Letter: Why did MWSD appeal lawsuit?

Letter

Posted by on Mon, May 11, 2009

I have to admit from a real estate perspective I found the eminent domain lawsuit very interesting.  I read the Federal’s judge’s ruling and found it very direct.  I understand that MWSD a few days ago appealed the decision and I’m curious as to what their reasons were.  Not much has been written about it in the Review and nothing has been mentioned here.

I also know many have wanted for HMB to appeal its loss in Federal Court so now all of us will get to see how the process goes and what it costs. 

Steven Hyman


I’d have thought a real estate broker would know there are times for privacy around a transaction and times for disclosure.

I don’t have an answer for your question.  Probably no one does, but the principles.  In negotiations over real property or litigation there is little to be gained by publicly stating one’s offer, terms, legal strategy or trying one’s case in the public or political arena.  You’re curiosity isn’t sufficient justification for a disclosure that could jeopardize the position of all the residents of our District.

There are some aspects of government that can’t be debated publicly.  That’s why questions of character are fair game for people running for public office. We can’t look over their shoulders on every issue.  On some issues we have to trust them to act in our interest.

There’s nothing to report.  You’ll just have to wait like the rest of us.

I can appreciate the need for privacy in litigation or even in private transactions.  But here we have a public agency that has filed an appeal so their response is public.  I expect some of the local sleuths will get this and post it.

The mayor of HMB made public statements about the Beachwood suit and even had workshops for the public to hear from them and the attorneys.

But even if the directors don’t want to talk about it,  that doesn’t prevent others who are quite knowledgeable.  It seems to me that they are getting a pass from the lack of coverage especially here.

And of course it doesn’t change the fact that this is a very interesting situation that touches on many facets of real estate.

I agree that this is an interesting question, but the comparison to HMB doesn’t work for me.

1. When MWSD lost their suit, they found themselves still in the status quo, not $40+ million in the hole.

2. The risks of an appeal are a lot less, while the upside is much larger compared to the cost.

My best guess is that the answer is “Why not?”

Federal Appeals Court procedures make filing an appeal more of giving notice.  Only an informal/opening brief is submitted.

The MW&SD; Directors have previously changed their charter, filed condemnation against Citizens/CalAm/RWE and wound up acquiring the private water company.  There was no blow by blow public disclosure of those actions. In the past six years they found new sources of water and pushed their capital plan through the CCC.  The Directors have had their critics.  But, the same individuals continue to be reelected.

Given this experience, who better to pursue the issue of the HMB Airport wells than our current Directors?  Based on their past performance, they’ll inform us, when appropriate.

There’s an election coming up this Fall.  So, the critics will have their forum and they can bring up this issue, then.  I don’t see any point in preloading this issue, when so little is publicly known.  Let the challenging candidates this fall do their homework and provide us with some real issues.

While I agree with you Barry in that the magnitude is different between the huge judgment aganist HMB and this eminent domain suit.  But this suit and subsequent appeal is fascinating from my perspective in that it raises many interesting questions (i.e. eminent domain, leases, permits, rationale, legal cost, new owners, etc) which no one seems to care about.

My comments go to the lack of disclosure by officials and also by the media.  After all,  how often does our little community try and take land away from the feredal government, lose and then try again.

On a personal note,  one of my pet peeves about living here for over 25 years is the endless wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money on this perpetual litigation.  It doesn’t stop. How many millions have been squandered that could have been put to better use for our community?

Steven Hyman writes:

“But this suit and subsequent appeal is fascinating from my perspective in that it raises many interesting questions (i.e. eminent domain, leases, permits, rationale, legal cost, new owners, etc) which no one seems to care about.”

People in this community do care.  People that live in our community understand they can’t be informed of every little detail and trust the people they elected.  Why does our community have to deal with the insecurities a realtor, that doesn’t reside in our District?

“My comments go to the lack of disclosure by officials and also by the media. After all, how often does our little community try and take land away from the Federal government, lose and then try again.”

This isn’t your community.  You don’t reside here.  You didn’t have a chance to vote for the “officials”, nor will you, unless you move here.  You may participate in real estate transaction here.  But, that doesn’t entitle you to make claims about “our little community”.  The “officials” we elected have made a determination they shouldn’t disclose.  That’s what “no comment” means.  The news outlets report the quote.  End of story.

