Dissolution of Los Osos is the only solution

April 18, 2015
Tom Salmon

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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If you try to fight the State Water Quality Board, you will LOSE.

It’s time to focus on recharging the ground water basin before it collapses. There is still time to halt the salt water intrusion. The draw must be cut dramatically or direct injection of storm runoff must start very soon. If Los Osos repeats the drama from the sewer fiasco, they’ll end up needing a pipeline to Morro Bay; paying enormous fees for water from Lake Nacimiento project.

The Cambria Community Service District needs to be dissolved.

I think that when Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos consolidate into Estero City, that Jamie Irons would make a fine mayor and that if we play our cards right the population in this area could double over the next ten years. I’d like to see the bay/estuary turned into a highly profitable fish farm where all the local fisherman and their wives are put to work farming fish, giving them a both a steady income and a reason to stop complaining all the time. The key though, would be Irons – he’s guiding Morro Bay in the right direction and I think he’d do the same for Estero City.

If the sewer had been built when it was first presented, Los Osos would have gotten low interest loans and lower rate bonds. The system would be almost paid for by now. Instead, the community decided to reenact the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. Tens of millions of dollars wasted in bickering and maneuvering.

You point to a time when water bills were a flat $20 every two months with no regard to how much

water each home used. The issue was sewage when it should have ALWAYS been about water.

The 1987 sewer plant did nothing for water. It would have been built in the floodplain off Turri Road, the treated effluent was to be treated to the lowest level and would have been

dumped in the bay. Spills of raw sewage (they are inevitable) would have gone directly into the salt marsh…killing the estuary.

Yes, it would have been paid for long ago, but it would have emptied our aquifer since there

was no recharge component to that design.

We would have had to have hooked up to State Water and be paying

for no or limited deliveries during a drought, like Oceano did last year.

Due to today’s regulatory climate, sea level rise and the bay has become Federally protected sanctuary,

Los Osos would be facing exactly what Morro Bay is now, Moving the Sewer and at least another $100 million.

It is because of the bickering over these last many decades that the Los Osos Groundwater Basin is one of the most studied in the state.

We know more about its hydrology than others and are able to make decisions that will benefit its health.

Watch as Paso will burn through tens of millions arguing about their unknowns.

Los Osos is ahead of them in that regard.

We are about to embark on another $45M (above the cost of the sewer) in Basin Plan implementation.

Julie will you GIVE UP the revisionist and apologist stuff? It’s almost wearisome having to correct you all the time. Nobody wants to hear me chew through many paragraphs. You played a central part in a costly Los Osos mistaken public debate, and you’re still around tossing out misguided public infrastructure talk. It’s early, I jumped on line for a quick second, and will let somebody else plow through your mire.

Mr Lame, this isnt about Julie, or the extremely misguided and horrific board, she was on. It was a complete disaster. No sir, this is about the LOCSD, past, present and God forbid the future. This is about MIke Weight and Marshall Hollinski. Explain what good they’re doing? Why spending millions, to pay the wages for Kivley and Kudart, makes fiscal sense? You don’t ever give anyone a premise to grasp the NEED to further the LOCSD budget. Right now, tell us why!! On this blog explain the the LOGIC! You know who I am, who are you? Don’t hide in the shadows, otherwise your opinions, ideas or comments mean SQUAT….. Like I enjoy reminding Lynette Tornassky, grab your self a umbrella drink… Look west and watch the sun set into the sea”

Mr Lame, this isnt about Julie, or the extremely misguided and horrific board, she was on. It was a complete disaster. No sir, this is about the LOCSD, past, present and God forbid the future. This is about MIke Weight and Marshall Hollinski. Explain what good they’re doing? Why spending millions, to pay the wages for Kivley and Kudart, makes fiscal sense? You don’t ever give anyone a premise to grasp the NEED to further the LOCSD budget. Right now, tell us why!! On this blog explain the the LOGIC! You know who I am, who are you? Don’t hide in the shadows, otherwise your opinions, ideas or comments mean SQUAT….. Like I enjoy reminding Lynette Tornassky, grab your self a umbrella drink… Look west and watch the sun set into the sea”


I’d love to see your “corrections.”

I am not revising the 1987 Turri history or apologizing for it. I’m actually glad we didn’t go down that road, we’d have State water and many more problems than we do now.

When the Turri Project was proposed I was not involved in sewer issues at all.

I was still in college; minding my own business. Started having kids in 1990. Used as much water as I wanted washing cloth diapers and put in a giant lawn at my home.

