Yes, it’s a Pop Quiz!
I was reading a comment an anonymous poster had added to a previous blog entry and was amused to read him/her quoting from the Regional Quality Control Board’s “Responses to Technical Evidence and Comments Submitted in Regards to Cease and Desist Orders, Los Osos,” dated April 19, 2006. It’s part of the Staff’s “evidence” documentation for the CDO “Trial” and is posted on their web site.
The document “rebuts technical arguments submitted to the Water Board by Designated Parties and Interested Persons regarding the 45 proposed Case and Desist Orders . . .”. The RWQCB staff wrote the document and asserts that as it is part of the evidence given at the “trial," it is true, accurate, factual, & etc.
What made the anonymous poster’s comments regarding this document amusing is that he/she was clearly unaware that I DID NOT say what it said I said. At the time, I had even written a letter of protest, demanding that the record be changed to reflect what I actually had said. Near as I can tell, the RWQCB staff has failed to do that.
So, here’s your Pop Quiz: Below is the RWQCB’s excerpt. That is followed by what I actually wrote. See if you can tell the difference between the two statements.
What the RWQCB wrote:
Another commenter, Interested Party Ann Calhoun, said that Dr. John Alexander has an effective on-site nitrogen removal system that has been proven to this “RB staff’s satisfaction.” Staff met with Dr. Alexander a few years ago and he indicated that his systems would not be applicable to residential use. Staff understands that the system is not commercially available. Approximately 15 years ago, Dr. Alexander pilot tested his galvanic agglutinator at the Morro Bay/Cayucos Wastewater Treatment Plant. The system did not function properly. Dr. Alexander claimed that the particular failure was due to the limited size of the project (pilot test was conducted with a 55 gal. drum.) Contrary to Ms. Calhoun’s claim, the system has not been proven to “staff’s satisfaction.”
What I actually wrote:
Furthermore, if your interest is in interim nitrate reduction of the basin (until the new sewer plant is built and running), I would urge your Board to require that your Staff certify acceptable enhanced on-site systems for interim use. [At this point neither I nor the general public knew that RWQCB Staff knew of and had already certified Dr. Wickham’s onsite Pirana system, the same one being testing now at the firehouse, for use outside the PZ.] For example, Dr. Alexander of Cayucos, has stated that he has a $4,000 unit that he claims will remove 98% of nitrates from septic discharges. He further claims that he has proven his tested results to the RWQCB staff’s satisfaction. IF THAT IS TRUE, then Dr. Alexander’s system would be a scientifically better alternative for removing nitrates than your pumping scheme, but it would not be financially better UNLESS you waive your $900 a year “discharge” and testing fees. In short, IF Dr. Alexander’s system actually works, the community would have a much better alternative, but ONLY if your Board made it financially viable.” (Capitalization and italics in the original)
You see the difference? The RWQCB stated, as if it were fact, that I “said” such and such. I didn’t. The RWQCB then has me “claiming.” I didn’t.
And most interesting, since the topic of the comment was interim onsite alternatives to their Mad Pumping Scheme, the RWQCB staff knew of other onsite systems. Indeed, the year before, they had already sent a letter to former LOCSD General Manager Bruce Buel letting him know that they had approved Wickham’s onsite system for use outside the PZ. The general public, however, was unaware of this letter and was unaware of Dr. Wickham. Yet, instead of noting that there were, indeed, other onsite systems that might be a better interim solution and responding to that, (this was, after all, a Technical Response” report) they distorted what I said, then set up Alexander, whom I used as a “for example,” as a false straw man to be knocked down, thereby leaving the reader (i.e. the voting Regional Water Board members themselves) with the (false) notion that there were no interim systems that would work, hence their proposed Mad Pumping Scheme was the only solution.
As a “Technical Response,” it’s hard to justify such scientific and technical dishonesty. So far as I can see, there are two explanations for what they did in this report: (1) The staff who prepared this Official document are incompetent and cannot read, understand and write an accurate précis. (2) The staff who prepared this Official Technical Response document deliberately falsified my comment in order to set up a false straw man and so deflect or eliminate the necessity of responding to the POINT of my comment, i.e. that there were, indeed, better interim alternatives to their Mad Pumping Scheme.
And that, of course, begs the most important question of all: If Staff was not able to get my minor comments right, What ELSE have they falsified or distorted?
Incompetence or deliberate falsification and distortion of the public and scientific record by members of the RWQCB Staff in order to rig a pre-determined outcome, is not a good thing. Their falsified, distorted, misleading “facts” then go up to the voting Board, which makes every effort to remain ignorant of or overlook any falsification.
And, ignorant of the falsity of the information it has received, that Board then has the unchecked power to vote to financially ruin a community and take away your homes.
So, what’s in a word or two? Plenty. Have a nice day.