Pages

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Facts R Not Us

Last month, in my 9/13 blog entry, (“Yes, It’s a Pop Quiz!”), I presented a sample of how the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s staff misstated and misrepresented what I had written in their “Responses to Technical Evidence and Comments Submitted in Regards to Cease and Desist Orders, Los Osos,” dated April 19, 2006.

I also noted that I had written to the staff (and the Board and Everyone involved) to point out the error and ask it be fixed. I presumed it had been or would be, especially when the CDO case went ker-flooey and had to be started all over again and this particular document had to be amended and re-written.

Silly me. Instead of correcting their misrepresentation, they simply cut and pasted it back in, so what they were claiming in their official document was . . . wrong . . . AGAIN.

So, . . . again . . . I wrote to ask it be corrected. Here’s Harvey Packard’s reply. Mr. Packard is the Division Chief and Enforcement Coordinator. He’s part of “Staff” that prepares documents used by the Regional Board to fine you out of existence and/or allows them to take your homes away from you. That’s serious business, indeed. So if you had that kind of responsibility in preparing a civil liability proceeding complete with documents that form a legal record that can lead to lives being destroyed and homes lost, you would think making sure that the official record remains accurate would be important to you. You would think that, but you’d be wrong. .

10/5006

Dear Ms. Calhoun,

Matt Thompson and I have reviewed the documents (our original staff report, your first comment letter, our resubmitted staff report, and your recent emails) regarding this issue. We agree that our staff report misrepresented your comments. We apologize for that error.

We do not plan on revising or reissuing the staff report. However, as you note, we are no longer recommending that the cease and desist orders require bimonthly septic tank pumping or an equivalent alternative, so it appears that your comments regarding alternative treatment systems and our response are no longer pertinent to the current discussion.

If for some reason the topic does come up at a future hearing or in a future report, we will take the opportunity to correct the staff report.

Thank you for your interest,

Harvey Packard, Division Chief and Enforcement Coordinator
Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Did you note that Mr. Packard said they had reviewed my first comment letter and their resubmitted staff report? Thereby clearly refreshing their memory that there had indeed been a request to correct the document in question and a clear opportunity to have done so, an opportunity they had missed once and now chose not to take again.

Which brings us to the most important question of all: In this official record, WHAT ELSE HAVE THEY GOTTEN WRONG AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, KNOWINGLY LEFT WRONG?


The CDO hearings for The Los Osos 45 will be help November 2 & 9th at the Regional Water Quality Board offices in SLO. If you think you’re not going to be on the next CDO list, think again. If you think you won’t be on that list because the Staff has made some kind of error in your case, you’d really, reeeeeeely better think again: When it comes to facts and accuracy and the Regional Board, Facts R Not Them.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get Over it! It is less than a grain of sand in the bigger picture.

You are a quality writer, why are you subscribing to the Ron school of journalism?

There is no grand conspiracy against you!

Move on to something meaningful!

Anonymous said...

Ann, much as I love your work, I agree that the above is not interesting to me. I'd much rather hear your take on the recent LOCSD candidates forum.

Anonymous said...

A little off subject, I happen to drive the Los Osos Middle School this morning, and noticed across the street at the former staging area, an incomplete cleanup of the site. What is this, a visual reminder of the mistake we made? A big ole "Dissolve The CSD" still prominently displayed. What has it been now? Three weeks since they were voted down? Maybe they need some donations for gas money to go and take down all their signs. Although since they number 3400, maybe they could just volunteer to take them down themselves.

Anonymous said...

Or we could volunteer to paint them over with "Support Local Government - Use Your Vote!" Course, why would that be representative of our community? All we are is a "vocal minority"
(that won the recall...)

Anonymous said...

and a destructive minority as well....lost loan; daily fines; CDO's; lawsuits; bankruptcy.

Oh yeah, it's every one else's fault....everyone's (except the vocal minority, right?)

Sewertoons said...

Won the recall. What is IT EXACTLY that was WON? What do the "recallists" think that they have won? Are we better off today now that we get to pay for both a more expensive sewer and debt repayment as well? And our CSD is in jeopardy, let's not forget that.

The recall faction may have won the battle, but did they win the war? (Yoo-hoo, the COUNTY is building the sewer.)

Anonymous said...

Better the county than the old plan. The county had a good plan going before the lame original CSD fooled everyone. This CSD has gotten it back into the County's hands...where it should be. Who amongst you thinks we can do this ourselves? Obviously NOT. By the way, how do you know it's going to be more expensive? How do you know that? The county hasn't even given us our (finally) 218 vote. Too many people in this town, on both sides, think they know everything.

