Dissolve the Los Osos Community Services District
October 29, 2016
OPINION by TOM SALMON
I have long supported dissolution of the Los Osos Community Services District, in fact, I opposed its formation. With this coming election of directors, I am encouraged that the conversation to dissolve may get some traction.
Incumbent Marshall Ochylski and seated director Lou Tornatsky (along with their wives) signed and supported dissolution of the district when considered in 2006. Additionally, longtime Los Ososan and former LOCSD board members Frank Freiler and Pandora Nash-Karner (and her husband Gary Karner) also supported and signed the 2006 petition to dissolve.
Even my neighbor, Bob Crizer, signed that petition. Some of these folks appear to have recruited and are supporting candidates in this current election.
Joining together to dissolve the district may just be the healing this community needs.
At last; ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ (the ancient proverb which suggests that two opposing parties can or should work together against a common enemy). We can all work together to force the county to take better care of Los Osos than it did in the past and choose a new District 2 Supervisor in 2018 who will have Los Osos’ best interest at heart.
Opponents will cite “local control” as a reason to keep the LOCSD. There’s nothing left that’s “local.”
By order of the court, the LOCSD agreed to only unanimous decisions as partners in the recently formed Basin Management Committee. In doing so, the district has yielded its authority as a water purveyor to that entity that Ochylski presides over. Additionally, the LOCSD gave up its garbage franchise to the county as part of Ochylski’s bankruptcy negotiations and recently turned over all sewer facilities it once managed to the county.
Twelve years ago, the district contracted with county fire for its emergency services, the community is completely satisfied in the service provided. The community is outraged at how much money the LOCSD has siphoned off for administration from the fire fund over the years – enough to buy two new engines.
The services that are left for the district to provide are those we don’t argue about, a couple of drainage inlets and some pumps, a couple of lighting districts that illuminate about 300 of the 5,000 homes in the community.
The 16 general managers in 16 years makes it very easy to conclude that the experiment is over and the community is ready to hand the keys back to the county. Arguments that LAFCO wouldn’t allow dissolution in 2006 are lost on today’s changed circumstances. There’s no big debt, no looming bankruptcy and fewer services provided.
Now there’s just a district that is a shell of what it set out to be — no reason to keep the lights on when nobody’s home.
Dissolve the LOCSD. There are three directors who are all in, in the words of Pandora, “moving forward” with dissolution.