I gave an example of a similar action by these and previous Directors against a multinational corporation with an economic interest in retaining their assets.  That litigation included condemnation.  It had a successful outcome for the community.  On the Airport wells, SMC lost their case in Superior Court.  MW&SD; won that case.  The FAA intervened with Federal claims which moved the jurisdiction to Federal Court and they won a judgment there.  Now, MW&SD; is appealing that judgment.  You need to get your facts straight.  This has all been in the newspaper.

” How many millions have been squandered that could have been put to better use for our community?”

The majority of people that live in this District feel the litigation and funds spent to acquire the water company were well spent.  Look at the margin Measure V passed by.  Look who gets reelected.

While its true that I live in HMB,  I have in the past and do presently represent buyers and sellers in Moss Beach and Montara. Your argument that I can’t comment on the eminent domain appeal because of where I live doesn’t hold much water.  Barry doesn’t live in HMB but he is free to comment on things here.

I think I have my facts straight and have asked for an explanation as to the reasons for the appeal.  If you don’t want to answer it,  that’s fine but others may want an explanation. We are a small community of several towns and what goes on in one place effects us all. To think otherwise is nieve.

I’d be the last person to say that you can’t comment on a Coastside district of which you’re not a resident. :->

However, I’m very careful about how I use “our” or “we” when doing so.  It’s not a big deal, but I’m guessing that’s what Vince was reacting to.

I guess its a question of how we view ourselves.  I’d like to think we are one big “happy” family.  When I show people homes,  I point out the differences between the towns but its still the Coast to me.

But I would really like to get some further insight into the reason for the appeal of the eminent domain lawsuit, its implications, etc.  Opinions on that would be appreciated. Thanks.

Steven Hyman writes:

” Your argument that I can’t comment on the eminent domain appeal because of where I live doesn’t hold much water.”

That’s not what I wrote.  Try reading it again.

“I think I have my facts straight and have asked for an explanation as to the reasons for the appeal.”

Early you wrote:

“After all, how often does our little community try and take land away from the feredal government, lose and then try again.”

I responded:

“On the Airport wells, SMC lost their case in Superior Court. MW&SD; won that case. The FAA intervened with Federal claims which moved the jurisdiction to Federal Court and they won a judgment there. Now, MW&SD; is appealing that judgment.”

Anyone can review the relevant news articles and see who is being more factual here.

“If you don’t want to answer it, that’s fine but others may want an explanation. We are a small community of several towns and what goes on in one place effects us all. To think otherwise is nieve.”

I wrote earlier and you ignored it:

“I don’t have an answer for your question. Probably no one does, but the principles.”

Your distortion of the facts and opinions not based on facts are not helping the “small community”, however you want to define it.  Your association of the MW&SD; litigation over the HMB Airport wells with other litigation with negative outcomes is doing a disservice to the MW&SD; portion of your “small community”.  You are depressing the value of people’s homes in MW&SD;, during difficult times.  People in “your community” may be attempting to refinance, buy or sell a home and your opinions are going to have an effect on the values of their properties.  Have you no sensitivity for other people in “your community”?  Is your opinion and curiosity more important than behaving in a neighborly fashion?

“But I would really like to get some further insight into the reason for the appeal of the eminent domain lawsuit, its implications, etc. Opinions on that would be appreciated. Thanks.”

What good is an opinion or speculation of, “No Comment.”?  Only two possible positions come to mind: Paul Perkovic is hiding something or Paul Perkovic is precluded from discussing it by his obligations to all the citizens of the District.  Take your pick.  Now, try and prove either.

Vince,  I started this piece asking a simple question.  You don’t have an answer and your opinion is that you trust the board of the MWSD.  That’s great.

Its beyond a stretch to say that my asking a question is depressing property values in Moss Beach and Montara. This suit has been going for a while and will continue. The Beachwood decision has been out there since late 2007 and people have bought and sold homes. Someone bought a home in HMB last week for almost $1.7 million.  The reality is banks lend money and life goes on.

I’m not disparaging the directors of MWSD, just asking a question as to the basis of the appeal.  I personally admire people who are willing to dedicate countless hours of their time for little money and little appreciation. It seems whatever they do,  someone is angry. If they don’t want to talk about it or give their reasons for filing a written appeal,  that’s their perogative. 

You seem content to follow the people you elected without asking questions.  Barry’s answer was “why not”.  I was hoping for a little more insight which I don’t seem to be getting here.

