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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sewers & Parks, Redux. If you're new to Los Osos, or have been asleep for a few years, and you wondered, "O.K., Just Who Put The Park In Our Sewer Plant Thereby Forcing It To Remain In The Middle Of Town," you need to hop on over to Ron Crawford's blog at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com and see how that confusion got started. Then maybe write to the Coastal Commission yourself and ask for a clarification from them. Ron's been waiting for a press release from the Commission for a long time. Maybe the CC will even send that press release to some of the Regional Water Quality Board members who seem to have a really hazy sense of the history of this project. That might clarify some of their misinformation. And if you want an example of sly "Thumbs On The Scale," this is a perfect one.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I do not like the placement of the Tri-W project, I am getting tired of hearing that it is "in the middle of town." It is not.

Anonymous said...

Ann, this short piece seems very desperate. Are you and Ron feeling that the tide has turned? Just curious!

Anonymous said...

There is not a dead horse in existence that has been beaten like this one by Ann and Ron. You two definitely need new material.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Ann, this short piece seems very desperate. Are you and Ron feeling that the tide has turned? Just curious!"

The "short piece" is simply an info posting for anyone intereted in clicking over to Sewerwatch to see what Ron's posted. As for refering folks to Ron's blog? Well, several anonymous posters have claimed Ron's "opinions" are worthless. Here's a chance for them to look at the actual documents in question. And ask a few questions, like why would someone make the claim that it was the Coastal Commission who required the "amenities" be put in? What would be the point of that? Are there any more, uh, inaccurate documents like this one in the mile-high pile of paperwork involved with this project? If so, were they also of critical importance? And so forth.This one small example is a perfect example, to me, of Sly THumbs On The Scale. I bet that the majority of the community firmly believed that Tri-W HAD TO BE in the middle of town (center of town? centrally located? closer-to-the-center-of-town than-out-of-town?), like this was decreed by . . some entity like, uh, the Coastal Commission, perhaps? as in, We have no choice! We HAVE to build there! etc. )

Another Anon sez;"While I do not like the placement of the Tri-W project, I am getting tired of hearing that it is "in the middle of town." It is not."

Can you give us the nearest street crossings that ARE in "the middle of town?" Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Town? Is there a real "Town"?

Baywood Park? Cuesta-by-the-Sea?
Sunset Terrace? Los Osos?

Looks like a bedroom community of uncoordinated subdivisions with old homes and trailers tossed on a sand pile. Not even much of an "Ocean View", just a smelly backwater mudflat!

Anonymous said...

Churadogs:

"In the middle of town" implies the middle of the business center. It could also refer to the centroid of a compacted residential area. I don't think that the Tri-W location is either, and I think you know that.

Anonymous said...

Is "thumbs on the scale" a buzz phrase? Just curious because you were railing against buzz phrases in your previous post entitled "Short cuts=Short circuits."

Anonymous said...

The Tri-W might not be the middle of town but is in the middle of many homes. The site is just too close to the community center, church, and library.

It is crazy, when we have so much open land out of town, to stick a plant so close to so many homes and besides that it is viewshed. I believe it's a rather nice view. What a waste to put a sewer there. Makes no sense at all!

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Well, several anonymous posters have claimed Ron's "opinions" are worthless."

Opinions like this?

An Anon wrote:

"What a waste to put a sewer there. Makes no sense at all!"

Zero sense, unless, of course, you're trying to cover your tracks on why the LOCSD was formed in the first place, then that site makes all kinds of sense.

"I am getting tired of hearing that it is "in the middle of town." It is not."

How about, "three blocks upwind of downtown?" That's a fair enough description, isn't it?

"Are you and Ron feeling that the tide has turned?"

I watched the tide turn in November, 2004, and it has never turned back, as the last three elections have shown.

Thanks for the link, Ann.

Ron said...

You know what I was thinking, Ann? Those two graphics that I show in my piece reveal something that you bring up a lot, and it's a really good point -- if an inaccuracy gets reported, whether it's in the Trib, or in a community newsletter, or in an official document, if that inaccuracy never gets sufficiently countered, then that inaccuracy becomes fact over the years. We see that all the time with the RWQCB today. For example, they go about their CDO business like there was only one project by the early LOCSD. The Water Board does not -- repeat, does not -- differentiate between the ponding system at Tri-W (project #1), and the gravity system at Tri-W (project #2).

The Water Board does not make that vitally important distinction, and the reason they don't is because that distinction was blurred so heavily by the LOCSD from 2000 - 2004. And that blur today is now fact to the RWQCB: ONE project -- the gravity system at Tri-W that Los Osos voters supported by a 87-percent margin in 1998. That's the inaccuracy-as-fact that the Water Board is working under. They think Los Osos, in 2005, stopped the project the town voted 87-percent for in 1998, therefore, wasting seven years and jerking around the RWQCB the entire time. And, if that was truly the case, I can understand why they'd be mad. But that's not the case at all, and they're not clear on that. The truth is that the project that Los Osos favored by 87-percent in 1998, project #1, flamed out in 2000, and the town NEVER got another say on project #2. And if the RWQCB was more clear on that, then the argument that they have every right to be mad at Los Osos diminishes GREATLY!

THAT absolutely needs to be clarified by the RWQCB staff. Of course, if that was clarified by the RWQCB staff, the first question out of everyone's mouth would be, "Then why did Briggs waste two years allowing the LOCSD to chase project #1?"

So, I can see why they wouldn't want to clarify that whole project #1/project #2 thing.

Anonymous said...

Reading the "Ron and Ann Show" is like watching parrots cackle, drop their crot and crunch on sunflower seeds.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that none of those who dislike Ron and Ann are countering with any facts. Now it's a "dead horse" a "show" "buzz phrase" and we don't even have a town! Those of you who dismiss what Ann and Ron are accurately pointing out, would you please tell us how their information is incorrect?

Anonymous said...

Ann said:

"'Then why did Briggs waste two years allowing the LOCSD to chase project #1?'"

Project #1 being ponds. Ponds not meeting the RWQCB test for clean discharge. So the data supporting cleaning the nitrates out of the water STILL NOT present today, why was the "new board" going after ponds (beautiful ponds) this time out of "town?"

