Fri. Sep 25th, 2020

BY LINDA SUTTER

I recently moved to the Bertsch tract and while collecting signatures on the water rate protest learned that our area has a Board called the Bertsch- Ocean View Community Service District (BOVCSD).

I attended the Monday night Board meeting starring Jack Burke as Andy of Mayberry, Esq. Mazzei as Gomer Pile, Herrick definitely portrays Barney Fife and Tom Cochran was Jethro through and through; Carol Leuthold could be Aunt Bee and Charlene Wick as Elly May. Yes, not such a sophisticated group, for a committee of importance. This episode played out at the Lighthouse Community Church located in their library at 2455 Oliver street.

The Meeting began without a pledge of allegiance. Ok, well, I got by that one. There were no formal rules, there are no by-laws for the district and none of them knew what by-laws were, except the attorney Gomer Pile, who stated they did not have to have by-laws. NO agendas were passed out nor is there easy access to attain one. The members proudly voted on something about a hit and run but what was hit and who ran is besides me. Then without further ado, Andy of Mayberry stated to the three visitors, “Now, you can talk.”

I begin to laugh at which time I was immediately scolded by Andy of Mayberry asking me what was so funny. The first questions were asked by www.crescentcitytimes.com, Editor, Donna Westfall.

She asked, “How much money do you have in assets, and can you confirm or dispel a rumor that you had at one time $1 million and the City of Crescent City wanted to borrow those funds?”

That question damn near started a riot. Now envision all of those characters talking at once.

Basically, “Hell no!” was the reply.

Ok now settle down there, Andy of Mayberry looks at Eileen Cooper, and asked, “Ok what do you want to say?”  Aunt Bee interrupts wanting to know where Eileen lives?

“I live in the Bertsch Tract.” was her reply.

“What is your address?” demanded Aunt Bee.

I had to step in, she lives out here she doesn’t need to give her address.

“What street do you live on?”

Hmm, really, ok… Eileen tells her the street. I think Ms. Bee needs a drink, her attitude is unwelcoming. Eileen did not get her full 5 minutes of time speaking when Andy of Mayberry  interrupts looks at me now and asks, “What do you have to say?”

I told him Eileen was not done talking.

Clearly although Andy of Mayberry was the Chair and trying to quickly bring this meeting to a close, he was too pushy, vociferous, and had his eyes closed while we spoke. I guess that was so he could hear better.

Now it is my turn.

“Question number one; how many hours do you work in a month Aunt Bee?”

Her reply, “I don’t know.”

“Is it more than 10?”

“Yes.”

“Is it more than 20 hours a month?”

She states,”No.”

“Next question how many bank accounts does the District have?”

She replies, “One.”

I continue, “In 2004 an ordinance was developed between this water board and the City of Crescent City. We were to receive up to 700 cubic feet of water for the basic water charge rate and we only receive 500 cubic feet of water. The rate payers have been overpaying for water for the last nine years. Why is that?”

“That was a capacity charge which is not related to how much our basic water rate is,” was the response.

My next question was, “How come we can’t get better postings of the meetings?”

At which time Barney Fife is responding, “That is not on the agenda and you need to make that an agenda item.”

Really, is it not my turn for public comment.

My last question was in regards to listening to the recordings in the past year’s meetings. The recorder they are using is outdated utilizing a prehistoric taping device with actual tape instead of a digital device.

All in all the meeting although extremely unsophisticated was interesting. There are some serious questions that need to be answered. Why they pay an attorney $1300.00 per month for a meeting that lasts one hour. Why are they paying Oscar Larson and associates $1700.00 per month since March and nothing is getting done; and why are they paying a secretary between $30 and $60 dollars an hour for 20 hours of work to the tune of $600.00 per month. Why are there no by-laws, why are there so few ordinances after all this is a district and as defined in the government code and according to the 1973 resolution organizing Bertsch-Ocean View Community Services District, we are our own entity who was formed and consecrated in 1973 to not only have our own water and sewer collection, treatment and disposal  of sewage, waste and storm water but we have the ability to do the following for our district.

  1. Form the Collection and disposal of garbage or refuse matter.
  2. Have our own Protection against fire
  3. Provide Public recreation by means of parks, including but not limited to aquatic parks, and recreational harbors, playgrounds, golf courses, swimming pools and or recreational buildings
  4. Street lighting
  5. Mosquito abatement

There is so much on the list of this resolution, and yet we have District Members who do not know how to conduct a proper meeting; who do not know how to talk to the public, who cannot answer simple questions because of their lack of knowledge and who are negligent with the spending of the community money by giving it away to an attorney who is not looking out for the best interest of this community. And, to Oscar Larson and Associates who is also not efficiently conducting their jobs at a high cost to this community.

The District Chair is so far behind in 21st century  technology where computers and digital recording devices are a necessity and are cheap to acquire. Serious changes are needed. They are not expensive and could provide more income and cash flow for this Special District, especially when 1/3 of the income taken in is spent on “professional fees” without the professionals having to show competency.

Despite their lack of sophistication in running a proper meeting, unlike Crescent City, this Board does know how to keep a healthy cash reserve and the water flowing without being plagued by problems.

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