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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ah, Yes, It's a little Open Billet-Doux from our world Famous Sewer Watch Historian Guy, Ron Crawford, to our own Regional Quality Control Board Guy, Roger Briggs, regarding Mr. Briggs threats to Los Osos: FINES!FINES!FINES!WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREETS LIKE DAWGS!

Well, should we start an office pool to see how many days will elapse between the Tribune's headline, "State rejects Osos sewer deal," and "Fines!Fines!Fines! We're all gonna die in the streets like dawgs!" Read all about Mr. Briggs' dilemma and the history of same in a new blog posting at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com

Ron's "institutional memory" of this whole hideous project is always an eye-opener.

34 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

Yes, Ron's memory is amazing. He can only remember selected details that predate September 27.

What Ron and you seem to fail to remember is that it is the current CSD board that needs to make decisions and that simply blaming the previous board doesn't cut it.

If a president had walked into the oval office and immediately said "everything that happens during my term is the fault of the previous president" we would be less than amused.

As it is, you seem to feel that losing the SRF loan is the fault of the previous board. I just don't get it ... could you please explain who's fault the loss of the SRF would be should that happen?

Achilles said...

Whose fault is the loss of the SRF loan? Well, it's the fault of the State Water Board for loaning us the money in the first place.....
William Ruyeyser of the Water Board stated that last weeks agreement was too "risky". How "risky" was it for the water board to loan this district $135 million for a project on the eve of an election that would disolve the project? The State Water Board is going to eat this money and will probably be sued by the contractors. Yes, it the State Water Boards fault the SRF loan was lost.....

madeadecision said...

The state was doing what the district requested for a project to fix a problem. Goverments operate due to continuity of action, regardless of the change of public officials.

If Los Osos waited to make every litigant, agency, or politician happen - nothing would get done.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, 30 years and nothing has been done.

Anonymous said...

The water board is saying that they are all about clean water. Wouldn't getting the collection system in the ground (doesn't matter the location/design of the facility) be a step in the clean water direction? I don't see how anyone on any side of the arguement could be against that. It doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said...

The responsibility for the current financial situation is obviously that of the current CSD board, duh (one of Ann's favorite expressions) It seems like the current board and their supporters want this sewer project to fail. It is the tired old "flush the sewer" game under the pretext of moving

Now if I did not want a sewer, this is the perfect plan; set it up so that we have years of litigation, community bankruptcy, and name blame. By the time the dust is settled, we will all be dust. We can probably keep this going for another 30 years. After sixty years who will care?

I've read all of the recent posts and Shark inlet is the main light of reason in these discussions. He/She provides balance and admits mistakes made by both sides. Ann's contribution is to wordsmith (a good read though) by cute, sarcastic labeling of those with which she does not agree. Some of these labels are quite personal however. Where is the benefit in this approach? How many converts are going to be made when one is labeled a liar?

When are we as a community going to wake up to the reality we are being played? How many billable hours are the interim-2 going to run up (with no oversite or accountablility in this "transparent" CSD)? There is no reason for the interim-2 to ever accomplish anything. Who would do different when there is a blank check in front of them?

Let's here some possible solutions or is this blog just a place to rant and vent ones frustrations and add to the blame game?

Anonymous said...

Whoah! Never mind.
P.S. I do want a sewer.

Shark Inlet said...

achilles, I was probably unclear. When I wrote about the possible loss of the SRF I didn't mean that the money would be lost to the state because of a default on the part of the CSD but the CSD's loss of the ability to take advantage of the low-interest SRF loan.

The key point ... this current board made the choices that have caused us to all but lose the low-interest loan to build at TriW. Without this loan, construction cannot continue at TriW and without this loan (or any other source of money), we don't have the opportunity to build anywhere.

This current board acted far too quickly to suspend construction. Had they chosen to fight Measure B and had they won, the construction would be going on today and the monthly cost of the project would remain about $200. As it is, there seems no way out of this hole that Measure B and the current board (who campaigned for Measure B) have gotten us into.

As I've written all along, their naivete and hubris, their "we can do a better job ... the previous plan has drawbacks ... we can even do it cheaper" attitude that discounts all the hard work and time spent by hundreds of people has been what is getting us further into trouble.

If this board would simply listen for once they could yet do the right thing and get the TriW project started up again.

If they could just admit "we were wrong ... we thought we wouldn't be fined and we thought we could keep the SRF but we were wrong" it would be a start. Tonight's meeting will be a moment of truth for them. Will the be honest with themselves and us or will the continue to pretend that they have a plan. During the campaign they told us they had a plan ... what is it?

As to anonymous 1 ... the SRF money cannot legally go to Los Osos for a project which differs from the one we agreed to build. It was a package deal because the money to repay the loan was to come from the revenue from running the plant ... with no plant being built (that we know of) the revenue to pay back the sewering of the community may be gone.

