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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If It Ain't Sewers, It's Swimming Pools! So we now have a story in the Tribune regarding a little dust up about the Los Osos swimming pool funds. For a nice historic look at, oh, gosh, how shall I characterize it -- PATTERNS? THE PAST IS PROLOGUE? LEOPARDS AND SPOTS? -- mayI strongly suggest a peek at Ron Crawford's www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com for another little history lesson. After reading it, be sure to wait 2 hours before going swimming. . . . THEN, mark your calendars: Friday July 7 a sewer update workshop, 7 pm. at the Los Osos Community Center and Friday July 28, the Project Update Report again at 7 pm at the Los Osos Community Center -- dancing bears, consultants, storyboards, charts, power point presentations, balloons, popcorn. . . well, you get the idea. Be there.

45 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

Here's what's funny to me.

If Bruce had moved restricted funds into a general use account ... there would have been outrage from many of those who are now defending the action (like Julie).

I don't know whether the action was legal or not, but I do think it was very unwise to say the least. If they really wanted to get a higher interest rate, why not go with a CD? They could have at least created a new account so as to keep the funds separate so that no one could accuse them of trying something shifty.

Maybe Dan should take a lesson on avoiding the appearance of impropriety and maybe the board should take action to require board approval before such actions are taken in the future.

Anonymous said...

Dan is probably just trying to put the district in the most favorable position financially before the LAFCO hearings.

Maybe if Pandora and her friends would each pony up $100,000 like that one gentleman who made a bequest to the fund then they might actually be able to build a pool. Instead of asking that it be added to her Parks and Recreation slush fund.

Shark Inlet said...

Maybe I don't understand ... how does moving restricted-use funds from one account to another put the district in a favorable financial position?

Shark Inlet said...

A while back Ann wrote a bit about a "scorched earth" policy of the previous board of directors. She suggested that their strategy of staring the project before the recall election was a way of inflicting harm on our community if they were recalled.

Let me ask a similar question about today's board of directors. Are they adopting a scorched earth policy by taking on debts and litigating, both of which would make it more difficult to build a WWTF, even if not at TriW. The stated attempt to sell TriW and to buy the Giacomazzi property, before we even know which of them is "best" (even by the metric Ripley suggested they would be using but didn't clearly specify) make it look even more like scorched earth to me.

If you're a gonna complain about the one group's short-sighted actions, shouldn't you complain about the other group's short-sighted actions? I would think so.

Shark Inlet said...

On another (yet still related) topic...

I've been troubled when recently re-reading the Ripley materials from early June ... their site-selection procedure seems to give no more than lip service to a variety of HUGE issues ... many of the most important issues were listed in "additional criteria" and weren't apparantly included in the preliminary results that suggested TriW was the worst choice.

It would seem that even the criteria they did include (like distance to water reuse location and size of the site) were done so in a way which was not clearly specified.

For example, consider distance to water reuse. If the water coming out of the WWTF was going to direct aquifer recharge, TriW would be far better than Giacomazzi. A guess as to what we'll do with the wastewater (ag-exchange, direct recharge, etc.) essentially dictates the outcome of which site is "best" in terms of distance. Well, if we guess that ag-exchange is the way we'll deal with a majority of our treated wastewater, we'll go with the "out of town" sites as best. However, if the cost of ag-exchange isn't incorporated into the evaluation criteria, it stacks the deck toward some properties which, if the true costs were known, may be deemed far too expensive.

Let's also consider size. If we presume ponding is the WWTF method, it is clear that the small TriW is not large enough. However, Giacomazzi and pretty much all the other sites are too small for the sort of ponding that the RWQCB might allow. On the other hand, if the land near TriW were purchased to form a larger site, ponding might fit. Like with distance to reuse site, the way size is measured and incorporated isn't clear. If TriW would be large enough for MBR but too small for ponding and if we presume that our community doesn't want MBR but does want ponding, TriW will look poor. Essentially the site selection must be done hand-in-hand with the WWTF technology selection ... otherwise presuming a treatment method will influence the site decision and if later that technology doesn't pass muster with permitting bodies, we're pretty much in the same place we were with TriW ... forced to change our treatment method but finding out that we didn't pick the best site for that treatment method.

Has the board of directors charged Ripley in such a narrow way that they essentially dictated the outcome? Is the board really interested in knowing what site/collection system and treatment method is cheapest and best for our community or do they only want to hear "STEP", "out of town" and "ponding"? Are Ripley's conclusions really as unbiased as Ann and Ron want us to believe?

*PG-13 said...

Just when ya think it can't get any weirder ..... it does.

Trivial > Nash-Karner and Tacker both said they believe the district is too busy dealing with its sewer system project to handle building a community swimming pool.

Not if the pool is included - integrated? - into the waste water treatment facility. As the gents in the Guiness ad say - "Brilliant!". Isn't it obvious? If Tri-W has a park, an amphitheater, tot lot, dog park and wave wall why not a swimming pool too? Sounds like inspired design to me. There must be some way a WWTF can use a swimming pool. Think of the savings on O&M alone. One of the significant issues of Tri-W were the un-accountable O&M costs. Well Duh! The same guys that clean the pool can maintain the sewer. Brilliant!

