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Friday, June 09, 2006

No, It’s Not Déjà vu, It Just Looks Like It On TV, and other Sewerville News

I rushed out to the driveway this morning to grab the Tribune. Figured that Abraham Hyatt would have another headline about “all septic tanks must be replaced!” like he did when he apparently mistook a years-old Ripley Pacific proposal for THE proposal he’s working on now. But since the CSD meeting last night went until 11, his deadline would have passed, so maybe the headline will appear tomorrow. Or Mr. Hyatt may be waiting until the project report’s written update is sent to the CSD and public Tuesday or Wednesday.

Meantime, folks at the meeting got a gander at what Ripley Pacific’s project update has been looking at. First, since the cost of a regular gravity collection system is already known (the collection costs for Tri-W), he’ll be looking at “pressure systems” alternatives, i.e. STEP or STEG or STEP/STEG combined with enhanced onsite systems where applicable. Prices still to come, but the cost of pressure collection systems is waaaaaaay cheaper and less disruptive than laying traditional gravity collection pipes. The cost of the treatment plant will also depend on the type chosen. If it doesn’t involve tons of cement or fancy “wave walls,” and doesn’t use MBR technology, it should be cheaper than Tri-W. Ditto if whatever treatment system is chosen can at least be partially run by solar energy, thereby keeping operation cost down. And, if a pressure system is chosen, then the necessity for tank inspection and the cost of tank replacement will have to be factored in as well.

Second, the heart of any alternative that he’s proposing is the use of a so-called “ag exchange” program. In short, farmers within the same basin stop pumping “drinking water” out of the lower aquifer to irrigate their crops and in exchange they get a secure source of treated effluent, and since the cost of nitrogen fertilizer has doubled, the more nitrogen left in the effluent the better. They get nitrates in their irrigation water that can be used for their crops and sod and nursery plants and Los Osos “townies” then have the unused clean lower aquifer water left in the ground that can be used for drinking. There will also be treated wastewater for the various parks, golf courses, cemetery grounds and so forth. With a strong water conservation program (already started by the CSD), and proper water management, the Ripley Pacific hydrologist feels that Los Osos may be able to achieve it’s planned build-out without having to import state water. (Still in the future would be the ability to “purple pipe” tertiary treated wastewater to homes for use in home irrigation. Right now, it’s an expensive dream, but with water becoming a truly scarce commodity, in the future that “expensive” dream may become a necessity unless we all xerescape now with California natives, which isn’t a bad idea anyway.)

But the most interesting part of Ripley’s proposal on the collection system is the plan to phase it in by laying the main collection pipe through the “nitrate hot spots.” Since pressure systems are cheap, the cost of the length of pipe is not the key, but avoiding elevations requiring huge amounts of energy to pump the effluent up hill and up dale is the key. Therefore, on the preliminary map, the main collection system would snake around following the topography’s low spots (like water flowing downhill) while hitting the worse nitrate “hot spots” and bayside areas to pick up any possible bay “seepers” before heading out of town. (The maps should be in the technical report due out Tuesday.) The second main collection pipe would run down LOVR and join up with the first one, with a cross-town pipe hitting the other “hot area” near the central business area. The end result is a closed loop system that allows for redundancy, i.e. should a malfunction somewhere along the main line occur, the effluent could be routed another way in the way that if there’s a breakdown in the phone system, a call can still get to New York by way of Toronto instead of Kansas, for example.

Since pressure systems can be installed in shallow trenches using a directional boring method, they’re waaaaay faster (and cheaper) to install than traditional gravity pipes, which means that phase one could start collecting from the worst hot-spots first. Collection in phase two would then go after the other “hot spot,” areas while the need to collect from the third phase areas would be evaluated to see whether those homes would qualify for Prohibition Zone “exceptions” and could use an enhanced onsite system such as the one being used at the Firehouse and so forth.

Overall, the option being looked at has the planned focus being put on speed and ease of “hot spot” collection as having the biggest bang for the buck, nitrate loading-wise, while the long term goal will be the total beneficial use and reuse of water, since water, even treated effluent water, is not something that needs to be “disposed”of or “discharged,” but is, instead, a valuable . . . no, priceless . . . commodity.

An interesting note from Ripley’s hydrologist: The farmers/growers at the tip of the water basin are at the highest elevation which means when the aquifer starts into overdraft, (water rolling down hill leaves the top of the hill first) they’ll be the first ones hit, with their irrigation well production dropping even before folks in town notice a thing. The farmers in Monterey county (Salinas valley) found out the hard way just what an impact an overdrafted aquifer can have on their wells – early seawater intrusion threatening their ability to farm. They’re now starting in greater numbers to use a steady supply of “townie” treated wastewater for irrigation.

When it comes to a water basin, speaking of “being in this together” isn’t feel-good, soppy rhetoric. For better or worse, it really is being in this together.

Speaking of which, an appeal was made last night that all folks claiming to be interested in the community and all things sewerish need to get their input in early. The environmental review committee will be looking at all this as is moves along, but the community in general needs to also be guiding and shaping the project report by their input. Unless nobody cares one way or the other?


