Monday, May 23, 2011

Exposed: The Karner Confession

[Note: I've been meaning to wrap up this loose end -- what I call, "The Karner Confession" -- for awhile, now. It's great, but I just never got around to publishing it. That's about to change.]

One of the (many) things I love about the Los Osos couple of Gary Karner and Pandora Nash-Karner, the two people most responsible for the past 13-years-and-counting of the Los Osos sewer disaster, as I have repeatedly shown in my 13-years-and-counting reporting on this story, including in one of my New Times cover stories in July of 2000, is that the story the Karners have concocted over the years, to deflect the fact that they are the two people most responsible for the past 13-years-and-counting of the Los Osos sewer disaster, is so convoluted, so tangled, and spans so much time, that they can't keep their story straight year-over-year, and every time they make a mistake (and they make a lot of them), I'm there to pounce on it.

Well... POUNCE!

To put this particular set of fascinating dots together, I want to start with some of my past reporting on this subject -- on how the Karners, beginning in late 1997, hatched a plan to trick Los Osos voters into forming a Los Osos Community Services District, using a fake, made-up sewer "project" that the Karners seemingly just threw together in their living room, solely so they could use their fake, made-up, "better, cheaper faster," project as nothing more than a tool to form a "Community Services District" in Los Osos, and then immediately begin to make money off of their CSD, via their fake project, by hiring Gary Karner's firm, the SWA Group.

Which is exactly what happened, as I've exposed numerous times on my blog, including at this link:

And, if you're new to SewerWatch, here's the GIGANTIC twist in all of this:

In 1998, the County of SLO had a sewer project "ready to go" in Los Osos, estimated at about $70/month. I remember that project clearly, because in 1998, I was the editor of The Bay Breeze (now The Bay News) in Los Osos, where I first created my regular feature, SewerWatch. So, I had a front row seat to the absolutely fascinating set of circumstances that led to the formation of the Los Osos CSD, in 1998.

In fact, I point to that front row seat from 1998, as the reason why I scoop ALL other media, on nearly every excellent Los Osos sewer story (too many to mention) over the past decade-plus, because of my deep, 1998 roots with this amazing story.

And, now, due to those roots, and my continuous reporting on this story, this "Karner Confession" that I'm about to put together here, will blow your back, and the ONLY place you'll see this, is here, in SewerWatch... and I've never published this sequence of dots before... and it's great.

So, again, I want to set the stage in Los Osos, in 1998. (It doesn't matter where you live. If you have the slightest interest in government, or just a great story, for that matter, this is flat-out excellent):

In 1998:

  • The County of SLO has a sewer project "ready to go" for Los Osos, at about $70/month.

  • The governing body in Los Osos is a "Community Services Advisory" board, meaning it has no legal teeth whatsoever, and can only advise the County Board of Supervisors regarding the sewer project.

  • The Karners, throughout 1998, are fully aware that if they could just convince (read: trick) the town's voters to create a Community Services District in that year's November election, the newly formed CSD would have legal teeth, including official power over the town's "wastewater," and the Karners would then have the power to dump the County's "ready to go" project, and officially pursue their "better, cheaper, faster" project, that they -- a marketing specialist, and a landscaper -- tossed together in their living room.

  • I'm the editor of the local paper (I was also a reporter in the town in the early 1990s), and I'm closely following how the County of SLO has a sewer project that's "ready to go" for Los Osos, after millions of dollars, and years spent on design, but I'm also closely following how the Karners are heavily marketing their "alternative" sewer project throughout Los Osos as "better, cheaper, faster" than the County's "ready to go" project.

    (In her marketing material aimed at Los Osos voters throughout 1998, Nash-Karner said that her and her husband's project would have a "maximum monthly payment of $38.75/month," and she called the County's project "ruinously expensive.")

  • So, in that setting, I watch, and report, on how, at every opportunity throughout 1998, the Karners fight the County's project, through a massive PR campaign, developed by Nash-Karner, a marketing professional, that saturates Los Osos, and that over-the-top promotes their "project," and over-the-top slams the County's "ready to go" project.

    Her PR campaign works, and Los Osos voters bite hard at the "better, cheaper, faster" bait, and elect to form the Los Osos CSD in November 1998, and elect Pandora Nash-Karner as the #1 vote-getter as a director on the initial LOCSD Board, in that same election.

    Here's the link:

    Almost immediately, in March of 1999, the new CSD Board, led by Pandora Nash-Karner, dumps the County's "ready to go" project, and begins pursuit of her and her husband's "better, cheaper, faster" project.

