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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Calhoun’s Cannons ,The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA for May 23, 2007

Sewer Tales

It is one of the phenomena of human nature that once an opinion gets a popular start and becomes rooted in the mind of the public at large, it is next to impossible to uproot it or kill it off. It may be proved over and over again that the opinion is not entirely true or even that it is entirely false, and the public at large will listen to the proof and go right on believing in the opinion as before.
James Weldon Johnson, 1919

Mr. Johnson’s comment appeared in a recent Letter To The Editor shortly after the May 10th Regional Water Quality Control Board’s meeting at which the Board suddenly decided --- finally – to “stand down,” stop cruelly, pointlessly and wastefully prosecuting The Los Osos 45, and hold off on issuing Clean Up And Abatement Orders to the rest of the community, for now.

The tipping point of a year-long horror show came suddenly when Board member Dr. Press electrified the whole room by simply asking a few questions and making a few comments and observations that should have been asked over a year ago. His comments also gave a kind of permission to the other Board members to weigh in and suddenly a gust of sanity and real-world practicality – totally absent in the previously Blind Mad Hatter Tea Party Proceedings -- blew through the room and instantly, The Story changed completely.

And what was The Story? It consisted of two-words that had been carefully framed, endlessly repeated and used to define this community for years: Los Osos was “Anti-Sewer.” That was The Story that allowed outsiders and many within the community to conjure up a town full of ignorant, cheap, willful, insane, Luddite, lawbreaking Moonbeam McSwines gleefully rolling around in millions of gallons of raw sewage that ran down their streets to pollute the Bay, happily drinking their own urine, poisoning the environment, threatening the health and safety of the good people of San Luis Obispo and “fighting the Water Board” (another false story) every step of the way.

As a Story, it was perfect because it was easy to understand, it compressed a terribly complicated issue into a few quick buzz-words, it avoided the annoying but vital complexity that results in heeding the famous semanticist S.I. Hayakawa’s dictum that for factual clarity we need always remember that Object/Situation/Person A is not Object/Situation/Person B is not Object/Situation/Person C, it blinded everyone, most particularly the regulators who should have been better informed, to the difficult and multifaceted reality on the ground, it was false, and its falsity led to totally inappropriate, wasteful and disastrous actions that the community will pay dearly for.

Which is what happens when you get The Story wrong.

Worse yet, The Story became so powerful by its repetition that it became impossible for reality to break through. It did that because nobody bothered to define the terms or even check to see if they were accurate or even true. For example, the two words used to repeatedly define this community are the words “Anti-Sewer.” Those words appeared again and again in the Tribune’s pages, in on-air news reports, in endless Letters To The Editor, but what exactly do they mean?

The small handful of citizens who believe that the community doesn’t need any kind of centralized or cluster wastewater treatment systems and can continue using their traditional on-site septic systems were correctly labeled “Anti-Sewer.” But so were citizens who simply opposed putting a sewer plant in the middle of their town. They were also labeled Anti-Sewer, even though what they actually wanted was to MOVE the sewer plant, not eliminate it. People who thought a STEP system with a different water-reuse component would be better than the proposed Tri-W gravity system were called Anti-Sewer. People who voted for Measure B were called Anti-Sewer when what they were was I-Want-A-Vote-On-The-Type-And-Placement-Of-A-Sewer. Even people who supported Tri W but simply wanted a homeowner’s 218 vote on the increased costs were labeled Anti-Sewer. Forty-five residents were targeted as Anti-Sewer and had a year of their lives ruined by a Water Board that was told The Story, a board that never bothered to verify the truth or falsity of that Story, and so viewed these citizens as worthy of punishment in order to set them as an example to the rest of this obstructionist, scofflaw, “Anti-Sewer” town.

After all, what else can you do when you falsely believe you’re dealing with a community full of batty Moonbeam McSwines?

Mr. Johnson knew well the power of the narrative, understood that Perception IS Reality, understood that he who controls the narrative defines the issues and controls the outcome. Against a powerful false narrative, mere facts cannot prevail. Ask the wrong questions and you’ll get the wrong answers. Frame the wrong problem and you’ll get the wrong solution. Get The Story wrong, and you will pay a fearsome price. Eighty-eight years later, Los Osos is finally just finding that out.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bev. De Witt-Moylan here:

Lest anyone think that the Water Board's noblesse oblige extends to any of the Originals, this recent message to me from Michael Thomas should set the record straight. We are not settling back into our rocking chairs. The work continues unabated.

Below are Mr. Thomas's comments in response to my question regarding the status of CDOs in the wake of the Water Board's stated intention to modify their approach to enforcement in Los Osos.

To wit:

Mrs. De Witt-Moylan

Your CDO was effective immediately upon the Central Coast Water Board's action on May 10. You have 30 days from May 10 to file a petition with the State Board.

The Central Coast Water Board did not suspend any CDOs on May 10. That would require a separate hearing in the future, and we do not yet know if that will happen.

Michael Thomas

Anonymous said...

That is terrible. I cannot believe they are still going after the first folks when they said they would wait to decide on the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

What did Chuck lie about at the last meeting?