Because, the County didn’t care to educate us that water was the issue.

I didn’t become involved until much later, 2002 in fact, when the Bowker board

assessed us for the ridiculous sewer in the middle of town…this is where my “history” began.

If the project hadn’t been started, the bankruptcy wouldn’t have occurred. Fact!

If the project hadn’t been started, the recall may not have been successful…we’ll never know for sure. It was the arrogance of the Gustafson board that

solidified the lack of democracy.

It was board’s I was on that implemented tiered rates, educated the public on seawater intrusion issues, got Level of Severity III,

filed the suit against GSWC, S&T, & the County, formed the ISJ.

What did you do for Los Osos?

Oh, OK, BAIT me into a response if you must. It will bore most readers here. Everybody mostly already knows how they feel about your votes and actions, but I slavishly think your revisionism needs pointing out, over and over.

My actual participation in public infrastructure predates Los Osos but I’ll give you a hint, I’ve been to more ACWA meetings than you could imagine. Now I’m the old guy just shaking his head at the disaster, too happy and past my prime to be effective in warning of your well-meaning but disastrous thinking. Nothing that I learned in creating a project could have stopped the juggernaut of the Cal Trans Four and yourself. I struck out when attempting to warn the voters of your plans and lack of experience.

This is NOT supposed to be about me, but since you personalize it, What I DID NOT do for Los Osos is doom it to vicious, circuitous and wasteful public debate by using outward public charm and articulate speech to drive my public agency into bankruptcy and close to a decade of more groundwater pollution and water waste, all at the costs of my impetuous tossing of a ceremonial shovel, and later wrecking a funded and vetted going project against the outspoken advice of everybody on the planet.

It’s odd to see you brag about your help to Los Osos. I said before, I would hide under a carpet rather than be seen in public had I done the damage to my voters, agency, and landowners that you did. I did try a bit to obstruct you way back, to protect Los Osos from a catastrophic sea change to your ideals. When I got my first property interest in L.O. I cornered Gustafson and told him your sort of dedicated, convincing misinformation had a good chance of winning the recall, but you won, and the proof of the poor judgment is all over the town, the public record, and our tax bills. You pointing to your actions is like Truman pointing to Nagasaki. Pointless secondary devastation. Mislead the public, get your cohorts in by a slim margin, and wreck the whole place.

But let me paste in the words of St. Thomas Aquinas, brilliantly posted above…….”

04/19/2015 at 4:41 pm

Mr Lame, this isnt about Julie, or the extremely misguided and horrific board, she was on. It was a complete disaster. No sir, this is about the LOCSD, past, present and God forbid the future. This is about MIke Weight and Marshall Hollinski. Explain what good they’re doing?” ……

Regarding the LOCSD, You don’t have to convince me, St. Thomas. The LOCSD should be studied, recorded, and archived in libraries and schools of public administration as the penultimate in erratic and disastrous attempts at local control self government. The public being whipsawed by the incompetent but well-meaning that made it into office and up to the podium. Horrendous outcomes at the hands of a board of five.

Julie, you wrecked your agency and cost most landowners a hefty chunk of change, now and also in the future, with sewer rates, in functional perpetuity. Your ideas are intense and sincere, and usually horribly misguided and unworkable. The voters need to REMEMBER your RESULTS so they won’t repeat placing a passionate, articulate misguided airhead into power in local government.

Oh crap, no, wait…….Shoals, Gibson, Irons, Cesena, etc. Rats. I’m too late again! I’m going to sell my white horse and quit trying to save people from predictable disaster.

I’m not sure if this discussion was directed to me, but you since my name is mentioned, I’ll respond. Thomas Aquinas is actually my name, I’m not Julie, or Lynette or anyone else. Tom as a name, had already been taken, so I threw in my middle name. I’ve never had a place at the table to stop, change, spend, decide or anything else when it comes down to the LOCSD.

That being explained, I’m still not quite understanding when it comes to the LOCSD remaining as a punitive branch of government, where are you in this discussion?????The only issues they now cover is WATER!!!!

We are wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on a agency that is not knowledgeable in how to properly serve the community. Do you want this to continue????? It’s really simple to answer. It’s not about the past, how we got here or why. It’s not about a particular person or group.

Do you NOW want the LOCSD to continue, answer that honestly, use what ever process works for you. There is no gray area, only yes or no…..