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that the majority of voters in Los Osos voted for a ponding system, at TriW, for $38 a month, in 1998 (well, sort of). I mean we voted for the CSD so we could get our $38 a month sewer. When the project changed we were allowed no vote and no consideration. They pushed it on us, Ms. Marks. That's what you should have told Mr. Hyashi! Those guys on the RWQCB do not understand that the reason the recall was successful is because we wanted a voice and a choice. We were not getting anything close to what we were told we would get if we voted in the CSD.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that there is new data on nitrates and ponds since 2000. Just something I heard. Also, the peer review, I think, said that ponds with some additional nitrate removal would be acceptable. Now here is my question: If the first CSD was told their ponds wouldn't work, why didn't they pursue some other kind of ponds outside of town? After all, they found out rather quickly that their plan sucked. There must be lots of types of ponds that work because they are all over California! Why wouldn't the first board move the ponds? Why?

Anonymous said...

A $38 per month project in 1998 was as unrealistic as the purported $100 per month project promise that the two CSD Board members were recently re-elected for. When will we ever learn that there is no magic, cheap project and do the one thing that can stop the inflation on this, build the damn thing ? It is just like that first mortgage that we had to sacrifice so much for 25 years ago. It does not get any cheaper, and politicians making unfounded promises does not help.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:46pm :

You said: "When the project changed we were allowed no vote and no consideration. They pushed it on us..."

Nobody pushed anything on you. If you were watching or attending CSD meetings, you were told what was happening and why. You had plenty of opportunity to object - you either weren't paying attention, or didn't care. Either way, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:51PM:

Los Osos must place their Wastewater Project within the boundaries of the CSA-9A (Los Osos CSD) District.
I won't explain to you about geology or geography. Certainly anyone, at this point knows what would work in San Bernardino may not work in Los Osos, and what may work in Escondido may not work in Crescent City.

This has been explained over and over again. During the course of planning environmental laws may change, coastal regulations may change.

Anonymous said...

The geographic center of the Community Services District is somewhere around Bush & Ferrell.
The "traditional" center of town is usually considered the center of the business district, which would make it somewhere in Von's parking lot.

While Ron screams about Tri-W being "Three blocks upwind of town", when one realizes if counting from the West and moving East, there are maybe 20 or so "blocks" in all, so no matter where the WWP is placed within the District, it will still always be close to either a populated area, or a business district.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:05 I objected every opportunity I got. And you say I should blame myself? For what?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:10 If that is indeed a cut and dried fact, that our sewer must be within the CSD boundary, then the "move the sewer" board has some SERIOUS explaining to do. How could the they garner so much support? How can they possibly sleep at night if what you say about location is true? Please show us the documentation so I can quit waffling about the location.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said... "...I am getting tired of hearing that it is 'in the middle of town.' It is not."

I can't believe we are hearing this nonsense again...

Get a map of Los Osos... draw a perfect circle around the entire town. Then put a dot in the center of that circle.

You can't get any closer than Tri-W than that!!!

Anonymous said...

Hell Yes, Move the Damn Sewer into Bakersfield and get over it!

Bakersfield? Because no one will know it's there!

Anonymous said...

"Anon 1:05 I objected every opportunity I got. And you say I should blame myself? For what?"

You said you were given no vote and no consideration. You were. YOU obviously took advantage of those opportunities. Too bad for the rest of us that most of the people who felt like you chose to ignore what was happening or chose not to care.

YOU were a responsible citizen. Too many were not. I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Correction accepted :)

Anonymous said...

There was a discussion to move it out of town back and MWH said it would cost $30 million because so much work had already been completed and would need to be redone. I wonder what the price tag on this is now? Do people really believe that starting over is cheaper? I think people didn't realize that moving it out of town means truely starting over and what kind of work and property purchase that requires. You still need over 70 acres for ponds, price of land hasn't gone down. Also, the additional treatment is the newer technology treatment which could mean ponds with MBR - how ironic would that be!

Anonymous said...

The cost of property in the PZ has gone down. Wouldn't it be great if we could just implement those CDOs and bring the date of compliance to 2008? Then we could dump everyone out of the zone, tear down their houses and build our fabulous sewer park right there. The irony alone would be worth it. No one could complain that it's in the middle of town. What an ingenious way to eliminate the ZONE forever!! Who could criticize that?

*PG-13 said...

< Big Breath >

Anon said > Reading the "Ron and Ann Show" is like watching parrots cackle, drop their crot and crunch on sunflower seeds.

Which is at least one of the more alliterative put-downs for the oft complaint that Ann and Ron run blogs, author pretty regular blog entries, allow unmediated commentary (the only moderation being for base decency and potty-mouth language), and generally keep the information and discussion flowing. Dang, there must be something of value here for so many who complain about the content to keep coming back. I've said this before and I think it needs to be re-said every so often. Everybody has to stand somewhere on all things sewer - and heaven knows there are a lot of places to stand - and from wherever they stand their perspective is probably gonna be different than many others. This simple fact is proven over and over and over again by the breadth of perspective and commentary posted to these blogs. Hallelujah, isn't this how blogs are supposed to work?

Still, for my edification if not also yours, lets do a quick sanity check. What other sources of information are there for citizens to stay current on the sewer? And just how effective are these resources at conveying important info? Let's see ..... Here is a short list of resources I know about and use frequently along with my subjective appraisal of their effectiveness and usefulness. Beginning with the print media which is how most people still get their news:

The Tribune - AKA The Trivial for plenty of reasons. Not the least of which are extraordinarily limited reporting on all things relating to the sewer, often incomplete and/or seemingly slanted reporting, and far too often erroneous reporting. Does anybody really give The Trib high marks for journalism on its coverage of the Los Osos sewer? I give it a D and I think that is being overly generous. To be honest I wouldn't know just how bad its coverage is if not for some of the other sources listed here. Plus, it needs to be noted that the published information is only available for a very short time before it is archived and thereafter only available for a fee. I've yet to find any Triv article worth that fee.

