Los Osos sewer project tainted by ’expired’ crime

April 22, 2009
Supervisor Frank Mecham said he wants to hear County Counsel opinion on contract legality.

Supervisor Frank Mecham said he wants to hear County Counsel opinion on contract legality.


County planning commissioners Thursday will consider a proposal for construction of Los Osos’ contentious wastewater project, a mission now shadowed by a documented crime.

Despite the existence of substantial evidence of unlawful backdating of key contract agreements, executed by now departed officials of the Los Osos Community Services District (LOCSD), county planners are moving toward a decision that could ratify what critics are calling “a fatally flawed procurement process.” Several formal complaints by district officials to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Gerald T. Shea, starting in 2005 and detailing allegations of potential conflicts of interest and other unlawful activities, were eventually brushed aside.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Brown, in a response to citizen complaints, acknowledged in 2006 that “falsification of a public record by a public employee is a felony,” and that a criminal act relating to the backdating apparently had occurred. But Brown declined further investigation by determining that a three-year statute of limitation had expired.

The backdating of the contract in question happened in 1999. Bruce Buell, who at the time was just coming into his job as general manager of LOCSD, has admitted to backdating the contract at the request of Paavo Ogren, then district interim manager and now San Luis Obispo County’s director of public works.

Ogren was temporarily running Los Osos district when contractor Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) of Broomfield, Colorado, was retained by the district for wastewater project management in early September 1999. Ogren did not sign the pact, nor did any board member. Instead, Ogren waited several weeks for Buell to begin his stint as the new district manager, and then told Buell to backdate the MWH contract.

Buell, in an explanatory memorandum he wrote in 2006, said the request was part of “unfinished business” and that Ogren “advised me that I should pre-date the agreement to accommodate the work actually done by MWH at the board’s request.” Buell’s action was witnessed at his request by LOCSD employee Karen Vega, he said in the memo to another incoming LOCSD chief, Dan Blesky.

“Buell was not an agent for the district and had no authority to execute the contract and he had no authority to backdate the contract,” Blesky wrote to his directors in 2005.

Buell has since left LOCSD and currently manages Nipomo’s community services.

Ogren, now lead county plotter for Los Osos’ wastewater treatment future, also has become somewhat of a cheerleader for MWH, helping elevate it in recent days to the county’s “short list” of preferred designer-builders of any eventual facility.

Former chairman of the LOCSD’s board of directors Lisa Schicker believes that MHW’s current participation may eventually jeopardize the entire sewer project. Schicker and other residents question the role of MWH in the Los Osos project, suggesting that numerous conflicts cloud any future project plans’ legal status.

Schicker wrote in a recent memorandum to county supervisors that “it is a big mistake to consider any continued relationship with MWH, considering the illegal contract… pending investigations and lawsuits, and a potential conflict on interest with [Ogren].”

Gail McPherson, executive director of Citizens for Clean Water, said her group espouses “third party oversight” for the Los Osos project.

“We should back up, disallow MHW’s participation, and pick from the [county-designated] top four engineering firms,” said McPherson. “It’s important that [supervisors] take action quickly and avoid problems.”

MHW, despite its controversial role in the equally-mercurial LOCSD wastewater development process, was boosted recently to the top grouping of the county’s list of preferred contractors to complete the Los Osos project. This has occurred even though MHW and LOCSD are themselves entangled in myriad disputes and litigation — which could now involve the county.

The Los Osos district tried to cancel its contract with MHW in August 2006, asserting breach of contract and violations of state law, specifically the “California False Claims Act, Government Code 12650.

Alleging a list of conflicts of interest, the LOCSD letter of termination to MWH said the engineering firm “has knowingly and with malice actively worked with… third parties contractors… regulatory agencies… and other third parties in a manner not in the best interests of [LOCSD].” District officials then filed a claim against MWH, seeking repayment of more than $6 million. MWH has sued in response and all litigation is pending.

County supervisors were called upon April 7 to approve a $558,000 contract with Carollo Engineers for engineering consulting services for the county’s new master water plan.

Lou Carella of Carollo Engineers once was employed by MWH, now has become a Los Osos project engineer, and helped recommend MWH be placed on the county’s design-build short list.

Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the Carollo contract and a staff recommendation to arbitrarily move MWH up on the list of preferred engineering companies bidding for participation.

First District Supervisor Frank Mecham cast the lone dissenting vote, saying that “if there are allegations in there that reference any kind of an illegal act, then I don’t want to vote for it until county counsel has had a chance to look at it.”

Mecham said Wednesday he didn’t feel right about ignoring issues raised by Schicker and others regarding legitimacy of contracts and the type of wastewater collection method that will eventually be employed.

He also said he was not familiar with the matter of Buell’s contract backdating activities but that “it’s certainly something I want to know more about.”

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By: wolfhound on 4/23/09

In Los Osos there is a prevailing lack of trust by some residents resulting in a contentious enviroment that continues to creat turmoil amoung residents.

One can hardly blame said residents when you consider recent events on the sewer issue.

We were promised "clarity" and a true costs of the systems the county spent $7 mil to discover. We got smoke & mirrors.

These conditions do not create an enviroment where good governance & individual citizens can resolve issues.

By: judith on 4/23/09

So a convicted criminal from Riverside (McPherson) and a failed CSD director (Schicker) are accusing Ogren of being unethical and corrupt? I see something of a credibilty problem here.

By: GMcPherson on 4/23/09

All concerned taxpayers in the county should support a solution and not allow this project to crash. Over $7 mil in taxpayers money has been spent by Paavo Ogren in what appears to be an evolving public corruption scandal.

This breach of trust with the contractors and the community was raised before the April 7th BOS meeting and the BOS and county counsel now have ample concerns that the Design Build procurement process is set up for rigged contracts.

The information coming to light about Mr. Ogren's illegal and ethical gaps will likely compromise the ability of County to deliver a successful project. This legacy of illegal contracts with MWH, and Paavo Orgen's historic leadership in orchestrating corruption must not be allowed to continue.

Some of the current issues raised include the violation of statutes in the California Public Code 20133, and the changes from a performance spec to the single option of a MWH design. This occurred at the request of Supervisor Gibson mid-stream in the request for qualification process, and without providing the contractors any official notification. The conflict of interest investigation with MWH and subcontractors further harms the LOWWP.

There is only a short opportunity to restore confidence in the County LOWWP process and that means providing an independent expert in Design Build to conduct a independent process review, procurement and contract oversight and project management.

The BOS should

1.Remove Mr. Ogren as project director and investigate 2006 DA complaint

2.Removing MWH from the short list

3.Remove Carollo engineers from the Design-Build contract procurement process

In their place—contact Design Build Institute OF America (DBIA) for independent third party (Design Build expert) to review Statements of qualifications, create the short list and assure that the Request For Proposal criteria is actually best value/performance based, and not a pre-designed MWH project, and allow the teams to actually compete for the best solutions.

By: OtisCampbell on 4/23/09

I've lived & worked in SLO County for 30 years. When I told friends that I was moving to SLO, several warned me that 'the place is full of corruption'. Unfortunately, over the years their words were proven true. It does make sense. The nicer the place, the more likely the normal folks will be oblivious, and the greedy and corrupt will find it easy take roost. Eliminate the MWH connections in this huge ($) project.

By: DanBlackburn on 4/23/09

Booty J — But for one word you are gone… You know the rules.

Member Opinions:

By: johnson on 5/23/09

Shea "brushed aside" this matter? Truly, is this good old boy politics at its finest?

D.A. Shea needs to step up his game and do the right thing, or perhaps now is the time for Attorney General Brown to step-in and investigate Shea and SLO county administration.

With that said, who will step up and run next term for SLO D.A.? Whoever you are, now is the time to "step up your gaaaame!"

By: ActualTruth on 5/19/09

Ronald = Gail

Ron(ald) McPherson, her husband. Nice try.

By: Ronald on 5/18/09

Nothing about the complaint stalls anything on the project schedule. Requesting a independent design build contract expert to assist the BOS in reviewing the process to date and handling it will go a long way to restoring confidence in the County.

We have learned from the State Funding source (SWRCB SRF ) that the claim Supervisor Gibson that stimulus money was going to be loaned or granted was without substance or merit.

