Sunday, December 18, 2005

A World Of Our Own

by Mike Green

First off, I want to thank Newsstand Greg and the Central Coast News Mission. And, to ask for tolerance from the great band of bloggers already here. I'll do my best to uphold the fine level of journalism that exists here, but I am a beginner, with scant training. Give me a chance, I'm a very quick learner.

What can I possibly contribute to the already well documented "Great Sewer Wars?" Well, after Ann and Steve and Ron get done grinding the minutae to it's molecular subcomponents, and the comment bloggers, (Shark Inlet, Spectator, Dogpatch refugee and others) add thier expertise and opinion--not much.

So what will I write about? Well, "The Sewer Wars" of course. Heck, I live here, It's like watching home movies. It's easy too, almost unlimited material.

But that's not everything. I want to share what is good and right about my Home -Town, -Community, -Local area. Lets face it, Los Osos defies a normal definition. Some call it "Paradise," some "a backward bunch of scofflaws."

I call it a world of our own.

So, for now, I'll call this a test blog. Oh, by the way, I encourage comments, good and bad. That's how I got started.

--Mike Green

Saturday, December 03, 2005

How To Make $50,000 In Three Minutes

Here's my get richer quick scheme. It has to do with the equity you have in your Los Osos home. I guarantee that if you do your homework, present your information to the new Los Osos CSD board and request them to tow the line on proposition 218, your property will be worth that much more when the next sewer is funded.

Your equity under fire. While you were squabbling over where to put the sewer and how it was to be designed one of the biggest tax assessment scams in the history of California was going on right under your nose. Over $100,000,000 dollars of our equity was potentially assessed in conflict with California Constitutional law.

The cover up continues. The SRF lender, the State, has called for a two thirds vote on the Los Osos sewer project. It's a tacid admission that the loan paper trail hides the fact that you were being ripped off. I'm doggedly persuing the paper trail but it will take time. Here's the potential list of State Constitutional law violations stealing your assessment rights:
  • Original loan application states NA for “Not Applicable” where asked if vote was taken.
  • No input is made as required on the SWQCB input checklist about voters.
  • No division of general vs. special taxes.
  • Engineers report eventually characterizes revenue stream as an assessment.
  • No vote on cost increase from $47 to $69 Million Approved by resolution.
  • No section 4 compliance on increased funding resolution.
  • No bifurcation of special vs. general taxes on increased funding resolution.
  • No mailing of calculated assessment with voting card on increased funding resolution.
  • No record of vote on increased funding resolution.
  • No vote on cost increase Resolution from $69 million to $97 million.
  • No section 4 compliance on second increased funding resolution.
  • No bifurcation of special vs. general taxes on increased funding resolution.
  • No record of vote on increased funding resolution.
  • SWQCB requests August 25 2005 LOCSD supply “Reimbursement Resolution”.
  • No Resolution was ever supplied.
  • Agency Reimbursement Resolution is missing in contract documents, Exhibit L.
  • Loan is funded anyway.
  • SWRCB attempts to repair reimbursement policy of the LOCSD after the fact, by unilaterally demanding a 2/3 vote.
Here's where the State Constitution could save you seventy dollars a month and increases your equity by $50,000.The original engineering report charcterizes project funding as an "assessment" and the criteria for the SRF federal loan is that a portion of the money MUST go to Estuary improvement to get the loan. (The figure I have been hearing is 1/3).

Then according to prop.218 your sewer bill would be reduced by that 1/3 because that money is required to come from the "general tax" fund and cannot be billed to your property as a "special tax". You just took three minutes of your time to point out the fact to the new LOCSD. Your sewer bill just went down by one third. Your property equity just went up by $50,000. Look at the home prices in Morro Bay and Cayucos. Home prices in Los Osos are way less. If you push for prop.218 compliance they will rise to be more in line with like properties in the area. But you must do your part.

The project is halted because about $100,000,000 dollars of it was slid under the Prop. 218 table. It's a total fallacy that the new board scuttled the loan. The SWRCB got cold feet on their Prop. 218 'negligence'. THEY are the lender responsible for all the paper work being straight. THEY got frightened about this loan. The State is supposed oversee and administer the loan so it is in compliance with 'state law'. That's a little like letting the fox watch the sewer house. What we ended up with was a fox caught red-handed with prop 218. shredded in its jaws. Why do you think they are NOW demanding a 2/3 vote on the sewer project? They really have to go back to the base cost of the loan when the loan application was turned in and start from square one.

The loan needs to be rectified with State law. And that's where you can make $50,000 in three minutes. Not only can we decide what is an affordable sewer, we also can set a limit on what will be spent. Any cost increase has to again be approved by the voters. It's all in prop. 218. EPA benchmark cost for your sewer is 4% of your income. They are the original lender. So figure that is about what you should pay. The Code is here: ARTICLE XIII D

Here's where you can protect your home equity. These are the requirements for assessments under Prop. 218. The measure places extensive requirements on local governments charging assessments. Specifically, the measure requires all new or increased assessments--and some existing assessments--to meet four conditions.
  • First, local governments must estimate the amount of "special benefit" landowners receive--or would receive--from a project or service. Special benefit is defined as a particular benefit to land and buildings, not a general benefit to the public at large or a general increase in property values. If a project provides both special benefits and general benefits, a local government may charge landowners only for the cost of providing the special benefit. Local government must use general revenues (such as taxes) to pay the remaining portion of the project or service's cost, i.e., bay pollution improvments.
  • Second, local governments must ensure that no property owner's assessment is greater than the cost to provide the improvement or service to the owner's property. This provision would require local governments to examine assessment amounts in detail, potentially setting them on a parcel-by-parcel or block-by-block basis.

  • In the present assessment scheme 25 foot lots are bunched with 50 foot lots.Not meeting the 'greater than' requirement in Prop. 218 because potential buildout of a 25 foot lot is 1/2 that of a 50 foot lot. Your lot with a height restriction should be treated likewize. It limits your square footage for the benefit of the general public. These calculations were never made in the engineers report. Costing affected lot owners thousands of dollars in equity.

  • Third, local governments must charge schools and other public agencies their share of assessments.
  • Currently, public agencies generally do not pay assessments.

Ready to get to work? I don't care what the color of your sewer skin is. I'm an equal opportunity employer. Betcha never made $17,000 Dollars a minute before.

Your homework is here. You want to help me? Contact: mongoboo at charter dot net.