This is an archive of a past election.
See http://www.smartvoter.org/ca/slo/ for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
San Luis Obispo County, CA September 27, 2005 Election
Measure B-2005
Siting of Sewer and Wastwater Facilities
Los Osos Community Services District

3,289 / 50.2% Yes votes ...... 3269 / 49.8% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall an ordinance of the Los Osos Community Services District be approved to amend the District Code relating to the siting of certain sewer and wastewater treatment facilities?

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel James B. Lindholm, Jr
This measure will determine whether a proposal to permit or construct a wastewater treatment facility, whether inside or outside the boundaries of the Los Osos Community Services District (“the District”), shall be subject to a majority vote of the district electors (“the voters”).

Elections Code section 9301 provides that any proposed ordinance may be submitted to the District by filing an initiative petition with the elections official containing the requisite signatures of qualified voters within the District. An initiative petition amending the District Code relating to the siting of certain sewer and wastewater treatment facilities was submitted to the elections official in April 2005 by the initiative proponents. On June 2, 2005, the elections official certified the petition to the District Board. Pursuant to Elections Code section 9310, the Board has decided to submit the proposed initiative to the voters.

The measure requires the District to submit any proposal to permit or construct a wastewater treatment facility (“the facility”) to the voters. It also requires that any such proposal meet certain criteria prior to submission to the voters, including that: (1) the facility may not be located in close proximity to “public gathering places” where individuals would be subject to exposure to noxious odors or toxic chemicals emanating from or used by the facility; (2) the facility must be subject to full environmental review under applicable California or federal environmental quality laws; (3) the proposal must include alternative site proposals, including a “no project” alternative, as identified by any environmental review; (4) the proposal must identify on the ballot which proposed facility is recommended by the District and which is the least environmentally damaging project; (5) the California Coastal Commission and other appropriate agencies must be given an opportunity to comment on the proposal, which comments must be made publicly available at least 60 days prior to the election on the proposal; and (6) all information relating to the facility site must be made available to any resident of the District for review.

The measure also provides that any amendment to the District Code or any contract for design or construction of any facility adopted or entered into after March 1, 2005, that is inconsistent with the measure, is null and void or shall terminate according to its terms unless thereafter the terms are made to conform with the measure. The measure shall be effective if approved by a majority vote of the qualified voters of the District.

A “yes” vote on this measure is a vote in favor of amending the District Code to provide that any proposal to permit or construct a wastewater treatment facility, whether inside or outside the District boundaries, be approved by the voters in accordance with the terms of the measure.

A “no” vote on this measure is a vote against amending the District Code to provide that any proposal to permit or construct a wastewater treatment facility, whether inside or outside the District boundaries, be approved by the voters in accordance with the terms of the measure.

  Official Information

County Clerk-Recorder Los Osos CSD Special Election Information

Los Osos Community Services District
Suggest a link related to Measure B-2005
Links to sources outside of Smart Voter are provided for information only and do not imply endorsement.

Arguments For Measure B-2005 Arguments Against Measure B-2005
Unlike surrounding communities, the need for sewer and wastewater treatment facilities has been dealt with reasonably with regard for the cost to residents, the current majority of the LOCSD Board has shown wanton disregard for our needs. They are in a headlong rush to build traditional wastewater treatment facilities on environmentally sensitive land in the heart of our community, right next to the community center, a church, a school and homes – apparently at any cost. These Directors have pushed divisive decisions and, in the face of citizen outrage, have taken oppressive legal action to silence and retaliate against those who disagree. To those who can’t afford the $200 per month cost, the Directors have said "go borrow the money against your home – or move.:

There is no choice but for the people to take back the reins of power and directly enact laws to stop the madness and prevent it from happening again. Measure B-05 sets reasonable standards and procedures for determining where sewer and wastewater treatment facilities should be built. It requires that the least environmentally damaging option under California law be presented as a choice to the people. The Board must fully inform the voters of the economic and environmental consequences of any facility before commitments are made that would force people out of their homes. Voters will have the final say on what is built and at what cost.

We need a new solution to assure that the best sewer and wastewater sanitation facilities will be built at a reasonable cost. New technology at lower cost located in a sensible place will benefit our residents and our environment. Vote against the $150,000,000+ financial disaster the Board majority is trying to force us to swallow. There are sound, economical alternatives.

