Monday, May 18, 2009

David Edge Lives in Los Osos

As county Supervisors consider terminating the employment contract of long-time SLO County Administrator, David Edge, on Tuesday, I think it's important to note that he lives in Los Osos.

In fact, that's why, when the Supes discuss the Los Osos wastwater project, Edge recuses himself from those discussions, because of a possible conflict of interest.

So, because he recuses himself from those discussions, no one (at least no one from the media) knows where he aligns on the Los Osos wastewater controversy.

And, I've always been curious about that.

I've corresponded with Edge many times (he's actually excellent at returning e-mails... one of the best in county government), and I've watched him in action for years, and he's a very bright guy, so, I've always wondered what he must think about the Los Osos CSD's former sewer project -- the "Tri-W" project -- that was proposed to be built in the middle of Edge's "little 'burgh" for the sole reason that the residents could easily get to a small, yet, expensive park that the 2000 - 2005 LOCSD had included in their proposed sewer plant.

["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..."
-- Tri-W Facilities Report, 2001 (As first reported in New Times, Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown, September, 2004)]

However, as a recent county survey revealed, almost no one from Los Osos wanted a mid-town "sewer park" to begin with.

["Only (9-percent) of (Prohibition Zone) respondents chose the mid-town (Tri-W) location..."
-- Los Osos Wastewater Project Community Advisory Survey, March 27, 2009]

So, think about that situation for a moment... it's very interesting: Edge's local government, the LOCSD, spent nearly six years and some $25 million developing a mid-town sewer-park, and, it turns out, almost no one wanted a park in their sewer plant to begin with, naturally.

And, because Edge is smart, and also SLO County's chief administrator, he knows better than just about everyone the ins-and-outs of local government, so, what must he think about the fact that the LOCSD -- Edge's own local government agency -- wasted six years and some $25 million of HIS money developing a sewer-plant-park in the middle of his town for the sole reason that the town's residents could easily get to the park in their sewer plant, yet almost no one wanted a park in their sewer plant to begin with?

It's a fascinating question, but, currently, Edge can't address it, because of his position with SLO County government.

It gets weirder.

The Supervisor that is leading the recommendation to consider the termination of Edge's employment contract, is 2nd District Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, who represents Los Osos, and, as I recently reported, Gibson's appointment to the SLO County Parks Commission, is Pandora Nash-Karner.

Nash-Karner, is also a former LOCSD vice-president, and is the chief proponent/architect of the mid-town sewer-plant-park that no one wanted.

She was also a financial donor to, and public endorser of, Bruce Gibson's campaign for Supervisor throughout 2006.

So, you can see how this all starts to get a bit twisted, right?

Out of the blue, for reasons unknown, Edge, a resident of Los Osos, is placed on paid administrative leave, and Gibson, who is close friends with the person most responsible for the former, and wildly unpopular, mid-town "Tri-W" sewer project, writes a letter to his fellow Supervisors asking them to consider the termination of Edge's employment contract.

In Gibson's letter, it reads, "No further statement of reasons for termination is needed."

Now, what starts to become an extremely relevant question, is, "What is Edge's take on Nash-Karner's wildly unpopular, failed, mid-town "sewer-park?"

State legislation handed control of the Los Osos wastewater project to SLO County officials back in 2006, and, after three years of analysis, the project development process is entering a crucial period, that will produce a final project selection, right when Edge's job is on the line, for reasons unknown.

The only document I can provide that links Nash-Karner and Edge, comes from September 2005, when, immediately following a bitter election loss, where the majority of Los Osos voters rejected her mid-town "sewer-park" by recalling three pro-Tri-W project CSD Directors, Nash-Karner, in full-on panic mode, just hours after the polls closed, sent Edge (among other officials) this e-mail:

- - -
Subject: Can we transfer the project this week?


Granted, it's late, but could the LOCSD transfer the sewer project to the county BEFORE the current CSD-3 leave office? Contracts have been signed, the project is underway, we are in violation of the clean water act - can an emergency agency be prepared to include transferring the project? there any way to salvage the project??????????????????

- - -

Edge responded:

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on 9/28/05 7:46 AM, wrote:

Hi Pandora - I understand your distress however the CSD remains the responsible local agency for the project. That means the district board could contract with the county (or other willing agency I guess) to do the project in the same manner that they contracted with a private company - however, assuming yesterday's results are certified, the new board could equally well vote to take back the project when seated. In other words "other agency options" aren't realistically on the table unless and until the CSD goes out of existence or gives up its wastewater authority.

- - -

Nash-Karner then replied with this astonishing e-mail:

- - -
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 2005 08:45:21
Subject: Re: Can we transfer the project this week?
From: "Pandora Nash-Karner"
To: "David Edge"

Thank (sic) David,

I hope the CSD gets fined out of existence fast enough to save the contractors and the low-interest loan!

- - -


Is Edge's possible termination related to his position on the Los Osos wastewater project? I have no idea, and unlike other on-line "news sources," I'm not going to speculate, or use some shaky anonymous source to guess at a possible reason why Edge is on paid administrative leave, but I will say that, considering the fact that Edge lives in Los Osos, and is obviously very clear on what happened with Nash-Karner's botched sewer systems (plural -- the "better, cheaper, faster" project that Nash-Karner used to form the LOCSD in the first place in 1998, also failed... in late 2000), I find the timing of all of this to be very interesting, and, IF Edge's contract is terminated on Tuesday, SewerWatch will immediately contact him, and ask him what his views are involving Bruce Gibson's Parks Commissioner's failed sewer projects, and how Nash-Karner also "hoped" that Edge's local government would be "fined out of existence."