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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Uh-Oh, Where Do We Send The Flowers?

KVEC talk radio host, Dave Congalton, used to laughingly-- and regularly-- note that a Tribune endorsement was the Kiss of Death and whatever or whoever they endorsed would lose. I see in today’s paper, for the Los Osos Community Services District Board of Directors, they’ve endorsed: Maria Kelly, Rob Shipe and Joe Sparks.

Gosh, they have my deepest condolences.

For everyone who attended last night’s Meet the Candidates forum, put on by the Amazing! Wonderful! League of Women Voters (Huzzah for all they do), good on you. It was an excellent presentation, the questions selected avoided a lot of hot-button issues and stayed focused on what the CSD will need to do to get back on its feet. There is supposed to be another forum, so maybe some of the “hot button” questions can be asked then.

What the Tribune failed to appreciate but what the Los Osos voters need to keep in mind is that although the Hideous Sewer is technically off the CSD’s plate, selection of new Board members will be absolutely critical since a Board majority will have crucial Official input with the County and since they will be “elected officials,” they have far more power than regular citizens. It is therefore crucial what whoever gets elected is totally committed to see to it that The Process of selecting a wastewater project is honored, that Ginned-up Short-Cutters, Closed-Doors-Done-Dealers, Sewer Jihadi Monkey-Wrenchers – whether RWQCB or CSD Board Members themselves, or Developers or County Engineering or Citizens or Whoever -- be told loudly and clearly by the CSD majority: Back Away From The Table and Get Your Thumbs Off The Scale!

Otherwise, we’ll be looking at another train wreck. And nobody wants that. Nobody.

So, joking aside, folks here in Los Osos better be very thoughtful and careful about who they select to sit on their CSD Board. It’s a critical issue that the Tribune missed. I can only hope the citizens don’t.

So maybe that’s a question that needs to be asked of each candidate at the next forum or at any of their meet-n-greets or if you see any of them at Farmers Market.


Just When You Thought There Was Hope

On 9/13 I posted a blog entry entitled, “Yes, It’s A Pop Quiz,” wherein I printed an excerpt from the RWQCB’s original CDO Technical Evidence and Comments report then printed an excerpt from my original letter, which indicated what I actually wrote. Unfortunately, their original précis misprepesented what I had actually written. I had sent them a letter pointing that misrepresentation out and requesting they correct the record. I stated on the blog that I presumed they would do so.

Bwahahahahah. Silly me.

In their New! Improved! CDO Technical Evidence and Comment report, an official document pretending to be truthful, factual & etc, there, once again, are my comments. Have they been corrected? Nope. Not a bit of it. The RWQCB staff simply did another cut and past job and put into the New! Improved! Report, the Old! WRONG! Information.

Once AGAIN I emailed Matt Thompson at the water board and AGAIN requested that either the misstatement and misrepresentation of what I actually wrote be corrected or if they can’t do a simple and correct précis, then delete all of it.

Why is this important? As I said before, “ . . . 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 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?”

To that previous comment I can now add, if staff was given an opportunity and a formal request to correct a misrepresentation and refused to do so, or was so rushed they did a sloppy re-write, or just slapped something together, what does that say about their entire report?

Roger Briggs will soon be away on an extended leave. This is curious, since the CDO hearings will commence, again, Nov 2nd, and at the original CDO hearing, one of the RWQCB attorneys stated that the CDO hearings couldn’t proceed without him there since he’s at the heart of everything the board has done in Los Osos for 25 years ( now there’s a nexus worth looking into),yet he’s going to be conveniently far, far away from the 45 who have a right to question him at the hearings? Convenient, did I say? Interesting, too.


Auditors to Look At CSD

At the LAFCo hearings, it was agreed that the Board (and Sam Blakeslee) would ask a state agency to do a full audit of the CSD to determine how their operational and financial systems are set up.

This is great news. This history of our bankruptcy train wreck starts quite a ways back so the audit should be able to track who did what with which funds, see if there were any procedures and laws violated vis a vis reserve funds, hiring decisions, contracts signed/contractors paid out when, etc. In short, the CSD should end up with a “history,” and a set of recommendations that will help them set up a better system of double-checks and trip-wires that should make district operations more transparent and accountable.

And who knows, maybe the STATE auditors will follow the breadcrumbs back to the State Water Board and start asking auditor-like questions about the State Revolving Fund Loan and how it was written and they’ll follow some bread crumbs back to some contractors who, it is alleged, were paid before the proper paperwork was completed & etc. Dotted i’s and crossed t’s. It’s what good auditors look for. It’s what an audit of a system of operation looks for and can maybe set right.

And now, for some weirdness

What is with selling the Tri-W property? One of the strangest episodes in the whole LAFCO hearing was when Paavo Ogren, county deputy director of public works, the guy now in charge of the Hideous Sewer, stood up to say that the County didn’t have any interest one way or the other in whether Tri W is sold or not and that the presence or absence of the site won’t affect the evaluation Process the county will undertake to look at all options. This claim was repeated in an Oct 2 Trib story. Said Ogren, “If it’s sold to a third party, and that site ends up being what the community wants, then we’re going [to] have to figure out how we’re going to go about buying it back. . . . There’s no need to be antagonistic.”

If I were a district engineer charged with building a sewer plant and I thought Tri-W was an option that was very much in the running, most especially because the permits it already carries, I would be leading the pack in lobbying to keep it on the table. Gail Wilcox, who isn’t a district engineer but is the county’s deputy administrator, is concerned and is quoted in the Trib as saying, “If the CSD wants to take Tri-W off the plate, I ask, “Why? Why don’t you let the community make that decision?’”

And Lisa Schicker, LOCSD Prez, noted in the same Trib story, that if Tri W was sold, the permits needed for a sewer plant “would be voided by the sale.” (an “opinion” only. If actually true, why couldn’t that “void” be “un-voided” if the county bought the property and so got the permit anyway?)

