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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More Coal! More Speed!

It’s a déjà vu image I can’t get out of my head, a train hurtling through the darkness. The unconscious engineer lies slumped over the wide-open throttle, bleeding out on the floor from a number of knives stuck into his back.

In the club car, the passengers have noticed the increase in speed and are concerned, but they do nothing. Some read or look out the window. Others watch TV. A few tap away on their computers, logging onto a blogsite to spend hours complaining about what a rotten trip this is and how lousy the engineers are, but they don’t get up out of their chairs to go see what the matter could be or whether they could do anything to help the train and so help themselves. They think it’s too much bother, none of their business, whatever. Still others are frightened but do nothing because they think some Superman will swoop down from the sky and save them and the train. They remain unaware, or choose to remain unaware, that unless they get off their duffs and get involved in shaping some key decisions right now, they will be stuck with accepting choices that will be made for them by somebody else. Exactly what happened on the last train trip.

Up in the coal car, a bunch of citizens are doing something. The ones who stabbed the engineer are busy hurling shovels full of coal into the firebox to increase the train’s speed. They want the train smashed to pieces. Others are busy slashing away at each other with knives and chains, hurling cries of, “Is too!” “Is NOT!” “ “You’re and idiot!” “Nuh-huh, YOU ARE!” “Neener-Neener-Neener,” all blissfully unaware that the luxury of debating and evaluating a wide variety of options is closing down rapidly. Like the passengers in the club car, they too seem blissfully unaware that their choices are vanishing as the speed of the train picks up and unless they focus and agree on certain key decisions right now, they too will be forced to accept solutions made for them by somebody else. Exactly what happened on the last train trip.

The dark clouds part and the moonlight suddenly reveals the tracks ahead. They point – again -- straight for the edge of the cliff.

43 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

The vision you have is exactly why a lot of us voted against the recall and Measure B.

We suggested and pleaded that it doesn't pay to play chicken with a freight train. The state will win this one. They will get a sewer in Los Osos and it will be because we need a sewer for the purpose of our own health and the health of our environment.

We only role we get to play in Los Osos is the roll of determining how long we want to fight the state. The longer we fight, the more damage we'll do. Environmental damage ... financial damage ... damage to the social framework of our community. We get to pick how long it goes on. The recall was a vote to raise our bills and continue our polluting and to make it far more likely that we'll have to take state water.

We're again racing toward that cliff. Why won't the CSD simply do the right thing and turn responsibility over to the County through dissolution or through the Blakeslee plan? Why are they trying to sell off TriW just to make it tougher for the County to choose TriW? Hell, if TriW is really as bad as many people say it is ... if the Ripley idea is really that much better ... why not let the County make the choice? If the choice is obvious, they'll make the right choice.

Or maybe that is what some are afraid of. Remember the promise to "move the sewer, no matter what it costs."

Sewertoons said...

This CSD has one thing on its mind. No Tri-W. They do not care if it IS the better treatment site. They don't want to FIND OUT IF it is the better treatment site. They don't want it and they will fight it to the point of idiocy.

Come on Ann, you think that they do not know the wishes of half - or by now MORE than half of the community? Why would they be scared of us - they can flout court rulings and water boards edicts - who are we, little LO citizens that we are, beside institutions with more power than we will ever have - who are apparently powerless too?

Blakeslee's stand down has been ignored - The CSD is fighting Measure B - yet again - they are selling Tri-W to developer Jeff Edwards, and attempting to buy the Giacomazzi property. They know the county will step in eventually no matter how badly they behave and they are trying as a last gasp to ruin whatever they can to thwart a fair choice. That is all they have left to do and they are doing it. A thousand people could show up out in the parking lot and they would not care.

In meetings, their beleaguered finance committee comes to them stating that they want to help, but if they don't know what is happening, their hands are tied. They bring their money saving tips to the podium after the more expensive deal is already done, and I am sure that they are frustrated. If their own finance committee - who really appears to be ON THEIR side can't help…? But then, they might have ideas OTHER than their own - so of course they must keep them out of the loop.

2010 will come and go and no sewer will be in place. Fines WILL be in place. In fact, the Trib stated this morning that the RWQCB intends to return to the interim penalty of pumping. Like it or not, it is their game and we are powerless because of a CSD that insists on its NO-Tri-W jihad.

It's a train wreck all right. One this CSD seems hell-bent on having.

PublicWorks said...

Ann,

Did you not HEAR Dr. Schmidt at the Ripley presentation. The issue is Septic density, which provides support to the rough outline of the PZ.

The CSD CHOSE to respond to the legislation as it saw fit. It DEMANDED lots of changes, RECOMMENDED by only a small fragment of the community and by it's advisors.

Of course, you will 'spin' this around as usual. The question is, who is really running the train right now?? Why?? Who will end up paying and paying for the train conductor decisions??

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,

Shark inlet's blog is absolutely correct. To continue moralizing about our common situation will not resolve our problems. Nor will "shame and blame" politics.

Our CSD board is "driving the train"...they are the ones elected to make decisions that will protect and benefit the citizens of Los Osos. I for one will continue to assist the Board by providing pertinent information they may use towards making those decisions.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Me thinks SHARK forgets the reasoning behind wanting to sell the TRI-W property. The CSD is in dire need of M-O-N-E-Y.

