Attention Morro Bay voters

November 4, 2013

IMG_0332OPINION By BILL PEIRCE

Last week Susan Slayton hired an “interim, contract attorney” to replace Rob Schultz. As we had learned, Rob has been put on paid administrative leave and told to finish some projects he’s been working on. Rob will be working from home, as he’s been told not to come to City Hall. What are they afraid of?

We now have three “city attorneys” working for the council. There’s Mr. Simas, Rob, and our new, “interim, contract attorney.”

Speaking of Mr. Simas, apparently the mayor and he executed a modification of his contract including the infamous $12,500 cap. I remember the council discussing it at one session or another, but I hadn’t realized they’d taken a vote on it. What are they afraid of? Maybe public opinion and the law?

Meanwhile the mayor’s election squad is rushing to counter the recall. They’re sending out mailers to every home in Morro Bay urging people to Not sign the recall petition. What are they afraid of? All this petition does is give people a chance to decide if they support the mayor, or if they don’t support him. If he loses the recall he is out of office, period. No lame duck shenanigans for 6-months. He is simply out of office.

So I say again, what are they afraid of? The mayor’s political machine (it’s also Noah’s and Christine’s) is starting to spend money to convince voters that the recall is evil, or dangerous, or something. They lied about the cost of the recall and they lied about the confidentiality of the signatures. Hmmm, these folks must afraid that the mayor has lost his luster.

What are they afraid of? They most likely believe that the voters will finally figure out the real picture. They’re afraid that voters will finally see through that worn out charge about not reporting out the November closed session item where the council restored Rob’s severance pay to the original amount in his contract. That’s their only “charge” against him and it’s been dutifully shouted by the political machine, dutiful Irons supporters and their friends at the Tribune.

What are they afraid of? Possibly they’re afraid that those people who’ve been drinking the political machine’s Kool-Aid will realize that council member Smukler was on that evil board which neglected to report that closed session out. He should have known and should have said something about procedures. The mayor was advised that the closed session was never reported out and it was suggested that he do the reporting. He declined. Maybe that’s what they are afraid of.

Maybe they’re afraid the voters will discover the sheer stupidity of the mayor asking the coastal commission to deny the sewer plant expansion appeal, and the council’s zeal for reclamation which now sets us up for a multi-million dollar price tag ($90-160 Million).

Maybe that’s what they’re afraid of…the truth.

 


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JB Bronson

Didn’t mean to slight the homeless and forget CAPSLO. Sorry.


JB Bronson

It sincerely is sad to watch Morro Bay go through this. We thought this kind of stuff was limited to just SLO County government, City of SLO government, Paso Robles government, Atascadero government, Los Osos Sewer project, Oceano CSD, and recently Shandon School Board.


slophocles

I think the people that voted for Irons, Smukler, & C. Johnson, are on average more educated and intelligent than those that oppose him. Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s stupid. I’m actually impressed that these two didn’t say anything mean or hateful until the very last paragraph of their letter. It’s quite an improvement. One last comment:can we put the Kool-Aid argument to rest? It’s not really an argument.


mb20

The way I see it is the Irons, Smukler, C. Johnson crew are supported by liberal progressives that are anti-business and pro-environment.


While those against are pro business and more conservative in nature.


Anyone who believes in the ideals of liberal economics has obviously never taken a basic microeconomics or macroeconomics class at the collegiate level. There is just no way.


So I beg to differ. But that just opened a whole new realm of intolerance and divisiveness.


If you like to spend tons of money on a WWTP and have businesses and homes suffer economically in order to be slightly more environmentally efficient then so be it.


I just would prefer to keep my money.


slophocles

Well, we all know that conservative America has become too extreme for its own good and that most of the “liberal progressives” they now attack are actually right of center. No one in politics that I know of is anti-business; and pro-environment and pro-business need not be exclusive. This is what happens when we mix religion and economics. Capitalism was meant to be an economic system, not a religion. And it’s pretty funny hearing the words “new realm of intolerance” considering who wrote this letter we are all commenting on. That’s the best one I’ve heard in a long time.


mb20

I’m personally libertarian. I believe in socially liberal policies and fiscally conservative policies and believe religion has no place in politics.


I’m just saying Irons supporters generally are more on the liberal/democratic side of things socially and economically which generally is also related to being uneducated on basic fiscal economic policies. (Deadweight loss, every action has a cost, people respond to incentives, opportunity cost, supply and demand curve, etc.)


We just have put someone in office who has little to no understanding of fiscal responsibility and he’s putting it at the cost of his socially liberal ideals.