As to anonymous 2 ... you raise an interesting question that this new "transparent" CSD has avoided answering at each of the last several CSD meeting. The question? "How much is it actually costing us per day to have the contractors not work?" The only thing that comes close to an answer was when Lisa told us "it's not $200,000". If we know it's not $200k, we certainly know the number ... why not tell us? If we don't know the number, we don't know it's not $200k. Transparent? Hardly.

Shark Inlet said...

Just a quick question for those of you who have paid close attention to this situation since last Jauary:

Wasn't the Daren Polhemous who spoke for the state in the recent negotiations the Daren Polhemous who told Julie and Lisa last January that the SRF money could be used for work at another site, only to be corrected by SWRCB members during an open meeting?

If so, why would anyone think this was "a done deal" when the very same guy who gave misinformation earlier was the one doing the bargaining.

The key point here is that the deal wasn't done. The deal was the best both sides could come up with on the spot in a few days. The best both sides can come up with may not be good enough to satisfy legal concerns the state may have. As this morning's paper made clear, if the CSD on Sunday had taken an additional action to oppose Measure B and had started the process of repealing B, the state may have had more confidence in this board's intentions. Face it, the state has felt jerked around by Los Osos and certainly this most recent CSD board hasn't helped matters at all. There is no reason for them to trust this board unless this board shows that they are trustworthy.

FLUSH-U said...

What is it the dreamers don't understand about democracy and the law? This community voted. Measure "b" is law. I'm sorry but Los Osos is still in the United States of America. If you dont like it, maybe you can move to France with Bruce Buel. I thought it was a total riot tonight watching the dreamers going to the podium with pandora's script in hand......like they were pandora's parrots.....and speaker after speaker, the interim gm explained to them "the law". I guess pandora's parrots are pretty dim witted because after the "law" was explained to them 4 or 5 times.....they kept coming up asking the same questions.....polly want a cracker?
WE ARE NOT BUILDING ON TRI-W. WE ARE MOVING THE SEWER OUT OF TOWN. WE HAD SOMETHING CALLED AN ELECTION. IT'S THIS THING WE DO IN AMERICA WHEN WE ARE UNDECIDED ON AN ISSUE. WE WON. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.....................

Shark Inlet said...

One thing that seems pretty clear from last night's meeting is that the lack of money from the state is what is causing the lack of work by the contractors and the lack of work by the contractors is what is causing a lack of money from the state.

Considering pre- and post-election statements by these board members and considering Measure B and considering the likelihood that the CSD may not be able to repay the money should a plant not come online at TriW the state may, indeed, feel that things are too risky to continue shoveling money down the hole that is Los Osos. While some would say they were just looking for an excuse to punish us, I am not convinced.

What does seem clear is that had cooler heads prevailed during that first meeting where the work was stopped, no stop order would have been issued and the SRF money would still be coming. Had this board not given the state an excuse to stop payments, everything would be fine today. Julie and Lisa and Dan tried to explain that they really were making progress and that they did want work to continue at all three sites. If this was the case, why the stop-work order in the first place? If they wanted to say that Measure B forbids construction at TriW, couldn't they have done a month ago what they told us yesterday that they intended to do all along ... simply change the nature of what was going on at TriW until B was resolved?

Seems like this board has really opened a can of worms by their actions.

By the way, flush-u, you appear to be oversimplifying the situation more than a bit. Winning an election is one thing, governing is another. The previous board found they couldn't just do what they wanted to without consequences. This board is learning that same lesson. Measure B has painted this town into a corner or "square between the dog and the fire-hydrant".

FLUSH-U said...

Why the stop-work order in the first place?
BECAUSE THE COMMUNITY OF LOS OSOS JUST VOTED TO STOP A PROJECT THAT WAS FOCED ON IT AGAINST IT'S WILL AND VOTED TO MOVE THE SEWER OUT OF TOWN...I ASK AGAIN, WHAT IS IT YOU DONT UNDERSTAND ABOUT DEMOCRACY AND THE LAW?...........CAN YOU HEAR US NOW? YOU DONT SEEM TO LIKE THE AMERICAN WAY. I'VE HEARD FRANCE IS NICE THIS TIME OF YEAR.

madeadecision said...

Shark didn't say anything that indicates he doesn't understand the law.

Congratulations flush on voting for a law that breaks the law and prevents sewage treatment plants.

And when Measure B is found to not be law, what will you say?

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how Measure B breaks the law. Thanks.

Shark Inlet said...

flush-u,

First off, nice name.

Second, your "Los Osos, love it or leave it" attitude is a little tiresome somewhat like the "if you don't like bombing Iraq you should move to France" attitude. If you are interested in an actual discussion you'll drop it pretty quickly because otherwise people will tend to not take you too seriously.

Now, to your points. In a representative democracy, we vote for individuals to represent us. I.e. we let the CSD board make the decisions for our town with regard to these issues. With that in mind, they can decide whatever they want now that they are in office. They are not obliged to follow your wishes. The "we won so shut up" attitude suggests that you believe the current board is under some sort of obligation. They are not.

