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Monday, January 08, 2007

Gaaak! I see everything twice, again!

Yes, it’s déjà vu time. Again the questions: Why wouldn’t the Regional Water Quality Control Boards want to get stuff done right the first time instead of jamming artificial, arbitrary deadlines onto municipalities then threatening FINES!FINES!FINES! which buffalos communities into what could well be the wrong technology which creates MORE water problems further down the line when everyone then stands around wringing their hands saying, “Oh, Dang, we cudda hadda V-8, but Oh, nooooo, YOU hadda make us drink this stuff?”

Or as my sister once observed of the phone company she worked for (the biggest) “Why is it they never have enough money to do it right the first time but always have enough money to do it over again at twice the cost?”

Hold onto you seat, it’s Rerun Time:


New Santa Paula sewage plant in limbo
City faces $25,000 per day in fines if deadline is missed
By Tony Biasotti, tbiasotti@VenturaCountyStar.comJanuary 7, 2007
The city of Santa Paula isn't getting any closer to building a new sewage treatment plant, despite the $25,000 a day in fines that hang over its head if it misses its 2009 deadline.
More than a year ago, the City Council hired a designer, and last year it zoned land for the new plant, but the price tag — about $75 million, the biggest public project in city history — has the council stepping carefully. It's pausing for as long as six weeks while it considers scrapping the design and moving to a different technology that's potentially cheaper.
However, the clock is ticking. The water that the current treatment plant dumps into the Santa Clara River doesn't meet Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board standards. The board has agreed to suspend the fines normally associated with such violations, but if Santa Paula doesn't have its new plant up and running by October 2009, a $25,000 daily maximum fine is back on the table.
If construction work began immediately, the new plant would be finished in late 2009 or early 2010, said Cliff Finley, Santa Paula's public works director. If the city starts over with a new design, it would set the project back 12 to 14 months, he said.
"If we proceed down the road we're currently on, we're barely going to make it, or we're not going to make it, but at least we're going to be close," Finley said.
The current road now leads toward a new plant with a technology known as a membrane bio-reactor. Waste water is filtered through tanks and treated until it is clean enough to use in landscaping.
The new option the City Council might consider is Vertreat, a proprietary system owned by a Canadian firm called Noram Engineering and Constructors Ltd. It filters the water through deep wells instead of aboveground tanks. It requires one additional step to produce reusable water, Finley said.
Vertreat was ruled out when the city first studied it because it hadn't been used yet in a city sewage plant in California. However, there's some hope it might be cheaper than a membrane bio-reactor system. Finley said the city's initial study showed about the same price for the two, but it was based on rough estimates because Noram didn't participate in the study.
Now the city has invited the company to make a pitch to the City Council before Feb. 15. Noram's president wants to appear, but he hasn't committed to a date yet, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told the council Tuesday.
Bob Gonzales and Ralph Fernandez, the two new members of the council, were the most vocal advocates of giving Noram a chance at the project. A small delay is worth it if it saves money, Gonzales said.
"I don't like to be put into a corner when it comes to spending the public's money," he said.
If the new plant comes in at the current estimate of $75 million, Santa Paula residents will see their sewage bills go from $42 a month to more than $60 a month by 2009.

42 comments:

Mark Twain said...

When you compare Sta. Paula with Los Osos, you are comparing apples with oranges. Apparently their community is not in obstruction mode, and want to get something done. I seriously doubt that they will be fined if some solution is under construction and it passes the date.

There is a big difference with unintended time delays and STOPPING construction of a sewer. For seven years the LOCSD got a pass on fines because it was working on a solution and achieved the solution. It was STOPPED while under construction.

"Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?" --- Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn.

Anonymous said...

I read a little on the city of santa paula website...

There seems to be two new board members just elected that are insisting on a pause to look at more affordable alternatives.

Lets hope they take the opportunity now while they are at 30% design to change their mind if they want... unlike Los Osos with the old boards full speed ahead off the cliff attitude.