I have no doubt it my mind that Mr. Irons does not think he is doing the right thing for the city, but he is completely incompetent to do the job and needs to be replaced. He has made too many huge errors already for us to continue with him in office.


slophocles

What information do you have about Mr. Irons’ understanding or competence in any area? Do you have his college transcripts? SAT or IQ scores? Or is it that his understanding is DIFFERENT than yours?


probiz

His public record as Mayor tells us everything that we need to know.


givemeabreak2

He’s got a record?


givemeabreak

LOL!!!!! We do not need test scores to prove his incompetence. Just turn on channel 20 and watch a city council meeting.


givemeabreak2

i think what slophocle’s is sayin, gmbk, is that what is the competence of the person proving the incompetence? I think he’s wrong, but I think that’s what he’s saying. Where you been? I missed you.


probiz

Really, nobody in politics is anti business? excessive regulations? Increased taxes and fees? That is all anti business activity. Environmental regulations that are implemented with no foundation in fact are anti business. Please don’t tell my you still believe in Global Warming, err, Climate Change.


slophocles

Calling a politician “anti-business” doesn’t make them anti-business. Liberals call conservatives “anti-environment” all the time as if there are politicians that are actually against the very environment they live in. If you can find me one politician that has run on the Anti-Business or Anti-Environment platform, I will shut up.


probiz

They don’t articulate that they are anti-business. The policies that they support clearly indicate anti-business sentiment. Some of us are able to understand the impact of the policies on business. Again, excessive regulation, increased fees and taxes, the seizure of wealth to provide benefits for someone else.


slophocles

The problem with this comment is the term “clearly indicate”. We call those “weasel words”


probiz

I suppose you know more about that than I. Again, when you cant confront a fact you name call.


slophocles

What name were you called? READ.


probiz

I never thought that the beliefs that you don’t spend money that you dont have, that you should be self sufficient and that government has limited power (taking money from you to pay for things that someone else won’t learn to provide for themselves) were extreme.


probiz

And by the way, with your lack of economic understanding you have the audacity to comment about other’s lack of education?


slophocles

My lack of economic understanding? Or my difference in economic philosophy? And I qualified my statement as an opinion, by saying “I thinkk …” I said that because I don’t really know, just have a hunch. They at least sound more educated and intelligent.


probiz

So tell me about your education in economics, or, how you arrived at your conclusions. Educated people can do such things.


slophocles

No, you don’t have to be educated to write things on anonymous discussion forums, and again, go back and READ. Never said anything about my own education one way or the other. Let’s face it, liberals are typically better-educated. That’s why this site is so one-sided – all the liberals are home reading books.


slophocles

It’s nice that the right believes those things. If only they practiced them.


probiz

Perhaps you don’t know as much as you think. The qualifications of those organizing the recall effort are nothing to sneeze at. Tell me who the opponents are and their qualifications.


mb20

Considering that you have 3+ former mayors in favor of the recall, several members on the planning commission, past city council members, and most all business and home owners in Morro Bay supporting the recall. I would love to know that answer also.


Who are the recall opponents and what are their qualifications?


givemeabreak2

i dont mean to butt in here , but that Dorfman woman sounds pretty smmart.


givemeabreak

hahhahahhahahhahahhahahah. Don’t forget the psychologist or the car wash owner.


slophocles

Who’s the “+”?


slophocles

Don’t have their resumes in front of me.


givemeabreak2

I think that commie Bill Maher should do a “New rules” on koolaid-talk. New rule: you can’t end every argument with: they is drinkin the koolAid. I hate that commie, but he’s funny sometimes.


mbactivist1

I will address one at a time the questions asked by Mr. and Ms. Welles.


1. In regard to Mr. Schultz working at home as opposed to working in the office, they ask, “what are they afraid of?”. It is evident that neither Mr. nor Ms. Wells has much management experience. Once a decision has been reached to terminate someone’s employment, you do not allow that person back in the office. This is standard procedure and is related to the potential for “mischief” and to general morale issues.


2. In regard to the $12,500 cap, which is certainly not “infamous”, when honest people are dealing with each other, they may not always write down every detail. Honesty is a refreshing change in our local government, and something that evidently some people are not used to. Clearly, the contract was amended only to set at ease the minds of a few concerned individuals.


3. Regarding the recall petition and the requests for people not to sign, the actions of Mayor Irons’ supporters are, as much as anything, necessary to counter the numerous outright lies that are being told by his enemies. No one has lied about the cost of a recall election. The cost figures all came from the County. After everyone learned what a special election originally requested by the recallers would cost, the recallers changed their story and claimed they wanted only to put the matter on the June ballot.


