But did he read the book?
UPDATE (10/16): Adam Hill issued a response to Los Osos resident Bo Cooper, which read, “Certainly Linde can make her comments without resorting to ugly personal statements about staff and their personal lives. Mostly she is able to avoid that sort of thing, as are most of her fellow speakers. I don’t think this a matter of legalistic retreat; I think it’s a matter of decency and civility. Of course so many vile things can be defended under the hazy banner of what’s democratic. To each his or her own.” Naturally, this earned a response from Cooper. Read it here (PDF).
SLO County Board of Supervisors chairman Adam Hill cut Los Osos resident Linde Owen‘s microphone during her public comment at last Tuesday’s meeting, creating an uproar in the community that has led to investigations against Hill for constitutional violations. Following the outcry, the New Times’ “Shredder” took the opportunity to tell residents to “shut up.”
Is anybody home?
On October 13, 2010, I wrote an article titled “Get The Facts: Ring Paavo’s Doorbell,” which was understandably controversial. The controversy reached a fever pitch when I took on local radio host Dave Congalton, who wrote an article about it. Since then, I spent time objectively analyzing the overall job performance of the County, and their responsiveness to concerns surrounding the Los Osos wastewater project.
Mr. Katchoman Strikes Again
The County doesn’t want you to think about Maria Kelly and Paavo Ogren.
County Public Works unveiled an ace up their sleeve at the SLO County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, August 9. Public Works’ John Waddell told board members during public comment that on August 4 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1125. 1125, which was introduced by former BOS supervisor Katcho Achadjian, is a supplement to State Senator Sam Blakeslee’s AB2701 that allows the County to “develop a program that would offset the assessments and charges adopted by the county for very low and low-income households with outside funds, including grants.”
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.
The manana board at another meeting
On Tuesday, SLO County Board of Supervisors voted to expand the total Los Osos wastewater project to $173,398,416 in order to accommodate the “Waterwater Enterprise Fund.” The board also voted to increase the designation for future road projects in the Road Fund by $2,200,000.
Photo Found in Rates & Charges brochure
Buyer beware: If the County of San Luis Obispo tries to sell you their “Rates & Charges Ordinance” by incorporating a photo of critics that have vehemently oppose the wastewater project in their glossy brochure, they do not likely have the best intentions in mind. While it’s true that many in the photo support the County’s efforts to bring a sewer to Los Osos, there are quite a few people in it who are protesting the ordinance, and the County is fully aware of that. How could they not be? Residents like Gewynn Taylor, Al Barrow and Linde Owen have appeared at numerous meetings, appearing before the podium to oppose the project — but, of course, the County doesn’t want you to know that. They want you to know that everyone is on board.
Mecham and Slovik
On Wednesday, November 10, I wrote to SLO County Board of Supervisors Chairman Frank Mecham regarding comments he made at the BOS meeting on Tuesday. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who are involved in the Los Osos wastewater project that Mecham has a certain level of disdain for those who approach the podium regularly. Sure, there’s a lot of repetition from people who reasonably believe that they will lose their homes and find themselves financially underwater because of the extraneous costs and burden that this current project presents. But Mecham has heard all of that “bickering” before — and so I tried something different.
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.
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.
In the bitter, backwards world of American politics today, where right is wrong and wrong is right, there was no clearer illustration of what’s wrong with the country today than what took place on the steps of the government center in downtown San Luis Obispo County last Friday, September 3.