Dissolution of Los Osos is the only solution
April 18, 2015
OPINION By TOM SALMON
The Los Osos Community Services District was created in 1999 based on the premise of “local control.” When formed, the original board enacted latent powers that included providing the services of sewer, half the community’s water, drainage, fire, garbage, lighting, parks and recreation.
The primary promise was to deliver an affordable and engineered proven sewer plant that would assist in protecting our water. Do people remember Paavo Ogren being hired as our general manager? If you follow his employment history, disgrace wherever he goes.
The districts tumultuous 15 year history has resulted in peeling away its services. The best thing the district has done was in 2004 when it turned over its fire management duties to the qualified folks at Cal Fire. Fire service, gone. Bruce Pickens was an incompetent chief, who went on to show his inability in the another fire department.
The 2007 Sam Blakeslee legislation led to the county takeover of the sewer. Sewer service gone. The district’s subsequent bankruptcy resulted in the sale of its garbage franchise. Garbage service, gone.
Due to a lack of funding the street lights in Cabrillo Estates, were turned off. Lighting of that neighborhood is being done through private agreements with PG&E. Lighting service, gone.
The district never had funding for parks and recreation; an early effort to provide a community garden failed due to the endangered snail, compounded by the gift of public funds providing the garden water at no cost, road blocks. Parks and Recreation services, gone.
The handful of drainage facilities dwindled to even fewer when a dispute with sewer contractors revealed some facilities LOCSD had been maintaining for over a decade were actually under county control. Drainage facilities, gone. Mike Wright allowed over 150 million gallons of our water to escape, much thru these same outlets to the bay. He repeats the mantra, it wasn’t my fault, I wrote a letter. End of my responsibility to my neighbors.
Let’s face it; the LOCSD is a water district that serves 2,700 households. The district just adopted a 53 percent rate increase over the next four years that will yield $5 million dollars that should go to implementation of the Basin Plan. Instead, the LOCSD’s General Manager, Kathy Kively, has gone rogue with busy work to perhaps justify her $10,000 salary increase.
Over the past several months, Kivley has embarked on a methodical process in which to move the districts offices to a new location.
Kivley began by sending a letter to the South Bay Community Center complaining about sticky tables and a scheduling conflict with a Girl Scout troop, after the troop showed up on the wrong night.
Without waiting for a SBCC response, she sent a follow up letter, severing ties altogether with the center and removing all LOCSD equipment from the building. Without ever going before the public, LOCSD meetings will no longer be held at the community center.
Kivley has since sent a letter to the current office landlord advising they are breaking the lease and will be gone by October. Except for Kivley, Mike Wright and Marshall Ochilski, I can’t think of anyone else who has complained about “our” community center. Why punish this facility, it is a part of us?
Additionally, Kivley is “negotiating” a contract with Verizon to use our 16th Street water tanks for cellular antennas. Before ever coming to the board and public with a deal to consider, Kivley sent a letter to the county requesting a permit; in the letter she claims she is the owner of the property. The board has not admonished her for this misrepresentation.
Under her guidance the LOCSD Board has reduced their citizen advisory committee schedule from monthly to quarterly. The less the public sees the easier it is for her to work on things that don’t matter. Kivley was fired at Atwater, and lied on her job application, Atwater was not satisfied by her. Many, many people here at home are not satisfied by her actions, I’ve given many examples. It seems the only people that Kivley satisfies are Mike Wright and Marshall Ochilski.
With only water left for the district to ruin in their services district, all focus, including ratepayer dollars, should be on infrastructure improvements, not this rogue busy work. Dissolution is the only solution to making our little community a little better, and to help us return to the quiet, happy community we once were. Get involved, we can do better.
Tom Salmon, is a longtime Los Osos resident with 35 years of expertise in statewide public infrastructure.
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