    And, as I first exposed in New Times, waaaay back in the summer of 2000, after a nearly two-year futile pursuit, the Karners' "better, cheaper, faster" "project," that they heavily sold to Los Osos voters, and was solely responsible for forming the LOCSD in the first place (a gigantic mistake, as almost all of those 1998 voters will tell you today), AND was also solely responsible for torpedoing the County's "ready to go" project, failed.

    So, dear reader, at this point in my story, you need to do no more than to just put yourself in the shoes of Pandora Nash-Karner and Gary Karner in the summer of 2000 to understand the scope of the story that they had to concoct -- and, to this day, still need to concoct -- to deflect away the fact that they are the two people most responsible -- directly responsible -- for creating the colossal Los Osos sewer disaster.

    To put their story in perspective in 2011, had the Karners simply NOT heavily marketed their ill-fated "better, cheaper, faster" project in Los Osos, throughout 1998, the County's "ready to go" project, almost certainly, would have been built starting in 19-freaking-97!, at about $70/month.

    Almost unimaginably, this story gets better... a lot better.

    While at The Bay Breeze in the summer of 1998, several months before the November election, I scooped (of course) the rest of the local media on the results of a county funded study -- the Questa Study -- that showed across the board, that the County's project was far superior than the Karners' plan... not surprisingly, considering, like I wrote above, she's a marketing specialist and he's a landscaper. (The County's project from the 1990s was developed by, you know, engineers.)

    Nash-Karner, as part of her marketing campaign, instantly, and widely (of course), bashed, discredited, and scorched-earthed anything and everything that had to do with the Questa Study -- the author, the author's company, SLO County government... anything. (And, also of course, two years later, the Questa Study would prove to be 100-percent accurate.)

    However, what I didn't know at the time, was that there was A LOT more evidence in 1998 that showed that the Karners' project simply wasn't going to work in Los Osos.

    I am not a wastewater engineer. So when, as a newspaper editor, I get saturated with technical information on a "better, cheaper, faster" sewer "alternative," as Nash-Karner did to me throughout 1998, all I can do is try to present it in an objective fashion.

    Oh, if I had only known then, what I know now.

    After a decade of unraveling the Karners' tangled, convoluted, manufactured story, I can now show how the Karners KNEW -- long BEFORE the November 1998 election -- that their "project" simply wasn't going to work in Los Osos.

    For example, at this link:

    ... I show how the local Water Quality Control Board, sent a letter, addressed directly to the Karners, with specific details showing them, clearly, that their so-called "project" simply wasn't going to work in Los Osos.

    That letter was sent in January of 1998. The Karners first rolled out their "better, cheaper, faster" project in November of 1997.

    To be clear, that letter showed up in the Karners' mail box less than two months after they first rolled out their (ultimately disastrous) "project."

    And, now, I can show, using my usual spectacular SewerWatch journalism gymnastics, that the Karners, themselves, ADMIT to knowing that their project wasn't going to work, and they knew it nearly a full year before that November 1998 election, yet continued to heavily market their dead-on-arrival project as "better, cheaper, faster," all the way up to the November election, and it was ALL lies, and they knew it.

    Ladies and gents, SewerWatch proudly presents, for the first time anywhere: The Karner Confession

    In a bizzare 2005 document authored by the Karners, that I've hilariously titled, Karner's Rambling Manifesto, they attempt to defend their (indefensible) actions in 1998, but, just like I wrote above, their story is so tangled, and so convoluted, and spans so many years, that they can't keep it straight, and every time they attempt to recount it, they make HUGE mistakes, like they do in Karner's Rambling Manifesto.

    In that document, the Karners write:

    "Mr. Paul Jagger acting for Roger Briggs of the RWQCB in a letter dated January 23, 1998 [Note: that's the letter I refer to above] inferred that 100% of the septic tanks in Los Osos would have to be replaced..."


    "When the RWQCB demanded that the entire Prohibition Zone be collected and treated, the AIWPS pond capacity to treat the collected area grew to a point where it required far more land capacity than was reasonably available at the Tri-W/Morro Shores site. The cost for land and construction became prohibitive."


    "The cumulative system expansion and costs blew the ("better, cheaper, faster" sewer) proposal out of the water..." [bolding mine]

    Then write, "THIS PROPOSED ("better, cheaper, faster" sewer project) FAILED ! ! !"