Anon 9;48, accuses Ann of "spinning", since he has lost the fact that Ann is merely a columnist,(a good one) telling it like it is, trying to enlighten a group tunnel visioned critics, do nothings, TV watchersand apathy prone folks. What is "spinning" about that?

PublicWorks said...

Ann sez,

"Others are busy slashing away at each other with knives and chains, hurling cries of, “Is too!” “Is NOT!” “ “You’re and idiot!” “Nuh-huh, YOU ARE!” “Neener-Neener-Neener,” all blissfully unaware that the luxury of debating and evaluating a wide variety of options is closing down rapidly. "

Maybe you should put down your sword first Ann. About 6-7 months ago, the GM said they had money to go until the fall. During that 6-7 months, NO FUNDING PLAN has been proposed, not by board members, nor by Staff. Mentioning an idea is NOT a plan. That would be an agenda item for an assesment, special tax, etc.

It HAS been requested. It HAS NOT happened. The reason there are few options now is because of DECISIONS of a board that said they had a plan and that hired a staff to presumably implement a plan. THERE IS NO PLAN, unless the only plan was to do a project report update. So either the board or their staff has been incapable of implementing a plan. Reactionary actions and legal tactics are not a PLAN, they are legal maneuvers.

As far as Ann enlightening, using a black lamp to enlighten doesn't expose much to see.

Sewertoons said...

To anon 10:16,
As the funds received from Tri-W would be frozen, getting fast cash to bail themselves out could not be their first reason for selling. How about removing an option for the community's input as to a WWTF choice? That seems to be their primary goal, cancelling any fairness to the community as previously promised.

Shark Inlet said...

To our most recent anonymous friend ...

Oh, I would not be opposed to selling TriW to get enough money to "keep the lights on" until AB2701 gets passed and the County can officially take over. If the County takes over via AB2701 (as opposed to dissolution) the County will have the opportunity to work with the SWQRCB and RWQCB to get the SRF loan back and to perhaps stop fines and CDOs. AB2701 is the best hope we have to keep our bills low.

However, as Spectator has pointed out elsewhere, the proceeds of any land sale would be tied up in the Courts for so long, the money won't actually keep the LOCSD from going under.

Nope, any sale of TriW will be, as Julie Biggs pointed out to the board (in her AB2701 analysis), a means to delay any possible TriW project and to raise the costs of the TriW project should the County want to build there.

Sounds more like "scorched earth" or "sour grapes" or "move the sewer, no matter what it costs" than a real attempt to keep the lights on.

Considering you brought up the need for money ... don't you think that the current CSD board and IGM have done a huge disservice to our community by running our CSD into a financial hole? They could have had enough money to keep the lights on had they not made some unwise spending choices earlier. They could have asked for a 218 vote to study an out-of-town solution back last year instead of paying Ripley from money borrowed from the fund.

As to whether Ann is spinning or not ... it would seem that only her most recent blog entry is lacking in spin. We are on a train heading toward a cliff and those driving the train are bickering like kids about everything but stopping the train.

Anonymous said...

SHARK, sez " they could have asked for a 218 vote". So SHOULDhave the previous BOD done so. You all let that one slip by but NOW you say they (present BOD) should have asked for a 218 vote. Had the present BOD done that, would you have voted FOR it? And even if YOU did, considering the climate of the community and their distrust of the present CSD, would it had passed? Snow balls chance in hell, comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:48 says:

"SHARK, sez " they could have asked for a 218 vote". So SHOULDhave the previous BOD done so."

I believe this question has already been answered in a recent post.

There was a 218 and subsequent bond sale that raised 17 or so Mil that paid for TRI-W and the design. The SRF loan was to pay for the construction and to be paid back by users fees by those connected to the completed sewer.

The 218 now in question is either for the purpose of designing a another project or for aiding the current CSD in its bankrupcy problems.

And as you pointed out, neither has a snow balls chance in hell of passing.

Shark Inlet said...

To our newest anonymous friend.

Perhaps you're new to town and haven't followed the news very carefully.

Let's go back in time and remember. We did a 218 vote on the assessment to borrow money to design and site a plant. The board exercised their elected authority and chose a site. At the time it was a very popular decision as evidenced by the voting back in of the incumbent boardmembers who ran for re-election (as opposed to Julie who was trounced that year).

As time progressed, the project changed in some ways as was mandated by the waterboards and CCC (in part responding to complaints by Julie Tacker that the park was removed to save money). In any case, the SRF loan deal did not require a 218 vote. Damn, those state folks were trusting. There is no way they'll let that one slide again.

What makes that past different from my argument that the board should have done a 218 vote to study an out-of-town solution?

Simply put, it wasn't the LOCSD's money to spend on the Ripley study. The money we had was borrowed from the state to build at TriW and when we decided not to do that we should have returned the money or at least paid contractors who had already done work. The LOCSD board chose to borrow money (that they have no hope of paying back) from the MTBE fund and to pay for the Ripley study.

Simply put, to keep your books in balance you need at least as much money coming in as there is going out. If they wanted a $500k or a $1M study of sites and technologies they should have obtained the money to do that. The only way to legally get such amounts of cash would be via a 218 vote.


Had the CSD board asked to borrow $2M (or so) to study the situation even more I might have voted for it if the convinced me that they were going to be wise. By the time December had hit, however, I was pretty convinced they didn't really have a plan and were just reacting to the problems caused by their decision to stop construction at TriW.