Steven Hyman writes:

“Its beyond a stretch to say that my asking a question is depressing property values in Moss Beach and Montara. . This suit has been going for a while and will continue.”

Steven Hyman wrote earlier:

“On a personal note, one of my pet peeves about living here for over 25 years is the endless wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money on this perpetual litigation. It doesn’t stop. How many millions have been squandered that could have been put to better use for our community?”

The topic is “Why did MWSD appeal lawsuit?”  You express your personal opinion on the “perpetual litigation” under this topic.  Your implication appears to be the MW&SD; Airport well litigation is part of a “endless wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money on this perpetual litigation.”  You are doing more than asking a question on the original topic.  You are attempting to associate the MW&SD; Airport well litigation with other failed litigation by other government bodies on the Coastside.  What happens if some person form outside “our little community” takes your implications seriously and leap to negative conclusions about property in MW&SD;?  You aren’t doing any property owners in our District any favors with your political opinions.

“I’m not disparaging the directors of MWSD, just asking a question as to the basis of the appeal.  ... If they don’t want to talk about it or give their reasons for filing a written appeal, that’s their perogative.”

Then, why don’t you respect what Director Perkovic told The HMB Review, “No Comment.”, rather than needling the Directors on blogs?

“You seem content to follow the people you elected without asking questions.”

The MW&SD; Directors have a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes for the District.  I don’t think most locals would put me in the sheeple category.

As far as my comment about the endless litigation goes,  I was referring to the Coast as a whole where untold millions have been wasted.  But with the eminent domain lawsuit,  there was a state trial, a federal trial and now a federal appeal.  I asked my question because I would like to learn what the ultimate objective is.  We will have to wait and see after the dust settles but I wouldn’t be surprised that the cost of litigation outweighs any possible gain.  Just like its been with most of HMB’s failed lawsuits.

The people who run MWSD are hard working dedicated people.  I agree with some of their polices and disagree with others.  I feel the same with officials locally and nationally that I’ve elected in that I rarely agree with them 100%.  You on the other hand here back your elected officials blindly without the need for an explanation about a major decision.

I have respect for Paul and have debated with him many times in a very civil manner.  Asking why isn’t disrespectful its just asking for a simple explanation which no one wants to give. You certainly haven’t.

Steve, could you enumerate the lawsuits covered by your statement

“*As far as my comment about the endless litigation goes, I was referring to the Coast as a whole where untold millions have been wasted.*

I’ll make it easy on you.  You can leave out lawsuits involving the City of Half Moon Bay.  The unincorporated Midcoast is not Half Moon Bay.  Also, please be sure to include only lawsuits which you think were wasteful.

My comment about the endless parade of lawsuits was because of this eminent domain suit preceded by the Oak Park and the never-ending Beachwood saga, etc.  Your are correct in that the large majority are HMB related.  I am only aware of the Kalfen suit against MWSD but know nothing about so it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment. I also have no knowledge about anything regarding CCWD or GSD. 

I wouldn’t be surprised me at all if both Big Wave and the Burnham Strip end up in court but those are clouds I see are on the horizon. The involvement of Mike McCracken signifies that the owner is taking preventive measures now.

But Leonard since you are one of the most knowledgeable people on the Coast,  would you please be so kind as to to share with me your reasons for the eminent domain appeal.  Thanks in advance.

I don’t like the representation (not necessarily by Steve) that the problem is “lawsuits”. This ignores where the lawsuits are coming from and why.

If HMB has a litigation problem, that begs the question of whether it’s the fault of the city or a new tactic on the part of those who don’t like the law.

Oak Park looks like a particular case that could easily have been avoided and I don’t think it’s part of any trend around litigating land use.

The MWSD/airport lawsuit is also unrelated to land use issues.

Most of the litigation that we’ve had could have and should have been avoided and would have saved millions of dollars that could have been better spent elsewhere benefiting the community. Its disgraceful how many millions have been wasted on nothing. I bet the HMB number is in the $10-$15 million range.  Anybody want to guess what this lawsuit will cost MWSD?

I could see a case where the MWSD lawsuit could relate to land use issues in that the property is an airport and there were deed restrictions as to its uses. A water treatment plant may be beyond what is allowed there. The new owner, according to the Review,  doesn’t seem to want that structure.

Barry would you please also give me a real answer as to why you think MWSD appealed the loss.  I expected much more from you than a dismissive “Why Not”. Thanks.

