Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tribune Editorial: "The Residents of Los Osos" Now "Owe" Julie Tacker and Lisa Schicker "Everlasting Gratitude"

Well, as I wind down another fascinating year here at ol' SewerWatch (after all, in 2013 , I did expose THE best story in the history of SLO County, so, that was kinda cool, and that story will continue to be mind-blowingly amazing as I follow it through 2014) I did want to sneak in this last, fun blog post, that acts as a great journalism lesson, to boot.

It's what happens when a newspaper pops out a stupid editorial, and then gets confronted with that editorial several years later, as the editorial is shown to be stupid.

A beautiful journalism lesson.

First, a little context:

In 2005, three members of the Los Osos CSD board were facing a recall. The recall was over one issue: The three board members (the board majority) were dead-set on building a sewer plant/"picnic area" smack-dab in the middle of Los Osos.

IF the recall was successful, those three board members would be replaced with three new board members, where they would join "recall proponents" Julie Tacker and Lisa Schicker, to create a 5-0 board that was dead-set on NOT building a sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos.

The recall was successful, the three board members were recalled, and looooooong story short, the mid-town sewer plant/"picnic area" disaster that the three recalled board members were dead-set on building, never even came close to working, of course.

Enter the Tribune in my little story here: SLO County's only daily newspaper, in the run-up to the September 27, 2005, Los Osos CSD recall election, popped out three editorials (three!), all in support of denying the recall, and actually moving forward with building some crazy, sewer plant/"picnic area," smack dab in the middle of Los Osos.

Five years later, in 2010, careful SLO County official analysis would ultimately show the Los Osos CSD's so-called Tri-W "project" -- that the LOCSD wasted some $25 million, and seven years trying to build -- to be the exact nonsensical disaster that I first exposed it to be in my 2004 New Times cover story, Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown, and today, SLO County officials are currently constructing a sewer system for Los Osos where the sewer plant will be built out of town, downwind.

And the 1999 - 2005 Los Osos CSD's crazy "picnic area"/mid-town-sewer-plant-disaster never even came close to working (yet, more than 4,000 Los Osos property owners are still paying for that now-failed disaster, and will continue to pay for it until the year 2034, for a public works non-project that will never exist, thus making property tax history... which is the "best story in the history of SLO County" that I exposed earlier this year. Fascinating stuff, no matter where you live.)

So, as 2013 comes to a close, look at the Trib's situation regarding Los Osos. Journalistically speaking, it's very interesting.

Their editorial board, back in 2005, heavily supported building a disastrous sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos, yet, five years later, that non-project is shown to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be, in 2004.

So -- and this is flat-out great, and why I'm typing this post today, 12/31/13 -- just a few weeks back, I was going through a box of clippings, and I stumbled onto a 9/29/05 editorial from the Trib, that I've made available for public download at this link.

Keep in mind, this editorial (their fourth on the subject) is now two days after the successful recall election, and after the Trib campaigned HARD, with three editorials (one on the day of the recall election, itself... as voters were on their way to the polls) for the failure of the recall effort.

Soooooo... being the little smart-ass-reporter/journalism-ethics-fan that I am, I recently sent Tribune editor, Sandra Duerr, who sat on the Trib's editorial board in 2005, this email:
- - -
    Hello Sandra,
    I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

    Hey, real quick... I'm researching a story, and I recently came across a 9/(29)/05 editorial from the Tribune (attached as a jpg) titled, "Now, Los Osos, pull together," and, in it (4th paragraph), it reads:

    "... if (Los Osos CSD) recall proponents make good on their campaign promises by building a sewer system out of town that will cost households less than $205 per month, the residents of Los Osos will owe them everlasting gratitude."

    That was in 2005, immediately following the successful LOCSD recall election.

    Well, fast-forward to today -- December 2013 -- and the County of SLO WAS able to "make good" on the "campaign promises" of the "recall proponents," by designing, and now constructing, a sewer system with a treatment facility "out of town," and according to sources, the monthly household cost for the County's current project is around "$160/ per month."

    Here's my question:

    Where is the Tribune's follow-up editorial, that states that "the residents of Los Osos" NOW "owe recall proponents everlasting gratitude?"

    I've searched around Google a bit, but I can't seem to find that editorial. I'm sure it's just me, because, certainly, considering your 9/(29)/05 editorial, your staff must have written that follow-up, but, I just can't find it, and, for that, I apologize.

    So, if you could just point me to that editorial, I would very much appreciate it.

    Oh, and, good news!

    Also in your 9/(29)/05 editorial, your staff writes, "... (we) fervently hope the agenda they've (the 'recall proponents') set out can be achieved."

    Your fervent hopes came true! That agenda WAS achieved.

    See? Good news : -)

    As always, much thanks,
    Ron
- - -
She never replied, of course.

[Have a GREAT 2014! I know it's going to be a lot of fun here in ol' SewerWatch]

###

1 Comments:

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