This is much the same as a few boards ago. They were elected telling us that they would do a ponding system and only partially sewering the community. After they found out that those choices would negatively impact the community (fines, no loan from the state to accomplish these goals, etc.) they chose wisely to modify their original and inadequate plans. This board can choose to listen to the SWRCB and Los Osos residents and modify their own inadequate plans of moving the plant out of town.

As to Measure B ... there is good reason to think that it will be ruled illegal in a month or two. To pretend that the voters always get to make all the rules without oversight is silly. Look at recent US history. Segregation and "separate but equal" was quite popular with the voters in the South until just recently. It took a higher power with the greater good in mind to strike down these traditions that were very popular with the voters. Do you feel that the federal government overstepped their bounds in the 1950s and 1960s and that racism should be allowed today? I seriously doubt it. Along those same lines, the state of California has a mandate to make sure communities have clean water. Los Osos doesn't (according to some definitions) and the situation is getting worse. It has been for years. Action is necessary to achieve clean water in the community. The previous board had taken those actions. Measure B was a response to those actions. Some B supporters don't want a sewer at all. Others want it but out of town. Other B supporters did so only because the like the idea of getting to vote on the location. In any case, as Meausre B appears to disagree with state law, wouldn't it seem wise to hold off and wait for a judge to decide the issues before voting to stop the project?

Again, it seems like the state was pretty quick to take action against the CSD and it seems like the board didn't think that stopping the project would cause the state to drop the SRF loan. I would suggest that had the board not simply stopped the TriW construction the state would not have had a reason to stop the loan.

Shark Inlet said...

What about Measure B might be ruled illegal?

As a non-lawyer, you shouldn't trust me, but the fact that the Attourney General of the state has already challenged Measure B makes me think it is pretty plausible that it might be overturned ... at least in part. (If there were no legal argument to be made, the Attourney General wouldn't bother jumpingg into this matter.)

If you want specifics, this non-lawyer would suggest reading the the text of the measure, the arguments in favor of and arguments opposed to B. These can be found at http://www.sloclerkrecorder.org/elections/B2005_measuretext.pdf.

In summary, one troubling aspect of this measure is that it says that everyone gets a vote on the location, not just the people (homeowners) who will have to pay to build the plant.

If homeowners pay, state law says that they are the ones who have control over the project. This is the Prop 218 argument we kept hearing about during Sunday's meeting. The CSD was proposing (on Sunday) to require homeowners to vote to take on the financial responsibility for the building of a plant. I would suggest that the previous vote, the vote to take out bonds to design the plant was a vote to procede with building the plant we designed. Some would argue that the previous board should have had an additional Prop 218 vote of homeowners before moving forward with construction (oddly enough, this is the very same group who argued that that all residents, not just homeowners should have a say). Considering the SRF contract did not have this requirement, I think that the state was taking a risk that we would default, but as many said last night, that was their risk to take and a Prop 218 vote wasn't necessary.

The fact that under Measure B, individuals (renters, people outside the prohibition zone) can force those of us who are homeowners inside the prohibition zone to pay more than we would if we were given the decision seems to be a sticking point. At least in my mind.

Hire a professional lawyer for a more well thought out opinion.

FLUSH-U said...

Ok shark, let me get this straight......the job of a politician is to tell a bunch of lies....lie your ass off....do whatever it takes to get elected. Then, once elected, break all your promises to the people who voted you into office based on those promises. RIIIIIIIIIIIGT. Is this the type of politicians you support? Is this realy what you're advocating? Is this turely your concept of democracy? I guess I should be expecting President George Bush to be nominating a pro choice judge and day now. RIIIIIIIIIGHT. I hope you're not expecting anybody to take you seriously. You are one sick and confused puppy. I'm sorry shark. All I can say to you is this.....I know Lisa, John, Steve, Chuck, and Julie. They all made promises to this community durring the campaign. These promises are why the people of this community voted for them. They won the election based on these votes. I'm sorry shark but Lisa, John, Steve, Chuck, and Julie are not the dishonest corrupt liars that you've grown accustom to in the politicians that you support. Lisa, John, Steve, Chuck, and Julie have every intension of moving our wastewater project out of town.....Oh yes, and thank you for complmenting my pseudonym. I did think it quite clever. I intend to make it my goal in life to flush out the dishonest corruption in politics that you seem so willing to support. Have a nice day.:)

FLUSH-U said...

STAN, GORDON, AND RICHARD LAGROSS WERE MY FIRST FLUSH......
WOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Anonymous said...

shark....I just noticed one of your comments from a prevoius statement above and I just cant pass it up......you said "The previous board found they couldn't just do what they wanted to without consequences."
are you talking about starting the project 20 days before the election? I guess you're right. The previous board did a lot of things against the will of this community and there were consequences.
WE THRU THEM OUT OF OFFICE.

Shark Inlet said...

Well it seems that the current board who ran on the promise of moving the sewer, no matter the cost, has essentially lied to someone. Either they lied to the people when they promised to move the sewer no matter what the cost or they lied to the SWRCB when they said they were continuing with the current project as the SRF contract dictates.