But, on the other hand, if I were a district engineer charged with building a sewer plant and I thought Tri-W was so far off the table of being an option that it was ranked in my mind as dead last or beyond dead last, despite its permits, I would be cavalierly insouciant about its sale, too.

So, what gives?

Well, as with all things here in Sewerville, Stay tuned.

45 comments:

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

Do you have a problem with Gail Wilcox position that the community should get to make the decision about whether TriW should be sold or not?

To me it seems as if the CSD sells the site, it would only be for the reasons Lisa states, that it would make it more difficult for TriW to be the ultimate site of the WWTF. Considering we're right before an election and considering the WWTF should essentially be considered a County project, it seems like any decisions to sell TriW would be a "scorched earth" strategy. "If I can't get my way by hook or by crook, I'll make it painful for you to get your way."

Snowy Plover said...

Wasn't there a democratically held recall election and the passing of a measure by the majority of voters of Los Osos on Sept 27, 2006?
Didn't the messege of "we don't support the Tri-W project (Sludge producing, Overbid, BAD O&M and in the middle of town, etc)or the way these three board members (Jeff Edward's Architect crony+The Head of the commitee to re-elect George Bush in 2004 + a quasi environmentalist oportunist) represented us in these and other matters??
Thought that voice already might have been heard by Ms. Wilcox and others...Ignored maybe? Spun maybe?
BTW how does an elected LOCSD director represent a community effectively , if only a matter of weeks ago that individual was committed to dissolving the
LOCSD??
How do you govern if you don't believe in the governing institution?

Shark Inlet said...

Snowy Plover,

To use your exact logic there was nothing wrong with the old board choosing to start up the TriW project just before the recall election. After all, they were also elected by a majority.

As a hint of an answer to your suggestion that because of the recall, whatever the current board wants to do is okay because they were each elected by more than half of the voters ... I would suggest that the new information we have ... pretty much everything that has happened since the recall has given us more data about what the consequnces of not moving forward with TriW and the quality of our leadership team. Essentially, to suggest that today a majority of citizens would be in favor of selling TriW is a statement of belief or hope but certainly not one of fact. Folks have changed their minds.

I presume your question about dissolving the CSD is directed toward Tornatzky. Dunno the answer myself. Maybe you should ask her.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a democratically held recall election and the passing of a measure by the majority of voters of Los Osos on Sept 27, 2006?
Didn't the messege of "we don't support the Tri-W project.

This statement is getting a bit worn. That vote went that way simply because many people believed the mis-truths and out right lies. "We have a plan. 100.00 per month. We won't get fined. We won't lose the SRF loan."
Ask those people how they would vote today if they had all the knowledge they have now. Come to think of it, we will find out in 4 weeks or so. And I know I wou't be surprised at all by the outcome.

Snowy Plover said...

"To use your exact logic there was nothing wrong with the old board choosing to start up the TriW project just before the recall election. After all, they were also elected by a majority."
Yes, maybe they had the "right" to do it. It was, however an irresponsible, arrogant decision to make, particularly in light of the way they took advantage of the ability to set their OWN recall election date. No doubt these actions contributed to their down fall.
Talk about scorched earth? Howabout before and after shots of the Tri-W site. Folks cried when those trees fell. The recalled board did everything humanly possible to lock this community into the consequences of their bad decisions.
By the way anon 11:59pm, I hope democratic process is never diminished or subverted because its voice grows "a bit worn". However we are living in a brave new political era. We'll see what happens in a month. If the outcome isn't to your liking, maybe you can file a lawsuit against the individual board members or try to get the taxpayers of this county to pay for a dissolution of the LOCSD.
Great minds have tried it before...

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't want the county taxpayers to inherit my debt as much as i wouldn't want a member of my CSD saying a divided and bankrupt community is better than a sewer at Tri-W (which, when all is said and done, very well might be the cheapest location: see afordability).....yet that is exactly what your Julie Tacker has stated....and continues to threaten lawsuits as well. (along with her pals Barrow, and Swanson, et al). So don't be talking lawsuits to me snowy.

Anonymous said...

Snowy says:

"We'll see what happens in a month. If the outcome isn't to your liking, maybe you can file a lawsuit against the individual board members or try to get the taxpayers of this county to pay for a dissolution of the LOCSD."

What exactly will be your strategy when the "bankrupter three" get replaced in a month? Will you contribute to Julie's litigation fund to bring yet another frivoulous suit?

And by the way, do you prefer a sewer (any sewer, any where) to having a bankrupt CSD? Ain't a "rampant democracy" grand?

(Of course 'rampant' means to run amuck; very apt description)

I would never have supported the recall but got caught up in the "half the cost" slogan like so many others. But have learned my lesson!

"Fool me once...."

Shark Inlet said...

Snowy Plover,

I take it from your 1:53pm comment that you would oppose the CSD selling the TriW site. After all, selling TriW now would be an "irresponsible, arrogant decision", especially when you consider that the sale of this property is not necessary for any reason and could raise our sewer bills considerably.

Anyone who would oppose the "treefall before recall" but be in favor of selling TriW before the election would essentially be supporting a logically and morally bankrupt position.

One could reaonably oppose both actions, support both actions, support "treefall before recall" while opposing the sale of TriW but not oppose the sale of TriW and oppose "treefall before recall."

Thanks for your agreement. Shows you are not a fool.

Mike Green said...

I think what is going to be realy interesting is to see what the county BOS will do, so far, only Shirley has expressed any opinion (cheaper is best, AKA TriW) but she won't be there, so what she thinks is moot.
The others have generaly expressed disdain for Los Osos, can't blame them, they have their own folks to look after first.
Gibson or Anderson?
Both masters of the duck and weave, too hard for the common morons to tell apart.
And getting elected by Los Osos, well I don't know how good that looks on a political resume anyway, may have pity power.
Also, very interesting picks by the Trivial, I don't think I've seen a better tightrope walk in the circus.
As for Anon up above " fool me once"
You gota be kiding! ONCE?????

