“I’m vilifying you, for God’s sake. Pay attention.”
Henry II to Eleanor in James Goldman’s The Lion In Winter
Got a phone call yesterday morning a little after 8 am from Harvey Packard, Division Chief for the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Harvey’s sort of in charge of running the “Torquemada’s Mad Hatter Tea Party & Auto-d-fe Public Beheading & Traveling CDO Show” until Roger Briggs returns from his extended vacation. Harvey’s one of the people CDO recipient Bill Moylan stood a few feet away from at the Jan 22 "trial" and looked directly at and said “What does matter is that members of the Water Board prosecution team were informed many times last year that people were suffering physically, emotionally, and spiritually from this CDO process, and that the Water Board had an obligation to help the people of Los Osos and not hurt them, and those pleadings were ignored.”
Harvey just sat there and ignored Bill as well, even though he knew firsthand that this process was hurting people, which was weird since I don’t think Harvey is a sociopath, so the question remains: Does he truly not know what he’s doing is scientifically pointless or is he just being a good German and following orders? If he honestly thinks the CDO requirements will have an impact on groundwater in the short time until the County finishes the wastewater system, he should have a little sit down chatty-poo with Tim Cleath of Cleath & Associates, or maybe Dr. Wickham or Dr. George of the so-called Peer Review Group. If he’s just following orders, and he knows those order are injuring people, ah, then a far more interesting moral question presents itself, doesn’t it?
Of course, there’s always the possibility that Harvey knows perfectly well that the only reason for the CDOs is as a coercive Prop 218 electioneering device but, since I’m sure that’s all very illegal, then his only option is to follow orders and keep his mouth shut, which again presents more interesting moral issues for Harvey.
Meantime, he clearly cares enough when he feels he’s been misquoted in the paper, which is why he came to be calling me. Seems Harvey has a secret vice: checking my blog on occasion, especially if he hears I’ve mentioned his name or am vilifying him and the rest of the Mad Hatter Crew. I know, it’s an awful thing to admit to, sort of like confessing that you collect Kewpie Dolls or egg cartons or secretly hoard string and have a ball of it six feet across in your garage.
I had posted a previous blog entry that noted that a February 11 Tribune story quoted Packard as saying that “his agency must move ahead with its process in the event that the current plan falls through. He added, though, that the regional board has no plans now to expand enforcement beyond the 45 targeted.” [italics mine]. I questioned the accuracy of that quote since the Board had not met to decide anything about future CDOs and I thought at the time how unfortunate that quote was because it implied to the Los Osos reader that if they were not one of The Los Osos 45, then they didn’t have to worry since they were off the hook, which was sooooooo not true, but certainly would be a great misapprehension to get out into the community so as to keep them again off balance by keeping them poorly mis-and-mal-informed.
Turns out that I was right and here was Harvey to let me know, Yep, it was an “incorrect quote.” He thought the reporter, Sona Patel, had understood what he meant, but apparently the truth was simply too difficult for poor Sona to comprehend.
And anyway, the statement she did print was accurate even though it was totally misleading, which is actually pretty cool: Say one thing that is technically accurate yet creates a totally different meaning, then if anyone questions it, simply say (accurately) that you were quoted incorrectly. Mission accomplished: The reader is misled but you’re off the hook.
In the case of Harvey and the “no plans now to expand enforcement beyond the 45 targeted,” that is technically true. As of 8 a.m. February 16th, 2007 Harvey has not received nor has the Regional Board issued any instructions to proceed with issuing CDOs on the rest of the community, even though that has been the Board’s stated intention, an intention Harvey has repeated ad infinitum, but since he does not have the actual paperwork on his desk in front of him as he makes that statement, he can “truthfully” say he “has no plans now (8 a.m. February 16th.) to expand enforcement beyond the 45 targeted.” And if he gets a phone call at 8:05 a.m telling him to proceed with 4,955 CDOs, well, that still doesn’t change the accuracy of his original statement and so it’s not Harvey’s problem.
And if the reader misunderstands, well, that’s not Harvey’s problem either, now is it?
More tea anyone?