I am not advocating dishonesty. I am advocating that the leaders of this community do what is best for the community because what they promised their suporters will bring ruin on most of us. If you support the sort of politicians who make rash promises and then stand by those promises even thought the facts dictate other actions would be more prudent, you encouraging something worse than dishonesty. It takes a brave individual to admit when they were wrong. Ron (over at sewerwatch) claims the previous board made some poor choices just to save face. If this new board sticks by their silly and rash promises they are even worse than liars. They are people who would be willing to sell their neighbors into the poorhouse just to keep from admitting their errors.

Again, if the current board is claiming to be continuing the TriW project (they told us this last night), why did they stop it in the first place? And if they claim to be continuing the project, why should we believe them ... they claimed all campaign to move the plant. On the other hand, how can they continue the project that they told us they would stop?

Which is it, flush-u? Are they continuing with TriW (and thus were lying during their campaign) or are they stopping TriW (and thus were lying at last night's meeting and to the state)?

I would suggest it is far wiser to vote for people who will make decisions based on the facts. This is why, while I wouldn't have minded a recall, I voted against it. The recall people only gave me the choice of John, Chuck and Steve. Nice people. Well intentioned. However, they promised to do something that seems rather unwise. Why trade a $205/month cost for something that is likely to be about $265/month ... as opposed to $205/month like the last board's plan or even $170/month (if the $35M federal money would have come thru).

You may be so wealthy that you can afford an extra $60 or $95 per month, I'm not.

Would you be willing to take me up on my offer in an earlier comment? I'll pay $205/month for the next 20 years and you can pay the difference between my actual costs and the $205? If the new plant is cheaper, you will get money from me every month and if you end up paying me for my increased costs ... I'll support your efforts to move the plant out of town. It's a win-win situation. I get the financial stability I want and you get the opportunity to move the sewer. If you really believe that moving the plant is worth it or really believe that it will save money, you will quickly accept this offer.

Let me know.

FLUSH-U said...

Where did you get the figure $265 per month? Wow. How far up your ass did you have to reach to grab that? Im not going to start making numbers and lies up just to scare people or get people to support me. My ass just isn't as big or fantastic as yours is. Let me tell you what I do know. I went to the community center to see a presentation by a gentleman from Canada. The ponding system and design he presented cost about 13 million to build. I'm not sure what the Tri-W wastewater plant cost. I'm guessing more than 13 million. Whatever type of sewer we wind up with hopefully it will be sustainable of 50-100 years. Considder the operating and maintenamce cost of a pond vs. a full scale watewater treatment plant........did you calculate these figures into that number you pulled out of your ass? The truth is......you have no clue what the out of town sewer will cost. It might be more. It might be less. We will not have a sludge factory in the middle of our town less than 1 mile from Morro Bay estuary. The middle of town sewer was never about cleaning the water. It was about development. The new CSD is looking to solve our water problems not overdevelop our town. We just had an election, right? Who won? Well it wasn't the realtors. It wasn't the developers. It wasn't the multiple property owners and slumlords. It wasn't the seven figure home owners in cabrillo estates that dont have to pay for but benefit from your mismanaged nightmare. It wasn't the people who out spent the "yes on recall" group 5-1. and out commercialed us 10-1. By the way, based on these facts, how in the hell did you dreamers manage to lose the election? I guess the people of this town must really know how full of shit you are. DING DING DING DING.........that's who won the people. The people who voted. We trust this board, these HONEST people, to do right by our community. Something we just couldnt say about a CSD that would start the project one month before our election.....tell me this action isn't what's causing all these problems we're having......I'll take honest people over deceptive "facts" and magic numbers any day. Your scare tactic aren't working. Halloween is over. Your act is just tired. It's too bad you can't give up the ghost of a dream that will never be.....let mem know when you pull your head out of your ass.....we sure could use your intelligence and energy working towards an out of town sewer that your community supports.

Anonymous said...

It looks like "flush-u" is now "flush-me"!

Anonymous said...

