Septic to Sewer to LAFCO
With the Rincon septic-to-sewer conversion controversy given new life by 3rd District Supervisor Brooks Firestone last week during what was meant to be a largely procedural Board of Supervisors item, the proposal once again found itself before the LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) board on June 5. Charged with certifying a 73-68 vote in favor of the switch by homeowners in the Rincon, Sandyland, and Padaro communities, the LAFCO board was inundated by those opposing the conversion. Taking a cue from Santa Barbara County Counsel Bill Dillon that it was beyond the power of LAFCO and the Board of Supervisors to question the authenticity of the vote, LAFCO voted unanimously to certify the election results and move the conversion process forward. Ironically, the vote in question was the subject of a lengthy Ventura County investigation before the results were ever made public due to allegations of voter fraud by Rincon residents opposed to the switch. Ultimately, Ventura election officials threw out more than a dozen ballots as a result of voter inaccuracies.
Next up for the septic-to-sewer saga is a July date at the Carpinteria Sanitary District at which the assessment process will officially begin and fundraising for the project will get underway. Once that happens, opponents have 30 days to file a legal challenge to assessment-something that they have long promised to do.