    Wow. A better example of how sloppy the Karners get with their incredibly convoluted and tangled story, I can not think of.

    Look what they did there, in that 2005 document. It's great!:

    They actually confess, in their own widely circulated document, to knowing that their "better, cheaper, faster" project was already blown "out of the water" in January of 1998 -- they ADMIT it -- yet, throughout 1998, they still over-the-top hyped their known-to-be-dead-on-arrival project as "better, cheaper, faster" than the County's "ready to go" project, and ALL of it -- the "better, cheaper, faster," the "maximum monthly payment of $38.75/month" -- all of it, a complete pack of lies, and they knew it, as they now inadvertently admit. (Ooooooooops!)

    And now, the spectacular finish to my journalism gymnastics routine:

    [Run, spring (mad air, of course), double twist]

    As I first exposed at this link:

    ... in the 1997 document where the Karners outline their known-to-be-dead-on-arrival project, they write:

    "(We are) deeply indebted to the following firms and individuals who have contributed their services in developing this ("better, cheaper, faster") Plan at pro-bono or reduced rates... We recommend (these) firms be retained for professional design services when this Plan is accepted." [Note the use of the word "when," in, "when this Plan is accepted." That was in 1997.]

    And, one of those firms "recommended" by the Karners to be "retained for professional design services" "when" their project was "accepted:" "SWA Group, of Sausal¡to, California."

    And, of course, as I also first exposed, nowhere in that document does it disclose that Gary Karner is, "in private practice with The SWA Group, Planners and Landscape Architects, with an international practice and eight offices nationally, as 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."

    ... according to his own bio.

    [double somersault, leap (more mad air), double back-flip]

    And, of course, shortly after the Karners tricked Los Osos into establishing the LOCSD (and therefore killing the County's "ready to go" project) just so they could pursue their known-to-be-dead-on-arrival project, official LOCSD documents associated with the sewer project, and with Pandora Nash-Karner as District "vice-president," begin to contain the words "SWA Group"... of course.

    [tuck, land, cartwheel, cartwheel, back handspring (crazy air), triple twist back-flip]

    And, right now, in 2011, if you go to this link:

    ... you can watch, on the County's own web site, from just last January, SLO County Supervisors, Bruce Gibson and Jim Patterson praising Nash-Karner for her 20 years (20 years!) as an official appointment to the SLO County Parks Commission, a position that not only grants her access to influential County officials (that none of us regular folk get), and where she has ALL of their ears, but also affords her the protection of chief County Counsel, Warren Jensen, because, as a SLO County Parks Commissioner, she's Warren Jensen's client, which means that if something is good for Los Osos, but bad for his client, as is often the case (as you can imagine, considering what she did to Los Osos), Jensen is duty-bound to protect his client, over the good of Los Osos.

    [Nails the landing... of course.]



    • Ya know... after I published The Karner Confession, I got to a-thinkin', and a VERY interesting question came to mind:

      Did the Karners share that January 23, 1998 letter with their fellow so-called "Solution Group" members?

      In other words, did (future) LOCSD Directors/Solution Group members, Bob Semonsen, Gordon Hensley, Stan Gustafson, and Frank Freiler ALSO know that their (but really, the Karners') "better, cheaper, faster" "project" was "blown out of the water," according to the Karners, in January of 1998, OR did the Karners just never tell them about that critical, critical letter?

      I mean, it WAS sent directly to the Karners home address. So, maybe they just "sat on it" too, like they did when, as former SLO County engineer, George Gibson, told me, the County "hand delivered" a "long list" of major problems associated with their known-to-be-dead-on-arrival Ponds of Disaster, in the summer of 1998.

      Their MO seems to point to: They simply never showed that letter to Bob, Frank, Stan, and Gordon, and instead, "just sat on it."

      If one of the above-mentioned people wants to shoot me an e-mail answering that extremely interesting question, I would be extremely interested in hearing their answer.

      E-mail link's on the side of SewerWatch, guys.

      By Blogger Ron, at 1:33 PM, May 25, 2011  

    • Got to wonder just a little bit about Bud Laurent's part in all of this, didn't he as SLO supervisor have access to the Cuesta Study? and wasn't he pretty tight with the Karners?

      And that slogan of his "Take a stand, make a difference" Isn't that a little creepy on the Behavior based marketing scale?

      Didn't he unseat Bill McCoy, who predicted this whole mess?

      By Blogger Mike Green, at 10:40 PM, May 25, 2011  

    • Mike Green sez:"didn't he as SLO supervisor have access to the Cuesta Study? and wasn't he pretty tight with the Karners?"

