Connections, Part Duh, Weird Water and More Misc.
It was clear from some comments on my last posting “Connections,” 2/12/07 that some folks missed the point. The posting wasn’t intended to be a Complete History Of The World Part I, but instead was a match-up game illustrating the nearly endless combinations that would result if you linked A with M resulting in W or C to F resulting in Q and so forth.
Ron Crawford of http://www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com/ chimed in to illustrate a part of the game I had left out: What happens when the SYSTEM itself (aka “the process” ) fails. For example, suppose the Coastal Commission, during the de novo hearing, had actually insisted on an answer to their question regarding a comparison of in-town vs out-of-town systems? That would have very likely changed the entire outcome. But they didn’t and the citizens were powerless to make them do their jobs.
Which points up yet another fatal flaw in this whole sad saga: System Failure itself.
Public works projects are like the tropical insect eating Pitcher Plant. At the bottom of the throat of the tube-like “flower,” is a pool of sweet smelling protein-digesting enzymes. The fly lands on the lip of the “flower” to sniff a bit, -- Yum, Yum -- then heads down the throat. It is not until the fly gets about ½ way down that it dawns on him that maybe this isn’t such a good idea and he tries to turn around and go back. It is only then that he finds that the throat of this tube is lined with spiked hairs all pointing one way – down. The little creature struggles to get out but is trapped, gets exhausted, finally turns and slides down into the pool and is digested. The plant is fed. The fly dies.
The SYSTEM that built the Hideous Los Osos Sewer is exactly like that Pitcher Plant. It is a system that does not have easily accessible escape hatches or course correction mechanisms. All the project “hairs” point one way and once you take that first step, it’s often totally impossible to change direction or reverse direction, even though everyone may agree that disaster lies ahead. Instead, all the systems that are there for oversight are often set up to speed the fly downward, not act as a check & balance should something be discovered during the Process that would require a correction.
And if the Powers That Be wish a certain outcome, no matter how bad that outcome may be, (think here of the lack of due diligence on the part of the SRF Loan, the hurry to pound that money into the ground, the constand litany of FINES!FINES!FINES! whenever questions that might involve a delay came up, & etc.) no matter that there are better outcomes or more and better science or engineering or whatever it is, then everything about the System can be used to keep the fly heading downwards.
And after the meal is digested, and everyone stands around and says, Oh Darn, Oh, Dear, Oh, Well, the passive voice will again appear in the land – Mistakes Were Made – and very few will think to take a look at a System that allowed – nay, encouraged – such “mistakes.”
And if Los Ososians think all this is merely a History Lesson, think again. The System, the PROCESS, is the same system working on the “New! Improved! Wastewater System.” The same system weakness is there, the same lack of checks and balances should certain thumbs get on the scale, should certain agencies fail to do their jobs. So we could again have another train wreck, or another dead fly, to mix metaphors. That’s why it’s so important for Los Ososians to Pay Attention to make sure it’s the right fly and the right “flower.”
Water Water Everywhere, Sort of
The Morro Bay City Council heard more about last November’s water crisis – switching wells that resulted in tapping a well with water way above the state allowed levels of nitrates. This emergency resulted in a mad scramble to alert residents that was heroic but did point up the fact that Morro Bay didn’t really have a completed System in place for this type of emergency. So the efforts were very much Loving Hands At Home with folks really pitching in, flying by the seat of their pants, working overtime to handle a situation that blew up out of nowhere.
So the City Council is now working on setting up a system to trigger a better notification process when this same thing happens in November, when the wells will be tapped again and this whole thing may repeat.
And Cleath & Assoc have signed a contract to test the groundwater to see where the nitrates are coming from. It appeared that Wells 9 & 10 in the Chorro Valley spiked. Those wells are normally fallow, and when they’re started and stopped and started, there’s a nitrate variation. So the question remained: Where are the Nitrates coming from?
Immediate assumption: Ag run off and nitrate fertilizer run off from Ag lands in the Chorro Valley. Ag lands? Fertilizers polluting the waters of the State of California? Where’s Waldo? i.e. the Regional Water Quality Control Board?
Dunno. Who’s responsible for monitoring groundwater basins? Well, it sure couldn’t be our RWQCB. They’re broke. Had enough money to waste for a whole year on harassing and tormenting The Los Osos 45 in their pointless Mad Hatter “Trials,” but not enough money to videotape the last Jan 22 Kangaroo Court, so clearly they couldn’t possibly have had the budget to monitor water quality in a water basin. Nope.
So, maybe it’s the County’s job to monitor ground water? Well, the Cleath & Associates water report will be interesting. Stay tuned.
In today’s Tribune editorial, it notes that David Chipping was appointed to a seat on the county’s Water Resources Advisory Committee. If you recall, Los Osos developer Jeff Edwards had applied for that seat and came under fire for not being “green” enough, since the advisory committee is supposed to be about SAVING water, not building stuff that USES water.
However, I called someone on the committee to ask whether the Committee had a “Developer” chair, and if it didn’t, shouldn’t it invent just such a chair? After all, developers have a major stake in water use issues and such is the arcane nature of water use law that the old Godfather dictum should apply: Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.
Well, apparently the Committee may consider Edwards’ request to have a Builder’s Chair, uh, built, a Chair that the various builder groups could nominate candidates for and the BOS could fill. Right now the Farm Bureau chooses its chair, various environmental groups nominate their chairs, so why not have a Developer Chair, and let the developers nominate a person who is an innovative “green” builder with ideas on how to SAVE water while USING it.
The Morro Bay City Council will have on their agenda for their February 26 meeting (at the Vets Hall 6 pm.) another look at developing a fenced off-leash dog park at Del Mar Park. Morro Bay’s been trying for years to get an official off-leash park up and running. To date, there are now four official fenced off-leash areas (El Chorro, Nipomo, Cambria, Atascadero), with two, possibly three more off-leash projects in the works in various parts of the county. If that’s something you’d like to see happen for Morro Bay, do attend the meeting and let your voice be heard.