The funny thing is reading the similarities to Los Osos. I cringe when I read that they disqualified some technologies because it wasn't proven in California. Scary!!

I might just have to go to one of their meeting and tell them that's not required.

Anonymous said...

Annon. above, you make some excellent points. I think there are more simalarities than differences. If our current LOCSD had not been harassed by the numerous law suits, I truly beleive they would have gotten a cost effective, sustainable project going out of town. Too bad the old rotten re-called LOCSD couldn't have been a little more "graceful" with their "departure".

Anonymous said...

Get your head out of your ego!

The barrage of lawsuits began with our very own Lisa, Gail and Al.

Throw those 3 in jail and we'd already have a WWTF and collection pipes in the ground for a reasonable cost!

Anonymous said...

And I suppose Santa Paula is an old community, that started out with septics on 25 foot wide lots? And never got a clue? And was in denial for 30 years? And had a bunch of yahoos who were anti-sewer to begin with??

I seriously doubt that any community in the entire WORLD could be as recalcitrant as Los Osos. Maybe it is the water, maybe it is the air, but Los Osos has MORE than it's share of assholes, those morons who will fight to kep the status quo.

No, I seriously doubt that Santa Paula has anything even near to the high-per-capita of certifiable crazies that Los Osos has. We have the complete corner on the market.

You know, this could be a real mecca for sociology majors, or psychology majors. My God! This area, the issues, the crack pots, the eccentrics, the full-blown psychotics! What rich pickings for someone looking for a senior project, or a Master's Thesis!!

Makes me wish I was back in college, I would have chosen a different major. But then again, Los Osos wasn't as bad as it is now, when I went to college.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 4:40 PM:

The past CSD was pushed this way and that way, by the restrictions, and laws from the Coastal Commission, the CCRWQCB, and other governmental agencies. That Board managed- with complete opposition from the morons in the community sueing them frequently- to actually get the construction started. And, don't tell ME that all those stupid lawsuits from Keith, Julie, Al, ad nauseum, did not make the delay-which generated higher costs- the stumbling point. Hey, I forgot the Bud Sanford Hate Emails sent to all the potential contractors!! This bastard cost each and every one of us countless thousands of dollars, and the SOB doesn't even live here!!

No, this community was so fooled by the "We have a plan; We will not be fined; We will not lose the SRF Loan; We know exactly what we are doing, but, at THIS TIME, we can't REVEAL it!!"

Hey, didn't THAT last comment give you guys a clue???

You morons who bought this line have to be the most gullible bunch that ever dropped off the turnip truck!!

I am moving away from this nasty place. I am moving to an area that is not stagnant, as Los Osos is. You guys have made this a stagnant, unhealthy place to live. I, thank God, will not have to address these problems every day, and find myself butting my head against the same stone wall. I won't have to worry about sewers, or pollution, or a damn thing, because I am buying a huge parcel out of state, just me and the pine trees. And, NO Los Osos problems!!

Village Moron said...

I "believe" that we will get an affordable, sustainable sewer when the "money tree" starts to produce million dollar leaves. BUT, then there is the problem with bankruptcy. Need to plant more "money trees".

Mike Green said...

This is very ironic to me as I lived in Santa Paula from 67 to 75 on Laurie Lane. We hated that damn sewer, it stunk to high heaven when the wind was just right, I wonder if it still dose.
The water there was terrible, so hard that it hurt to dive into the high school swimming pool and tasted awful. people would drive up highway 126 and get drinking water from a spring.
Still it was a wonderfull place to grow up and attend junior and high school, there was a drive in in the middle of town and a main street that looked like Mayberry RFD.

Anonymous said...

On a lighter note, can you believe that our favorite dried-up real estate lady and her Cayucos boyfriend had the complete audacity to nominate each other for Citizen of the Year for Los Osos?? At a CSD meeting, on TV, no less??

What chutzpah!!

