I'm working on a story, and it requires that I do a Public
Records Act request with your department, but first, I want to
apologize to you and your staff because my request is likely going to
involve thousands of pages, and I feel bad about putting your staff
through this massive effort, but it's extremely important for my story
that I see these public documents.
Additionally, before I get to the details of my PRA request, I
want to explain why I am doing this.
It has to do with this photograph of the new wastewater treatment
plant that the county recently constructed outside of Los Osos:
Beautiful facility (congratulations), however, here's the HUGE
problem that I'm seeing with that photograph: I'm not seeing a
"picnic area" and a "tot lot" in the
Allow me to explain.
As I first exposed in my 2004 New Times cover story,
archived at this link:
... the 1999 - 2005 Los Osos CSD Board of Directors, when they
were developing their now-failed "mid-town" project, wrote
in their 2001 project report, "The size and location of the other
(potential sewer plant) sites did not provide an opportunity to create
a community amenity. The sites on the outskirts of town could not
deliver a community use area that was readily accessible to the
majority of residents in the manner that a central location such as
(the mid-town site) could."
Additionally, in the 2004 development permit issued by the
California Coastal Commission for the LOCSD's now-failed
"mid-town" project, CCC staff
"Other (out of town sewer plant site) alternatives (to the
mid-town site) were rejected (by the 2000 LOCSD Board of Directors) on
the basis that they did not accomplish project objectives for
centrally located community amenities."
So, to be clear, according to numerous official documents, the
sole reason the 2000 LOCSD Board of Directors was building their
sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos, was so the town's residents
could "readily access" the "centrally located community
amenities" that the 2000 LOCSD Board of Directors designed into
Now, I realize that sounds crazy, but it's true. Here's the
actual drawing of the mid-town site from the cover of the District's
See? "Picnic area," "tot lot,"
"amphitheater," and a lot more "community amenities"
were part of the LOCSD's mid-town sewer plant, and that was why it was
being built in the middle of town -- so the "community amenities"
in the sewer plant would be "readily accessible to the majority
of residents" -- as I first exposed in my 2004 cover story.
Again: "Other (out of town) alternatives (to the mid-town
site) were rejected (by the 1999-2000 LOCSD Board of Directors) on the
basis that they did not accomplish project objectives for centrally
located community amenities."
Now, as I also exposed in my 2004 cover story, the reason the
1999-2000 LOCSD Board of Directors designed things like a "picnic
area" and a "tot lot" in their sewer plant is because,
according to the Board, there is a "strongly held community
value" in Los Osos that "any" -- repeat:
"any" -- sewer plant proposed for Los Osos
must also double as a "recreational asset to the
Here's the quote from the LOCSD's 2001 report:
"It is essential that any proposed wastewater project within
the community of Los Osos reflect (the) strongly held community value
(of) creating a wastewater treatment facility that is a visual and
recreational asset to the community."
So, that was the main thrust of my 2004 story, that the LOCSD was
building their sewer plant in the middle of town, because, according
to the LOCSD Board of Directors, the overwhelming majority of Los
Ososans demanded that they not only be able to "picnic"
and play with their "tots" in the town's sewer plant, but
that it also be "centrally located" so they could more
easily access the "picnic area/tot lot" in the sewer plant.
(I mean, what good is a "picnic area" in a sewer plant if
you have to drive three minutes out of town to get to it,
And all of that back-story gets me back to the photo of the
county's recently completed sewer plant for Los Osos. I don't see a
"picnic area" in the photo.
And that fact -- the fact that the new sewer plant is NOT a
"recreational asset to the community" -- an
"essential" element for "any proposed wastewater
project within the community of Los Osos," according to the
1999-2005 LOCSD Board of Directors -- must really anger the
overwhelming majority of Los Ososans that have the "strongly held
community value" to "picnic" in "any
proposed wastewater project within the community of Los Osos" --
a "strongly held community value" so powerful that the
1999-2005 LOCSD Board of Directors "rejected" ALL
"other (out of town) alternatives (to the mid-town site)... on
the basis that (the out of town sites) did not accomplish project
objectives for centrally located community amenities."
And that gets straight to my Public Records Act request: Please
consider this email an official Public Records Act request for
all correspondence from Los Osos residents to the County of SLO
involving Los Osos residents' anger/outrage/etc. over the fact that
the county did not include amenities like a "picnic area,"
"tot lot" and "amphitheater" in their recently
constructed sewer plant outside of Los Osos.
Again, I sincerely apologize for the massive scope of my PRA
request. I mean, there are about 15,000 people living in Los Osos, and
a "strongly held community value" has got to be... what?...
at least 75-percent of that 15,000, right? So, we're looking at what
must be about 10,000 extremely angry Los Ososans that are furious with
the county over the fact that their "strongly held community
value" to "picnic" in their sewer plant wasn't
fulfilled, let alone the fact that the county didn't build its plant
in the middle of town, which means that, even IF the county had
included a "picnic area" in its sewer plant for Los Osos,
those 10,000 extremely angry Los Ososans would still
drive about three minutes out of town to picnic in their sewer plant,
and according to the 1999 - 2005 LOCSD Board of Directors, that is
-- so unacceptable, in fact, that the 1999
- 2005 LOCSD Board of Directors spent millions upon millions upon
millions of public dollars over the span of some seven years (at
"approximately 1 million gallons" of water pollution
" by the way
), and even went so far as to "override" the entire environmental review process
massive process that pointed to out-of-town sites, of course -- all in
an attempt to meet the "essential" "strongly held
community value" in Los Osos of "picnicking" in a
"centrally located," "readily accessible" sewer
plant, while the SLO County Public Works Dept. just completely
disregarded that "essential" "project objective,"
and, at the end of your sewer development process, in 2009 -- a
process that included the LOCSD'S "mid-town"
"sewer-park" as a potential alternative -- never even came
close to building it.
[However, it is very
important to note here that the SLO
County Planning Commission AND the SLO County Board of Supervisors
, mid-town sewer plant/"picnic
area"/"tot lot" in 2003... 13 years ago... at
"approximately 1 million gallons" of water pollution
" in a sewer-less Los Osos.]
So, again, that "strongly held community value" in Los
Osos must be extremely powerful, which likely means that your
office received thousands of pages of correspondence from angry Los
Ososans furious over the fact that they now will never be able
to picnic with their kids in their sewer plant, let alone a
"centrally located" sewer plant, which must really
anger the community of Los Osos.
So, those are the documents I'd like to read for possible
inclusion in my story.
Normally, for a PRA request, I ask that the documents simply be
compiled into a pdf file, and then have that pdf file emailed to me,
but, for this request, considering that it's almost certainly going to
involve thousands and thousands of pages, if you could just have your
talented staff collect the documents, and let me know when they're
available for viewing, I will come into the SLO County Public Works
Dept. office and sort through them.
Again, I apologize for the massive scope of this PRA request, but
it is extremely important for my on-going reporting on the Los Osos
sewer story that I read those documents, that are sure to number in
the thousands... I mean, of course it's thousands, right?
If you have any questions involving this request, or, if you need
more clarification on which documents I'm requesting, please just
As always, much thanks,
P.S: This email posted to my blog, SewerWatch, at this
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