Would it have passed? I doubt it. Why? Because the current board have pretty much made decisions that property owners disagree with. Why would you vote to give money to folks who will do stupid things with it?


Even if it was doomed to failure, it should have been the action they chose. It is good to do the right thing even if the right thing isn't convenient.

Spectator said...

Ann: Options? We were mandated by law to build a sewer system. We were threatened all sorts of consequences if we did not build it. What do you understand "mandate" to mean? Piranas in every septic tank?

Individual at home treatment plants? Cluster treatment? And then one reads the "Rock" and the problems people have, and the alternate technology, and the special cultivated Bacteria that works aerobically to remove nitrates. And now we read about drugs and shampoo residue in the water of the upper aquifer. What is it that you, Ochs, and the foolish five do not understand about a mandate? A mandate= do it or "else". Now we are in the "else" stage. I hope it was not you who fed all the false info to (putz?) at the New Times last week. He sure was misinformed, right along the party line (Locsd board). What does the doomed 45 understand a mandate means? And who has given them false hope that they can fight it. Lets get real!

PublicWorks said...

Spectator,

If you follow the CSD legal actions, there apparently is no mandate to build anything. Not a mandate on the district, not their job if they so choose (you know, the rights of the citizens to choose whatever, whenever they want, or even NOTHING if they so want; property owners, landlords, homeowners be damned).

Apparently there is only the mandate to not discharge - and guess who gets stuck with the ramifications of that theory??? Yep, those that pay property taxes & assesments, and who sooner or later may not be able to discharge.

Anonymous said...

Exactly how much did we pay Cleath & Associates to tell us what we already knew?

I guess the money was for updating the report to include not only nitrate pollution levels in excess of Federal drinking water standards, but also the presence of anti-siezure meds (or was it anti-psychotic?) and human antibiotics in the upper aquifer.

Here's a "shout out" to the Foolish Five: Way to cement the RWQCB's case against the 45 CDO recipients. I'm sure they all appreciate it. Well Done!

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Exactly how much did we pay Cleath & Associates to tell us what we already knew?

I guess the money was for updating the report to include not only nitrate pollution levels in excess of Federal drinking water standards, but also the presence of anti-siezure meds (or was it anti-psychotic?) and human antibiotics in the upper aquifer."

The previous board never tested the uper aquifer for "emerging contaminents." Yet they planned and built Tri W to put treated wastewater back into the soil with the idea being it'd be re-pumped, blended, re-used, recharged, and eventually "renew" the lower aquifer, which is "pristine." As I pointed out some time ago, the discharge levels of nitrates (and the heretofore unknown because untested-for emerging contaminents) would eventually "pollute" that pristine lower aquifer.

The RWQCB issued its "discharge permit" for Tri-W, discharge that would include those "emerging contaminents" (which hadn't been looked for at that point) because, without reverse osmosis, a lot of those contaminents aren't removed, which meant that the RWQCB (the outfit with Water Quality in its name) didn't know or apparently didn't care just WHAT was going to be "discharged" at Broderson to "trickle down" to the lower aquifer to be reused. The Tri W plan also called for blending upper and lower waters. That was O.K. with the RWQCB and the CC and the old board and, apparently, everyone else.

I argued years ago that that study should have been done FIRST before considering "recharge," since the distance and length of time water's in the soil is critical for any possibility at getting these particular contaminents degraded or removed especially when you're designing a water-reuse/closed cycle scheme. The old board ignored my suggestion, needless to say. Now that the study's been done that actually shows the low level contaminents, everyone's having a front page cow? (Ironically, the ag exchange plan being considered by Ripley, would allow just such time and distance to take place. And since plants don't "drink" the ingredients in antibacterial soap, it would be no threat to them. What the Cleth study simply brings home is the need for a water/wastewater project.Even if nitrates are removed or reduced by onsite systems, the growing evidence of low level contamination of ALL THE NATION'S WATERWAYS AND BODIES OF WATER cannot be ignored.)

And, let me add into the mix, this question: What "emerging contaminents" are to be found in the imported State water that very likely would have been needed had Tri W been built? Same levels? Worse? Better?

Also not answered, is how much of the contaminents (i.e. antibacterial soap) are the result of illegal "greywater discharging" that's going on and has been going on in Los Osos for years? So far as I know, nobody's ever checked to see how many people discharge their washing machines directly into the back yard. (Do a quick count of friends you know who do that. I can think of two right off the bat.)

Inlet sez:"As to whether Ann is spinning or not ... it would seem that only her most recent blog entry is lacking in spin. We are on a train heading toward a cliff and those driving the train are bickering like kids about everything but stopping the train"

Inlet misses my point: In a democracy, it is the people sitting in the club car, asleep, reading, watching TV, tapping away on their computers, who are driving this train. It's up to them to make some critical decisions, NOW. As I said in my last column, the main thing is not to take your eyes off the main thing.