Vote YES on Measure B-05!

s/ Steve Senet, Los Osos Technical Task Force L.O.T.T.F.
s/ Al Barrow, C.A.S.E.
s/ Chuck Cesena, L.O.T.T.F.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Yes, the sewer project has been highly controversial since its inception.

Various groups have succeeded in taking it to court repeatedly; in electing a Supervisor that presided personally over the consideration of alternatives for 8 years; and in protesting the process before the Coastal Commission.

Opponents have not been stifled. They simply did not participate in the public process of choosing a site at the appropriate time. They have never won a case in court or come up with a cheaper alternative that could meet the requirements of the reviewing agencies. In the 18 years since a project was first approved by the County in 1987, costs have escalated in the range of 300% to 400%.

While the project affects the entire community, California law provides that those who will be legally required to pay for the project be the ones to decide what the project will be from among feasible alternatives. Measure B will usurp those rights, and add another layer of regulation on those in the Prohibition Zone.

Measure B will do nothing but open the door to more years of litigation and more rounds of increasing costs, even if the current project is stopped or changed.

End the nightmare! Vote NO on Measure B.

s/ Don Asquith
s/ Vivian McNeill
s/ Bob Semonsen
s/ Joe Sparks

Measure B DOES NOT 'MOVE THE SEWER'.

Measure B is restrictive and will increase the cost of implementing wastewater solutions. It will prevent or delay the district in implementing a CHEAPER solution, or perhaps any solution! Los Osos needs wastewater treatment, not roadblocks.

Measure B will invite lawsuits. It states findings (section 2.08.01) which are contradicted by state agencies, including the state & regional water board, the Coastal Commission, and the County of San Luis Obispo. It contains language that will be challenged.

The Los Osos wastewater problem is not caused by the lack of an ordinance.

State law governs the requirements for implementation of wastewater treatment.

Prohibition Zone property owners in Los Osos must comply with the law. Why add more costs to comply that are not required by state law? It mandates review by the Coastal Commission and other agencies prior to voter approval (Section 2.08.04). The Coastal Commission does not review projects until after district approval. This is a defect in the ordinance.

The voting provision also states that a 'no project' alternative be submitted (Section 2.08.04). 'No Project' is not an alternative for the district's property owners. Vote NO on Measure B.

Measure B enacts laws and decisions after the fact when a property assessment has already been made. It deprives property owners in the prohibition zone of due process rights.

Measure B has no comparison to the SLO Marketplace. San Luis Obispo property owners were not bound by a state mandate to increase retail shopping.

Los Osos property owners must implement a wastewater treatment system.

Measure B should be defeated if Los Osos is serious about implementing wastewater treatment. It does NOT need or require an ordinance to construct a system.

Don't be fooled. READ the ENTIRE ORDINANCE, then Vote NO on Measure B.

s/ Don Asquith, Ph.D, Engineering Geologist, LOCSD Wastewater Committee, 1999-2004
s/ Vivian McNeill, Cllinical Laboratory Scientist, Retired, LOCSD Wastewater Committee, 2000-2005
s/ Bob Semonsen, LOCSD Wastewater Committee Member, Interim Member, LOCSD Board of Directors, 2004
s/ Joe Sparks, Electrical/Aerospace Engineer

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
If approved by the voters, Measure B will move the sewer. Opponents of Measure B contend that its enactment will result in lawsuits. Given the hateful litigation filed by the CSD against citizens in defense of a flawed, environmentally damaging, overblown project - how could things possibly be worse?

Measure B requires the CSD to present the same alternatives to the people that it must consider under the law. The California Environmental Quality Act mandates consideration of a "no project" alternative. There is nothing strange or illegal about this. The CSD must review and evaluate a no project alternative whenever it takes on a project like this. Measure B requires the CSD to identify its recommendation and the alternatives it has rejected on the ballot. That's all. The people have the right to consider the same alternatives presented to the CSD.

Similar plants elsewhere are remarkably less expensive. Direct comparisons show costs for facilities in Pismo Beach ($12,000,000) and the California Men's Colony ($17,000,000) that are hugely lower than the same facility in Los Osos ($48,000,000). The total cost for the project the CSD wants you to pay for has gone from $43,000,000 to $150,000,000 plus.

