Friday, November 05, 2010

The Best "If Only. . ." Ever!
All the Karners Had to Do, Was Heed One Letter,
12 Years Ago

[LEFT: Current SLO County Parks Commissioner (appointed by Supervisor, Bruce Gibson), and former Los Osos CSD vice-president, Pandora Nash-Karner, addresses the crowd at a recent SLO County government event. (Photo courtesy:]

As I begin to wrap up my story, there are still a few holes that I need to plug. One of them, I was able to plug this week.

This is great.

Of the many spectacularly interesting sequence of events associated with My Story, this just might be my favorite.

The hole I was able to plug this week, through an official Public Records Request, is in the form of a January 1998, letter from Roger Briggs, chief staff guy at the Regional Water Quality Control Board, addressed to Los Osos residents, Pandora Nash-Karner, and Gary Karner.

For the first time, I have made that letter available for public download, at this link:

As readers of this blog know, the Karners -- and I'm not making this up, although it sounds like I am -- developed a sewer project in late 1997 (Seriously! A husband and wife couple threw together a sewer project for their hometown... craziest thing I've ever seen.).

Readers of this blog also know how EVERY official agency associated with the development of a sewer system for Los Osos, told the Karners, repeatedly, and throughout 1998, that their made-up project simply wasn't going to work in Los Osos; not surprising, considering that their proposed "project" was created by a marketing professional (Nash-Karner) and a landscaper (Gary Karner).

What I've also shown, repeatedly, over the past six years, is that, throughout 1998, the Karners completely ignored, dismissed or publicly discredited every single one of those official agencies, and, instead, Nash-Karner proceeded to aggressively market her and her husband's "concept," as "better, cheaper, faster" than the "ready to go" sewer project that SLO County officials had spent the better part of the 1990s, and millions of dollars of SLO County taxpayers' money, developing.

Nash-Karner's "behavior based marketing" scam worked, and, in November 1998, she was able to trick over 80-percent of the town's voters into establishing a "Community Services District" in Los Osos, solely so she and her husband could pursue their dead-on-arrival "better, cheaper, faster" "concept."

To be clear, the ONLY reason the Los Osos CSD was formed in 1998, was so the Karners could pursue their "better, cheaper, faster" project. (As editor of The Bay Breeze at the time, I had a front row seat to that entire, extraordinary process. Two previous attempts in the 1990s to create a CSD in Los Osos, failed. Those attempts were sans "better, cheaper, faster." I covered them both.)

Nash-Karner was also the top vote-getter in that election for a spot on the initial LOCSD Board of Directors.

Almost immediately after taking office in early 1999, LOCSD vice-president, Nash-Karner, killed the County's "ready to go" project, and began pursuit of her, and her husband's, DOA "project."

That pursuit lasted nearly two years, before their "better, cheaper, faster" scam failed, just as predicted by every official agency, BEFORE the election that formed the LOCSD solely on the back of "better, cheaper, faster." (That was the subject of my first New Times cover story. In that July, 2000 story, I show how "better, cheaper, faster" was on the verge of failing. Less than a month after my story was published, "better, cheaper, faster" was in the dumpster.)

And, as I first exposed here on SewerWatch, almost immediately after she killed the county's "ready to go" project, and began pursuit of her and her husband's project, official LOCSD documents associated with their "project" began reading, "SWA Group," and, according to Gary Karner's bio, he's "a Managing Principal and Senior Project Manager of the firm. He specialized in project management and risk management with SWA for 27 years and is currently retained by SWA to consult on risk management."

Yep... as first exposed at SewerWatch, in late 1997, the Karners fabricated a dead-on-arrival sewer "project," and then used that DOA project, throughout 1998 (all the while, they KNEW it was DOA) to create the LOCSD in the first place, where they immediately began cashing in on their scam.

In his 2005 rambling manifesto, Gary Karner writes, "This ('better, cheaper, faster') was the basis for the platform that created the formation of the LOCSD and upon which the original five members of the LOCSD Board of Directors ran."

Of course, he fails to mention that one of those "original five members of the LOCSD Board of Directors" was his wife... of course.

Had the Karners NOT done all of that -- you know, create a fake project and then trick voters into approving it, solely so they could make money -- the county's "ready to go" sewer project would have been built in Los Osos over a decade ago, at a fraction of the cost of today's proposed project.

So, again, to be clear, beginning in late 1997, the Karners created the Los Osos sewer disaster, solely to cash in on it... and it worked!

Which gets me back to my plugged hole, and a mind-blowing sequence of events.

The Karners first rolled out their fake project on November, 24, 1997.

Almost immediately, by January 23, 1998, less than two months later, the RWQCB had a letter to them -- sent directly to the Karners -- showing them how their "concept" was a complete disaster (for god's sake... as the letter shows, their "plan" included treating straight septic tank crap, smack-dab in the middle of town. The only thing more crazy than that, is that Nash-Karner was able to trick 83-percent of the town's voters into thinking that was a good idea. Absolutely amazing (man, that "behavior based marketing" is powerful stuff, obviously.)

All the Karners had to do on January 23, 1998, was read that letter, and say to themselves, "Yeah... maybe they're right. Treating straight septic tank crap in the middle of town probably isn't such a great idea after all," and the past 12-years-and-counting of Los Osos sewer disaster/train wreck would have never happened.

Of course, HAD the Karners said that to themselves on January 23, 1998, after they had already given a "presentation to the Board of Supervisors," according to the letter, their scam would have failed before it even had a chance to take flight, and they wouldn't have been able to cash all of those checks for years to come. So, it's understandable why they ignored/discredited ALL of those oh-so-accurate official agencies throughout 1998.

Finally, my overall favorite part of all of this? Right now (right now!... 12 years after "better, cheaper, faster"), Pandora Nash-Karner is a member of the San Luis Obispo County Parks Commission, appointed by Supervisor, Bruce Gibson.


[44 weeks down... 8 to go.]


  • After reading that letter, unbelievable. How did they get away with it?
    Sincerely, M

    By Blogger M, at 9:45 AM, November 06, 2010  

  • M asks:

    "How did they get away with it?"

    Three words, my friend:

    Behavior Based Marketing

    And, as I've also shown, their scam worked SO good for them in 1998, that they are now running the EXACT same scam at the SLO Botanical Garden... right now!

    And they are going to get away with it... again.

    Why? You guessed it: Behavior Based Marketing


    By Blogger Ron, at 10:23 AM, November 06, 2010  

  • What an amazing and factual revelation!! The whole town should get a copy.

    I am at a loss to understand why Briggs & Co. didn't come unglued at that point in time, with hostage taking and multi-million dollar fines, etc.

    Sure would have saved a hell of a lot of money and moved the process forward faster.

    It's now obvious that, at that time, he was in bed with our County fathers to shift the whole mess on to gullible Los Osos residents. Why did he allow the delay and countless tank permits issued by the County?

    Dam good investigative reporting Ron.

    By Blogger FOGSWAMP, at 10:25 AM, November 06, 2010  

  • I already read the letter, now I read the "rambling manifesto". What a bunch of crap. He obviously knew his plan wasn't going to be accepted, yet proceeded anyway. Funny how he projects the County project of 1998 to 2005 prices. Had they not stopped the County project, 2005 prices would be irrelavant.
    Sincerely, M

    By Blogger M, at 11:36 AM, November 06, 2010  

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