My God, don't we have enough going on, in this three-ring-circus called Los Osos, than to have the real estate people take up TV time with all their self-aggrandizing hubris?

Get "real", real estate people!! We know you will make enough from us folks selling out cheap, as to make you millionaires soon. Don't expect us to make you two Citizen of the Year, for God's sake!!

Mike Green said...

Whoops, I think it was highway 150, the back way to Ojai. Right side of the road, not marked, had a pipe that ran continualy. Tasted great.
sorry must of had my memory jarred

Anonymous said...

Good God, I saw that on TV, too. The pure nerve of those real estate people. They act like they invented community service.

The guy isn't even from Los Osos. Why doesn't he go campaign in Cayucos? He has always been the Big Critic of everything the staff ever did.

Even to the point of trying to shred simple reports.

I used to watch the set, and think why the hell doesn't someone tell him to get the hell out? And now, this guy and the girlfriend want to be citizens of the year?

Well Richard Margetson, in order to be a Citizen of the Year, you FIRST have to be a CITIZEN. You are from Cayucos, and I can't see you've done anything except be one big detractor of everything Los Osos.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:44 PM January 8th:

You forgot the ever present JULIE! Put her in with all the other assholes.

Mike Green said...

Sheesh! cut those folks some slack, who the heck in their right mind would want to be citzen of the year in Los Osos, Home of the country's biggest bankruptcy!
Quite an honor????
Hilarious.

Mike Green said...

Well the royaltys in pinata sales might make it worth it, but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Santa Paula still had the hardest water I've ever seen. I have friends that live there and they keep a squeegee in their showers and insist all guests squeegee the shower when they are done to prevent water spots. Funny.

The sewer does smell bad... right off the Peck Rd. offramp off the 126 freeway. Smells everytime you drive by. Use to be out of town... now on the edge of town... just wnated to clarify so no Dreamers would use it as an example of another center of town sewer.

Churadogs said...

Mark Twain said:"When you compare Sta. Paula with Los Osos, you are comparing apples with oranges. Apparently their community is not in obstruction mode, and want to get something done."

Gee, and I thought the voters wanted to "get something done," too, i.e. move the sewer plant out of town, even were working on the October "'ompromise plan" of continuing to lay pipe while re-siting the plant itself.

anonymous sez:"There seems to be two new board members just elected that are insisting on a pause to look at more affordable alternatives."

What's fascinating here to me is Santa Paula didn't say NO WE REFUSE TO BUILT A PLANT GO SHOVE IT IN YOUR EAR. Instead, they said, "Woa, we want to pause to look into buiding a more affordable plant, possibly one with BETTER water cleaning technology," and the regulatory body in charge of BETTER CLEANER WATER said NONONONONO FINES!FINES!FINES! Rign a bell?

anonymous sez:"You know, this could be a real mecca for sociology majors, or psychology majors. My God! This area, the issues, the crack pots, the eccentrics, the full-blown psychotics! What rich pickings for someone looking for a senior project, or a Master's Thesis!!"

while you're doing your research, I hope you'll look into Ron Crawford's deliciously droll observation that Regulatory Agencies exist in order to prevent Los Osos from happening. There have been more than several key breakdowns in the Process that lead directly to this train wreck and none of them had to do with "crazies." All of them had to do with a SYSTEM set up to be vulnurable to catasrophic failures like we've seen here. Too few checks and balances, no real oversight (The failure of the Costal Commission to require an answer to its OWN question is just one case in point), and step-by-step failures to do due dilligance, fueld by the same mentality we see at work in Santa Paula FINESFINESFINES driving the train off the cliff. The nuts aren't all located in Los Osos.

And for those inclined to "blame" one board or the other, you really need to look at the linkages by all the players to see where this thing went off track. It truly is a "system" failure. And I'd bet the farm if you backtracked the Santa Paula project, you'd see the same dynamic at work.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"while you're doing your research, I hope you'll look into Ron Crawford's deliciously droll observation that Regulatory Agencies exist in order to prevent Los Osos from happening."

