Pages

Monday, April 09, 2007

And Now, Another Wrinkle

The following email exchange was in response to some issues raised by Lynette Tornatzky in response to a press release by PZLDF, which was itself in response to the Notice of Violation Letters recently sent out by the RWQCB. (Lynette’s comments also appeared here, April 02 8:06 pm. on a previous blog posting.)


Electioneering is one of those Monty Python issues. You know, the “Wink, Wink, Nudge Nudge, Know What I mean? Know What I Mean, Say No More, Say No More,” sketch? Everybody knows what’s going on but entities are free to skate up to and over the line with impunity because if they do it right, they have the benefit of bland deniability –“Why, I don’t know what you’re taking about, Your Honor. I’m simply stating FACTS. If these “FACTS” influence an election, why that’s not MY responsibility, Wink Nudge, Know What I Mean, Know What I Mean?.” Add in the Tribune as the water carrier for the RWQCB instead of watch dog, and you have the perfect storm of Wink Nudge electioneering. As for the Fair Political Practices Commission, Bwa-hahahahaha, Oh, Pluuueeeze.


Well, electioneering certainly is a worthy topic, so herewith . . . a thoughtful discussion and some interesting issues raised by Mr. Risch and Ms.Tornatzky.


Hi Lynette,

Your message (shown below) was forwarded to me, and I want to comment on it. It offers two key points, from which you say that you will not try to raise the level of fear of others:


1. The County cannot make the Water Board "do" anything.

2. The Water Board's repeated attempts to interject itself into the 218 vote.


Allow me to address the second point first. As you know, the only permitted actions of a government entity in connection with an election is to set the date and to conduct it fairly. The RWQCB has repeatedly interjected itself into the 218 vote and other elements of the sewer plan for Los Osos. The most recent example were in the Notice of Violations that includes two mentions of the Blakeslee law that possibly returns control over a Los Osos sewer system construction to San Luis Obispo county. Since that law mandates that a positive 218 vote is required for the County to continue the process of design and construction; since the Water Board illegally identified everyone in the Prohibition Zone as violators; and with the letter’s mention of the so-called settlements that are more draconian than CDOs; the Water Board's letter was utterly illegal and definitively threatening. That letter, following on other very public actions and announcements have raised the consciousness of many more innocent citizens who see themselves as threatened by the RWQCB.


To amplify on my phrase, "illegally identified everyone in the Prohibition Zone as violators," I should point out that the U.S. and California Constitutions both require specificity of charges. The Water Board has been blatant about suggesting that their statistical "evidence" (itself fraught with scientific flaws) is sufficient. Beyond three explicit deviations from its own rules for issuance of Notices of Violations, the letter makes it clear that only by development of the County plan, whatever it will be, can Prohibition Zone citizens avoid CDOs that potentially include the illegal "taking of private property." Furthermore, their claims of discharge violations have grown from statistical assertions of nitrates to "any discharge" into the ground.


As for the County not being able to make the Water Board "do" anything, that's not quite true. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that the County can get the Water Board to STOP doing things. For one thing, the County is the owner of property in the Prohibition Zone, and thus, is a violator under the Water Board's specious definition. Secondly, under the Blakeslee law, the Country now has the legal responsibility of conducting a 218 vote. This vote is to implement a project under the aegis of Federal E.P.A. laws. Thus, the County has a legal obligation to force the State Water Board to "cease and desist" from any involvement in the election, if not to seek a way to mitigate the damage that has already been done. However, please understand that damage done is not the standard applicable to the Water Board's illegal actions.

And perhaps this is the central point of my remarks: The actions of the RWQCB don't have to have any effect on the electorate to be illegal. It is the action that is illegal, irrespective of the result.


Underscoring that point, it is clear to many that the Water Board isn't really concerned about the seriousness of their threats and violations of law. Simply put, it is a matter of timing. Irrespective of when the Water Board is doing now, illegal or not, if their actions produce a positive 218 vote, they will have accomplished their goal. If those actions are found illegal later, the decision will be moot. Again, the "ends justify the means" approach itself isn't legal. Indeed, it is possible, if not probable, that California's national leadership in environmental protection could be severely curtailed by the approach of this agency and its parent.


While your personal promise to separate the two matters is unique at best, it is essentially irrelevant at worst as a matter of law.


I hope that this offers some perspective on some of the issues your comments raised.

Norman Risch


Date: 4/2/2007 7:47:15 PMSubject: Re: Los Osos home owners: FYI: CITIZENS FOR CLEAN WATER poster

Thank you Katie, for keeping me in the loop.