Hi. I’m a retired home owner and have lived here in Los Osos for 10 years. I’m not a fanatic like the people on both sides of the issue that I see when I watch the CSD meetings on t.v.
I’ve never been to a CSD meeting but I think it’s one of the best reality shows on TV. I love watching people, on both sides of the issue, make fools out of themselves at their expense, for my entertainment. I started following the great sewer debate late this summer as the recall campaign heated up. I voted yes to create the CSD mainly because I thought it would be better to have local control over such an issue. In retrospect, this was probably a mistake. I voted yes on the assessment because I knew our town needed funds for a sewer but I will claim ignorance that I had no idea it was for a sewer on the middle of town Tri-W site. It may of been on the ballot. If I saw it there, I’m sure I had no idea what it meant or where it was located as I do now. I do not think the former CSD did a very good job of educating and being up front with the community on the sewer issue. Up until this last year, I must also claim that I have been apathetic or ambivalent regarding the sewer issue. For most of this past year I guess you would describe me as a “fence sitter” probably leaning more towards the side of the former CSD and the sewer located on the Tri-W site. Location or cost isn’t such a big deal for me. I mainly wanted to get this problem behind us. Believe it or not, I actually had the “no” on recall and “no” on measure “b” bubbles filled in on my sample ballot. Then something happened. Something that gave me great pause. With less that a month to go before the election the former CSD signed off on and gave the go-ahead to start the project. This raised a red flag in my head the size of China. I actually went to the library and started checking out video tapes of CSD meetings going back over a year. After going back and watching the CSD meetings over the past year. It didn’t take me very long at all to get out that sample ballot and change my vote. Once served with the recall notice in April, the former CSD, did everything in their power to get the project started before the vote.
Can Shark Inlet or someone on the “Save the Dream” side explain this to me? And please don’t tell me they couldn’t of waited. That doesn’t pass the “laugh test”. This town has waited 30 years. They could of waited 3-4 months for a vote of the people. When I watched the CSD meetings from last year and basically watched the former CSD shut down and shut out the citizens of this community by disbanding committees. By only having the bare minimum of meetings some going till 2-3am. I think our new board has had more meetings this last month than the former CSD had all year!! Our new board is also allowing open public comment at most every meeting. Something the former CSD would never allow.
The former CSD gave us, us on both sides of the issue, 3 minutes a month. Our new board does not fear the opposition. It welcomes it. Yes, I have to say, after watching the CSD meetings on tape over the past year that final month before the election, I changed my vote and my vote had nothing to do with the sewer. The “yes on recall”group sold me on the “bad government” issue. After watching Richard Lagros use the “F” word one evening, it didn’t take me long to change that vote. Every time he was asked a serious question he seemed to be at a loss for words. I mean real words. How did he ever get elected in the first place? I just could not let those three men impose their will on our community without our input. And, although I voted “yes” on recall, I voted “no” on measure “b”
You know something funny. I may be wrong on this one. I may be in a serious minority whose “yes” on recall vote really had nothing to do with the sewer. But, looking at this from outside the box, if they don’t start the project before the election and schedule the vote at the earliest possible date....I think the first week of August....I think “no” on recall wins.......whose idea was it to start the project before the election? If this wasn’t one of the biggest campaign gaffs I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what was. Who in the hell was advising them or running their campaign?
I’m glad our new board seems to be focusing and equal amount of time on water conservation, saltwater intrusion, and water supply. Call me stupid if you want....I have thick skin.....but I think these issues are just as if not more important than wastewater. I hope our community can come together on a solution. If there is land for sale out of town and a ponding system only cost 13 million to build and is much less expensive to maintain, why can’t we explore this option. I welcome opinions from supporting and opposing points of view.

Anonymous said...

I find the above personal story very interesting. The recall was a difficult decision for many people. Many people I know were on the fence, going back and forth, couldn't decide, and so on. The election is over, the state has turned it's back on us, and now we have an opportunity to FINALLY do do it right. I suggest we get behind the new board, get out to their workshops and see what they have to offer. Who knows maybe there are some good minds at work here. I think the reason it has taken so long is because ever since we voted to take this project from the county, a good plan never materialized. And the folks of Los Osos are sharp. They are tired of poor decisions and poor planning.

Shark Inlet said...

flush-u

First, if you are going to be rude to me I am sure that Ann will give you a good talkin' to. Second, I won't bother replying to you again. Your choice.

So, what about $265/month? If we spend $70M on a collection system (and Lisa essentially told us that another design wouldn't save money), $30M on a plant, $8M on designing the plant, $4M for buying a site, $1M for EIR and lawsuits, $11M on fines, $7M to payoff contractors for work already completed, $6.5M to pay the state back for the SRF loan as well as the $19M to design and buy land for TriW, even if we sell of TriW for $10M, I estimate that the montly cost will be some $265 because it will take maybe 5 years to get started and with an inflation rate of 5% for construction and a 6% interest rate on the open bond market ...

You get the picture. This is an estimate that is based on a lot of assumptions. I've tried a variety of "reasonable sounding" scenarios (like 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 years until construction starts, 4%, 5% and 6% inflation in construction costs, etc.) the monthly bill will be anywhere between about $225/month and $350/month. In any case, I've not seen any scenario that would reduce our costs at all UNLESS we have that 2.3% SRF loan which it seems that the current board gave up. By the way, I included in those calculations some $20/month savings per household for O&M costs.

If I have "no clue" what the out of town plant will cost, it is pretty clear that you don't either.

If you can explain how the current CSD can actually save money by moving the sewer out of town, I'll gladly listen. The main reason for my opposition to the current board and their plans is that they tell us it will save money but they've not demonstrated that at all. The fact that they've not even presented the numbers for a possible plan makes me worried ... if it is true that we could possibly save money, shouldn't the current board be able to at least sketch out a possible plan for doing so?