New Times - Thank god for New Times. Its always an interesting read although some might think it slanted. Admittedly I'm kinda partial to their style of journalism. Since its a weekly their coverage of things Sewer is limited and sporadic. When they do publish a story it is generally more comprehensive and contextually complete than the other sources. And their archives, beginning three years ago, are open and available. I give New Times a B-minus. When it covers something the coverage is good but, sadly, the coverage is still limited and sporadic.

The local newspapers are pretty good for such small operations. And they usually take a decidedly neighborhood perspective which is helpful in understanding how sewer developments are actually going to effect us. Still, they're small and limited in what they can cover and sometimes report erroneously. Covering the sewer it helps to have a Woodward and Bernstein on staff which is beyond the means of these community rags. I give The Rock a B for good informative articles. The Central Coast Sun Bulletin is a sister publication of the Triv but their coverage of the sewer seems more complete. Maybe that's to be expected since its target readership is more localized to LO. Still, as much as the sewer is news to the entire county one might expect a little more of the Bulletin's content to find its way to the Triv. I don't know how that relationship is structured. I give the Sun Bulletin a B crediting it for better coverage than the Triv. And then there is The Bay News, the little paper that tries so hard. The Bay News doesn't have the means to dig deep and aside from Ann's column things sewer are often handled via letters to the editor which provide some interesting insights. These letters reflect the common man's view (and knowledge) of the sewer. These views are notably uninformed compared to the content typically bandied about here on the blogs. If these letters really do represent the common Los Osos citizen's knowledge of sewer affairs then Ann is correct to keep beating her one-note drum encouraging the citizens to wake up, pay attention and get involved. Despite the long and exposed history of the sewer Ann may be correct in that there may be a huge number of asleep-at-the-wheel, uninformed and clueless residents just waiting to be creamed by whatever unfolds. I give The Bay News an A cuz I love reading the sheriff, fire and harbor log reports. Reading those makes me laugh and forget about the sewer.

These are the sources supplying most of the people the information they have regarding the sewer. Weighted for readership numbers, periodicity of publication and contextual depth of the coverage I suggest most citizens are receiving C-grade information. These are not the 50 or so (maybe 60-70, certainly less than 100) people who regularly participate in the meetings, organizations and various sewer related blogs. These are the thousands of people who do not participate, browse the web or read the blogs. The various groups wage their wars; those who go to meetings see pretty much the same faces; and the blogs provide a huge amount of information for those willing to wallow and get dirty in it. But I think those of us who play in the blogsphere tend to forget how little of the content we discuss (argue?) ever gets to the common citizen.

Most of the websites are either dead or dying. See: TaxPayersWatch.com (now redirected to an inside joke) and SaveTheDream.info (now dead). The Dissolve the LOCSD and the Los Osos Technical Task Force and CASE, Citizens for Affordable and Safe Environment all seem kinda dead and haven't been updated to reflect recent developments in a long time. Even the Los Osos CSD website seems dated and tired. Only the RWQCB website and the county government seem to be keeping up as well they should since they are the only ones generating new content and have a huge staff to publish it. Good luck making any sense of it though.

So that pretty much leaves the blogs.

The Tribune's Discussion Boards provide some good info if you can deal with all the chatter. Gleaning meaningful information and perspective from all that braying and chatting is a highly developed skilled. Ann's blog is far easier to wade through. Imagine that! Probably because she helps keep it focused (with her blogs) and co-participates in the comments. You might not agree with her but she does provide structure which gives the rest of us a sandbox to play in. Her blog and the comments are - at least for me - by far and away the most informative and effective source of information for all things sewer. I might not feel quite so if I didn't tend to agree with her as often as not. But even if I disagreed with her; If I thought she was totally off in the weeds; And If I thought she was a brainless ninny I don't know where else I would go to get the info and perspective her blog and the comments provide. Grading on the curve her blog gets the A.

And then there are:

Ron's SewerWatch - Like him or hate him he does offer up some, uh, interesting commentary. And has provided such commentary for years. Simply put, who else digs into this sewer mess deeper than Ron? Who cares where he lives! Get over it. He studies the documents, he calls people and he rattles the cage. He writes insightful commentary - whether you agree with it or not - that exposes cracks in what would otherwise be a dreadful and numbing boon-doogle. Boon-doogle in this case being the county, the coastal commission, the various permutations of CSD's, the contractors, the lawyers, the personalities, The Tribune, ..... you fill in the blanks. I don't know about you but his analysis and commentary has given contextual meaning to an otherwise hugely un-grok-able situation. Yes, he tends to beat his drum hard. And loud. Get over it. He's a self-promoting independent journalist. I'm betting you watched and enjoyed a few of those on the TV today. Did you complain about them too? Information is information. Use it however you will. But you can separate the info from the messenger can't you? And please, don't even try to blame Los Osos's dilemma on somebody who lives in Santa Margarita. We got ourselves into this fix by our own hand. Blaming others is simply juvenile. Sorry to those who don't appreciate him, I gotta give Ron's site an A for uncovering and disclosing facts. Graded down to an A-minus for his sometimes myopic focus ;-)

And I love Steve Paige's blog - Not many entries but the few there are are all wonderfully interesting. A citizen doing his thing in practical response to the situation. We should all be so proactive. A+

Anon said > Reading the "Ron and Ann Show" is like watching parrots cackle, drop their crot and crunch on sunflower seeds.

So what am I missing? If the Ron and Ann Show is so worthless please add to this list and tell me where else I should be getting my information so I can make informed decisions.

Anonymous said...

It is easy to develop a "hazy sense of history" when it keeps getting rewritten. It may have been the result of a PR blitz but the Coastal Commission did link the dog park, tot lot and other parklike features to the project. Ron will be waiting a long time for that press release.

“ . . . The development of the treatment plant will impact he informal access and recreation activities that take place on the site, as evidenced by the well-worn trails. Although these trails do not provide direct access to the shoreline, they are part of a network of pedestrian routes that provide recreational opportunities and a means to access coastal area.

