Calhoun’s Can(n)ons,The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA for Jan 17, 07
New Year’s Questions
This year, instead of New Year’s Resolutions, here’s my list of New Year’s Questions. Like Resolutions, I doubt much will come of my list, but, you never know.
1) What was so all fired important about keeping a sewer plant in the middle of town that three of the recalled Board members were willing to pound millions of dollars into the ground before the election, and then later get involved with actively attempting to dissolve the whole CSD? And why was the whole might and power of the State brought to bear in order to “punish” a community for simply wanting to move a sewer plant facility out of the center of their town? Especially when, during the “October Compromise,” almost every citizen who spoke at the CSD meeting admitted, “Well, I never was really married to that [Tri-W] site . . . .” For not being married to a site, this has been one hell of a down-and-dirty, world-class, messy divorce, that’s for sure.
2) Exactly who pulled the plug on the second payment of the SRF Loan, when did that happen, and were there any provisions in that SRF loan contract that required mediation of any changes before simply withholding a payment check? Who made the decision to withhold? I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I do know that in regular law, you’re not allowed to shoot your neighbor because you think he might be fixing to steal your trash cans sometime in the next 90 days. But in contract law, who knows? That’s one of the questions that the CSD’s breach of contract lawsuit was supposed to answer. With the bankruptcy, it’s a question temporarily held in abeyance, but it’s a doozie and I hope it gets answered.
3) Who in the heck was responsible for monitoring the State Revolving Fund Program in the first place? In a 2005 press release, the State Water Resources Control Board states that it “takes its responsibilities to protect taxpayer funds very seriously . . . . ” Really? Then somebody needs to explain to me exactly how serious was the State Water Board in piling additional gazillions onto an existing unsecured loan, then sending the first chunk of money down the pipeline to a clearly divided community only weeks before a recall election that could change the terms of the original loan. This is due diligence?
4) Besides an attempt at electioneering and coercing a Prop 218 vote out of the residents, (Vote for whatever project the county comes up with no matter how cockamamie or we’ll shoot your dog AND fine you $5,000 a day!), just what IS the point of the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s CDO process? The Regional Board’s own documents state that putting CDOs on a whole community is not recommended because it’s an inappropriate enforcement mechanism. We’ve heard expert testimony that the mitigation requirements of pump, inspect, repair used to justify the CDO may look good and feel good, but they won’t do diddly to the ground water. Clearly, these “show trials” are costing the Board a bundle in time and money. And, it’s also clear that these show trials have no impact on moving the county project forward any faster than it’s already moving. So, what’s the REAL point of jerking hapless citizens around for a whole year? If it is indeed electioneering and voter coercion, is that a legal activity for the RWQCB to be engaged in?
5) And, finally, the County’s Basin Plan is now up for its Triennial Review. Will the County, the CSD, The Regional Water Board and other agencies finally – FINALLY -- take that review seriously and make the desperately needed changes to get rid of the scientifically indefensible Prohibition Zone, re-configure the map to make a scientifically defensible rationale for all Water-And-Wastewater Projects BEFORE the county finishes designing the sewer? And will these critically important revisions also result in a basin-wide septic management plan that will be ready for the AB885 regulations that will be coming down from Sacramento – regulations that may well put all septic tanks in the county under the direct control of the same RWQCB that brought you “The Mad Pumping Scheme” and “Torquemada’s Mad Hatter Auto-de-fe & Public Beheading CDO Show” that’s now running amok at the water board offices near you.
Now, there’s a thought and a question to seriously chill the New Year.
BLACK-OUT ALERT! BLACK-OUT ALERT!
Because the Regional Quality Control Board’s budget is busted on these pointless Mad Hatter Auto-de-fe & Public Beheading CDO Shows, there is no money in the budget to have AGP Video televise the upcoming January22 “trial” of the remaining Los Osos 45 and the discussion and decisions regarding the other 4,500 Los Ososians. So, if it were up to the Board, all this would be done with no cameras present so members of the public who cannot attend the hearing wouldn’t know what the heck happened to these people.
But several citizens have chipped in to hire AGP for the day and AGP Video has agreed to pay for any extra time out of their own pockets to make sure this show trial remains accessible to the public.
I’m going to be sending AGP Video a few bucks to help cover their costs. I invite all of you reading this blog to do the same. What’s public access worth to you? Clearly it’s worth zero to the Water Board, but if it’s worth something to you, then send AGP Video a few bucks. You can mail your contributions to:
1600 Preston Lane
Morro Bay, CA 93442.
Then I invite you to think seriously about a Water Board that has such a limited budget that they can’t afford a modest amount to videotape public hearings, yet has spent gazillions and wasted a year’s worth of staff time on these useless show trials. This becomes especially appalling when you consider that their limited budget could have been spent oh, say updating the Basin Plan so they’d end up with really effective changes, changes that can have a real effect on . . . oh, let’s say . . . .the GROUND WATER that they’re supposed to be protecting.