Sewerwatch's article clearly has some axe grinding. Pandora Nash-Karner and Ron shan't be sharing tea any time soon. But his history is better documented and more clearly attributed than most of the mis-information and the he says/she says stuff tossed about. And it must be admitted, even by her fans, Nash-Karner does seem to play a little loose with facts and history. Some perspective and historical inconsistencies can be expected. We all make mistakes or can be misquoted. But how one person finds herself in the middle of soooooooo much controversy and intrigue is fairly boggling. Sorry, this goes way beyond community mindedness. I honor all the time, energy and hard work PN-K has devoted to Los Osos. One has to give her credit for her tireless and seemingly endless commitment to ...... just exactly what I'm no longer sure. Enough is enough is enough.

This swimming pool thing is just one more silly and counter-productive distraction. Yeah, the LOCSD coulda and shoulda handled it differently. Given the current highly charged environment and imminent bankruptcy of the CSD who in their right mind would move large sums of money around without full prior disclosure of what they proposed to do and what protections were in place to protect those funds. Or not if that was truly their intention. Dumb, dumb and dumber. $12,000 in annual interest versus $8,000? My gawd their credibility is slipping away faster than money in Las Vegas.

Trivial > After hearing about the transferred funds, the Los Osos Community Pool Association asked the district to give the money to the county, which the group said had more resources, time and funding opportunities to build the project.

Calling the CSD out on this one is most certainly appropriate. But dang, there must be dozens of other better ways to do it than with such a heavy-handed and clearly retributive demand for transferrance to the county. Must everything be made a REALLY BIG CONFLICTIVE DEAL? When did the county become the preferred guardian of Los Osos? Give us a break. Who believes for even a fleeting delusional moment that this is about putting the money where it is more likely to find "resources, time and funding opportunities to build the project." Plus, who can possibly even imagine the county moving forward on a swimming pool in Los Osos while the 'BPP negotiations' are underway. Read my lips, there will be no pool from the county or anywhere else until a sewer is built.

I'm not sure who comes out dirtier on this one. The CSD or Pandora Nash-Karner. The CSD's actions - while of questionable judgement - still have some basis of rationale. That's a stretch for sure. But they are supposed to be stewards of our money, they have invested at a higher rate, and any nefarious reasons for moving the account are still speculative. Stinky yes but still unproven. Can't say I can find anything positive to say about how PN-K responded.

The environmental, engineering, legal and political aspects of getting a sewer built in this town are complex enough. We don't need this kind of additional static. It is not helpful. Regardless of where you stand on the sewer we must hold our representatives - local, county and state - more accountable to good, productive and non-inflammatory action. When one of our local reps or even a neighbor does something really, really, really dumb they should be called out, their actions questioned without animus, a clear explanation expected and, as far too seldom happens, an apology if appropriate. In this situation I'm hopeful for two sets of explanation followed by two apologies and a stated intention to work for the common good of the community - regardless of how one perceives that - and no more individual, retributive, antigonistic role playing. If you can't do that then quit the game. Step away from the table and don't come back until you can play well with others.

BTW, did anyone else see those flying pigs this morning?

PublicWorks said...

PG-13,

Amen. The appropriate action is:

Continue this item to another day.

It's more important to identify the status and what is going on with the rest of the funds for the next 12 months, and how will everything get paid for.

barring that,

let's continue to paint (or strip the paint off as the case may be) the titanic while it sinks

Anonymous said...

You guys are missing the point. In Ron's piece it clearly demonstrates that those "pool" funds are NOT pool funds. They are "Recreation Funds".

Since the CSD has always had a Parks and Recreation Committee... then they have every right to spend that money on Parks and Recreation.

Do you all know that the CSD's funds have always been co-mingled. Buel set up different accounts for each department (ie. Emergency, Services, Wastewater, Water, etc.) but those accounts are just on paper. There isnt a seperate bank account for each.

So what is wrong with adding "Recreation Funds" to the bulk of the other departments' money?

It's just something for Pandora to squak at.

I think the CSD's Parks and Rec Committee should reevaluate the priorities of the communities recreation desires and put that money to use... whether it be for a pool, or for youth programs of some sort. Since it's not exclusively for a pool, then that would be allowed.

Additionally, I love this...

"After hearing about the transferred funds, the Los Osos Community Pool Association asked the district to give the money to the county, which the group said had more resources, time and funding opportunities to build the project."

If that were the case why did the County give the CSD the money in the first place?? Think really hard about that one.

It seems to me that the money is following Pandora... it followed her to the CSD where, presumably, she would have more control over it. And now that she has lost control and influence in Los Osos, where does she now have the most power... the same place she wants the funds transferred to... County Parks.

Is it me or is Pandora just a control freak. Its her way or the highway. If she doent get her way she takes her ball and goes home.

Fine with me, but the ball is staying here.

Anonymous said...

Such typical Los Osos bullshit. There's a hearing going on in Sacramento today concerning the county taking over the building of a sewer that obviously can't be built by, well, Los Osos, and Ron the obsessed out-of-towner diverts everyone's attention once again with this. Seems to me the imminent county takeover of the project, along with the impending dissolution hearing, along with the obvious bankruptcy soon of the CSD should be of some interest today to somebody. Pull together Los Osos? What a joke.
This "community" is in wretched shape indeed.

Anonymous said...

Such typical Los Osos bullshit. There's a hearing going on in Sacramento today concerning the county taking over the building of a sewer that obviously can't be built by, well, Los Osos, and Ron the obsessed out-of-towner diverts everyone's attention once again with this. Seems to me the imminent county takeover of the project, along with the impending dissolution hearing, along with the obvious bankruptcy soon of the CSD should be of some interest today to somebody. Pull together Los Osos? What a joke.
This "community" is in wretched shape indeed.