The Planning commission has another meeting at the end of the month, and the Coastal Commission has expressed problems with the Co. project as proposed. At least one contractor is appealing the short listing decision. And incidentally, the appeal board is comprised of Paavo Ogren and Gail Wilcox (who is off on paid admin leave)

There is clearly a few messes at top levels of the County. The evidence of falsified documents and the DA correspondence acknowledging the crime, and illegal contract with MWH, statutes violated etc. can be found parked at this link. The summary of complaints note the list of issues within each attempt Lisa made to inform the supervisors of Paavo Ogren’s compromised status.


By: Insight on 5/18/09

Jan: On your opinion dated 5/6/09, "I doubt even Mr. Mecham, who some of you now hero-worship over one vote, wants any part of your blame game/stall tactics."

Stall tactics to date have not achieved that goal if that is what Gail has in mind. And to expect Gail to apologize and go away only shows that you are cherry picking who has the right to comment. Right or wrong the right to criticize, comment and questions is not limited to those who maybe right in their assumptions and opinions but in fact allows for misconception, if that should be the case, that could be righted through clarification. So going away is not an option.

By: Insight on 5/18/09

Jan: Of your opinion posted 4/24/09 stating that, "No, no, it's Gail's responsibility to clarify this issue. No one forced her to become a public figure on this issue…"

If getting involved in your community's affairs makes you a public figure then I would say that anyone who has spoken out on this issue, to include you, is a public figure.

* a public figure, either a public official or any other person pervasively involved in public affairs, or

* a limited purpose public figure, meaning those who have "thrust themselves to the forefront of particular public controversies in order to influence the resolution of the issues involved." A "particularized determination" is required to decide whether a person is a limited purpose public figure, which can be variously interpreted.

*A person can become an "involuntary public figure" as the result of publicity, even though that person did not want or invite the public attention.

Welcome to the club.

By: Ronald on 5/17/09


Your claim about “screaming” is disingenuous at best. Note Lisa has been pretty absent from the process, and I supported Blakeslee AB 2701 and the County framework that was meant to assure a clean process through-out. I am seldom at the county meetings on the Los Osos issues and only appear to provide checks on the process. Again, shifting the blame to messengers speaks louder than anything coming from Los Osos about the unwillingness to simply review the facts. Look at the confession, the DA acknowledging the crime, and the "so what " from Paavo. I believe all the documents are available by PRR, and I will post a link here for you and others to access the evidence. That way you can actually review it for yourself. Paavo Ogren, has been involved in many projects from both sides of the public $$ trough. Acting as a engineer, and CPA, accountant, and CFO for the same private firms, and on and off-acting in behalf of both the County with the same players over and over, he has employed and been employed by the firms that pocketed taxpayer’s money. From the County/private firms personnel connections (MWH, Wallace group, Carollo, RMC, Cannon & associates etc.) it is clear there is a pattern of at minimum–serious conflicts of interest, and evidence of deception, self dealing, special favors, and contract award bid rigging.

Please call for an investigation from an outside/independent third party, and let the facts speak. That is all Lisa requested-and tried to do so confidentially. The County BOS each have an absolute obligation to make this outside inquiry and restore public confidence and trust. To do otherwise is a dereliction of the supervisors’ duties and plays into the same dysfunctional system that brought us the emerging Paavo/MWH contract scandal, and the Wilcox/Edge SH scandals. The list just keeps growing.

By: judith on 5/14/09

Great conspiracy theory. Here's another one: The four people who seem to get up and scream the loudest about Ogren's 'corruption' the most often? There's Schicker (trying to somehow save her legacy of failure), McPherson (not the most honest citizen, see Jan's earlier post), Piper Reilly (who bought her house around 3 years ago and is now probably deep under water), and Linde Owen (just odd. Drive by her house some time and you'll see what I mean. They all want to stop the County process, for their own reasons, so they throw up the smoke screen of 'evil doings.' Ogren, as Public Works Director, knows lots of contractors. Go figure…

By: Ronald on 5/14/09

I tried not to comment, but have to admit the nuts in Los Osos who can't agree on a sewer is fine cover for what is going on with the contracts. Seems old Paavo Ogren has been in bed with these contractors since he gave MWH the contract in 1999 as the temporary general manager. (maybe even before when he was in charge of CSA 9–as a employee for the Co) His subconsultants rearranged in each award, but all with their hands in our pockets. Review the other County projects. They all list his former employers-a small assortment of friends trading places as primary or sub consultants. Honor among thieves indeed! Wallace, RMC, MWH, Carollo & Cannon. This does smell of bid rigging, but arguing over the sewer details and being sick of all the Los Osans infighting makes it really really easy to hide it in plain sight. Review the county projects in your town and it will open your eyes too.