      Ron, was the letter in question cc'd to anybody else?

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:25 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • How refreshing. People think I'm on Ann's site again? Huh. Nothing better for the freakshow to talk about.

      Tying all this information to the present. When Supervisor Patterson discussed his "history" of the LOWWP, he clearly left out a lot of the most interesting history, such as the Karner dynasty (1998-2005) and missteps that the County made from years past.

      There were some good speeches on Tuesday, but I wished that someone mentioned Pandora Nash-Karner. After all, she did receive that 20 years of service award. Might as well touch on her... you know... "accomplishments."

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 8:55 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • MG writes:

      "Got to wonder just a little bit about Bud Laurent's part in all of this, didn't he as SLO supervisor have access to the Cuesta Study? and wasn't he pretty tight with the Karners?"

      Oh, hell yeah, he was. He told me that Pandora was his "campaign materials manager" in 1990!

      He was the one that first appointed her to the Parks Commission in 1991.

      He was the one, as George (not Bruce) Gibson told me, that "hand delivered" that "long list" of problems to the Karners in the summer of 1998. (And, of course, its at this point of the story where I always say, "Why the f--k didn't he hand-deliver ME that long list of problems. After all, I was the editor of the local paper at the time, and I GUARANTEE, I wouldn't have "just sat on it."

      "Didn't he unseat Bill McCoy, who predicted this whole mess?"

      Yep... I covered that 1990 race as a reporter. I used to talk to Bill all the time. He was a 'Yes" vote to continue with the county's project, and he's a REALLY nice guy, or, as Pandora would make him out to be in that race, an evil man bent on throwing all of Los Osos out in the streets to die like dawgs.

      That Laurent/Coy race was the beginning of the end for Los Osos.

      I believe Laurent's up in your neck of the woods, these days, Mike, running for office somewhere in Oregon.

      Maybe he can get P. to help him out with some campaign slogan's... like the good ol' days.

      Chura asks:

      "Ron, was the letter in question cc'd to anybody else?"

      Yep, a bunch of official types, but not to Stan, Frank, Gordon, Bob, and Stan.

      Here's the link.

      Interestingly, something I just noticed, one of the agencies it was cc'd to was the "State Board," and one of the members was, "Darrin Polhemus."

      By Blogger Ron, at 10:00 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • [continued]

      RO writes:

      "There were some good speeches on Tuesday, but I wished that someone mentioned Pandora Nash-Karner."

      If I'm not mistaken, I believe Gwen Taylor did mention PNK during public comment, and the fact that P. knew her fake project wasn't going to work looooong BEFORE the 1998 election, as the Karners admit.

      And, of course the Supes, and Warren just shrug, and say "Whatever."


      "When Supervisor Patterson discussed his "history" of the LOWWP, he clearly left out a lot of the most interesting history"


      "After all, she did receive that 20 years of service award."

      Isn't that great? Patterson gets loose, and mentions that the county DID have a project in the 1990s, but doesn't say why it collapsed, yet, just a few months prior, he shows up at a Parks Commission meeting specifically to 'honor" Pandora -- the person most responsible for the collapse of the County's 1990s project.

      Wow. Talk about someone who's been Jedi mind-tricked. Poor guy. He's sooooo confused. It's embarrassing to watch.

      Also, wanna see something ELSE hilarious on this point?

      In Colin Rigley's recent cover story on Los Osos, he writes, "SLO County Supervisor Bruce Gibson said he doesn’t like to look back on the history of the project."

      Yeah... I BET you don't, Bruce.

      Then, Rigley quotes Gibson as saying, "I understand the mistakes of the past."

      Uh, really, Bruce? If you TRULY "understand the mistakes of the past," then why did you reappoint Pandora to the Parks Commission last January, and then "honor" her for her 20 years of disaster?

      Which, by the way, that 20-year timeline, coincides PERFECTLY with the "beginning of the end" that I mentioned above, after her behavior based marketing tossed Coy out of office in 1990.

      Trust me, Bruce, clearly you do NOT "understand the mistakes of the past."

      Bruce and I should sit down for a beer sometime. Sounds like he's in BAD need of a history lesson.

      By Blogger Ron, at 10:03 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • Gewynn mentioned PNK a little (one needs to stick their talons into the issue to give the public a more thorough perspective about the LOWWP), but it's difficult to mention the juicy details about her and Gary in three minutes or less. Elaine referred to their "better, cheaper, faster" project. It's important to discuss accountability when "history" is invoked.