You mean this droll observation?

And don't forget to check out my latest droll observation while you're there.

Mike, we're all meeting for drinks someday at your wine bar atop your composting bin compartment, right?

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a chance to catch up on my meetings lately, but did someone nominate Richard Maggotson, of Cayucos, for citizen of the year at the last CSD meeting? And did someone at the county BOS meeting liken Julie Tacker to Ghandi? Someone please, tell me this ain't so.

Anonymous said...

Annon. above, I'm afraid it IS TRUE. I saw the ch. 21 re-run this morning. It could be worse though, Gail McPherson might actually "nominate HERSELF". Talk about an ego!!!

Mike Green said...

Ron, the wine will be free, and not the cheap stuff either, I am Californian after all.

*PG-13 said...

Oh no. This is gonna be B.Y.O.T. S. (Bring your Own To Share.) While I'm looking forward to sipping your fine California vintage I'm bringing a bottle of Old Bushmills to swig in final toast to all the shinnanigans, funny dancing, weird politics, and silliness that has brought us to that moment. When at last we can raise a glass to the end of this great epic let it be Irish Whiskey, the drink of foregiveness and forgetfulness, to toast the end of it all. And then raise another glass anew to toast a new beginning. Such is the way of learned men (and women). Plus, it only seems proper. What else is appropriate for toasting atop a sewer?

Mike Green said...

PG! I will admit to enjoying a "drop" now and then. I do play traditional Irish tunes on squeeze box and flute, so along with Claifornian wine snobbery I feel I'm entitled to enjoy the single malt too.
Bring it on!

Mike Green said...

Crap, I just spelled California wrong!!!
Wait a min. thats just how our Governator says it!
saved by the accent!

Anonymous said...

If you think that the rotten, old recalled LOCSD Board was so terrific, then how & why DID THEY get re-called? If they had been doing a wonderful job for the ENTIRE COMMUNITY (not JUST a select FEW), they would STILL be in power. Doesn't that indicate who the "majority" are?

Sewertoons said...

The "majority" felt the sewer project was too expensive, that is what the recall was all about. This was also driven by "we can do it out of town for $100," which was a lie from the get-go.

Let's just see what the County comes up with dollarwise to see if that recall was justified as to the price of the project. No whining about the history that got us to this point, as that is irrelevant to where we are now. We are where we are and nothing can modify/change that fact.

Churadogs said...

Sewertoons sez:"Let's just see what the County comes up with dollarwise to see if that recall was justified as to the price of the project. No whining about the history that got us to this point, as that is irrelevant to where we are now. We are where we are and nothing can modify/change that fact."

Another option,suppose the county comes up with a "better" project (less energy intensive, better water reuse, lower long-term OM&R costs, etc) that still costs the guestimated same as Tri-W, i.e. $200++ a month, Would the majority of the community feel it was a win/win (i.e. plant out of town, cost the same, better project) or a wash? That'll be interesting to see.

Non-believer said...

ANN Says:
"Another option,suppose the county comes up with a "better" project (less energy intensive, better water reuse, lower long-term OM&R costs, etc) that still costs the guestimated same as Tri-W, i.e. $200++ a month, Would the majority of the community feel it was a win/win (i.e. plant out of town, cost the same, better project) or a wash? That'll be interesting to see."

Well duhhhh! Of course the property owners will jump on this. Even if the construction costs are GREATER than the guestimated costs of TRI-W. However, if you figure in the costs of the bankruptcy, permits, redesign, environmental studies of the site etc., and figure that you are starting completely over from scratch to achieve a system acceptable to the CCRWQCB for a low interest loan, assume that neighbors will not file suit, and that no fools write or fax letters threatening contractors, can get the Blakeslee bill changed to allow construction outside the boundry of the district, take away any county markup, and the crowd that knows that it cannot afford ANY sewer supports it, perhaps a MIRACLE will occur.