The $13M ponding system Al Barrow is presenting will not be approved by the SWRCB. They seem to have it out for us and they won't approve anything less than the "best possible" system ... silly, perhaps, but they feel really jerked around by Los Osos for the last 30 years.

Your point that the previous board shouldn't have started the construction just before election is a good one. I sort of think that the recall and Meausre B would have failed if the vote had been earlier or the construction later. Nevertheless, this current board would not have the 2.3% SRF loan because it was tied to the TriW project. Any possible fine for not making progress will occur whether the previous project had started or not. You can only chalk up some $13M in "damage" to the previous board starting early. This current board has done considerably more damage already (losing the loan) and will continue to do more (fines, losing a possible $35M in federal dollars).

Again, if you are volunteering to pay for my change in sewer costs, I would be happy to take you up on your offer. If you aren't willing to put your money where your mouth is, I would humbly suggest that you are full of hot air and are a bit worried about the costs as well.

FLUSH-U said...

$70 m for a collection system........
$30m for a new plant and $8m for design
(I guess shark missed that meeting at the community center an earlier poster spoke of where the guy from Canada outlined a ponding system whose design and cost was $13m......
I’m guessing this $38 m is one of those “ass” numbers.)
$4m for a site.
really?
Is that all. So there is property for sale out of town and the Tri-W plan isn’t our only option.....
thanks shark
$11m on fines
still conjecture...another “ass” number.
The state came to us with their “final” offer. We accepted it. The state reneged......
So now they are going to “fine us” because they refuse to agree to their own deal?
RIIIIIIIIGHT.
7M to pay the contractors for work already completed....
You yourself shark admit the project shouldn’t of been started before the election....
You think we can get STAN, RICHARD, GORDON, AND PANDORA to pay the 13m bill on this?
6.5 m to pay the state back the SRF loan?
You’re kidding? Right? The state came to us with a deal. We agreed. They reneged.
The state will never see this money........
you think the contractors might have a case against the state for illegally loaning us the money with no prop 218 vote? I don’t care what the interest rate is.......no one ever asked me, via a 218 vote, about taking on the liability of the extra 40-50 million dollars. But, I guess, I don’t have to worry.....the state is going to take their ball and go home.....thank God........
Gee, thanks shark, for illustrating to all of us that these number really did come out of your ass......

As a former poster stated, I’m just glad we now have a government that is reinstating committees and welcoming the public back into the process........and shark seems to agree...........have a nice day.:)

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... the $30M for building an out-of-town plant is roughly the figure the current CSD told us. The $8M to design is based on the fact that the last plant took some $10M to design. The CSD has told us that one of the sites they were considering was about $4m. The $11M in fines is a pretty good conjecture because the RWQCB says they want to do this and the SWRCB won't likely overturn such a fine if it were appealed.

Again, if you can demonstrate that this $13M plant is even plausible, I'll be willing to listen. Until then, let's just say that I have offered numbers that are reasonable and that you've offered nothing other than uninformed 'tude.

If you don't like the fact that the last board spent $13M on construction, how do you feel that the current board has spent maybe $5M to $10M on contractors doing nothing?

I think you misunderstand the whole fine thing. They would fine us because we are delaying (by stopping construction), not because of any deal reached with the SWRCB. The board that would assess the fine is different from the board that controls the SRF money.

Suppose that this CSD doesn't agree to pay the state back for the $6.5M already spent. Do you think that this CSD will find anyone to lend them money to design and build a new plant at anything close to the market rate? I rather doubt it. Furthermore, the property would need to assess themselves to borrow money to even study the possibility of an out-of-town plant, let alone the cost of design, site purchase and construction. I rather doubt that the property owners, who have already paid to design the last site will want to pay to design the next one. Without such a vote, the current CSD is dead in the water and will not be able to achieve their goals of moving the plant. Without a revenue source, they have no ability to do anything. If they do nothing they will get fined even more. If they get fined even more they will go bankrup ... if they aren't already. Certainly if they have no money to pay Dan and the new lawyer-guy they won't have anyone with knowledge to represent them.

I don't know all the details of the SRF and who broke the contract first. I am not a lawyer or a "contract guy" but the plain English terms in the contract are pretty clear. The state owns the project and the CSD is not allowed to change any details without prior approval. The CSD did. The CSD is not allowed to delay the project without prior approval. The CSD did. If the state even thinks the CSD won't move forward as they've agreed to do, the state can stop payments. The first action of the new CSD who campaigned on the platform of moving the project was to stop the construction. I don't see why this is so confusing for so many people ... this CSD intends to move the plant and that is why the SRF payments stopped.

As to the deal between the CSD representative and the state representative. Dan and Lisa and you are claiming that the fact that the state guy offered this proposal means that it is a done deal if the CSD simply agrees. I don't see it that way. If I offer to buy a car pending approval of my loan and if my loan is not approved, I am not obliged to buy the car. This deal was a good idea but don't pretend it was a sure thing that the SWRCB would have signed off on the deal. Asking us to believe this is like telling us that the CSD was locked into place the moment they left the conference room on Thursday and that Sunday's vote didn't matter one bit. If the CSD had to vote to affirm their committment to the deal the state should be given the same opportunity.