It is unfortunate that the Water Board has been so unsure of how to approach the problem of our discharge that they have flip-flopped and ham-handedly dealt with this issue; but the County must not be stained by that taint.

As Paavo has said many times, the County cannot make the RWQCB "do" anything. And the County can't control HOW the water Board's actions may affect its 218 vote, either. We then, should make it clear to all, that the 218 belongs to the COUNTY and we should be solely influenced by what the COUNTY says about the 218.

I'm going to keep these two things as separate discussions and NOT further the fear that the 218 will be ruined by the Water Board's actions. Not everyone has concluded that and I don't want to give them that idea.

Only positive energy is sustainable.

Lynette Tornatzky

From: "RonandGail McPherson"

Subject: CITIZENS FOR CLEAN WATER posterDate: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 19:56:42 -0700

Residents in Los Osos have homes with legally permitted and properly functioning septic systems. Property owners in the prohibition zone are already paying a sewer assessment. The government is in control of the wastewater project for Los Osos. Individuals do not build sewer systems. It is wrong for the water board to coerce a 218 vote with threats of enforcement, and undermine the credibility of the County process. If you support clean water, regulatory compliance, and protection of property rights, you are in alignment with Citizens for Clean Water-PZLDF.

Please print, then post or hand out this message from Citizens for Clean Water. Neighborhood meetings to educate the community on the enforcement issues, and the NOV are being scheduled. Alan Martyn is handling the schedule. If you would like to host a coffee in your home call him at 528-0229 and set up the date and time.

A link to the RWQCB NOV http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/documents/LosOsosNoticeofViolati onInteractiveVersion.pdf

Water Board FAQ http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/documents/FrequentlyAskedQuestio nsreNOV.pdf

Make sure the community knows they are not required to do anything in response to the NOV. The FAQ's says property owners will be hearing from the water board in the next months. The Board is seeking "prosecutorial efficiency" and will likely attempt to put clean up and abatement orders within a settlement agreement to avoid the hearings and appeals of 4400 individual cases. The enforcement in Los Osos is also precedent setting for future action in AB885. NO PROPERTY OWNER SHOULD SIGN A CLEAN UP AND ABATEMENT ORDER. CAO's go beyond the Cease and Desist Orders and place property and legal rights at risk.

Feel free to write if you have questions-or come to a Monday meeting for more information. [Note: Meetings are at the LOVR Washinton Mutual Bank meeting room a 7 pm. Mondays.]

Most Sincerely,

Gail McPherson

Citizens For Clean Water

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You make good points about electioneering Ann. A couple of things come to mind: "We have a plan. We're ready to go. $100.00 per month. We won't lose the SRF loan. We won't get fined. The RWCCB doesn't have the resources to issue CDO's."

And of course there was a following election, with Senet and Cesina now claiming the project would cost $154.00 per month. With a picture of Sam Blakeslee as a so called endorser to boot!!

Wink nudge. Wink nudge.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that they also used the County Seal as well....Do the boys support the county process or not? They electioneered as though they did! Yet now, the president is discussing "Back up Plans" and questioning the TAC and Rob Miller's "loyalty"....
double wink, double nudge,double hypocrisy

4crapkiller said...

Who is Norman Risch other than a Los Osos resident associated with those fighting the water board?

Is he an attorney wishing to take on the water board on a pro bono basis?

Can he put his wealth and reputation on line rather than just words?

What he writes makes sense, but what about case law? Is there case law for this problem of "electioneering"?

If the CCRWQC board was found by a judge and appeals of "electioeering", what would be the effect on the CDOs and the water board? Of course they would be told to STOP. But would the CDOs be issued anyway?

Could we just continue to pollute?

And what effect will this delay have on the future cost of any sewer wherever and whatever?

What effect will the delay have on our water problems? We have not had much rain this year and we may be looking at real problems by October. "If it's yellow, let it mellow"?

By the way, where is that great liberal/progressive ACLU on this "taking of property". I guess they are just out there defending illegal aliens so those who live in Los Osos can stay and continue to help polute in the PZ.

Face it folks, we need a sewer. Nobody wants to pay for it. What really will happen if the 218 vote fails as an end result?

So where is that great "pro bono" law firm with Julia Biggs taking on the water board? Where have they put their treasure on line to defend their advice and crafting of Prop B that was supposed to save us?

And where have the limited funds of the LOCSD gone? I say wasted in outright stupidity to pay crony lawyers.

Obstruction has a terrible price. Just look at what it has cost you in real estate value. But the cost has been paper profit for most. Some are upside down.