Steve, I don’t agree with this statement:

Most of the litigation that we’ve had could have and should have been avoided

It’s those kind of blanket statements that I objected to earlier. It’s based on assumptions that I’m sure you and I don’t share and applies way too broadly to be useful.

I’m commenting only generally on the MWSD issue because I really don’t know the details. I’m just saying that it seems like the upside is really high and the downside is really low. I haven’t seen anything that indicates otherwise.

I bet if someone did a cost benefit analysis of the different lawsuits,  you’d find the costs greatly outweighed the benefits to the community. Beachwood is of course the Mother of Wasteful speding. N Wavecrest cost HMB a lot of money and got nothing-POST bought it. Oak Park legal tab certainly inflated the cost of the park beyond its value.

Many people on this site have been calling for HMB to appeal Beachwood so now we will have a chance to see how much it costs to play with the big boys in the Appeals Court.

Barry I’m surprised you don’t know more about the eminent domain lawsuit.  Its really big news that a local agency would actually try and take land away from the US Government, lose and then appeal.  The judge was quite clear in his decision.

Being the journalist you are,  you should jump into this head first and educate us about it. You have the resources and contacts. There are so many interesting questions and angles to this story. I shouldn’t be the first one raising this topic here after all these months. It seems like they are getting a pass to me.

I can’t be everywhere at once, so I put this issue is on the back burner because of more urgent/important matters, even within MWSD.

But I’m curious what you’re hearing, Steve. If this has got your attention all the way down in Half Moon Bay, what is it about this lawsuit that you think is important?  Is it just the cost of litigation, or is it something else?

Everybody is stretched thin but this is certainly more important to many people I think than guitar groups or dead birds or wild flowers.

As I started this piece off, I said its interesting from a real estate perspective. This covers government sale of property, deed restrictions, eminent domain, fights between local agency and county, local versus Feds, leases, permits, water rights, US Court of Appeals, new owner, stonewalling, more legal spending, lack of media coverage.  When David takes on Goliath and forgets to bring his slingshot thats news. And when a KO’ed David wants a rematch, that’s really news. I guess my question is why doesn’t any of this interest you or your readers?

Steven Hyman writes:

“Most of the litigation that we’ve had could have and should have been avoided and would have saved millions of dollars that could have been better spent elsewhere benefiting the community. Its disgraceful how many millions have been wasted on nothing. I bet the HMB number is in the $10-$15 million range. Anybody want to guess what this lawsuit will cost MWSD?”

Which “we”? HMB or “our little community” in you head or MW&SD;?

Certain individuals in OUR community bird dog MW&SD;.  If the cost for the HMB Airport wells litigation was significant, it would have been on the front page of The HMB Review.  Lawyers bill as they perform services.  The HMB Review has a pro development bias.  Ending the MW&SD; water moratorium is the priority for the pro development advocates.  We haven’t heard a word on the cost of the Airport Wells litigation from any of these individuals or The HMB Review.  But, Steven Hyman seems to think there is some huge cost associated with the Airport Wells litigation that is being hidden and we need some investigative journalist to run down his hunch.

An appeal can cost a lot less than the original trial depending on how many facts and expert witnesses were presented in the original trial. An appeal usually comes down to the lawyers filing, preparing a brief and arguing a brief.  I’d guess the main expense was the Federal trial.  That’s a sunk cost.  I’d guess most of the issues have been issues of law, not fact.  No one has reported huge warrants for legal fees, so far for MW&SD;.

So, take your pick Steven Hyman’s SPECULATION of millions of dollars or my SPECULATION it’s probably $100 to $300K and may be paid back by the grants, if MW&SD; prevails.  I’d guess the news media is betting on my speculation or something close to it.  Which makes it hardly newsworthy, at this stage.

“I could see a case where the MWSD lawsuit could relate to land use issues in that the property is an airport and there were deed restrictions as to its uses. “

What a stretch.

“A water treatment plant may be beyond what is allowed there.”

The County leased the Land to a private company for wells decades ago.  There is already a water treatment plant there.  The County approved it.  Try getting your facts straight.

“Many people on this site have been calling for HMB to appeal Beachwood so now we will have a chance to see how much it costs to play with the big boys in the Appeals Court.”