By: judith on 5/12/09

Booty Juice-

I have to agree: The people here in Los Osos ARE insane. I've been a homeowner since 1985, and nothing has changed. We still can't get a damn sewer built. "It has to be green! It has to be out of town! No- wait! If it's out of town, our water won't be returned to us!Wa-wa-wa-wa" This is not a tale of corruption, this is a saga of people who want to be left alone to live out their lives with no additonal cost. Life doesn't work like that. Oh dear…

By: Booty_Juice on 5/10/09

Thank you for clearing up any doubt, if there ever was any, about why you lot have been removed from any further involvement in public policy or governance of your rancid, polluting, utterly failed community.

By: GMcPherson on 5/8/09

Of course Carollo is precluded from project design-builds or CM. No disputing that. But there are issues that MWH should precluded too, but that is best left for an expert opinion.

Like you said sole source common, but it is put in place for emergencies. You said [They specified the use of a sole source approach to get the work going quickly. Mr. Carella has an excellent track record in getting tough tasks done for the County in a timely manner. This is a common practice in Public Works.] Yes, it is all too common.

I have worked successfully with Carollo and with MWH as well as several other firms. Hiring based on a personal preference is fine on the private side, but when using public funds, the best value is achieved by qualified consulting firms knowing they have to compete just because the work is not locked-in with any one person or firm. I admit, I never knew a consulting firm that liked that I did this, but a public employee works for the taxpayers using the public money, and it is established as the proper way select consultants. But like you said [he works well with the County and has a great track record on delivering projects.] Even if he worked for MWH in the past too, I respect Lou. Very capable and a nice guy, but he got his marching orders from someone that already had a shady past with MWH. and that is a fact. Paavo did indeed do just what Lisa reported. The Counsel is not denying that. Counsel just doesn’t think it is a problem. Not the first time government counsel makes a wrong call. But let’s wait until the written opinion is complete, as Mr. Jensen stated he is still reviewing the documents and information.

So, you must know what the process is to protect the public trust when a complaint of corruption is made to the public agency. Yep, they have an obligation to determine if the allegation has substance and if so, must investigate. Not just look at each bit of evidence separately in a vacuum, but take it together as a whole, and dig a little to fact find independently. If there is any suspicion of a breach of trust, a full inquiry is required. The Supervisors have to follow through. In this case, reliable witnesses have already nailed Paavo in writing on the falsification charges. I simply think a choice by the County to look the other way and say it makes no difference is wrong. Paavo’s deed is no less unethical, or the process itself is no less uncompromised. But usually it is not the consultant or the employee, but the elected official’s future that is hurt by cover ups.

Last, Individual scoring of the panel members was not ‘individual’ at all. Of the 5 sections scored, reviewer #2 was the only person scoring section 1, 2, and 5 –C-. This means 35% of the total score was provided by reviewer #2 to all the other reviewers. Reviewer #2 determined the score of Appendix A (which was extensive) scored the team utilization of local contractors, and made the reference checks on projects to assure they were free of claims and litigation. MWH received top score from reviewer # 2, because Lou Carella is reviewer #2. MWH is not free of claims and litigation, as required, (although I suspect they are trying to cut a deal with the LOCSD on lawsuits as we speak) Better look up all they ways bids are rigged, some methods even seem innocent, like contractors taking turns on project awards. But I think you know better too!

By: itneverends on 5/6/09

Come on Gail, how about being more truthful in your postings? Yes, Lou Carella was the head of the technical team from Carollo Engineers that was hired by sole source contract to work with the County staff on the project. When the County agreed to work on the project, the Board of Supervisors stipulated just how they would do that work, in writing. They specified the use of a sole source approach to get the work going quickly. Mr. Carella has an excellent track record in getting tough tasks done for the County in a timely manner. This is a common practice in Public Works.