“Although the project will result in the removal of existing informal trails, a system of new pathways, as well as a multi-use area and dog park, is included in the project design that will prevent the loss of existing access and recreation opportunities. In addition, the LOCSD has agreed to reincorporate public amenities that were included in the site plan reviewed by the Commission during the processing of LCP Amendment 3-01 but later removed by the LOCSD as a cost saving measure. These facilities, which include a 15 space public parking lot and drop off area, an amphitheater, community gardens, restroom, tot-lot, and picnic areas, factored into the previous decision to allow the treatment facility to be located on this site, since other alternatives were rejected on the basis that they did not accomplish project objectives for centrally located community amenities. Therefore, providing these facilities as part of the project, as required by Special conditions 12 and 17, is necessary to fulfill commitments to provide enhanced access and recreation opportunities that were made during the processing of LCP Amendment 3-01.”

Coastal Commission Staff Recommendation
Section 2. Analysis 11/18/03 - page 89

Anonymous said...

Thank you PG 13. This information should be sent to every household in LO.

Anonymous said...

To Ann & Ron,

Have you watched the faces of the RWQCB staff or board? They act as guilty as can be. I've seen members of the board actually look around like someone might shoot them. They're scared and guilty.

The same goes with county staff that Paavo hired. Young kids who don't know how to hide the guilt.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:05PM,

Didn't have the project pushed on us? Give us a break, it was pushed so hard that they didn't follow the law to let us vote!

You have to lie to sell your Tri-W project. Lie and lie again, so many times that people start believing. Well, that's part of the trick now isn't it? The Tribune played it's part big time.

At least Ron and Ann have the truth on their side. You don't.

The town has been lied to, bullied, and tricked for so long and they're doing it again, only this time the county's in on it. Oh joy.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:10 -

The county can place the sewer out of the Los Osos District. If you're saying that is what wording that Sam Blakeslee put into his legislation (on purpose!), I believe you are wrong and that the county is considering moving the thing. We'll have to pay points on the loan though if it's moved though, I'm sure.

So, let's see, we have to pay points on the SRF, we have to pay the county for doing the project (between 12-17%) oh, Sam you're just a beauty! You really took care of your voters!

Anonymous said...

Oops! Forgot to mention the $2 million that we have to pay back to the county! Does anyone have a calculator?!

THANK YOU SAM BLAKESLEE FOR DISHING LOS OSOS UP TO BE EATEN BY THE COUNTY!

Anonymous said...

PG 13 - Who are you? This is an awesome entry! I give you an A+ (and I am a teacher)! :) Do you know that many of my neighbors and friends who live in the PZ have no idea what's going on? We chat at a BBQ or something and they say to me (because they know I follow it) "What's going on with the sewer?" And they are sincere. They have no idea. And I think many in Los Osos, including the PZ, are just as uninformed. So there you have it. Like it not, Ann is providing a forum for us to listen, ponder, consider, and share info with the community.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:12 - Isn't that what the voters wanted? To move it out of the CSD boundaries? LOVR? The directors on the new board who supported the Blakeslee bill thing did so because they were voted in on MOVE THE SEWER! Hello?

Anonymous said...

anon above @ 8:41

The (new) board was tricked, or Lisa was anyway. Julie knew. She wanted gravity all along for Jeff. Steve, Chuck, and John Fouche were stupid to go with the legislation, but each had their reasons for selling out. Hmmmm.

Does anyone really think that Blakeslee wrote the legislation to move the sewer? Blakeslee has worked long and hard for the county takeover (just a couple months after the recall!) The recalled board helped get him elected (just like Gibon with Shirley -- and we know what Shirley wants for Los Osos), Sam will deliver the Tri-W for them -- afterall, he owes them (and gives his friends the opportunity to "cash in" too) -- what a win-win for SAM!

Sam ONLY worked with the people who wanted Tri-W while hiding the bill from half of the community (the ones who wanted the sewer moved anyway) and then stood up and lied about it in the April RWQCB meeting. He stated that he worked with the "whole" community. Yeah, right..

NOT FOOLISH said...

New Board tricked? They Stopped the sewer! They brought us to bankruptcy! No money=no sewer! With individual CDOs coming, and they were warned!
These people belong in JAIL! Blakeslee's purpose was found in his bill: get the sewer built without county taxpayer liability. Property owners who get the benefit pay for the sewer. Better get hopping, consider the cost of discharge permits, if we can get them.

Anonymous said...

NOT FOOLISH said... 5:34 AM

You are 100% correct!

Lisa and Julie had been on the recalled Board and knew exactly what was coming, but they thought they could bring the RWQCB down by trying to build an emotional attack!

They have been proven wrong and they do belong in jail!

They have stolen from every one of us living in Los Osos. They must be ordered to pay back every dollar they gave to their lawyers and Al Barrow!

Anonymous said...

PG-13's piece was nice, but the bottom line reality here is this: It doesn't matter what you read, or where you read it, or who writes it or what side they are on. Los Osos will have a sewer built. And the county will do it. Or the state. And it will be in town. Or out of town. But it will be built. But it won't be $100.00 per month. And it won't be $200.00 per month anymore. And the longer Los Osos plays their game of "fight-the-man" the price tag will increase. That is reality. Something I know all too well many in Los Osos don't deal in very well. Reality.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"There was a discussion to move it out of town back and MWH said it would cost $30 million because so much work had already been completed and would need to be redone."

This is an interesting number. The staff report to the Coastal Commission during the de novo hearing "guestimated" (because nobody actually did the work needed to answer the CC's question) that the cost difference would be 1 mil less to 5-6 mil more. Here's a good example of just why this issue is so "crazy-making." Which "story" is the correct one? Which figures are, indeed, accurate? When you compare apples and oranges, you can end up with pears and so have no clue what's what. Which is why folks in this community (too many of whom are alseep at the switch) really need to wake up and pay attention. Bait & Switch is a game a lot of people can play.

Anonymous said...

A sewer will be built, there's no dispute there. What, where and how is the question.

We expect the county to look at the best system for Los Osos and not try to force the Tri-W on us when we don't need such a system. But it's very hard to trust the county when they pretty much ENDORSE THE CDO'S (by not jumping in and letting the terrorism happen). Blakeslee tricked and lied, so it's hard to trust him. We know why he wrote the legislation, and it wasn't to help people keep their homes.

