Know the facts before you vote
July 15, 2014
OPINION By CASANDRA APPLETON
As election season nears, and more people are announcing their candidacy, I’m deeply concerned that several of the candidates who are running for various political offices may have “questionable” ethics.
I say this because a simple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request will reveal that the former Superintendent of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District, notified all members of the district’s three parent agencies (Oceano Community Services District Board, and the Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach city councils) via USPS Certified Mail of the misdeads, mismanagement, and problems that had arisen as a result of District Administrator John Wallace’s conflict of interest.
This conflict of interest in his providing district work to his Wallace Group Engineering firm was verified by a subsequent San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury report.
Not a single notified elected official responded or even acknowledged this communication that was made several years before the massive sewage spill that occurred in 2010. A FOIA request will reveal that this list of elected officials who ignored this communication include John Shoals, Bill Nichols, Caren Ray and Tony Ferrara.
In addition, Mr. Ferrara and Mr. Nichols were long term members of the Sanitation District Board and met onsite at the sewer plant annually for budget review. It is a well-documented fact (again FOIA is your friend) that Mr. Wallace, Mr. Nichols, and Mr. Ferrara were personally shown the pull box by the former plant superintendent that would eventually flood and lead to the largest sewage spill in San Luis Obispo County history.
The State Water Resources agency then found former District Administrator John Wallace guilty of “mismanagement and neglect”, hence the $1,100,000 fine that has been imposed on the Sanitation District rate payers.
Ms. Caren Ray and all of the Arroyo Grande City Council were personally informed of the facts (via the City of Arroyo Grande website mail system. Again, FOIA is your friend) of the misdealings and apparent cover-up that was occurring with the Sanitation District administrator and board.
Again, our elected officials turned a blind eye and the results are evident. The good-old-boys network at its best. These emails can be obtained by requesting that the City of Arroyo Grande produce all communications to or from the South County Oversight Group.
I recently friended Ms. Ray and asked a few innocent questions on her Facebook page. I thought perhaps she would care to give a little more information on why she turned a blind eye on the Sanitation District Issue. Ms. Ray responded by deleting my question, “unfriending” me and “blocking” me from her Facebook page. I guess that’s one more name I can add to my list of “never vote for these people because they’re untrustworthy.”
I don’t think I’d vote for anybody on that list, (and I certainly wouldn’t vote for anybody who continues to support and defend John Wallace) but that’s just my opinion.
Casandra Appleton is a resident of Grover Beach and a tax paying homeowner.