Oh, Noooooo, The Trees! The Trees!


I know, it will look like Tri W Tree déjà vu all over again, the big saws and chippers suddenly at work, shattering the peace and quiet of a morning, great trees falling to wood chips, the startlement of folks driving by, Whaaaaaa?????

Starting June 12, some more big, ginormous eucalyptus trees will be coming down on Los Osos Valley Road. Nope, it’s not a pre-emptive strike by the CSD, just the result of widening the road at Palisades Ave. According to an email from Rosmarie Gaglione, SLO County Public Works: “Later this year, the Department of Public Works will be installing traffic signals at the intersection of Los Osos Valley Road and Palisades Ave. A right turn lane will be installed on Los Osos Valley Road westbound onto Palisades Ave. Drainage problems at the intersection will also be corrected.

“In order to construct these improvements, several eucalyptus trees fronting the park on the Los Osos Valley Road will need to be removed. No one likes to have to cut down trees, but without doing so the Department cannot build the needed improvements within established standards for roadway and traffic signal design; standards which are much more stringent than those in effect at the time that Los Osos Valley Road was originally built and those trees were not quite as large.”

“Tree removal will begin on Monday, June 12, 2006. This work was approved as part of the coastal permit for park improvements. We will be conducting the required reptor/nesting bird surveys during the two weeks leading up to June 12. Stump removal will occur at a later date; however, initial work will be monitored by an archeologist as required.”

Any questions, call Rosmarie Gaglione, project Manager at 788-2318.

So, bye-bye bit trees. Again.

Measure B Bites The Dust, some more, sort of, maybe, oh, wait . . .

Judge Martin Tangeman ruled that Measure B “went too far by dictating decisions that should legally be made by” the CSD Board. The CSD’s attorney reported out of closed session that the Board “had no choice but to appeal the case,” that meanwhile, they would work on a possible settlement, but wanted to avoid paying Taxpayer’s Watch’s legal fees and would be filing an appeal of the case in the meantime

It is certainly a case that may end up filled with Irony! The previous Board voted to have the CSD go to court to block Measure B from getting on the ballot. That lawsuit made the legal argument that Measure B illegally “dictated decisions that should legally be made by CSD Board members.” That blocking suit failed to stop it from getting on the ballot. (The courts have repeatedly ruled against such blocking suits, preferring that initiatives, no matter how cockamamie, be voted on THEN challenged and dumped.)

After the election that recalled that board majority, the group known as Taxpayer’s Watch, privately filed suit arguing that Measure B “illegally dictated decisions that should legally be made by CSD Board members.” (The unanswered question: If Measure B was written so as to require that a sewer plant be built at Tri-W, (instead of putting limits on siting and requiring a citizen vote that could lead to choosing another site and/or project) would Taxpayer’s Watch have gone to court, claiming that the initiative usurped the CSD’s powers? In short, was the Taxpayer’s Watch suit a principled one (i.e. upholding a general right or principle regardless of any particular detail) or one tied directly to a particular sewer plant in a particular place that they wanted built that the measure was thwarting?)

In any event, the newly elected board settled with CASE, over the matter of blocking the measure before the election. (And paid a big time penalty for that original board’s blocking folly) Yet to be settled was the appeal of the case on the validity of the initiative itself, now that the election was over. Also to be settled was whether Taxpayer’s Watch had filed their case within the proper time allowed.

Judge Tangeman ruled that they had filed “.. as timely as reasonably possible,” and upheld his previous ruling that Measure B was illegal. Since I don’t think, in all the suing and more suing, an appeals court has heard the merit of the case, (only the attempt to block the measure from being voted on) will the appeal now get the substance of the case before a different judge?

Weirdly, while the case is on appeal, the CSD could write and vote on an ordinance nearly identical to Measure B, thereby giving themselves an ordinance that couldn’t be challenged in court under the same laws Taxpayer’s Watch used the first time.

I find this all very ironic. Such an ordinance would appear to be the same sauce, but sometimes the gander changes and becomes a goose. And vice versa.

Well, it’s Los Osos. Stay tuned.

41 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

A summary of the whole Measure B fiasco ...

Had the current board not settled with Al his lawers, they would have saved a ton of money.

Furthermore, to continue their appeal shows that either that at least one of the following three is true ...

1. They are unwise and don't know Measure B is doomed, even with an appeal.

2. Their lawyer lied to them and said that an appeal is likely to succeed.

3. They like throwing good money after bad.

4. They would rather spend our money than lose face.

Again, I like to believe the best about things, but I cannot figure out which of the above four situations is really "best". If forced to choose, I would say that the 2nd possibility has the most hope because if they simply get a 2nd legal opinion on a variety of issues (don't they have Seitz on a retainer?) they could see that their current legal counsel appears to be more interested in billable hours than in giving a fair assessment of various options.

If Biggs didn't tell them (in closed session) that an appeal is 99.9% likely to fail, Biggs is not doing her job in a way that justifies her hourly rate.