To expect a MIRACLE is foolishness to the first degree. It has always been about "pie in the sky" here in Los Osos, and the expectation of MIRACLES.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

I agree with the blogger above.

The Blakeslee law was to make sure that the Tri-W happens. Why don't you see that?

To think otherwise is just plain foolish.

The State won't get their $6 million back unless it's the same project! AND THEY WANT THEIR MONEY BACK even if they made a big mistake loaning it out without secured funding and they will make us pay it back, one way or another. Get real!

Anonymous said...

I will wager a bottle of Old Bushmills that the county will not be able to come even close to the $200 per month that we would have had Tri-W half-way in, by now.

I'll bet it will be over $300 per month. Time delays, more "consultants" (costly little buggers), "studies", "reports" and the like will add years, inflation, and the upward spiraling cost of materials and labor to put the damned thing in.

Any takers?

Anonymous said...

The Tri-W had deferred costs anyway. $200 a month...hardly. It was never $200 and never could be.

Can the county do it for less? They sure should be able to.

But the county wins more with a higher cost, now don't they? They'll be able to take more homes away from the people with a bigger price tag on the project. The RWQCB will help them out too. The county wins. The people lose. That's SLO county for ya!

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"The State won't get their $6 million back unless it's the same project! AND THEY WANT THEIR MONEY BACK even if they made a big mistake loaning it out without secured funding and they will make us pay it back, one way or another. Get real!"

If I understood Paavo Ogren correctly at the Town Hall meeting a few months ago, IF the county wants an SRF loan for whatever project they end up with, that 6 mil will have to be paid back as a condition of the loan and so he would consider it like "points" on the new loan. IF, hoever, the county goes with Orenco's Build/Design or some waaaayyyy cheaper BOOM-type project that had a waaaayyyyy lower total cost that didn't require a SRF loan, then those "points" wouldn't make sense, finance-wise.

The question then is this: Will the county get in bed with the State and the RWQCB and SWB etc. (wink-nudge-know what I mean? know what I mean) to make sure that any projects chosen WILL REQUIRE a SRF loan, hence ensuring the state get's its money back? Or will the County genuinely keep a clean slate and let price as well as technology dictate what ends up on the boards, and let the 6 mil chips fall where they may?

That's the gazillion dollar question and one of the reasons why I keep telling people to keep an eye on the Process to make sure certain thumbs are not on the scales.

No Miracles Available! said...

At least if a sewer is started whith some sort of foreseen costs, the real estate market in Los Osos will improve. People who cannot afford the sewer will at least have some equity to move elsewhere. If the county is not able to produce a sewer due to opposition and failure of a 218 vote, the state will come in and do it at vastly inflated prices. Then there is the problem with CDOs which are sure to cost property owners in the time span between 2011 and the beginning of the state project, coupled with further deflation of property values.

In any case, those living in the PZ are screwed. Those living out of the PZ are also screwed by the bankruptcy. It is those who have fought the sewer for many years who have screwed ALL of us. Ann Calhoun and Ron Crawford have been the voice of the obstructionist nit pickers, giving them support, and supplying the screwdrivers. They persist in light of all reason.

As far as the state, feds, and county are concerned, this is the result of a local obstructionist course of action, compounded by fools listening to fools. Mark Twain is correct:

Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain't that a big enough majority in any town?" --- Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn.

Anon 10:05 PM, January 13, 2007, is a perfect example of foolish thought and conspiracy theory, just another fool that cannot consider the effects of foolishness. "Can the county do it for less? They sure should be able to." The comment from someone EXPECTING a MIRACLE.

Anonymous said...

To anon @ 7:31AM on 1/14:

How can the state come in and do the
project with no 218 vote? The state has to follow the law too.

If the state COULD come in, then why won't Paavo come out and say exactly how they can do that? He's can't. And hasn't been able to. Shirley couldn't either.

Please explain exactly how (your claim) that the state can do this. I'll wait to hear.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 7:31 on 1/14:

Are you saying the conspiracy hasn't been going on since 1983?

