Sex and the Los Osos sewer

June 17, 2011

Paavo Ogren

By KAREN VELIE

A vehicle crash into a San Luis Obispo creek has revealed the extent of a personal relationship between a top county official and a Los Osos Community Services District board member—raising allegations of a possible conflict of interest.

Accusations that Paavo Ogren, San Luis Obispo County Public Works Director and Maria Kelly, vice president of the Los Osos Community Services District, have been conspiring to help push through a $200 million sewer project have surfaced because the couples’ teenage children, from former marriages, drove a car down a 20-foot embankment into San Luis Creek on June 14.

“In the context of the waste water project for the community, Ms. Kelly has been a proxy for Paavo Ogren,” said Jeff Edwards, a 30-year resident of Los Osos.

Thursday, as suspicions grew that Kelly had been staying in San Luis Obispo with Ogren rather than living in the district she represents as required to serve on the board, Kelly abruptly stepped down from her position as vice president of the district.

“Unfortunately, as I evaluate my current situation and the needs of my children, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that I must immediately step down, since I do not believe I can provide the commitment and attention that the Board of Directors requires and that the community of Los Osos deserves,” Kelly said in her letter of resignation.

Maria Kelly

Ogren’s son is presently facing a felony drunk driving charge after driving Kelly’s son and two other teens into the creek. Police said the teens resided in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero. None provided Los Osos as their place of residence.

Ogren and Kelly began spending time together about two to three years ago, around the time Kelly was elected to the board. Over the years, the couple was observed discussing strategy prior to meetings causing some to question if a conflict of interest existed.

In 2010, Kelly left her husband, transferred her children to San Luis Obispo schools and moved in with Ogren. Every other week, she would spend a few days with her children at her former home in Los Osos.

Kelly and her ex-husband are attempting to sell their former residence.

For years, Kelly has advocated in favor of Ogren’s vision for the Los Osos sewer plant – a $200 million controversial sewage system slated to serve about 12,500 people.

“I’m happy to be here and I’m happy to be here in support of the county — and I’m happy to be in support of county staff. I’ve been a broken record on that they’ve been extremely professional, helpful, diligent and very responsive to the community,” Kelly said during a September 2009 San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors meeting.

“I already had to take one job due to budget cuts at Cal Poly. I’m willing to take another. I love Los Osos that much. I’m willing to do what I have to do to keep my family there and raise my children,” Kelly added at the time.

Meanwhile, CalCoastNews has learned Ogren’s home is allegedly a frequent after school “party house ” where teens go to smoke and drink. One parent of a teen who was in the accident, said they have found the teens partying after school at Ogren’s home on several occasions.

Ogren and Kelly did not return requests for comment.


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144 Comments

  1. Paperboys says:

    If you think about it, there’s something like 2,700 SLO County gov’t employees. I’d bet that at any given time there are dozens of “love affairs” going on just within the County workforce. They are only human after all and to expect “better” from them is wishful thinking at best.
    Add in all the people who interact every day or week with the County bureaucrats, and you could probably easily have 100 affairs going on between members of the public, county officials, bureaucrats, deputy sheriff’s, other agencies, etc…
    Face it, most men are pigs and women are too often easily duped by some hound dog chasing skirts out for a good time. I’ve known Paavo since the early 1990s, and I’m having a hard time believing that he’s chasing skirts. The man is a nerd for Christ’s sake.
    I’ve always thought he was a good public servant. He is a CPA however, not an engineer nor a planner, so what the hell is he even doing being in charge of the County Public Works Department?
    Say what you will about them but guys like former County Engineer Clint Milne (a real engineer) and planning dept. director Vic Hollanda (a real planner) had the expertise to do some of the work and didn’t have to delegate everything.
    Without an engineer’s certificate or planners certificate, Paavo is not qualified to design or review projects or work on anything except the department budget.
    He is a good administrator but I see his situation to be much like Jeff Hamm, the head of the County Health Department. He’s not a doctor, he’s a number cruncher too. So the county has to go out and hire a true engineer, a true planner and a true doctor to do the things the department heads should be able to do but can’t.
    As for this story, everybody loves to see the mighty fall, but really now, does it matter where her boyfriend lives? So long as her clothes, furniture and belongings are in the Los Osos house, and she pays utilities there, pays property taxes there, leases or rents the place (her name on the agreement) and hasn’t changed her mailing address, I’d say she still lives in Los Osos and it doesn’t matter where her boyfriend lives or whether she stays at his place most of the time.
    As for a perceived conflict of interest, I’m having trouble narrowing that down because the sewer project got taken away from the CSD long before Kelly was elected in 2008. She did have to vote on the CSD’s Assessments for the project on its facilities, but otherwise the CSD board has had little to do with the County’s project since Blakeslee passed the bill that took it away from them.
    The county, CSD, Golden State Water Co. and S&T Mutual have been involved in a lawsuit (filed by the CSD) to try and manage the groundwater but I don’t think that has even been brought to the CSD board for action.
    I guess if one sees conspiracies everywhere or automatically thinks the worst of their government officials, it;’s easy to see massive corruption with this scandalous situation. But that’s all it is, dirty laundry.