Shark Inlet said...

Speaking of bankruptcy, Richard LeGros has an open letter to the LOCSD board (right-click and open in a new window). He suggests that the current interim GM may not be reporting the whole financial truth to the board. Certainly Dan hasn't been telling us anything of this story at the meetings.

For the GM to be running a local government organization which has this much of an imbalance in the cash flow without informing us, the public, is inexcusable.

Maybe the board doesn't know the true state of the finances ... that we'll be 100% out of cash within a month or two.

As PG13, publicworks and anonymous say, we ought to focus on the big issues here, not the small change items about which account the pool money is in and whether it is "pool" money or "parks" money.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the repeated anon post above......I was seeing double when I wrote it but had no idea it would come out double as well!!!

Anonymous said...

Gee sharky,

Me thinks the general manager knows full well what is going on. But then perhaps Mr. LeGros is nervous about
potential real-estate transactions that might occur to assuage the current financial difficulties.

Maybe if he were smart he would use his "influence" and that of the other dreamers to tell that judge to release those fund he illegally put on hold promising to rapidly
send in an independent auditor.

As yet the judge's independent auditor has not been appointed. So, again, do you smell a sewer rat? There
may be several floating by ... with names like LeGros,
Nash-Karner, etc.

Release the CSD and use the appropriate and patriotic way to replace them. Get them voted out of office. Me thinks Crizer and Albright must have been raised by Haldeman Erlichman and Rove with all the dirty tricks they've used.

Anonymous said...

Gee Mr. Anon nom de altre,

"Wretched"? Ah I am sure Mssrs Crizer, Albright et al do not feel it is wretched. Why billiions and billions of dollars must dance before them like graphical imaginary stars depicted by Pandora.

So now the county can "build it"? The same country that failed again and again from the early 80's. The same people who brought Morro Bay to the point where they are in severe violation of section 301h of the clean water act ... and then some?

THOSE people?

Hmmm, oh I know you're the type that would hire a dentist to do surgery on you because its cheaper. Well dentists are surgeons. Are they not? Good luck hope everything works out after the anesthesia wears off.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I don't understand ... how does moving restricted-use funds from one account to another put the district in a favorable financial position?"

My understanding that the fund it was in was your basic CD earning a lower interest rate. It was not considered part of district operations. The new fund gets a much higher interest rate and is considered a part of the district's operating revenue.

Guess you missed the articles in da paper about how the federal government has been using social security (a restricted fund) to offset the deficit.

Sewertoons said...

If the GM knows this is going on- shame on him for keeping us all in the dark. Shame on the board for standing by - whether aware or unaware.

The current financial situation will not be helped by a real estate transaction. That money, should it come to pass, is supposed to buy new property outside of town - or have we been tricked again and it is really just slated to pay off the lawyers to keep the shell game of "we don't want no stinkin' sewer" to continue?

While we are on the topic of dirty tricks, how about the $100 for a WWTF the "newly" elected three promised? Gonna give equal time to rant on this trick?

The CSD as an entity is ruined. How will voting the the bums out of office magically make all the money reappear? Make the fines and debts go away? A new slate can't fix this, the slate is busted in little tiny pieces. Thanks Lisa, Julie, Steve, John and Chuck for taking something away from the community that it worked hard to get and held dear.

Sewertoons said...

The CSD is as weasley as the Feds! What a surprise!

*PG-13 said...

Does anybody ever sense we are playing old tapes ... over and over and over again? With a healthy dose of Lord of the Flies redux with children reduced to bickering over a conch shell? Gimme, gimme, gimme the conch so I can claim the noble truth and set things aright by how loud I yell. At least that's how I remember it. It was a long time ago.

Sewertoons > ...Thanks Lisa, Julie, Steve, John and Chuck for taking something away from the community that it worked hard to get and held dear.

Oh please, save the hankies. As if these five individuals were the cause of all our tribulations. Get real, this sorry game has been herky-jerkying along for decades and these five only played the last hand in this goofy game. You might not like the way they played it but a good number (by a slim majority) of other Lost Osoians demanded - with their vote - that they play it. You can claim they mislead with empty promises. Uh, gee, no other band of 5 promised bigger, for longer and delivered less? Does anybody not think that both CSD's tried they're darndest to bring this thing home? Hey, anybody can point fingers. There are damn near as many things to point at in this mess as there are fingers to point. Simply put, finger pointing and blaming and whining is the easy, cheap and fools way out. It serves no purpose now. Even if you're right, you lose. We're surrounded by injun's and you're counting bullets shot and missed? Fact: There were enough Lost Osoians who believed the previous-CSD were off in the weeds to give the new-CSD a chance to find another path. They were given precious little chance. It soon became an ugly mano-a-mano dance to the death. If I/we can't win nobody will win. However you slice and dice this you can only come to one conclusion: We've been screwed and we done screwed ourselves. 25 years and counting, a miss here and a miss there, many lost (read: squandered) opportunities, and now we are here. This is not just PN-K versus Lisa & Julie, et.al. Well, OK, yes it is that. But it is more than that. Please don't get distracted by the woman behind the curtain. She will blow smoke, wail, screech, pander and promise. Pay no attention. We've got a sewer to build. We can not afford the luxury of blame. What is past is past. The path before us is short leading quickly to a sharp edged and very teep cliff. The past is not wasted. But it serves little good unless used intelligently to guide our next steps.