Why is that?
Plain bad judgment and mismanagement.

Everyone is serious about fixing wastewater problems - BUT this project fails on so many fronts - it endangers heath and safety, increases liquefaction risk, ignores saltwater intrusion and the list goes on.

There is nothing foolish or illegal about this initiative. Vote YES.

s/ Al Barrow, Citizens for Affordable and Safe Environment
s/ Steve Senet, Los Osos Technical Task Force
s/ Chuck Cesena, Los Osos Technical Task Force

Full Text of Measure B-2005
MEASURE B-05
AN ORDINANCE OF THE LOS OSOS COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT
AMENDING THE DISTRICT CODE RELATING TO THE SITING OF CERTAIN
SEWER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITIES

The people of the Los Osos Community Services District do ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this initiative measure is to establish standards and procedures for the location of sewer and wastewater treatment facilities to be constructed by the Los Osos Community Services District (the "District") both within and outside the District boundaries that would serve and be paid for by the people of the District. Such standards would serve to protect the people and the environment, including the groundwater, from health and environmental damage that may results from improper siting of such facilities.

SECTION 2. AMENDMENT TO DISTRICT CODE TO ESTABLISH STANDARDS FOR THE LOCATION OF SEWER AND WASTEWATER TREATMENT FACILITIES

A. The following definition is hereby added to Section 1.02.02 of the Los Osos Community Services District Code to read in its entirety as follows:

" 'Wastewater treatment facility' means any omprehensive centralized operational facility designed to treat astewater and sewage, exclusive of collections system, which may be located either within or outside the District and which must be paid for by District voters and used to serve residents and landowners in the District."

B. A new chapter 2.08 is hereby added to the Los Osos Community Services District Code to read in its entirety as follows:

"Chapter 2.08 Wastewater Treatment Facilities"

Section 2.08.01 Findings

1. All residents of the District are affected by wastewater treatment facilities due to the potential for noxious odors, raw sewage spills and other environmental degradation and damage regardless of whether they are required to directly pay the cost of such facilities or not.

2. Current provisions of the District Code are inadequate to protect the public from the health and environmental hazards associated with construction and operation of wastewater treatment and sewer facilities both within and outside the District.

3. To the detriment of the public, the District Board has ignored valid environmental concerns in determining to build a conventional sewer and wastewater treatment facility at the Tri-W location (APN 074-229-017) in the heart of Los Osos.

4. To the detriment of the public, the District Board has also ignored valid environmental concerns in determining to build a disposal site at the Broderson location which has been designated as an environmentally sensitive habitat area under the Local Coastal Program adopted by San Luis Obispo County pursuant to the Coastal Act and which poses substantial risk to residential development downslope of the Broderson site due to potential liquefaction.

5. In order to protect the health, safety and general welfare interests of the public and to the environment it is critical that clear standards and procedures for the siting of sewer and wastewater treatment facilities be established.

Section 2.08.02 Purpose

The purpose of this chapter is to protect residents of the District from adverse environmental effects associated with poorly sited and located new wastewater treatment facilities, including without limitation, exposure to noxious odor, noise and toxic chemicals, and to protect natural resources, including the bay, national estuary, groundwater and environmentally sensitive habitat areas ("ESHAs") as that term is defined under the California Coastal Act (Public Resources Code 3000 et seq.) from degradation and damage if it should be necessary for the District to construct comprehensive wastewater treatment facilities to replace septic systems and other inadequate methods of dealing with sewage and wastewater within the District.

Section 2.08.03 Voting Requirement for Approval of Wastewater Treatment Facilities.

1. No wastewater treatment facility shall be permitted or constructed within or outside the District boundaries without a majority vote of those members of the electorate of the District voting at an election held for that purpose.

2. All registered voters of the District regardless of property ownership shall be permitted to vote in any election relating to the siting of wastewater treatment facilities.

3. No later than 30 days prior to the election to approve or deny this site location of any proposed wastewater treatment facility, the District shall provide by mail to every elector within the District, a comprehensive statement of cost and financing information relating to the recommended wastewater treatment facility.

