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A rebuttal to rhetoric 

It's time for Cynthia Replogle to take responsibility and rebuild the bridge she burned with the rest of the Oceano board

Cynthia Replogle's opinion published in the Jan. 16 edition of New Times ("Punished for speaking") is a typical political ploy to play the innocent victim after aggressively attacking her adversaries.

In Cynthia's opinion, she describes her approach to the political office she holds as accessible, inclusive, open, and informative along with other basic elementary decorum that we all should expect every political official to follow. These characteristics do not make her special nor place her above anyone else in a like position. In her arrogance, she still boasts about having these so-called special qualities. While in her own published written opinion and other social media posts, she illustrates her divisive, misleading, and underhanded character. The bottom line is that Replogle will attack if the board majority does not do exactly what she wants, in her way.

It's disappointing to witness her agitation because the elected board she sits on—the Oceano Community Services District (CSD)—has a limited jurisdiction and only nine employees. Therefore, Cynthia's disruptions result in local governmental inefficiencies that Oceano and the CSD cannot afford. The truth is that Replogle will act out with disregard to the majority action. The same majority reflects the Oceano community's best interest. In a democracy, we are supposed to abide by majority rule. Cynthia is still allowed to exercise her freedom of speech rights. The Oceano CSD board majority has not proposed any action to censor Replogle. Yet she claims that the board has "stifled" and "muffled" her. But all things considered, it should not shock the conscious if the board majority does not trust her on committees to represent majority decisions. Nothing has ever been done denying her freedom of speech.

Let's look at her "opinion." She says in her opinion that she "joined the board" in 2018, but we all know as individuals we cannot "join" an elected board. The truth is that she was appointed by a majority vote of the board to fill a vacancy. In doing so, the majority trusted her to act on behalf of the community. Yet, in her opinion she creates divisions with Halcyon, which is part of Oceano, as if Halcyon was a separate subdivision and overrepresented. It is the subtle use of words that Replogle has certainly learned as an attorney to elicit sympathy as a victim. But her underlying deception is transparent and easily observed.

Replogle is a harsh critic of vehicle recreation on the Oceano Dunes, which is managed by State Parks. The California Coastal Commission and the Air Pollution Control District have regulatory oversight roles. Clearly, the board that Replogle sits on—the Oceano Community Services District—has no jurisdiction in this area. Fees generated by State Parks cannot directly fund Oceano CSD operations—not water, not sewer, not fire, nor garbage.

Certainly State Parks will need to address impacts on Oceano as required by law in their environmental impact report. But those efforts have nothing to do with the Oceano CSD priorities in 2020. Replogle however, has chosen to use State Parks and the Oceano Dunes as a topic for diversionary tactics that create division in the community. Cynthia attempts to take the attention off the fact that she has opposed Measure A-20 to be placed on the March 2020 ballot. Whether or not the board is in favor or against the initiative is not at issue. The board is simply proposing to put the measure on the ballot. This will allow the community of Oceano to decide for themselves how to best use their tax dollars for first responder services in their own community.

Replogle was the only board member to vote "no" on the resolution to have Oceano voters decide on the future of emergency medical and fire response currently provided through the Five Cities Fire Authority. Measure A-20 is a community priority. If Replogle's "no" vote on Measure A-20 had succeeded, the district would have denied the voters in Oceano the right to decide on the future of emergency medical and fire services.

Measure A-20 is too important for the future of Oceano's emergency medical and fire response, and Replogle's misleading diversions are dangerous to those of us who believe that voters should be well-informed when voting on important community decisions. Issues associated with 911 rapid response, 24/7 staffing, and continuing service from Five Cities Fire Authority should not be confused with State Parks and the Oceano Dunes. Still, Replogle feeds confusion and not clarity.

In her opinion, Replogle claims that the board majority needs to correct its mistakes. We do believe that the board should review its bylaws and be more precise in developing findings to support their sanctions against Replogle from serving on committees. Our opinion is based on rebuilding board relations to promote good governance, while her demand is purely self-serving.

Replogle needs to hear why others may not trust her, and then it is her responsibility to rebuild the bridge that the board majority opened when they originally appointed her in 2018. Δ

Mary Lucey was president of the OCSD and a board member from 2008 to 2016, James D. Coalwell served on the board from 2016 to 2018, and Paavo Ogren was the OCSD's general manager from 2014 to 2019. Send comments through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com, or write a response for publication and email it to letters@newtimesslo.com.

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