4. Regarding the charges against Mr. Schultz, anyone who has lived here very long knows quite well that many residents have filed complaints about him. The severance pay issue is just one that was recently reported by the news. As for claims that Mr. Smuckler should have known and reported out the pay change, it is the job of the City Attorney to advise the Council on legal issues. It is not the other way around. Why do Mr. and Ms. Welles not ask why Mr. Yates or Ms. Borchard or Mr. Leage or Ms. Nancy Johnson did say something As to whether Mayor Irons was advised that the closed session was never reported out and should be, we have yet to see any email message sent By Schultz to Mayor Irons and that subject. All we have are Schultz’s claims.


5. Regarding the Coastal Commission’s denial of the old WWTP project, allow me to direct CCN readers’ attention to a 12-page 2010 letter from CCC staff to Rob Livick. It can be read online at http://morrobayissues.info/CCC%20DEIR%20Comment%20Letter%2011.12.2010.pdf Basically, it discusses the reasons why the beachside location preferred by the prior councils would NEVER, EVER have been approved by the CCC.


Mayor Irons did not, in any way, stop that project. It was D.O.A. long before he took office. His request for a denial was simply a means to stop the waste and get things moving in an intelligent direction for once. The fact that we had to start the project all over is because prior councils totally fouled it up, refusing to listen to numerous warnings from residents and the CCC.


As for reclamation, most Morro Bay residents know that our water supply is precarious. Our dependence on State Water puts us in a very risky position. Reclamation is necessary to ensure that when we turn on the taps, water comes out. It is also unlikely that the CCC will approve any WWTP project without it.


mb20

1. It’s obvious that Mr. Irons also knows absolutely nothing about management also by evidenced in the botched dismissal of Mr. Schultz, with no attorney ready to place him or even an interim attorney and the way he called a meeting in 24 hours to try and dismiss two of the city’s top employees. The firing of him without cause and no replacement is a horrible management decision.


2. Regardless, Mr. Irons failed to listen to basic instructions given by the rest of council that the contract include that it is not exceed $12,500, this misuse of power is just one of many examples of wrong doing by Mr. Irons. There have been 27 closed meetings in Irons term, in the last 5 years there had only been 5 before Mr. Irons. Blatant misuse of power.


3. What lies have you heard from recall members? I have heard continuous lies about signing the recall not being private information, and lies that a recall is pointless because the June primary will be voting for a new mayor anyway. This recall is to get Mr. Irons out of office so he can not do an extra 5 months of damage to this city.


4. That’s interesting, because the city council meetings really seemed to show the city of Morro Bay had the support of Mr. Schultz. Please inform me of these citizens and incidents? Do you have any examples?


5. The WWTP you bring up a 2010 piece saying that for the project to be approved there need to be changes made. The changes were made to have the WWTP ready to be reviewed a second time by the CCC. Jamie Irons withdrawing the WWTP killed 7 years of work and a project that would have saved millions of dollars.


These reasons are why Jamie Irons is clearly not fit to be mayor and needs to recalled.

He obviously does not understand the role of city council and is not able to manage this city.


mbactivist1

Perhaps Mr. Irons has had no experience in management until now, but neither did other mayors, such as Peters, and he is already doing a way better job than they did. He actually represents the majority of residents instead of a small, minority special interest group.


Closed session meetings do not necessarily represent a misuse of power, blatant or otherwise. Some things need to be discussed in closed session to limit exposure and liability.


What lies have we heard from recallers – far more lies than truths, that’s for sure. I exposed a number of the lies in my first post.


Yes, a lot of people were recruited to show up at Council meetings and support Schultz, but that is probably the extent of his support. Most people trust the Council majority and do not feel the need to show up at meetings and rant and rave.


There are many examples of things residents have complained about regarding Schultz. A couple that come to mind immediately are his support of Harbor lease agreements that violate Measure D, and recent problems related to low-income housing.


You said, “The WWTP you bring up a 2010 piece saying that for the project to be approved there need to be changes made. The changes were made to have the WWTP ready to be reviewed a second time by the CCC.”.


No, that is not correct. Read the letter. It clearly indicates that the beachfront site for the WWTP was completely unacceptable to the CCC, and that the CCC would never have approved a plant at that location. In other words, the change that had to be made was to move the plant somewhere else and start all over. That is what had to be done, and that is what the current Council majority is doing. They have the sense to see and understand what prior Council majorities did not.


probiz

How many votes did he receeve in last election? How many registered voters are there in Morro Bay? Clearly a majority did not elect him, but, a majority of those that voted. Your assumptions are flawed in each and everyone of your statement.


mbactivist1

Good heavens, are you people still pursuing that silly argument?


probiz

What management experience do you have? What legal contract do government officials execute that omit financial detaills? Many residents have complained about you, yet, leading you to harass them with further lawsuits. The CCC is subject to appeal and other actions. They do not operate in a vaccum with no accoutability. Lawsuits can be filed in oppostion to their outrageous decisions. You know that better than anyone.


mbactivist1

I have extensive management experience, over a long career, with large international corporations.