As to the state's reasoning about why they felt the deal was not something they could do, it all comes down to Measure B. If Measure B had been fought by this board in the courts or if they had taken a clear action to start a process to repeal Measure B the state could more easily support the agreement. Chalk up another miss-cue to the current board.

The contractors are ready to leave. They would work if paid. They could be paid if the state hadn't stopped paying the CSD. The state wouldn't have stopped payments if this board hadn't stopped construction. Hmmm? Where does the buck stop? I find it odd that Julie and Lisa told us that they want the contractors to be working. If they did, why did they issue the stop order?

I hope you are enjoying your board and I hope they do a good job and that they can get the job done for a reasonable cost and reasonably soon. I won't be surprised at all if they screw things up left and right and it takes another 5 or more years and the costs go up and eventually the plant is in town anyways.

Churadogs said...

Dear Flush U, please, ease up on calling your fellow commentors names or Mother Calhoun will spank, and/or shut down the comment site. (don't want to do that)Thank you. (I know this is a hot topic, but.. . )

As to Shark's last comment, if I understand right, the State's contract with the CSD for the loan allowed for a 90 day stand down, which the CSD invoked when they took office. At that moment, the State apparently stopped the already-agreed-upon payment already in the pipeline, accusing the CSD of "stopping work." According to the GM Blesky, they hadn't "stopped work," and the State, by stopping the money, was in breach of contract since they didn't follow the contract's allowed "remidies." Then, once Measure B was certified, the CSD, I think, had no choice but to stop the project because to continue to build a sewer plant in the middle of town (work at the Tri W site) would violate the law and put the Board at risk of criminal violations. So they stopped work at Tri-W, and since it made no sense to continue work laying pipes to nowhere, they then had to stop work on everything. Then we had the negotiations that would have at least kept them laying pipe (nothing at Tri W)with two years allowed to put the plant out of town, since it appears that the collection system is outside the scope of Measure B.
Then the State dumped the negotiated "deal"and everything stopped. For now.

Shark Inlet said...

"Stop" or "stand down" may not be too important to the state when the stated intent of this new board was to not complete the TriW project that the CSD was obliged to complete under the contract. Again, if you think the state is out to get you, why give them the opportunity? Even with the stated intent to "move the sewer" if this board had not temporarily halted construction the state would have no opportunity to halt payments.

Another interesting factoid from Sunday's meeting: It took some negotiations with Darrin Polhemous before this current board realized that the collection system the previous board designed and approved was essentially about as cheap as possible (with the exception of the bids coming in over estimate). This is something that Ron himself pointed out over at sewerwatch, the SWRCB has been adament since the 1990s that a step-steg system would not be acceptable. Along those lines, this board should have known those facts and their claim that they could do a collection system for less than $40M was a claim they should never have made. All of a sudden their claimed savings (by adopting their hypothetical $70M collection system and plant) was cut by 2/3.

Ann, I don't agree with you yet that every evil in this situation is the fault of the past CSD and the RWQCB and the SWRCB, I do see where you are coming from. Each of these three groups has done things that has made the situation worse ... just like the current board has. It seems like a repeated prisoner's dilema where the "best" choice for each group seems to have caused the situation to be worse than had each party made the other choice. Had the tons of lawsuits to prevent a sewer never had happened, had the SWRCB allowed a ponding system, had the past board allowed a vote, had the current board not stopped the permitted and funded project things would be far better than they are now.

Ugh!

FLUSH-U said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FLUSH-U said...

After spewing all his b.s. numbers, shark said this regarding his numbers "This is an estimate that is based on a lot of assumptions"....basically admitting the numbers are coming out of his ass........shark also says
"The $13M ponding system Al Barrow is presenting will not be approved by the SWRCB. They seem to have it out for us and they won't approve anything less than the "best possible" system ."......so what you're saying is the SWRCB has never approved a ponding system in the state of California. And they wouldn't approve one here just because they want to be "mean" to us? RIIIIIIIIIGHT. Then why was it part of their final offer that they reneged on?......shark talking out his ass again......
shark goes onto say..."If you don't like the fact that the last board spent $13M on construction, how do you feel that the current board has spent maybe $5M to $10M on contractors doing nothing?"...well if the former board doesn’t start the project before the election, a concept you seem to be in agreement with, we don’t have either one of these problems...do we shark......and the SRF loan was a bullshit loan to begin with...it will never stand up in court....nobody ever asked me via a 218 vote if I wanted to assume liability for an extra 40 mill.......
ready for a false analogy straight from shark's colon......" If I offer to buy a car pending approval of my loan and if my loan is not approved, I am not obliged to buy the car. " ....
sorry shark.....it goes more like this.......you’re approved for the loan and the dealership comes to you with their final offer. You agree. You shake hands. It a deal. The next day you go to pick up your car.
And the dealer say’s “sorry Charlie, no deal. Screw you and have a nice day.......
as for the rest......of shark’s crap..........”The contractors are ready to leave. They would work if paid. They could be paid if the state hadn't stopped paying the CSD. The state wouldn't have stopped payments if this board hadn't stopped construction. Hmmm? Where does the buck stop? I find it odd that Julie and Lisa told us that they want the contractors to be working. If they did, why did they issue the stop order?”.........
well shark, if the dumb shit’s Stan, Richard, and Gordon don’t start the project before the election, we aren't in this mess are we?
In closing, I will just say that my board is doing the best they can to fix all the f**k-ups caused by your board. Have a nice day.:)