You incorrectly stated that Mr. Carella was "the one who pre-qualified MWH." This is wrong, as he was one member of a panel. The County staff made the individual scoring of the panel members available at the Planning Commission meeting last week, and you were there.

Mr. Carella has worked on a handful of projects (keeps showing up) because he works well with the County and has a great track record on delivering projects. I'm sure you know that his firm was precluded from proposing on the sewer project design/construction, or the CM work, as a condition of doing the technical work for the County. You know better!

By: Tom on 5/2/09

Dear Ms. McPherson,

You are incorrect! Allegations of your wrong doing have BEEN CONFIRMED. The current issue is cleaning up the “ring of political corruption” and holding ALL who have been participating in it, obstructing justice, to be held accountable. This would include you, Ms. McPherson.

Your history in Riverside clearly exposes your lack of credibility and integrity and your ability to work with people of all colors and race. Your complaints regarding the falsification of records by Paavo Ogren and Bruce Buell could not be anymore blatantly hypocritical.

Ms. McPherson, in the interest of public health and welfare, stop perpetrating falsehoods regarding my technology. Stop abusing the poor citizens of Los Osos by your actions and your promulgation of an illegal, overpriced Rube Goldberg sewage moving machine ABSENT of compliance with the federally mandated pretreatment requirements of federal law, US Code Title 33 Chapter 26 – Water Pollution Prevention and Control, and specifically 33USC26§1317(a)(b)&(c).

You have contributed to spin of this Community of Los Osos into a state of mass confusion that has resulted in millions of dollars being “WASTED” by the County, waging their attack on “WINDMILLS”, motivated by self serving “economic gluttony”.

By: wolfhound on 5/2/09

There are many words in Webster's that best describe the recent actions by our County officials in the Los Osos fecal matter.

The recent Fox News Republican ranting about long term Senator Arlen Spectar jumping ship at such a crucial time has aired most all of them.

These are some befitting terms that seem to fit — Capricious, whimsical & whimpy, fickle, flighty, whim-wam, unpredictable and this one I had to look up "mercurial".

I wonder how this "capricious" move by Supervisor Gibson will work out at the polls.

By: GMcPherson on 5/2/09

No you need to face it—this is about a crime that occurred in this county, by the current public works director in charge of the $165 mil Los Osos project. I did not bring the charges described in the article. The Los Osos CSD did. I did not raise the issues of illegal activities to warn the the Board of Supervisors. Past President Lisa Schicker did. Like her or not, Lisa had a legal responsibility to notify the Board of Supervisors.

(Excerpt from DA correspondence :)

“Elected and public employees are charged with a legal duty to report a suspected crime or illegal activities…If Board members knew about the illegal activity, their vote approving the final contract affirmed and condoned it and all subsequent actions approving warrants and amendments to the contract simply continued the fraud on the public. They essentially participated in the criminal activity.”

The charges are well documented and the DA's office has a complete copy of the complaint. “violation of Penal Code Section 424 and Government Code Section 6200, both of which prohibit falsification of public records such as the backdated contract” Paavo Ogren knowingly back dated and executed a fraudulent contract with MWH.

(Excerpt from DA correspondence:)

“This subdivision applies to an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison, a material element of which is fraud or breach of a fiduciary obligation the commission of the crimes of theft or embezzlement upon an elder or dependent adult, or the basis of which is misconduct in office by a public officer, employee, or appointee, including, but not limited to , the following offenses: 1)Grand theft of any type, forgery, falsification of public records, or acceptance of a bribe by a public official or a public employee.”

Clearly this statute of limitation applies to violation of Penal Code Section 424 and Government Code Section 6200”

Like it or not, the BOS must take action to protect the citizens and taxpayers, the process, and themselves. I am simply advocating the independent third party handling of contracts by Design-Build experts to protect and restore confidence in the LOWWP process.

By: judith on 5/2/09

Gail- Let's face it; you were charged with a serious violation. You chose to plead out to avoid criminal prosecution. Good for you- I guess…To now call Paavo corrupt is insane. Do you have any idea how stupid you appear ? Do you wonder why anyone, other than Schicker follows your weird agenda?

By: GMcPherson on 5/1/09

The current issue is corruption involving a public official. That official is Paavo Ogren.

