A Short Breather
The Regional Water Quality Control Board has moved the Cease & Desist Order hearings from March 23-24 to the end of April, thereby giving another month to their victims – The Los Osos Forty-Six – to prepare for what may turn out to be a HUMONGOUS legal battle.
The extra time will be helpful because what few people may realize is that unless things are entered into the “record” during this RWQCB’s “administrative” proceedings, they likely can’t be brought into any subsequent legal proceeding. So, it’s critical to have time to prepare each individual case.
This becomes especially true since the sledge hammer the RWQCB has chosen to use (the CDOs) ultimately can involve people losing their homes and life savings. Serious stuff, indeed.
Which is why I suspect the RWQCB will run into a buzz-saw’s worth of serious, serious legal problems and challenges as this process moves forward. The seriousness of the CDO process is also why everyone in Los Osos had better pay attention and why any of the Los Osos Forty-Six who have not contacted the CSD to link up with their fellow victims had better do so immediately. There’s a lot of legal expertise out there, and procedural expertise that they can avail themselves of before the April hearing date.
If they think they can just wander into the hearing room and fling themselves on the “mercy” of the Board, they’ll be the perfect illustration that the man who represents himself before a court has a fool for a client. And they will pay dearly for such folly.
The irony to be found in what the RWQCB is attempting to do here – for the first time, I might add – is the fact that RWQCB has a great deal to lose, the most important item of which is their credibility. Right now, the way they’re proceeding does not give me confidence in their “science” or in their competency. And once that goes, everything else will come crashing down.
By way of one small example: At the Feb. “informational meeting” I asked the Technical Mr. Science Guys on the staff, since the CDO’s discuss “alternatives,” what are the discharge target numbers that some “alternative” system must hit in order to be in the ball park. I was told that that was a very good question, they didn’t have any target numbers, but that was certainly something they needed to think about and perhaps they could come up with those numbers.
One month away from a major administrative hearing involving serious, serious legal outcomes and they didn’t have target discharge numbers that some “alternative” system must meet. Didn’t have the numbers.
This indicates to me that these boys are winging this whole thing and will be making stuff up as they go along. Not good, when the taking of private property, savings and lives are at stake. Once credibility goes, it’s impossible to get it back. And lack of credibility carries an awful price when you’re under tough cross-examination in a court of law.
Meantime, if you’re one of the Los Osos Forty-Six and have not linked up with your fellow POWs, I would urge you to do so. The RWQCB has started a war with the citizens of this fair burg, a totally unnecessary war, so it will be up to each of us and the CSD to limit the “collateral damage” they intend to do to our friends and neighbors.