Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, for March 1, 06, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA
Medea in Sewerville
Ah, Euripedes knew a great story when he saw one: Medea marries Jason, he of the Golden Fleece, and does unspeakable things in order to further their ambitions. When Jason dumps her for another woman, in an act so fierce and appalling that it has come down to us through the ages as the epitome of savage, blind revenge, she murders their children. That’ll show him!
This tale came to mind when I read that Taxpayers’ Watch is now attempting to have the CSD dissolved. In a world of ironies, here is a supreme one: The group that wants the CSD dissolved includes many of the “Save The Dreamers” who wanted a sewer plant in the middle of their town, and they in turn are made up of many of the very people who were responsible for giving birth to the CSD in the first place in order to get the Faster! Better! Cheaper! Solutions Group’s $35 million sewer ponds in the middle of their town.
O.K., so it turned out the Solutions Group (but not the voters) knew before the CSD formation election the price wouldn’t be $35 million, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board had already indicated they wouldn’t approve the project, a birth is a birth. And now that the birth mothers have determined it’s time for a death, we have Medea in Sewerville!
And not just the Greeks are at work here. In this attempt at dissolution, do I smell the whiff of a tale of two cities? The Ancien Regime versus the Denizen of Dogpatch?
All communities are run by a cadre of Dauphins, dedicated citizens who care enough to volunteer on all the various advisory committees that actively decide the shape and fate of the community. These worthy, civic-minded people constitute an informal “shadow government,” a sort of Fifth Estate within our official democratic institutions. Their influence is enormous, but human nature being what it is, they often end up viewing themselves as the rightful heirs of governance, and the notion that governmental power derives from the people is often a profoundly annoying notion to them. Especially when the unwashed, unhorsed and unbooted vote to choose a different path from the one they have selected.
In the case of Sewerville, the Denizens of Dogpatch selected a new path and a new CSD Board majority. Instead of working within the official institution to counter that choice – put up a slate of Pro-Tri-W Sewer candidates for election in November, start a new Anti-Measure B initiative or start recall petitions of their own, and etc., the first choice made by the Dauphins was to privately email to beg the RWQCB to “fine the CSD out of existence” (that means you, dear and gentle reader), and then they moved to dissolve the entire system altogether.
Euripides, Dickens, and now the little kid who brings the football to a pick-up game and when his side loses takes the ball, the goalposts and everything else home, thus shutting down the entire game for everyone.
And ironies of ironies, the dissolution flyers falsely conflate dissolving the CSD with “safety” from the recent RWQCB’s Cease & Desist Orders, and with the County magically taking over and building a sewer at Tri-W. In fact, the RWQCB’s prosecution staff made it official: Dissolution will have NO effect on the CDO’s, and they have NO knowledge of ANY county plans anywhere for anything.
Meanwhile, the CSD has been granted Designated Status in the upcoming CDO hearings, which means they will be legally entering the hearings as an active participant – a mother hen able to spread her governmental wings to act both as point man and sheltering cover for her community of targeted chicks. If the CSD is dissolved, so is Mother Hen. And individual citizens will be on their own, left to the tender mercies of a county that views us all as unwanted “red-haired stepchildren.”
Faithless husbands, unhorsed, unbooted voters, the only guardian in town dissolved by conflation and lies, retribution engineered by Dauphins and sorceresses and little kids with their footballs who feel betrayed and set aside by too much democracy of the wrong sort.
So, it’s Off With Our Heads! Children and their smashed toys, Medea and her dead children, Dauphins and sans culottes, it’s an old, old story. The only question left is this: Should it be written this time as a tragedy, or comic farce?