      Ron, did you notice how much Gibson speaks in ambiguities. "I understand the mistakes of the past." Did he ever specifically clarify those "mistakes" on the public record? How about some accountability, Bruce?

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 10:14 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • Supposing Ron is correct. Mistakes should NEVER be forgiven, right? A person who has made a mistake NEVER, NEVER, NEVER makes up for it by good works, right? (Lisa, Julie, GET BUSY, you got a lotta making up to do, in fact YEARS of work ahead of you to catch up with Pandora.)

      Quote Ron, "an evil man bent on throwing all of Los Osos out in the streets to die like dawgs."

      Gee, I wonder who learned from that playbook? Why, the speakers speaking against the current project, the speakers supporting the recall election!

      Hilarious that the Lisa board came up with almost the same project as the Solutions Group.

      Oh well, the County learned something anyway; don't give up the project. THEY at least did not fail to learn the lesson.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:31 AM, May 26, 2011  

    • 'toons, do me a solid:

      Ask your friends, Stan, Frank, Bob, and Gordon if they ALSO knew that "better, cheaper, faster" was "blown out of the water" in January 1998, like they Karners now admit they did, OR, did the Karners ALSO keep all of them in the dark on that fact.

      I notice how I can't find any official, sewer-related LOCSD documents that contain the words, "Semenson Construction," or "Freiler Construction," but I CAN find A LOT of official LOCSD documents that contain the words, "SWA Group."

      That tells me that those people WEREN'T in on the Karners' scam, and I just want to confirm that.

      So, did Stan, Frank, Bob, and Gordon ALSO know that "better, cheaper, faster" was "blown out of the water" in January 1998, like the Karners did?

      'toons, do me a favor and gather their answers, and post them here.

      'ppreciate it.

      RO writes:

      "... but it's difficult to mention the juicy details about her and Gary in three minutes or less."

      Excellent point.

      However, this is kinda interesting: I DID e-mail Supervisor Patterson an with a personal invite and a link to my story. That was on Monday. Whether he read my piece or not, before Gewynn spoke, I do not know.

      I can only lead the Jedi Mind-Tricked to facts. I can't make them think.

      By Blogger Ron, at 12:24 PM, May 26, 2011  

    • HAHAHA !
      Thanks Ron, google bud larent/oregon for a good laugh

      By Blogger Mike Green, at 11:26 PM, May 26, 2011  

    • Ron, do me a "solid" first (although in this context maybe that is an ill-advised word). Write up an in-depth comparison of "better, cheaper, faster" with "$100/out-of-town." The promises are about the same, the technology is about the same, and the failure to deliver is about the same - well, no, not even close, but I'm sure you would argue that.

      I can't believe that you have not pounced on this FABULOUS idea already! But here it is, FREE! of charge, ready for your poison pen to start scribbling! (No need to thank me even!) The Lisa board SO admired Pandora that no matter how trounced her ideas were by the Water Board, they actually STOLE those very ideas and tried to make them their own! And their abysmally failed project's aftermath may actually ring in the demise of the very CSD that Pandora started!! And the COUNTY has the project back!! WOW! Look at the amazing symmetry here!! This is stellar stuff!!

      To quote Razor, "It's important to discuss accountability when 'history' is invoked." History did not stop at pre-recall 2005 no matter how hard you try. You, as a journalist Ron, MUST recognize the importance of telling the WHOLE story!

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:54 AM, May 27, 2011  

    • If we allocate blame in the form of a pie chart, every local leader is equally accountable.

      People are aware of the Lisa/Julie board, and that's why AB2701 exists. AB2701 is a testament to their inability to bring a project forward in a timely, professional, and legal manner.

      Years earlier, it was Pandora who established Measure K to create the LOCSD in the first place as a means of promoting the $38/month "better, cheaper, faster" plan, and that didn't work out.

      There's a pattern. People have said, "I have a solution," but there's no follow-through. People support the County mostly because they can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The downside? The project has lots of holes -- and that's excluding the "STEP vs. Gravity" angle.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 8:48 AM, May 27, 2011  

    • Mike, you're right, that link is hilarious!

      Bud writes (at that link):

      "Despite months of knocking on doors and the hundreds of individuals contributing hard-earned money to my campaign, in the end incumbency and corporate funding couldn't be beat."

      Sounds like he could have used the behavior based marketing "talents" of his former campaign materials manager.