Anonymous said...

Shark:

You are the ONLY reason to periodically visit this land of misinformation. Much thanks.

Shark Inlet said...

I have to disagree.

Even if you don't like Ann's take on things, you probably would like Publicworks opinion.

Furthermore, Ann is an entertaing writer. Journalism majors may not be the best at engineering, regional planning, accounting or wastewater treatement system design, but they do have their place.

If Ann would just consult with an accountant about some of the numbers issues, I would say that this blog would be by far the best place to get interesting information.

Anonymous said...

Judge Tangeman’s decision dated June 6,2006 (3 days ago) ruled among other points:

“ Trial of this case was bifurcafeted, Trial previously occurred on the Petition for Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory Relief as it related to the issue of validity of Measure B. In its Statement of Decision after phase one of the trial, filed on April 13,2006. The Court held Measure B invalid.”

All Ann’s obfuscation aside, the ruling is crystal clear; the substance of Measure B is INVALID. The measure was always found invalid in the pre and post recall election court cases by two different judges.

I noticed that Ann did not offer her opinion on an appeal’s court decision. You don’t have the slightest doubt about the merit or the cost?

I agree with both the previous anonymous and Shark that this is a good source of informational comments and that there is a great deal of deliberate information distortions.

Shark, Public works, PG, and others craft technical and logical positions that are easy to understand. There are also wordsmiths that have entertainment value but are becoming predicable.

For example, compare an original source document (like a court ruling), then some of the presentations on this site. I had already read Tangeman’s ruling and was anxious to see how Ann would present. I knew it would be negative, but I missed on the need for more CSD litigation, go figure!

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

You are telling us that STEP is "waaaaaaay cheaper" and that if we don't need fancy wave walls and concrete we can save a bunch and that if we use solar we can save money on electricity as well.

I trust that you've seen these numbers. What are they? Did the include the cost of financing and inflation? What will the ultimate cost be each and every month?

I still stand by my earlier analysis (that you've not disputed in any detail at all) that says that even if we can save some $40M on the cost, the need to pay for a new design, the costs of delay and the cost of financing will make any project other than TriW (in mid Sep 2005) far more expensive. That's even if we zero out any possible fines and ignore the costs of any possible CDOs.

Nope, "waaaaaaay cheaper" is in fact "waaaaaaay more expensive" but your good friend Ann either doesn't get it or she is willing to cut corners just to support of the current board.

Don't believe me, Ann ... prove me wrong?

Let me conclude with a good question that I think will help us all clarify our individual posititons on the WWTF site and collection system ... "how much more would you be willing to pay to put the WWTF out by Los Osos creek instead of at TriW? If you think it is worth $100/month but no more you might want to stop supporting the current board who is on track to double our costs relative to TriW.

PublicWorks said...

Ann sez,

"(The unanswered question: If Measure B was written so as to require that a sewer plant be built at Tri-W, (instead of putting limits on siting and requiring a citizen vote that could lead to choosing another site and/or project) would Taxpayer’s Watch have gone to court, claiming that the initiative usurped the CSD’s powers? "

Huh, Ann? Usually I have some respect for what you're trying to do, but that is really stretching. Only you would think of such a ridiculous question. Talk about trying to re-direct attention away from the obvious. Since TW didn't or have ever appeared to want ANY obstruction ordinance, your question is an out-n-out political poke.

There's a simple question Ann. How much did TW's lawyers charge for this? If it's chump change, like $20-30k, compared to all the legal work put into "defending" Measure B (what $125k in settlements, plus god knows how much since then), how can you with a straight face suggest that appealling to avoid paying a measly $20k-$30k (with the track record of defeats on the legality) is smart?

If the lawyers have advised that the CSD is obligated to appeal, the question is if that is even good advice.

Plus, Ann doesn't seem to put forth that the RWQCB has also sued the CSD over Measure B. By dropping any appeal and getting on with it, guess what, the CSD can kill two birds with one stone.

C'mon Ann, ask some hard rhetorical questions about this legal advice, not just regurgitate stuff that more and more looks like it's spoon fed to you.

Mike Green said...

To Anon "Go figure"
You wrote:
"All Ann’s obfuscation aside, the ruling is crystal clear; the substance of Measure B is INVALID. The measure was always found invalid in the pre and post recall election court cases by two different judges."
I don't see it quite that way at all.
The substance of measure B, namely, that TriW would not be allowed,
will never see the light of justice, because the process of deciding where a WWTF will be, can not be decided by popular vote
Its supposed to be an administrative function.
It's solely up to the LOCSD now.
Which is where Ann's irony kicks in.
I guess it takes a sense of humor.

PublicWorks said...

Mike,

"The substance of Measure B, that TriW would not be allowed."

Mike, what part of Measure B was that in?

I think your statement reflects the irony not just of Measure B but of many propositions people vote on, and it highlights the difference between what people vote for and what they think they're voting for.

The substance of Measure B or any proposition, is, hmmm, what the proposition actually is.

Not what people 'think' or 'want' it to be.