Regardless of the number of siting proposals submitted to the voters at any election, only a proposal that receives a majority vote among all those voting in the election shall be deemed approved by the voters.

Section 2.08.04 Basic Siting Requirements for Wastewater Treatment Facilities to be Submitted to the Electorate

No recommended proposal for siting of a wastewater treatment facility which is to be constructed by the District and paid for by the voters within the District, either within or outside the District boundaries, shall be submitted to the voters as required by Section 2.8.03 above, unless it meets the following criteria:

a. The proposed wastewater treatment facility shall not be located in close proximity to any residential building, library, school, community center, picnic area, playground, church, business center or other public gathering place where individuals are subject to exposure to noxious odors or toxic chemicals emanating from or used by such facility.

b. The proposed wastewater treatment facility has been subjected to full environmental review under the applicable provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including review of alternatives under the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act.

c. All alternative proposals for siting of a wastewater treatment facility as identified in the environmental review conducted under CEQA or NEPA, including a "no-project" alternative shall be submitted to the electorate by the District. The proposed wastewater treatment facility recommended by the District shall be so identified, as well as the alternative proposal other than the "no project" alternative which is located in a location deemed to be the least environmentally damaging site available, as demonstrated by a certified Environmental Impact Report or other required environmental documentation prepared and certified prior to submission of the proposal to the electorate. Among the project alternatives other than the "no project" alternative, the recommended proposal shall be clearly marked and identified on the ballot title and description as the "DISTRICT PROPOSAL" and the least environmentally damaging proposal shall be clearly marked and identified as the "LEAST ENVIRONMENTALLY DAMAGING PROJECT", so that the electorate may competently evaluate competing environmental and economic values of any action to be taken.

d. All appropriate agencies, including the California Coastal Commission shall have been permitted the opportunity to comment on the proposed wastewater treatment site and those comments shall have been made publicly available at least 60 days in advance of the vote.

e. All information relating to the wastewater treatment site, including the EIR, details of financing and costs and viable alternatives shall have been prepared and made available to any resident of the District for review."

SECTION 3. IMPLEMENTATION

A. On the effective date of this initiative measure as provided by California law (the "Effective Date"), all provisions of the amendment to the Los Osos Community Services District Code set forth in Section 2 of this initiative measure are inserted into and become part of the Los Osos Community Services District Code.

B. No provision of the Los Osos Community Services District Code that is inconsistent with this initiative measure shall be operative after the Effective Date.

C. Except as provided in Section 4 below, any amendment to the Los Osos District Code adopted after March 1, 2005, that is inconsistent with this initiative measure is hereby repealed and declared null and void as of the Effective Date of this measure.

D. As of the effective date of this initiative measure, any contract for design or construction of any wastewater facility entered into on or after March 1, 2005 that is inconsistent with the provisions of this measure shall terminate according to its terms unless the contracting parties agree to renegotiate change orders to the contract to bring it into conformity with this measure.

E. Except as provided in Section 4 below, upon the Effective Date, any permits or other discretionary approvals for any sewer or wastewater treatment facilities project shall not be approved or issued unless consistent with the policies and provisions of this initiative measures, including without limitation the requirement that an election be held and the project approved by a majority of the electors of the District.

SECTION 4. SEVERABTILITY

A. In interpreting this initiative measure or resolving any ambiguity thereof, the District Board and all other entities charged with implementing or enforcing this initiative measure or any part of it, as well as any reviewing court, shall interpret this initiative measure in the manner which most vigorously and effectively accomplishes its purposes and operatives provisions.

B. If any portion of this initiative measure is hereafter determined to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, all remaining portion of this initiative measure shall remain in full force and effect. Each section, subsection, sentence, phrase, part or portion of this initiative measure would have been adopted and passed irrespective of the fact that any one or more section, subsection, sentence, phrase, part or portions be declared invalid or unconstitutional.

SECTION 5. AMENDMENT AND REPEAL

This initiative measure and all of its provisions may be amended or repealed only by a majority vote of the electorate of the Los Osos Community Services District."


San Luis Obispo Home Page || Statewide Links || About Smart Voter || Feedback
Created: October 11, 2005 14:25 PDT
Smart Voter <http://www.smartvoter.org/>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund   http://www.lwvc.org
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.