Tuesday, November 22, 2005

View it and weep.

I went to the CSD office yesterday and checked out the videotape of CSD’s in-house engineer, Rob Miller’s Nov 7, ’05 power point presentation of the comparisons that were run during the negotiations with the State Water Board, the CSD’s negotiating team and Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee. Darrin Polhemus, the Assistant Division Chief of the State Water Resources Control Board (Sacramento), vetted the numbers. Mr. Polhemus has been described by all parties as an expert who has a wide base of knowledge and extensive experience about all the systems that were looked at and compared. All the numbers were in “real time,” and did not include any "fines" or the millions that may have been lost when the previous board started pounding state money into the ground weeks before the recall election. (The additional heartbreak comes in knowing that if the previous CSD board had honestly run these same comparisons in, say 2001 or 2002, all the numbers would have been waaaaay cheaper overall than what this community is faced with now.)

The results were shocking. The three treatment plants (not the collection systems) compared were the ponding, the ditch/oxidation and the MBR (what’s proposed for the TriW site). Not surprising, the MBR plant (Tri-W) was the most expensive, without question. Yet, no matter how you looked at the numbers, all three plants came in cheaper overall with the out of town site. This was because the out of town site allowed more flexibility in long term O & M costs, deferred costs such as ag-exchange, dewatering, and on-site sludge treatment and disposal.

In short, when the previous CSD repeatedly told this community that the out of town sites had been considered and had been found to be either undoable or waaaaay more expensive than the plant at the Tri-W site, how could that possibly have been true? The plants would have been the same, the comparison points would have been the same, the overall results would also have been the same.

So, now, here’s some of the concerns and the questions that this community MUST ask at tonight’s CSD meeting, 11/22/05: (6 p.m. at the Community Center: Public comment prior to going into closed session: Public portion of the meeting will begin at 7:30 - 2 items on the agenda)

1. Democracy can only operate with an informed citizenry but that information must be accurate and correct. False information can only lead to bad decisions. The previous CSDs have repeatedly and adamantly maintained that they had carefully studied all options and the Tri-W site was the cheapest and best. We were told there were NO alternatives.

2. The Nov. 7 presentation makes it clear that there were, indeed, alternatives available. Were the numbers run and vetted by the state during the negotiations false? Or did the previous CSD lie about doing a comparison study of the out of town costs? If so, was the community tricked by demonstrably false information into “signing onto” a fraudulent project? (No matter how the numbers are run, the Tri-W project and site can’t ever be described as being the cheapest, especially when the “deferred” costs of ag-exchange, O&M & R, sludge treatment and importing State water are factored in.)

3. Was this community locked into massive debt by the previous CSD, a debt also based on patently false information? Does this constitute fraud? If so, then this community really shouldn’t sign onto anything until there’s a full investigation into this matter.

Meantime, I would urge everyone in Los Osos to check out the tape and watch it. Rob’s presentation is the first item up and it doesn’t take long. I’m sure copies of the spread sheet of his numbers can be made available at the office, if they aren’t already in the Board Book.

Then it’ll be time to ask the saddest question of all: Were we all conned and defrauded and sold a false bill of goods by our previous CSD? If so, then it’s time to set this right and do it now.


Shark Inlet said...

Might I humbly suggest that ... if one can save $20M by spending an aditional $40M it would not be saving any money at all.

I am not saying that the SWRCB should have done but considering their loan is specific to TriW your claim that we could save money by moving the plant out of town is touching and heartfelt, but a complete lie once the numbers are boiled down to $/month for real people who will actually have to pay.

Please ignore the following rant:

Just admit it ... you are more interested in moving the plant than in the bills the rest of us will have to pay. I am jealous of your wealth. If you could put yourselves in the shoes of the rest of us before forming your opinions I, for one, would appreciate it. If you are going to use your column to present a self-interested viewpoint designed to get people to agree, you are abusing the newspaper you write for.

Apologies if you were offended. My only defense (and it is a weak one) is that your comments always seem to focus on "justice" for Pandora and Stan but not on "mercy" for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Might I suggest...if you don't like Ann's site then why visit it so often? No one is forcing you to read it, or subscribe to the Tribune, or the New York Times, or Charter Cable. I see your point about "mercy" but "justice" is equally valid to me. All depends on one's perspective.

Dogpatch Refugee said...

Ann's journalistic investigation of this project and the issues surrounding it are as legitimate a journlaism as you will find around this shameless county. By the way, the narrows at the south end of Morro Bay is traditionally known as Shark's Inlet. Water clarity there during the last week to about five feet, full of bait & diving polluted that it will take 160 million dollars & a town laid waste in order to make it right. Commercial oyster beds, must pure poison out there...Surely only the State knows what is best for us. Surely all criticism is harmful. Only obdience is wise. Too much inquiry and democracy is certainly too much for the riff raff to handle. Oh how I long for the even handed competence and clairity of Stan, Gordan, & Le Gross. WE LOVE YOU ANN. Don't let theses cybersycophants get to you. Your tolerance for them is admirable. Free speech first & always

Shark Inlet said...