That Tri-W would specifically not be allowed, ironically, was not in Measure B; because Measure B didn't say whether Tri-W or any site could or could not be used.

Is there any wonder we're spending money coming and going on this?

*PG-13 said...

I'm gonna say right up front ..... I don't have a clue and my head hurts. But I bought a ticket for this bus so I guess I gotta play. Takin' it from the top, a one ana a two ana ...

Shark Inlet > Even if you don't like Ann's take on things, ... Furthermore, Ann is an entertaing writer. Journalism majors may not be the best at engineering, regional planning, accounting or wastewater treatement system design, but they do have their place.

Thanks Shark, nice (and appropriate) come back. But oh my, such faint praise for simple journalism. Would you rather receive planning & engineering commentary from The Triv? I thought not. On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you value the sewer-related content of The Triv? Ann's Blog? SewerWatch? the CASE website? the LOCSD website? TaxpayersWatch, uh, DissolvetheCSD, and we're happy about it, website? and the Taxpayerswatch.org website? Sorry, that last one was a pink herring ;-) I'm not here to support Ann's take on everything. Not even on some things. But dang, it's the best game going. Pull up a seat, squawk a bit if it helps, see you tomorrow.

Shark > If Ann would just consult with an accountant about some of the numbers issues, I would say that this blog would be by far the best place to get interesting information.

There ya go. OK, I agree, that would be nice. I love numbers too. And I'm aghast at how few meaningful numbers are available. 20 years and counting, multiple CSD's, all this angst, still no sewer, AND STILL NO NUMBERS! (sigh) Is there an accountant about who can provide such numbers? (Note: I mean comparable numbers. One set of numbers advertised as the bestest, cheapest & fastest numbers don't mean much to me. Numbers are more a device of measurement than of absolute value.)

Anon > ...You don’t have the slightest doubt about the merit or the cost? (of Measure B)

No, I don't. I'm kinda gettin twisted in a knot over Measure B. It does seem a bit like piss'n into the ocean. But, within the context of the process of the game, I can't deny it seemed a good idea at the time. Less so now. Some times its hard to know just when to walk away from the table - be it a Thanksgiving table, a craps table or a legal issue. Sometimes ya just hafta go with what seems right. Sometimes that's an expensive path. But when do ya choose to step off that path?

Anon > Shark, Public works, PG, and others craft technical and logical positions that are easy to understand. There are also wordsmiths that have entertainment value but are becoming predicable.

Arrrrrgh! Have I just been insulted? I'm not even certain I belong in the company of of Shark and Public Works. Uh, this is a blog. We're ALL wordsmiths! And eventually we're all gonna become fairly predictable. (big 2X sigh)

Shark (again) > I still stand by my earlier analysis ... that says that even if we can save some $40M on the cost, the need to pay for a new design, the costs of delay and the cost of financing will make any project other than TriW (in mid Sep 2005) far more expensive.

Yes, you may be right in the most absolute sense. Time is money. And there are no gurarantees that anything but the quickest, sloppiest, most direct response to the Los Osos sewer dilemma isn't going to be the cheapest to build. But fastest and cheapest is not always, indeed is seldom, the best. Slam me for wanting anything more than cheap. I wanna live in Los Osos for a long time. I believe today's sewer issues are just a point on a broader spectrum of future full-basin issues. I believe the ~5,000 homes in the PZ represent more than just one more sewer in the valley. I don't presume we're gonna solve a whole passel of future issues with this sewer. But a quick short-sighted resolution to this sewer might not necessarily be the BEST resolution. Just call it a gut check. My sense is this is the first BIG step of possibly many which impacts the entire basin. So let's make it a wise, smart and well-considered step and not just the cheapest.

Sorry, no numbers and precise engineering data to back that up. That's just my intuition. What does your gut say?

Shark > Let me conclude with a good question that I think will help us all clarify our individual posititons on the WWTF site and collection system ... "how much more would you be willing to pay to put the WWTF out by Los Osos creek instead of at TriW?

I'm not particularly concerned WHERE the sewer is located. Nor that it is the cheapest. I am concerned that it be the best solution for the longer and broader perspective.

Sorry, sometimes ya just gotta go with what you think is right.

Sewertoons said...

So PG, put the good of one spin - STEP is best - against the good of the other spin, Traditional is best - then consult with your gut? I suspect as there there has been so much spin that most guts are dizzy and will not make a truly informed choice.

Then again, how many of us have altrusitic guts? For some reason the early Christians and lions comes to mind - in this case it would be - Have your "for sale" sign ready and your bags packed if you can't afford to support your gut's "broader perspective" viewpoint if it is more expensive? Don't spoil the area with your altruistically poor choice of cheaper, it really is best that you pack up and move on?

Well, how nice for you that you can afford it if expensive wins!

(It's not that anyone wants cheaper because it is right or wrong, they want cheaper so they don't have to move. This is reality.)

Churadogs said...

Publicworks sez:"how can you with a straight face suggest that appealling to avoid paying a measly $20k-$30k (with the track record of defeats on the legality) is smart?