Yes, I have been under the microscope after challenging the State Water Resources Control Board for challenging the State Inland Surface Waters Plan because of fraudulent rulemaking by the State and EPA. Uncovering this resulted in a loss of the Toxic metal rule program for the State, and all manner of assault to my professional reputation was launched. What stuck was an obscure issue of a volunteer training program that I had charge of 1989. I was promoted to division manager in 1991 and the program transferred to a subordinate. The decade old training hours, in which trainees worked for free, were challenged in 1998. The records for over 30 trainees were not in sufficient order for Human Resources to defend charges, but only my son-in-law was the subject of the State Water Boards criminal complaint. Without going into detail, I only agreed to the unsatisfactory settlement after 3 years of State Water Board harassment and a devastating family tragedy that took the life of my son. The city agreed to a manner of compensation for the litigation costs.

The charges that were pled included a misdemeanor that involved no moral turpitude, and prior agreement that the charges would be dropped. I have no criminal record. I still retain my state licenses.

I have an outstanding professional record with recognition for outstanding service, among many other professional achievement awards. I was never disciplined or terminated. I retired in good standing in 2001. Here is the quote from the district attorney at the culmination of the case:

Deputy District Attorney Glenn Yabuno At issue in the criminal case were hundreds of on-the-job volunteer hours Bibbee was credited with completing in Riverside[as experience] for the job in San Bernardino for which he later was hired, Yabuno said. "We believed it was intentional, but we've come to believe it was because of poor record keeping," he said.

I truly question those who would rather shift the spot light because they are closely connected with Paavo through appointments to commissions and employment. Jan and others, instead of being concerned about the District Attorney report that concluded that Paavo Ogren did indeed commit a felony by directing the back dating of contracts with MWH and executing the illegal contract that resulted in over $9. mil in taxpayers money is public corruption. This is important because Paavo Ogren has controlled millions of taxpayers dollars in other county projects, and currently has contracts totaling over $7 mil with the same players and firms that insist MWH is not only qualified but now must be shortlisted for the Los Osos project. Additionally, violations of statutes in the Design Build procurement process are alleged.

Because of what I have been through in my own career, allegations of wrong doing are not made lightly. This is about transparency and tax payer’s dollars at risk for the whole County, and public corruption that must be investigated and cleaned up.

By: Jan on 5/1/09

By: Truth on 4/28/09

Help me understand…you are all complaining about the cost of the sewer ($125,00 plus per household)and the control the "corrupt county and water board" have over you when the solution is right under your noses. Why are YOUR PUBLIC OFFICIALS not presenting the new Reclamator technology as an option for you when it has been turning raw sewage into water more pure than the water coming out of your faucets for more than a year, right there in the middle of all those leaky septic tanks polluting your precious drinking water every single day.

Ever ask yourself why it is not being considered as an alternative to the sewer? Do you think it might be because the County would lose a $200 million dollar project (that you are paying for)and control of YOUR water? Why are you all so SCARED of this technology? Why is it not part of the solution options the county is circulating in their printed materials? It appears to me this Murphy guy is providing a win / win to every homeowner in Los Osos!

We all talk about being green and saving the environment then someone comes along that has a revolutionary solution and you are fighting him like horse traders fought the invention of the automobile! Even the regulatory officials can't say it doesn't work BECAUSE IT DOES AND HE HAS PROVED IT. He spent $150,000 to have it certified and validated by the National Sanitation Foundation in March of 1994 and retested and validated by a local independent laboratory, Creekside Laboratory in San Luis this past July 2008.

-Saves every homeowner in Los Osos $75,000 or more in comparison to the sewer

-The only solution that qualifies for stimulus money and federal grants

-Saves Los Osos community approximately 1,000,000 gallons of precious water per day for reuse

-Immediately stops the pollution upon installation and gets the CCRWQCB and the fines off your backs

-Saves the homes of all those people who will lose them if they have to come up with $75,000 and more

-Saves your streets from being ripped up and your businesses disrupted

-Would make you the FIRST COMMUNITY IN OUR NATION to go green and implement incredible water saving technology becoming "sewer exempt"

-Would make your PROPERTY VALUES GO UP without the costly sewer hanging over your heads

-Entire project done in only 2 years

WHERE IS THE DOWNSIDE PLEASE TELL ME? And you continue to fight the very guy who is saving your butts like a bunch of farmers with pitchforks!