The people sitting in the club car need a water/wastewater project. There are a number of options to get that accomplished. 1: Do nothing and wait for the train wreck and wait for some Big Daddy Somewhere to come "save them," i.e. hand them something they may not want then hand them the bill. While this seems like "no option," it actually is an option, but one with a caveat: Do nothing then no matter what happens, they lose all rights to whine and snivel from that point forward. 2. Get up off their duffs, decide which option they want to persue -- Support the Blakeslee bill, support the Blakeslee bill with critical amendments, and etc. 3) Attend the Project Update report, look at the numbers, decide which options they want to see done, ask questions directly of the engineers, etc. 4) support a Prop 218 type assessment vote to finish up the "ripley update," and finance a Measure B type advisory vote as to which system they want to buy, 5) support the immediate formation of a Septic Managment District that can set up an MOU with the county and RWQCB and SWB to allow for a streamlined onsite mitigation systems until a project is built.(Right now the RWQCB has set up unnecessary, artifical "roadblocks" to anything other than their environmentally destructive and unnecessarily expensive "mad pumping scheme", which they say they're still persuing. (6. Get factually informed then Show up at CSD meetings to express your support of . . . whatever . . .

This community wanted "local control," but then once it was voted in, everyone assumed that they could then sit back and do nothing and they'd get free pudding and cake. When they found out they were getting taken for a ride, (faster!better!cheaper!Bait & Switch!)they woke up and changed direction. Because of the actions of the last board pounding money into the ground in an unnecessary scorched earth policy and sheer vindictiveness (emails calling for "Fine the CSD out of existence!" forgetting that meant our friends and neighbors), they were made to pay dearly for daring to make that choice. And unless they get involved NOW, that price will simply continue to escalate. .

Inlet, The decision rests with with the folks in the club car. As it always has.

Shark Inlet said...

As always, Ann, you are partially right.

You know that in this representative democracy we can't be assured that the CSD board will take actions that are either in the best interest of our community or what our community wants them to do. This is true of both the old board and the new board. There simply is no guarantee.

Along those lines, while you tell us that our public comment is necessary, I can tell you that the CSD board (both new and old) essentially makes up their minds about issues in advance of the meetings. The purpose of public comment is ... um ... so we can argue with each other or complain or so we can hear ourselves speak.

I believe the previous CSD board made decisions that were, by and large, for the good of the community, even if sometimes unpopular. (Yes, you and Ron can point to individual events of the past that make us think in retrospect that they had some blinders on and maybe didn't consider some options carefully enough. The two of you are right on that.) Even if sometimes wrong, the vast majority of the old board's choices were well thought out and based on careful analysis by staff members and legal counsel.

The current CSD board is listening to unwise counsel. Between Julie Biggs, Dan Blesky and Rob Miller, the only one I would trust would be Rob. The only one who could be counted on is Rob. The only one who will tell you the truth, no matter what is Rob. Blesky and Biggs are simply telling the board what the board wants to hear so that they can continue to draw their paychecks. They've offered advice designed to appeal to the CCLO and LOTTF extremists and little else. Like the Bush White House is playing to their base and perhaps without a plan to govern, the current LOCSD board and hired guns are not governing wisely. They've made important decisions without considering all sides of the issue carefully. On some of those decisions they've ignored the sound public comment from folks who warned them of the consequences of their decisions. [I note with interest that the consequences they were warned of during the election and since then have all come to pass ... absolutely amazing track record.]

So ... does the decision really rest with us?

Even if I support AB2701 (and I do) and even if it passes, the LOCSD could attempt to put landmines on the only path out of this mess. If they sell off TriW (hell, who knows, maybe they did that last night at their only announced after the fact surprise special closed session meeting) and request dissolution they will essentially kill AB2701 before it takes effect.

What would that do for us? Only raise the cost of TriW. It certainly wouldn't help us obtain financing at a good interest rate. It certainly wouldn't give the County any leverage with the water boards to renegotiate TSOs, fines and CDOs.

Does the LOCSD care more about stopping TriW or about our costs?

I've always said that this is about location versus money. I've never really liked the TriW location (with the exception of the park component). I've always said that to move the WWTF out of town will be expensive. I've always said that if the costs are too high it is better to stick with TriW, even if it isn't "perfect".

Ann ... for too long you've been like the Bush administration. Like they gave us a worst case scenario for the WMD thing and like they gave us a best case scenario for the war thing and like they underestimated the real costs, you have acted like recall flack. You've only told us the the best about the recall candidates and their "plan" and the new board and the Ripley plan. You've also underestimated very real costs by saying things like "well, we don't know yet" and by painting the worst possible picture of TriW.

Ann ... you are one of the people in the engine throwing coal into the fire while the rest of us who are screaming about our impending doom have been banished from the engine.

Ann ... ask some tough questions of your board for once.

Ron said...

Churadogs said:

"This community wanted "local control," but then once it was voted in, everyone assumed that they could then sit back and do nothing and they'd get free pudding and cake. When they found out they were getting taken for a ride, (faster!better!cheaper!Bait & Switch!)they woke up and changed direction."

I want to make a point here, a point that I think is vital to this entire discussion, yet, I have never seen it made.

After the "better, cheaper, faster" plan flamed out, as predicted by a bunch of water quality professionals before the election that formed the CSD, the early CSD Board quietly switched to their second Tri-Dub project. A crucial -- and I mean crucial -- time in the quiet development of that second, much more expensive project, was the Fall of 2001.

If Los Osos was like me, then you guys probably had a couple of things on your mind at that time other than the initial CSD Board's fumbling of a public works project.