CFPD responded to appeals through the State Appellate Court and the State Supreme Court, total legal cost was probably in the $100K range.  Moving a case to Federal Court ups the cost some, but not significantly.  It’s not playing with boys, it’s litigating with a Federal agency.  My speculation is the Airport Wells litigation won’t cost much.  This is all just speculation.  For all we know, the problem with dealing with the FAA may be just getting their attention.  Filing an appeal gives them motivation to sit down and negotiate.  It costs next to nothing to drop an appeal if the FAA negotiates in good faith or the other side puts every lawyer in the Federal government on the case.

“Everybody is stretched thin but this is certainly more important to many people I think than guitar groups or dead birds or wild flowers.”

I guess “our little community” is supposed to revolve around your insecurities and concerns?

“When David takes on Goliath and forgets to bring his slingshot thats news.”

Got any evidence to substantiate the MW&SD; Directors or their lawyers are unprepared?  They had a successful outcome on the condemnation against Citizens/CalAm/RWE.

Steve writes: “Everybody is stretched thin but this is certainly more important to many people I think than guitar groups or dead birds or wild flowers.”

Maybe, but I’m basically reposting that stuff. And while being a community bulletin board is an important part of our mission, it’s a lot more work to really master an issue or a court case and share it with the community.

I spent a lot of time with the county’s groundwater report before I posted my story, a week ahead of the Review and days ahead of the County TImes. That was a much bigger story than this lawsuit, especially considering the short shrift it got in the Review.

Maybe developer/builders and real estate types wouldn’t step in it so often with their half-baked schemes if they bothered to learn about our surroundings from local experts like Toni Corelli? And their agida over self-manufactured concerns they can’t even specify would surely be lowered by the great musical offerings we have on the coastside every week.

Speaking hypothetically.

Vince best article on this decision was by the SM Times which got into conversations with the County attorneys.  The Review covered it twice. Here nothing until my question.

As far as legal costs go,  I don’t have a clue which is why I asked.  You think maybe $300k so its probably twice that. Maybe you’ll get lucky by passing the hat around for donations,  otherwise this is on you. With times tough,  people may not be that generous.

And I’m glad to hear that you think those silly little words written on a grant deed 60 years ago is a stretch.  I hate to break it to you but they actually matter, at least here.  According to the Times,  the County lawyers warned MWSD that this was a non-starter because it violated the terms that the county got the airport from the Feds.  Either your lawyers dropped the ball or your Board didn’t listen.  The Federal Judge felt this was a very important reason in his decision. Had someone done their homework better,  you wouldn’t have wasted all this money on this lawsuit.

You also have it backwards.  You need the FAA, they could care less about you and your wells. The man quoted in the Review this week seemed surprised that MWSD applied for a permit with the CCC to build/expand a treatment plant on their property without their permission.  He further said that it is not compatible with his vision of what an airport is for. Not the best way to start off a new relationship with your new landlord.  As a side note, I also found it interesting from a real estate perspective that MWSD could apply for a permit last week without the owner’s permission. SM County will require more than a tenants request.  Another interesting question is what does this loss do to your lease?  Is it voided or does the FAA have to honor it? Anyone know?

I also think picking a fight with someone who has such incredibly deep pockets as the US Government plus a verdict on their side is a mismatch like David fighting Goliath without his slingshot.

I’m also glad to hear that MWSD is working hard to get more water connections.  Well its a good thing that land owners can drill water wells cause that’s the only way they can use their land. Who knows when MWSD will be issuing connections.

Like I said at the beginning,  so many interesting real estate questions and so little interest.  Life must be good for the faithful lemmings like you.

“As far as legal costs go, I don’t have a clue which is why I asked. You think maybe $300k so its probably twice that….”

If you don’t have a clue by your own admission, why the assessment of the validity of the $300,000 figure in the very next sentence?

Please stop dancing around the question NP,  what is the reason for the appeal?

“lemmings”

That’s name-calling and it’s out of line.

Mr. Hyman,

You seem to be losing it—contradicting yourself, asking empty questions over and over as if they are your mantra, referring to problems for the MWSD that may or may not exist, speculating on the cost and progress of a lawsuit without information on what is going on or even why the suit exists, demonstrating ignorance of the MWSD facilities at the airport while feigning knowledge of what the FAA’s stance will be on those facilities, couching your comments in a real-estate perspective as if that bolsters your status, urging people to drill wells for new homes in an area with uncertain groundwater resources (is this to create more people who will go whining to the uninvolved district when their wells fail?), and so on.

