Something smells in Los Osos

July 14, 2011

OPINION By PIPER REILLY

Recent allegations about an inappropriate relationship between Paavo Ogren and Maria Kelly are old news to those of us who have been actively involved with the Los Osos waste water project.

We have been complaining about their affiliation, and that of our General Manager Dan Gilmore, with the county (particularly Paavo Ogren), as well as our district engineer a Wallace Group employee, for years.  We, the opponents of this highly environmentally impactful and extremely expensive project, have been belittled and maligned because we oppose Paavo?

When speaking at board meetings, supervisors Adam Hill and Bruce Gibson make it seem as though we are disruptive and/or should be summarily dismissed. Most recently that deceptive type of scenario played out at a Los Osos CSD meeting courtesy of Marshall Ochilsky (Maria Kelly’s LOCSD running mate. Perception on TV and reality are not the same because the ball is always in the board’s court as they control the microphones, direction and have the last word.

Here are the facts. The “powers that be” must diminish us personally because the science is on our side. This is about politics and money, and not clean water. Our nitrates, in our drinking water aquifer, are the sole reason for the Los Osos waste water project. These nitrates are at reasonable levels but chlorides, due to salt water intrusion, which the county and water board have known about and ignored for decades, are reaching catastrophic levels.

The seriousness of salt water intrusions was not brought to light until the Los Osos sustainability group’s assertions were expounded upon by a hired professional. Mean while, the county, “re-works” their “shovel ready project” with sole-sourced companies using out dated, inefficient, and expensive technologies. To do what—fix a so-called problem we don’t have while ignoring the ones we do? This is about economic cleansing up and down this coast—Morro Bay, Oceano, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos. It is all a similar scam. It has nothing to do with clean water and everything to do with making a certain group of people wealthier while removing the poor and middle class.

This is a hard core scam that has gone on all over this country for decades. I can’t explain it in 700 plus words nor in the three minute quips at the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, so consider this: How can farms in Morro Bay be the nitrate culprits when video records show their gravity collection systems spewing the sewage?  Meanwhile, functioning, legal septic tanks with adequate recharge are the culprits in Los Osos but farms are immun. All the while oyster farms are flourishing off of the Baywood coast (Los Osos) but a highly toxic film in the heart of Morro Bay- suspected from the California Men’s Colony- goes ignored. That’s simplistic but it’s a solid start.

Whether Long Island, Florida, New Orleans, Washington or California it’s all about insisting that there’s a “crime” and having the current residents pay for these alleged, unproven crimes. And it should be paid for to a tune that can’t be afforded, forget the environment. These costs are transferred to property taxes for fixing the “crime” via a public works project residents can’t afford.

Residents, unable to pay the  increased taxes and endlessly rising rates and charges, are forced to sell their homes, often on mass, bottoming out the real estate market. These properties are then bought up cheaply and redeveloped into “McMansions” increasing the property tax base and making the politicians look good. What’s is even more “fun”  is when  your national economy crashes, it then becomes a “perfect storm”, a dream for those who want to cash in on an economic disaster.

David Edge and Gail Wilcox and Paavo Ogren and Maria Kelly. What do they have in common? Frankly a lot, so why won’t our County Counsel Warren Jensen bother to investigate what’s happening in Los Osos?

Because Jensen worked in close concert with both Ogren and Wilcox to make sure that the project, the town once admonished, was resurrected. To put things simply, after decades of duplicity, can you say, “conflict of interest”, or is it “divided loyalties”, or perhaps plain old “malfeasance?”

However you want to legally spell it out, I know I smell  corruption and the dire need of a federal investigation since the county has wasted not only tens of thousands in local taxpayer dollars  but it’s now about to waste almost one hundred million dollars in federal funds. It’s time to say enough is enough!

Piper Reilly is a member of Surfrider, the Los Osos Sustainability Group, and a Prohibition Zone home owner in Los Osos.


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18 Comments

  1. Maxfusion says:

    The green feeding frenzy continues. As I have posted numerous times in past: this so called sewer project will never happen. It, like so many others, is just another “green scam”. I sold in 1998 when the writing was clearly on the wall. There is no sewer and there will never be a sewer. Why, because you never needed one in the first place. How’s it feel chewing on the green weenie?

    (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down
  2. morpheus says:

    A tin foil hat might keep the “powers that be” from stealing your thoughts.

    Bottom line, stop polluting my Bay. I don’t care what it costs. You should have built a plant in the 70’s when the Clean Water Act would have paid for it. And while we’re at it, time to put some restrictions on farmers too.

    Just because you think there is a conspiracy and deny that septic and ag contribute to nitrate loading, does not negate half a century of institutional engineering knowledge worldwide.

    Hate to break it to you, but science is NOT on your side. You are practicing quackery.