The experts have spoken. They said step is fine for Los Osos. They said it would be better to have it out of town. You say the peer review was a joke, but it's not. These people wrote the book on sewers.

Don't you want to have a sustainable and some what affordable system, or do you have to go along with what Pandora and Roger Briggs want for Los Osos?? Tri-W.

Anonymous said...

Which "expert" do you want to believe?

The Tri-W parcel is owned by the CSD.
Could Tri-W be sold?
Could another parcel be purchased?

The CSD is broke.

Who is paying for all this folly?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:53:
I have a question for you. Ann says it's wrong to label people who want to move the sewer as "anti-sewer," and she has a good point. (see her "short cuicuit" blog). So why do you refer to anyone who just wants to see an affordable sewer put it, anywhere (and it ain't getting any cheaper) as following Pandora? Why is that? Don't think I can think on my own? I wouldn't know Pandora if I tripped over her. What is your problem?

Ron said...

PG-13, A-freaking-plus for your post.

Just one thing... you wrote:

"I give the Sun Bulletin a B"

I give the Sun Bulletin an F- for publishing a series of favorable reports on the ill-fated, and ultimately disastrous Community Plan in late 1997, lending the plan much needed publicity and credibility. Neil Farrell, now with The Bay News, would later tell me that he "regrets" contributing to those reports. The Sun Bull won journalism awards for those reports, awards that should be rescinded today.

"Hallelujah, isn't this how blogs are supposed to work?"

I firmly believe that if blogs had existed in 1998, or even 2000, Los Osos wouldn't be in this mess today.

An Anon wrote:

"... the Coastal Commission did link the dog park, tot lot and other parklike features to the project."

See what I mean? The town's confused. If Steve Monowitz were to read that statement, he would roll his eyes, shake his head, and mutter obscenities under his breath.

Anon, here's the key word in your entire post: "reincorporate." Please get it clear in your head why that word is in there. If you do, you'll finally understand "bait and switchy."

An Anon wrote:

"So why do you refer to anyone who just wants to see an affordable sewer put it, anywhere (and it ain't getting any cheaper) as following Pandora?"

Is that for me? Just wondering, because I don't say that at all... never have. I don't know Pandora, either, and she'll be the first one to tell you that, because she doesn't know me. All I know is that her name shows up everywhere in this story. No one else even comes close. If that question is not for me, as the old Gilda Radner character would say, "nevermind."

Man, all this talk about BBQ and sunflower seeds, it's making me hungry.

Anonymous said...

Ron: my Pandora question was for Anon 8:53...hence the greeting "Anon 8:53". I certainly know where you stand on the Pandora obsession. No need to ask.

*PG-13 said...

Anon said > .... the bottom line reality here is this: It doesn't matter what you read, or where you read it, or who writes it or what side they are on. Los Osos will have a sewer built. And the county will do it. Or the state. And it will be in town. Or out of town. But it will be built. But it won't be $100.00 per month. And it won't be $200.00 per month anymore. And the longer Los Osos plays their game of "fight-the-man" the price tag will increase. That is reality. Something I know all too well many in Los Osos don't deal in very well. Reality.

Yep. That's right. There's gonna be a sewer and somebody's gonna build it and we're gonna pay for it. So, uh, what are you really saying? Are you saying we shouldn't try to stay informed and monitor and guide the process? That there is no longer a need for informed decisions? That we should step aside and accept whatever comes. That we should fold up the tent, unplug the computer, cancel the ISP, pour a cuppa coffee and sit down and wait for the bills (and CDO's) to show up in our mailbox? I agree with you. The monthly sewer bill is probably gonna be way more than $38/mo. Whatever it is that will be what it is. Please note, lots of people in other communities pay $150 and more per month in service and infrastructure fees. That's in addition to taxes, utilities, etc. No, these are not golf club communities. Such is the cost of living in the world today. Accept that. Jumping into the future from last century's septic technology to a new sewer isn't free. Especially in an environmentally sensitive coastal location such as Los Osos. Especially when the design and permitting process has been so grandly bungled. Granted, we've made it much more expensive than it needs to be. And we still don't know what that cost is going to be. And we haven't made much progress over the last 1, 3, 5, 15 or 30 years. But this isn't a simple case of "fight-the-man". Oh, there are probably some recalcitrants who think since their septics can't be precisely and scientifically proven to be adding to bay & aquifer pollution that they should be left alone to flush away. Beyond these anachronisms the rest of the population WANTS a solution. Of course what that solution may be is open to some discussion. < sigh > Some want the cheapest sewer - any kind, anywhere, ASAP. Some want an affordable sewer. Some are sensitive to the location. Some think we have a bigger and much more important water issue and not just a sewer issue. Nor have we been helped by leadership at ANY level of government OR proper governing processes. The various CSD's (all of them) have proven time and again they are incapable of telling the truth, managing the process and handling money. The County has played a key role in creating this mess but won't own up to it. The RWQCB are, simply put, idiots. Idiots in power protecting their own incompetence. Darn near every name associated with this long ugly process is now infamous. So, uh, just who do you want designing, permitting and building this sewer?

Yes, this is a complex issue. No, its a total mess. You're right, reality isn't pretty.

Anonymous said...

Well I sure don't want you designing or having any say in the Los Osos sewer.

Let's see what the County and their "real" engineers come up with. Anything will be better than what the idiots who bankrupted the CSD could have ever come up with!

The RWQCB is not in the design business, they are law enforcement. You don't compliy, they are require to enforce!

*PG-13 said...

Anon said > Let's see what the County and their "real" engineers come up with.

Good idea. Great idea. I think it would be profoundly interesting to search all sewer related archives for 'engineering' documents only. Search and capture which engineer or engineering firm did it, when they did it, and what they concluded. Then list it chronologically with only minor annotation to describe its context within the flow of sewer history. Then sit down with a highlighter and highlight the conclusions and recommendations. Extract those conclusions and recommendations - giving some weighted value to the expertise of the source, the depth of their analysis, and the place in the time line when the analysis was done - and see what The Engineers recommend. Heck, we've paid good money for their services lets try one more time to gain some benefit from it.

> The RWQCB is not in the design business, they are law enforcement.

They're incompetent at that too.

Anonymous said...