If the lawyers have advised that the CSD is obligated to appeal, the question is if that is even good advice.

Plus, Ann doesn't seem to put forth that the RWQCB has also sued the CSD over Measure B. By dropping any appeal and getting on with it, guess what, the CSD can kill two birds with one stone."

Please show me where I said the appeal was "smart." I simply wrote what Ms. Biggs stated to the audience at the CSD meeting (did you bother to attend to hear her remarks in person?)

Please show me where dropping the Measure B appeal will cause the RWQCB to do anything at all? The state revolving funds loand is gone, a new one requires a Prop 218 vote, if you go visit Ron's blogspot, you'll see his interesting latest post. Please tell me he won't file for a CC hearing. Please tell me what would happen if the CC was finally forced to take at look at the "bait and switch," would they pull the permit? If they did, Please tell me how anybody can "get on with anything," and etc.

PublicWorks said...

Ann sez,

"Please show me where dropping the Measure B appeal will cause the RWQCB to do anything at all? The state revolving funds loand is gone, a new one requires a Prop 218 vote, if you go visit Ron's blogspot, you'll see his interesting latest post. Please tell me he won't file for a CC hearing. Please tell me what would happen if the CC was finally forced to take at look at the "bait and switch," would they pull the permit? If they did, Please tell me how anybody can "get on with anything," and etc. "

The CC did look at the permit - including an issue of 'bait and switch' it was called the revocation hearing. That dog didn't and won't hunt again. Another permit revocation hearing (for whatever 'issue') for a 'dead' project - talk about more delays.

No wonder Los Osos is in trouble. A journalist defends a dead and useless Measure. Another journalist wants to kill a dead project. If it's about the past, maybe Ron & Ann should get over it, so a project can go forward - ANY project that goes forward is going to get reviewed again.

TW or anyone else cannot 'force' Tri-W to be resurrected. Only the CSD, or another agency in the future can. So who's having the problem 'getting over it'?

Besides, Ann, what does defending Measure B have to do to getting on with anything? It doesn't - precisely my point.

Ann sez,

"In short, was the Taxpayer’s Watch suit a principled one (i.e. upholding a general right or principle regardless of any particular detail) or one tied directly to a particular sewer plant in a particular place that they wanted built that the measure was thwarting?)"

Well, Ann, why don't you read the lawsuit, your question would be answered.

Ann sez,

"Since I don’t think, in all the suing and more suing, an appeals court has heard the merit of the case, (only the attempt to block the measure from being voted on) will the appeal now get the substance of the case before a different judge?"

Jeez Ann, Tangeman was the 2nd different judge to rule it illegal. No, not an appeals judge, but he certainly knew the case was an probable case for appeal. Judges don't like to get rulings overturned on appeal.

"The CSD’s attorney reported out of closed session that the Board “had no choice but to appeal the case,”"

Really, then who is compelling them to appeal? Since a CSD attorney wrote the Measure, and if it's the CSD attorney advising to appeal, they there's a gravy train of attorney fees created with this thing - created NOT by TW (OK, maybe people can get it through their thick head that it might have simply been an obstructionist Measure), but by the creators of the Measure. And who hired these guys Ann? It seems there's a cookie jar open, and ask yourself who is getting all the cookies?

Anonymous said...

Shark, etc... I have an honest question for you. Please really take the time to consider this.

Do you really want to focus on the future? Or do you want to dwell on the past as you claim Ann and Ron are doing?

I'm serious, not just criticizing your comments. I would hope you are sincere in what you write but I have my doubts. Please reassure me.

Let me give you an example...

Shark, everytime you talk about project costs you compare "anything new" to the cost of the Tri-W project in September of 2005

("...will make any project other than TriW (in mid Sep 2005) far more expensive." --Shark from above)

Shark, we are not in September of 2005, so what good does it do to compare that number to anything?

I understand what you are doing, you are trying to say that if we end up paying more than we could have in 2005 then we made a mistake in 2005... isnt that laying blame and dwelling on the past?

You continually encourage others to forget about the past and focus on the future... what can we do now... now that we are where we are.

If you followed your own advice, you would apply your inflation figures to the September 2005 prices and continually update that number for everyone one of your pieces here that compares costs.

Since we cant go back in time and change where we are and how we got here, we will never get back to the Sept2005 price, so why focus on that number.. .it is forever gone.

Unless of course you want to continue to dwell on the past and lay blame for where we are today... in that case you should reconsider your criticisms of Ann and Ron... its a bit hypocritical.

Although you may have a point about how delays factor into the final costs, I can see it both ways. I understand your point of view, but respectfully disagree. I do dwell on the past... and dont criticise others for doing so. (Do it or dont do it, just dont have a double standard). Therefore, I see things differently.

From my perspective, the Tri-W project was never going to happen. It was destined to fail in September of 2005. Its just unfortunate that the Dreamers didnt believe it. THAT is why we have lost so much money. THAT is why we are so delayed.

