Bob Cuddy, facts matter

March 25, 2016

Robert CuddyOPINION by JULIE TACKER

Not much has changed for the retired Robert C. Cuddy, former reporter for the San Luis Obispo Tribune, just as he often failed to check facts for his news articles, he failed to fact check his letters to the editor before sending them to be published. Mr. Cuddy, details matter.

In response to Cuddy’s New Times commentary “Leftover shoe goo.”

As a watchdog and regular attendee of Oceano Community Services District (OCSD) board meetings since 2009, I am fully qualified to respond to this paragraph in particular:

Cuddy says, “Maybe I’m expecting too much of Hill, a shaky choice to fix morale in Arroyo Grande. He only moved here a couple of years ago, and his chief previous governing experience was with the Oceano Community Services District, a notoriously dysfunctional agency until Matt Guerrero joined the board in 2010 and the highly experienced Paavo Ogren later became general manager. They and others are bringing long-missing stability.”

Fact: At a meeting chaired by then OCSD Board President, Jim Hill (the current Mayor of Arroyo Grande) on January 12, 2011, attorney Matthew Guerrero was unanimously appointed to fill the seat held by long-time board member, Barbara Mann, who had resigned months earlier, due to the rancor brought to the board by Mary Lucey.

Jim Hill and then recently elected Carol Henson resigned (March 28, 2011) from the OCSD board when they found themselves on the losing end of a 3-2 board that allowed a general manager to fail to cooperate with repeated unanimous board directions. The OCSD Board at the time was in sync – the entire board, expected the general manager to get three years of delinquent audits done.

To Hill’s credit, over the course of his tenure at OCSD, he eliminated health insurance benefits and cell phones for directors paid for by ratepayers, eliminated director stipends for committee meetings, got board meetings televised so residents could follow issues, and helped form the Five Cities Fire Authority. Under his leadership, OCSD raised rates sufficiently that would have, if properly managed, been able to continue service into the future — while building modest reserves.

Just after Hill and Henson’s replacements, Felma Hurdle and returning board member, Rick Searcy were appointed, it was Cal Coast News reporter Karen Velie who found OCSD General Manager Rafaele Montemurro, was overpaying himself.

The board, including Guerrero, had missed the over-payments going on right under their noses. The new board unanimously fired Montemurro “without cause,” even though he was stealing, and gave him a $17,000 severance.

That board then hired Supervisor Teixeira’s sidekick, Tom Geaslen. After a year and a half, with Guerrero as president, and mountains of evidence presented, the board finally fired Geaslen. This time, “for cause,” for — you guessed it (and it was going on under the nose of Guerrero), overpaying himself. Geaslen was required to repay the district $45,000. The districts legal bills associated with that fiasco were upwards of $30,000.

Then, only a few months later, President Guerrero found himself firing a third general manager, Lonny Curtis, “for cause,” who overcharged Oceano residents for water and sewer hook-ups.

All these hirings and firings cost the district plenty. Legal counsel bills were double their norm to protect the district from its dysfunctional self. Collateral damage from that time period continues to plague the district. Some examples include, the staff joining a union to protect their jobs; all got raises. While another quit, filed a claim against the district, and in order to avoid future litigation, the district settled, paying several thousand dollars more than the claim asked for.

As for those reserves Hill’s board had hoped for; they were spent by the Guerrero and Lucey boards.

The Guerrero board spent much of it on legal bills; raises for staff, and the embarrassing year-long sequence of buying a jetter trailer that was too heavy for any truck the district owned to pull safely. They then purchased a used truck that could pull it, but couldn’t stop when in motion. So, they then purchased a new truck that could pull and brake under the weight of the jetter trailer’s full load.

But, the spending associated with the jetter didn’t end there; they had to send their staff to driving school to get Class A driver’s licenses so they can legally drive the new truck with the jetter trailer. Now that these staffers have higher qualifications, the district has had to raise their pay in order to keep them.

Cuddy’s claim that Guerrero brought Paavo Ogren aboard has somehow rescued the district board from their dysfunctional-selves is poppycock. As long as Mary Lucey is on the OCSD board, dysfunction will reign supreme.