Of course the county can do it cheaper. Do they have to accept "over" bids like the recalled CSD did? NO!

Can the county pick a project that isn't the most expensive (the most expensive per capita in the country)? YES!

Can the county pick a project that doesn't require a couple of full-time highly paid operators working 24/7? YES!

A fool expecting a miracle? NO. Just someone who knows the county SHOULD be able to do it's job and present an affordable project for Los Osos if they chose to look at all options.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 8:00 PM, i just did the math, and this is a little far fetched, but bear with me.
If all 5,000 property owners in the PZ paid $50 a month for 2 years, the 6 million would be paid off. About the time it would take to get something more legal and viable going, and then they could issue us another loan. Gee, that was simple.
Sincerely, M

Anonymous said...

Maria,

How many homes in the PZ? Is it 4,500 or 5,000?

Nobody is talking about this:

If Bayridge Estates, Sunset Terrace, and Monarch all have community systems, they won't have to pay as much as others in the PZ that have their own septics. Their benefit is lower.

That brings the price tag even higher for PZ homes.

And what about all the mobile park homes, they don't pay as much either (maybe half) but the cost to the average PZ homeowner will be so much more when you factor in the community systems and mobile homes.

As far as the SRF loan, they gave out a bad loan and might have to eat it, just as a bank would have to do.

Why should the residents have to pay back $6 million for a big mistake the the state made?

Anonymous said...

I agree completely with anon. above. Why, is the question I have always asked, should this Community pay back an illegal loan? The State made a big time mistake in not getting ALL the information, We did NOT have a prop 218 vote & we have the illustrious BRUCE BUEL, et al to THANK FOR THAT LITTLE FAUX PAUX

Churadogs said...

No miracles sez:"Ann Calhoun and Ron Crawford have been the voice of the obstructionist nit pickers, giving them support, and supplying the screwdrivers. They persist in light of all reason."

Perfect piece of total disinformation here. IF the people of Los Osos had paid attention to anything Ron or I had written over the years, this train wreck would not have happened. The "regulators" would have done their jobs properly, the missing pieces wouldn't have gone missing, thereby putting in place the chink that created this train wreck. In short, Ron and I have for years been pointing out how the Process had gone wrong. IF people had paid attention, they had the opportunity to CORRECT the off-kilter process and set things right. But they didn't. Now, here's "miracle" shooting the messenger instead of paying attention to the message AND working NOW to make sure the message is finally understood and the PROCESS gets back on track. Typical.

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Your true ego-maniacal self comes out...claiming that if only everyone had listened to you and Ron that "this train wreak would not have happened". Geez, what BS.

You claim that process was not followed. Tell me Ann; WHAT IS THE PROCESS? Do not give me spin of what you think was missed..... What exactly is the process? What steps have to be taken to get a WWTP approved in coastal California?

If you do not answer this question then there is no doubt that you do not know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

"Why should the residents have to pay back $6 million for a big mistake the the state made?"

Until this ruling was changed, because of Los Osos defaulting on the loan, this was a legal loan as it was for a WWTF.

Anonymous said...

To anon above:

No, the SRF loan was not a legal loan at all. There was no 218 vote. The 2001 assessment was a 218 vote but only for $24 million bond money.

Nope, the state gave out a bad loan, and like a bank would have to do, they will have to "eat it" BUT HOLD ON A MINUTE - the State Water Board is insisting on the TRI-W project so they can recover the over $6 million. THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you think if that's what the State Water Board wants (the Tri-W) the county isn't going to give them what they want? Get real. The county will do what the state wants to do!

And if the county does move the monster sewer out of town, then the state will add points to the loan. Some communities have gotten zero interest, but we in Los Osos have to pay POINTS if the sewer goes out of town!

Boy, do these agencies think Los Osos residents are idiots.

Anonymous said...

Well, duh - looking in from the outside, why would they think differently?