Candidate differences highlighted during Los Osos debate

October 22, 2016

Julie Tacker

Julie Tacker

Los Osos Community Services District Board hopefuls showed their differences and experience levels at the Oct. 20 debate hosted by the League of Women Voters

Five candidates are running for two seats on the Los Osos board. Candidates Julie Tacker, Tim Staggers, Steve Best, Vicki Milledge and incumbent Marshall Ochylski answered questions about district finances, low-cost housing, civility and water sustainability.

Tacker and Ochylski led in the debate because of their knowledge of the limits and responsibilities of a community services district board. While the other candidates discussed plans to bring affordable housing to Los Osos, Tacker stood alone in her statements about the board’s limitations to vote on water, fire and drainage issues in the district.

“The CSD is not a land use authority,” Tacker said. “We can keep bills low so people can afford their mortgages.”

Tacker, a local activist, was also the only candidate who would like to have a public discussion on whether the district should be dissolved. To improve the district’s credit rating, Tacker noted the importance of having timely and accurate audits.

Staggers, a grocery store clerk, said it is his goal to “make it so the CSD is trusted and respected again.” Staggers would push for applying for government grants to help pay for infrastructure. He disagreed with Tacker’s plans to look into cutting back on staff and expenses.

“We need state and government to trust, to bring in money,” Staggers said. “To cut back would be premature.”

Marshall Ochylski

Marshall Ochylski

Best, a retired small business owner, was also opposed to making cuts noting that when compared to Morro Bay, Los Osos is shortchanged in regards to staffing numbers.

In order to become more transparent, Best said he would like to see management reports that are readable and complete. As for issues of importance in Los Osos, Best found a lack of pet poop bags and issues with the homeless to be two of his top concerns.

Milledge, a retired consultant and member of the Los Osos Community Advisory Council, said she plans to ensure the district has a stable water supply, financial security and consistent management. Milledge would like to have an outside company audit the district’s finances.

“We need a competent person or organization to follow the money,” Milledge said. “An outside audit is more credible.”

Ochylski, an attorney and the only incumbent running for the board, discussed issues with sea water intrusions and the board’s plan to drill a new well. He noted the financial constraints the district has faced because of a bankruptcy and legal issues.

“The bankruptcy had severe financial problems,” Ochylski said. “We have been working our way back. We had a clean audit in 2016.”

All five candidates agreed on the importance of open communication and civility.







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15 Comments

  1. AlanB says:

    Any potential employers are scared away by the anti-development activists in Los Osos Wolfhound. It seems CCN is here to support one candidate that wants to keep Los Osos from progress.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. AlanB says:

    Anti-progress folks drag every community down. I’ve seen it over and over. In the end they always cost the community more. It’s time to push the anti-development “make Los Osos great again” folks aside and let the actual residents take back control of our destiny.

    (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  3. shelworth says:

    Does it scare anyone else that they want more “affordable” housing for Los Osos? We are a bedroom community, almost everyone who lives here has to work outside of Los Osos, I don’t want to see us become San Luis’ ghetto.

    (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
    • wolfhound says:

      Good point, Shelworth.

      Sadly, right now many renters in town are trying to find affordable housing & moving about because landlords are starting to pass on their enormous sewer and hook-up bill. Some will have to leave town & drive back to the job they now have in town, further lowering their family income.

      With respect to “jobs & creating jobs in town”.

      We have a good functioning Chamber of Commerce in town, but again some business folk rent & can barely hang on to compete.

      You won’t read the intended, or unintended consequences of the unaffordable sewer fee on the elderly on barely making it incomes. Paul Harvey died so, we don’t hear the rest of the story anymore.

      (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
  4. Mitch C says:

    To CSD or not to CSD is only part of the question. If LOCSD is dissolved, the financial obligations associated with all the past decisions should continue to be the burden of those residents of the CSD and not passed on to the citizen of the entire county. Anyone who thinks that “changing horse in mid stream” will be financially advantageous better do a considerable amount of investigation. This is not an emotional decision alone, it also has financial consequences.

    (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
    • wolfhound says:

      Mitch …………..your right, on one hand, we are all stuck with paying off the existing bond.

      On the other hand, it is in fact a responsible financial decision for the community to make. We have no guarantee that our past history will not repeat itself & keep draining the coffers.

      We would not be “changing the horse mid-stream”, on the contrary. We would be “shooting a dying or dead horse mid-stream”.

