Friday, August 19, 2005

When The People Lead, The Leaders Will Follow

photo by NOAA
The countdown has begun. Each day that passes, the citizens of Los Osos are closer to self-determination with another vote: Measures B, C, D and E. Absentee voting by mail begins 8/29/05, and ends 9/20/05.

Once, I thought taking control of the "county waste water treatment plans" meant successfully voting into existence a community services district. Didn't happen on the first try. That was tough.

It appears that was not enough. Now, three members of the current LOCSD board face a recall election date with destiny, 9/27/05. Public protests now occur in the once mellow streets and trees of Los Osos. Some people will not give up quietly and keep asking uncomfortable questions.

Why hasn't the "Community Plan" proven itself worthy? Why have the backers of the "sewer in a park plan" come to another crucial vote?

Four residents of Los Osos think the CSD has done no wrong and has demonstrated "responsibility for solving problems." They write in a Tribune editorial today that "stopping the wastewater project does not solve our future problems."

Observers say the project needs redirection, not a halt. Take the park out of the sewer/wastewater treatment plant, and relocate them separately. Would you want your child playing 30 feet from serious microbial scrubbing?

This has cost the citizens of Los Osos (I used to be one!) too much time and money to get it wrong at this late date. "Might as well do it right, eh?" Borrowed money for this effort will always have to be repaid. So do it right, money is not the problem. Real leadership is the kind that is fair to all concerned and displays concern for the truth.

Leadership. Just where has the CSD's "problem solving" actually been demonstrated? Shutting out people from public meetings? Using bogus restraining orders against vocal critics? Threatening to cut down irreplaceable trees? Is the CSD avoiding "obstacles it did not create?" Click on that link and read a few more questions.

If you answer each point honestly--and yet you still want a park in a sewer and its massive cost--you just might get your wish when you vote. Just remember: you'll have to drink the water. --Newsstand Greg

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Community Readerboard Sign Approved

The Los Osos Community Readerboard sign gained approval this morning in a 5-0 vote of the County Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors were considering an appeal of an earlier planning commission decision allowing the sign to be built at the northwest corner of the intersection of Los Osos Valley Road and South Bay Boulevard.

Local resident and sign proponent, Gary Dove, argued in favor of building the sign and handed out illustrations of what the sign would look like when installed.

"The supervisors said good things about the sign, that it would be a benefit to the community," Dove said with a smile. "They also voted to refund our land use permit fee of $2257."

The action today concludes four years of planning and fund-raising work among residents of Los Osos to establish the Readerboard sign.

(Full disclosure: During my year as president of the Los Osos Rotary Club we concentrated on financing the sign project and gathering community support for it. --Newsstand Greg)

$3,000 Tree Benches And $200 Month Sewer Bills

The price of the sewer for taxpayers, is being tracked by Ron Crawford, on his sewerwatch blog. At the time of the 1998 election that formed the Los Osos Community Services District, the monthly sewer bill for the county's project was estimated at about $60 - $75.

Future sewer bills in Los Osos are now estimated at over $200. per month, per household.

Ron writes (7/21/05): my favorite part about the most recent LOCSD cost estimates for the park at the sewer plant (picture below), besides, of course, the fact that a play field costs damn near $1 million, and a "Dog Park" is well over a half million dollars (who knew?), is that "Eucalyptus Benches" are $3,000 each. Now that's a nice bench. I wonder, will those benches be made from the same eucalyptus trees that need to be cut down to accommodate them?

And something else just occurred to me -- a Los Osos taxpayer that shot down Measure E-97 would have to pay that failed measure's tax for 300 years just to cover one "Eucalyptus Bench." Hmmm.

$2.3 million just for the park amenities, and that doesn't even include their operation and maintenance, estimated by local park professionals at another $3 million over the next 20 years.

Amazing. Just amazing.