      RO writes:

      "... it was Pandora who established Measure K to create the LOCSD in the first place as a means of promoting the $38/month "better, cheaper, faster" plan, and that didn't work out."

      That she and Gary KNEW wasn't going to work, in JANUARY OF 1998 -- they ADMIT it -- nearly a full year before the election, as I show in my piece. (In fact, that's kinda the entire point of my piece.)

      Of course, had Gary and P. pulled the plug right there -- in January of 1998 -- when they knew, according to them, that their fake plan was "blown out of the water," they wouldn't have been able to go on and cash all of those fat SWA Group checks.

      So, instead, they decided to keep their fellow Solution Group members in the dark on that January 1998 RWQCB letter, that blew their "project" "out of the water," according to the Karners, and simply use people like Frank, Gordon, Bob, and Stan as pawns to promote their known-(to the Karners)-to-be-dead-on-arrival fake "project," so they could use it as a tool form the CSD, and start cashing SWA Group checks, as I show in my piece.

      Now that I've untangled it all, it's actually surprisingly simple to understand.

      I mean, they hatched a plan to make money.

      It doesn't get much simpler than that.

      Why is there a Los Osos sewer disaster? Because the Karners wanted to make money.

      Boy, if I was Gordon, or Frank or Bob or Stan, I'd be so pissed right now.

      The Karners used them as pawns to create the entire Los Osos sewer disaster, just so the Karners could make money.


      By Blogger Ron, at 9:52 AM, May 27, 2011  

    • It is interesting how the Razor grasps the bigger picture, and in a few words outlines it, while Ron just can't get past 2005 to address what I have written and goes on and on and on and on and on about the Karners!!

      Oh well…

      But Ron could easily have said that the County dropped the ball creating the the entire Los Osos sewer disaster and that would be true. No equal opportunity blame here though, just blame the Karners. That is the difference between journalism and an opinion piece, or in this case, hatchet job.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:56 AM, May 27, 2011  

    • To me, the Karners transgressions were far worse than those of the post recall board. The Karner's plan all along was for self gain, whereas the post recall board simply granted the wishes of the community not to build the sewer at Tri-W. That the Karner's plan was aided and abetted throughout by all of the agency's involved makes the Karner story the story. Hard to understand why Sewertoons is always so worried about what Ron writes about. You would think she thinks of Ron as an anti-sewer obstructionist. What possible reason could Ron have for not wanting a sewer?
      Out of curiosity, does anyone know why the outspoken Mike never posts anymore?
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 9:32 AM, May 28, 2011  

    • This comment has been removed by the author.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:29 AM, May 28, 2011  

    • M, you seem to be accepting Ron's assertions as fact. They are not. That is his take on the events, not the gospel. The Cuesta Report was out I have heard and people DID know about it. Pandora did not hide it. Everything did not hinge on the Briggs letter. The town simply chose not to believe the facts about the project. There is a book I'm reading right now that is pretty amazing. Denialism by Michael Specter, and it is a lot scarier than what goes on in Los Osos.

      And no, I don't think of Ron as an anti-sewer obstructionist, just someone who is peculiarly hung up on bashing Pandora. Everything he writes has Pandora as the locus point. Bizarro. You'd think she was the most powerful person in Los Osos.

      The real story that Ron doesn't cover as it does not fit his thesis is, where was the town when the project had to change? Where was the town in 2000 and 2001 when the post-pond project being formed? How did it become Tri-W? Where was the possible recall then BEFORE the plans were drawn up? Where was everybody?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:31 AM, May 28, 2011  

    • This comment has been removed by the author.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 12:48 PM, May 28, 2011  

    • The thing about Pandora is that there's a lot to unravel. There wasn't much transparency when she was part of the Solutions Group and later the LOCSD. Therefore, there's lots of speculation and loose dots that have yet to be connected.

      Can't blame Ron for trying. He's doing the dirty work that most people would shy away from. It's admirable.

      To those who complain about what Ron does, I quote the cranky, old lady with bad ideas:

      "You keep logging on repeatedly to comment and complain and trash both other commentors and/or the blog itself (anonymously, of course, since you lack the courage of your own convictions) and/or just spend pots of time trolling and lurking. Ya gotta LOVE this blog to spend this amount of time on it."

