people, and we are going to do anything we can to eliminate the very agency we created, because the voters of Los Osos don't want US anymore... and, oh yea, we're also going to make sure that those same voters get 'fined out if existence.' And, even if our dissolution attempt isn't successful, we will still have forced the post-recall LOCSD to waste a ton of time and money fighting us, and that will cripple them, and also help terminate the CSD. Did I mention that we're unbelievably bitter people?"

Think about this. It's an outrage: Taxpayers Watch showed that level of disregard for county taxpayers, yet, LAFCO is on the verge of rewarding them with a HUGE favor by granting them an extension to their already-agreed-to payment schedule.

That's insulting.

Obviously, Taxpayers Watch doesn't care about county taxpayers, so why should county taxpayers care about them?

We want our $9,247.50, and we want it now!

###

The LAFCO meeting will be held at the Board of Supervisor's chambers at the county government center in downtown SLO. It begins at 9;00 a.m. If you can't make the July 31 meeting, you can e-mail Paul Hood your comments at: phood@slolafco.com

7 Comments:

  • Ron,
    Is the County Charging Interest on the Installments? If not, why not? These funds are public funds and the public is due the interest as well. If interest is not assessed than that is a gift of public funds and the county agency could be liable to the people, including the board.

    By Blogger danbleskey, at 9:39 AM, July 29, 2008  

  • Ron,

    I'll agree ... up to a point. TW ought to pay their bills. If they've been making payments on a regular basis, it would seem reasonable to grant them additional time, but that is a LAFCO decision.

    The problem I have with the whole LAFCO thing is that they stalled and delayed their decision on the dissolution question and they never really considered the question of what was best for Los Osos but just whether the County would have to pick up the tab. Considering that LAFCO members are all representatives of various jurisdictions within the County, there is a built in bias against dissolution.

    Another interesting factoid is that while the LOCSD board opposed dissolution, they suggested it might be a good idea just a few months later. It is as if the post-recall board views any suggestion by Gordon as necessarily wrong.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:04 AM, July 29, 2008  

  • The LOCSD board discussed dissolution a couple of meetings ago as well, as a way to get out from under the current debt - to spread it out over the whole County.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:41 PM, July 29, 2008  

  • Ron,

    Why is it not okay with you that Taxpayers Watch is paying their bills but too slowly for your taste ... but you seem to not care at all about whether the LOCSD will now ask for a dissolution and put a whole lot more debt on the County and you seem not to care that CCLO is not paying their legal bills at all?

    Shouldn't a person concerned with the County not being financially burdened by $9k arriving too late also be concerned with some $40M in debts being handed over to the County?

    Shouldn't a person concerned with questions of whether Los Osos political groups are following thru on their promised payments also be outraged that CCLO has stiffed their lawyers for about twice what TPW currently owes?

    Sure, debt is bad and sure, one ought to pay their bills. But why the outrage in one case but silence on the two other issues?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 7:58 AM, July 31, 2008  

  • Well, here I am sitting in Vancouver and decided to fire up the Mac and do a little surfing.
    Seems some folks back in the old digs need another history lesson.
    This is from the mouth of Sam himself. ( Jon Arcuni and I asked him this question at a CSD meeting)
    Can the LOCSD board of directors dissolve the CSD?
    NO! they have NO ability to direct LAFCO to do anything at all! Even their support of a dissolution would have little or no weight.
    Dissolution will NEVER HAPPEN.
    The best they can do is resign in mass.
    My suggestion is to have a plate of candidates next election run on the plank that if they are elected they will resign.
    Imagine the trouble that would have been avoided if the original solution group members of the first CSD BOD had thrown themselves on their swords and resigned when the "Ponds of Avalon" had flamed out...
    Ann and Ron would be writing about gophers and such exclusively.
    BTW update at my travel blog. click on my name.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 11:35 AM, August 03, 2008  

  • Mike,

    LAFCO, if they get a petition with enough signatures on it, must allow a vote on dissolution. If the LOCSD directors as well as those who used to be directors agree that dissolution is the best plan, LAFCO rules require dissolution occur.

    Not much, I guess, but even if the LAFCO officials say "no way" to dissolution, they might not win on that issue.

    At this stage, I would argue in favor of dissolution ... mostly out of self interest. Ron might white a whole bunch if $50M of debt is given over to the County, but that's only $200 per person, but if that same $50M is spread over only Los Osos residents it is about $3000 each.

    Would I feel bad that Ron would have to pay $200 extra (in lower services, I guess)? Yes ... but not that much ... because, after all, he advocated for the stupid plan of the post-Recall board (let's just call it the "failure" board). I would feel worse for Joe Citizen of Paso who, because of their lack of long-term memory, would be mad that the County would have to play any role. However, the County is the group who created this mess in the first place by allowing more septic tanks per acre than reasonable. Furthermore, the County dragged their feet on the question of fixing the problem.

    Some folks blame only the Pandora, Stan, Gordon and Richard for our mess. They forget the host of things that happened before the Solutions Group and CSD as well as the list of things (like the massive debt) that have happened since the recall.

    Mike, I hope you have a great time in Oregon. We're missing you already.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 5:11 PM, August 04, 2008  

  • Sharkey, I beg to differ.
    LAFCO can do pretty much what ever they want, even when they blatantly violate their own rules it requires a lawsuit to overturn the decisions.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jan/30/local/me-59396
    There is no way dissolution will ever happen. period
    Even TW couldn't scratch up the kind of dough needed to overturn a LAFCO decision bake sales and all.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 5:54 PM, August 04, 2008  

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