Calhoun’s Can(n)ons The Bay News, Morro Bay CA for June 21
Lone Ranger or Trojan Horse
The devil, as they say, is always in the details. And that will certainly hold true regarding the “Blakeslee Breakthrough Plan” that calls for a “stand-down” by all the warring parties while a careful series of “negotiations” gets underway.
Some of the first steps in this delicate dance include:
--The CSD Board has voted 5-0 on a resolution expressing its willingness to (among other things) temporarily partner with the County to (in Blakeslee’s words), “establish a structured process to ensure that all feasible and appropriate technologies and treatment locations are considered in a deliberative manner that optimizes overall outcomes with regard to: cost, water quality, and long term sustainability.” The CSD resolution further agrees to seek legislation “that allows the County of San Luis Obispo to assist the [LOCSD], on a temporary basis, by providing the administrative, technical and funding assistance necessary to review, design, construct and initially operate a community wastewater treatment system . “ and “agree to a fair and transparent process that will collaboratively review the District’s anticipated Updated 2001 Wastewater Facilities Report and a site alternative analysis . . .”
--While the BBP calls for the RWQCB to update its existing Time Schedule Order and the CSD resolves to “actively seek support from the state and regional water boards . . . to hold enforcement actions and fines related to this matter in abeyance. . .” it’s not known if the RWQCB will take this “stand-down” opportunity to suspend their misguided CDO prosecution of the hapless “Los Osos 45,” a mad pumping scheme that was a case of unscientific, poorly planned, and unproductive pique.
--And the State Water Board would have to “offer funds from the State Revolving Fund Loan program in accordance with the SRF policy loans,” a loan application that the CSD has already submitted.
Right now, the CSD is engaged in a process that will hopefully end up with a sustainable project that will address critical water overdraft problems, best practices water-use and re-use, and will be a project that will be heading in the right direction from day one, a direction that needs to mesh with a long-overdue Basin Plan update as well as anticipate the coming state regulations for all onsite septic systems outside the Prohibition Zone.
Is the BBP doable? Can the county help it happen? You betcha! So can the CSD, the RWQCB, the State Water Board and the whole community.
One of the many lies that keeps wafting out of Los Osos is that we are all a bunch of “anti-sewer,” Dogpatch swill-rollers who willy-nilly stopped a wonderful, glorious, perfect sewer plant from being built in the middle of town just because we’re stupid and mean. And since perception is reality, that became “The Truth” for many outside the community, including Sacramento regulators, SLO county office-holders and residents.
For many others who bothered to look closer, it was apparent that many serious missteps had been made, including Resolution 83-13’s false conflation of “sewer” with “clean water,” the RWQCB enforcing a timeline that was “unreasonable” from day one with constant threats that drove the wrong project down the wrong road; the State Water Board massively increasing the unsecured SRF loan when they knew that a Prop 218 lawsuit and a recall were in the pipeline; the failure of the Coastal Commission to demand answers to their own “bait and switch” and site-comparison questions; and by the old CSD Board majority that voted to unnecessarily pound millions of taxpayer’s dollars into the ground weeks before a recall election. All these things were avoidable and/or unnecessary. The community is paying dearly for these governmental failures.
Now, we have a chance to take a deep breath, learn from the mistakes, and seriously consider a truthful oxymoron that sometimes the fastest, easiest way forward is to step back until you find the right path and the right direction. That’s the opportunity the “Blakeslee Breakthrough Plan” offers. Add in the knowledge from all parties that failure is not an option, toss in a guaranteed Prop 218 vote from the people who are going to be “buying” whatever project results from the proposal’s “structured process” of a fair and collaborative evaluation of solutions, then stand back and see just how “anti-sewer” Los Osos really is.