Friday, July 09, 2010

Government Funded "Community Surveys": Euphemism for "We're going to use your money to lie to you."

On her excellent blog (, Los Osos writer, Ann Calhoun just published a piece showing how our local chapter of the Sierra Club recently ran some serious "smack" regarding SLO County Supervisors, and their handling of the Los Osos wastewater project.

One of the things Ann mentions is the "infamous community survey," that County officials threw a bunch of money at a couple of years back, and then skewed the wording of the questions in order to get the result they desired.

What I find funny about that "infamous" community survey, is that it was conducted by the same person -- Robyn Letters, of Opinion Studies -- that I contacted a few years back, where I first showed how the 2001 Los Osos CSD Board conducted their own expensive "survey," just before a critical Proposition 218 vote that was needed to fund the design of the failed Tri-W "project"/disaster.

As I exposed in my piece, to conduct their "survey," the District hired a marketing firm, and then had that firm phone hundreds of Los Osos property owners -- in a vote that included only property owners -- and then, flat-out lie to them about the proposed project... in an effort to get the Prop 218 vote passed.

Yep, in 2001, the Los Osos CSD used Los Osos taxpayers' money to hire a marketing firm, that then turned around and phoned those same taxpayers, and, lied to them... while being paid by them.

In other words, the 2001 LOCSD used public funds for campaign material (highly unscrupulous campaign material, I will add)... totally illegal, under state law.

In my story where I exposed all of that, Letters told me, "It appears that someone writing (those questions) had an agenda. It's obviously biased."

And that's where it gets funny.

Letters told me that the 2001 LOCSD "survey" was "obviously biased," and then, just two years after she told me that, SLO County officials hire her, and the "survey" she conducts is blasted as being "obviously biased."

See? Funny.

So, I suppose the lesson here is, never allow a government agency to conduct a "community survey," because, apparently, that's just a euphemism for "We're going to use your money to lie to you."

By the way, the 2001 Los Osos CSD "survey" scam worked, the Prop 218 vote passed, and that led to $25 million being wasted on the Tri-W embarrassment, and nine-years-and-counting of wastewater project delay.


[27 weeks down... 25 to go.]


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    By Blogger Richard LeGros, at 12:09 PM, July 09, 2010  

  • blog不錯唷~我會常常來看的~加油~!! ..................................................................

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 AM, July 10, 2010  

  • The biggest, and in the case of Los Osos, most damaging public funded lying is the official voter pamphlet.
    Cheaper, Better, Faster
    We have a plan.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 9:39 AM, July 11, 2010  

  • Oh, I forgot:
    "Save the dream"

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 9:40 AM, July 11, 2010  

  • Yes, Mike Green

    The Solution Group was incorrect...their mistakes added tens of millions to the Project cost. Their mantra of 'cheaper, faster, better' wasn't.

    And Yes, the CSD-5 was incorrect too....their mistakes added tens of millions to the Project cost. Their mantra of 'we have a cheaper alternate project ready to go that will not lose state funding, result in RWQCB fines, or result in lawsuits' was a bold-faced lie.

    So take your pick....all added cost.

    As of today, the WWTP will cost what is to get the WWTP build ASAP before another group with a 'better idea' adds tens of millions in project costs too.

    By Blogger Richard LeGros, at 11:44 AM, July 11, 2010  

  • Richard, you left out the pre-recall CSD.
    Sincerely, M

    By Blogger M, at 1:29 PM, July 11, 2010  

  • One huge incorrectomundo blunder was the setting of the recall date, that alone costs tens of millions of gallons of effluent.
    I think Ron has pretty much nailed that one down more than once.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 2:32 PM, July 11, 2010  

  • No M, I did not omit the pre-recall CSD as the CSD was primarily Solution Group folks and their policies.

    They did undeniably screw up with 'better, faster, cheaper'. And yes, the SG was warned that they were wrong. Seems to me that they were just as pig-headed as those that followed post-recall.

    However, to their credit they realized they screwed up, accepted REALITY, developed a WWTP acceptable to (and fundable by) the 'powers that be'. They got it done, only to be undone by those following.

    Mike Green. You posted nonsesnse; hence there is nothing to respond to (other than a hardy laugh!) ;-)

    By Blogger Richard LeGros, at 3:18 PM, July 11, 2010  

  • Mike Green. You posted nonsesnse; hence there is nothing to respond to (other than a hardy laugh!) ;-)

    Fucking balls!

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 5:07 PM, July 11, 2010  

  • You got that right! LOL

    By Blogger Richard LeGros, at 5:32 PM, July 11, 2010  

  • "Richard" wrote:

    "However, to their credit (the Solution Group-turned-LOCSD Directors) realized they screwed up, accepted REALITY, developed a WWTP acceptable to (and fundable by) the 'powers that be'. They got it done."

    Behavior-based marketing in action. Absolutely revolting.

    Got what done? Wasted seven years and $25 million on the laughable Tri-W disaster, that, in the end, which was about a month ago, didn't even come close to working? And the entire civil engineering community NOW laughs at you for wasting seven years and $25 million on that embarrassment?

    Yep, you guys sure got that done. I will give you and Pandora and Gordon "credit" for that.

    "Richard," can I ask you a quick question, because I can't think of an answer to this question?:

    Who's on your side?

    Other than the tiny (and dwindling) handful of people that were responsible for wasting seven years and $25 million on the Tri-W disaster, who's on your side?

    I can't think of one person (other than your tiny, tiny amount of Jedi mind-tricked followers), or agency that supports you and Gordon and Pandora.

    SLO County officials? They laugh at you... literally, and out loud.

    Sierra Club? They (almost) run more smack at you than I do... and that's saying something.

    The Technical Task Force? They called your wasted 7 years and $25 million "a bad idea."

    The National Water Research Institute? Nope.

    The Coastal Commission? Nope.


    Name one agency... one (reputable) person that says what you say, "That Tri-W project sure was sweet!"

    Uh, news-flash Gordon, Richard, and Pandora (and, after that, I pretty much run out of names... maybe Gary Karner?): Everyone either hates you, or laughs at you for wasting 7 years and $25 million on the Tri-W embarrassment/disaster.

    You guys are good with that?

    Apparently, yes.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:03 AM, July 12, 2010  

  • Little "r",
    How does Ron "___ ___" Crawford's question make you "feel?"

    Tell us again how your "group" evaluated USBF wastewater treatment technology.

    I have a question for ya: Are you certain that your has doctor released you for "duty?"

    Word Verification: "porch" Better stay on the porch Little "r"

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 10:53 AM, July 13, 2010  

  • Are you certain that your doctor has released you for "duty?"

    By Blogger Watershed Mark, at 10:54 AM, July 13, 2010  

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