4Crapkiller said...

To Beverly De Witt-Moylan:

So file your appeal. Let's see if your reason for appealing have any legal basis with the State Board.

See if you can get Ms. Sullivan to take the case on a contingency basis. I am sure she would if she felt her legal defense had value and would prevail. We ARE a nation of laws. If she wins, she can collect her fees from the CCRWQCB, and the case will take precedence.

If she loses, she can take the case to a "REAL" court. (Anns expression). Better sooner than later. The wheels of justice roll terribly slow.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

The State Attorney General's Office has filed with the US Bankruptcy Court the State's claim that the LOCSD must pay the state over $6.6 million in fines (leveed by the RWQCB). As you all know, fines (taxes too) are not discharged through bankruptcy, and must be paid in full by the debtor (CSD).

This is a major developement in the CSD's bankruptcy case.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann

I remember reading a blogsite out of Sacramento and the author was following our sewer thing. The author said that the new CSD president, Lisa Schicker was "a crazy lady" who was voted in by people who "didn't want a sewer." Of course, the opinion had been formed having read the Tribune articles. Remember, this was a commentary by an outsider.

Anonymous said...

Richard - please learn to spell development.

4Crapkiller said...

Well, Ann is correct, but now! Certainly not before. Only a very small contingent of Los Osos is now anti-sewer. Attitudes change now that CDOs, fines, insolvency, and bankruptcy are upon us. Things that the previously anti-sewer people promissed would not happen to us when they voted for the recall, have actually occured.

Well, now Los Osos wants a sewer, but only "if". The vast majority see the writing on the wall. They are starting to understand the costs of obstruction of the previous project.

I consider those stuck on "IF"S as to site and system to be anti-sewer. (They want a sewer, BUT!) At this point beggars can't be choicey, considering the choices.

There is a law in place. The county will decide, the supervisors will vote as to site and system on the basis of the assessment vote. Otherwise we will be in very bad trouble. The consequences otherwise to property owners have been spelled out.

If 9:39AM is correct, and the LOCSD must pay the $6.6 million in fines, I smell blood in the water. The sharks are circling. I think the state is just starting its case against the recall "stop the sewer" board as individuals.

Anonymous said...

You are cold-blooded, Crap. Your blog name is appropriate as well. Lay off the individuals.

Anonymous said...

Be sure when you see Pandora, Richard, and Gordon to thank them for the big mess we're in (especially Pandora!)

Anonymous said...

Who was responsible for the marketing efforts that got the water community statewide to believe that we were anti-sewer? I have had to dispel this myth numerous times. Where did it come from? Was it Pandora and Briggs? With Briggs' power and Pandora's influence (and coaching), I can see the possibility, but does anyone have any concrete evidence? We were we labeled as anti-sewer by most of the major water agencies in California. Someone worked hard to get this message out.

Anonymous said...

to 9:30 -Chuck lied about not knowing about the agenda item with Al Barrow until the day of the CSD meeting. BWS attorney said they, the CSD, had discussed at the last CSD meeting. Chuck and Lisa acted surprised, but they knew. Julie knew too. Steve knew but decided to be a no-show.

Anonymous said...

We are going to have a great project and it won't be thanks to Pandora. It will be thanks to all of the PRO SEWER activists who stopped the TRIW mess. I voted for the recall and I wanted a project then, as I have wanted a project for the 16 years I have owned property here. We also have newer property owners who have joined us in wanting a great project, not an old-fashioned plant by the library. The folks who support a 21st century project are PRO SEWER activists. Please don't continue to lump us in with Mr. Payne and Mr. Alabee, etc. They got their own thing going on and we are not a part of it. In fact, I think that Maria Kelly is a 21st century PRO SEWER activist, she just doesn't know it. Maybe Joyce Albright as well. If you had a choice would you want it by our park, library, community center, etc? Been to a wedding by the sewer lately?

Anonymous said...

The recall board will go down in history as heroes. The property owners of Los Osos are about to pass a 218 and the facility will be out of town. More property owners want a sewer than do not want a sewer. And the county and the state want it to be built. So cheer up folks, we're on our way!

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Al Barrow. What a waste of time for the CSD. STEP/STEG with Orenco ain't gonna happen. The county will do some big la-de-da about how they checked it out and everything but it ain't gonna happen. Al is to be complimented on his passion (I guess) but his is a lost cause. He is smart but kind of scary too.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about having an out-dated, energy hog, sewer that will cost each homeowner a whopping bill of about $400 a month. When you add importing water, you add another $100 a month. When will it stop? A blank check indeed. The county does plan to import water.

The 218 will not pass until people know the cost. Please stop promoting the blank check, it's not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

I would rather give the county a blank check than ANY of our CSD boards!

Anonymous said...

God what is wrong with you people? It has to happen, and soon. Do you want your property to be condemned? Do you want to hold on to your beloved septic tank so long that your property is worth NOTHING? I don't get it. Please explain why fighting every agency is better than losing your property! When you fight everything in sight then you are going to be perceived as "anit-sewer!"

Anonymous said...