Anonymous said...

And didn't I hear Lynn I've lived here for 18 months Tornotsky say she wanted to fire up some more lawsuits? That would sure save us a lot of money!

Shark Inlet said...

To our two most recent anonymous posters (perhaps the same individual) ...

Presumably you've not read any of the cost analyses that show that inflation causes "cheaper" projects to end up being more costly. Take the Ripley project versus TriW for example. The Ripley folks told us it would cost us only $150/month. What they failed to include in their estimates is the cost of inflation. If this "cheaper" project will take four years before construction starts, it will end up costing more than TriW ... all because of inflation. If you think that this qualifies me as being part of the know it all crowd, I'm sorry.

Inflation in the construction industry is about the only factor that has concerned me in these last few years (with regard to the cost of our sewer bills) and it has been the only predictable thing in this whole mess. Essentially we can count on an extra 8% added to any cost estimate each time another year goes by.


On the issue of length of residence in our town ... I am also somewhat mistrustful of folks who have lived her for less time than I have ... but I also recall Joey being somone who is respected (by some) even though an outsider. I would think that lenght of residence should be less important than the ideas one has.

On the issue of more lawsuits ... if Tornatzky is suggesting suing BWS and Wildan to recover the money we paid them for their advice, go for it! My opinion is that any advice they gave the board was advice designed to increase the amount billed to BWS and Wildan rather than advice that would help our community. Essentially, I believe that there is a good malpractice case here. If the lawsuit is likely to recover far more than the cost of the lawsuit, it is a good choice ... so, yes, it would save us a lot of money.

Churadogs said...

Anonymoose sez:"There is no grand conspiracy against you!

Move on to something meaningful!"

You missed the point. What this minor issue signals IS important. If you can't get something as simple as my comment right, if you don't care enough to correct wrong things when you have the opportunity, & etc, that all bespeaks either incompetence,carelessness, laziness, indifference to facts and/or a deliberate distortion of the record for preconcieved ends. NONE of those things are acceptable or even necessary. THAT's the point.

Another Anonymoose sez:"Ann, much as I love your work, I agree that the above is not interesting to me. I'd much rather hear your take on the recent LOCSD candidates forum.

9:07 AM, October 08, 2006"

Laziness, incompetence, indiference to fact, sloppy work, and/or deliberate distortion of the record are of no interest to you? Interesting. Especially since, if you live in the PZ, you will be directly affected by same.

Inlet sez:"On the issue of more lawsuits ... if Tornatzky is suggesting suing BWS and Wildan to recover the money we paid them for their advice, go for it! My opinion is that any advice they gave the board was advice designed to increase the amount billed to BWS and Wildan rather than advice that would help our community. Essentially, I believe that there is a good malpractice case here. If the lawsuit is likely to recover far more than the cost of the lawsuit, it is a good choice ... so, yes, it would save us a lot of money."

To that, should we add WMH and contractors who signed agreements that they were NOT entitled to "lost profits" now, apparently, suing "for lost profits?" And so forth? Gosh, looks like there's sooooo many interesting lawsuits that should be persued. Maybe the state ordered audit will turn up some interesting things that will need to be revisited, especially when it comes to SRF loans, when contracts were signed, when money moved to and fro & etc.

Remember our Los Osos Motto: Stay Tuned

Shark Inlet said...

Good point, Ann.

If there was a clause in the contract that a judge determines to negate their claims of "lost profit", we won't have to pay the contractors. I suspect, however, that any such clause is where lawyers earn their money.

Along those same lines, it would definitely be worth seeking a legal opinion on the matter of BWS. Frankly, if BWS was lining their own pockets rather than giving us good advice, they should be held accountable for their misdeeds.


On other matters, I await your commentary critical of our friend who is standing on the corner of LOVR and South Bay. He's telling us that the Ripley project will cost only $154 (which we all know to be completely untrue) and that TriW will cost us $326 (which is just speculation and we all know how you hate speculation) and he's suggesting that electing Senet and Cesena will get us the Riply project.

Essentially he is misleading the public (whether intentionally or unintentionally may not matter).

I also wonder how long it will take Chuck and Steve to get to him, telling him to "stop it" and to go public making it clear that they don't support his campaigning because I am sure that they don't want the public misled.

Anonymous said...