    (5) 17 Total Votes - 11 up - 6 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Paperboys, the only thing I will agree with is that Paavo is pathetically under qualified for his CURRENT POSITION as Slo County Public Works Director, he’s WOEFULLY un-qualified for the job & needs to be replaced with someone far more qualified…Both he & Maria have given the PERCEPTION of being very unethical, whether it will be proven, will be another thing, given the corruption & the ability the County has to “cover things up”…What’s happening with the “criminal prosecution” of Paavo’s kid? Will THAT be COVERED UP like the kid of Frank Freites (sp)???

      (-1) 19 Total Votes - 9 up - 10 down
  2. jimmy_me says:

    No objective person could possibly blame the people of Los Osos for not having a sewer. Maybe if the local and county govenment were not so corrupt, we’d have implemented a viable solution by now. If calling out countless corrupt leaders, decades of bad ideas, and overpriced solutions is blocking the sewer, than I am proud to be blocking the sewer.

    (2) 12 Total Votes - 7 up - 5 down
    • justme says:

      E-X-A-C-T-L-Y, now where are the objective people? Buried among the ignorant. Imagine the life Kelly leads, she leaves home to cuddle with Ogren under the sheets then back to the CSD to secretly cut her neighbor’s AND her own familiy’s throat by letting evil prevail.
      C’mon Fido, let’s go walk a trail somewhere. I need to de-tox from just thinking about these hideous creatures I’m forced to share the planet with.

      (-5) 17 Total Votes - 6 up - 11 down
  3. OsosGrande says:

    I can see it now, Bruce tells his buddy Pavo, over drinks at Blue, that it is time to ‘retire’. He is telling Pavo that he can get 3 votes from the Sups,Hill and Patterson, to kill any investigation. Bruce’s project is safe, Pavo is a private citizen and all is well again at the County.

    (1) 23 Total Votes - 12 up - 11 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Maybe with this LATEST scandal involving YET ANOTHER CSD, perhaps it’s finally time to eliminate all Community Services Districts…God knows the Communities that have them do NOT have the infrastructure to keep them in business. They’re bleeding the communities dry, it’s WAY past time to get rid of all CSD’s in SLO County…The sooner the better!

      (7) 25 Total Votes - 16 up - 9 down
  4. TimmyJoe says:

    I really feel sorry for the residents of Los Osos. This “project” was required over 25 years ago, and the cost was 150 million cheaper than it is today. The infighting between special interest groups have pushed the price tag to almost 200 million. If the people of this community had just built it in the beginning, it would already be paid for and we wouldn’t be talking about it today. Those who fought the project: Shame of you. You are now costing the residents 35K each for the project. It is your fault, always remember that

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
    • justme says:

      Another person writing in to prove they are clueless to the facts. May the county, your CSD and huge corps. come into your town and charge you 35 grand for something you don’t need, but they do because it’s money in their pockets. then I’ll write you and tell ya to stop whining.
      Oh Yeah, check the topic above, something about corrupt players at the highest levels??

      (-7) 21 Total Votes - 7 up - 14 down
      • jimmy_me says:

        No surprise: a majority of the people are clueless. We had to vote in an election where it was known how each individual voted, and under the threat of more legal action by the bullies at the state level. Not only are the people of Los Osos generally clueless, we are generally gutless also. I did not vote to tax the @#$% out of myself for something that could be done cheaper and more sustainable. What else can I do? Maybe I’ll run for some county office so I can get some kickbacks from the slew of stupid decisions our leaders make. It only pays to be moron when you hold some type of public office.

        (0) 14 Total Votes - 7 up - 7 down
  5. cheseburger says:

    Right on Pismo shorebreaker! you righton-ly write, “Paavo makes $176,630 a year in compensation to serve the people of the county.

    I wonder why Paavo never told the county he was sleeping with Maria and discussing issues with someone voting on his proposals. He should have told the county about his conflict.

    I have the X CSD Los Osos Coordinator to testify, he knows all about Julie Tacker and her and good boy pal “old” Bruce Gibson, he told me about the head of the CSD back dating documents his first day on the job at the direction of these so called public servants.

    Bottom line, I don’t give a heck about how is doing who, I just want this show to go right, transparency, accountability, maybe even a little integrity back in the game, all I see is greed and corruption.

    One more bit of trash I will reduce myself to forwarding, a petition was introduced at Baywood Elementary School by a concerned parent of a Baywood Bear or (CCPB), the petition was immediately rejected by good old Bruce Gibson, but then signed by our elected Sheriffs Department Captain Ian Parkinson and under sheriff M.Bassy, also signed by the big wig in the school district after he read it for ten minutes, carefully circling 15 mph instead of the possibly suggested 10mph when children are obviously running around, point being Bruce Gibson is lazy or can’t read, there were already 150 signatures on the non-formal petition, and he would not even look at it!

    Saying profoundly, no matter what it is it has to come before me before it goes anywhere!
    Well Bruce Gibson old boy ,,,, now it’s in your face, want me to post it an draw a line where you would not sign. This petition was for the safety of 6 year old kids, Parkinson and Bassy made me proud I had written it, Bruce Gibson made me feel like I was helpless to slow down the traffic where there was and still is a problem , we have changed schools!

    (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
    • cheseburger says:

      Funny the three red marks must come from either cop haters or people who like to see children of six turn red. Or of course Bruce and his two friends.

      (-1) 13 Total Votes - 6 up - 7 down

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