Fact: Tri-W is/was not flawless. About the only thing it had going for it was financing. Which, presumably, translated to cheaper. That's not insignificant. But it was never proven and it wasn't enough to carry the field. The field is now in play again. So be it. Don't cry over spilled milk. The game is on (again) and time is short. Do you play back-gammon? Been watching any World Cup? Did you learn nothing from the NBA and NHL finals? The end-game, the last few minutes, the third period and fourth quarter defines the game.

Anon > Seems to me the imminent county takeover of the project, along with the impending dissolution hearing, along with the obvious bankruptcy soon of the CSD should be of some interest today to somebody. Pull together Los Osos? What a joke. This "community" is in wretched shape indeed.

Amen. So we either come together and work as a 'community' to solvetoday's issuesor we squat around complaining about the past, who led us to this place, and what bad people they are. All is not lost. There is still opportunity afoot. Maybe not exactly what we hoped for but don't knock it. Granted, it is still under development but doesn't anybody else feel just a little hopeful for the BPP? Yet the county appears terribly reticent to take the lead. Appears they would prefer some figurehead self-rule to lead the parade. That makes perfect sense. If you were them wouldn't you? So why are some in such a hurry to destroy the CSD? The BPP is seriously weakened without a CSD. Is spite fulfilled really worth de-railing the last hope we have?

PublicWorks said...

Amen PG,

"Do you play back-gammon? Been watching any World Cup? Did you learn nothing from the NBA and NHL finals?"

a) use loaded dice

b) we need italians to score goals

c) no, was watching the meeting instead(also turned out that nothing was learned there either); why do they play hockey in Carolina, BTW?? what is the nickname for the Heat chearleaders, BTW? Heat Girls? Hot girls? I wonder if Shaq wants to move to Los Osos, he can afford the whole sewer. But what if Los Osos is the Mavericks? Uh-oh.

PG-13, I'm with you, as much as it seems like the Monty Python movie where the knight is standing on one leg, with all the other limbs cut off and blood flowing out of every vein, and saying something like 'cmon, fight ya bastard', no time to wallow here.

Heck, if Lee Iacocca could shmooze Chrysler out of the red with a bunch of lousy K-cars, we've got hope, how in the world can we not succeed!!! Hey, that also inspires an idea, let's go to Congress like Lee-baby and ask for a bail-out, and tell 'em the economy of the US will plunge into a depression unless they come to the rescue!! Another idea, Lee's not working, (or making sappy commercials). Before the next meeting, someone get Lee on the phone, tell him we want to hire him as the GM (unless Gates wants to move up the retirement a little early and come on down)- oh baby, there's no stopping us now!

Absolutely right PG, a little optimism was all that was needed.


It's time to stay afloat, and work the BPP to perfection.

Mike Green said...

What we realy need is for Georgie the Second to fly down on his hellicopter and declare the mission accomplished.

Good news comming from Sac!

Anonymous said...

Can we play quote and question?

Question: "If it can be proven that we aren't polluting can we keep the septic/onsite solution"
Christine Roberston (Chief of Sam Blakeslee's office)"
"Yes you will be able to."

No hankees. We don't have a "sewer to build". We have some science to do first. No cart before the horse this time. BIG sewers are for deveopers and development. Lots of projects, houses, etc. They have nothing to do with clean water. If you don't believe me just ask Morro Bay.

LOS OSOS NEEDS CLEAN WATER not more development. Tell the county to fix the damn roads and then maybe we should consider some of these "projects" Jeff Edwards et al keep floating.

So, let's do the science.

Anonymous said...

Real-Estate: the 2000's ticket to financial independence. Watch our board go ...

Speaking of real estate keep an eye on Sunnyside. There is a reason Jeff Edwards wanted to cut down those trees at the corner of LOVR and Pallisades. Apparently, he wants to build a pool there as a part of his Sand Hill development. Sand Hill? Is Jeff a hobbit? Apparently Pandora is again involved and thus the sudden interest in the pool money. I think she feels like it is **her** money.

She and the other board love serving you "shit on a shingle". And you love taking it and paying exhorbitant prices for it in assessments and taxes.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Let me ask a similar question about today's board of directors. Are they adopting a scorched earth policy by taking on debts and litigating, both of which would make it more difficult to build a WWTF, even if not at TriW."

I suggest you read the previous post wherein I listed all the lawsuits the DISTRICT is actually responsible for starting versus the lawsuits the district didn't start but are required to defend against, and then tell me about "taking on " "litigating."
Taking on or being taken on?

"Inlet sez"Let me ask a similar question about today's board of directors. Are they adopting a scorched earth policy by taking on debts and litigating, both of which would make it more difficult to build a WWTF, even if not at TriW."

Uh, Ripley's report isn't in yet. I sure hope you'll bother to show up on July 28th (also the 6th & 7th) so go see what they actually say, instead of "presuming" what you think they're gonna say? Furthermore, that update report will have to be looked at by the County engineers (IF the Blakeslee proposal survives) and they are the ones you can talk to about your concerns as well.

Anonymoose sez:"Question: "If it can be proven that we aren't polluting can we keep the septic/onsite solution"
Christine Roberston (Chief of Sam Blakeslee's office)"
"Yes you will be able to."