With everyone skeptical of the real estate professions because of their involvement in the property financing bubble, one would think a Realtor would be trying extra hard to put her/his best foot forward at this time.

>>“lemmings”

That’s name-calling and it’s out of line.<<

Someone has to come to the defense of the poor little lemmings. I will!

The mass suicide, over the cliff, reputation of the lemmings is a false one. You can blame Walt Disney:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemmings#Myths_and_misconceptions

—Darin

Steven Hyman writes:

“As far as legal costs go, I don’t have a clue which is why I asked. You think maybe $300k so its probably twice that. “

Try reading what I wrote.  So, what’s your basis for your $600k legal cost estimate?  Two times a worst case “lemming” estimate? You had been inferring MILLIONS by falsely associating the MW&SD; Airport well litigation with failed litigation in HMB of a different nature.

“And I’m glad to hear that you think those silly little words written on a grant deed 60 years ago is a stretch. I hate to break it to you but they actually matter, at least here. According to the Times, the County lawyers warned MWSD that this was a non-starter because it violated the terms that the county got the airport from the Feds. Either your lawyers dropped the ball or your Board didn’t listen. The Federal Judge felt this was a very important reason in his decision. Had someone done their homework better, you wouldn’t have wasted all this money on this lawsuit.”

You were claiming relevancy of the case to general interest in the community as a ” land use” issue.  Most of the general public thinks of “land use” issues as development issues not a fight over the legal ownership and operations of government property to be eligible for a government grant. That was the stretch I was referring to. 

There was County politics behind the Superior Court litigation of the Airport wells.  County Counsel lost their case.  Of course, they aren’t going to admit that in the press.  They are going to place clouds of doubt over their opposition in the press.  You latch onto SMC Counsel’s sour grapes comments out of court, after losing, as a valid legal argument.  The issue of this topic is not the Superior Court case, but the Federal court case.

“You also have it backwards. You need the FAA, they could care less about you and your wells.”

Try reading what I wrote.

“The man quoted in the Review this week seemed surprised that MWSD applied for a permit with the CCC to build/expand a treatment plant on their property without their permission.”

It’s the typical Half Moon Bay Review story, further misquoted, here on a blog.  How long ago did MW&SD; apply to the CCC?  The FAA wasn’t the legal owner of the HMB Airport wells at the time of the application to the CCC.

“He further said that it is not compatible with his vision of what an airport is for.”

Let’s have a look at some of the known facts and legal issues:  The water leases at the HMB Airport go back decades.  They were apparently legal and accepted implicitly by the FAA for decades.  The FAA has subsidized SMC for the operation of the Airports for decades with grants.  The FAA has been willing for decades to look the other way on SMC’s leases, while it subsidized SMC operation of the Airports with grants.  The water lease offset the size of the FAA’s grants.  There have been decades of indirect benefit to the FAA in SMC’s ongoing leases to Citizens/CalAm/RWE/MW&SD; and others. What about the County’s lease to Keiwit?  Is the Kiewit lease a compatible use according to the FAA?  Is this individual in the FAA going to unilaterally abrogate those leases and cut off a communities water?  Water rights law is not that simple.  Notorious adverse possession of real property is not that simple, either.

“Not the best way to start off a new relationship with your new landlord.”

Your opinion.

“As a side note, I also found it interesting from a real estate perspective that MWSD could apply for a permit last week without the owner’s permission.”

How long ago did MW&SD; apply to the CCC?  The FAA wasn’t the legal owner at the time of the application.

“SM County will require more than a tenants request. Another interesting question is what does this loss do to your lease? Is it voided or does the FAA have to honor it? Anyone know?”

You clearly don’t have a clue.  As I commented above, the legal issue of ownership and water rights is not that simple.  The whole case could hang on a single arcane matter of law that was missed in the Federal trial, for all we know.

“I also think picking a fight with someone who has such incredibly deep pockets as the US Government plus a verdict on their side is a mismatch like David fighting Goliath without his slingshot.”

By your own admission, you don’t know the facts or issues of the case.  You’ve gotten some sketchy details from news accounts and read one judge’s final ruling and have declared this a David vs. Goliath mismatch along with a lot of other dire pronouncements.

If you are so sure of yourself, why did you come to this blog to ask a question?  Apparently, it was a rhetorical question. You came here to preach to the “lemmings” about your David vs. Goliath analogies complete with the wrath of some old testament god/feds.

