Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On the Los Osos Sewer

Long enough

It’s been more than 30 years and some of the same people are still lobbying against it. Some are not property owners; others do not even live in the Prohibition Zone (which means we property owners are paying for their delaying tactics).

The state has made it clear that a gravity system — which in the opinion of most is the best method, and is used in countless seaside residential communities — is the most efficient. If we expect to reclaim our most precious and dwindling water resource before it is beyond saving, we must move ahead. Irreversible saltwater intrusion has now become as much or more of a threat than septic tank pollution.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water just to challenge costs that will be fairly adjusted with time. The county has assigned personnel who are currently seeking grants plus alternative financing. As monies come in, we should see reductions in installation as well as in the overall expense.

Support the county plan. Everyone I know with a brain in his or her head knows it’s the best way to resolve our wastewater issues. Thirty — or is it now 40? — years is long enough!

Joyce Albright

Los Osos

The issues

Another protest vote in Los Osos? After 40 years, Los Osos hasn’t figured out how to build a sewer for under $300 a month? This has gone on so long that my kids are having kids. Faster, cheaper, better turned into slower, more expensive, worse, lawsuits and bankruptcy.

There is the water issue. Los Osos does not have water for development. Lot owners cannot hook up until the water issues are addressed. What are the options for their property? There is an affordability issue. Financing for construction costs are proposed to be paid through rates and other fees. Any additional cost overruns will be paid through increased rates and charges. Can you afford that?

What about financial assistance for the lower income and fixed-income citizens of Los Osos?

There is also a money issue. The county will get 15 percent of the total cost for the sewer project if the contract is awarded to Montgomery Watson Harza.

Please send in your protest letter. Your letter must be received by Tuesday.

Teresa Malone

Los Osos

False information

Once again, the same people who forced the 2005 sewer project to be canceled, caused the Los Osos Community Services District to enter bankruptcy and opened the door for the Regional Water Quality Control Board to issue cease and desist orders have launched a campaign to derail the Los Osos sewer project.

They have issued a mass mailing to property owners in the prohibition zone to persuade them to send in formal protests to the Rates and Charges Ordinance to be heard by supervisors on Tuesday. Their statements are rife with assumptions, half-truths, misleading statements and scare tactics.

Their estimate of monthly charges of $243 to $363 includes $18 from the failed 2005 project which they stopped (we’re still paying) and ongoing charges of $50 to $100 for sewer hookup, neither of which is a component of the project’s cost. Actual projected costs will range from $169 for a single person’s residence to $244 for a family of six. If undeveloped properties can be included, which is likely, the range drops to $137-$213. In this recessionary period, the project could come in well under the 2007 estimates, further reducing monthly charges.

If the project is once again delayed, it is likely that the water board will begin enforcement of the Basin Plan prohibition by fining individual property owners.

People who disseminate false information must not be allowed to inflict more hardship on our community. Ignore their petition.

Bill Garfinkel

Chair of the former Technical Advisory Committee

Prepare to pay

In 2007, Los Osos Prohibition Zone homeowners passed a 218 assessment that appeared to tax households $25,000 and no more. A specific project wasn’t indicated, only the promise of fair competition of technologies using a design bid process.

Attorneys and others saw that these “promises” wouldn’t be upheld. The MWH (Montgomery Watson Harza) project, stopped in 2005, could easily come back. $25,000 wasn’t the true cost; it was really a blank check. Many stated so at the 218 protest hearing in 2007 and were correct but dismissed.

In 2007, most citizens were unaware of the dire water crisis, due to salt water intrusion, that Los Osos faced, a fact the Regional Water Quality Control Board and the county were aware of for decades. If citizens had known of this lack of drinkable water, due to salt water intrusion, would they have passed the original 218?

The vacant lot owners — knowing these facts — won’t, which means current homeowners will have to pay their share, plus all other unknown, additional future costs that will be associated with this extremely expensive and impactive sewer project. If citizens don’t say no by Tuesday then they must be prepared to pay dearly for the next 40 years at the detriment of their wallets, water supply and environment.

Piper Reilly

Los Osos

Get on with it

In what world does Ben DiFatta live in (“Protest the sewer,” Dec. 5)? The costs of past failures over 30 years and more to come is unacceptable should the present effort fail once more due to malcontents. Enough already! I am disgusted at the lack of courage and misinformation some residents have.

I agree the costs are going up as usual due to such protesting, but so will the value of new construction on empty lots, businesses and homes.

Before you protest more, remember the huge residential fines, lawsuits and court costs due to failed efforts of the past.

The wild assertions of DiFatta fail to show a better, cheaper or detailed method. The recent treatment plant meeting in Los Osos was extensive, impressively researched, well presented and greatly appreciated.

It would be naive to believe alternative plans have not been extensively considered and rejected.

So fellow citizens, I urge you to “get on with it.” Shut up and quit griping. Do some research and become knowledgeable. If you wish to live here in paradise, expect to earn it or move on. Incidentally, plans are made to assist needy homeowners with extra costs.

Monte McGinty

Los Osos

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