Cut The Prisoner Down Again, We’ll Hang Him Some More In An Hour, or Maybe Next Month, Or, Like, Whatever . . .
Yep, The Los Osos 45 go on trial – again – Thursday and Friday, Dec 14 & 15 starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s office on Aerovista Place in SLO Town. Maybe.
The Regional Board, making absolutely no effort to even pretend to be protecting civil liberties or due process (Bwa-hahahahah), have – again – changed the goal posts and rules, and disallowed new evidence from the defendants at the last minute with zip time to respond. (Judge LaBarbara will be making a ruling on, Wednesday night? Maybe? as to whether all this constant rule changing and jerking around – some more – by the RWQCB so totally jeopardizes the rights of The Los Osos 45 that he’ll issue a stay on this hearing. Is it too much to hope for that somebody sane does step in?)
The following is from a cc. of an email sent to the New Grand Inquisitor, Mr. Reed Sato:
“How can Chairman Young issue on the Friday before the Thursday that the Cease and Desist Order recipients are to go on trial a letter stating that most of the evidence that citizens are planning on using to try and keep from getting a CDO against their property is not being allowed? I just got this by email tonight (I work during the day) and I am sure the same is true for the CDO defendants. So they are given until tomorrow to respond? . . . There is not even an appearance of due process or justice here. To send a letter of this magnitude at this late date and expect a response by tomorrow is frankly laughable. You now must recognize that by the Chairman issuing this order that he and you have no other choice but to postpone the hearing for at least a month so that the CDO defendants have the opportunity to clarify why this material is important to their case. To do anything else will only add to the continually growing opinion that this entire CDO process was set up in such a manner that the outcome was determined before it even started. Please forward this email to Chairman Young and the rest of the CCRWQCB members. Hopefully some of them will also see the inequity of this recent development.”
Here’s an excerpt from Bev Moylan, one of The Los Osos 45, for a glimpse of what this Board has been doing to these folks for a year. Bev had asked for a continuance of her case so she could attend a class, a critical part of her job. The request was denied and she was cavalierly dismissed with, Oh well, the PZLDF group is represented by an attorney, so send her instead (Yes, sit in a room with absolutely NO indication when your particular case ill be heard, if at all, for two days straight? Especially when you’ve put your life on hold for a whole year, were ready repeatedly go to “trial” only to have the RWQCB Chairman pull the rug out from under you again and again and again? Oh, please.)
“As far as the matter of “choice” is concerned with regard to our attendance at the hearing this week, in this case there is no choice, per se. My husband and I were prepared for the April hearing. We were prepared for the May hearing. We were prepared for the November hearing. The water board’s agendizing of the April hearing and consequent failure to anticipate the amount of time defenses would consume, along with its scheduling and rescheduling of the continuances for that hearing have made it impossible for us so far to present our own defense. On this fourth scheduled date we are unavailable and unable to change our plans once again to accommodate the RWQCB’s newest hearing dates with no guarantee that the hearings will actually occur on those dates. On the other hand, I am certain that my class in Carlsbad will occur on the appointed dates.”
Bev further concludes:
“It is hardly fair, humane, or ethical for this board to expect me to relinquish my place in a closed class for the mere possibility of attendance at a hearing that may or may not occur. To represent that I am easily able to take this class at another time is grossly erroneous and completely misrepresents the truth of the matter. To require me to alter these plans for this class poses an extreme, undue hardship, and to deny me a continuance is to abridge my due process.
My husband, William Moylan, and I have already stated that we want you to see our faces and hear our voices as we make our own cases. We have the right to a hearing, and we have the right to be present at our hearing. We two, who have lived the CDO experience for over ten months, represent ourselves. It is not a matter of choosing or not choosing to attend the December 14 and 15, 2006, hearings. We cannot attend.
I also submit that you consider dismissing this enforcement action outright. The RWQCB has many reasons not to go forward with this proceeding, and few reasons to proceed. It is obvious that something is unusual when the chairman has quashed all subpoenas and denied all requests for continuances submitted by defendants, yet appears to uphold the prosecution team at every juncture. Chairman Young made an emphatic assertion at the April 28, 2006, hearing that the prosecution team is not the RWQCB’s prosecution team in its presentation of the case for the enforcement action against forty-five randomly selected Los Osos citizens. The chairman’s actions in regard to the prosecution of the Proposed Cease and Desist Orders in Los Osos, however, would indicate otherwise.
The water board continues to operate this prosecution under the false assumption that insufficient or no progress is being made toward a goal of a WWTF. In fact substantial progress is being made toward that goal. That the citizens of this town have proven time and again that they favor a WWTF outside the center of town is substantial evidence that we are in favor of a WWTF. You are aware of the recent independent peer review of the Ripley plan. You are aware of AB 2701. Plans are moving ahead continuously for a WWTF. To assert otherwise is to ignore what has taken place in this town in the year since the RWQCB issued Proposed Cease and Desist Orders.
Many property owners in the Prohibition Zone are already in compliance with the conditions of the Proposed Cease and Desist Orders. As you are aware many citizens have had their tanks pumped, inspected, and repaired. These actions alone ought to provide sufficient evidence that it does not require a Cease and Desist Order to force compliance by citizens. We value our groundwater. To threaten citizens with the loss of their homes if they have not complied with conditions outside their own control – i.e. TSO 2011 - is an unnecessarily heavy-handed approach. To make this threat against thousands of people, many of whom are not in a position to defend themselves, is wasteful and inefficient, given the amount of litigation over innumerable years it will engender for a board with no money for a mediator or for videotaping the hearings. Our continued movement toward installation of a WWTF renders the original rationale for the issuance of Cease and Desist Orders moot.
We are on the verge of a settlement agreement which could offer the best solution for both sides, if the water board is interested in mitigation of groundwater issues. Dismissing this Cease and Desist Order action in favor of a reasonable settlement agreement would appear to meet the water board’s goals while allowing citizens to remain in their homes, recognizing that individuals have no control over the agencies charged with implementing and completing a WWTF.
In conclusion, the water board has many opportunities to act with the benefit of the waters of the state and of the community of Los Osos in mind. Granting a continuance or dismissing this action outright in favor of a more contemporaneous approach, given the circumstances in place in Los Osos today, allows the water board to meet its goals while allowing citizens to continue to live in their homes and work toward a long-term solution in partnership with the water board, instead of in the adversarial postures necessitated by the current Proposed Cease and Desist Orders.
“The first obligation of government is to protect our people.”
– Senator Susan Collins of Maine "
Do I hear snickering in the back of the class? Protect our people? Whatta ya, nuts?
Next question, do these hearings violate the Blakeslee amendment? I mean, really now. Remember “standing down,” and working in a spirit of cooperation, and coming together to get the project built, a project that the citizens of Los Osos now have no control over since the County has taken over? Remember the Peer Review Workshop? The RWQCB staff was there, all in a spirit of cooperation. So what’s the point of the continued public hanging of The Los Osos 45?
I’ve always thought that a perfect example of a pointless, sadistic evil act is to chain a dog to a tree and then beat the dog . . . for not running away from the tree. Is that what’s going on here? If so, I will ask again: Why? What’s the point?