Things can get worse if we do not get federal or state funds to really help with this project.

Best to do everything possible to get any sewer started and built, and look for grants and relief later.

Anonymous said...

The ACLU and related organizations will not waste their time fighting the water board. They are avoiding Kangaroo Court and waiting until the individual CDOs are heading to the REAL courts. They then will determine if there is a solid case. Unfortunately this means that we have to lay the foundation. Shaunna has put down a solid foundation with the help of many members of this community.

If you read the paper this morning you know that Capps is visiting on Thursday with the guy in charge of the "big bucks" Please be polite. The RWQCB has screwed us at every turn, and the elected officials are just starting to see the truth. Please keep the obsessive vocal minority silent for a change. Vocals are not going to have time to present all their grievances, so have them save it for a letter. Let officals hear the quieter voices, the worries and fears of those too busy to join the battle and too overwhelmed by the the complexity of the issues, those that are more representative of the average Los Osian.

Anonymous said...

Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Someone's singing Lord, kumbaya
Oh Lord, kumbayah

Anonymous said...

I'm all for "open" government but right now I am very nervous about certain people in this community ruining our chances for federal assistance. I wish the TT had just mentioned what was going on without giving places, times, etc. I swear to God if I see a bunch of "protestors" on LOVBR on Thursday afternoon someone is going to be shot. And the LAME CSD board should step aside and let Mr. Gibson do his job.

Anonymous said...

The CSD does not control the TT. Pandora controls the TT. It will be the job of everyone to calm our more vocal residents. We need to work together.

Oh Lord, kumbaya

4crapkiller said...

Anon 10:33 states:

"The ACLU and related organizations will not waste their time fighting the water board. They are avoiding Kangaroo Court and waiting until the individual CDOs are heading to the REAL courts. They then will determine if there is a solid case. Unfortunately this means that we have to lay the foundation. Shaunna has put down a solid foundation with the help of many members of this community."

4crapkiller states:

"Pie in the sky". You had damn well have a solid case NOW, BEFORE this matter gets to the REAL courts. And you speak for the ACLU and other organizations? Are you sure this is not the "Ocean Outfall Group"?

It seems to me that Shaunna is not putting her wealth on the line in a "Pro Bono" effort.

I think very few outside of Los Osos would agree that the CCRWQCB is a "Kangaroo court". We got badly slapped by the California legislature with the passage of the Blakeslee bill. I did not see one dissenting vote. And then we have sought bankruptcy protection.

We shall see. The clock is ticking.

And who the hell is Norman Risch?

All I know about him is his posts in the Tribune.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the difference between campaigning and electioneering... you sound like idiots.

Mike Green said...

Campaigning:

Is when you can legally tell lies in order to influence elections and,

Electioneering:

Is when you cant legally tell the truth in order to influence elections.

Shark Inlet said...

Mike gets the bonus points for the day for both the "Greatest Clarity" award and the "Funniest" award.

Kudos!

Anonymous said...

"Idiot" Anon 1:10:
Take heed of the great Mike Green. A fine distinction indeed!

Anonymous said...

"I think very few outside of Los Osos would agree that the CCRWQCB is a "Kangaroo court".

Actually, Crappie, I heard that it would be a kangaroo court back in February of 2006 from a gentleman outside of this area who is quite prominant in the world of water. Without knowing any of the details, he told me that we would not win in the regional or state hearings, but would have to wait until we got into a courtroom to get a fair trial.

On another note, does anyone know the name of the company that is making a new septic tank with end product water that can be used for home irrigation? (Hook up a hose &/or irrigation system) I hear that it is over $30,000, but when compared to the mouthly payments of a WWTF along with the water savings, it starts to look like a reasonable alternative.

Anonymous said...

I wondered who was Norman Risch, when I read Ann's blog. Seems Mr. Risch is an avid letter-writer. No credentials, no special sewer-related initials after his name, just a letter writer. But then again, Ann ends up her blog with yet, ANOTHER letter from the famous Gail McPherson. Again, devoid of any credability.

Well, folks, guess Ann had a pretty busy Easter Weekend, so she just used, "filler".

Damn, Ann. You are really desparate for material, aren't you?

Have you brought out those Adirondack chairs yet? (That was a pretty good article.)

Mike Green said...

Thanks Shark, I'm honored,I think....

Churadogs said...

Mike Green sez:"Campaigning:

Is when you can legally tell lies in order to influence elections and,

Electioneering:

Is when you cant legally tell the truth in order to influence elections."