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 12:54 PM, May 28, 2011  

    • Ron has provided documents for most things he has accused Pandora of. Are you saying the documentation is not real? You were not here in 1998. How can you claim that we knew about the Questa study and chose not to believe it?
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 1:51 PM, May 29, 2011  

    • It isn't the documents M, it's Ron's conclusions I disagree with. He looks at everything through Pandoracentric glasses. One could use the same documents to come to entirely different conclusions.

      Some people that did live here then did know about the Cuesta study. It's just like the Julieesque thinking we saw in 2005 - "The Water Board won't fine us!" despite the very public letters to the contrary. People just believe what they want to.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:31 PM, May 29, 2011  

    • M, were you here in 2000-01? What do you make of this Ron quote,

      "According to a 2001 LOCSD document, 'To remedy this situation (of the Oswald Report being 'inadequate for several reasons'), the District hired (the engineering firm) Montgomery, Watson, Harza in March 2000 (to) conduct a comprehensive alternatives analysis.'"

      Clearly the project changed. Just where was the public? Did they comment on this change while it was happening? If not, why not?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:46 PM, May 29, 2011  

    • Probably at that time, we still believed the CSD was looking out for our best interests. Remember, back then the blogosphere and comment sections in online news stories were really just getting started. Information was very scarce around here then unless you knew where to search for it. The CSD ran on a platform of us controlling our own destiny. That should have been our first clue right then.
      Why do you defend Pandora so much? She is indeed one of several responsible for so much bad that has happened in this community.
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 11:39 AM, May 30, 2011  

    • Hi M,

      I was out all day and only am getting back on here now - to explain why I did not answer until now.

      I guess I was trying to get at attendance at CSD meetings. There are a bunch of archived audio meetings and I have listened to some. I would think that would be the first line for finding out what was going on, a meeting. It seemed like there were some speakers at these early meetings, but I can't guess on the attendance numbers. (I go to almost all of the CSD meetings but maybe only speak at 1 in 10, so no one would assume I was there unless I spoke.) Ron disses the Bear Pride Newsletter, so I assume that was being mailed out occasionally with updated info on the sewer?

      I guess I defend Pandora as much as you might defend Lisa or Julie. She was trying to think of a way to make this cheaper for the community. I have seen her work really hard for years now on doing good things for the community, so I see that her heart is in the right place. But I blame the County most of all, so it is fitting that they should get the project back I think. I want to make very clear that I don't blame the current County however, just the old guys who let it all come to this. I wonder if the current County people don't get mad at this situation as well?

      The Step system and pond didn't fly. Was no one other than those who attended meetings aware of this?

      Can people also look in the mirror and say - I am to blame too - guess I should have made the effort to see what was going on? I was too trusting, thought it was taken care of, etc.. Maybe the community didn't want to be bothered once the excitement of creating a CSD was over?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:16 AM, May 31, 2011  

    • M writes:

      "... the Questa study and chose not to believe it?"

      You know what the interesting twist is with the Questa Study (that I first exposed in The Bay Breeze waaa-AAAAy back in 1998), now that I've exposed The Karner Confession in 2011?

      Turns out, the Questa Study was a completely moot point.

      Think about it, it's great: By the time the the Questa Study rolled out in the summer of 1998, the Karners admit they were already six-months-aware that their fake project was "blown out of the water," so what was the point of the Questa Study? To "blow 'better, cheaper, faster' out of the water" more?

      Isn't "blown out of the water," "blown out of the water?"

      Are there degrees of "blown out of the water?"

      Isn't, "REEEEELY blown out of the water," as the Questa Study did (in the summer of 1998) to the Karners' known-to-the-Karners-to-be-DOA fake project, kinda redundant?

      Turns out, all the Questa Study was, was just more smoke screen. More flack. An expensive, publicly-funded lubricant (if you will) to obfuscate, and delay, in an effort to move their scam through the system... and it worked.

      I mean, what a great take!: "Hey, fellow Solution Group members, Gary and I have known for the past six months that 'better, cheaper, faster' isn't going to work, so, how should we formally respond to the Questa Study -- that we begged SLO County Supervisors to fund, all the while knowing our DOA project was already 'blown out of the water'?"


      Uh... how 'bout?: "Oh well, we tried. Goodnight everybody."

      Of course, HAD the Karners said that anytime during their disastrous 1998 run -- even though they confess to knowing that their DOA project was "blown out of the water" in January of 1998 -- they wouldn't have been able to go on to form the Los Osos CSD for no reason whatsoever, and then start cashing all of those fat SWA Group checks.

      But, also of course, HAD they said that anytime during their disastrous 1998 run, the County's 1990s project would have been built starting in 1997, at about $70/month... and the LOCSD would have never been formed, at least not in 1998.