I’m willing to contact LAFCO personally and initiate the beginning of removing the LOCSD from existence. I’m not willing to continue is paying for this. I vote for dissolution

You bear the name of a noble thinker. Now then: Shut it down. It offers nothing. While local control is often the better choice, the awful record of the LOCSD in failing to bring projects on line means I definitely support your idea to dissolve the LOCSD. Los Osos seems to elect whatever latest empty-promise airhead comes on the ballot, and returns the joker (Cesena) who arrogantly cost them millions when he achieved his recall insertion about 24 months too late.

Los Osos seems to elect on empty promises from people with no track record of success. I can’t account for the voters being less than discerning. Bless their hearts, but it isn’t working/hasn’t worked. Shut the thing down. I’d rather it be governed/operated by a maybe less-than-perfect county staff than by a sequence of (all too often) airhead board members with empire-building general managers.


Again you don’t refute my Turri Road “original” sewer history, this is what you chimed in to say I had revised.

In fact, you don’t refute anything I’ve said, you have only have said decisions were made badly and that’s my “fault.” It takes a board to move a sewer and as much as I wanted to, obviously the voters did to and recalled the Gustafson board.

“Cost land owners a hefty chunk of change?”…how? By securing their debt against their property? Would you loan without collateral?

That’s what the SRF did for the Gustafson board. The state screwed up.

They were told to go to the end of the bankruptcy line because they were not a secured creditor.

These things are not my fault. The state was complicit in the mess too.

They pushed to build a sewer in the middle of a town that didn’t want it there.

I’d like to know what ideas you think I have that don’t have merit.

With all your experience and expertise; what to do now? The basin is troubled and the LOCSD isn’t doing much to help it.

As Tom points out, they are too busy chasing a new office.

Focus, focus, focus.

Back in the 40’s my mom used to play poker for lots in LO! LOL!!!!!

Was there a casino in Los Osos back then? Gambling is a serious problem if it starts to control your life. You know what they say “When the fun stops …” – something like that. I hope it doesn’t run in your family. Good luck.

Wait, lots of what?

Vacant lots…there are over 500 of them left.

They aren’t worth much, they will not be served by the sewer for probably 10 more years,

because there is no new water to build on them with.

“The Los Osos Community Services District was created in 1999 based on the premise of “local control.”

Nope, the LOCSD was formed because the voters were promised a $38.50/ month sewer bill instead of the $100/month County sewer. “Cheaper, Better, Faster” was the slogan, not “better under local control”

Of course it turned out that it was a bald faced lie and thats why it still doesn’t work to this day.

Why don’t Los Osos, Morro Bay, and Cayucos consolidate into a city called Estero, California and construct a state rehabilitation colony for dopeheads, teen vandals, and sex offenders, since most of them seem to live there anyway.

Have to give it to you “SLOPPY” we can count on your consistent assassin remarks, regardless of the subject

An Irons, Smuckler, and Christine Johnson fan, Keeping it classy!

I did not say one thing about assassins.

Tom, how is this board ANY different than any other LOCSD board, especially the “RECALL” board? It’s amazing how you revisionists never see yourselves as part of the problem, yet always consider yourselves part of the solution.Those who you strongly supported in the past took the citizens of Los Osos on the worst ride of their life. A ride that included bankruptcy, enforcement actions, fines. the loss of low interest loans, grants and lawsuits.No Tom, sadly you are 15 years too late in calling for the dissolution of a CSD who has yet to come close to the damage done by those who you once supported.

Mr. Pelican, I understand you are new to community, and such don’t remember the last 20+ years. Sir, I spent many a evening in the community center and at other functions speaking out against K98. We explained the obvious misconception that a CSD was a way to protect the town. There were some, that professed that they could do better than CSA-9. Better fire protection, better water, better waste water control, oh they could do better. Does this sound familiar? Probably not, many residents understood the mistruths put out there, but most lemmings voted for K-98. Do you know someone who did?

When something fails, I can’t support continued participation. Mike Wright is only one FAILURE in a long line of failures. Mike is just the one who’s name is most recent. Why do you support the LOCSD? Do you have valid arguments to allow this poor choice to rob Los Osos?

Mr. Pelican, contrary to your statement, I’m not 15 years to late, I’ve been addressing this for 20+ years.

Why would anyone continue down and destructive path? Do you have a benefit if Mike and co. continue? Are you a LOCSD director?

You implied I was a revisionist, why? If you know much about our town, I’m not looking to change the past, just present it in the here and now. Please tell me who I supported, except the many experts that had vision, logic and a path to understanding the water, sewer and governmental shortcomings the Solution Groups fed so many lemmings.