You are such an obstructionist it's amazing you allowed yourself to be born.

You think you are "competent" to judge, let alone even read, engineered recommendations?

Idiot!

*PG-13 said...

Anon > You think you are "competent" to judge, let alone even read, engineered recommendations?

Yep. Got some school'in says I am. Even got some certificates from a couple of universities filed away somewhere. I'm pretty sure I could read the "engineered recommendations", pronounce most the words out loud, and maybe even understand most of what they said. Its not as difficult as you make it out. Shucks, even you could probably do it.

Anonymous said...

Possibly, even probably you could.

Keep taking those on-line courses, may you could design a sewer, but do you really think you could get everyone in Los Osos to buy in and the important one, could you get all the permits and funding?

I've added a few law course certificates to my wall, but that doesn't make me a sewer lawyer like so many in LO seem to think they are.

The sewer which is coming from the County is a major undertaking, not something so simple that this blog will solve any of the legal, engineering, political and economical aspects.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:01

We need creative thinking. The CSD could do a trade -- or property outside town could be purchased if the Tri-W is sold.

I've heard of a couple of owners (outside town) that would donate property if it would be ponds...

If there's a will, there's a way.

Anonymous said...

To 9:23AM:

At least you admit that you want an affordable sewer. Orenco? Because you can't be talking about Tri-W.

You don't know Pandora -- okay, but it's always been her project, the Tri-W/park, I mean. It's Pandora who worked with the recalled board not to get recalled. It's Pandora who was the marketing expert to trick the community and make about $700,000 for herself. I guess it didn't work out though.

You should read more on Pandora and what she's done here to harm her neighbors, i.e. letter to Roger Briggs to fine us...try to get educated, then maybe you'll make an educated choice and be able to think for yourself and live with yourself.

Anonymous said...

In pg-13's 11:18 post today, referring to the work of past engineering firms on the various iterations of possible Los Osos projects,he (she)said "Heck, we've paid good money for their services. Let's try one more time to gain some benefit from it."

This is exactly what the County project team is doing right now in it's rough screening and fine screening of project alternatives.

*PG-13 said...

Anon Said > ... referring to the work of past engineering firms on the various iterations of possible Los Osos projects ...... This is exactly what the County project team is doing right now in it's rough screening and fine screening of project alternatives.

Great! And dang, aren't they sharp? < sly grin >

Is this in addition to the TAC activity? I looked for documentation about this on the county website and couldn't find it. Can anybody direct to me where I can find this? Is the analysis - more than just their conclusions - going to be made public? Just curious ya know ;-)

While looking for that I also found this:

County Los Osos Waste Water Planning Mailing List:
Starting in February, 2007, the County Public Works Department intends to send regular Project updates by U.S. Mail to all property owners and residents in the Prohibition Zone. If you have not received the Project updates, or live outside the Prohibition Zone, you can join our mailing list.


You can also join their email distribution list to receive email notification of Project news or upcoming events. Register Here to join these lists.

I too must have been asleep at the wheel as I didn't know about this before.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the County's process is a two phased screening--a rough screening and a fine screening. I heard that the rough screening is now done and the fine screening is starting. That work will be completed about the time that the TAC is appointed in early March.

The TAC's role is to meet with the County consultants and project staff to review the screening efforts that were done, pose questions for follow up work, and jointly develop a listing of pros and cons for each of the final options, which will be presented to the public.

Documentation of the rough screening report should be available on the County website soon, and the first County project newsletter is supposed to be out this week, with regular updates in the future.

Mike Green said...

PG! Great post!Thanks.
And especialy, thanks for that link above.
Not many old timers posting much anymore, too bad, If the numerous anonys would just take the (conciderable) time to read all the archives, a lot of their posted questions would be answered.
As far as engeneering a sewer, I think Ron's "Friends dont let friends design sewer plants" Should be a mantra to Los Osos schoolchildren right after the pledge of alligence.
I sure hope the county dosn't blow it this time.
It will be paramount for them to get the "politics" right.
Imagine where we would be now if the politics of "cheaper, better, faster" had been differently done with the water board against the csd right from the get-go.

No, plenty of blame and incompetance to go around.

Anonymous said...

PG 13:

Could you be specific on your statement about lots of people in other communities pay $150?

Can you tell us where that is?

Anonymous said...

This blog often leaves me howling and laughing. My blood loves and needs the oxygenation coming from you guys. The sheer wit and sometimes dry humor just leaves me rolling. Yes, an occasional post here (like the long pg-13 analysis of local publications) provokes thought and response on my part, and other occasional posts (none by Calhoun) reveal something unknown but still useless and arcane about the 1998 fight to me, but in the long run this is best for the sheer dry humor.

to wit:
There is not a dead horse in existence that has been beaten like this one by Ann and Ron. You two definitely need new material.

7:39 AM, January 30


Keep up the active community participation, folks. We are as out-of-the-loop as the jerks on the LOCSD Board now (new member excepted) who all gained office by subterfuge and voter blindness. Little that we say can change the county progress on giving us a conventional sewer with a conventional collection system using conventional treatment and conventional financing. Time has run out on our town coming up with a pie-in-the-sky produces-zero-sludge fantasy system. We're getting a sewer. Yah-HOO. Maybe now my home value will creep back up?

Anonymous said...

Oh man I sure hope you're right about home values going up. Build the darn thing!

Ron said...

Anon wrote:

"Ron: my Pandora question was for Anon 8:53...hence the greeting "Anon 8:53". I certainly know where you stand on the Pandora obsession. No need to ask."

Sorry about that... my browser's kind of weird in that the "So-and-So said..." part of the comment partially blocks the first line of a comment, so I didn't entirely see the "Anon 8:53" part at the top of your post. So, again, sorry about that.

But just to clarify, as I've said many times now, I think Pandora's a nice person, other than her behavior-based-marketing tactics. If you read my stuff closely, you'll see that's all I ever write about her. As for "obsession," again, her name comes up everywhere. It seems like I can't write anything on this story without mentioning her. That's not "obsession," that's good reporting.