      (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
      • Mitch C says:

        Good comment. The issue is that whatever decision is put before the electorate needs to contain ALL of the pertinent information and not set up the voters with a “gotch” after the fact. There should be sufficient caution concerning the source of what information is provided … best to trust someone who doesn’t have skin in the game.

        (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
        • ThomasAquinas says:

          For nearly 20 years we’ve been subjected to a mismanaged CSD. It was intended to give a logical and honest opportunity for the community to give direction that a majority desired. That has never been accomplished. Rather that trying to invent a new wheel, realize the CSD has NEVER done anything for the betterment of Los Osos. From Pandora and her dreams to Ochinski saying being a attorney gives his ideas credence, we have wasted $40,000,000.00 dollars that will never be used in a positive outcome.
          This isn’t anything, that anyone that has been here for a LONG time doesn’t realize, eliminate the CSD, eliminate the overhead, eliminate the waste. These candidates that promise THEY can fix-it are fools…..
          The CSD was a complete boondoggle, that long time residents have paid dearly for. I will be extremely happy to pay for the elimination of the CSD. I’m all in, and have been for 20 years……..

          (7) 9 Total Votes - 8 up - 1 down
    • Julie says:

      Mitch,

      As you likely know (having been IGM twice for LOCSD) there is only one outstanding obligation that the property owners voted in 2001. This was for the Tri-W project environmental and property purchase, $20M over 20 years. That assessment is a lien on each property until the debt is paid off in 2023.

      All other outstanding debt is associated with the county’s sewer, again liens on each property. There is no way the county at large would be picking up that debt.

      My position in this election is to have that “investigation” for the voters. Projections associated with revenue streams and reserves as compared to anticipated expenses over the next three years. If those numbers equal higher rates than what the county services could provide, the electorate should be able to chose (by ballot measure in 2018) whether or not they want to continue on with a CSD.

      Actually, I think this same analysis should be provided for Oceano and Cambria CSD’s.

      (-5) 17 Total Votes - 6 up - 11 down
      • Pelican1 says:

        NO need for any investigation…this is just another attempt to undermine and delay any potential progress Los Osos might be making in their attempt to become a community, and not a dysfunctional group of anti sewer cowboys.

        (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
  5. wolfhound says:

    If a resident of Los Osos doesn’t like what our special district has done in the past, or is doing today, you can do any of the following;

    (a) Talk to your regional supervisor, the CSD general manager (not sure who that is these days), or the district board at the next meeting.

    (b) If that all falls on deaf ears, the only remedy left indirect democracy, in the form of an initiative, or a referenda, instead of waiting for the entrenched board to act.

    How much is too much? Our experiment with running a ‘Special District’ has failed miserbly & costly. Beyond a shadow of doubt, our horrible track record for hiring managers (16 or so) far exceeds any other CSD ever formed, or dissolved, in California.

    Furthermore, our CSD provides the same services that our SLO County offers, only with a seemingly a more sensible thought process, as we witnessed when they located that small ‘sewer city’ out of town. Why should we continue to pay for high priced managers & attornies etc etc.?

    Some candidates suggest we need to “fix” the manager problem, or we need to control our water basin, even though we, or any known expert can guarantee that the millions of gallons of water a day we are pumping back into the ground will ever reach the lower aquifer.

    We all know the County services will not be free, but it sure as hell couldn’t possibly be as costs s we have gone though to date. Good question to put to our Supervisor next time he is in town eh?

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
  6. TWEEKSBALMER says:

    Vote for whomever will abolish the CSD.

    (22) 24 Total Votes - 23 up - 1 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      EXACTLY! To do otherwise is to continue to reinforce failure. Haven’t you people had enough?
      Learn from the experiences of the past, or you are doomed to repeat the monumental.failures that the the former so called leaders have left you with….END THE CSD and end the fraud waste and abuse. Please don’t be fooled yet again…just say NO.

      (14) 16 Total Votes - 15 up - 1 down
    • Julie says:

      It’s my position that if elected I will get the data that is necessary for the voters to decide if they want a CSD any longer. My hope is to see the issue on the 2018 ballot.

      (-3) 37 Total Votes - 17 up - 20 down
  7. jimmy_me says:

    Based on the ongoing incompetence and outright corruptness of the current CSD, it’s amazing any of the incumbents are running for reelection. Please, vote for anyone but Ochylski. Write in your own name if you have to.

    (23) 33 Total Votes - 28 up - 5 down

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