Thursday, May 25, 2006

Calhoun’s Cannons, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, for May 24, 06

Yin & Yang

Help thy brother’s boat across and Lo! thine own has reached the shore.
Hindu proverb

Ron Crawford, former Bay News editor, has maintained a blog at and has recently posted a stunning piece of blog theatre, titled “Contrast.”. If you ever wanted to know what some of your neighbors thought of you and moved heaven and earth to attempt to get rained down on your heads, do log on and take a gander at the nice selection of crunch and bite that Ron’s assembled for you. Selected readings for your contemplation. Bon appetite!

At my own blogsite (, a dedicated band of Sewergeeks have turned the Comment section into something akin to the old country store, with folks gathered around the internet’s version of the pot-bellied stove to yak and natter. But we were all brought up short by an anonymous cri de coeur posted by someone called “CDOer.”

Whether through denial (it won’t happen to me), or ignorance (what’s a CDO?), or fantasy (dissolution and “The County” will save me -- Wrong, it won’t, and the County refused to help you, even as an “Interested Party”), or apathy (I’ll think about that tomorrow), 45 of your friends and neighbors who have been randomly targeted for political punishment using Cease & Desist Orders by an incompetent, inappropriately emotionalized, ill-prepared, out-of-control Regional Water Quality Control Board, have spent months doing the heavy lifting for the whole community – that’s you, dear and gentle reader. “CDOer” had a few things to say to my blog kibitzers that bears repeating in this column. Please pay attention: The shoes this writer is walking in are your shoes.

“If I were a Zen master, I would whack you between the shoulder blades to bring you into the present and out of the daydream that prevents you from addressing the issues in front of your face.

“[when the 45 CDOs were issued] . . . You and every other citizen in Los Osos had the opportunity to request Interested Party status from the RWQCB in the matter of the CDOs. Designated Parties [The Los Osos 45] and Interested Parties have been meeting every week for months to invent the wheel, educating ourselves and supporting each other, as well as reaching out to the community with information and to ask for support. Remember the door hanger you got just before the [April 28 ] hearing? We who have much better things to do distributed 5,000 of those on foot [and], by hand.

“Had you been attending those meetings, you would know what Los Osos can do right now. As it is, everyone who comes after us with their own CDO will have to re-invent the wheel or beg us to please assist them, and we are so tired. You won’t know how tired that is until you have had your CDO for three months, [attended] meetings, research[ed] hundreds of pages of documents, walk[ed] door-to-door to 5,000 [Prohibition zone] homes, [spent time] writing legislators, writing objections . . . writing briefs.

“What can Los Osos do RIGHT NOW? Attend every meeting you can find – CSD meetings and sub-committee meetings. PARTICIPATE. . . .Los Osos has too many citizens sniping from the shadows. . . . Stay out of the back door. Walk in the front door. Show you face. Have the guts to attach your name to it and face those you disagree with. . . . Find out who your CDO neighbors are. Attend any community meetings you can find . . . Contact the [CSD] board members. . . . Try engaging instead of confronting. . . . And most importantly of all, start educating yourself for [your] CDO days to come.”

Right now, the CSD is in the process of formulating a Septic System Management Program that can offer to the RWQCB more effective interim mitigation options than the wrongly applied CDO plan calls for. A SSMP is a program that the RWQCB and the County have failed to implement for 20 years. But only the CSD and informed and engaged citizens of Los Osos can now finally make that happen.

Another informational meeting for the Los Osos 45 is planned for 7 p.m. on June 12 at Sunnyside School. For further information, call Rob Shipe at 528-6772 or Bill Moylan at 528-2324.

In all matters Sewerish, CDOish, and SSMPish, getting actively and openly involved in helping your friends and neighbors isn’t altruism. It’s pure enlightened self interest.


Spectator said...

Formulating a septic management plan? Do you think it will be formulated by 2010? How much will it cost each home owner? We have been waiting for a site and a plan for a WWTF since the beginning of the recall movement. Will the RWQCB go along with this septic management plan? Is it modeled on a previously accepted plan? Will it reduce nitrates?

Churadogs said...

Questions for the RWQCB and the CSD. From preliminary numbers from the newly installed Pirana system at the firehouse, it appears that nitrates are being reduced. It will be interesting to see how much and if that mitigation, if used, in outlying areas, or even installed temporarily in "hot spots," or installed by "volunteer" homeowners, etc. would reduce the overall nitrate load until a sewer can be built. The firehouse numbers are supposed to be coming in in a few months.

Shark Inlet said...

That's good news, Ann.

What were the fire station nitrate numbers before the Pirana and what are the numbers now? How and where were they measured?

Churadogs said...

If memory serves, it was mentioned at the last CSD meeting that compared with the "baseline", a quick and dirty test showed improvement. They won't have the fuller official tests until ?? July? Aug?? According to the letter sent by Briggs to Pirana ABG last year, (long before the recall) the system data Wickham submitted was sufficient to get the RWQCB's approval to install Pirana systems outside the prohibition zone as part of a pilot program. Since the RWQCB approved the sytem, I can only assume the numbers were ok with them. (The controversy over this letter was because it was sent to Bruce Buel and apparently not shared with either the community or the two "minority" members of the old board, or possibly not shared with anyone on the board. It was "discovered" in the office papers. Sadly, had this letter been known earlier, could the new CSD have avoided an ACL? After all, Briggs knew there was approved remediation available immediately, but apparently no one else did. Also, since Briggs knew of the letter, instead of CDOs, why didn't he meet with the CSD after the election and move quickly on getting the Piranas installed at the CSD-owned sites and move to get a SSMP -- even a volunteer one -- up and running quickly, THEN go sue everyone in sight and squabble and holler while the Pirana was at work. As it was, as soon as they could, the new CSD contacted Pirana ABG and got one installed at the firehouse. So much for being anti-sewer, anti-clean-water obstructionists. I'm sorry, but Briggs behavior is all very puzzling coming from a "regulator" who's supposed to be focused on "water quality.")

Shark Inlet said...

Were those the same two board members who voted against septic management outside the PZ? (We've heard here that their reason was because the CSD would have been the pumper, not Al's.)

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Were those the same two board members who voted against septic management outside the PZ? (We've heard here that their reason was because the CSD would have been the pumper, not Al's.)"

Once again, a question for the CSD members who voted. I would have to presume that how a SSMP is set up would dictate who's responsible for pumping and whether that can be contracted out on a RFP & etc. or if it would be cheaper to buy trucks and do it all "in-house." & etc.