PG-13 wrote:

"Are you saying we shouldn't try to stay informed and monitor and guide the process? That there is no longer a need for informed decisions? That we should step aside and accept whatever comes. That we should fold up the tent, unplug the computer, cancel the ISP, pour a cuppa coffee and sit down and wait for the bills (and CDO's) to show up in our mailbox?"

You mean, exactly what the community did for six years following the formation of the LOCSD in 1998?

and;

"I think it would be profoundly interesting to search all sewer related archives for 'engineering' documents only. Search and capture which engineer or engineering firm did it, when they did it, and what they concluded. Then list it chronologically with only minor annotation to describe its context within the flow of sewer history. Then sit down with a highlighter and highlight the conclusions and recommendations. Extract those conclusions and recommendations - giving some weighted value to the expertise of the source, the depth of their analysis, and the place in the time line when the analysis was done - and see what The Engineers recommend. Heck, we've paid good money for their services lets try one more time to gain some benefit from it."

That is exactly why I think that Technical Advisory Committee is a complete waste of time, absolutely redundant. There are mountains of studies, and reports. Break out a couple highlighters and work it out. I'd start with the Statement of Overriding Considerations and work from there. Start at the SOC, and the right project emerges in about an hour.

An Anon wrote:

"You (PG-13) are such an obstructionist it's amazing you allowed yourself to be born."

They turned on PG, isn't that weird? You really didn't do anything bad, in fact, excellent, readable, interesting posts and now they're at your throat because you didn't say, "God, I love Tri-W. Please build it now."

It's that kind of stuff that makes me think that Rod Serling would have loved Los Osos.

Mike wrote:

"As far as engeneering a sewer, I think Ron's "Friends dont let friends design sewer plants"

As much as I love that quote, I can't take credit for it. I read it in these comment about a year ago. I just repeat it a lot because it's perfect, and funny. I mean, think about it, the Solution Group, with not one real wastewater engineer, as Sorrell Marks often reminded me when I used to interview her extensively on this subject, gets together over cocktails in their living rooms in 1997, and knocks out the Community Plan, and then heaping doses of behavior-based-marketing takes it from there... not exactly sound planning in my book.

An Anon wrote:

"At least Ron and Ann have the truth on their side."

That sure does make it a lot easier, and much more fun.

Ron said...

I got to thinkin'...

I want to add something to my, "You mean, exactly what the community did for six years following the formation of the LOCSD in 1998?," take.

That's kind of chicken-eggy, too. Did the community fold up tent because they weren't interested, or did they fold up tent because the Trib never wrote one word on the collapse of the Community Plan, so the community had no reason to be interested?

"Hey, our $38.75/month sewer bill should be showing up in the mail any day now, shouldn't it?" As I'm sure Trib readers in the PZ said many times from about 2000 - 2004.

Anonymous said...

You "think" way too hard. It seems you have actually hurt yourself!

You are almost correct, our wonderful CSD has made sure we won't see a sewer bill for, what, maybe 4 or 5 more years? Maybe they will be out of jail by that time, just in time to receive their first monthly sewer bills.

*PG-13 said...

> > You (PG-13) are such an obstructionist it's amazing you allowed yourself to be born."

Ron > They turned on PG, isn't that weird? You really didn't do anything bad, in fact, excellent, readable, interesting posts and now they're at your throat because you didn't say, "God, I love Tri-W. Please build it now."

Nah. I don't think it was even that. While some of us may think others are overly enamored with Tri-W I think this particular Anon floated in on the tide. Comes with the territory I guess. But he may be on to something. If I knew then what I know now I might not have allowed myself to be born. At the time I didn't realize it was an option.

Anon 4:39 PM 1/31 > Could you be specific on your statement about lots of people in other communities pay $150? Can you tell us where that is?

OK, my fingers stand accused of presumptive hyperbole. I must admit I don't personally know, first-hand, LOT's of people in other communities paying $150/mo for infrastructure services. I know a few and, by extrapolation, assume there are more. My comment could have been better phrased. Perhaps something like: "Infrastructure assessments around $150/mo are not uncommon."

Still, here are some examples and additional comments:

Look no further than a few hundred yards west to Monarch Grove. Residents there pay a little more than $150/mo for their own sewer (and water). They pay that premium and sleep soundly without fear of impending CDO doom. Is it worth it? What do you think?

This excerpt is found in an article previously cited on The Rock's website:

As many of Monte Rio’s neighbors have already learned, however, such systems don’t come without a cost. Nearby Guerneville homeowners pay about $861 a year for the privilege of flushing their toilets; in Gratton it’s $795 a year. A proposed plant in nearby Occidental estimates that the fees will be around $2,300 a year. (This doesn’t include water—it’s simply sewage hookup.) According to current estimates, Monte Rio homeowners in the sewage district will pay fees close to $1,200 annually.

I did a quick inet search and within just a few minutes found a couple more representative examples. I'm sure a more serious search would turn up many more: Rice Lake ND Special Assessment, Marco FL Sewer Assessment.

Here's another way to look at infrastructure assessments. Consider new construction. If a hook-up fee is $20,000 (expensive but not unheard of) and the fee is financed and amortized over 20 years the monthly payment will be $155/mo. Is this an assessment? Or something else?

Many Homeowner Association managed neighborhoods approach or exceed the $150/mo level. For this they usually provide some infrastructure value. These aren't always sewers. Sometimes they include snow-plowing, gated/controlled access, policing (beyond that provided by their taxes), etc. Here are a few I do know about.

Carriage Hills in Colorado. More than $150/mo mostly dedicated to plowing and maintaining the neighborhood roads. They knew if they depended on the county to maintain the roads they would end up with unplowed and impassable dirt roads. Sound familiar? Think Los Osos in high steep mountains buried in snow.

I've spent much of my life living in mountain communities throughout the Rockies. There are a bazillion neighborhood collectives which come together to pay for community water, road maintenance, snow plowing, garbage service, fire protection, forest clearing (another form of fire protection), watershed maintenance, reservoir management, etc. Granted many of these aren't $150/mo but they do represent an inordinate percentage of the cost of living in that location. Its all relative.

A few neighborhoods in Aspen, CO. Snow plowing is one thing. Snow removal is something else. Ka-ching.

Anonymous said...