For months, if not years, following a certain September day in 2001, the last thing anyone wanted to think about were things like the details of the siting criteria in the early CSD's second Tri-W project. That criteria was never scrutinized to the level it should have been at that crucial time, and I don't blame Los Ososans a bit for that lack of scrutiny.

We all had a couple of other things on our mind at that time, and that allowed that ill-conceived project to plod along, relatively unchecked, for months and months and months. And it wasn't until there was a small degree of healing from that September day, did Los Osos begin to wake up.

Sewertoons said...

Gee Ron, are you saying Tri-W was such a bad project because of 9/11? The old BOD couldn't think straight - as THEY were as affected by the tragedy as much as anyone else? This almost sounds like "healing words," that the old board should be cut a little slack? Or were you ONLY justifying the OTHER Los Osians for not paying attention?

I just talked to my Culligan man this week. I had no idea about the graywater discharge here in LO (having been here only a year and 3 months), but he assured me about half the houses do this, despite the fact that it is not legal. How about stopping that practice by the board addressing this immediately? I am having a plumber out Friday. But like everything else, it will cost money to fix if my house is not in compliance. I can just hear the COST complaints about that now… I'd like to know how many of the current board supporters (with their "ecologically superior plant out of town") are not in compliance. Maybe I should cut THEM some slack in the Thinking Department in case the lower aquifer is tainted too. (I am safe from the nasties with my Arrowhead sports bottles and my reverse osmosis filter).

Shark Inlet said...

Ron you yet again show your bias.

Yes, they change the project from STEP/ponding/partial-collection to gravity/MBR/full-collection back in 2001. However, it wasn't quiet. In the newspapers (I presume you read them) they covered the fact that the RWQCB nixed the earlier plans, so we needed to change gears. Having already put a lot of effort into getting the TriW site approved for a WWTF they chose to go ahead with TriW. Furthermore, quick cost analyses at the time showed that other locations would be even more expensive than TriW. This is especially true when you consider the difficulty of finding a recharge site. TriW/Broderson makes sense. The recharge at Broderson makes more sense than any other location and the proximity of TriW to both the community and to Broderson makes the piping less expensive.

In any case, I've argued that back when the RWQCB bounced the earlier STEP/ponding/partial-collection system that they should have taken a breath and reconsidered various options. You agree.

What shows your bias most clearly is your blind eye to the fact that exactly like you claim the Solutions Group should have known their plan wouldn't pass muster, the current group should have known that their stopping of the TriW project would cause huge problems.

Then again, how about that math? While you may not be too good at math, those of us who are pretty good at math have shown time and again that out of town equals higher cost. The fact that you've not bothered checking that out (even by talking with an accountant or engineer or math professor) shows that you simply don't care about the costs or you don't care about anything other than continuing to harp on how evil people named Pandora are.

Oh ... let me remind you of your promise. After the Ripley report comes out in August you're going to show me where it says things will be cheaper.

Ron said...

'toons said:

"Gee Ron, are you saying Tri-W was such a bad project because of 9/11? The old BOD couldn't think straight - as THEY were as affected by the tragedy as much as anyone else? "

No. That's not what I said at all. Please re-read.

Shark said:

"... quick cost analyses at the time showed that other locations would be even more expensive than TriW."

That's incorrect, according to the official CSD documents that I've supplied you.

"While you may not be too good at math..."

Dude, I'm great at math. Check this out:

1 community ÷ 1 non-existent "community value" = 1 divided community

High-end stuff, I'm tellin' ya.

"Oh ... let me remind you of your promise. After the Ripley report comes out in August you're going to show me where it says things will be cheaper."

Did you hear Rip and his teammate on Congalton the other day? They were great. It's so refreshing to hear people out of Los Osos actually sound like wastewater engineers... so refreshing.

One of them said, "There's no comparison" between their tight, logical and efficient project, and the bloated, Tri-Dub, sewer-park lemon.

Wow... what a shock.

I also liked the part when they echoed my take that everything sewer-related in Los Osos has been studied to death. All they had to do was come in and pick one of the many "environmentally preferred" sites that could have been selected, but weren't selected because those out-of-town, downwind sites could not meet the "project objective of centrally located community amenities."

Those guys are smart.

On that same show, I also heard for the first time, Gail McPherson use the phrase "strongly held community value." Let's see, I wrote Three Blocks in September, 2004. It's now July, 2006. Oh well, better late than never, I guess. By the way, Congalton's moan was audible after she said that line. Apparently, he now knows what happened, too.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Whatever you think you have not supplied CSD documents that show in 2001 that other sites were less expensive than TriW. The TriW selection was based on lots of factors (much like the Ripley site selection report). You don't like the way they chose the site because you don't like the site. Cost was a key factor and you don't know that if parkiness was removed from the analysis that another site would have been deemed preferable. Or ... if you do know that, you've never bothered to show it, even while arguing the point to death.

When I ask about cost I find it interesting to note that your reply doesn't mention cost at all. I guess that you suspect as do I that Ripley's plan will cost more than TriW.

As for the site selection, I read Sheikh's report thoroughly enough to spot the biases. If they were to simply choose comparrison factors differently and to not penalize TriW because as a project it isn't based on a 100% ag-exchange assumption, the results would be quite different. Face it, they are pros but the deck was stacked by the way they were charged with their study. If you assume ponding and ag-exchange your results will reflect your assumptions.