Where are YOUR public officials who are supposed to be helping you???? Oh wait a minute they are fighting Murphy too. Do you think it might have something to do with the $200 million, plus $600,000 in annual revenue they would lose if the sewer doesn't happen?

Want to hear the cool part? I have researched the federal law myself and it says YOU HAVE TO PRETREAT your sewage before it goes into the sewer, so you have to use this scary new technology anyway, but once you do, you have no sewage…no sewage no sewer…freaky huh?

Recently the CMC sewer leaked over 75,000 gallons of raw sewage into the ocean, Morro Bay & Cayucos sewer systems are leaking thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the ground water every day.

Yeah, I see how it makes perfect sense to choose the sewer so keep up the fight…

The Coastal Commission has already told the county their "sewer plan" is a NO GO!

If I lived in Los Osos I would be using this new technology and thanking Tom Murphy for saving me over $75,000 and letting me keep my water…but that's just me.

Maybe you should make a list of all the benefits of installing a sewer and compare them. Just a thought.

By: paperboy on 4/27/09

FYI – this is from the 1999-2001 Enforcement Progress Report issued by the State Water Resources Control Board

My understanding is Mr. Bibbee is Gail's son-in-law.

See: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/ust/...

Excerpt from Page 50:

The SWRCB Office of Operator Certification investigates complaints related to the activities and qualifications of Waste Water Treatment Plant operators. Since January 1999, the office has opened 51 new cases of which 22 cases have been resolved. Two significant cases are described below:

• Ms. Gail McPherson, former Wastewater Systems Manager at the City of Riverside, and Mr. Vincent Bibbee, both certified wastewater treatment plant operators, provided false and misleading experience on applications Mr. Bibbee submitted for certification. McPherson pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of aiding the commission of a misdemeanor and agreed to make restitution of $40,000 to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for investigative costs. Her Grade V Operator Certificate was placed on probation for two years.

Bibbee pled no contest to misdemeanor grand theft and aiding the commission of a misdemeanor. He was also liable with McPherson for $40,000 restitution to the SWRCB. His Grade II Operator Certificate was revoked, and a Grade I Certificate was issued. The criminal charges against both were dropped, in accordance with the plea agreement, because restitution was fulfilled within six months of the plea.

By: franc4 on 4/24/09


It matters not Mr. Mechams voting on other issues….to me, at least. It's his vote on THIS issue that matters.

As I said originally, talk to Gail about her "criminal record" before spouting off about it. You don't know ALL the facts at all. Anything else you have HEARD or read is not the WHOLE REAL story. I repeat, ask her.

You say, "You won't be able to convince me about Schicker because I know too many people who have tried working with her. She needs mental health help." Again, you are basing your opinion of this fine lady solely on "what you've heard."….obviously from people who either don't know her personally or disagreed with what she stood for as an duly ELECTED official of the CSD, or just plain gossip. As far as her "needing mental health help",it would be interesting to hear your credentials for making such a judgement. Have you ever tried to "work with her." Do you REALLY know her objectives, against insurmountable odds? Perhaps YOU are the one needing "mental health help."

So, to get back to the REAL ISSUE here..Countys screwing up the whole process, (for years) wasting taxpayer dollars (1M for lobbyistist?)given to them in good faith, to come up with an affordable, sensible, best for the environment and least expensive to homeowners project, by considering ALL waster water disposal options and a fair LEGAL bidding process.

Is that asking too much of you and the County?????? Love and Peace to the residents of LoSo and the PZ!!!!!!especially!

By: wolfhound on 4/24/09

As a business owner just downwind of the TriW "stench plant" location I poured myself a double Grey Goose dirty martini with two olives when our newly elected CSD board threw out the three hard of hearing board members and stopped the project.

I am at a loss to understand how anyone can say they love Los Osos and want to install a sewer plant right in the center of our town.

Thank you Lisa and the board for the breath of fresh air.

Whast is it the realators say "location-Location-Location".

By: Jan on 4/24/09

Franc4, please do tell me the REAL story of Gail's past? I reserve judgment.