Anonymous said...

Mike says:

As for Anon up above " fool me once"
You gota be kiding! ONCE?????"

You're correct, they have fooled me many many times over the last year, but only once will I vote for them!

Nice nuance Mike!

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Do you have a problem with Gail Wilcox position that the community should get to make the decision about whether TriW should be sold or not?"

My point was, If Paavo expressed (yawn) indifference to its sale or not, why would Wilcox care?? Does she know something we don't know, BUT SHOULD?

Inlet also sez:" To me it seems as if the CSD sells the site, it would only be for the reasons Lisa states, that it would make it more difficult for TriW to be the ultimate site of the WWTF. "

If I understand the thinking it's this: IF the county has promised a fair Process of fairly considering all option fairly, then Tri W should be considered MINUS ITS PERMIT, since that permit is a "thumb on the scale." Remove the permit and all sites would be competing on a level field.

Please note, I said IF the county goes through a fair Process. I've heard that Noel King, before the BOS has already stated -- even BEFORE the Process was even started -- that the Ripley Plan won't be considered, that Los Osos will get a gravity system, case closed, thank you.

So much for Promised Process, Fair, Transparent, No-Thumbs--On-The-Scale.

Shall we discuss "fool me once" some more, this time, vis a vis The County?

Shark Inlet said...

The way I read Paavo's comment wasn't indifference but his way of saying (like some parents do when their kids are about to make a poor choice) "do what you want, the County will pick TriW if it's the best choice." When he wrote "there's no need to be antagonistic" he tipped his cards. I am surprised you missed that, Ann. Wilcox, on the other hand was trying to be more direct ... her words should be read as "those who say they want the people to decide should actually let the people decide."

Are you saying, Ann, that the reason the CSD would sell the site is to make things fair? Hmmm .... I hardly think that your definition of fairness would be universally applied. Do we make NFL teams go back and re-draft their players midway thru the season when we realize which players are better? Do we require Why should we sell TriW now just because the facts are now more clearly in favor of TriW? Why take actions which are likely to make the chosen WWTF more expensive. (If it is TriW, you have to admit that the re-permitting process will add costs, mostly thru delay ... and if it isn't TriW, why would such a sale now be necessary?)

If you are opposed to influencing the decision makers in any coercive way, how do you feel about the recall campaign promising something (a plan that would cost us only $100/month) that we all know now they had no hope of being able to deliver. Wasn't that unfair? If they had been honest (we'll try to move the plant out of town but whether it works or not, you're going to have to pay considerably more than with the TriW plan) would the recall have passed? Not a chance. Had the recall failed, we would have locked in the lion's share of our costs and our bills would certainly be below $250/month ... what are things going to cost us now? Whatever the case, I will blame those who supported the recall in much the same way Ron blames the Solutions Group. If it's okay for Ron to hold a grudge it should be okay for me.

Anonymous said...

This board (and since Ann is their mouthpiece I will include her as well) seems to be terribly conflicted and, well, confused (as usual I would add). I remember a time when the anti-sewer (ooops, I mean move the sewer, sorry) folks hinged most their opinions on the affordability issue. But now, every action they take, most recently and importantly the desire to sell Tri-W, does nothing but increase the cost of a project. This isn't rocket science. Selling Tri-W, if it is found to be the most cost effective location by the county, and "wins" an advisory vote by the people (which could happen Ann, although that would add to your assumption that most people are asleep at the wheel in Los Osos), will simply add to the cost of this project. A lot. So I have no other choice but to believe that this board, and Ann, are more concerned with looking good, saving face, and proving a point at all costs, AT ALL COSTS, then they are in building an affordable sewer. This has become very plain, and very obvious to me.

Ron said...

"Ron blames the Solutions Group. If it's okay for Ron to hold a grudge it should be okay for me.
"


Blaming the Solution Group, and "holding a grudge" against the Solution Group are two very different things.

I don't hold a grudge against the Solution Group (in fact, considering that they're most responsible for this excellent story, I love them), but Los Osos sure should.

Mike said:

"As for Anon up above " fool me once"
You gota be kiding! ONCE????? "


Funny.

Anon said:

"...if it is found to be the most cost effective location by the county, and "wins" an advisory vote by the people (which could happen Ann..."

Well, yea, I guess it could happen. All it would take for that to happen is that every election trend in Los Osos over the last two years be reversed, and out of nowhere, Los Osos suddenly supported a downtown sewer plant/park with a tot lot and an amphitheater, and a project that has some seriously rough seas in front of it, if it were to ever be resurrected (and if it's on the "no permit" level playing field, it will never be resurrected, not even close).

Yep, could happen, I guess? We'll certainly find out when that advisory vote comes around... that's if Tri-Dub is even on the ballot. After all, King said only projects that are "doable" will be on that ballot.

It's going to take a hell of a lot of hoop jumping to make Tri-Dub "doable" again.

By the way, that "advisory vote" is exactly what the 2001 LOCSD should have done after the Solution Group plan failed.

Out

Shark Inlet said...

Ron writes about the recall as if it was an overwhelming mandate. Might I remind you that the recall election was about 51% to 49% ... and might I remind you that one of the key points for the recall candidates was the issue of affordability. They promised to save us money. Now that we know better I bet that a good 10-20% of the those who vote have switched camps.

Ron, the only reason that it will take a lot of hoop jumping to make TriW a possibility is that some folks are so opposed to the site that they are willing to try any maneuver to block that possibility. If you want to blame the Solutions Group for underestimating the opposition to that site, fine. If you want to say that they should have done things differently five and six years ago, fine. Please don't tell us, though, that the actions of CCLO, LOTTF, those on the current board, Gail, Linde, Al and the rest have had nothing to do with the escalating costs. They've had their role to play here ... it takes two to tango, you know.

