Saturday, November 19, 2005

What To Do When The Titanic Sewer Loan
Hits A Proposition 218 Iceberg

The Los Osos sewer loan is sinking. Everybody's in a panic running for the legal life boats. As a third class passenger, many of you are afraid for your financial lives. Don't panic.

Thirty three percent of the families out here are living below the poverty level. That's why Baywood Elementary is a Title I School. Another 20 percent are Seniors on a fixed income. We are in the majority. Prop. 218 was written for us.

Proposition 218 seemed like a weenie little problem but the wackos floated a loan that was so structurally unsound that it immediately started to sink when it nudged aginst measure B. To ask the right questions we have to follow the money. The State water board is asking the LOCSD to get out of the last legal lifeboat so that the SWQCB can paddle off to safety and avoid the follow the money sctutiny.

How are they doing this? By offering 150 million dollars in 'funny money' to the LOCSD to get out of the life boat and go down with the sinking loan ship. The loan is dead either way because of Prop. 218 irregularties. Oh, also, they have henchmen pointing hefty fines at the LOCSD to blow them away if they don't agree. To me that's really a rock and a hard place. Where are we in all of this? Well actually, we are in really good shape.

Here's why.

First you are only looking at the tip of the legal iceberg. Proposition 218 was an initiative that we the people passed to close loopholes in the Gann Initiative, Prop. 13. It's supposed to protect you from bogus "special taxes" on your property by having you vote on them. It's a surprisingly simple, very readable amendment to the State Constitution that protects you from being over taxed for services delivered to your property.

Second, the 150 million dollar loan is 'funny money'. It's quite possible that the loan was agreed to and dispersed outside of its Proposition 218 constraints. That's why you smell panic among the ships SWQCB financial officers.

Stay calm, here's the instructions for your life preserver:

Formost read this analysis of Prop 218 from the State Legislative Analyst's Office. Then get ticked off. Then go to the County website and download the complaint for the Grand Jury and fill one out using Prop. 218 as your beef. Pick any section, almost all of them were violated by the wild CSD and SWQCB pirate swashbucklers who took over the ship and rammed the loan into Prop. 218. Given the situation I commend the new board for valor beyond the call of duty.

If the CSD caves in, it doesn't end the 218 drama, they just become the fall guy. If the County takes over the sewer project, it doesn't quelch the loan irregularties because they get stuck holding the rotten loan bag. That loan is the real hot potato, not the sewer location. I say it's your duty to complain. It doesn't cost a penny.

Then go to the State Tax Advocate’s web site and file for a hearing. The hearing is local. Doesn't matter which side you are on, sewer here or sewer there. We all have the same rights. It's your right to be taxed according to the letter of the law. Somebody blew it and you need make a stink.

I sent to the RSWQCB a little seven page note about what I think about their fines. I'm not waving a sewer flag. I'm waving a property rights flag. You and I, the low income majority in Los Osos, should have that flag to rally around. Read the fine print. Not one penny can be charged to you for a service that is not specific to you and actually being delivered to your property. That's part of Prop. 218.

I plan to stay here. This is a beautiful place to raise my child. I plan to squawk until I get my first 'reasonable' and 'legal' sewer bill arrives in the mail. Prop. 218 will assure me of that. I want to thank Newsstand Greg for letting me blog here and giving you my take on things. More to come about your own on-site 'Bio-neering' to help solve the sewer issue and how to be a thorn in the side of bureauracy.

NEXT: So why are you smirking outside the prohibition zone? I guess you haven't seen the new septic regulations that are being proposed by the SWQCB.

--your friend next door, Steve Paige


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Steve. We are part of the senior population. Why or why didn't an affordability study take place? Guess we know the anwer; we couldn't afford what old board and its groupies wanted. We are so proud of our new CSD. And, yes, Prop218 is our lifesave. Thanks again.

Two Seniors in their Seventies on a Low Fixed Income

8:28 PM, November 19, 2005  
Blogger Shark Inlet said...

Could someone please explain how the actions of this new board are going to save us money?

I can't figure out how but I would really like to know.

9:35 PM, November 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a $50 million sewer system designed and bid available that is being ignored. this is less than $150 million and some are beginning to realize this.
the new board will back into this idea soon and you will see the savings. Bob

3:13 PM, November 20, 2005  
Anonymous Publicworks said...


Who bid it? Who designed it, where are the drawings? I've never seen a bid before on a system without a site, this is a first.

A design is actually going to be given to Los Osos for free. Lord have mercy! God has come to save us!


4:00 PM, November 20, 2005  
Blogger Shark Inlet said...

About the affordability issue. I would like to point out that when the County first came to the people with an affordable plan (late 70s or early 80s), the citizens of Los Osos said "no thank you." When the supervisor who represented Los Osos ran on a platform of bringing a sewer to town he was voted out of office. When the County came to Los Osos in the mid 90s, Los Osos again said "no thank you" (to $75/month to put in a plant near the Middle School) and voted for a CSD. The CSD plans that eventually emerged would have run us about $100/month if it hadn't been for the lawsuits by folks who are now supporters of the current board. Furthermore, your board's actions have only raised the costs to us all.

Can one who has taken actions all along to raise the costs now fall back on the lack of affordability as an argument to delay things even more and raise the costs even higher? Not reasonably. I am not saying that you personally are to blame for the lawsuits and delays, but certainly Los Osos, as a whole, and the supporters of this current board, in particular are those responsible.

1:44 PM, November 21, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't let fear push you into putting the poop in the middle of town. Why do some people want the poop to be in the middle of our town so badly? Has anyone ever heard of a group of people demanding poop in the middle of a town? Something stinks here and it sure smells poopy.

7:50 PM, November 22, 2005  
Blogger Spectator said...

Good stuff, but mostly now moot. The LOCSD refused the terms of the RWQB last night and no doubt the loan will be withdrawn, never to be seen again. The RWQCB is off the hook regardless. Now come the fines. Bye bye LOCSD, hello county and state. The sewer plant will still be built in the center of town at far greater cost.

How about considering individual property owner cost and losses by this action? I figure every owner of a home in the Los Osos prohibition zone just took a $100,000 property value hit last night.

Don't want to connect? No water!

9:55 AM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Steve Paige said...

Spectator, The loan was toast before measure b. Read my latest blog.

11:09 AM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger Los Alcantarilla said...

Thanks, Spectator

I'm glad to hear someone finally address the loss of equity for the homeowners in Los Osos. Hasn't anyone noticed the relatively lower growth of home prices in Los Osos in relation to the rest of the central coast? This has been a trend since many in other parts of the county began to suspect that Osos was Spanish for sewer.

6:59 PM, November 24, 2005  

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