Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Los Osos CSD "Do-Over Vote," please

Dear Honorable Los Osos CSD Board Members,

I'm researching a story, and I recently spoke with SLO County Clerk-Recorder, Tommy Gong, regarding the process for putting a local advisory measure on a ballot, and he told me that it's usually the responsibility of a local government agency -- in this case, the Los Osos CSD Board of Directors -- to vote to have a local advisory measure added to a ballot.

So, that's what this email is: Me requesting that your board add to the June 2016 primary ballot, a simple advisory measure to gauge whether the voters of Los Osos still want a Community Services District, especially considering that the only reason to form the CSD in the first place, in 1998, failed in 2000, which means that the formation of the LOCSD has been completely baseless for the past 15 years.

A brief history:

As you all, I'm sure, know, the only -- again: only -- reason the LOCSD was formed in the first place, by a vote of Los Ososans in November 1998, was to pursue the so-called "Solution Group's" so-called "project," a "better, cheaper, faster," "alternative" sewer project, that was to include "70-acres" of treatment ponds in the middle of Los Osos, at an advertised "maximum monthly payment of $38.75."

The rationale by the Solution Group at the time to the voters of Los Osos was along the lines of, "Look, if the people of Los Osos vote to form a Community Services District in November 1998, that will give the newly-formed district 'wastewater' authority, and that will be the ONLY way we will be able to pursue our 'better, cheaper, faster,' project, at '38.75/month.' And, if you, the voters of Los Osos, do NOT vote for the Los Osos CSD, the County's project -- a project that we, the Solution Group, calls 'ruinously expensive' at $'71/month' -- will go forward."

That argument worked, and, in November 1998, the people of Los Osos voted, by a wide margin, to form the LOCSD, and, in the same election, elected several Solution Group members to the initial board of directors, to 1) kill the county's then-"ready-to-go" sewer project (which the newly-formed district immediately did, of course), and 2) pursue the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster," project, at "38.75/month."

It's extremely important to note here, that, twice in the early-to-mid 1990s, Los Osos voters rejected ballots measures to form the LOCSD. (I covered both of those elections as a local reporter.) It wasn't until "better, cheaper, faster," at "38.75/month," in 1998, did the LOCSD pass.

Fast-forward to the year 2000, and my New Times cover story, Problems With the Solution, archived at this link:

... where I first exposed that the only reason to form the LOCSD, in 1998 -- "better, cheaper, faster," at "38.75/month" -- had completely failed by the Summer of 2000.

To be clear, starting in the year 2000, there will never be a 70-acre ponding treatment plant in the middle of Los Osos, and there certainly will never be "38.75/month," which means that, for the past 15 years, the formation of the Los Osos CSD has been based on absolutely nothing -- nothing but a failed, so-called "project" -- a failure, by the way, that was predicted by numerous wastewater experts before the formation of the LOCSD.

Which goes straight to the reason why I am sending your Board this email today:

For the sake of Democracy, I am requesting that your Board adopt a Resolution that places an advisory measure on the June 2016 ballot, asking the voters of Los Osos whether or not they STILL want a CSD, considering that the only reason to form the District in the first place, in 1998 -- after it failed twice before in the 1990s -- completely failed by the year 2000.

Furthermore, and, again, as I am sure all of you are aware, the "wastewater" authority that was the "basis" for forming the District in the first place, was completely stripped away by the State of California in 2007. In other words, the District no longer even possesses the authority that was solely responsible for forming it: "wastewater."

Now, I realize that an advisory measure is not legally binding, but in this very interesting case, it would be, what I term, "quasi-legal."

Allow me to explain:

According to documents from LAFCO, the county-wide government agency that oversees the formation, and dissolution, of government districts in the county, in order for a government agency to be "dissolved," it must go through a "dissolution" process through LAFCO.

I've recently read numerous citizen reports on whether or not the Los Osos CSD should be dissolved, and the subject has become very controversial.

Well, look how easy that controversy can be solved: A simple advisory vote on whether the voters of Los Osos STILL want a Los Osos CSD (especially considering that the District is currently based on nothing, and will continue to be based on nothing, forever.).

I'm assuming the Board of Directors of the Los Osos CSD would like to know whether their agency is actually based on something, right? Well, here's your chance.

If Los Osos voters pass the advisory vote, well, there's your legitimacy... forever. (And, remember, right now, due to the circumstance surrounding its highly questionable formation, the LOCSD has zero legitimacy, forever.)

However, if the advisory vote goes against the CSD, look how easy it makes the dissolution process for LAFCO, and that's exactly why I call the "LOCSD Do-Over" vote "quasi-legal," because if it results in something like a 70-30 vote against the CSD, well, that instantly results in a super-easy, rubber-stamp, dissolution process for LAFCO.

Win-win, which is exactly why a simple "LOCSD Do-Over" advisory vote in June 2016 makes perfect sense.

Please pass a Resolution adopting the above-described advisory vote (for the June 2016 ballot) as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please just to ask.

Thank you,

P.S. I've attached to this email a 2005 commentary by Gary Karner, who, along with his wife, Pandora Nash-Karner, were the leaders of the Solution Group, and, at the same time that their "better, cheaper, faster" (DOA) so-called "project" formed the LOCSD in 1998, Pandora Nash-Karner was elected to the initial LOCSD Board of Directors.

In their commentary, the Karners -- the two people most responsible for the formation of the LOCSD in the first place -- discuss the failure of their, well, disastrous non-project.

In their commentary, they write (among other very interesting things):

"The estimated capital costs for the (Solution Group's project) were $37,900,000. in 1998 dollars. The cost of the County Plan at the same time was estimated to be $72,500,000, in 1998 dollars.

This was the basis for the platform that created the formation of the LOCSD [bolding mine] and upon which the original five members of the LOCSD Board of Directors ran. They tried, together with the Solution Group, to achieve the implementation of this proposed... Plan.


The reasons I'm highlighting that particular quote is because 1) it comes straight from the two people most responsible for forming the LOCSD in 1998, 2) they state that their "failed" "project" was "the basis" for forming the District in the first place, and, 3) that their so-called "project" -- that was "the basis" for forming the LOCSD -- had "failed."

In other words, clearly, the formation of the Los Osos CSD is based on absolutely nothing but a "failed" project, that never even came close to working (as predicted by numerous water quality professionals before the election that formed the LOCSD.).

P.P.S. This email automatically posted to my blog, SewerWatch, at this link:

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