Anonymous said...

"Please don't tell us, though, that the actions of CCLO, LOTTF, those on the current board, Gail, Linde, Al and the rest have had nothing to do with the escalating costs. They've had their role to play here ... it takes two to tango, you know."

...and will continue to have plenty to do with the escalating costs, Shark. Tacker has said as much with her "personal lawsuit" comment in the paper recently concerning the county-run project. And Barrow and Swanson have never seen a lawsuit they didn't like. And this from Ann:
..."if any of you think this game is now over because The County has taken over the sewer, THINK AGAIN."
Ann knows, as I'm afraid many of us do, including the county. These people will stop at nothing any more to drive up the costs of any project becasue they feel "wronged" and victumized by everyone and everything since the recall. They feel that if there are people who will no longer be able to afford to live in Los Osos because of the cost of a sewer, than NOBODY should be able to, and they'll do their darndest to make it so. Bankruptcy (which will tie into the sewer bill); continued litigation; selling of Tri-W; on it goes. Talk about a scorched earth policy. These people represent the most destructive force in local government I have ever seen in all my travels, and will continue to strive to be so.

Shark Inlet said...

Our most recent anonymous friend raises a an interesting question in my mind.

What if those in Los Osos who want a gravity/MBR/TriW plan (because they believe it to be the most reasonable option available today) hadn't argued for their beliefs and hadn't formed Taxpayers Watch ... would anything be different today? I suspect little. Great hay has been made by Ron and Ann about the letters to the RWQCB asking for fines. Having seen them in action, I rather doubt they would be swayed by such letters. Considering that all LOCSD votes have been 5-0 (or the odd 4-1 or 4-0) since the recall, one cannot believe that those in favor of TriW have had any influence on local boards.

This question makes me think of a related question ... if all the Solutions Group and TriW people were to have simply stopped trying to influence the debate at all ... at what point in time in the past would this have to have happened for our current situation to be essentially different?

I can imagine a different past where a CSD could have been formed and they might have chosen to put the WWTF as far downwind as possible but still within district boundaries ... but I have trouble believing that had no CSD been formed, CCLO and LOTTF and the like been happy with what the County had been proposing. Seriously, was Julie happy with the Pismo site? Was Al? It was going to be in town and expensive no matter where it would be.

Just a question ...

Mike Green said...

Interesting question my cartilaginous friend!
The Old "what if?"
That one can be spun any direction.

But it appears to me too that the whole TW thing ended up being a huge wast of energy.

Snowy Plover said...

"Considering that all LOCSD votes have been 5-0 (or the odd 4-1 or 4-0) since the recall, one cannot believe that those in favor of TriW have had any influence on local boards."
What shameful spin.
When wasn't it like BEFORE this current board?? When ALL that board would hear was TRI-W and their deafness to community concerns leading them to their downfall.
If THEY had been more forthcoming and open minded with us, do you think they would have lost such a closely contested election??
Too important a time here to be play revisionist with just plain factual history, unless that is part of your agenda...
C'mon show how many votes went 3-2 by the recalled board??
How many 4-1. Out of how many total votes?
I'll bet it is a very very very small percentage.
We got no time here no more for such cheap ploys.
We've got enough trouble headed our way. Sludge ugly trouble...

Mike Green said...

Ah! I have to do this "once" in a while.

Due to the excellent efforts of all the Wizards of Glacial Review, my sewer bill since 1990 (when I bought my house)
Is Zero.

Thank you Wizards! (you know who you are)

Shark Inlet said...

Mike ... wouldn't it have been better to have the County plan which would have cost us about $100/month for 20 years and $40/month afterwards than our current situation which seems about $300/month for 20 years and then $40/month afterwards? Sure, you've had no sewer bill for the last 15 years but the extra $48k you'll have to pay once the thing does go in sort of hurts. (Well, some folks may end up selling their homes before the end of that 20 years, but the essentially they'll take a corresponding loss.)

Oh yeah ... some extra 15 years of pollution of our aquifer and saltwater intrusion as well. Now we'll have to add extra to our bills to stem the saltwater intrusion with freshwater dams and/or we'll have to take state water ... and if we take state water we'll get extra growth.

Has this been good for more people than it has hurt?

I would argue that while you don't mind, more of us are really hurt by the extra costs.

Anonymous said...

Mike Green says:

"Due to the excellent efforts of all the Wizards of Glacial Review, my sewer bill since 1990 (when I bought my house)
Is Zero.

Thank you Wizards! (you know who you are)"

This clearly supports the notion that the "MOVE THE SEWER" is a fraud. Thanks, Mike for your honesty!

P.S. Good luck dealing with the fall out from Ann, Liza, et al for going off 'taking points'.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey bubbled:
"I would argue that while you don't mind, more of us are really hurt by the extra costs."

Sarcasm seems to be lost on you sometimes.

Truth is, nobody's been hurt, yet.

Snowy Plover said...

"Truth is, nobody's been hurt, yet."
True, 'cept for the CDO recipients...
BTW, fanatics often don't get sarcasm...

Mike Green said...

Yes, I forgot the Doomed 45. You are right.

Anonymous said...

You know, everybody can engage in conjecture all they want, but in the final analysis, Los Osos has relinquished control of what the final decision will be for placement of the waste water facility.

And, I will laugh my butt off, if the final decision is to put it at Tri-W. What poetic justice that would be.

Or, if this were one of those wonderful stories by the brothers Grimm, and this was to come about, all the No Sewer and Move the Sewer folks would quickly evaporate in a poof of smoke, leaving only the slightest smell of sulphur in their wake.

Mike Green said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Shark said,
"Oh yeah ... some extra 15 years of pollution of our aquifer and saltwater intrusion as well. Now we'll have to add extra to our bills to stem the saltwater intrusion with freshwater dams and/or we'll have to take state water ... and if we take state water we'll get extra growth."

