Opinion » Letters

Los Osos residents be wary

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For Los Osos, it is time to stand together. 

Many of the residents of Los Osos feel battered and bruised by the sewer issue. We have been pushed around, threatened, and lied to. A contentious battle was waged on both sides with no clear winner.

No matter what side you were on, it is now time to connect our lateral pipes to the sewer. This is another in a series of events that could polarize our community, if not for angry politicians with “big sticks” at the ready. The cost of connecting to the new sewer alone is enough to cause many of us grief. Many of us feel helpless at the onslaught of contractors seeking our business. The process of selection is daunting and can be frustrating at best. 

There is an up side: We do have a measure of control and can exercise that control by how we make our selection of contractors. As Phase I begins, contractors who are not accustomed to the process of bidding, and not experienced installing lateral connections in Los Osos are testing the waters to see how much the market will bear. Read that as: What is the most money I can get for this job?

Prices are all over the map and most are unreasonable and high. The key to this discussion is that the pricing structure established in Phase I will set the precedent for the subsequent phases.

What you pay will affect what I ultimately pay. The job is not rocket science. There are specific requirements that must be met (permit, angles, pipe type, etc.), but any competent plumber can sail through those with ease.

Los Osos residents must stand together and demand accountability and quality from the contractors we screen. Here are a few things worth considering: 

  • • Get three bids: comparable in cost, product type/quality, and duration.
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  • • Check with your neighbors to find out what their bids are and share yours.
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  • • Consider joining other neighbors for a group discount (make sure it is a real discount, not a gimmick).
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  • • Check the reliability and credibility of the contractor. What have they done in the past and are there complaints filed against them?
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  • • Decide if you want a one-stop shop or a general contractor who parcels out the job. 
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  • • Talk to the contractor openly and honestly. Most are not trying to take advantage of you. One contractor told me he is only taking calls from people who want him to do the work, and not give bids. I told him that the residents of Los Osos are being set up to be seriously overcharged by contractors and we need to protect ourselves.
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We must stand together and demand accountability and reason from these contractors.

-- Malinda Lodge - Los Osos

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