I believe you are confused (in more ways than one). I have never sued anyone


slophocles

They thought I was her for a while too. Maybe they still do.


mbactivist1

I consider being confused with Betty Winholtz an honor :)


slophocles

I think they must have Betty Winholtz nightmares every night. Except Garry Johnson, who has Roger Ewing nightmares.


panflash

Finally, someone without a pre-set bias sets the record straight regarding the political chaos created in Morro Bay by Mayor Irons and his two council supporters Noah Smukler and Christine Johnson. In her well-reasoned and straight-forward response to the Tribune’s Oct. 27 editorial, Janice Peters gives us some badly-needed fresh air and sanity on the bungled Irons mayoral mess.

A Morro Bay resident showed me that slick expensive-looking anti-recall hand-out that she received in the mail recently. Printed on glossy heavy-stock expensive paper with professional lay-out depicting Morro Rock and an American flag as a backdrop, it makes me wonder if someone with a lot of money is pulling the strings behind Irons and his council comrades. And it makes me wonder what their real agenda is in forcing the city attorney and city manager out.

And now comes this well-articulated essay by Bill and Kathy Welles asking “what are they (the anti-recall group) afraid of?” Well, I don’t know any of the Morro Bay council members, and I haven’t attended any of the recent Schultz/Lueker firing meetings, but I have watched several of those meetings on cable, and I have to say, Irons and his cohorts are getting downright scary.

For example, the Morro Bay/Cayucos wastewater treatment plant upgrade issue. According to the Welles and Peters, Irons unilaterally surrendered the ability to bring the proposed plant back to the Coastal Commission for later re-consideration. And now, instead of a $34 million plant upgrade, the other plant options favored by the Irons group could cost somewhere between $90 million to $160 million. That could mean an additional $56 million to $126 million. With its population of about 10,500, Morro Bay has about 5,000 households. Simple rough math shows that, on average, the remaining Irons group options could cost EACH Morro Bay household somewhere between $11,200 to $25,200 MORE for the plant upgrade than the option that Irons unilaterally killed apparently without prior Council or Cayucos approval. That is in addition to what the original plant proposal would have cost, and without knowing how any Cayucos share would be determined. Regardless- where on earth would that additional money come from?

PLUS- and this is important- as I understand it, at least some of the Irons group plant options would locate the plant somewhere outside of the present plant property and necessitate pumping the sewage UPHILL to the new plant. If that is correct,if you live in Morro Bay, ask yourself this: has your electric power ever gone out at your home there? Well, what happens in the future when the power goes out in town- how will the pumps push that raw sewage uphill to the Irons plant? You might say- well, they could build the plant with back-up gas or diesel-powered generators. OK, great, but what happens if the generators fail, or run out of fuel? Or whatever. Well, that sewage could then back up into the collection system, and, eventually, into the buildings (commercial AND residential) in Morro Bay and Cayucos. In that unfortunate- and hopefully unlikely- scenario, the first buildings to be inundated with raw sewage are likely be the ones at the lowest elevations in the system. When those fill up, the sewage would gradually work its way into buildings at progressively higher elevations- in both Morro Bay AND Cayucos.

And that makes me wonder- and somebody help me here- where do Irons, Smukler and Christine Johnson live? If they live in Morro Heights or along the hillsides east of Hwy. 1 in north Morro Bay, for example, this might not be as much of a concern for them as it would be for the poor folks who happen to live down closer to the ocean.

I could go on and on. But let’s go back to the Welles essay instead. The Welles conclude that the Irons group is afraid of the truth, and that may be accurate. But it occurs to me that what the Irons group may really be afraid of is the people- the people of both Cayucos and Morro Bay, and the voters of Morro Bay in particular. The Irons group managed to convince the Morro Bay voters to elect them as a political bloc. But now the voters have had a chance to evaluate their actions. It may well be that the Morro Bay voters will be humming The Who’s old song “We Won’t be Fooled Again” as they head to the polls next June. The recall would remove Irons from office immediately- as soon as the election results are certified.