No hankees. We don't have a "sewer to build". We have some science to do first. No cart before the horse this time. BIG sewers are for deveopers and development. Lots of projects, houses, etc. They have nothing to do with clean water. If you don't believe me just ask Morro Bay.

LOS OSOS NEEDS CLEAN WATER not more development."

IF the Blakeslee plan survives, IF there is a Interagency Memo between the CSD and the County, IF the "process" for review and "science" is maintained, as promised, then we have one chance to . . . do this right this time. The question everyone needs to ask is this: Does the county want to fail? Does the CSD want to fail? Do the people of this community want to fail? Does the RWQCB? The SWB all want to fail. . . again? I think not. So, here's our chance to make this work . . . finally. (And if you want to make yourself sick, watch the tape of the Wastewater Committee meeting a few nights ago, wherein one of the long standing committee members described in great detail exactly just how Tri W was "selected." Genuine nausea.)

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Let me ask a similar question about today's board of directors. Are they adopting a scorched earth policy by taking on debts and litigating, both of which would make it more difficult to build a WWTF, even if not at TriW."

I suggest you read the previous post wherein I listed all the lawsuits the DISTRICT is actually responsible for starting versus the lawsuits the district didn't start but are required to defend against, and then tell me about "taking on " "litigating."
Taking on or being taken on?

"Inlet sez"Let me ask a similar question about today's board of directors. Are they adopting a scorched earth policy by taking on debts and litigating, both of which would make it more difficult to build a WWTF, even if not at TriW."

Uh, Ripley's report isn't in yet. I sure hope you'll bother to show up on July 28th (also the 6th & 7th) so go see what they actually say, instead of "presuming" what you think they're gonna say? Furthermore, that update report will have to be looked at by the County engineers (IF the Blakeslee proposal survives) and they are the ones you can talk to about your concerns as well.

Anonymoose sez:"Question: "If it can be proven that we aren't polluting can we keep the septic/onsite solution"
Christine Roberston (Chief of Sam Blakeslee's office)"
"Yes you will be able to."

No hankees. We don't have a "sewer to build". We have some science to do first. No cart before the horse this time. BIG sewers are for deveopers and development. Lots of projects, houses, etc. They have nothing to do with clean water. If you don't believe me just ask Morro Bay.

LOS OSOS NEEDS CLEAN WATER not more development."

IF the Blakeslee plan survives, IF there is a Interagency Memo between the CSD and the County, IF the "process" for review and "science" is maintained, as promised, then we have one chance to . . . do this right this time. The question everyone needs to ask is this: Does the county want to fail? Does the CSD want to fail? Do the people of this community want to fail? Does the RWQCB? The SWB all want to fail. . . again? I think not. So, here's our chance to make this work . . . finally. (And if you want to make yourself sick, watch the tape of the Wastewater Committee meeting a few nights ago, wherein one of the long standing committee members described in great detail exactly just how Tri W was "selected." Genuine nausea.)

Shark Inlet said...

Thanks for replying, Ann...

By your standard (if the district is the defendant, they are not the cause of the problem) you should view the previous board as perfect. They didn't sue CASE or CCLO or cause any problems at all. I think you should adjust your standard ... if the district takes actions that cause the district to be sued ... they are to blame. Simply put, if the current board had continued with the TriW they wouldn't be the defendant in contractor lawsuits and if they had resolved Measure B right out of the gate, they wouldn't have had to defend against the TW Measure B lawsuit. Furthermore, had they not paid off Biggs and company, TW wouldn't have sued them for public waste. Do you really think the district couldn't have avoided these lawsuits?


You are right about Ripley's report ... it isn't in. (I actually wonder whether it will ever be finished ... if the district runs out of money and can't pay for the work, will Ripley work for free?)

However, if you look carefully at the powerpoints Ripley put together that seem to suggest TriW is the worst choice of sites, it is clear that the haven't yet incorporated anything other than the raw weights given to them by a few votes. We may eventually see a thoughtful analysis of the site selection question. I was worried, however, by the lack of thought put into the "results" presented on the 8th. Certainly you've got to admit that if we presume a treatment method and disposal method it would stack the decks and certainly you've got to admit that we cannot know for sure today which treatment methods will be acceptable to the RWQCB and which disposal methods will even be able to handle the needs of our community.


The "If it can be proven we aren't polluting ..." question is an interesting hypothetical. I would suggest, however, that this would be quite difficult to prove considering the nitrates in the groundwater already show that we are polluting, so the question seems pretty irrelevant.

*PG-13 said...

Anon> No hankees. We don't have a "sewer to build". We have some science to do first. No cart before the horse this time. BIG sewers are for deveopers and development. Lots of projects, houses, etc. They have nothing to do with clean water. If you don't believe me just ask Morro Bay.