On the collection system issue, if their system requires individuals to replace septics, it will make the collective cost we pay considerably higher than the TriW gravity system. There had better be a huge benefit of STEP over gravity to justify the additional costs. Smart or not, it would seem unwise to ask folks to pay considerably more money just because you can't admit you were wrong. I am convinced that the current board simply cannot admit they were wrong. Even though they might have a better technological solution, the costs of achieving the goal of the better technology is so high that it is just not worth it. So Ron ... what are the benefits of STEP that would justify the additional cost and energy consumption? Hell, even Lisa fessed up about STEP being not as good as as gravity back in November.


Let's recap. Ron will explain how the Ripley plan will save us money after the numbers are released. Until then Ron will make vapid comments about how smart the engineers are even though he's not read their reports thoroughly enough to know. Oh yeah, Ron will offer proof that in 2001 the CSD knew that other sites were less expensive than TriW.

Did I miss anything?

Anonymous said...

It seems that Ron only offers glib comments with no substance.

One could also make a case that he is envious of a certain un-named blogger's ability to "turn a word" that offers more than WHINE. At least, there is a whisper of believablility with the un-named blogger,... until the surface is scratched!

HOWEVER, YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE THAN AN OUT OF TOWN CARPETBAGGER PASSING THROUGH WITH A "CHIP" AND NO DOG IN THE FIGHT!

Anonymous said...

MBR waste water technology uses membranes to filtrate raw sewage to a level for recharge and uses a small foot print. There are at least six or seven levels of membranes available, with Reverse Osmosis providing pure water as output.

What the designed TRI-W was to use, I do not know. But with the current pharmaceutical pollution, this would be the obvious choice.

But as always, the best, costs more (at least most of the time).

Anonymous said...

I have never understood why Ron cares about this. He doesn't live, work, or own property in Los Osos. He also has an obvious hatred of Pandora, for reasons passing understanding.

Does anyone know what his problem is? And I've heard the "oh he's just nuts" argument. It's got to be more than that for him to threaten a revocation hearing if anyone, including the County, tries to reinstate the Tri W project. If the property owners vote for it, why should he care?

Perhaps Ron himself would care to answer...

Anonymous said...

Shark said:

"Ann ... you are one of the people in the engine throwing coal into the fire while the rest of us who are screaming about our impending doom have been banished from the engine.

Ann ... ask some tough questions of your board for once."

All I can say is AMEN!

Ron said...

An anon said:

"Does anyone know what his problem is?"

My problem is that I love Los Osos, and I'm going to do all I can to make sure there isn't an industrial sewer plant built in the middle of a town that I love when the rationale behind that siting proved to be completely false.

Look, I've been reporting on your beautiful community since 1991. You know those road signs you see as you come into town that read: Los Osos / Baywood Park and have the town's population and elevation? I'm responsible for those. In the early 90s, I did a story on why LO didn't have those road signs. A month later, the county put them in.

Who can tell me what Zeolite is? Yep, did a story on that in 1992.

I always liked Roger Shields. Is he still with us?

Another guy that I've always had a great amount of respect for is the father of the LOCSD, John Burnham. I used to love interviewing him. He was so stand up. I remember when he tried to get a CSD formed in Los Osos a couple of times, before "better, cheaper, faster" came into play, and they both failed.

After they failed, he didn't try to dissolve anything. He didn't sue anyone, and he sure as hell didn't demand that regulators start fining his neighbors. Nope. Instead, he would tell me things like, "Well, the people have spoken. We'll try again next time."

I'd love to know how he feels about the CSD finally getting formed on the back of "better, cheaper, faster," when "better, cheaper, faster" was nothing but campaign material.

I miss Roland Muesnich (sp?). He was such a nice guy. He started your Oktoberfest. I interviewed him once on that subject. Me and a bunch of friends still go to that fun event every year, and I always think of Roland.

And I've always had a fondness for the person that operates this blog. Anyone that volunteers to, oh, how should I put this, "get the scoop" on the animal participants in the annual Christmas parade is going to get a lot of respect from me. Plus, she's a dog lover, and I LOVE dogs... and Los Osos.

"He also has an obvious hatred of Pandora, for reasons passing understanding."

That's not even close to being true. Hey, she took me out to lunch one time (thanks, Pandora), and she sails. I come from a sailing family. There are a lot of things I like about her. The way she goes about her business would not be one of them.

"HOWEVER, YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE THAN AN OUT OF TOWN CARPETBAGGER PASSING THROUGH WITH A "CHIP" AND NO DOG IN THE FIGHT!"

car·pet·bag·ger (kärpt-bgr) n.

1. A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War for political or financial advantage.

Yep... I just love the "financial advantage" of freelance investigative reporting.

"One could also make a case that he is envious of a certain un-named blogger's ability to "turn a word"..."

You're right. I am envious of PG-13's ability to "turn a word." That person's a good writer and reasonable.

"And I've heard the "oh he's just nuts" argument. It's got to be more than that for him to threaten a revocation hearing..."

I assure you, that is not a threat.

Anonymous said...

Ron, here is another example of selective editing on your part. If you were truly open minded you would have presented both definitions:

"1. A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War for political or financial advantage. 2. An outsider, especially a politician, who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new locality."