Bwa-hahahahahah. That is too, too perfect! Congrats!

someone named ANONYMOUS sez:"I wondered who was Norman Risch, when I read Ann's blog. Seems Mr. Risch is an avid letter-writer. No credentials, no special sewer-related initials after his name, just a letter writer. "

Hmm, no creditials, no special sewer related initials after her/his name, just a (blog) poster calling him/herself ANONYMOUS. Hmmmm.....

Sigh.

4crapkiller sez:""Pie in the sky". You had damn well have a solid case NOW, BEFORE this matter gets to the REAL courts. And you speak for the ACLU and other organizations? Are you sure this is not the "Ocean Outfall Group"?"

Until the Administrative Process/Rmedies is/are completed, such a case cannot even get into court, unless it becomes clear that the Administrators are sitting on the process so as to delay beyond a reasonable amount, since justice delayed is justice denied, at that point a real attorney can go into a real court of law to get some kind of injunctive relief. It's a nice little cat & mouse game regulators can play, with the happless citizens as the mice.

it's also a useful tool for electioneering.

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"On another note, does anyone know the name of the company that is making a new septic tank with end product water that can be used for home irrigation? (Hook up a hose &/or irrigation system) I hear that it is over $30,000, but when compared to the mouthly payments of a WWTF along with the water savings, it starts to look like a reasonable alternative."

Now, there's an interesting problem. Resolution 83-12 & 13 originally had to do with nitrate discharge levels. With the CDO's, however, the whole game began morphing over the Prosecution Year Of The Los Osos 45 into a claim that ZERO discharge, even of Sparklets drinking water, will be allowed to come out of your tank in the PZ. When asked whether there is ANY onsite system the RWQCB will allow, the staff gets all quiet and coy . . . First it was, Well, Bring us the plans and we'll let you know . . . then . . . ZERO DISCHARGE of anything.

So, it appears to me that with their new claims of ZERO DISCHARGE by 2011, ABSOLUTELY NO ONSITE SYSTEMS WILL BE ALLOWED, unless you go to court and etc. The RWQCB has also made it clear that they will NOT approve of anything except a zero discharge hook up to a central system & etc. It's the old Hobson's Choice gambit. And, if you're able to somehow legally challenge them, the permits they issue can be priced in such a way with all sorts of required testing & etc. as to make that $30,000 system cost MORE than a sewer hookup. It's a game of "gotcha" from an agency that's supposedly forbidden by law to play that game, but that hasn't stopped them yet.

Shark Inlet said...

So Ann ... it sounds like you view 83-13 as setting up a prohibition on the discharge of nitrates rather than the setting up of a prohibition on building homes.

Hmmm ...

Anonymous said...

Ann:

Take your "wink, wink, nudge, nudge, thumbs on the scale, it's the process that matters" rhetoric and stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

YOU are the one trying to derail the process. YOU are the one electioneering to sink the 218 vote before the property owners even know what the county is asking for. YOU are the one fear mongering and perpetuating the paranoia.

Why don't you just shut up for a while and let the process play itself out.

Anonymous said...

Shark Inlet
83-13 is a prohibition on the discharge of nitrates, but the RWQCB and the county decided that the prospective homeowners didn't need that frightening information, so they only required real estate brokers and the county building department to disclose a building prohibition. The planning department gave out an edited version of 83-13 that made no mention of a discharge prohibition, and real estate documents disclosed a building prohibition.

The individual CDOs were the first notification of a discharge violation. The original CDOs focused on the prohibition of the discharge of nitrates, but over the year of persecution they morphed into a prohibition of all discharges. The RWQCB constantly writes and rewrites the rules to their advantage. The time given for completion of repairs changed from nine months on the original proposed CDO to just three months, and this was not clarified until just over a week before the deadline. Proposed CDO recipients have suffered this last year from the constant uncertainty, fighting for our homes against a moving target. If I hadn't endured this process myself, I might still believe that the RWQCB was an honorable agency with the soul mission of protecting the environment. I was soooo naive.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Shark,

I believe that you are wrong. The RWQCB sent out info in 2002 describing the illegal discharge.

Ms. Marks said this at a hearing also and said it went to all homeowners.

Anonymous said...

Bullsh*t. I own two properties in the PZ and received no such notification in 2002. Where do you get this bogus information? Do you think the recall would have succeeded if everyone in the PZ had received these notices? Where is the documentation? Please provide. Ms. Marks is a piece of work. Right after the recall I called her and asked her about the fines and she said "Well what are we supposed to do?" Whereby I suggested the RWQCB work with our elected officials. She had no comment. I guess that was just too much for her. After all, she's been collecting her government paycheck for years by helping out with fining communities!