Imagine if they old CSD had LISTENED to the community and BELIEVED if they didnt they would be thrown out of office in Sept2005.

Imagine that with that belief they HAD listened to their community and modified/moved their project.

Would we have a sewer by now?

Would there have been as many delays?

Would we all hate each other? (I'm sure the Dreamers would have come on board had the old CSD proposed in 2004 what Ripley is poposing today) Don't you?

If they had switched to Ripley's IDEAS in 2004... how much would that have costed?

Compare that to what we will pay NOW.

A lot of what ifs... thats what you get to do when you dwell in the past...

What are you going to do, Shark?

Sewertoons said...

Anonymous,

A lot of us don't like what Ripley is proposing, a lot of us like Tri-W, FYI.

I am not trrying to answer for shark, I assume that as you added "etc." you meant other bloggers.

The cost of anything new - meaning 2010-11-12 whenever permitting, financing, designing of something else is done - is more than it would have been in 2005, true. But it will be more than re-starting Tri-W now, 2006 prices.

Just because you speculate that the old CSD could have listened to the community, doesn't mean that they could have changed anything about the project they chose. To do so would have levied CDO's and the threat of fines sooner. There were many reasons they could not do the out-of-town idea.

Don't forget - the original dreamers wanted a pond initially. They were turned down by the Water Board.

Mike Green said...

Publickworks, Thanks, you put it better than me by a long shot.
The substance of measure B IS what people thought they were voting on.
Thats just what I ment.
It was to stop TriW, plain and simple.
The rest was legalees.
What do you think of Sam's plan?

PublicWorks said...

At least it's a plan. too bad Sam didn't run for CSD Director.

It puts the authority away from squabbling townfolk - good.

It means the loan/financing can go to the County - good.

It just depends on how much the RWQCB is willing to bend, and not appear to be caving in on their enforcement responsibility.

Shark Inlet said...

To our anonymous friend.

I was unclear. I should have written that any project other than TriW would be far more expensive ... today.

While you are right that we can't roll back the clock (how do you think that election would have come out if we had known then what we know today by the way) and comparing to the past doesn't help us move forward, I do think it worthwhile to note the folks who sold us a bill of goods last September by telling us that they would cut the project costs in half were very very wrong and they are also the ones who are telling us that Ripley is the solution. It gives us some perspective. When people show themselves to be trustworthy they earn trust and when they show themselves to be less than trustworthy, they are doubted.

You presume that we would all love Ripley's plan. Myself, I haven't seen enough of the plan to develop an opinion about whether it would be a good idea or a bad one. If STEP means that most septics need to be replaced, it will cost us an extra $20M or so ... that might wipe out any savings from the "waaaaaaaay cheaper" method.

What's the key point here?

The current CSD has no possibility of financing any project ... probably not even TriW. Property owners won't approve a 218 vote to borrow money at 8% (or whatever municipal junk bonds are going for today) if they feel uncertainty about whether the thing will be completed. No money, no project. Can you blame the homeowners?

The CSD has been a massive SNAFU since day zero. Ron has a compelling case that those behind the CSD formation knew in advance that their proposed project would not pass muster. They were hopeful that they could just bargain with the RWQCB to get their "better, faster, cheaper" project through. They were wrong. What has made things worse is that this new board refuses to pay attention to the lessons learned by the previous board ... you don't want to play chicken with a freight train.

Summary: even comparing costs of TriW now and alternative projects now shows that TriW is less expensive than these alternatives.

Churadogs said...

Publicworks sez:"The CSD’s attorney reported out of closed session that the Board “had no choice but to appeal the case,”"

Really, then who is compelling them to appeal?"

If you had been at the CSD meeting, perhaps you could have asked the attorney yourself?

Inlet sez"Summary: even comparing costs of TriW now and alternative projects now shows that TriW is less expensive than these alternatives."

What projects are you looking at for comparison? Ripley hasn't come back with any numbers that I know of. The October "Negotiations that Weren't Negotiations," had some comparisons on the various plants which showed that the MBR technology/design atTri W was the most expensive compared to the ditch or pond type plant. As for my waaaaay cheaper, I should have made clearer that I was refering to the step collection system. Being a smaller sized pipe than the traditional gravity pipe, it can be laid quicker, at a shallower depth & etc and is therefore waaaaayyy cheaper. Where the cost can ratchet up is whether each tank must be replaced (that's required if you use SRF monies, but, apparently not required by county or state code) but that has to be compared overall against the life cycle of the tank and system. i.e. if you had to replace your tank for $10,000 yet because the piping was waaaaay cheaper than a gravity system, pro-rate that $10,000 cost out 30 years and compare that with what the traditional system would cost forever. AT some point, you'd pay off that $10,000 and only be paying for the service for the pipe and treatment plant & etc. If Ripley's project update presents optional STEP or some sort of pressure system, he's supposed to have all those comparison numbers available (He noted in the last CSD meeting that TRI-W was to be used as a sort of baseline for comparison.)So, we'll see.

Sewertoons said...