I guess there is no "fight" in SM!

If you would write in a balanced fashion, maybe you would have more influence.

Now just how many lawsuits did the current CSD members file prior to the recall (and how many were won)?

No bias there, huh?

At least the un-named blogger will reply with a no comment, or "not my joob, man".

You seem to enjoy taking a phrase out of context, and continually choking when the complete sentence is displayed by others.

I like Santa Margarita though. Maybe you could "help" the local government there as well!

Anonymous said...

The beauty of going to Vegas and winning in the first hour is that you get to play for a while with house money. That's what out-of-towners who threaten to further delay a project that continues to escalate in cost, like Ron, is doing. Playing with house money. And that's what renters like, oh, 80% of the CSD supporters are doing. Playing with house money. Only in this case, I own the house. And with each passing day, I'm getting screwed. This has become a game for all those without ANY financial interest in the outcome. How every homeowner and property owner in Los Osos hasn't stepped forward and demanded the end of the scandalous activities of the CSD and demand fiscal accountability is beyond me. These people have their hands in my pocket and are no different than the common thief who breaks into your house and steals you blind.

Anonymous said...

Some of the pro TriW folks here seem to forget that a large number of people like me just don't want the sewer processing plant in the middle of town, period!

Each option is going to cost a bunch of money. I don't care if an out of town project is slightly more expensive. It's a good investment for the whole community in ther long run. I am young, I own property that I live in, and I plan to stay in town for a long time, because LO is such a beautiful place to live. I just want the plant out of town. Everything else (ag-exchange, sustainability, etc.) is icing on the cake.

As far as the current CSD is concerned they are doing exactly what they should be doing under the most adverse circumstances to make sure the plant is built out of town - that's what their campaign was about - that's why I voted for them - that's why the recall was successful. The people spoke. Get over it.

I think I would be very unlikely to support a 218 vote on any plan that includes the possibility of a sewer plant being built downtown - and I'm sure there are others who think the same way.

Anonymous said...

I agree for the most part with the above sentiments. I own two homes in the PZ, one my primary residence and the other a rental. I have lived here and owned property for sixteen years. I am not a renter but I do have tenants. I prefer to get the sewer plant moved and I will maintain that position while the process moves forward (if people would let it).

Anonymous said...

One more thing...Inlet for CSD Board! For real!

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:27:
So you believe the recall was successful because the CSD promised to move the sewer out of town, and not because they promised it would be waaaaaaaaay cheaper also, correct?

Anonymous said...

Again, Ron:

If the property owners vote for Tri-W, what gives you the right, as a non-property owner, business owner, or resident to interfere with the wishes of the people who have to foot the bill?

I don't care how much you claim to love Los Osos. If Tri-W turns out to be the preferred site of the property owners, who the hell are you to interfere?

Anonymous said...

Anon sez: "Some of the pro TriW folks here seem to forget that a large number of people like me just don't want the sewer processing plant in the middle of town, period!"

Exactly how many of you are property owners in the PZ?

Anonymous said...

HI Anon 12:27 PM

YOU WROTE : "Each option is going to cost a bunch of money. I don't care if an out of town project is slightly more expensive."

RESPONSE: I see you added the description of "SLIGHTLY MORE" expensive. How much is "slightly more"?....This also begs the question of will you suppport an out of town site if the cost is
"a lot more" expensive.

Just interested.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has NOT visited middle of town sewer plants like those in Bevery Hills or Montecito should not have yet formed an opinion on a middle of town site, especially as voting against a mid-town site that would save a lot of money for a lot of people.

Shark Inlet said...

To our anonymous friend who says that he (or she ... pardon me if you are offended) doesn't mind paying slightly more if it is out of town.

I agree with you in large part because I also wouldn't mind paying $25 or $50 more each month (than what TriW was scheduled to have cost us, some $200-230/month) to have the plant out of town. I like the sustainability aspect and the ag-exchange as well.

However, some cost analyses show that it won't be just $250-$275/month if we try to move the plant out of town. Already the bill for the debt we've incurred by stopping the project (owed to contractors, owed to the state, RWQCB fines, etc.) will cost us at least $30/month for the next 30 years.

The costs and delay associated with moving the plant out of town will make the cost differential between TriW and the ideal out of town plant even larger. I've estimated here numbers in the $300/month range for some time now.

Do I love TriW? No! Am I sort of annoyed that we were sold a pig in a poke back in 1998 and again in 2001? Yes! Does this mean that starting over now is the wisest thing to do? By no means!

The recall was successful because the recall candidates promised to cut the sewer bills to under $100/month. Yes many many people wanted a different site, but the real issue here is the money involved. Far too much of the recall campaign was on the unaffordability of the TriW project.

Your suggestion that the people spoke so we should just shut up is simply absurd. The people spoke but this board has repeatedly chosen to listen to only their most strident followers since getting elected. Nearly every single supporter of the recall I know has changed their mind since the election. The only ones left who haven't admitted that they now regret their votes are essentially the wealthiest individuals who care the least about the additional costs we will all be paying.

Which brings up your last point. If AB2701 passes and if enough people choose to vote against a 218 assessment simply because we might get a plant downtown it could be VERY BAD for a lot of people. Essentially you would be voting for fines, CDOs, more delay and an even more expensive plant. If such a 218 vote were to happen as proscribed by AB2701 I bet the state would walk in and take over. They would build whatever they liked (with zero community input) and give us the bill. I suppose you could always choose to not connect to the sewer and simply stop discharging, but I suspect you would get tired of having your septic tank pumped every week.