    (7) 35 Total Votes - 21 up - 14 down
    • Piper says:

      The low lying areas are problematic and we have never denied that but the County and Water board should have never allowed them! That is not the current residents fault. The Couny and the Water Board are the culprits. They allowed building in low lying areas, some w/ above ground septics,(how insane is that ?) . More than one thousand homes after the so called Water Board moratorium in 1983! Don’t blame me or my neighbors and take a look at the facts. The Kitt’s study showed that less than one percent of the nitrate pollution in the bay is from Los Osos Septics. Give me a break, when Oyster farms are good to go ,as long as the CMC does not fail. Look at the facts. Look at history. Look at the science and shut up with the rhetoric. We are fighting for our homes, live and families. The truth lies in the sludge layers. Look at SLOSEAS research if you don’t want to believe me. Frankly I have had enough of this stupidity, I have been griping with the same bullies for years, If you don’t have a stake in this then go away, if you do show me your science or shut up. And finally, I sent this in after being really mad and tired. My viewpoint has a few typos and one error, the county has wasted tens of millions of taxpayers dollars, not tens of thousand, are you pissed yet? I am and now they are defrauding the Federal Government. Is that what you elected your officials to do?

      (-8) 30 Total Votes - 11 up - 19 down
    • Piper says:

      My reply was written in response to “morpheus” not before it. I obviously am a real person with real facts I can prove, the rest should “speak ” for “it “self

      (-11) 25 Total Votes - 7 up - 18 down
    • Piper says:

      Where is your science, I have shown facts, show me something other than rhetoric, come on, anything, say something with substance……

      (-11) 25 Total Votes - 7 up - 18 down
    • justme says:

      Who’s still around here from the 70’s? Hardly anyone. WE care what it costs. Piper’s not denying nitrates from Ag . A half century of inst. eng. has brought technoolgy waaay past the antique Los Osos is getting. What town’s sewer system are you talking about? Study the facts THEN write in.

      (-4) 16 Total Votes - 6 up - 10 down
    • NorCoMod says:

      I swore that I wouldn’t post here anymore because of the censorship by the moderator. But here i am, just another pathetic blogger whining about malfeasance within SLO county government.

      The latest is Adam Hill being outed trying to get John Shoals fired from his job at PG&E because Hill fears a Shoals run for 3rd District Supervisor. And more than that, I’ve heard that Karen Velie has known about this sordid state of affairs by the leader of our county for several weeks and has chosen not to speak up on CalCoastNews.
      Let’s see if this post is removed without a trace.

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
  3. justme says:

    I think L.O.’s level of corruption is par for everywhere. The status quo county came thinking Los Osos was still dropouts from the 60’s, then hit a hornet’s nest from energetic 60’s authority questioners, add working and retired brainiacs including clean water professionals, judges, sewer engineers etc. People that due to being in the very same systems, saw the “corruption” but couldn’t react disfavorably while being part of it.. Now they could. So the lights were turned on the roaches for the first time, that’s what happened in L.O. I hope the next town wins their fight. The Osos struggle pushes that day closer so it’s a a partial win.
    Piper, the en masse outward migration followed by an en masse influx of the rich is a natural progression although not the poor/rich extreme spread necessarily, but it has to be very gradual. I think that it’s sure to happen gradually considering the “new economy”, which is another word for “crappy forever, get used to it”. If seawater ruins the drinking supply they’ll pipe more in. They’ll do it if and when it’s salable to the citizens, banks, gov’t, etc. These entities will band together with the bond being what dirt or strangle hold they have on eachother, it’s called human activity.
    But, good work from you and others who didn’t win the battle today in Osos but make sure you show up at the opening of some modern economical clean water system in some rural but growing California town in the future and realize how that project was pushed to fruition much earlier than if you guys didn’t stand up here.
    Don’t misunderstand me, I hope there’s still a possibility to blow this sewer deal outa here……..is there?

    (-2) 24 Total Votes - 11 up - 13 down
    • Mythbuster says:

      You’ll have to bear your disappointment justme, nothing is blowing this sewer deal out of the water.

      (5) 25 Total Votes - 15 up - 10 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Reframing the argument.

        The only way being against the corruption in SLOCo and, especially, Los Osos, can be equated with being against a wastewater-treatment system in Los Osos is if the wastewater-treatment system and its backers are corrupt.

        Is that what you have been trying to say all along? That the corruption in Los Osos and SLOCo mirrors the corruption in the sewer project?

        (-8) 12 Total Votes - 2 up - 10 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Perhaps, Marshall Ochylski of the Los Osos CSD should be investigated for his controversial “appointment” of his former campaign manager, Mike Wright. He unilaterally “nominated” Wright for the replacement of Maria Kelley’s vacated seat on the board. He did NOT allow ample time for OTHER interested folks to submit applications for that post. Why was Ochylski in such a HURRY to get his croney on the LOCSD Board of Directors? It’s common knowledge in Los Osos that Mike Wright has the “go along with the crowd mentality” which is obviously a prerequisite for serving on the LOCSD Board of Directors!

      (-11) 25 Total Votes - 7 up - 18 down
      • Mythbuster says:

        Do you live here RU4Real? Mr. Wright was neither Ochylski’s campaign manager nor his insurance agent. The post for director was advertised on Channel 20 and on the LOCSD website. Anyone could download the application. But you obviously have your own scenario as to how Wright was appointed, so don’t bother yourself with the facts.