PG: Glad you're back! I've missed your thoughtful, witty, and nonconfrontational postings.

Julie Tacker said...

F Everyone's I, Julie continues to support the Environmentally Preferred Project identified in the FEIR; March 2001. (To date, cost comparisons have not been shown to change that point of view). That project is identified in Table 8-4, page 310 (I think) "STEP/STEG, out of town, Hybrid Treatment."
One more thing, a little known fact about Project #1 i.e. Ponds at Tri-W cost $92 million! See Roger Briggs letter to the LOCSD dated January 2000. That’s why the LOCSD abandoned the ponds, not because of the RWQCB’s nitrate demands which had not been proven to meet 7 mgl. It was the cost. In fall of 2000 when Tri-W was "chosen" publically, MWH claimed they could build a "Buried" sewer plant for $50M, still a bargain (at that time)in the LOCSD eyes, the same people who killed the County project next to the middle school.
How do I know?
I am Julie Tacker.

Ron said...

One more thing, when I drink beer today, I will be thinking of Molly Ivins.

Anonymous said...

Everything that Julie says is true. It's all documented. Has Julie performed well on the board? I don't know or have an opinion. Is what she says above true? Yes.

Anonymous said...

Okay people this discussion is driving me insane. I was under the impression that the original CSD ponding plan was rejected by the RWQCB because there wasn't proof it would remove nitrates to an acceptable level. Now I'm hearing that no, the CSD turned their own ponds down because MWH said they could do their thing cheaper. What gives? Are you guys saying that the original CSD could have done the ponds but axed that (as well as the county plan) because they still thought they could do it CHEAPER??? This is boggling my mind.

Anonymous said...

Environmentally preferred can be tossed around however you like but it is obvious that the way that you are choosing to look at is very shallow at best.
First of all, in the FEIR, there are only 128 pages. The Draft EIR is far more extensive and the table that Mrs.Tacker is referring to on page 16 and the indepth analysis goes on for 22 pages analyzing each individual environmental issue. This cannot be reduced to one graph.
If you read further into the extensive document, it becomes much more clear as to the entire evaluation of the issues.

I don't mind moving the plant, I don't mind the evaluation, again, of step/steg, but do not be fooled by the ongoing arguement regarding environmentally preferred. What bothers me is that something I care about very much has been hi-jacked and used to push an agenda. What bothers me is that there are people who continue to cry "foul" when their agenda is not being met.
What bothers me is that we as property owners have a board that has been gambling our services and has been making choices that could severly impact our quality of life in regards to the services the district is responsible for.

If our board cannot address the issues that it is directly responsible for then who and what are they serving?
Sincerely,
Maria M. Kelly

Anonymous said...

Don't be fooled Maria, the obstructionists did exactly what they set out to do; halt any sewer at any cost! They succeeded, at least it will be another 4 or 5 years before we have a sewer.

Both Ms.Schicker and MRS.Tacker knew what they were doing when they halted the project. They fully intended to bankrupt the District so that where ever and what ever sewer is constructed, it will be too costly for the average property owner in Los Osos. That was their PLAN!

They deliberately set out to delay the sewer, they do not care what happens to Los Osos!

Look around, instead of a sewer under construction, we have the State of California building a legal case to prosecute the property owners for voteing in a bunch of crooks!

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about Lisa Schicker. I have no opinion about Julie Tacker because I don't know her and have only spoken with her in brief and superficial conversations. Lisa is a professional who cares about the community and the environment. She cares deeply about what happens in Los Osos. Talk with her sometime. Your impression may be, as mine has been, that she is not a politician. And, apparently not much of a leader and has made some decisions (along with a board majority) that have had some serious consequences. But to say she deliberately set out to destroy the community is not fair. Just as saying that about Stan or Rose is not fair. Have some respect for those who choose to serve as opposed to those of us who sit on our fat butts and blog all night.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. Lisa Schicker is certainly NO politician! I won't go into your comment about fat butts, however you might consider giving Ms.Schecker as well as MRS. Tacker and the 2 lady lawyers 1 year gift certificates to Jenny Craig.

*PG-13 said...

Ron said > One more thing, when I drink beer today, I will be thinking of Molly Ivins

As I sip my wine this evening: Amen. Hear, hear! Raising a toast to a great woman, a truly creative and sharp mind, and a mighty fine wordsmith!!!

She is way too much to comment on. To even try seems soooo inadequate. Still, I appreciated Jim Lehrer's snippet on The Newshour this evening. Nice to see her doing her thing in person. And ya gotta love the Jesus in cowboy boots! Look HERE, its worth the click.

Enjoy.

Churadogs said...

Anoymous sez:"Okay people this discussion is driving me insane. I was under the impression that the original CSD ponding plan was rejected by the RWQCB because there wasn't proof it would remove nitrates to an acceptable level. Now I'm hearing that no, the CSD turned their own ponds down because MWH said they could do their thing cheaper. What gives? Are you guys saying that the original CSD could have done the ponds but axed that (as well as the county plan) because they still thought they could do it CHEAPER??? This is boggling my mind."

If memory serves, BOTH are true. Prior to the CSD election, the RWQCB issued a report saying there wasn't enough proof (for them) that the AWIPS Ponds of Avalon would remove enough nitrates, plus the original plan called for sewering only part of the town (a sort of basin-wide, aggregate load-reducing approach which the RWQCB nixed) Because the Ponds were originally to be located on ESHA land, which, for the smaller original project the pond footprint and central location made economic and environmental sense, but now the mitigation requirements to put in ponds big enough to treat the entire collection area, now pushed the cost waaaayyyy over the County's original gravity/Pismo Site plans.

At that point, the CSD had a choice: Go back to the community and say, Nope, can't do it. and give the project back to the County. Or, drop the whole idea of insisting the plant say in town and go back to the original EIR of "out of town" and look around for some "out of town" site, etc. Or, listen to WMH saying they could do a "buried, drop dead" plant cheaper than huge ponds. Alas, staying married to that site (which, at that point made no sense anymore since the ponds were off the table) created the sort of tar-baby effect: If you do A, now you've got to do B and now you've done B you have to do C & etc.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that clears it up.