Now in 2015, the LOCSD has proven to be a failed attempt at providing a “cheaper and better alternative” to the sewer facility near the jr. High school. This little town needed a waste water system long before Bill Coy was here. Do you remember him? Please, Mr. Pelican speak of what is true, not what you have been told. Respectfully

Well Tom, I hate to disappoint you, but I’ve probably forgotten more about the community of Los Osos than you’ll ever know.You see, Los Osos was home from the 70’s on. Back then beach cottages and dirt roads best characterized a community viewed as a red headed, orphan stepchild of the county. Bill Coy did little for us back in the day…except of course serve as the guest speaker and each opening day of Little League. I’ve been around a long time and have sadly witnessed the unnecessary destruction of a once cohesive seaside community.

I’m not here to worry who was here first, or what you remember or don’t. Explain right here and now how maintaining the LOCSD, in its present configuration, is the best remedy for OUR town. Best thing about Coy was he never attempted to become deeply involved. I didn’t mind being forgotten, not have bureaucrats running around pointing fingers.

I was in many of those Little League parades, I coached teams. Look back, were we a more cohesive community, working together as one. The fundraisers, building the community center, for me assisting in building a Catholic Parish. This was a small, friendly beach community. It really didn’t matter who you were. We all belonged here. Some day when you see me in town, introduce yourself. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee, no strings attached….

Thanks for the response Tom, I apologize for my miss-characterization of your devotion to the community.

I have to agree that NO CSD is capable of governing Los Osos, as history has clearly shown. I once loved the community and shared in the experience of raising a family among friends and neighbors.

Perhaps someday we will share a cup of coffee.

Sir, we are proud members of “small town USA “, where we do care about our neighbors. Where we can be different in so many ways but are similar in more. We are engaged, informed and active in what ever manner we are best suited for. I’ve made mistakes, been outspoken and loud, but have worked in only the best interest of my neighbors and friends, like you, sir. I miss the days when a redheaded stepchild wasn’t in the view of money. Most of us are here to not be in the spotlight, but live our lives in harmony with all that makes us special. Have a great day…..Respectfully, Tom

Why did you back out of running for LOCSD director in 2002 and put your support behind Julie and Linde Owen?

Why did you put in an application to serve as a CSD Director in February of 2014 when David Vogel had to step down? You claimed, “I am better qualified than all who are currently seated” on your application. What happened, your name does not appear on the minutes to that meeting.

So what you are pitching for here, is a LEADER, someone to run with your dissolution idea. is that it?

After reading about Los Osos the past forty years I’ve come to the conclusion that Los Osos biggest problem is the people who live there.

They keep chopping up that wooden bear and they won’t allow a McDonald’s. And every other step you take your feet sink.

McDonald’s was approved. McDonald’s chose not to build.

BTW, the bear is concrete.

If you’re feet are sinking, get out of the mud.

Augh ! McDonald’s was approved with untenable conditions, they didn’t ELECT to not build, GEEZ, Julie. They were run out of town by untenable conditions, limited hours of operation, despite heavy public opinion favoring that location and normal business model, had they been allowed to enact it.

Not my fault McD’s couldn’t meet the test. In fact, they were let off the hook and should have had to have met the same high bar

that other new development must meet.

Mr. Lame, when does it become not appropriate for neighbors to voice opinions about property usage? Do you want your right to first amendment clause to be taken from you? Shouldn’t you be allowed to speak if you observe issues that are not what you believe to be in the best interest. McDonald’s was given the go ahead to build, plan and simple, are you blaming the LOCSD?

This editorial is about the LOCSD and is it worth keeping, me, I vote no. Both Mike Wright and Marshall had profitable arrangements with the McDonalds franchisee, and wrote letters to the county in support. Do I care, not really, they are allowed to do that. Marshall Holinski is involved as the land attorney for the former Dalido project in SLO, not my business, I don’t live there. Marshall was extremely involved against Ernie, to keep Dalido from his desires for the usage of his personal property out there. That’s Ernie fight.

Please try and focus, explain why we as a community need to maintain a CSD. How are we helped? How a dollar value should be put on a balance sheet for cost benefits? I’ve explained the deficits and negative costs. This arguement is not about keeping jobs for Kivley or Kudart. I don’t care about that. No sir, I don’t know who your are, but just put down on paper why the LOCSD should stay. Thank you for your attention, respectfully

Mud? I’m talking about back yards. The other day II was at my friend’s house BBQ’ing. I took my plate over to a lawn chair and sat down and whooosh – I was gone. Took them three days to find me.