Sharky, We'll be paying for seawater intrusion mitigation in more than just our sewer bills. If the effort to get that Resource Capacity Study succeeds, we'll be pushed to the front of the line for State Water. A water moratorium will be implimentd, halting ALL growth and without growth there will be no means to have development pay for infrustructure improvements that are dire. With development, the poor sole that struggles today will struggle further. Look at the whole picture people, we need to grow some more(build out is about 25% more people), the roads will be paved/repaired, drainage facilities improved, a park added to our landscape, library expansion, etc. Our community is blighted by being the step child of the County. Be careful for what you wish for...RCS level III = State Water, State Water = full buildout quicker. We must tip-toe around this issue, bring in development slowly, let them pay their fees, improving the community a little at a time, including toilet retrofit, because we aren't doing it ourselves. Without it we'll pay for improvements ourselves...pay attention.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Are you saying, Ann, that the reason the CSD would sell the site is to make things fair? Hmmm .... I hardly think that your definition of fairness would be universally applied."

What I actually said:

"If I understand the thinking it's this: IF the county has promised a fair Process of fairly considering all option fairly, then Tri W should be considered MINUS ITS PERMIT, since that permit is a "thumb on the scale." Remove the permit and all sites would be competing on a level field."

Interesting how you twisted what I actually said. You do that often. I find it fascinating. My definition . . . ? MY? ???? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Ann,
Will you endorse candidates?

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

I apologize. I thought you were saying that TriW already having permits wasn't fair. In what way did I misunderstand?

Do you think the sale of TriW will level the playing field?

If so, it sounds as if I may have understood you correctly.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Anonymous said...
Ann,
Will you endorse candidates?

7:30 AM, October 08, 2006"

Publicly, Officially, Ex Cathedra, so to speak? No. Never have. Never will.

Inlet sez:"I apologize. I thought you were saying that TriW already having permits wasn't fair. In what way did I misunderstand?

Do you think the sale of TriW will level the playing field?

If so, it sounds as if I may have understood you correctly.

7:16 PM, October 08, 2006"

The sale of Tri W at this point is unnecessary as far as I can see. Using the existence of the Coastal Permit as an excuse to shoe-horn the Tri W plant back into existence would be a mistake since that Permit was -- as Ron can amply attest -- obtained by, uh, questionable means (and it's not clear whether the CC would be forced to re-consider their dicision if folks brought suit to prove intentional falsification & etc. (Remember the old Strongly Held Community Values ploy?) I think that action would backfire badly.

What I have called for FOR YEARS -- but nobody was listening -- is an honest evaluation of the options, let the science and engineering and common sense work in a process that will result in several top options. Then present the community with what I called the Chinese Menu -- i.e. X plan at Y at Z$ or E plan at T for W$ -- vote for one then shut up and start paying.

As for misunderstanding me, Yep. it's what you do so often. Take what I actually said then twist it slightly into some other "reality," then claim that's what I said, which I didn't. We've been down this path before and is the reason I asked, in all seriousness, whether you had some sort of reading comprehension disorder or ADD or something like that. What you do is either inadvertent -- a comprehension problem -- or (I hate to think it) deliberate.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

If you think I have a comprehension problem or an honesty problem, let me assure you that I know many who think you have one of the above yourself.

I prefer to think of these things as situations where we all have our own biases and we all have our own tendency to give evidence that seems to support our own position far too much credence yet we all tend to downplay evidence which seems to argue against our biases.

Once you've got two folks who have different viewpoints on these issues trying to discuss them, there are bound to be misunderstandings and it is probably best to assume that both sides are doing their best to be fully honest with their point of view.

Along those lines, I can really see that you feel strongly about your point of view and I appreciate your willingness to state it and even to be very gracious with those who would disagree with you ... some even quite rudely.


I am getting the feeling that it might just be that our perspectives are influnced greatly by our criteria for what is "best."

I've been been pretty focused on the question of "what is the wisest thing to do next, not being able to change the past?" and I've tended to focus more on the money issues than others.

I get the feeling that you (Ann) tend to be more focused on wanting to get the best possible solution for our community but you aren't as focused on the costs and you wouldn't mind going back to square one so much, as long as we could do it right next time.

Where I would suggest we could most easily agree is that we both think that a lifecycle costing approach may be a good way of evaluating the potential projects.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

This "smoking gun" that Ron seems to think is so important couldn't be less relevant. One only has to look at the November 1998 election results to see that an overwhelming majority of residents voted to put a sewer on the Tri-W site when they voted to establish the CSD. The entire election hinged on the Solution Group's plan to put a BIG-FAT ponding system on the entirety of the Tri-W site. What was it? 44 acres? Ron's claim that the CSD somehow manufactured "a strongly held community value" is just plain bunk. If that's true, then why did Los Osos set records for voter turnout and why did the election turn out the way it did? And I've heard all the "the technology was different, blah, blah, blah" arguments. The fact is - it was a sewer in the middle of town any way you look at it.

As for your suggestion that more lawsuits are coming if the County tries to use the CDP to build at Tri-W: what if the property owners decide it's what they want? Should Ron "I-have-nothing-at-stake-in-Los-Osos" Crawford be allowed to circumvent the will of the property owners? Should you? Should Julie Tacker? With the mere suggestion of another Tri-W lawsuit, I find your criticism of Lynn Tornatzky for suggesting the District may have a malpractice case against BWS and Willdan a bit hypocritical.

Seriously, between Ron's conspiracy delusions and your obsession over being misquoted - this discussion could not be more ridiculous. The both of you really need to get over yourselves and let the PROPERTY OWNERS decide.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Ann,

If you think I have a comprehension problem or an honesty problem, let me assure you that I know many who think you have one of the above yourself."

