Proposed Interested Party Public Comment at the April 28, 2006 CDO hearings
at the RWQCB Offices, SLO, CA.
Here’s what I would like to say to the Regional Water Quality Control Board, during my supposed 2 minutes of public comment. This won’t happen because in the time allotted for this cattle-call “Show Trial of the Los Osos 45”, the targeted 45 will only have 15 minutes each to present their case, call witnesses, cross examine witnesses, & etc. I know, it’s funny. Reminds me of the hilarious sketch on the old Monty Python Flying Circus Show – The Summarize Proust’s Rememberance of Things Past In 30 Seconds Gong Show spoof. The sly joke, of course, was that Proust’s monumental work is seven volumes long and couldn’t be summarized in 30 hours let alone 30 seconds. But then that’s what this show trial is all about – entertainment and instruction for the Denizens of Dogpatch, followed by the public hanging. Justice is served. Let the show begin.
Perception becomes reality when perception is acted on as if it were “fact.”
At the December ACL hearings, one of your key staff members was charged with giving an historic “overview” of Los Osos/RWQCB history. He presented old, out of date nitrate/water testing data as if it were current and correct. At that same meeting, Rob Miller, the CSD’s engineering advisor, later presented corrected, up-to-date information from the most recent Cleath and Associates water report. That report had been given to your staff months before and was available for the presentation.
At the CDO informational meeting in January, one of your key staff members stated that “he was unaware that Los Osos was in (water) overdraft.” That a key staff member charged with proposing the present CDO pumping scheme was “unaware” of the extremely serious salt-water intrusion due to the overdraft facing Los Osos was startling.
Several days before this hearing, the Staff suddenly changed direction after they heard from the Air Pollution Control District that the APCD is “concerned that bimonthly pumping . . . “may cause significant adverse impacts.” Staff further stated that “if necessary,” they’ll “study potential impacts of pumping requirements.” The fact that these “potential impacts” weren’t studied and resolved before these CDOs were issued, indicated to me that the “facts” in this case were never relevant. Instead, what your staff intended was to use this CDO hearing as a political tool to accomplish a political goal – a complete violation of the process.
I have heard from this Board and many others outside Los Osos the mantra that “Everyone knows . . . You people in Los Osos are anti-sewer.” Like the examples given above, this “fact” is either out of date or simply wrong. But it is a perfect example of how a wrong fact can become a perception that then becomes reality. After all, Everyone Knows that everyone in Los Osos is anti-sewer, aren’t they?
Unless they are directly hands-on, all Boards must rely on “facts” given to them by others. Wrong facts, out of date data, biased information, just plain “bad science,” disregarding facts in order to force a political goal, all result in wrong perceptions and wrong perceptions result in wrong decisions.
And wrong decisions can have devastating consequences, not only to a community like Los Osos, but to the very Board that is charged with choosing the best course of action.