I’ve heckled the preacher with readily available public facts and fairly simple arguments.  Many of your pronouncements don’t fit the known facts.  You haven’t defended your position very well.  Why should the “lemmings” in OUR District take you seriously?

Vince,  obviously this is a land use issue.  And its interesting from many angles.  Here you have a tenant trying to take away land from the US Government.

You seem to be the most knowledgeable person about MWSD who has responded to my simple question yet you and all the other commenters don’t want to answer my question. 

The coverage on this has been weak to non-existent. The Times piece was the most informative with quotes from County lawyers.  There is another side to this story but no one on MWSD’s side wants to touch this.

I posted here asking as politely as I could for an explanation to something that interested me.  I know many of the readers here know much more on this topic. Yet all I get are attacks and attempts at avoiding the main question.

I’ll take all this as if you don’t like the message,  attack the messenger.  Its also obvious that after all these comments,  my question won’t be answered here.  But its a mistake to think stonewalling will make it go away,  quite the contrary.  It will arouse more interest from more people.

Steven Hyman writes:

“Vince, obviously this is a land use issue. And its interesting from many angles. Here you have a tenant trying to take away land from the US Government.”

You falsely characterized the MW&SD; Airport well litigation as part of “endless wasteful expenditure of taxpayer money on this perpetual litigation” costing the taxpayers of “our little community”, when in fact it was your little community of HMB.  You are now attempting to use a legal issue over government grants and government use of wells at the airport as a “land use issue” just so you can use broad terminology to throw in your latest over the top rhetoric.

“You seem to be the most knowledgeable person about MWSD who has responded to my simple question yet you and all the other commenters don’t want to answer my question.”

Constant repetition of your opinion under the guise of a rhetorical question is getting rather tired.  None of the principles on the MW&SD; are talking.  There’s probably a good reason the principles aren’t talking in any substance.  You’ll just have to wait with the press and the rest of us.  I don’t know how many times I have to say this, before you accept it.

“The coverage on this has been weak to non-existent. The Times piece was the most informative with quotes from County lawyers. There is another side to this story but no one on MWSD’s side wants to touch this.”

Do your own investigation, if you don’t like the press coverage.  I’ve done it in the past. Its not that hard.  You’ve proved no conspiracy by the MW&SD; Directors to cover up the facts of the case.  All there is is Paul Perkovic’s “No comment” on the litigation with the FAA.  Followed by, they are proceeding with their capital projects, now that they’ve gotten CCC approval. It’s not clear from The HMB Review article how MW&SD; will prioritize those projects.  The one party which was knocked out, lost control of the wells to MW&SD;, that relies on FAA grants to keep its hobby airports operational is engaging in sour grapes for all we know.

“I posted here asking as politely as I could for an explanation to something that interested me. I know many of the readers here know much more on this topic. Yet all I get are attacks and attempts at avoiding the main question.”

Calling people “lemmings” is polite?  Saying the people this community elected are unprepared,  taking on an agency they have no right to, that the litigation is going to cost us all millions, when it most likely won’t and disparaging the value of our homes by making unfounded remarks is not cause for push back on a blog?

“I’ll take all this as if you don’t like the message, attack the messenger. Its also obvious that after all these comments, my question won’t be answered here. But its a mistake to think stonewalling will make it go away, quite the contrary. It will arouse more interest from more people.”

You are no messenger.  You are a true believer.  You come here whining that the press and the members of OUR community won’t give you the facts to substantiate your beliefs.  Your rhetorical question is just preaching, which the locals are ignoring.

Barry, how is saying “lemming” out of line while calling Jim Larimer a “Wing Nut” OK?  Is it because one is God’s chosen creatures with feelings and wing nuts are man made?

Steve writes:

I’ll take all this as if you don’t like the message, attack the messenger. Its also obvious that after all these comments, my question won’t be answered here.

I’m still baffled by what Steve’s trying to get at.

The MWSD has stated publicly that they started the process so they could get state money to improve the wells, something which is impossible under the current arrangement.

OK, that seems reasonable. It also suggests that there is a huge upside to getting a change and that they believe they have a case. This feels like just the sort of thing we ask our boards to do: look after our best interests as rate- and tax-payers. It also appears that the county could have helped out the district, but chose to do the opposite.

Steve: Do you think there’s more to it than that? Why?

I missed Steve’s question when I was posting my comment above.