You won't be able to convince me about Schicker because I know too many people who have tried working with her. She needs mental health help.

Meecham I could care less about. Maybe you should pay attention to how he votes on other issues (just like Harry Ovitt) or how he helps N. County friends and donors at the Board (just like Harry Ovitt) before you make him your patron saint.

By: franc4 on 4/24/09

To poor miguided, uninformed JAN

Obviously you know nothing about the folks you speak of and are only relying on other opinions of these folks.

Since you are so concerned with Gails "criminal past", do you know the REAL story of what went down? I doubt it.

As for Ms. Schicker, you are again in total darkness. Same thing…do you know the REAL story on this lady, whose only "crime" is being too honest and REALLY concerned over the well being of the community. Honesty and being fair to all has no place in the county political scene. Only corruption, greed and power grabbing are prevelent.

As for Mr. Mecham…..he is the only glow of honesty and integrity in the whole system, wanting to do the right thing for the good of the community.

It seems that he, Mss. McPherson and Schicker are the ONLY folks who REALLY want to see the RIGHT thing to be accomplished and are above the STENCH that is emitted by the politicians in County offices.

God save the people under their (the County) jurisdiction.

I would suggest that you speak to the folks you are so adamant over, to find the truth.

By: Truthbeknown on 4/24/09

I'm afraid Booty is right on this one. He's talking about personal responsibility. If you choose to be a victim, you will be.

By: starvingmexican on 4/24/09

Put de chit in de sand and all is well Senor.

By: Vagabond on 4/23/09

I just love it when I read crap like Booty's.

Yes, go ahead call the citizens of Los Osos lower than a snake's belly, from the outside it does appear that they are a bunch of whining nincompoops, but here is the truth.

Los Osos is the poster child of what can go wrong with our form of "democracy" wherein it's perfectly acceptable to utter any kind of lie in an election to get elected.

The very basis that formed the Los Osos Community District was a bald faced lie! repeated even in the official voter pamphlet and distributed to the voters before that election. "The Cheaper, Better, Faster" pile o crap was known full well by the "Solution Group" to be unworkable before the election, then they spent (wasted) two full years (with the help of Paavo Ogren!) chasing this dead before arrival scheme, then quietly morphed it into a 200 dollar a month embarrassment because Pandora Nash Karner needed a park in the middle of her sewer dream in the middle of her town.(She is still a parks commissioner, appointed by none other than Bruce Gibson!)

Lies were blatantly told to the California Coastal Commission about a "Strongly held community value" for this debacle and when public anger finally reached a crescendo and a recall election was authorized by petition the sitting board of directors, on a three to two vote, the three being the folks being recalled, scheduled the election purposely two months AFTER the start of construction with obviously no thought at all about what the consequences would be if they LOST that election.

They lost.

Then to top it all off, the folks elected in their place LIED AGAIN with promises of a "plan" that was touted to move the sewer plant out of town and cost only 100 dollars a month.

To make matters even worse (if that was possible) The State stepped in after the Regional Water Quality Control Board started prosecuting individual homeowners in Los Osos on a lottery basis with no evidence at all that those folks were doing anything wrong at all, remember, those septic tanks were fully permitted by the county of San Luis Obispo!

The State took the Sewer away from the L.O. C.S.D. and rightly gave it back to the county!

The County put, you guessed it, Paavo Ogren back in charge AGAIN!

"The Los Osos CSD Never had the resources to build a infrastructure project of this magnitude" said Paavo.

Corrupt? maybe. Stinks to high heaven of government stupidity.

Tell me, who built Your sewer?

By: DanBlackburn on 4/23/09

Booty J — Last warning. Do not re-post comments after they have been removed. If you would self-edit, there would be no problem. You put the same comment up again with the same word and you are going to be banned, despite your occasional comic thoughts.

By: Jan on 4/23/09

Gail Mc: Please explain your criminal past. You want credibility, then be honest.

Schicker: You have done more harm to Los Osos than just about anyone. You're awful.

Mecham: You don't know what you're doing, so stop show-boating.

Dan Blackburn: look into Gail McPherson's past and reveal this to your readers.

By: Newsome on 4/23/09

Perhaps the people of Los Osos need a supervisor who looks out for their interests…