Recalled Los Osos board member wins election in Iowa

January 8, 2014
Stan Gustafson

Stan Gustafson

Former Los Osos Community Services District board member Stan Gustafson, whom voters recalled in 2005, won a special election Tuesday for an Iowa House of Representatives seat. [Des Moines Register]

Los Osos voters recalled Gustafson in September 2005 after contractors began construction of a downtown sewage treatment plant that cost more than the engineers’ estimate.

On Tuesday, Gustafson, now a resident of Cummings, Iowa, received 69 percent of the vote in an election to fill the vacant Iowa House District 25 seat.

While campaigning for the Iowa House seat, Gustafson did not answer questionnaire questions about his electoral history. He omitted the responses in questionnaires from the Indianola Record Herald and Indianola Tribune.

Gustafson also told the Des Moines Register that the sewer project only cost $84 million at the time of his recall.

However, the project cost $154 million at the time of the recall, according to then-Los Osos CSD board member Julie Tacker.

Since then, San Luis Obispo County obtained ownership of the project, and costs rose to $173 million.


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Just curious. Is the present sewer plan cheaper and better than the one originally proposed by the first sewer group? I’m not from Los Osos.

The present project under AB2701, implemented by the County, is in fact around $10 million ‘less’ costly than the failed in-town plan, including the additional piping (4) to accommodate the out-of-town downwind treatment plant.

The additional planning under county supervision probably made it a better plan also, with less pump stations & shorter runs, etc.

The sewer was never ‘moved out of town’ as some suggest.

The out-of-town suggestion for the treatment plant first came from Roger Briggs of the Water-board (in writing) and many business owners and thousands of residents, as proven by the narrow recall. Roger Briggs warned that the close proximity to residential homes etc would cause division in the community. He was so right.

The present-day County planners wisely listened and compromised, which our three recalled board members could easily have accomplished without dividing the community, but this was their first attempt at being politicians I guess.

Stan Gustafson was always a gentleman in public as I recall and I wish him well, even if he is a Republican.

Mr. wolfhound,

I agree! Stan Gustafson is a gentleman. He will serve his constituents well in Iowa.

However, I do not agree with your claim that the current project is less expensive.

First, the current (County) project construction cost is around $179M.

On top of the county costs are the out-of-pocket costs to the property owners that they are obligated to pay. Those costs are estimated to be $15M to tie into the project,plus the 2002 Bond costs they have already incurred to pay for the old project ($19M)

The current project costs breakdown as follows:

Hard-bid cost in 2014: $179M

2002 Bond cost: $19M

Connection cost: $15M

Total Current project costs to Los Osos property owners are ($179M +$15M + $19M) = $213M

The old project costs break down as follows:

Hard-bid cost in 2005: $140M

2002 Bond cost: $19M

Connection cost: $15M

Total old project costs to Los Osos property owners are ($140M +$15M + $19M)

= $171M

Difference in cost to the Los Osos property owner for nearly identical projects is that the current project is costing $42,000,000 more. ($213M -$171M)

ALL attributable to the Recall board…every last cent.


I agree, that should have read ‘more’, not ‘less’. I guess I should proof-read before posting. Thank you for the numbers.

There would probably have been cost overruns with the rejected project as we are witnessing today with the treatment plant. Public Works now project an increase of $10 million.

According to Exhibit A, budget status update 10/31/13 the budget for the treatment plant was $36,110,160 and the low bid came in at $46,390,171.00.

Cost overruns also occurred in the collection system. In June, 2013 it went from $4.9 million to $6.1 million and now they are asking an additional $2.8 million for a total of $9.7 million.

Yeah, too bad his plan didn’t work, a sewer plant in the middle of town, upwind of the business section, mmmm, I can smell the profits now.

Good luck Iowa, your penance for not doing your homework is now having to deal with Gustafson. Thankfully for us we ran him out of Los Osos and California. Glad he found a home so he will never come back.

And yet the stink still remains in Los Osos.

“Recalled because of exceeding the engineering estimated cost”

I’ve seen you use this line before. That is a gross OVERsimplification and frankly just not accurate. Please start to use another explanation.

i thought Iowa was smarter than that; guess that sounds corny

Once Stan and other board members were recalled and replaced the community spiraled out of control under the new so called leadership.They defaulted for the first time in history on the State Water Board’s low interest loan. They defaulted and were sued for breach of contract with construction companies.They were issued enforcement actions by the CCRWQCB. Proposed congressional funding was withdrawn and denied.They looked to Gail as the Holy Grail of all things sewer plants…little did they know. They filed bankruptcy.

whe asked under oath if they had a sewer plan in place, The said yes, when in fact they NEVER had a plan. they forced the county to step in and take over the sewer project.

And here we are 10 years later, and still no sewer. It’s shameful.

Well put, Pelican. Repeat it (your terse factual summary) over and over along with a little more detail, so the Morro Bay folks will SIGN the recall, and Morro Bay citizens can easily PUSH the Coastal Commission to stop the madness of overspending to destroy an avocado grove with a WWTP, and the sensible cheaper upgrade at the proper downslope location can resume, BEFORE Irons and his madness makes it too late to save the good folk of Morro Bay.

Pay attention, Morro Bay folk, pay attention; don’t spend the tens of thousands per renter or owner that we blew in Los Osos at the personal, proximate, responsible hands of Julie Tacker and her cohorts on our Board to “move the sewer”. If you want to see my twenty five grand assessment, or my huge monthly bills as forecasted, let me know.

Or, to make it more real as you consider recalling Mayor Irons, get $ 25,000 in cash on a table in front of you, and reflect that it’s a lot of money and could be used for other good purposes besides the petulant “move the sewer” leadership of your three incredibly dense council people.

Come on, folks in MB, we showed you exactly how NOT to do it here in Los Osos. Oh well, I hope Gustafson does well for Iowa from whence came my people in 1898.

Sign your recall. Get rid of the petulance and excuse-filled horrible judgment of the Irons man you mistakenly elected to office. Any good this man could bring is washed out and swamped over by the tens of millions he cost with his bizarre “leadership” to move the sewer.

OK, I’m done. Time for MBactivist, et al, to come forward with their spin and revisionist history.

Recalled because of exceeding the engineering estimated cost??? Wow, Caltans could change their management like underwear if rediculous cost over-runs were justification.

Soon the multi-mega dollar Highway 46 will be ready to feed the San Joaquin Valley into Highway 101 thence the Cuesta Grade (Safety Corridor) will become the most rediculous oxymoron in California. Is this a planning standard or are standards just for costruction?