Regional Water Board member Gary C. Shallcross was quoted in the Jan 6 Tribune story today on the $6.6 million fine they levied against Los Osos as saying “that seeing a community ‘go at each others throats in such an ugly way’ was one of the saddest things that has come before the regional board.”
Clearly, Mr. Shallcross remains curiously clueless about how communities in general and Los Ososians in particular, deal with such a complex issue as sewering a whole town years after it’s built. He is also apparently clueless as to the complexity of this process and apparently believes that accomplishing the task in about 4 years is “reasonable.” It never was “reasonable.” But Mr. Shallcross apparently remains clueless that the time line schedule always was nuts and that all of Los Osos' problems can be traced back to that insane time line and the failure of the previous CSD Board to demand a more reasonable time schedule as newer information came on line.
Sadly, Mr. Shallcross went on, “It makes me sick to my stomach . . . Hopefully someday you’ll all get together and hold hands and sing Kumbaya. But I don’t think that’s going to happen,” once again proving that Mr. Shallcross hasn’t been paying attention to what’s supposed to be his area of concern: Los Osos.
On October, 30th, had Mr. Shallcross been paying attention, he would have heard strains of Kumbaya wafting from the community center as die-hard opponents, one by one, went to the podium for public comment and said of the “Negotiated Deal That Wasn’t Negotiated,” things like, “Well, it’s not what I wanted but I can live with it.” or “Well, I never was really married to the in-town site and if we can get a better plant out of town, I’ll vote for that,” and such like. Kumbaya doesn’t sound sweeter than that.
But Mr. Shallcross wasn’t paying attention. He had old tapes playing in his head and was not able to see what was going on in front of his nose despite three grueling days of hearings. Oblivious, was Mr. Shallcross, except for his single-minded search for assets in Los Osos that could be converted to cash and paid to the Regional Board.
And, for me, that was one of the “saddest things that has come before the regional board.” It made me sick to my stomach – a WATER board that spent NO TIME discussing how to move ahead to fix a WATER and WASTWATER problem. Nope. Not a whisper about water. It was all about money.
And another sadness: Had Mr. Shallcross and his fellow Board members been interested in WATER and WATER QUALITY and WASTEWATER, I have absolutely no doubt at all that the “negotiated deal that wasn’t negotiated” would have gone through, with their help and encouragement, and we’d be on our way to finishing this project.
But doing that would have involved focusing concern on WATER, and that’s clearly not the job of Mr. Shallcross and the Regional WATER QUALITY Control Board: Money and the getting of money, that’s their job.
So, now everyone will wander into court. Too bad Mr. Shallcross is not able to see just how sad that is and just what he has had a hand in making. But his head is just too full of old tapes, looping endlessly, bearing old, out-of-date information.