I wasn’t calling Jim Larimer a wing-nut. I was saying that his column contained a coded message (dog-whistle) to the wing-nuts that he supported their cause. Although I see how it could be read that way.

In retrospect, I think the headline probably detracted from the analysis of his column, although I still believe it accurately reflects one of his intended purposes.

Also, as I’ve said in the past, we also don’t enforce our civility rules as strictly for elected officials not participating in a thread. If you had referred to an MWSD board member as a lemming, I wouldn’t have blinked.

Vince,  the reason I’ve repeated myself so much is because no one seems to want to directly answer my simple 5 word question. You seem to be extremely knowledgeable about MWSD but you too dodge my question and focus on secondary or tertiary points.

Its true I’ve been against wasteful litigation spending here and have written about it for over 10 years.  History has also proven me right on that point but that’s not what this is about.

The reason I posted here was because of a comment made by Moss Bitcher on Talkabout about how different this forum was.  I also knew many of the frequent posters were up on my question.

I do agree with you in that this is becoming tiresome because we are not talking to each other but rather at each other and its pointless to continue.

I too respect Paul and we’ve had many polite conversations on the blogs.  I don’t know that we always agree but that’s ok too.

I also think stonewalling by politicians is a big mistake and usually turns a molehill into a mountain as other keep digging into other facets to get to the bottom.  History has borne that out and that may be the case here too. Time will tell.

I asked a simple question “why did MWSD appeal lawsuit?” and I’ll accept the fact that no one on Coastsider will answer it.  You know this isn’t the most burning question in my life,  I was just curious.

Wild flowers are important:

[link text][1]

[link text][2]


  [1]: http://www.nps.gov/plants/cw/variety.htm
  [2]: http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/WildflowerFolklore.asp

Sabrina,  please except my apologies.  I din’t mean to disparage the beautiful wild flowers that compliment the spectacular scenery we are blessed to live in and enjoy.  I’m proud to have made the Coast my familiy’s home for over 25 years.  This happens to be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.

Yes Sabrina - you can be assured of Steve’s sincerity.  Such is his admiration of our beautiful wildflowers that he’s re-named them - sacred weeds I believe.

Actually Cheri I use the term wetland weeds which can be found in abundance in such scenic treasures like Beachwood.  Perhaps this man made blunder should be made sacred,  it is among the most expensive overpriced pieces of dirt on the Coast as well as a lasting testimonial to the failure of government.

My comment about wildflowers was that they were covered here while the post I started got a pass. But we’ve already covered that.

>>as well as a lasting testimonial to the failure of government.<<

Indeed.

—Darin

lemmings in the midst of a long post = name calling & out of line…

yet a headline of “wing-nut” is fair game.

got it. just want to be clear and point out the rules of engagement in these parts.

You are right Steve - the actual comment was “sacred field of weeds”

**Appropriations Committee passes AB1991**

“There’s nothing special about this **sacred field of weeds**”

Local Government Committee passes AB1991—next stop: Appropriations Committee

“So when all is said and done, **this sacred piece of wetland**s probably cost the community $25-30 million”

And my personal favorite:

**Half Moon Bay negotiating its surrender in Sacramento**

“Can I please borrow your glasses cause I’m not seeing the oasis.  **Even when I’m only going 30mph in my 400 hp Jag**,  I only see weeds.”

I personally look at that picture of Beachwood and see much of what I moved to the coast for.  Scenery that causes me to slow dow, get out of the car, walk, and appreciate the amazing place we have the honor to care for.  I’ve yet to get that effect from a condo complex, but to each his own Steve.

Cheri,  thanks for reminding me of my past comments.  I’m kind of into illeration so my terminology has evloved to where I now prefer wetland weeds.  Of Course Beachwood has a special species and that’s man made wetland weeds which is fitting considering the mindbologing price HMB is paying for this overpriced piece of dirt. The only positive comment I can make about Beachwood is that its near my favorite restaurant McDonalds.

Of all the spectacular places on the Coast,  this doesn’t make my top 20 or 50 list.  For a little more money,  HMB could have bought Martin’s Beach (my favorite place) or 2 parcels like POST bought in N Wavecrest.

And so you know,  my comment to Sabrina was sincere.  There was NO sarcasim intended.

>I’m kind of into illeration so my terminology has evloved to where I now prefer wetland weeds.<

Illiterate alliteration?

I’ll admit I’m a bad speller but can you answer this 5 word question?