We are in heated agreement about the science. Not so much about the scale and developers. My posts tend to go on and on so I occasionlly cut a corner. Thus the 'We have a sewer to build' rallying cry. I knew as soon as I posted that somebody would correct me. Glad you're paying attention. Anybody familiar with my previous posts will remember I am a lead proponent of measurement & data collection to clearly define the problem, leading to sound scientific analysis, leading to effective engineering of a well-targeted solution, leading to ...... clean water. A 'sewer' is not the problem. A sewer is just PART of the solution. And in this case I use the term 'sewer' to refer to the politico/legal/environmento/scientifico delimma we find ourselves in and not a particular physical entity. Those familiar with my past posts should also recall I am a lead proponent for distributed systems. The old model of a large centralized sewer for a community (and problem set) like Los Osos (specifically the PZ) is an antiquated historical artifact from a century ago. Shamelessly Cut&Pasting from some off-line correspondence with David Venhuizen, aka The Water Guy , an environmental waste water consultant who once offered technical guidance to Los Osos; he is here referring to a centralized WWTF in Austin, TX but it holds true for here too:

waterguy > > You should understand that there is nothing "magic" or "sacred" about the conventional centralized management strategy practiced by "mainstream" wastewater service providers. It is merely the product of tradition. This strategy developed starting in the mid-1800's. The industrial revolution led to an explosion in city populations. They had to get this stuff out of the streets, as there was a growing awareness of the connection of the unsanitary conditions to outbreaks of disease. So they piped it "away". It was only much later, with the growing realization of the impacts at wherever "away" happened to be, that treatment at the end of the pipe became a "normal" part of the management strategy. With advances in technology and management capabilities, it can be readily questioned if it is still REQUIRED to take the stuff so far "away" before it is treated to a quality that could be reused to serve a number of non-potable demands.

Further, ... the development of "waste" water management strategies was centered in Northern Europe and the Northeastern U.S., places that are generally well-watered, so treatment for direct reuse was simply not a consideration. Central Texas, where those practices were copied without questioning the context, is not that well-watered. As population has grown and come to strain regional water supplies, it may indeed be time to question if the conventional centralized system is out of context here.

That is, the focus of the "waste" water management system is to make what is perceived to be a nuisance "go away". It is only at the end of the line, when effluent issues from the treatment plant, that the Utility suddenly sits up and says, hey, this stuff is a resource that we should be husbanding as much as we can. Thus, as I pointed out, to make the stuff "go away" there is a very expensive infrastructure dedicated to nothing but moving pollution from place to place.

By treating and reusing the "waste" water as close to where it is generated as practical, the decentralized concept of "waste" water management can offer a management scheme that refocuses system function, from making this resource "go away" to utilizing it so as to practically maximize the resource value of the water--and perhaps of the residual nutrients in the water as well. This is the major motivation for looking at the decentralized concept as an alternative organizing principle for the "waste" water system.


So yes, our 'sewer' problem is really a water resource issue (read: opportunity). And that presumes CLEAN water. The fact of the matter is we don't have years to collect data and characterize our pollution situation in order to come up with the most scientifically valid solution. That time has passed. There is still time for some data collection and some scientific analysis but the politico/legal/environmento realities are such that Los Osos is going to be forced to build a sewer. No way we're getting out of that one no more. What we can do is build the best waste water retrieval system we can within the current constraints. This can be done by logical, thoughtful, non-hysterical minds. Blaming, finger-pointing and name-calling is not helpful to this process. How we got here - other than defining some of the boundary constraints we have to work within - has little to do with designing a solution. Seeing Today's Problem clearly has everything to do with it.

Like Shark Inlet, I too am concerned, approaching extremely disappointed, that Ripley may have been given a stacked deck to deal. That is so unnecessary and would just be more of the same old same old. But I'm holding judgement until I see the report. I am ever hopeful. Like Churadogs, I believe the BPP offers our last good hope and I am very concerned that some body or some party will hold some thing to dear to part with. This has everything to do with seeing clearly with fresh eyes.

Ron said...

Ann said:

"And if you want to make yourself sick, watch the tape of the Wastewater Committee meeting a few nights ago, wherein one of the long standing committee members described in great detail exactly just how Tri W was "selected." Genuine nausea."

I would be very interested in seeing that. Is it at the library?

Shark said:

"However, if you look carefully at the powerpoints Ripley put together that seem to suggest TriW is the worst choice of sites."

It's not the worst site to build a sewer plant in Los Osos, Shark, it's the second worst. The worst site would be Sweet Springs Nature Preserve.

PG13 said:

"This is not just PN-K versus Lisa & Julie, et.al. Well, OK, yes it is that."

and PublicWorks said:

"we need italians to score goals"

Funny.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody,

In all, the discussions on this thread are intersting.

But, quite frankly, the arguments presented are meaningless in light of the certain bankruptcy of the LOCSD within the next few days. To continue to bicker over pool funds, site locations or opine about this or that does not matter. The reality is that Los Osos has lost control of its destiny because its government is bankrupt. Without money local control is impossible.

I cannot fathom why the core issue of the impending LOCSD bankruptcy is being avoided by the public, blogggers and the LOCSD Board. Not talking about it does not make it go away.

Regards, Richard LeGros

*PG-13 said...

Richard LeGros> I cannot fathom why the core issue of the impending LOCSD bankruptcy is being avoided by the public, blogggers and the LOCSD Board. Not talking about it does not make it go away.

Good point. Good question. Try this.

You're accounting spreadsheets were helpful, fascinating, insightful and scary. It was a good look under the hood and behind the curtains of CSD operations. All of that data is probably far more meaningful to you than to the rest of us though. Still, it is pretty clear bankruptcy is imminent. This has been mentioned tangentally in a few posts in some other threads on this blog. Why hasn't it been discussed more? Uh, let me guess. It is almost beyond discussion. What is there to say? The CSD is going to soon be bankrupt. I think perhaps most of us bloggers don't really know what the ramifications of that are. It does seem an appropriate topic for discussion and I would appreciate hearing from somebody who does have knowledge about how these things are handled. Guessing and speculation is almost too easy. What are the exact legal ramifications? CAN anything be done? To what end? How does bankruptcy or how could bankruptcy alter what is currently in process?