      Which means, as I always like to point out at this juncture in my story: The formation of the LOCSD is based on absolutely nothing. Completely baseless. And it will always be that way. Absolutely fascinating.

      I wonder if Supervisor Patterson reads my blog? He should.

      By Blogger Ron, at 9:46 AM, May 31, 2011  

    • M says, "Information was very scarce around here then unless you knew where to search for it."

      Ron says, "…the Questa Study (that I first exposed in The Bay Breeze waaa-AAAAy back in 1998)…"

      So M, you are saying that you did not read The Bay Breeze, the free, weekly newspaper that was available at many local outlets?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:38 PM, May 31, 2011  

    • Apparently it wasn't widely read. I don't remember if I looked at it then or not. Admittedly I guess many of us bought into the sham that was forming the CSD and that they were looking out for us. When you question why we were so silent in the early days, isn't a given excuse for the cost being so high is because of all the law suits that the original CSD had to contend with? Doesn't sound like silence to me. Sounds like it was being contested all along.
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 5:43 PM, May 31, 2011  

    • I have a timeline of the lawsuits and there were none from when the LOCSD was formed in 1999 until 2001-2 (the new project's EIR came out in March 2001):

      2001 - Coleman v. Los Osos CSD (Superior Court)*
      2001 - Keller v. Los Osos CSD (Federal Court)*
      2001 - Keller v. Los Osos CSD (Federal Appeals Court)*
      2002 - Keller v. Los Osos CSD (request for en banc review)*
      2002 - CASE v. California Coastal Commission (Superior Court)

      Were you aware of these lawsuits, do you know what they were about and did you support them?

      BTW, the cost didn't really hugely jump until 2004.

      2001 - $84.6 million
      2003 - $93 million
      2004 - $110 million
      2005 - $154 million
      2011 - $189 million

      Those lawsuits didn't help the cost did they?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:10 PM, May 31, 2011  

    • I forgot to add that all of those lawsuits lost.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:51 PM, June 01, 2011  

    • Does the person above me plan on continuing to live in Los Osos given her dislike of people who have different views than her?

      Live and let live.

      M, the LOCSD was not-so-transparent during that time. People had requested public records including the Questa Study, but directors like Rose Bowker stymied the release of that information, and had asked those requesting to "be more specific." It's hard to be "specific" when the board wasn't forthcoming with specifics to begin with.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 6:43 PM, June 03, 2011  

    • Hmmm. "History" as proposed by someone who didn't live here then and is reporting hearsay. (The timeline I extracted info from was courtesy of the RWQCB.)

      Apparently the person above me did actually move.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:29 PM, June 03, 2011  

    • You don't know where I live.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 11:01 PM, June 03, 2011  

    • Do you currently live in Los Osos?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:39 AM, June 04, 2011  

    • Does it matter?

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 10:55 PM, June 04, 2011  

    • You are the one who brought this topic up, "Does the person above me plan on continuing to live in Los Osos given her dislike of people who have different views than her?"

      I thought you might be referring to yourself and your dislike of me and others in town and in the county that you have dissed on your blog. You have made your dislike quite clear and then you don't live here so…

      But to answer your question, no, I am not moving. I don't dislike the people, but I disagree with some of their views.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:25 AM, June 05, 2011  

    • Nothing can be further from the truth. Get a life.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 1:03 PM, June 05, 2011  

    • Re the Public's paying attention during the 2000 "transition" from The Ponds of Avalon to TRI-W -- if memory serves, there was no live TV coverage then, the Bear Pride was designed by and written and published by The Pandora Board (and didn't Pandora & Co have the contract to design/etc all that?) and in general, M is correct, the community fell asleep thinking that the Ponds were being happily tweaked and woke up to find a MWH gazillion dollar gravity sewer in the middle of town at 3x the price, and then were told, flat out, by the CSD that THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION, out of town is waaaaayyyyy more expensive & etc. By then, the battle to come was joined and the rest is Slo-mo train wreck history.

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:20 AM, June 20, 2011  

    • Ann, that is exactly my recollection also.
      By the time I got serious about the sewer it had morphed to a monstrosity.
      Lesson learned, I never miss a local government meeting here in Oregon.
      I apologize to Los Osos for being too busy making a living while living there. And I hope Los Osos never forgets who was entrusted and failed in their names.

      By Blogger Mike Green, at 11:26 PM, July 20, 2011  

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