Oops I meant "anti-sewer"

Anonymous said...

anon 6:13

How do you figure the recalled board will go down in history as heros if the County chooses an out of town facility? What history will tell is that the former corrupt LOCSD tried to ramrod a project into the center of town against the will of the people they represented and they were recalled in disgrace for pursuing their own agenda against the will of the people. The heroes will be those who fought to restore freedom by removing this corrupt government. The Heroes will be those who fought to move the sewer and were victorious..........

Anonymous said...

I wish the people that hope to be a hero would just back off and become part of the team. We will then have a chance to solve this controversy with a system that we all can live with.

This has become a huge competition for some, win at all costs, go for the glory. You know who you are. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon 6:09,
I'm not sure I'm comfortable with being a 21st century sewer activist...I don't really think I can match the merit of that comment. If I have to have an activist title, which I would prefer not to because my impression is that activists represent one train of thought or idea, I would like to be a water activist. And frankly, I would prefer to drop the activist title all together and be more of a water advocate.
Most of the community roles I have taken are more in the advocacy role.
I like the group dynamics and I like diversity of thoughts and ideas. My prejudiced perception, and I have already stated, is that activists have a thought, idea or premise that they work off of and are more rigid in their thoughts and the way they present. I don't think that the activist method has worked out so well for Los Osos and doesn't always come across as a collaborative effort.
I love trees and mourn the loss of our Redwoods but I'm not going to sit in the branches. If in that venue, I would be more likely to meet with the loggers and come to a compromise and try to come to some sort of long term preservation plan while acknowledging the need for quality forest management practices and the human impact of taking away a livlihood.
I don't know if you have ever heard me yammer on about the spotted owl and the Oregon timber industry and some of the other ventures in the Pacific Northwest that really brought the environmental and people clash to a head. Even the Klamath river and the ranchers and the salmon. I don't do well in black and white scenarios. There is always another way if we can just think about it productively.

It's not that I'm "wishy-washy", I just think that every voice has a little piece of the truth and I'm willing to take the time to try to find it. I don't need to "get my way" because I have been known to be wrong. (I don't like to admit it but it's horrifyingly true!)
My preference in Los Osos would be to hear from more people in regards to their concerns, wishes and questions. I have hope that we all will get a voice and it will be acnknowledged. It may not manifest in "getting what I want" but at least the discussion will be had.
I'm not using "I" as "me" I'm using it in general terms.
Thanks but graciously no thanks, or maybe I'm wrong and you see something about me I don't! I'm open!
Sincerely,
Maria M. Kelly

Anonymous said...

GAWD... This blog has turned into a big piece of the over abundant Los Osos sewer candy!

None of you have the slightest clue what is going to happen and you don't have the brains to stop fighting each other long enough to let the County do their job! Figure it out, you ain't got no say you bunch of over-ed-gee-kated sewer experts! The State of Californina to the project away from your sorry asses and is going to build a sewer no matter how repetitively you insult the RWQCB, Blakeslee, the SLO County Public Works Department or the TAC! You screwed the pouch folks, you got no say no longer! Keep trotting out to all the meetings, keep threating and cursing! You lost and the rest of the County and quite a few around the State are laughing at you bunch of fools! You don't have a sewer project to worry about! If you hadn't gone bankrupt and refused to pay some $6,000,000,000 in fines, you might have been able to sweet talk some real Government Agency to make a loan or grant to help out, but, you threw away all your do-overs. You got some real spokespersons working for you, Al Barrow, Joseph Racano and Gail McPherson. Great folks to put in front of the public. Best of luck, you might start cleaning house of some of your extreme baggage.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who says that people who want a sustainable project, a good environmental project (AND NOT THE SAME PLANT OUT OF TOWN) are labeled as anti-sewer are nuts themselves.

The plan is and always has been about forcing people out, they say, "these people can't or don't deserve to live in a beach community, so they'll just have to leave" and THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT.

Anyone who thinks or says that they care about the water are full of it. The system they (Dreamers, the county, and the RWQCB) want and demand and fight for (Tri-W in or out of town) won't clean any water for 40 years, IF THEN! It will be forty years before we would see ANY impact at all on nitrate levels.

It's about real estate baby!

Anonymous said...

From what's been stated recently, Petaluma did their project for a little over $100 million for a much larger population.

Why can't this be done here? It doesn't make sense to push an over-sized, over-priced project that most can not afford and will have to sell their homes (if they can sell at all) and move.

It does appear that it's all about deveopment or the county would search for an affordable project. So far, the county has come right out and said it won't be affordable. The county will stand to benefit when people are forced out as they will increase the property tax base.

Mike Green said...

Ya baby! It's about MY real estate!

Quite frankly you probably have a somewhat accurate take, We have been the recipients of quite arguably the worst case of governmental F-U the country has ever seen. The whole scenario is so unbelievably absurd that only egregious evil doing and unbridled greed and twisted egos can explain this mess.

My opinion is that it's far less spectacular, simply put, small communities should not be in charge of infrastructure of this magnitude.
Ill equipped and politically inept.