I can speculate why the LOCSD isn't more forthcoming about this. They're still trying to make something out of nothing and the hysteria and distraction surrounding the messiness of bankruptcy wouldn't he helpful to that goal. If they are successful at bringing this baby home it will be by the very skin of their teeth. So while not talking about it doesn't make it go away it does keep it at arms length hopefully allowing some progress to be made. When you're on a sinking ship and it is a foregone conclusion the ship is going to sink and there aren't any lifeboats what else can you do other than point it toward shore and run as fast as you can?

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

You say that TriW is the worst place to put a WWTF (aside from a nature preserve). That is not so obvious. I would think that putting a plant so far out of town (say Andre II) that the cost of pipe to and from the location and the cost of crossing the creek and the cost of litigation with neighbors and the associated delay and the associated inflation might make Andre II far far more expensive than TriW.

Worst is in the eye of the beholder. Myself, I want the longrun cheapest solution that will pass muster with the regulatory agencies. If "out of town" is only $25/month more, I'll go with it. If "out of town" is $100/month more, I would rather TriW. I'll even bet that the majority of our town, if asked, would agree.


Maybe that would be a good way for the CSD to spend their last $20k ... take a poll and ask the question "how much more would you be willing to pay to have the WWTF out of town?" If the results came in with 83% saying that they would rather TriW than even $25 more per month, would the current board have the ability to admit that they aren't actually doing what the people want?


As to Richard's point about bankruptcy and the whole dissolution issue. If bankruptcy causes dissolution which causes some of those lawsuits and a considerable amount of our community debts to disappear, I think it might even be a good thing. If, on the other hand, the debts would remain and we still have to pay them off, even with dissolution, it would be far better to not dissolve. At least then if we're paying for our sins we would still have some control over a few other important local issues ... like whether we want state water or not.

Shark Inlet said...

PG ...

I think the key reason the CSD isn't being more forthcoming about their finances is that Dan hasn't told the board and Dan doesn't want people to know how fast we are going through a small amount of money ... either that or the board doesn't want to people to know that their decisions have brought ruin on our community.

In either case, Dan and the board are to blame. Dan should make sure that we don't take on obligations greater than our ability to pay for them. The board either doesn't know what the GM is doing and the GM is out of control or the board does know and agrees that it is good to spend our fire service money on other stuff ... even if such actions just plain don't pass the sniff test.

Anonymous said...

PG....your comments always resonate...I really appreciate them. But ignoring the problem is one thing...purposely lying or at the very least misinforming is another, do you agree? I've watched the recall information disseminated ("we're ready to go" $100.00 per month, no fines, no lost loan,etc etc etc etc); I've read the CUB editions (someone referred to it as "Complete Unadulterated Bullshit"!!); I've watched those dreadful channel 20 interviews with the gang. It's just insulting to me that the CSD thinks they can talk to intelligent people like they do. Or do they hold most Los Osos people in low regard. I've always wondered about this.

*PG-13 said...

Anon> But ignoring the problem is one thing...purposely lying or at the very least misinforming is another, do you agree? I've watched the recall information disseminated ("we're ready to go" $100.00 per month, no fines, no lost loan,etc etc etc etc); I've read the CUB editions (someone referred to it as "Complete Unadulterated Bullshit"!!); I've watched those dreadful channel 20 interviews with the gang. It's just insulting to me that the CSD thinks they can talk to intelligent people like they do. Or do they hold most Los Osos people in low regard. I've always wondered about this.

As have we all. I'm no apologist for the current-CSD. I'm as dismayed and disappointed and disenfranchised as one can possibly be. I was expecting so much more. I'm still hopeful - that's my nature - but my hope is becoming more a faith based hope founded on higher principles than a belief in this CSD. I don't think this CSD is any worse than the pre-recall CSD. But they're not proving much better either. In fairness, it must be noted they've only been steering the ship a few months, they inherited a mess (yes, a mess, that's why they were elected) and they've been steering through extremely dangerous straits planted with mines. I can only wonder how much more they might have been able to deliver on their election promises if others hadn't been working so diligently to scuttle the ship. Given post-recall developments it seems they stepped into a nearly un-winable situation so their failure may not be totally of their own making. Still, they're not succeeding. And we are all dieing a slow death. At some point even this goodwill must end. And now their integrity is being called into doubt. This CSD seems to be squandering the goodwill and faith invested in them.

Nor will I ever understand the logic or spitefulness behind the dissolvethelocsd crowd. To desire to harm others in the community (see: maximum penalty campaign), to purposefully litigate the newly elected CSD out of existence immediately following the election (hey, that's our money they're bleeding away!), and to obstruct any progress toward any sewer which is not their sewer is beyond my understanding. I just don't see the logic behind Mutually Assured Destruction tactics. The new CSD may be disappointing but those MAD reactionaries are simply crazy. Sorry, I had to say that.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody!

Until the issues of the LOCSD finances and the impending bankrupcty are resolved, there is no point in;

1. Compiling or adopting the 2006-2007 budget. Until the LOCSD knows how deeply they are in the Red Ink, that work would be wasted effort. In order to adopt a budget the LOCSD needs to know where it is starting from financially

2. Continuing to spend money on Ripley-Pacific to produce a conceptual plan for a project the LOCSD will not realize. After the LOCSD has spent the $500,000 for his report, there are no funds available to develope an acceptable plan, complete engineering and design, acquire property, and work throught eh permitting process. (Atleast $7,000,000 would be required for those steps).