The problem is one of misquoting, I think. Or misunderstainding. When I say X, you turn it around and say I said or mean Y. I didn't and don't. I said X. That type of thing causes mass confusion because the next person reads what you said I said, but didn't, and concludes that I now said or meant Y when I didn't. That was YOUR take on it, not what I actually said. That has nothing to do with bias, it has to do with accurate quoting or an accurate understanding of what I actually said and meant. That's where you too often slide off. and it happens enough times and I had to suspect some kind of weird comprehension problem.

Inlet also sez:"I get the feeling that you (Ann) tend to be more focused on wanting to get the best possible solution for our community but you aren't as focused on the costs and you wouldn't mind going back to square one so much, as long as we could do it right next time.

Where I would suggest we could most easily agree is that we both think that a lifecycle costing approach may be a good way of evaluating the potential projects."

We're not back at square one. We are (and should be) back where the Coastal Commission FAILED us -- a request for a side-by-side comparison of in-town, out of town, with a fair guestimate of a cost breakdown, THEN A 218 vote on which system the community wanted to buy. It's a missing step that never happened and it's was a costly misstep. Had that happened (actually before the de novo hearing) it would have saved the town this train wreck. As I noted at the time, the guestimate (rough) by Buel for just running a pipe out of town was a guestimate of 5-6 mil more; the guestimate by the CC staff for having an out of town plant was a million less or 5-6 million more. The point I made at the time was, on a $150 +++ project, 1-5 mil on a 30 year loan on a project of that size is CHUMP CHANGE and should have gone to the voters to decide. But we were told that moving the plant out of town would be WAAAAAAAAYYYYY too expensive and couldn't be done that Tri-W was the ONLY way, etc.etc.

That dishonesty is what derailed and delayed this project. Ditto for the monkey-wrenching that went on behind the scenes during the November "negotiations that weren't negotiations, heh-heh" and the compromise. IF all the players were as on board with that compromise as the community seemed to be, that would have happened and we'd be a year further down the road. But the monkeywrenchers were at work (remember Bianchi's secred little letter to Baggett?) All those wonderful emails asking for fire and brimstone to rain down and "fine the CSD out of existence?) & etc. Think of what would have happened if all those same players said, Stay Cool, This Is Doable, Let's roll.

There's the tragedy -- missteps, wrong steps, missing steps, regulator/oversight failure, behind the scenes monkeywrenching. The list is soooo long.

Anonymous sez:"The entire election hinged on the Solution Group's plan to put a BIG-FAT ponding system on the entirety of the Tri-W site."

Actually, the whole thing was hinged on a $35 a month innovativ STEP ponding system vs the $65-75 + county's traditional gravit plan. That's what got that high turn out. As Ron has pointed out, when the election was help, the Solution Group already had been told that the system wouldn't work, wouldn't be funded by SRF etc. The community wasn't aware of that at the time.

Also, remember the famous words of the Coastal Commissioner: Bait & Switchy. Seated Commissioners speaking from the dais during official business do not use the terms "bait and switchy" lightly. When they do, all ears should fly up. Serious business, the words "bait and switchy." The bait and switchy concerned the Original Plan presented to the Coastal Commissioners for the permit and what was now appearing before them during the de novo hearing. Ding, ding, ding. Red flags should have gone down on that play.

Anonymous also sez:"Should Ron "I-have-nothing-at-stake-in-Los-Osos" Crawford be allowed to circumvent the will of the property owners? "

How on earth can Ron Crawford "circumvent the will of the property owners?"

Anonymous also sez:" Should you? Should Julie Tacker?

How on earth can I circumvent the will of the property owners? I have not threatened any lawsuits. What I have cautioned agains is this: Unless the county gets this right this time there will be lawsuits by somebody. That'sbeen the history of this project.

And sez:" With the mere suggestion of another Tri-W lawsuit, I find your criticism of Lynn Tornatzky for suggesting the District may have a malpractice case against BWS and Willdan a bit hypocritical."

Where on earth did you get that from? I sugggested that the state audit may turn up things that need looking at, including WMH, contractors lawsuits, when things were signed and by whom, etc. Nothing hypocritical at all, merely a note that geese AND ganders may need saucing.

And, finally, Anonymous finally sez:"Seriously, between Ron's conspiracy delusions and your obsession over being misquoted - this discussion could not be more ridiculous. The both of you really need to get over yourselves and let the PROPERTY OWNERS decide."

That's exactly what I called for several years ago. That's exactly what should have happened when the CC met for the de novo hearing. It's something that needed to happen BEFORE the increased SRF loan and the contracts were signed, what was needed before the old board started pounding your tax dollars into the ground weeks before the recall election.

Were you not paying attention??

Anonymous said...

"How on earth can Ron Crawford "circumvent the will of the property owners?"

By demanding a CCC revocation hearing for the CDP - just as he promised on his blog that he would - all because of the "smoking gun" he believes he has uncovered.


"Actually, the whole thing was hinged on a $35 a month innovativ STEP ponding system vs the $65-75 + county's traditional gravit plan. That's what got that high turn out. As Ron has pointed out, when the election was help, the Solution Group already had been told that the system wouldn't work, wouldn't be funded by SRF etc. The community wasn't aware of that at the time."

My point is, regardless of whether or not we were to get what we were promised by the Solution Group, the plan was to put it on the Tri-W site. Whether or not the Solution Group was playing "bait and switch" with the technology, the intention was to use the Tri-W site - and the community knew it and voted for it, so Ron's contention that the CCC was somehow deceived by the CSD's claim that there was a "deeply held community value" with regard to the site is, in my mind, bogus.

For the record: I WAS paying attention. I was paying attention the night the CSD shifted direction with regard to technology, I was paying attention when the community overwhelmingly trounced Julie Tacker in the 2002 election, I was paying attention at the CCC hearing when they granted the CDP, and again when they rejected the revocation of the CDP. I was paying attention when the Regional Board said "time's up". I was paying attention when the State said "site specific" loan. I was also paying attention when the current board got elected by an eyelash because they too, made promises they couldn't keep. Had last year's recall been solely up to the property owners, we wouldn't be having this discussion today.