Sure, free speech for those who agree with the current board. Otherwise you get harassed.

Their actions last night were actions that I would claim the majority of the community do not support. Furthermore, those actions will keep the citizens of this community and the property owners of this community from deciding for ourselves what we want to do. The issue Rob raised about it would be difficult if not impossible to bond is a good issue. I am sure that if the LOCSD gets back to the state today and says "we accept your deal and it will take us a week or so to work out some way of bonding the project until February" the SWRCB would view this positively. However the CSD last night chose to say "we think it won't likely work so we have to pass ... even though we might have wanted to take the deal it was too onerous."

The board's presentation last night could be summarized: "Everything the previous board told you would happen if the recall and measure B were passed has occured and everything we told you wouldn't happen has ... in other words, we are either liars or unwise ... we can't decide ... in any case, you are screwed."

Dogpatch Refugee said...

Of course there was never ever any harassment by supporters of the previous board against supporters of the current board.
Saints all of them. Every one.
No lies or unwise decisions by the previous board either, just optimism & civic mindedness...La La la La la la

Churadogs said...

Dear Inlet, Oh, I couldn't possibly overlook a couple of comments in your "rant."
1."I am jealous of your wealth." My "wealth?" Boy, do you have me confused with somebody else.Have you seen the car I drive? Bwa-hahahahah. Oh, dear, sorry.
2. An OPINION column and an OPINION blog is supposed to be a "self-interested viewpoint designed to get people to agree." That's why it appears on the OPINION page of the paper, along with all the other self-interested viewpoints written by other OPINION mongers. Nothing abusive about it.

But by way of your defense, a lot of people confuse opinion columnists with "journalists." I've often had people come up to me and say, "I read your article . . ." and it turns out, they're refering to my letter to the editor or my column.Those are not "articles."

Opinion columnists and "journalists, are two distinct creatures with entirely distinct functions in the free speech "biz."

Dogpatch Refugee said...

>>Opinion columnists and "journalists, are two distinct creatures with entirely distinct functions in the free speech "biz."<<
Ah yes, Ann, but they are both at their best when they hold to high journalistic standards, ethics, & genuine inquiry. Hands down, you do those things consistantly & professionally. You need to get PAID. Cuz what you do has REAL VALUE to us. When others infer otherwise, IMHO, they seem as cynical partisans, fearful of your opinion' weight at large. Their doggedly nagging comments remind me of signal jamming, trying to garble your message. Nothing new here, as far as I and many others are concerned. The well oiled & well practiced propaganda machine still runs in Osos, & you still stand tall against it. Hope out of area readers understand that you speak for many many of us here down in "Dogpatch" & we are inspired & grateful for the the brave actions of our duly elected LOCSD board. you are all grassroots at its best. happy thanksgiving

NewsstandGreg said...

Dear Shark,

Thank you for reading Ann's blog each and every day you visit. It is possible that someone is paying you to do so. I hope you get a raise!

May I recommend another new CCNM blogger for your viewing:

Steve Paige, single dad, Los Osos resident and member of the area's population that is 50% below the poverty line.

Link: Los Osos Views

Churadogs said...

Yes, welcome aboard, Steve. With an issue this complex (yet amazingly simple)more informed voices are welcome.Actually, informed dialog was the whole point of Greg's setting up this blog in the first place.

Spectator said...

It looks like Joey Racano has become "dogpatch referee". This guy has so many names it is hard to keep up with him.

Of course this is pure speculation!!!! Just like all of his stuff. Buyer beware!

Dogpatch Refugee said...

Dead wrong as to identity. Blatantly wrong, just like your politics. But I like Racano, overblown as he is. y'all are gettin a little shrill, why don't go get yr yahs yahs off over at there at the Times Trivial Poll, where the traditional local name callers & trash talkers prove themselves hypocrites once again. I agree with you by the way about the function of government...whackos to the right of me whackos to my left. But your disrespect & presumptions, however betray your arguments for the angry hyperbole of followers of a disgraced & recalled board.
WE PAY WE DELAY = WE LOST WE"RE PISSED. By the it is REFUGEE as in: This government makes people, all throughout the world into refugees because of its policy decisions. Unpleasant little aristocratic propagandist wants to play the disdain game. You don't want to hear from me, quit disrespecting Ann's good work. Down here in the prohibition ghetto, Dogpatch, as one of the dReamer fruitbats called us in Public Comment a while back, a lot us love & respect Ann. And we think Recano is a kick.
Keep guessing, raise that BP...

Churadogs said...

Dear Dogpatch refugee, Somebody named my Beloved Bangladesh By the Bay, "Dogpatch?" I love it!