The evil engineers of division
Razor Online has an exclusive report, detailing a large-scale operation by County officials to discredit Los Osos wastewater project dissent in never-before-seen detail.
When San Luis Obispo County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren attended a town hall meeting on June 19, 2007, he was asked by a resident about working with Dana Ripley of Ripley Pacific Company and the STEP/STEG collection system. He calmly told the resident, “Personally, I’m not a fan of that technology. Besides, [Ripley] and his project is more or less absurd. I don’t want to work with him, and… so what’s the point in complaining, right? We just follow the process. I just do what I’m told.
“It’s part of the game.”
Continue reading Inside The County Sewer ‘Game’ →
Time to tie the knot?
San Luis Obispo County Administrator Jim Grant has thoroughly dismissed the allegations of conflict of interest between Public Works Director Paavo Ogren and former Los Osos Community Services District director Maria Kelly as having “no factual basis” during the morning portion of Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. Grant listed each facet of the investigation that he focused on, and stated unequivocally that Ogren was cleared of conflict of interest on all allegations raised by the local media.
Continue reading Ogren Investigation Falls Short →
Though she had no power or authority over the Los Osos wastewater project during her tenure on the board, former Los Osos Community Services Director Maria Kelly may have promoted the Los Osos wastewater project on her boyfriend’s — County Public Works’ Paavo Ogren — behalf through election campaigning, word-of-mouth at various community events, and progressive board action that allowed a controversial contractor to participate in the wastewater project. Given the seemingly lopsided results of the Proposition 218 assessment and the community survey, the County of San Luis Obispo benefited from her free marketing.
Continue reading The County’s Manchurian Sewer Candidate →
The County of San Luis Obispo is unlike most counties in California — and across the nation — because of its distinct preference for silence as a general response to public inquiry. Many inquiries and concerns are raised and have been raised by citizens who demand transparency and accountability. However, many of those inquiries and concerns are swept under the rug without recourse. This is the culture of silence, and it’s rudely counter-intuitive to making progress and uncovering the truth about highly questionable governmental practices that have become standard operating procedure in the County.
Continue reading The Culture of Silence →
Don't cry Maria... we're moving in with Paavo!
Former LOCSD director Maria Kelly and current Public Works Director Paavo Ogren have been dating for six months. Some allege that their relationship has lasted for two to three years, and the political circumstances surrounding their relationship are extensive. It’s too early to tell whether a conflict of interest between Ogren and Kelly can be proven. However, there is information that illustrates the appearance of conflict of interest. Razor Online investigates the allegations.
Continue reading The Kelly/Ogren Influence →
UPDATE (6/22 10:30 PM): The Tribune is now reporting that Kelly has been dating Ogren for six months, but she “does not base my relationship” on the sewer.
UPDATE (6/22 7:30 PM): The podcast is back online. Click on the link below to access it.
UPDATE (6/22 12:15 PM): KVEC 92.0, the radio station hosting the Dave Congalton show, has pulled the June 17 podcast, which had Velie discussing the article.
UPDATE (6/21 10:25 AM): The County Administrator will investigate the allegations made by CalCoastNews, and Razor Online will report to you the results when that information is available.
We didn’t vote for Maria Kelly. Paavo Ogren is not on our Christmas card list. CalCoastNews has a solid readership for their”gotcha!” formula. Love ‘em or not, something is wrong with the CalCoast formula, and it’s in danger of turning toxic when they go after the kids.
Continue reading CalCoastNews’ Teenage Hostages →
Apparently, MWH Americas has not left the building. County Public Works’ John Waddell wrote to a Los Osos resident on March 22, “The pre-qualified short-list for the treatment facility under a design-build process includes MWH, CDM, and Auburn Construction.”
Then, the plot twist. Public Works Director Paavo Ogren wrote in an e-mail to another Los Osos resident on April 5 that MWH has not been excluded from bidding on the design and construction of the treatment facility and construction of the collection system. Didn’t MWH already exclude themselves from bidding on the design of the collection for the “overall controversy in Los Osos”?
Continue reading MWH, Get Out of The Bay →
To say the least, there has been mixed reaction to my previous article, “Get the Facts: Ring Paavo’s Doorbell.”
On one side, people have expressed frustration over the County’s refusal to thoroughly answer the vital questions that they were asked but don’t or won’t answer. On another, some found the posting of the public officials’ home addresses and phone numbers “dangerous and irresponsible,” asserting that the nature of my article would induce an unstable person — as there are a few folks of that nature in Los Osos — to create threats of harassment and even bodily harm.
Continue reading Mixed Reaction to ‘Ring the Doorbell’ →
UPDATE 10/15/10 9:49 AM PST: The County of San Luis Obispo has provided a written demand pursuant to California Government Code section 6254.21(c)(3) to have the addresses and phone numbers removed, and Razor Online has fully complied.
UPDATE 5:10 PM PST: After threatening to “calling me out” on the article, the 4:00 PM show with KVEC’s David Congalton made no mention of it, but Piper Reilly spoke and did a wonderful job talking about what’s happening in Los Osos. Kudos to you, Mrs. Reilly!
UPDATE 1:00 PM PST: It is important to note that the contact information provided is, indeed, public and listed in the phone book. It is custom for elected and public officials to make their information unlisted, but since these individuals have not, the information will remain up.
UPDATE 12:42 PM PST: Congalton and I have started a dialogue. Click here to read the latest.
UPDATE 12:22 PM PST: KVEC radio host David Congalton wrote an e-mail to Razor Online: “I think this is a very dangerous and irresponsible article. It is unethical as far as I’m concerned for “journalists” to publish the home addresses of elected public officials and urge people to confront them (and their families). Gibson may not have to worry about it because he lives in the middle of nowhere, but Ogren is right in SLO. This is the kind of stuff that gives the anti-BOS crowd such a bad rep. Count me out, please.” Here is my e-mail response to Congalton (PDF).
The County of San Luis Obispo claims to have achieved a lot in its pursuit of a wastewater system for Los Osos, but they’ve notably cut many corners to arrive at this point, and some of the corners they’ve cut have the jagged edge of unfinished public business to them.
Continue reading Get The Facts: Ring Paavo’s Doorbell →
When does product disparagement become an issue of fraud? At what point does the community of Los Osos become a victim of fraud? Razor Online continues our special “STEP vs. SLO County” series, documenting how honesty and fairness got lost in the sewer shuffle.
Previously, Razor Online discussed the potential case against San Luis Obispo County for product disparagement of the STEP collection system, which for two years was an integral part of the County’s design-build process — until April 7, 2009, when STEP was dropped without a plausible explanation and any chance of a true design-build process crumbled into failure. If what Orenco Systems’ Bill Cagle wrote in a letter to Chairman Frank Mecham on May 28, 2010 is accurate, and it appears to me that it certainly is, then the County’s Los Osos wastewater project team has intentionally and purposefully misrepresented STEP technology to the benefit of County coffers, MWH and County-friendly contractors and consultants.
Continue reading STEP vs. SLO County: The Case for Civil Fraud and Concealment →