Nope, AB2701 is the best option we have left.

As I've suggested before, the LOCSD doesn't have the money to build a project. They don't have the ability to obtain financing. The County will be taking over. The question you should be asking yourself is this ... is AB2701, bankruptcy, dissolution or the CSD giving the County the project directly the best option? I suspect that if the CSD doesn't volunteer to give the project to the County, AB2701 is our best choice.

Another reasonable question we should ask ourselves is this ... do we want the LOCSD to sell the TriW property to a developer? Presumably the benefit is that it would raise some money (although the proceeds have been frozen by a lawsuit) that could be used to pay off some debts. The drawbacks are that it could make the TriW project (assuming it is the best option) even more expensive and that the land will have a strip mall or office park on it instead of a park.

Churadogs said...

Inlet Sez:"Ann ... you are one of the people in the engine throwing coal into the fire while the rest of us who are screaming about our impending doom have been banished from the engine . . ."

Horsefeathers! Last Night's CSD meeting to vote on whether to support the Blakeslee Bill was attended by about . . . FIFTY people ???? most of them the same folks who worked on amendments to the bill & etc.i.e. the usual suspects.

Inlet, WHERE WERE ALL THE PEOPLE FROM THE CLUB CAR, ALL THOSE PEOPLE YOU THINK HAVE BEEN "BANISHED" TO THE CLUB CAR, ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT THE BLAKESLEE PROPOSAL BECAUSE THEY THINK IT'LL SAVE THEM, ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO WANT THE COUNTY TO TAKE OVER THE PROJECT, WHERE WERE THEY? WHY DIDN'T THEY COME TO THE MEETING, GO TO THE PODIUM AND URGE THE BOARD TO SUPPORT THE LEGISLATION? (WHICH THE BOARD DID VOTE - 4 -1 TO DO)

I didn't stop them from attending that meeting. I haven't been shoveling coal, pushing for a wreck, I've been urging people -- like Inlet and others -- to GET INFORMED & GET OFF THEIR DUFFS AND GET TO THE MEETINGS TO LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD.O nly, of course, to get nothing by whining, and snivelings about how "scared" everyone is . . . blah-blah. Feh.

Let me ask again, WHERE WAS THE COMMUNITY LAST NIGHT? WHERE WERE ALL YOU COMMENTORS LAST NIGHT? (Spectator was there and spoke. Any of the rest of you?)

Anonymous said...

Ann, I think you once again fail to give the community credit. Don't you think that half of the community that didn't vote for the recall saw which way the wind was blowing with this board very early on? If your name isn't Barrow/Swanson/Margetson/McPherson/Cooper/Owen/Pearlman/et. al. your concerns were going to fall on deaf ears. Hell, I can remember even those that did vote for the recall in earlier, better-attended meetings practically begging this board not to lose the SRF loan. Were they heard? I can remember Bleskey taking Dick Sargeant to task at a meeting at a public meeting, rambling on about how his intergrity wouldn't be impuned yada yada yada. I just look at Julie Tacker's comportment at meetings and, well, my differing opinion doesn't feel like it's going to make one freakin' difference. My wife and I (homeowners)have written countless, UNANSWERED e mails to this board. Yet I remember Joey Racano, Joey Racano! for goodness sake, proudly displaying his responses from Lisa Schicker on his web site. C'mon Ann. People are smarter than you give then credit for. Why bang your head against a wall constantly when all you'll get is a headache?

Sewertoons said...

I was in attendance last night but chose not to speak. I thought the wording on the "draft" resolution was puerile, inflammatory, unnecessary, and divisive from the third through eight whereas's. The ninth and tenth whereas's were untrue as a couple of speakers pointed out.

I almost spoke, but thought Mr. Blakeslee would have a better snapshot on the true colors of this board if those words were left undistubed. The board is stuck in the past and has no idea that to move forward you have to stop the blaming and spinning. (The Board would not have listened to me anyhow.)

Julie wins the prize on blame by the way, with her laundry list of blame for the County. Nice way to talk if you are trying to get the County's cooperation. But then it is pretty clear she isn't - she must have a PLAN B that she hasn't had time to mention yet.

Churadogs said...

I ask again: Where are you all? One of the Anonymooose posters here some time ago nailed it perfectly when he noted of the old board -- all they saw at meetings were a small group of the same people asking the same questions over and over again. The rest of the community was ABSENT, so they assumed that these people were a tiny minority and so ignored them. With, dire results, as we now know.

So, again, where is the "majority" of this community? You can spend all your time sitting at this computer whining and complaining, but when critical issues arise, you'd better get off your duffs and show up or else you're going to just repeat history because THIS board's going to make the same (fatal) assumption the old board made.

There is nothing like 1,000 people showing up in a room meant to hold 500 to get ANY board's attention.

Anonymous said...

What about the group picture in the park several years ago, of those who opposed the Tri-W site?

Churadogs said...

anonymous said:"Anonymous said...
What about the group picture in the park several years ago, of those who opposed the Tri-W site?"

Why weren't all of them at the CSD meetings, even piror to the recall?