So what now?
If someone can tell me IN DETAIL with pictures and arrows on glossy eight by ten photos how we can possibly reject the 218 vote and come out in better shape after all is said and done.

Put it out there.

I'll wager nobody will take that challenge and bet their property.

I'll vote yes. and scream like heck later.

Anonymous said...

a whole 'lotta pollution been goin on to take 40 years to clean it up. Or was it that there was no pollution?? One second there is pollution to clean up the next second there is no pollution.

Maybe it's time to stop calling them anti-sewer and rename anti-water or the anti-real estate or anti-County or anti-growth or anti-fillntheblank.

No on 218 is no sewer or anti-sewer.

Anonymous said...

Above Anons:

It's not "what is wrong with you people." It really is just one person. This person, for quite some time now, comes here with wild accusations about the county, the 218 vote, even his beloved CSD, but when asked for proof, or explanations of his accusations, etc., he disappears. I think it's Al Barrow, I really do. Who knows. But whoever it is, he/she is just a tad whacked.

Mike Green said...

I'm curious, dose anyone have any data on water quality in LO from before the last 1200 homes were built?
(not like it matters, seeing we are under the thumbs of the Water Gods)

And dose anyone know how many vacant lots were owned by the members of the original solution group?
(not like that matters since Sam's Law)

And why exactly is the State insisting on fines and continued enforcement on the doomed 45?
especially since the stated "goal" of the state is to succeed in the assessment vote, the "fine only adds to the argument against it.

Sometimes I wonder about this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria

Water activist, water advocate. My point was that I think you want the same thing as many of the "activists." Which is a water/wastewater solution. If we come together we just may get a great project.

A Fan

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:58 - I said recall board, not recalled board. As in the new board (sans John). The sewer is going to be out of town and that was their main goal, I think.

Anonymous said...

to Mike,

Where do you get that the State is insisting on fines on only 45? There were more CDOs out there in Los Osos before the 45.

If a sewer gets built, there will be no fines. How come the town keeps insisting on not building a sewer?

Churadogs said...

Crapkiller sez:"Well, Ann is correct, but now! Certainly not before. Only a very small contingent of Los Osos is now anti-sewer."

When I moved here in 1984 (and promptly ruined the neighborhood), there was formed about that time once citizen's group called C.A.W.S. Citizens FOR Affordable Wastewater Systems I'm puzzled, What is it about the word "FOR" that you consider is "anti-sewer?" Even more interesting, CAWS lobbied heavily and for years for the County to enforce Resolution 83-12, and form a sanitary district, including inspect, repair, pump etc. for the entire PZ. What about that would you consider "anti-sewer" and pro pollution? (Need I point out that the County and the RWQCB ignored CAWS lobbying for such a district?

Crap also sez:"Well, now Los Osos wants a sewer, but only "if". The vast majority see the writing on the wall. They are starting to understand the costs of obstruction of the previous project."

The recall, among other things, was about Moving a Sewer Plant, not eliminating it. Ironically, if the state hadn't put the kabosh on the Oct "compromise," I believe that the "vast majority of Los Osos" would have agreed to keep laying pipe, move the plant and get on with it. I wonder what about that is "anti-sewer?" Is it possible you missed the point of my column?

Anonymous sez:"The State Attorney General's Office has filed with the US Bankruptcy Court the State's claim that the LOCSD must pay the state over $6.6 million in fines (leveed by the RWQCB). As you all know, fines (taxes too) are not discharged through bankruptcy, and must be paid in full by the debtor (CSD)."

Which $6.6 million are you talking about? There is the SRF Loan money that the previous Board got and started pounding into the groud, into the ground, then Paavo has already said he'd consider that "points on the loan," so that will be folded in. If it's the RWQCB CDO & ACL fines, I would hope that those fines be taken into a "real" court since they're completely out of line with other fines for other entities throughout the state, and by that I mean, if you compare the amount of discharge and type of discharge and compare that with other state-wide cases, that $6.6 is completely off the map. It needs to go into a "real" court for a "real" judge to take a look-see.

Crap sez:" The sharks are circling. I think the state is just starting its case against the recall "stop the sewer" board as individuals." while Anonymous sez:" You are cold-blooded, Crap. Your blog name is appropriate as well. Lay off the individuals."

I find it incredibly fascinating, the sheer ugliness that often peeps out of a lot of postings -- the sort of sadistic ugliness of "I want you to fine the CSD out of existence," forgetting that individuals ARE the CSD and your friends and neighbors will be the ones harmed. The sadistic ugliness that claims the 45 are only a bunch of whiners. The gleeful "anonymous" or Nom de Plume postings taking sick pleasure in the travails of the Los Oso 45 is amazing to me. Granted, those voices are a tiny minority in a community filled with people who actually are caring and generous, but it always brings me up short to see such ugliness on display.

Crap sez:" To Beverly De Witt-Moylan:

So file your appeal. Let's see if your reason for appealing have any legal basis with the State Board.

See if you can get Ms. Sullivan to take the case on a contingency basis. I am sure she would if she felt her legal defense had value and would prevail. We ARE a nation of laws. If she wins, she can collect her fees from the CCRWQCB, and the case will take precedence.