Maybe you have never been that broke Ann, but I have. You can struggle along with a payment that is large and make do by cutting corners, but to have to cough up a huge lump sum at one time - like $10,000, you have to resort to financing -IF you qualify - and that makes it very expensive. Pro-rating does not matter, if you see what I mean.

Shark Inlet said...

Okay Ann, let's take your numbers at face value ... 5000 households each paying $10k to put in a new septic system. That's $50M. Do you really think that STEP will save $50M over the $70M gravity system associated with TriW? Do you really think that if it costs $10k per household to replace a septic tank, we'll get the entire STEP system put in for $20M or $4000 per household?

Sounds pretty unrealistic to me.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Do you really think that STEP will save $50M over the $70M gravity system associated with TriW?"

Tri W was $70 million? When did that happen?

Shark Inlet said...

Um ... perhaps you should read more carefully before posting, Ann.

What is saddest is that you are the one who accuesed me of having reading comprehension problems. Those who live in grass houses shouldn't stow thrones, you know.

The gravity collection system of TriW was priced at $70M.

So, can you explain to us again how STEP will save us $50M? If it doesn't, the costs of everyone buying a new septic system more than outweighs the "waaaaaaay cheaper". When you further add the design costs plus inflation costs (and possibly a higher interest rate) "waaaaaaay cheaper" actually is "waaaaaaay more expensive."

Nope, it sounds like you are just being rather than taking a serious look at the financials. Unwise if you ask me.

PublicWorks said...

Churo sez,

"The October "Negotiations that Weren't Negotiations," had some comparisons on the various plants which showed that the MBR technology/design atTri W was the most expensive compared to the ditch or pond type plant."

The various compared plants had differing treatment levels to begun with (so it was partially apples and oranges), and timelines were questionable as to how inflation and construction cost indexes would affect costs.

Or did Churo not bother to question that comparison, and just take everything regurgitated out from the source?

Dogpatch Refugee said...

It never ends with these guys does it Ann? They could actually attend a meeeting, like you say. Or at least could a little more respect to you. I'd love to think that there could be a real Stand Down. I'm somewhat pessemistic about it happening. People here in town range from scared and angry to apathetic and misinformed. Thats were propaganda and bad journalism meet, helping us to make the "required" decision.
By the way, anybody recall what led to the timing of the recall vote, and what rationale was given for that decision? Not that the recent history of democratic process here in Los Osos has anything to with the admitted uber goal of the TRI W project reborn, beloved Tri W, our mid town dream.
Can't wait for the smell of THAT victory.
However, watch em scream democratic process, political ethics etc., if this board shows some more of its David vs. Goliath ganas and sells that piece of once truly beautiful property...they've got debts to pay, ya know?
Besides, then they will have fullfilled the political promise to Move The Sewer.
& Albright et al, would have to get new dentures, now thus having been defanged. Their stated in print goal, removed from them.

Sewertoons said...

That's right, Dogpatch, the CSD has to appeal Measure B again, so they'd better hurry up and sell.

Shark Inlet said...

Dogpatch,

You seem to think that attending meetings would make one agree with the CSD or at least more informed.

I have to say that the meetings seem to be available on cable TV. We can the the information without even attending.

All of a sudden, the only reason to go to a meeting is if you want to make public comment. I get the feeling that this board simply ignores public comment from some because they don't want to hear (for example, Craig Baltimore spoke out some months back and said that the board should at least be honest with us and say that they have a better, but more expensive project in mind) and they ignore public comment from others because they are "known enemies".

Did you even read Don Beardon's letter to the editor recently about the tone of the meetings? Don't you think it would be disheartening to have folks boo you, sometimes follow you out to your car in a threatening way and other times have the chair of the board and the GM speak to you rudely? Even Crizer deserves better treatment than Lisa and Dan gave him.

I see the CSD meetings as theater. They are not for any purpose other than for the board to promote their own agenda. If they were open to hearing ... if there were discussion and debate on issues ... if they really were interestd in working together to solve the problem the board would have a lot of public comment from people on both sides.

Do you really think that simply attending these meetings would change anything?

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Did you even read Don Beardon's letter to the editor recently about the tone of the meetings? "

Mr. Beardson has often gone to the podium to read from a prepared statement, often with many good questions posed, then promptly walks out the door without waiting for any answers. This is just more "theatre" and totally nonproductive.

Inlet also sez:"You seem to think that attending meetings would make one agree with the CSD or at least more informed.

I have to say that the meetings seem to be available on cable TV. We can the the information without even attending."

The point of going to the meeting is to get your information first hand. Even TV doesn't give you the same information.

Churadogs said...

Publicworks sez:"Or did Churo not bother to question that comparison, and just take everything regurgitated out from the source?"

Your quarrel is with Darrin Polhemus, not me. You should ask him about those comparisons.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

You're ducking the question Publicworks is asking.

You are saying that TriW is more expensive. He is suggesting that if you just incorporate inflation and a realistic estimate of the time delay of moving to another location, any of the cost savings will be decimated.

Darrin's involvement in the "negotiations" doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to do your best to compare apples to apples.

