Attorney resigns after contentious Oceano CSD meeting

October 16, 2023

Attorney Daniel Cheung


Following a meeting rife with interruptions and refusals to abide by the Brown Act, the attorney firm representing the Oceano Community Services District resigned on Friday.

During a district board meeting on Oct. 11, Director Beverly Suneson gave a lengthy explanation regarding the arrest of one of her family members and a notice of violation she received regarding illegal sewer and water hookups to an inhabited recreational vehicle, items not on the agenda. Attorney Daniel Cheung, with the firm Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green, told Suneson she was at risk of violating the Ralph M. Brown Act.

The Brown Act was passed in 1953 because of mounting concerns that government bodies were avoiding scrutiny by meeting secretly. The act guarantees the public will have forewarning of discussion items through posted agendas, limits what the board can discuss in closed session and prohibits board members from disclosing confidential information that was discussed in closed session.

Ignoring the attorney, Suneson continued her speech, and again Cheung attempted to stop her from violating the Brown Act.

Director Charles Varni interrupted Cheung, arguing Suneson had the right to talk about her issues.

“You are not the president of this organization and you should not be interrupting a director,” Varni said before telling Suneson, “Finish it up.”

Suneson continued discussing her personal issues.

Shortly afterwards, Varni started to describe an employee issue that had been discussed in closed session, another apparent violation of the Brown Act. The public meeting was temporarily stopped because of Varni’s actions, and the board went into closed session.

Following closed session, Cheung said the board had voted to release a limited statement regarding allegations an employee embezzled money from the district. In addition, he said the results of a forensic audit had been sent to the SLO County District Attorney’s Office for possible charges.

Varni then said he wanted to report on the employee issue, but with more “flesh on the bones.” He then noted he would not be stopped as he started to discuss closed session information regarding the alleged embezzler.

Cheung warned Varni that he was violating the Brown Act and the board again stopped the meeting.

“I am being repressed here,” Varni said. “I am not allowed my freedom of speech.”

Multiple members of the public were disruptive and rude throughout the Oct. 11 board meeting, with one man offering to provide diapers to a director. Several female attendees interrupted or demeaned Cheung as he attempted to describe Brown Act requirements.

Following multiple disruptions, the board voted to continue the rest of the agenda items to the next meeting. Two days later, Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green resigned as legal counsel.

While several public officials believe the attorney firm quit because of the board’s failures to abide by the Brown Act, Suneson said the firm’s resignation was related to a closed session issue.

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Call me “Tired of Living in Oceano Grande.”

OCSD is, and always has been, a dumpster fire. It is an organization with absolute crap leadership who decades of County Supervisors here in Mayberry RFD have wanted nothing to do with. Of course, that’s a chicken-or-the-egg problem. Doesn’t really matter as long as the dollars keep flowing, right?

OCSD has several individuals in permanent orbit, like flies around a pile of dog turds, who have been there for decades, known about and hidden from the public all kinds of embezzlement and other corruption to the tune of many tens of thousands of dollars, and who have no intention of letting up on their mini-imperial rule. Some are certainly better than others, but overall I’m not impressed. These people have hired General Manager after General Manager, paying them exorbitant rates to try and fix stupid – which, after all, can’t be done and which is why OCSD can’t retain decent managerial staff.

Golly, I wonder who ends up suffering the most and paying for all this staggering incompetence? Obviously, the ratepayers do. Unfortunately, I’ve had to pay these thieves extortionate rates for fresh water – a basic human right – since I bought my house in the City of Arroyo Grande in 2008. When I live in a real city, why do I have to pay The Lollipop Kids to deliver water to my house? I have no idea.

The crocodile tears flowed freely when I read a recent news article about last winter’s flooding and how one of the mossback directors, who was interviewed, went on about how they used to pull weeds in their grandpa’s broccoli patch, or whatever… who cares??!! We’re in the 21st century now, with 8,000+ real human residents dealing with real problems and needing real leadership. Is that forthcoming? The evidence suggests not.

San Luis Obipso County needs to dissolve OCSD, conduct a criminal investigation(s), file charges, and take over all the district’s functions ASAP.

That’s the truth.

You’ve been in your home for 15 years and have never called AG or Oceano to ask about your water billing and rates? Ok, maybe this will help. You pay AG rates for water “wheeled” from Oceano because Oceano had the water and pipes to supply your neighborhood when it was built. Why? Because as usual, AG overbuilds faster than they can account for their water supply, among other things they mishandle. If you research it, you ‘ll find several other areas are also “wheeled” to. While I don’t disagree that Oceano needs and deserves better, take your frustration up with your “real city” that couldn’t provide for you and seemingly still won’t. They could spend some money to disconnect from Oceano, but they don’t.