3. Hold workshops, meetings, committee meetings, etc (ie spend money) on the waste water project.

4. Pursue lawsuits.

5. Entertain the purchase of property or other assets.

The LOCSD needs to focus on core business issues ONLY. Until the finances are resolved, the LOCSD will be unabel to provide the services it is required to provide; nor solve the water / waste water issues facing the community.

The LOCSD is a non-profit business: it should start behaving as such.
*************************


In closing, please be aware that the LOCSD will lose it's liabilty coverage on 5 PM Friday night (June 30). The insurance was canceled mid-May as the insurance carriers see the LOCSD as a very bad insurance risk. At this time, due to the fact that the LOCSD is a bad risk, a new insurance underwritter has not been found; nor a new policy been written - let alone a known insurance premium cost.

What this means that when the CSD closes its doors on Friday night, they will not reopen on July 5....ever.

Without liability insurance, the LOCSD water yard, the water trucks, the CSD office, the fire station building. etc will not be allowed to operate. Critical services will be interupted. This is an extremely serious problem which the CSD staff has failed to
bring to the attention of the community and the CSD Board.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

The purchase of Tri-W and Broderson was good money badly spent. Methinks it is time to sell!

Mike Green said...

I think its time to start bingo games at the CSD meetings so we can tap that "recreational" money

Mike Green said...

Also, Richard,
We have asked about the bankruptcy, nobody has given us anything like a definitive answer about what will happen, can you?
Thanks

Churadogs said...

Mr. LeGros sez"In closing, please be aware that the LOCSD will lose it's liabilty coverage on 5 PM Friday night (June 30). The insurance was canceled mid-May as the insurance carriers see the LOCSD as a very bad insurance risk. At this time, due to the fact that the LOCSD is a bad risk, a new insurance underwritter has not been found; nor a new policy been written - let alone a known insurance premium cost.

What this means that when the CSD closes its doors on Friday night, they will not reopen on July 5....ever.

Without liability insurance, the LOCSD water yard, the water trucks, the CSD office, the fire station building. etc will not be allowed to operate. Critical services will be interupted. This is an extremely serious problem which the CSD staff has failed to
bring to the attention of the community and the CSD Board.

Regards, Richard LeGros "

Mr. LeGros should have bothered to attend the June 29th CSD meeting, vis a vis the insurance matters. That's the problem with so much here. Dire prognostications by people claiming Truth and Fact, with little or no actual facts or up to date facts, all pretending to be selling accurate information. Pounds of salt and caveats are needed when posting or reading or commenting here. Things are changing on the ground quickly, which is why the public needs to pay attention in person and get accurate information.

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... Ann ...

Did you realize that Richard wrote that long before the meeting or even the announcement of the additional item on the consent agenda, the purchase of insurance.

Considering a purchase of insurance is sizable and such a purchase could only happen by board action and considering there was no agendized item to do so when Richard wrote the above comments, they seem pretty reasonable.

Are you expecting Richard to know, in advance, information that the CSD hadn't made public?

Are you expecting Richard to not warn of the consequences of not buying insurance?

Frankly, based on the finances of the CSD and based on the ... um ... lack of command of district knowledge shown by Dan ... it seems quite easy for me to believe it was because of Richard's warning that the item was agendized. Maybe Dan didn't remember that he couldn't pay for insurance without board action until a boardmember read here about the issue.

PublicWorks said...

Leave it to Ann,

She takes a previous board member to task for not showing up who took the time to crunch a lot of numbers to advise them in a professional matter about something he considered serious.

News to Ann. His comments to the board are better than showing up, because they were in ADVANCE of the meeting.

The board had those comments ahead of time where they could ignore them or use them to ask questions -he was cautioning the board.

Exactly what was he going to do if he showed up, get into an argument with the GM, and inspire half a dozen speakers to rag on him some more?

Ann sez,

"That's the problem with so much here. Dire prognostications by people claiming Truth and Fact, with little or no actual facts or up to date facts, all pretending to be selling accurate information."

It seems we are where we are at today because people have both made and ignored dire prognostications. Caveat emptor.

Anonymous said...

No doubt this item was agendized because of Richard LeGros' entry THURSDAY AFTERNOON. Transparent my behind.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Please take the time to read my open letter to the LOCSD BOARD dated June 28 along with the attached cash flow analysis and Account Balances as of June 23. You will see that all data presented is up-to-date, based upon LOCSD-supplied information, documented fact, and extensive personal knowledge of the workings of the LOCSD.

Your comments relating your opinion of me, chastising me because I do not attend hostile meetings, has NOTHING to do with the serious issues facing Los Osos.

Gee Ann, attacking the messanger (me)because you do not like my message (the LOCSD's Bankruptcy an lack of liability insurance)belittles you; and just detracts people from the ISSUES.

Best Regards, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Dear Mr. LeGros,

Do you positivly know what would/will happen when the CSD goes broke?

What is the mechanism, and what will be the immediate effects?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike Green,

I am not an expert on bankruptcy laws. I do not have any answers to your questions.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Mike Green said...

Dear Mr. Legros
O.K.
What is your opinion of what may happen?
This is a comment blog, it's ok to make mistakes.
If you do, someone will call you on it and we'll all learn