If she loses, she can take the case to a "REAL" court. (Anns expression). Better sooner than later. The wheels of justice roll terribly slow."

Now there's a question: If Shauna files on behalf of her clients and PZLDF and a "real court" issues a Writ of Mandate, and by that writ Crap benefits, will Crap donate so much as a penny to reimburse Ms. Sullivan for her efforts, (much time of which is being donated pro bono )or help reimburse some of the costs the 45 have spent mucho bucks of their own money on for establishing a record and for a Writ and a proceedure that may well benefit the entire PZ? Including Crap. Or will Crap take and enjoy the benefits, if they occur, and contribute nothing?
That's the question.

Anon sez:" I remember reading a blogsite out of Sacramento and the author was following our sewer thing. The author said that the new CSD president, Lisa Schicker was "a crazy lady" who was voted in by people who "didn't want a sewer." Of course, the opinion had been formed having read the Tribune articles. Remember, this was a commentary by an outsider."

Yep. That's how you control the story. Repeat the same lie enough and it becomes received Truth. Falsely turn people into Evildoers then whatever evil you do to them will be overlooked and excused. After all, they deserve it! They're Evildoers!

Anonymous said...

"…history will tell is that the former corrupt LOCSD tried to ramrod a project into the center of town against the will of the people…"

If you recall your history, anon 7:58 Thursday, the populace of LO overwhelmingly voted to form a CSD that proposed a POND IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN. Everybody seemed to like that idea just fine. So to say the problem was location, that is just B-S. A maybe less-than-wonderful-smelling pond vs. an enclosed plant with no odor was the result of the Water Board nixing the pond.

It was the COST that started the rumble. But beyond that, people were manipulated by the no-sewer proponents to believe that out of town would be cheaper, so let's move it there. They never supplied the true facts as to to the cost to put it there, (plus the lack of recharge and mitigation benefits to salt water intrusion). All sorts of lies were invented to make the Tri-W plant seem icky and dangerous. These lies still persist, but one should investigate the origins from the anti-sewer bunch. (They have at this point morphed into the "Move the Sewer" group.")

Today, the same combined group is trying to trash the 218 with the same tactic - the County is wrong in their cost estimates of step - we can get private financing and "our step" - with Orenco or Lombardo will be cheaper than what the County offers.

It amazes me that people with no formal education in sewer construction, or any real-world knowledge of financing, are still attempting to lead us with their dream sold to them by slick salesmen - who still have cleverly avoided putting out hard costs - as they too know their price in the end won't be any different. They want the job, so they give vague promises of "cheaper!"

Why is it that people with open minds will accept the choices given by the County and pick something - whatever they like, and will go with it. They know that SOMETHING must be built. But the obstuctionist/no sewer/move the sewer bunch will only accept THEIR brand of step, out of town, private financing - or NOTHING.

Trashing the 218 is quite a gamble. The CSD may not get the project back, the delays could cost us huge Water Board fines if they do, the State may just come in and take it anyway - and then you KNOW it will be Tri-W at whatever cost to us that they choose to make it.

Anonymous said...

If the 218 fails, all the CSD has to do is sign a contract with Orenco and they'll handle everything.

Problem solved. Orenco can do the job in LESS time and for A BETTER PRICE.

The answers are quite simple.

Anonymous said...

Ann says,
"CAWS lobbied heavily and for years for the County to enforce Resolution 83-12, and form a sanitary district, including inspect, repair, pump etc. for the entire PZ. What about that would you consider "anti-sewer" and pro pollution?"

The intent of CAWS was to make it so that it would appear with all the tank inspecting and pumping that we would NOT NEED a sewer. So in that sense, it would mean "anti-sewer."

Pro-pollution? Well no, if it were ONLY an interim step while waiting to get a sewer. With the drug and body care product residues showing up in the upper aquifer, we still NEED a sewer. With this density of homes, where one acre of land is a reasonable amount of space to expect a septic to work, we are way over in expectations to assume no more than a septic tank is needed to clean the water to acceptible levels.

Did CAWS state that we needed a sewer? If not, using their wanting a septic plan to prove they were not anti-sewer is a lame snow job.

Anonymous said...

When the recall passed, and Tri-W stopped, it was under the auspices of having 'a plan', which has been shown to be no plan. The County has a plan and a project.

Another way of controlling a story is to just present one side and not examine the other, as the Bay News has evolved with it's 'soft' opinion format that slants its coverage. Ann is clever enough to know this, but would never admit it since, well, she doesn't need to.

In the end it comes down having a project (Yes on 218) or uncertainty and rolling the dice, based on innuendo and suggestion from non-sewer professionals (you name them) and non-legal professionals (such as Ann)alike.

Anonymous said...

TO ALL:

If the Tri-W or the same type of plant and collection out of town won't correct any nitrate problem for 40 years, then why would (some of) you insist on putting the most expensive wastewater system in the entire country for "suspected" pollution in place?