Ogren is only in Oceano because he’s paid over $250,000 a year. What’s saved in legal is spent on Ogren. Ogren made it clear from the beginning he was not interested in working for Oceano, overseeing six employees, if it paid less than his position at the county where he over saw 165 employees.

It is painful to watch Guerrero and company approve Ogren’s paychecks in a community where whole families live for a year on what Ogren makes in a month.

Fact: The Hill’s left Oceano and moved to Arroyo Grande in July 2011. So Cuddy’s characterization of the Mayor living in Arroyo Grande a “couple of years” is incorrect.

The fact is that Jim Hill has lived for decades within ten square miles in the south county. Hill is an intelligent nuclear engineer with a law degree. His tireless work as a board member on the Sanitation District, FCFA, and his comprehensive understanding of the complex water issues has been invaluable in his year as Mayor of Arroyo Grande.

Mr. Cuddy, you will not find a more thorough, conscientious and thoughtful public servant. Arroyo Grande is lucky to have the leadership of Jim Hill as its Mayor.


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ODX

Thank you Julie


womanwhohasbeenthere

Bob Cuddy was the reason I finally dropped my subscription to the Tribune years ago. Lois Capps was the ONLY person in Congress to vote against a resolution supporting the release of a Middle Eastern Christian pastor from an Iranian or Iraqi prison. Her vote was posted on her website. The SLO Republican Women’s Club sent a press release on this to all the local media blasting her for this.


Cuddy immediately contacted her, and the vote record was removed from her website. He then reported in the Tribune that the Republican Women had falsely spread this information to defame her and that she had simply “pressed the wrong button” . As I recall there was a story in CCN on this.


Cuddy is a disaster. I can’t fathom why any news outlet would ever use anything he writes.


Citizen

Frankly, I was hoping that we would never hear from Bob “swamp gas” Cuddy after he destroyed his journalism reputation by his own unresearched and ill informed “opinion” stories. The swamp gas story about the “ill treatment” of the Paso Police Chief who was later determined to be guilty in an independent investigation by the city and the Mother’s Day sob story about a mother from Chicago here as a homeless “victim” with two disabled children and expecting a third child with a homeless boyfriend (honored for Mother’s Day).


BTW, who was responsible for the sob story about the couple with the child born with only a brain stem raising money to get treatment in South America (there is no treatment and the mother had been on drugs during her pregnancy). Does anyone remember who wrote that piece of misinformation for the Tribune? The medical community had to step in with the facts to stop the Tribune and the fundraising by this couple.


south

Bob Cuddy actually is a pretty good writer and was the best writer the Trib had in a long time. But he was not a journalist, he was an opinion writer because his bias always shaped his articles when he was tasked as a straight reporter, even creating situations or facts that didn’t exist. I know, believe me.


It was his editor’s fault. Maybe due to budget or laziness she just kept Cuddy in front of the Trib and gave him pet stories to write hard news on, never fact checking. Ms Deur did the paper a great deal of harm and her unsteady hand has seen this once decent local turn into convenient and inexpensive fire starter.


Cuddy is not self aware and he is not honest. These are the building blocks of a journalist.


Julie Tacker on the other hand could star as an investigative journalist in the best of newspapers.


StakeHolder

This man consistently writes amateur articles whining about anyone who does not play on his side. The fact that he says he’s a writer, yet continually does not do his own homework to get the facts straight, makes me question a) his ability as a writer, and b) why the Tribune and New Times allow him to contribute. Do us all a favor and crawl back into retirement.


StakeHolder

Ha ha, two thumbs down! Mr. Cuddy and his lovely wife must be checking the status of his story!


just the facts

Thank you Mayor Jim Hill! Appreciate your efforts. Keep it up! As they say, “Don’t let the turkeys get you down!”


r0y

Who’s Bob Cuddy, and what is the Trib?


calferg

Bob has the ability to take the truth and make it fiction at will. The Trib is controlled by the likes of Adam Hill and it is showing in there circulation. Cuddy should move to a trailer in Compton where he belongs.


Noodly Appendages

When noises are emitted from a rectum, it is best not to acknowledge them. ( I’m using my polite method of saying Cuddy is an a@*&#le)