Inlet - Leave Joey out of it. I doubt if he really lives here let alone own property. And he's not running for the board. My point on Tornotsky is that I have to wonder if she truly understands the divisions in our community having been here for less than two years. I say this because I want candidates who truly understand the history and will be able to get it together for us. I supported the recall but I don't care if Chuck and Steve don't get elected if I hear something better. Perhaps I'm a bad judge of character but Tornotsky seems a bit flippant to me along with having no history with our community.

Sewertoons said...

To anon 3:28pm:

What do you think knowing the history will do to help the community in terms of running a bankruptcy? Did for instance, this knowledge of history help the incumbants avoid the bankruptcy?

What does "put it together for us" mean specifically to you?

Anonymous said...

It means supporting the County in bringing us a project we can all (okay, except those on the extreme ends)live with. Is Ms. Tornotsky some kind of bankruptcy expert?

Anonymous said...

OK let me put it this way: Is she willing to compromise or is she "associated with" the old board (TRIW)?

Mike Green said...

Sharkey, That dude on the corner is exercising his right as an American.
It is perfectly OK for him to say ANYTHING he wants (within known bounds). Free Speach, you know.
At least he has the guts to stand there.
Good om him (although I dissagree whith him.)

Sewertoons said...

Why don't you bring up those points at the Candidates' Forum? I think it is October 17 at the SBCC - then you could ask all of the candidates and see where everybody stands or has knowledge.

I assume you mean by "supporting the County" you mean NOT suing the County as Ms. Tacker intimated Los Osians were likely to do if the County does not bring in acceptible choices? The County has promised choices after the passing of a 218.

The CSD's main role in this play at this juncture should be to not obstruct, as it has not yet been defined by the County just what the CSD will contribute. Read AB2701. I've heard that Rob Miller could be part of the task force the County intends to have. Beyond that, nothing has been decided.

Mike Green said...

Sewertoons projected:
" Beyond that, nothing has been decided."

Wanna bet?

Churadogs said...

Inlet Sez:"If there was a clause in the contract that a judge determines to negate their claims of "lost profit", we won't have to pay the contractors. I suspect, however, that any such clause is where lawyers earn their money.

Along those same lines, it would definitely be worth seeking a legal opinion on the matter of BWS. Frankly, if BWS was lining their own pockets rather than giving us good advice, they should be held accountable for their misdeeds."

I specifically asked Mr. Seitz that question at the CSD meeting when the contracts were being discussed. They were specifically written so as to be No Play, No Pay, except for resaonable start up and stand down costs. Unless Mr. Seitz was a complete doofus, that's exactly how the contracts were written, clear as a bell. As were the 90 day No Harm, No Foul Stand Down clauses he also wrote into the contract that the State Water Boyos mistook for "stopping the project." That'll be a fun one for the judge to take a look at, all those confused emails flying back and forth.


Inlet also sez:" On other matters, I await your commentary critical of our friend who is standing on the corner of LOVR and South Bay. He's telling us that the Ripley project will cost only $154 (which we all know to be completely untrue) and that TriW will cost us $326 (which is just speculation and we all know how you hate speculation) and he's suggesting that electing Senet and Cesena will get us the Riply project."

Excuse me? Since when have I now become the Official Los Osos Speech Police? If you object to whoever is standing on a corner holding a sign, GO TALK TO HIM YOURSELF! Jeeze.

Speaking of which, gossip? Info? First-hand witnesses? Second-hand witnesses? C'mon, fess up. The emails burning up the ether this morning (yesterday?) concerning someone PRETENDING to be Mr. LeGros supposedly confronting CSD Board Members Chuck & Steve at Monday's Farmer's Market and, allegedly, using "the nastiest" language to do it.

PLEASE,PLEASE don't tell me the words "F ---- B ----" made another appearance???? "Silly Donkey" posted on a chat blog is silly enough, but someone please tell me Who was impersonating Mr. Le Gros and someone please tell him to stop it. The town's crazy enough without Bad Theatre In The Streets! That belongs in the CSD meetings, where God intended it should be.

Although, come to think of it, maybe Farmer's Market is a good place for Bad Theatre since people could rush to buy lots of tomatoes to throw at the actors? I mean, we all need to support our local farmers, right?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ann's take on Mr. Seitz' response to her questions about the construction contracts. It was clear as a bell as far as I'm concerned. I was there at that meeting...April 21, 2005. So, either Mr. Seitz is the dufus OR we have a pretty good case. Just because the regulators don't like the fact that the project was stopped doesn't give them the right to question the contract.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,


I believe that you may misunderstand one thing about the stand down clause ... it says that the LOCSD can pause the project ... if they get prior approval from the SWRCB.