The advisory vote recently turned into an advisory survey, and that survey will include out-of-town residents (and we know where they want a sewer) It will be the BOS who decides and if it was a vote, they would have to go by that. Now that it's a survey, the BOS can ignore the so-called survey if they want. It's very tricky.

Will the county look at Petaluma? Will they consider affordable projects? Is the fine screening out yet?

Anonymous said...

I was at the last PZLDF meeting. When asked if I had any questions, I asked Gail what would happen to the lawsuit if the 218 passed and a sewer got built. She said that would be a victory and that would end it.

My question is: Why aren't PZLDF members outside of the group (as they are a non-profit and can't be political) getting on with PROMOTING A YES on the 218? Some members of that group seem to indicate that they will vote no. If the 218 passes (and nobody stops the project), all the Water Board woes just DISAPPEAR - in other words, a VICTORY. Are they so sure that the 218 won't pass that they have to try to "protect" themselves from that possible outcome? C'mon - who would be against giving PZLDF a victory?

Lynette Tornatzky

Anonymous said...

You'd better look at ALL of Petaluma before you say we want that.

Nothing so-called "cheaper" will do it any faster.

Anonymous said...

And isn't the Petaluma $110 million an upgrade type of situation? What was in place before that project?

4Crapkiller said...

If 4Crapkiller benefits by the actions of "Contingency" Sullivan in the defense of 4Crapkiller's property, she will be more than glad to contribute. It can be seen as a tax deductable legal defense expense when the property is sold at a profit. The question in 4Crapkillers mind is "Is there really a legitimate legal defense based upon the information forwarded, or is this just another attorney trying to line her pockets regardless of legal and political reality?" It comes down to: "Are the CDO recipients being given false hope that they will prevail in a "real court?". All attornies ask one to settle. We went through this with the "Pro Bono" attornies that settled by a gift of public funds the cases that had a 90/10 chance of failing, and then received fees from the LOCSD after the recall. We also have the "False Hope" of the "B" that was supposed to be the savior of Los Osos. It was crafted and sold by Julia Briggs. Now we are insolvent, and everything "B" was supposed to prevent has occured. The McPherson defense crafted early on against CDOs (remember the letters) has failed and was written by a lawyer. More "false hope". The random selection of the "45" defense has also failed.

Hopefully the 218 will pass, the county will make the decision, the sewer wherever will be built, and the defense of CDOs will become moot. Far better to pay for a sewer each month than twice as much for a discharge permit. It WILL come to this if a 218 does not pass.

If not, we will have no other option but a legal defense against the CDOs, no matter how weak. The CCRWQCB is resolute. Hear them. We are poluters.

If you find an attorney to take a case on "contingency", using their own money, you can be sure of one of two things:

1. The case has real merit, and a very big chance of succeeding.

2. It is a very stupid attorney.

As far as C.A.W.S. is concerned, nothing was ever found to be "Affordable". The way I remember, they were just fighting a semi-planned sewer system by the county down by the middle school, hoping that their suggestions would thwart the project. The real issue then was growth. Any sewer will contribute to buildout (growth).

As to evildoers: Look at the consequences of stopping the sewer when all of the consequences were forewarned. Why did the LOCSD board refuse to have a 218 vote as part of the compromise? Because the sewer would still have to go in at Tri-W? "The voters decided!" BS.

I cannot think of ANYTHING that the recall LOCSD board did that was not "crazy". It continues.

Ann: I am glad you are back. Replying to your spin is a pleasure. You give great spin.

Ron said...

An Anon wrote:

"If you recall your history, anon 7:58 Thursday, the populace of LO overwhelmingly voted to form a CSD that proposed a POND IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN. Everybody seemed to like that idea just fine."

At "a maximum monthly payment of $38.75/month," according to Solution Group documents. When that figure went out the window when the ponds failed, predictably, Los Osos voters never got another say on whether they wanted an industrial sewer plant in the middle of town at $200-+/month.

Does THAT idea -- an industrial sewer plant in the middle of town at $200-+/month -- seem "just fine" to everybody?

Ann wrote:

"When I moved here in 1984 (and promptly ruined the neighborhood), there was formed about that time once citizen's group called C.A.W.S. Citizens FOR Affordable Wastewater Systems..."

Good ol' C.A.W.S.... I always liked Roger Shields. Nice guy.

Anon:

"Is the fine screening out yet? "

Good damn question. On the County's LO sewer web site, they have a pre-218 schedule. At the bottom of that pdf, they show the cost escalating at a half-million dollars a month. That means that the delay in getting the fine screening report out has cost a somewhere around a half million dollars, according to county documents.

Ogren keeps saying that the delay is due to questions from an expert from the NWRI, but those questions were answered quickly, so now I have to wonder if the late inclusion of the Tri-W project in the fine screening process threw a wrench into the works when they started to stumble on things like this, "CZLUO Section 23.08.288d allows public facilities within ESHA only where there is no other feasible location," when they have Andre2 on the table as a feasible location, and Special Condition of Approval #17 -- a multi-million dollar park facility that no one can say where that money is going to come from to pay for that condition of approval, and the fact that a local judge has already ruled that it is unfair that only a portion of a community pays for a park, yet the entire community benefits from the park, and of course, "bait and switchy."