I have also been paying attention, waiting for the day when you shift some of the responsibility firmly where it belongs - onto the shoulders of the current board. I doubt that day will ever come.

Shark Inlet said...

About the 5-6 million more to move the plant out to the Andre site ... please remember that this cost estimate did not include any design changes or any inflation associated with the additional delay to re-design the plant and collection system for the new location. I would guess that the design costs would add another $2M and and additional two year delay which gives us an extra $25M (8% inflation on $150M) as well.

You say chump change (well, to quote you, "CHUMP CHANGE"), but please remember that by the time the CCC asked for this site comparison with an out-of-town site (which wasn't a viable candidate in any case), enough of the design work had been done that changing the site wouldn't be as simple as you suggest.

You are dead on right about when you write about the tragedy "missteps, wrong steps, missing steps, regulator/oversight failure, behind the scenes monkeywrenching. The list is soooo long." What amuses me about your take on things, Ann, is that your list of the missteps and failures doesn't seem to include things that are quite prominent on my own list. As an example, you celebrated the recall election and the passing of Measure B. To me, those things just made a bad situation worse. As I asked before the recall election, how much more would one be willing to pay to get the plant moved out of town? While you are reluctant to put a pricetag on TriW and reluctant to speculate on the final cost of whatever final project we'll end up getting, the fact that time has been passing has caused the cost of all potential systems to go up. Furthermore, debts and bankruptcy costs will now be somehow added into our bills. Essentially we'll all be paying more for our sewer now than we were going to be paying before ... and if we go for "out of town", it might be a whole lot more becuase of the additional delay and design costs.

If you're a gonna complain about people lying to us about saving money ($35/month which is half the cost of the County plan) shouldn't you include complaints about John, Chuck and Steve's promise of a $100/month bill as opposed to the $200/month of TriW (or the current guy who is promising us $154/month instead of $326 if we vote for Chuck and Steve). It seems that all of these promises are based in an idealized version of the RWQCB who immediately caves to LOCSD whims. All three were wrong ... and all three should be criticized ... and if the recall was a good idea because it would get rid of Stan and Gordon who fibbed about costs to get elected, shouldn't one oppose Chuck and Steve for the exact same reason?


About the "negotiations", please remember that Darin testified that they didn't consider inflation and re-design costs when penciling things out. Don't pretend that the "solution" offered up there was going to be any cheaper.


I think that essentially we've got a political problem here. Some in Los Osos don't want the WWTF in town and feel strongly that a STEP system is far better for our community and that ponding is cool. Others want the quickest and cheapest possible solution. When these two groups with different goals argue and neither is willing to give up, we'll get delay and lawyers and pain. You say the problem is the dishonesty involved in the TriW site selection way back when and I say the problem is Julie and Lisa and their unwillingness to let us move forward with the cheapest solution.

Anonymous said...

Not being one to agree with Shark, I must say he's right about one thing. This is not about cost, location, technology, or any other thing that could be objectively evaluated. It's political. That's why we need to support the county as long as they keep the politics out (thank god Shirley-Be-Yucky is gone)of it and come up with a GD sewer plan! Everyone stop accusing everyone!

Anonymous said...

I had a thought. Is anyone opposed to the Pismo site. Is it still a option? Take Tri-W out of the equation, and this all goes away.

Anonymous said...

I've wondered the same thing. Does anyone know if Pismo might be a possibility? I asked Julie Tacker once and she said "No. Pismo is out of the question" or some such. This was right before the recall. I think it's a good idea. I was thinking...did she not want it brought up because, in fact, it might be a possibility? As in, NO SEWER.

Shark Inlet said...

Yes, it was odd that the Ripley team didn't evaluate Pismo as a site when it was pretty clearly a reasonable choice according to other, earlier, analyses.

What was the justification they (or the LOCSD) used to not bother re-evaluating that site?

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"so Ron's contention that the CCC was somehow deceived by the CSD's claim that there was a "deeply held community value" with regard to the site is, in my mind, bogus."

Hardly bogus. The EIR identified the out of town site as the environmentally superior site. ESHA requires that the enviro.beter site be chosen unless there are serious and valid overriding concerns. A park in the middle of town -- based on no evidence that Ron can find -- and he's been looking for years -- is NOT a valid overriding concern. The CC bought it because it was the easy way out. Furthermore, you need to ask yourelf: The CC asked for a side-by-side comparison of in-town, out of town. They never got it and they never asked why they never got it. I've been asking that same question for years. Another easy way out?

Inlet sez:"As I asked before the recall election, how much more would one be willing to pay to get the plant moved out of town?"

EXACTLY! THAT's EXACTLY what THE COMMUNITY -- not me, not you, not a handful of people -- should have been and COULD HAVE been asked early on.

If memory serves, when the CSD went up to the SWB and asked for the $40 million more, didn't I hear tell that one of the board members asked if the community needed to vote on this or somehow indicate they were supportive of that $40 million addition (even while a 218 lawsuit was in the pipeline) The CSD could have held even an "advisory" vote, if nothing else not only on that additioinal $40 mil but --by then -- the known total costs of the plant. They didn't do that.

Inlet also sez:"I think that essentially we've got a political problem here. Some in Los Osos don't want the WWTF in town and feel strongly that a STEP system is far better for our community and that ponding is cool. Others want the quickest and cheapest possible solution. When these two groups with different goals argue and neither is willing to give up, we'll get delay and lawyers and pain. You say the problem is the dishonesty involved in the TriW site selection way back when and I say the problem is Julie and Lisa and their unwillingness to let us move forward with the cheapest solution."