Did the LOCSD get approval from the SWRCB before work was stopped/paused/whatever?

If not, a face value reading of the SRF contract (and all contracts based on that one) says that the LOCSD was in the wrong.


On the matter of the dude on the corner ... I am not expecting you to contact him ... but I figured that you would want to dish out criticism fairly to folks on both "sides". I just thought that speculation and lies were something that bothers you in general and not just when "Dreamers" are those committing the sin.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that Shark. I've been trying for months now to get Ann to explain to me "We've got a plan. We're ready to go. We won't lose the SRF loan. We won't get fined. The water board doesn't have the nads to issue CDO's. $100.00 a month. Just vote for the recall." Naivetee? Mistruths? Lies to get elected? I see the boys are back at it with $154.00 per month. Can't get a peep out of Ann.

Shark Inlet said...

What makes me wonder is why the seeming ill will toward folks named Stan and Gordon for the same sort of naivete as Chuck and Steve. For certainly any argument that Stan and Gordon were optimistic or liars could be made equally well about Chuck and Steve.

I prefer to think that both groups were being optimistic when they made promises to get elected.

However, Gordon and Stan eventually figured out that trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the RWQCB or trying to fight them was a mistake. It seems that if Steve and Chuck are standing behind the guy making the $154/month claim, they haven't learned anything from being in office (other than perhaps it is easy to fool some folks).

Actually, I expect that Ann would have as harsh criticism of Chuck and Steve's promise of $100/month (which actually turned into at least $150/month but probably far closer to $300/month) because of her harsh criticism of those who promised to "do do it right" for $35/month. The situation is exactly the same. The lack of comment from Ann is both sad and telling.

I would also expect that Chuck and Steve would want to make sure that they distance themselves from the guy telling verifiable financial lies while campaigning for them. (That is, the $154/month is a fiction, debunked here and even by the Ripley team themselves ... just read their report ... they didn't include inflation and they are assuming the RWQCB will approve of a plan that assumes a huge reduction in water usage per person and that the RWQCB will approve of a system which doesn't remove the nitrates.)


I guess the question here is whether one views the ends as justifying the means. Is lying to win an election okay, if one views the other candidates as worse choices? I would argue "no" but perhaps Ann doesn't mind fibs as long as the folks she agrees with end up winning.

Churadogs said...

Inlet Sez"I believe that you may misunderstand one thing about the stand down clause ... it says that the LOCSD can pause the project ... if they get prior approval from the SWRCB.

Did the LOCSD get approval from the SWRCB before work was stopped/paused/whatever?

If not, a face value reading of the SRF contract (and all contracts based on that one) says that the LOCSD was in the wrong."

If I understand correctly, that's what a judge has to figure out, who sent what emails when. Also, are we maybe talking about two contracts here? The SRF contract and the contractor's contracts? I can't imagine a contractor's contract requiring a notification of the SRF to -- for example -- "stand down" work for 36 hours while some problem in the ground gets solved, or some issue that came up gets figured out & etc.

So, I wonder if there's "stand down" within contractors' contracts and an "Oops, we've run into a major problem, we've got to stand down totally while we reconfigure the entire project." One would require SRF notification, the other would be a simple "internal" matter.

In either case, that's what's being sorted out by the judge, I suppose.

Inlet also sez:"I guess the question here is whether one views the ends as justifying the means. Is lying to win an election okay, if one views the other candidates as worse choices? I would argue "no" but perhaps Ann doesn't mind fibs as long as the folks she agrees with end up winning."




Oh, pleeeeze. What I have been carping about from day one is a PROCESS that went off track from day one. And kept getting shoved off track despite opportunities to get it back on track. And shoving it off the track involved continued deceptions and refusal to allow the voter to make a choice between honest projects (i.e. cut the rate payer out of the loop, tell the community that there were no choices, do the old bait and switchy bit, pound millions into the ground in an effort to influence an election and/or punish the community big time if that election didn't go the way the old CSD wanted, then send secret emails urging the CSD (i.e. the community) be "fined out of existence,".) then move to dissolve the CSD in an effort to thwart an election where, for the first time, the community actually had a chance to weigh in, and so forth.

There were key points in this project where honesty with the community would have paid off.

That didn't happen. Now, while there's all sort of monkey wrenching going on behind the scenes, we'll have to see if the County understands and will hold fast to The Process and this time do it right.

Then we'll have to see if The People care enough to see that it IS done right, and then they can make their choice.

If they (again) fall asleep at the switch, then they'll simply get what a small group of people choose to give them, and then they'll get the bill.

