html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Yes, I would do that for you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Yes, I would do that for you.

Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Blakeslee bill stripping sewer authority from the Los Osos CSD. That burden rests on the County of San Luis Obispo now. (Good luck, guys. I’m rooting for you.) It looks like the county is ready to take it on; they’re going to present a number of options, including a septic tank management plan, to the voters in an advisory election. Although Blakeslee bill addressed much of the controversy, it apparently didn’t address how sewer-related assets will be transferred from the CSD to the County. When asked how that would be resolved, CSD director Tracker suggested a lawsuit, "It’s Los Osos. That’s how things get interpreted here, through the courts."

The County must be breathing a sigh of relief. The San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission declined to dissolve the Los Osos CSD, on the grounds that its $40 million debt would revert to the county. Seventy people went to that LAFCO meeting. Seventy! Sadly, citizen participation was not a model of measured debate; the SLO Tribune described it as “scathing and often emotional”. We are not surprised. The former CSD Board of Directors asked questions about how the CSD is going to continue to supply water and pick up trash while paying off, you know, $40M in debt. The current CSD Board of Directors said they have a plan, and by the way! They have a new sewer plan, too! Trust them! The CSD board president asked if they are doing such a bad job, why Los Osos hasn’t held a special election to recall them. Oh honey. I think you are a crazy lady, but if I lived in Los Osos, I would vote you into office every term for the rest of your life, just so you had to clean up the mess you made.

The county got to have their say too. County Supervisor Bianchi, whom you may recall was piqued that threats to her personal safety required her to get a sheriff’s escort to attend CSD meetings, accused the current district board of asking her to help them skirt state laws and described their "absolute and total inability to understand that this (water quality regulation) is the reality in our universe". She said that her initial reaction to the proposal to dissolve the CSD was “Hallelujah”, until she came to the conclusion that it would set a bad precedent for overriding local government. LAFCO agreed that they aren’t in the business of negating the voters’ will by dissolving local districts, but did agree to a full audit of the Los Osos CSD. I’m looking forward to the results of that.


I’ve been thinking about this quietly, then mentioning it as an unimportant aside to some of my friends, then quickly qualifying my intentions and then bringing it up again a couple weeks later. But now I’m going to say it out loud, largely to make it more true. I want to write a book about the sewers of Los Osos. I am going to write a book about the sewers of Los Osos.

I don’t really know how one goes about that. I mean, I know how to write, even lots of words in a row. I know water people and they are happy to introduce me to water people in Los Osos. My freaking awesome boss said that if I can tie it to our program (which isn’t such a stretch), he’ll let me spend some work time on it. Thank you, taxpayers of California! I think I’m going to need a laptop.

It is such a cliché, that one writes a blog and then writes a book. But now I know how that happens. It would never have occurred to me that people would want to read about the sewers of Los Osos. But I think of all of you, with your huge eyes wide and impatient, waiting every day to hear what happens next in Los Osos. I want to be the one to tell you and to tell you what happened before, too. I would never have guessed at your insatiable demand for a book about the sewers of Los Osos. But there it is, your burning need to know about the infrastructure squabbles of a small town in California. I can’t let that go unmet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go for it! I would totally buy that book (or at least check it out from the library).

--Geoff (long time lurker, first time poster)

12:30 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

If you write it, I will buy copies for myself and my friends. You'd have to get at least $0.75 from that.

Even though we are all on pins and needles about this thing, you'll need to create some sort of angle that ties the situation to some larger issue. You'll need to figure why all of us are actually interested and make it clear that the book talks to these things. Los Osos then functions to illustrate that bigger thing. Or something like that. I've never actually written a book before, so you might be better off doing the exact opposite of what I said.

12:50 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

I would buy and read the book about the sewers of Los Osos.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

And I totally know that the library I work for (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) would buy it, and I would catalogue it and send it off to the Engineering library. :)

2:32 PM  
Blogger harryh said...

One of these days you need to meet Buzz Anderson. Had a fascinating discussion with him a while back about his recent trip to the Salton Sea and how the history of California is basically a history of water rights.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Greg said...

"The Sewers of Los Osos" would also be an excellent title for a Nick Cave song.

2:44 PM  
Blogger harryh said...

@Greg: To be included in a mix CD along with St Francis Dam Disaster?

2:59 PM  
Blogger harryh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:59 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

My former land lady sold all her Fresno properties about a year ago and invested in Los Osos property, because she figured that the property values are about a depressed as possible after this gang's run. Since Los Osos seems to be approaching reality, I suspect there's a windfall in her future.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Maybe, but who does she think is going to be assessed to pay off that $40M debt?

Y'all are great. Keep telling me you would read my book.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

I wouldn't read your book and everyone here who says otherwise is lying.

I bet the lot of them haven't read 10 books this whole year.

3:28 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


1) That may be true of other blogs, but my readers do not just skate by on their extraordinary good looks. They are also tremendously literate and have good taste. They might not read just any book about infrastructure and pissant policy struggles, but they will surely read mine.

2) They don't have to be telling the truth for me to enjoy hearing it and draw some courage from them. I'll believe them if I want to.

Also, lots of people write in to blog book reviews. I think people are reading more than you think they are.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Justus, you might be right. In my defense though, I never said I would *read* it--merely that I would buy it.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so buying the book. The repeated collision of necessity with denial provides enough schadenfreude to sell it. This will be an eco-political thriller to give Jared Diamond a run.

Ok that's probably enough sucking up!

-=richard=- (yet another long time lurker - and bearded chef)

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're taking the michael, right?
Unless there's a lot of death and sex in it I don't see it having universal appeal...or unless there's some secret code associated with it.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're going to have to have to spice it up with some other theme. Really, no one wants to read about the Sewers Of Los Osos. They might want to read about [insert issue that is at the core of SOLO, and is happening nationwide].

12:25 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

Hey lurkers,

Thank you so much for speaking up for the first time to be so encouraging. I love thinking that the people who never say anything also have my back.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

You know, if it has death threats in it, you can say it is a "True life thriller!"

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Megan

It's way too early to write a book about the Sewers of Los Osos. In case you don't know, we have no sewers in Los Osos. We're working very hard to remedy that situation. By the way, you might want to talk with Lisa Schicker before you go dissin' her. Where do you live?

9:02 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I live in Sacramento, and made my first trip to Los Osos last week, where I learned that the situation is tremendously more complex than it looks from outside. You're right that I need to meet Ms. Schicker, and I hope very much that she'll be willing to talk to me and explain how the situation came about.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Megan

Thanks for your reply. Lisa is a wealth of information on this topic and very approachable. I personally believe it would take an outsider such as yourself to tell this story properly. There is no objectivity left in this community. Drives me crazy because I am a sociologist! Anyway, if you pursue this (which I hope you do) you will find out first hand what I mean. You hit the nail on the head with your "tremendously complex" conclusion. Anyway, it's a great idea and there is a great story buried there. I hope you decide to tell it :)

1:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

If you are willing to talk to me, that would be fantastic. Please email me; I would love to call you and hear all your thoughts on it.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds good...I'll be in touch.

5:26 PM  

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