Now, the next issue is who would replace Irons. And so now we go back to Janice Peters and her Tribune response. In her essay, once again Janice Peters demonstrates her even-keeled reason and level-headed leadership on an important matter. Morro Bay is badly in need of someone who can restore some political sanity and stability until the dust settles there, and with supporters from all factions in town, Peters can do that. The people in Morro Bay can only hope that she will make herself available to run again. They could do a lot worse.


OnTheOtherHand

Just a little tip here. If you want someone to read what you write, break it up into paragraphs separated by blank lines. It makes a huge difference to many people who will otherwise ignore your massive “wall of text.”


slophocles

Good advice. Or better yet, keep it short and save the essays for your blog.


Moderator

People wishing to post opinion articles should use the contact emails and submit an opinion (with your real name).


The comment section is for comments.


Kalalau

Janice Peters has an excellent letter posted on the Tribune Nov. 3 regarding this entire situation. I hope all would read it. Thank you Janice!


mb20

How about that, I point out how the tribune only writes in the best interest of those who pay to advertise for them. And Janice Peters gets a spot in the newspaper the next day.


Special thanks to the tribune!! I would like to think they do read the calcoastnews boards when we rip them a new one for poor journalism.


Word

“how the tribune only writes in the best interest of those who pay to advertise for them”


Like the ACA item from the Heritage foundation that the trib took down? http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/10/18/2738918/conscience-gets-lost-in-obamacare.html


Just google conscience-gets-lost-in-obamacare to read the drivvle.


slophocles

You did it, mb20. What would we do without you?


slophocles

If you want good journalism, head on over to the fogcutternews. Pulitzer stuff.


givemeabreak2

you’re a powerful person, mb30, way to put us on the map!


racket

Does Irons’ “transparency” include telling who funded the slick door hangers and the telephone campaign?


racket

Or anything else that goes on behind the Irons Curtain?


slophocles

Maybe he’s just trying to Iron some things out that need to be Ironed out.


racket

You wanna drag your party down, bro, lead is much more efficient than iron. It’ll get your rig to the bottom waaaay faster.


givemeabreak2

I don’t get it, raquet. Are you a fisherman or woman?


probiz

I signed the recall petition and agree with many of your sentiments, but, we need to focus the message on things that will persuade more passive voters to take action. Repeatedly asking what the other side is afraid of and categorizing Smuckler and Johnson as Irons allies makes us look petty and divisive. The issues are that the handling of the Water Treatment Plant has been poor and decisions have been made with no attention to the financial implications. The second issue seems to be that the Mayor came into office with some personal, preconceived notions about Schultz and Lueker that caused him to make decisions that are not in the best interest of the city. This is evidenced by past satisfactory or better performance reviews, some that have been given very recently. Again, to keep bringing up Iron’s stubborn ways, the alliance with Smuckler and Johnson, and other things hurts the cause of the recall. Let’s stick with the facts and communicate them in ways that people that may not be on board yet will understand without tuning out.


SLOBIRD

Bigger question is what are you afraid of. Mr. Irons was elected on change. Change that many in Morro Bay don’t want, can’t stand and want the old cronies like Yates, Betty, etc. back. Get over it and let change have a chance. Cronyism has been exposed and many don’t like the changing of the guard. Democracy!


probiz

Change is no reason to vote for anyone. Great slogan but poor reasoning. Castro was a change as was the Taliban. I find that cronyism in Morro Bay means allowing those that contribute to the town by providing jobs, contributing to the communtiy and have been personally successful have a voice that they deserve. It is as tired as “change.”


slophocles

That makes no sense. If you’re voting for a challenger over an incumbent, how are you not voting for change? Sara Palin may not like the word “change” but she doesn’t really know what words mean. You and I on the other hand, have dictionaries, and reason.


mb20

“Change,” is not always a good thing. He changed the waste water treatment plant to one that would cost 60 million more by withdrawing it from the CCC, and then is firing two highly skilled employees and paying hundreds of thousands in severance.


The only chance this city has is to get Janice Peters or someone else into office as soon as possible, sadly its too late for the power plant or keeping Mr. Schultz but I would rather have Mr. Irons removed from office in June then give him 5 more months to destroy this city.


slophocles

Why would you want Janice Peters? For change, perhaps?


mbactivist1

Exactly. A small minority is making a lot of noise in hopes people will believe there are a lot of people who think like they do. They are still furious at losing power in the 2012 election, and with Schultz and Lueker’s departure, their last powerful cronies in Morro Bay government are gone. Now, the majority of Morro Bay residents are finally in control, through the first honest and intelligent Council majority in decades.


probiz

I will be sure to utilize your quotes on this site when you run for City Council again. They will be very telling to the voters.


givemeabreak2

how can you tell who it is, probiz? They dont give their real name.