If Inlet had been reading anything I've been writing for years, he would have understood all of that. But why bother to actually read what I've been hollering about for years when it's much easier to just make stuff up?

Anonymous said...

Ann, you are marvelous! You are right on about sleeping at the switch.

What puzzles me: in all the many months of reading you, never once have you applied your own criteria directly to those in your "secret covey".

Why?

You have no trouble naming directly LeGros, Hensley, Pandora, etc. in reference to "pounding millions...ad nauseum", but when you refer to other maladies, it is always in generic terms of the PROCESS, rather than to the specific perpetrators.

As if the "PROCESS" abstraction caused bankrupcy, loss of loans, etc.

Why not have the nads to say Lisa and Julie and Steve, and Chuck stopped the project, lost the loan, etc. They need to take responsibility, not some abstract PROCESS, AND, you would obtain much greater acceptance by all as the mediator you could be!

You truly have the capacity to bring the community more together, but you seem more concerned for the "covey" than a balanced message.

I think that is why Vick had traction, a willingness to hear both sides and offer some sense of trust to both sides!

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Should I presume from your lack of comment on the issue of John, Chuck and Steve's campaign promises that you aren't going to take them to task for their ... um ... fibs?

Process aside, if you're going to complain about one side fibbing you should hold the other side to the same standards.

Shark Inlet said...

Okay Ann,

Another question ... how much is it worth spending to make sure that the process is followed correctly (in your point of view ... because the bodies which approved the TriW plan did seem to feel comfortable enough with what they were presented with to give the plan the go)?

You and Ron and Julie and a few others were not satisfied with the way the process played out. A few of you complain that there were thumbs on the scale and that we were stuck with a dog of a plan because of these biases.

Even if that is the case, the process of remedying the problem may be very expensive. Sure, $200/month or $250/month for TriW is expensive, but if it can be shown that going back and revisiting the parts of the process that you consider to have been rife with problems will cause our sewer bills to exceed $400/month, would you consider this money well spent?

I wouldn't mind, myself, if it were only an extra $25/month ... but if the costs of an untainted process that even Ann and Ron would support are much higher, I would suggest that many of your neighbors would not approve.

If the cost of completely fixing a problem is too high (and you have to pay those costs yourself), it might be best to work around the situation. Suppose that you are doing yardwork and that you accidentally break the pvc pipe that goes underneath your driveway to feed the drip system on the other side. For some folks, the hours to re-run the pipe under the driveway would not be as appropriate as just using a hose. For others with more time, the natural solution is to fix the pipe.

Please don't suggest that the process is so holy that fixing it should be the highest priority.


Ann, don't suggest that I've not been reading what you write. I just have a different take on the situation than you do and I am trying to point out issues that you and your readers might want to consider.

Oh ... and another question ... why, if it is so important that the process be followed and that the people be consulted before any important decisions are reached ... why is it okay for the current board to take important actions without consulting the public? If I remember recently, the board took action on an item which should have been first reviewed by both the environmental and wastewater committees. Why didn't the board take action to get current and complete financial statements (much like Bruce produced every month) to the finance committee and to the public? Aren't such things part of following the process for informed public input? Your silence on such matters suggests that either you don't view these matters as important or that you don't care about the process as much as you suggest.

Anonymous said...

Don't waste your time, Shark. Ann will NEVER dis her homeys. To do so would admit that they have some responsibility for the current mess. T'aint never, ever gonna happen...

Shark Inlet said...

I don't consider such questions a waste of time at all.

I would even suggest that when I ask such questions, the lack of reply on the issues raised is quite telling ... and should be quite embarrassing as well.

Anonymous said...

I've proposed this solution to Los Osos' sewer problem but seemingly no one wants to listen. I'm beginning to wonder if you folks wouldn't know what to with yourselves if the sewer issue is resolved.

So here it goes again. The City of San Luis Obispo has the ability to treat the wastewater that is produced by Los Osos. Why would SLO want your sewer?. Because the City can use the treated wastewater for our grey water system we have built.

Now I know you're saying, "how can we recharge the aquifer". Well the City has oversubscribed to the Nacimiento water project. The City is in a position to provide potable water to Los Osos as well.

Shark Inlet said...

To our anonymous SLO friend ...

If the City is offering to sign an agreement to do this (they haven't offered yet) I am sure that the Couny of SLO will be quite willing to explore the option.

The cost of running two pipes that 12 miles from Los Osos to the city won't exactly be cheap, but it might be able to compete with the costs of a new plant.