I can imagine how that would delay things a bit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:01:
EXCELLENT excellent post. You have captured the obstructionist movement to their very essence.

And Ann, you say "Yep. That's how you control the story. Repeat the same lie enough and it becomes received Truth." I couldn't agree more. But why do you not recognize that these lies have become staple for BOTH SIDES of the sewer issue? You don't you know. Your continued failure to recognize the lies of the "move-the-sewer" crowd and current CSD, which themselves have shaped the course of our sad sewer history, really shoots your credibilty to hell. I've always been confounded as to why you can't acknowledge the damage ALL LIES have created, and by the way, contnue to create by looking at some of the postings here concerning the 218, the county, etc etc etc.

Lynette, McPherson is juggling 2 agendas here. Her involvement in the lies concerning the recall (we have a plan, $100.00 a month, no fines, etc and who can forget "you lost, get over it") and her new "I'm the savior of all Los Osos residents against the big bad water board and all I want to do is make nice and make everyone's life better by building a sewer and then I can say I saved Los Osos" schtick It's very interesting to watch her in action. Quite slippery.

And Santa Margerita Ron...You've got to be kidding. You're just now counting the cost of delay? How convenient for you pal. And how you voting on the 218 again? And how is this whole mess impacting you financially again? Oh yeah, I remember.......

Shark Inlet said...

Interesting discussion.

I would like to address only one issue.

What does a vote mean? It would seem that when we attempt, in retrospect, to attribute meaning to particular votes that we're oversimplifying.

To claim that the 218 vote or that votes for the solutions group and the repeated election of pro-TriW directors means that the town supported TriW may be a mistake. Similarly, it would possibly be an error to say that the recall was purely about changing the location. There are many issues here ... location ... cost ... type of treatment plant ... even the personality of those attempting to sway the debate one way or another.

To say that the recall was only about location is false. The campaign claims that it would be cheaper to go with STEP and out of town must have influenced at least a few hundred people.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

Your suggestion that Andre 2 was a feasible location is interesting. Additional study would have been necessary to determine whether it was feasible or not. And what would the cost be?

Feasible in this legislation must include some sort of determination of the financial feasibility of various options. Destroying ESHA but a total cost of $50M would be preferred to putting the plant in Bakersfield at a total cost of $1.57B ... yet the second is "feasible" in some sense.

This is they key to how the County will get TriW approved by the CCC should the County determine TriW to be the best site. They'll simply show that the estimated cost of each other option is so much higher that it isn't feasible.

Your continued avoidance of this most obvious method for the County to get their way would suggest that you're more interested in trying to sell us your point that TriW is impossible than in presenting us facts like a journalist would. So ... what is your role here? Are you trying to present a reasonable analysis of various possibilities or are you trying to sell us something?

Anonymous said...

Check the Rough screening again and do the comparison of Andre 2 with other sites. It looks as though the only way it would be feasible is if you plunked the TRIW project on that land.
Does Ron own Andre 2 or have an investment interest in it?

Anonymous said...

To 8:19
I bet that without SRF funding, the RWQCB will hit us with fines as soon as allowed, for the highest possible amount and retroactive to 1988. They want to recoop wasted funds from unsecured loans and frivolous persecutions.

Question: I am of the understanding that on the last sewer asssessment an unreturned ballot was counted as a yes vote. Is this true? If so, will this again be the case in the upcoming 218?

Anonymous said...

to anno 9:01 & 10:56.....

If it weren't for the LIES & DECEPTIONS that were spread to our Community by YOUR FRIENDS(PEOPLE LIKE YOU) if it weren't for the bait and switch the solutions group, a.k.a save the dream a.k.a. Taxpayers Waste and the former recalled in disgrace board....if it weren't for all these assholes like you and anons 9:01 & 10:56.....our Community would be all hooked up to a County out of town project and be paying $50-$70/month....

What in the fuck are you, Stan, Gordon, Richard & Pandora going to say when the County produces a out of town project that is less expensive than Tri-W?

The former recalled Board and Taxpayers Watch are the real obstructionist......
they obstructed an out of town county project in 1998 that would of cost us $50-$70 / month.....

thanks a lot assholes

Anonymous said...

Nice language Anon 6:14. Phi Beta Cappa stuff indeed. I guess when one is an immature poltroon unable to deal with the realities and lies of all sides of the sewer debacle, that's what they resort to. Or you're Al. Regardless, I support the county, will support the 218, and look forward to finally getting a sewer, any sewer, in Los Osos. Have a great Memorial Day weekend my friend.

Anonymous said...

6:14:

$70/month in 1998, as if that was the real number. Looks like Pandora saved you from spending ten grand or so the last decade, and you're still here. Count your blessings - wait till you get the next bill. Hope you salted away that ten grand since you seem to be so astute. Have a great Mem Day weekend.

Anonymous said...

