Los Osos is facing an increase in sewer rates when the system has been online a mere three years.
A virtual hearing is planned for Tuesday, April 21.
Protest vote ballots have been received in the mail, however because of the COVID-19 shelter-at-home mandate, there is little Los Osos residents can do to spread the word in our community, and many residents are unaware that the ballot is due before the 21st and have no knowledge that they otherwise must protest at the hearing online or even how to do it.
I sent an email to Wade Horton, county administrative officer and emergency services director of SLO County.
Despite our intense focus on staying healthy, saving lives, and curtailing the spread of a deadly disease, the county has every intention of going forward with a virtual hearing on the 21st for the sewer rate increase in Los Osos.
How many residents even know how to connect to these online methods of attendance, or to make a statement? Many people do not have the necessary electronics or internet connection.
What would we be doing at this time without COVID-19? Perhaps going door to door, tabling at the farmers' market and other locations, speaking at local meetings, etc., all to get the word out to sign the protest. None of that is possible now.
It appears that the county has no interest at all in a democratic process to allow all residents the opportunity to speak on this issue. Rather, the SLO County Board of Supervisors will proceed with the rate increase at a time when 6.6 million people in the U.S. filed jobless claims this week: the highest number ever in U.S. history for the second week in a row. Shameful.
Please advise the Board of Supervisors now to delay this hearing. Mr. Horton, you have the authority to tell the board to delay the hearing due to the public health emergency pandemic we are now facing.
Delaying the virtual hearing is a display of concern for the multitude of people losing their jobs at this time of unprecedented distress, anxiety, and fear that is making us all more susceptible to this killer virus.