Shark Inlet said...

flush-u tells us just now that the agreement between the SWRCB and the LOCSD included a ponding system then accuses me of making stuff up.

I think we all know who is chock-full-o-fiction here.

Churadogs said...

OK you two, lighten up. If I understand correctly, the SWB and the RWQCB cannot legally tell any entity WHAT to build or WHERE to build it. BUT,the SWB can choose NOT to FUND a project with it's revolving fund money if it doesn't like the project and the RWQCB can fine an entity if the NUMBERS (Nitrates in this case)of whatever project are put in place don't come in.

So, if an entity wanted to self-fund or fund a project via a builder/designer (Step/Steg, complete with installation of new and/or renovated, sealed septic tanks,) for example, they would be free to do so and go build the thing. Then, IF the nitrate levels of the end-product -- discharged treated wastewater -- for example, proved to be fine, the RWQCB would have no legal reason to fine anyone for anything. If the nitrate numbers didn't come up right, the RWQCB would require that problem be fixed or solved or they'd fine the entity to make them do so.

People seem to think that the SWB can dictate which project to build. So far as I know, they can't. All they have a say over is their nice money. For them, it comes down to, Ya gotta dance with them what brung you.


If Los Osos didn't want to dance with them, it doesn't have to. Right now, under Resolution 83-13, it has to meet RWQCB discharge numbers. HOW it does that is up to us. And, so, realistically, once it again comes down to cost.

And to Inlet, I nver said all evil came down from the previous Board. Your description of Prisoner's Dilema certainly sums it up.I liken the mess we're in to the Tar Baby: Lie one begets Lie Two, which begets Lie Three, until Br'er Rabbit is stuck tight.I would put Lie One back to the Solutions Group that campaigned for a CSD on the promise of a $35 million ponding system when they had in hand the Coastal Commission Staff Report stating that best estimates put the sytem under review at $78 million, and the Solutions Group said nary a peep about that number or that report, which, was Dated October 1998 (The election was Nov. 1998) From THAT lie, everything is linked.

Shark Inlet said...

I think you are right, Ann. The community could indeed put in a step-steg system and ponds, but as you say, if the nitrate levels don't drop the fines could be immense on the scale we've not seen yet. Immagine a community under a mandate to fix a problem first arguing that a problem doesn't exist and then arguing over the details of a proposed solution and finally "fixing" the problem with a method the state says won't be efficient enough. Do you think the state would not fine to the max? This is analagous to the state saying that kids need to be in carseats for safety reasons and a community saying that they think that a rope tied around the midsection of a kid should be as good as a carseat. If the child is injured, don't you think the state would prosecute ... even if a rope is better than nothing?

Under the resolution you refer to and the agreement the CSD has with the state as to when the construction would start, they could quite reasonably fine us for some $44M in December.

By the way, why spank me? I've been nothing but polite here :)

Shark Inlet said...

So you are going to tell us that the original problem here is that the solutions group lied. Fine. I guess you would prefer the not-quite-out-of-town solution the County was proposing at the Pismo site, just across the street from the middle school and many homes. I wouldn't mind that site either ... but how could you support Measure B then if you prefer a site near a school, a site we didn't vote for.

You have a good point, one lie starts the whole snowball rolling. There are certainly many things to be desired about some of the early actions of the last board. So here's a question ... what is best now? To continue with TriW or to attempt to "move the sewer"? I continue to suggest it is wiser to take the action with the most reasonable costs, the action with the greatest certainty of approval.

I would rather the unwise decisions of "your" board not compound the unwise decisions of "my" board by making even more unwise decisions. The best way to "solve" a problem is sometimes to work around it rather than to "fix" it directly.

Sure an out of town plant sounds like a good call, but at what cost? I am afraid to give numbers here because some people here (you, flush-u) don't appear to want to listen because you would perfer only numbers that are "solid" be presented. If that is your attitude, one can never make an educated decision in the face of uncertainty. I would far rather understand the possible costs according to various possible scenarios before making my choices.

I'll suggest again that if you (or flush-u) or anyone can come up with a likely scenario for an out-of-town plant (at an interest rate of about 6%) that would save money compared to the TriW site (at an interest rate of 2.3%) I would be happy to listen. I'm easy to convince once you present data. As a T-shirt for one of the Cal Poly clubs says "Without data you are just another person with an opinion."