As to whether the meetings are theater ... if you think that Beardon is the problem I just have to shake my head and wonder. Don't you see why people are reluctant to attend? They get to suffer the derision of others just to be completely ignored by the board. This board seems to completely ignore everyone other than Gail, Richard and Keith.

Shark Inlet said...

For those interested in financial matters, a poster over at the Trib forum just put the current balances online along with some cash flow projections.

See the post (you may want to right-click to open in a new window).

It is not too surprising but is also a bit sobering at the same time.

Upshot ... we're going to be bankrupt before the end of the year.

Presumably if the CSD had wanted to get a new plant location and design they could have gotten a 218 vote to support Ripley and the purchase of land before draining all accounts including the reserves.

Sewertoons said...

I'll bet that they didn't go after the 218 vote because they knew they didn't have enough support to get it to pass.

Dogpatch Refugee said...

"As to whether the meetings are theater ... if you think that Beardon is the problem I just have to shake my head and wonder. Don't you see why people are reluctant to attend? They get to suffer the derision of others just to be completely ignored by the board. This board seems to completely ignore everyone other than Gail, Richard and Keith."
Selective memory or just another attempt to re-write the past.
Plenty of us remember the gavel wielded by Bowker and Guffstaffson.
The publically paid snitch. The armed sherrif, etc.
Y'all are cynical hypocrites.
I can play "answer the question too, I repeat:
"By the way, anybody recall what led to the timing of the recall vote, and what rationale was given for that decision?"
newbietoons spouts:
"A lot of us don't like what Ripley is proposing, a lot of us like Tri-W, FYI."
A lot? As in you, your head, and its location up Inlet's inlet??

Sewertoons said...

DpR, grow up.

Anonymous said...

SHark said:"Don't you think it would be disheartening to have folks boo you, sometimes follow you out to your car in a threatening way and other times have the chair of the board and the GM speak to you rudely?"

Don't forget... the only people to ever batter someone at a meeting were Dreamers... two of them to be exact. Yep, both Dreamers.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:

"Don't forget... the only people to ever batter someone at a meeting were Dreamers... two of them to be exact. Yep, both Dreamers."

TALK ABOUT SELECTIVE MEMORIES! EVEN ANN WOULD ADMIT THERE HAS BEEN MANY INSTANCES OF HARRASSMENT BY BOTH SIDES!

Anonymous said...

I didnt say "harrassment"... I said BATTERY... as in someone striking someone else.

There have been harsh words by ALL... but only the Dreamers have crossed the line and hit someone...TWICE!!!

So its a little funny that the new CSD supporters get the bad rap when it comes to behavior at meetings.

Something about a pot and a kettle comes to mind.

Shark Inlet said...

I think it fairest to not compare the most extreme behaviors.

The point I was raising (originally) is that the current board, if they wanted, could at least try to get those supporters they have to settle down a bit. The fact that they don't do much, even when the situation is pointed out by speakers, says volumes.

Anonymous said...

What town are you living in? I have repeatedly heard Lisa ask people to be quiet, respect others, etc. You guys are starting to sound like Ms. Bianchi. Tit for tat is a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Shark Inlet is pompous and obsessed, and is highly misinformed.
Or is he only Gary Karner??

Shark Inlet said...

Remember Kids,

If you can't come up with a logical argument, it is best to resort to character assassination.

Maybe if you had been reading here for long, you would know I've not been too kind to our former boardmembers ... They made some horrible choices. However, by comparrison to our new guys ... the old ones were downright brilliant.


In any case, what's not to obsess about? We've got a lot of money at stake and our whole community will be profoundly impacted by what happens. To not want to consider every aspect of this discussion is to not care.

There are few things worth obsessing about. One is Ann's socks and another is whether my bills will increase at a far faster rate than my ability to pay them.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"As to whether the meetings are theater ... if you think that Beardon is the problem I just have to shake my head and wonder. Don't you see why people are reluctant to attend? They get to suffer the derision of others just to be completely ignored by the board. This board seems to completely ignore everyone other than Gail, Richard and Keith."

You missed the point. On one occassion Mr. Beardon raised some really good questions then walked out the door, after which Mr. Ripley went tot he podium and answered his questions. If Mr. Beardon had been serious about actually getting some answers to his questions, he would have stuck around.

anon said:""Don't forget... the only people to ever batter someone at a meeting were Dreamers... two of them to be exact. Yep, both Dreamers."

TALK ABOUT SELECTIVE MEMORIES! EVEN ANN WOULD ADMIT THERE HAS BEEN MANY INSTANCES OF HARRASSMENT BY BOTH SIDES! "

I think the issue was "battering," as in slapping or physically hitting?

Inlet sez:"There are few things worth obsessing about. One is Ann's socks and another is whether my bills will increase at a far faster rate than my ability to pay them."

You need to join in the fun and get some waaaayyy cool socks of your own. Then we can be twinzees at the CSD meetings. Like winking fireflies, we can flash our socks at each other, blink-blink, blink.