        (10) 22 Total Votes - 16 up - 6 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          Oooooo, Channel 20 AND the LOCSD website. WOW. They went hog-wild on that, didn’t they?

          (-8) 14 Total Votes - 3 up - 11 down
    • Piper says:

      Sorry, but I had this happen to my home town and as I have kids , I will not let this happen to mine. It is wrong for the people, and wrong for the environment, so if you say it is OK with you , WHO ARE YOU?

      (-6) 24 Total Votes - 9 up - 15 down
  4. MaryMalone says:

    I do not live in Los Osos, and am not as well-informed as many. Therefore, I won’t speak to the historical aspects raised by Piper Reilly.

    However, I do agree with many aspects of Reilly’s opinion addressing government corruption and how to effectively handle it.

    1. An investigation into the LOCSD/County sewer project conflicts of interest and other evidence of corruption must be undertaken by either State or Federal (or both) officials.. The County has had ample time to have dealt with the elected officials, and others, involved in obvious conflicts of interest which were not revealed, but taken advantage of. As a result, many, many votes held on aspects of the project are invalid because some of those voting on them were unqualified to vote. In addition, those involved in the unrevealed conflict-of-interest votes, may well have committed crimes, which also must be addressed. Knowledge of these conflicts of interest and corrupted voting is apparently widespread enough for the average citizen to know about it. With the County’s investigative resources, if the County has not been able (or willing) to address this before, they should not be trusted to address it now. Therefore, an investigation must be undertaken by either State or Federal (or both) officials.

    2. Pavvo Ogren must be placed on administrative leave until the investigation is completed and his role in the corruption of the approval process for the LOCSD sewer project investigated.. A County administrator (especially since Ogren’s prize project was the LOCSD/County sewer project) with that much power, and access to information and resources, who, apparently, not only let this corruption occur without protest, but was a willing part of it, should not be allowed inside County facilities. His keys and access codes, including to all computers, should be confiscated. I am actually disgusted with the County that this has not already been done–and done long ago.

    3. Any citizen, no matter if they are angry or happy, should be able to speak their opinion in public venues, such as the LOCSD BOD meetings. The fact that the president of the LOCSD BOD himself disrupted the citizen speaking by claiming “disruption” as a reason to call LE and send all the audience members outside for a period of time, is, in my opinion, just another indication of the corruption that defiles the LOCSD and its BOD. We’ve seen John Wallace and his subservient board overseeing the Oceano WWT facility use this claim-of-disruption tactic all too often. It is obvious and, not only does it reek of abuse of power to squelch dissension, it indicates a certain amount of “weiner-ness” for the president of the BOD to have to call LE because he is so threatened by dissenting opinion.

    (4) 36 Total Votes - 20 up - 16 down
  5. RU4Real says:

    Very well written! Not only do we need to RECALL Bruce Gibson, but the entire LOCSD Board of Directors needs to be RECALLED as well, or better yet: DISOLVE THE LOCSD. Corruption is rampant in SLO County & is also alive & well within the LOCSD! LOCSD Board President, Marshall Ochylski unilaterally “nominated” his “former campaign manager” & insurance agent, Mike Wright to take over Maria Kelly’s vacated seat on the LOCSD.Board. How many ways can you spell C-O-N-F-L-I-C-T OF I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T? Mike Wright is well known for “taking short cuts” & is a big advocate of SOLE-SOURCING of contracts. I guess that’s what Marshall Ochylski meant when he said “MIKE WRIGHT WILL FIT RIGHT IN”! huh?

    (6) 46 Total Votes - 26 up - 20 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      If the LOCSD is dissolved, the County will then administer it as an unincorporated property.

      In my opinion, if just one of these arrogantly corrupt officials spent a few years in prison for their corrupt actions, it would bring a reality check to the rest of the corrupt bunch AND to other corrupt people who might want to screw the Los Osos citizens as the LOCSD and the County officials have apparently done.

      The problem lies in the support the County gives to the corrupt officials who have harmed the Los Osos residents.

      The best way to approach this is to send to prison the guilty official who is the highest up on the power structure.

      If Ogren is guilty–unless the County Administrator himself is guilty then, in that event, send BOTH of them to prison–send him to jail for a few years, and I believe we would see a very beneficial “trickle-down” impact on the willingness of the rest of the corrupt politicians arrogantly screwing the people of Los Osos again, and again, and again.

      (-5) 31 Total Votes - 13 up - 18 down
  6. jimmy_me says:

    RECALL BRUCE GIBSON. Gibson is a poor excuse for a leader and absolute embarassment for the entire county. We need representation on the BOS that calls out corruption instead of supporting it. We need a leader that supports the working class folks in the coastal communities instead of using various dishonest means to get rid of them. Recall Bruce Gibson, then move onto our favorite meglomanic Ochilsky. Why do we continue to put up with such massively low quality leadership in Los Osos and in the county in general?

    (12) 58 Total Votes - 35 up - 23 down

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