Is it Spin or just Bad Information?
The Los Osos CSD held an "emergency" [Special] 8 a.m. board meeting this morning to vote on spending $4,501.20 for a Performance Bond that will buy $225,060.00 worth of "Restoration Work" at the Tri-W site (to be scraped clean and contoured), the Broderson discharge site (filled with thick chaparral, to be prepped for wastewater discharge) and the staging area on 18th and Pismo [correction: Not 18th and Pismo, it's the South Bay Well Site at Nipomo & South Bay Blvd.] IF the recall and/or Sewer Initiative election results in work being stopped at those sites. The contractors were standing by their equipment at Tri W early this morning waiting for the vote so they could continue their grading work. General Manager, Bruce Buel, had originally believed he didn't need a Board vote to go ahead and buy the bonding coverage, but turns out that he was mistaken. So a rote vote was taken (no surprises there -- Tacker voted no because she wanted the Board to wait until after the election and Gustafson, LeGros & Hensley voted yes, with Schicker unable to stay for the meeting, due to work commitments.)
The interesting wrinkle came when it became clear that the performance bond document voted on ONLY covered restoring the site to a "non-erosive and non-hazardous condition" should work be stopped. There might be some hydroseeding just to keep erosion down, but that's it. No trees, no bushes, no "restoration" of all the plant life destroyed, no mention of "natural contours." Nothing but minimum safety and erosion control at the sites.
What made that so interesting was in a August 24th Bay News story on the tree cutting at the Tri-W site, our own Public Information Office, Mike Drake, was quoted as saying that, " . . the site is restored to its natural contour, if the project is ultimately not built at the Tri-W site. . . . If trees are felled, they would be replaced by seedlings of native species."
Uh, not according to the Performance Agreement voted on today and the information discussed at this morning's meeting. The bond only brings the land back to "safe condition" to prevent flooding or soil erosion. That's it.
So, after the meeting, I asked Mr. Drake who told him about seedlings of native species or trees & etc. Well, darned if he couldn't remember since he attends so many meetings. He thought it might have been something the contractors might have told him? But he wasn't sure.
So, here's the question: Could the bucolic image of tree seedlings and natural contours (instead of bare scraped earth mooshed into a bare-bones minimum grading for erosion control and safety, with maybe some hydoseeding thrown on it) be considered "spin?" Or did our PIO get the wrong information from a vague source (a contractor, maybe?) who may or may not have known what the heck he was talking about? Spin? Or bad info? Dang! Don't you hate when that happens?
Meantime, by voting to proceed with the deep grading and trenching, the CSD's vote this morning once again indicated their care and concern for the community's opinion on the matter. And, by refusing to do the least amount of irreparable damage before the election, they've ensured that the sites will remain a destroyed mess for years, should the recall succeed.
Depending on the election's outcome, it could be considered the CSD's little gift to the community, one that could go on giving for years and years. Gosh, thanks.