Go back with me in a time machine. The community finds out that the Ponds of Avalon (solution's group solution) won't work. The CSD goes back to square one, does a side by side comparison with the County Gravity Plan (an honest one) and, perhaps a community wide STEP plan with a ponding treatment plant outside of town (cheaper non-esha land) and the comparisons are vetted by independent experts and priced out honestly (The Chinese Menu Method) and then the results are put on a $218 ballot for the full assessment, not the phony quasi/partial assessment with the HUGE final amount arriving as a "Service Fee, heh-heh."

What then? No train wrecks.

Inlet sez:"Shark Inlet said...
Yes, it was odd that the Ripley team didn't evaluate Pismo as a site when it was pretty clearly a reasonable choice according to other, earlier, analyses.

What was the justification they (or the LOCSD) used to not bother re-evaluating that site? "

If you've read the Ripley Report, you'll see that the entire focus on their plan is WATER. The Pismo site does not allow for a winter water basin for ag exchange, water exchange & etc. Ripley percieves (rightly in my opinion) that the real issue facing this community is basin-wide WATER MANAGEMENT, not simply treating and dumping wastewater.

It will remain to be seen if that concern is also the County's concern.

If you plunk a traditional sewer plant down at Pismo, you're still stuck with energy costs and sludge disposal problems.

Those are things that I'm hoping The Process now starting with the county, a Process that should have been honored by the CSD, will result in several key choices the community can make.

The comment that this can be figured out if "the politics" is kept out of it is partially right. The right scientific/engineering questions will result in the right answers and then those answers will have to be decided by a political process. Skew one and you skew all the others. Result: Civic train wrecks.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

You tell us one side of the story involving the site selection - that the least environmentally damaging site be chosen ... but neglect to tell the other side - that AG land is supposed to be preserved and that the TriW site was already zoned for development and that the TriW site would be changed whether used for a WWTF or park or something else. The marginal ESHA status of TriW wouldn't save it. The CCC did get their comparison. They were aparently satisfied with the comparison and the statement of overriding concerns and approved the TriW plan. Just becuase you and Ron claim that they shouldn't have been satisfied with these answers doesn't mean that there wasn't a comparison and that there wasn't a valid reason for choosing TriW. Even if you want to take Ron's baliwick, the "community values" issue, it was really clear whent the CSD was formed and when the bond was approved, that both consitituancies, the citizens and the property owners both liked the idea of a WWTF at TriW. (As a side note, if you're a gonna tell us that there were "lies" told to win those votes, you're going to have to at least step forward and tackle the issue of the comparable ... or worse ... "lies" of the current boardmembers.)

When I suggested we ask how much more one would be willing to pay to move the thing, I find it interesting that you agree with me. The reason for my surprise? That when I asked this question in the past (quite often just about a year ago) you refused to answer then and you even went so far as to suggest that out of town would be less expensive but that we really shouldn't speculate. Well, cost estimates are essentially all about speculation based on engineering and assumptions about politics and interest rates and the like. The Ripley team engaged in speculation when they said $150/month.

In any case, I am glad you agree with me. Interestingly enough, our community could have been asked this question many times, not just before the TriW site was selected. In fact, we should have been asked this and a cost estimate of "out of town" should have been drawn up before the work stopped on the TriW site back in October 2005.

Essentially I agree with you that the community should have had more involvement at key stages in the process of the morphing of the Ponds of Avalon into the MBR plant (I actually think that the community doesn't give a rip about STEP versus gravity other than which will result in lower bills) ... but I remind you that in our representative government with open meetings, the community did have those opportunities to guide the process. What happened here in this political nightmare is that a few members of the community didn't like the site and they decided they wanted to raise a stink over the siting issue and that they used any and every issue to achieve their goal of moving the site. A case in point is the claim that out of town could be done for $100/month. Total fabrication based on no real engineering but it caused some to vote for the recall. Without that false claim, the recall would have failed.

About the Ripley refusal to consider Pismo ... yes, they had a justification that would have served to exclude TriW as well ... but had they been open to other WWTF systems other sites (and even TriW) would have been at least as good as Giacomazzi.

I do like the sustainability aspects of the Ripley idea, but fear that there is no way the RWQCB will sign off on their assumption that our community will cut our water usage by over half and there is no way that they'll be able to get in-lieu credits for AG land outside our aquifer, so essentially the Ripley plant will have to be exapanded and at least some of the water will have to be denitrified before recharged directly into our aquifer (or used for freshwater dams or some such). The sustainable Ripley plan will cost far more than advertised and when one includes inflation as well, this sustainablity will end up costing us maybe $70/month ... hardly a good investment. That same $70/month could be used toward other, more viable sustainability issues, like freshwater dams or piping treated wastewater to parks and homes for irrigation, things that the previous board had been intending to do *after* the plant was online.


Yes, politics should be kept out of the decision ... but even the question of evaluation criteria can be essentially a political question. If I suggest that lifecycle costing of various possibile WWTF sites be the primary criterion, it will be immediately be opposed by some who percieve that criterion to be giving unfair advantage to TriW. So, how do you propose to keep folks like CCLO and LOTTF and Al from trying to tip the scales? If you can come up with a good way of keeping that group in check, I can come up with a great way of keeping the Dreamers from attempting to sway this debate which (IMHO) should be essentially an engineering and financial discussion.

Mike Green said...

If we can all just sing KUMBAYA then Sharkey would bubble:
"If you can come up with a good way of keeping that group in check, I can come up with a great way of keeping the Dreamers from attempting to sway this debate.
The match made in HADES!!!
The water gods would tremble in FEAR
The Churadogshark will devour them!
WE ARE ALL DOOMED!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I've wondered the same thing. Does anyone know if Pismo might be a possibility? I asked Julie Tacker once and she said "No. Pismo is out of the question" or some such. This was right before the recall. I think it's a good idea. I was thinking...did she not want it brought up because, in fact, it might be a possibility? As in, NO SEWER.

6:55 PM, October 10, 2006

The Pismo site has been sold to public lands, it is ESHA, it is off the table due to greenbelt protection. Marla Morrisey can tell you more.