To 4CrapKiller,

Evil-doers? Who is that? The evil-doers want a plant that would spill into the bay, or big gravity pipes that could and would bust and nobody would know. That would mean raw sewerage into our drinking water. Evil-doers created a plan to rid the town of "riff-raff" and want a plant that won't do anything about any nitrate problem for 40 years. That's evil. You have it all backwards (of course.)

It's just more lies and lies and if you repeat the lies often enough people will believe it as truth. It works for you though.

More mis-information (actually lies) from you (again.)

The project stopped at TRI-W because the prior CSD and SWB got caught. They had an un-secured loan. The compromise from Blakeslee demanded a 218. The State would NOT move forward and give out the second installment of that loan until a 218 vote was taken.

Get it now?? The State stopped the project! IT WAS THE STATE THAT CAUSED MUCH OF OUR DEBT PROBLEMS!!!!

Anonymous said...

TO LYNETTE AND GAIL,

THERE IS NO VICTORY ON A SEWER NOBODY CAN AFFORD!!!!!!!!!!!

4Crapkiller said...

To 7:34 PM. Ohh bullshit, the recall (insolvent LOCSD board) stopped the sewer. It was permitted, and funded. Construction was started. Theur excuse was "the voters decided".

They never said that the property owners would pay for the unintended consequences.

Of course the state would not continue with the funding! Fools were in charge! And bent on obstructionism. "The voters decided!" Voters like Al Barrow, Alon Perleman, Joey Racano, etc. Renters!

Churadogs said...

Anonymous sez:"Pro-pollution? Well no, if it were ONLY an interim step while waiting to get a sewer. With the drug and body care product residues showing up in the upper aquifer, we still NEED a sewer. With this density of homes, where one acre of land is a reasonable amount of space to expect a septic to work, we are way over in expectations to assume no more than a septic tank is needed to clean the water to acceptible levels.

Did CAWS state that we needed a sewer? If not, using their wanting a septic plan to prove they were not anti-sewer is a lame snow job."

What's been fascinating about this whole process is how it's morphed from "nitrates" into other things as the years have gone by. Resolution 83=12 was only temporary until a better wastewater system could be built, but again, the defination has changed: Instead of nitrate loading on the whole basin, which could have been solved by a combonation of enhanced onsite systems and collection for certain areas, it's now morphed into collect everything within a circle drawn on a map no matter if it doens't make much sense any more, considering our water overdraft and building outside the PZ & etc. The sense of basin-wide has disappeared, which is unfortunate. As for CAWS, their name was Citizens FOR AN AFFORDABLE WASTEWATER System/solution. In 1984, I believe that was possbible. It's no longer possible because of water overdraft and because the RWQCB keeps moving the goalposts and does anybody know who is working to re-open the Basin plan for an update? I've seen absolutely no interest in that from the regulators with the words WATER QUALITY in their name.

Inlet sez:"Feasible in this legislation must include some sort of determination of the financial feasibility of various options. Destroying ESHA but a total cost of $50M would be preferred to putting the plant in Bakersfield at a total cost of $1.57B ... yet the second is "feasible" in some sense."

Here's something of what went wrong with the recalled Board. You use the exaggerated example of ptting a plant in Bakersfield. According to the staff comments in the de novo Coastal Commission hearing, (and according to what Bruce Buel said at a CSD meeting) the difference in cost between the Tri W site and the so-called "Andre" site was guestimated to be a million less to 5-6 million more. As I noted at the time, 1 mil less & 5=6 mil more on a $100 million project over 20 years is chump change and that option should have gone to a community vote, i.e. You want Tri W a $205 a month or do you want "Andre" at $210 a month? so this wasn't about som HUGE difference that was SOOoooo obvious that even the CC could see there was no choice. Indeed, they asked the previous CSD for a side by side comparison. That never happened. And they never asked why they never got the information they asked for. Why not? Right there is one of the critical, deadly points of failure by the previous Board. They had an opportunity to have a securing 218 vote on two distinct projects, even guesitmated projects, and failed to do that. Again. Why.

Crap sez:"To 7:34 PM. Ohh bullshit, the recall (insolvent LOCSD board) stopped the sewer. It was permitted, and funded. Construction was started. Theur excuse was "the voters decided"."

This is why I really believe that the Breach of Contract Suit MUST go forward. Everyone in this community deserves to know exactly when that plug was pulled and by whom. It's a legal (contract law type0 question and an interesting one and it really deserves its day in court.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

The de novo comparison you refer to did not include estimated costs to redesign the system ... only the construction costs. While that would only be another $5-10M at most, the extra time necessary to redesign, fight new lawsuits and get the new site through the County approval process plus fight Al again because it isn't STEP would add years of inflation to the cost. So ... let's total this up. Two years of interest on a $100M system puts it at about $116M then another $5M for redesign and permitting and lawsuits and another $2M because it is out of town ... the cost is now about 23% higher ... after financing it would run about $25/month more. And thats if all the cost and time estimates are solid numbers. That they are a bit squishy makes it a pretty big gamble.

Had the LOCSD board tried to move the plant out to AndreII back in 2004, it could end up costing maybe only $5M more if the redesign could be quick, no opposition from neighbors and the like ... but it could easily end up costing about $40M more if the timeframe is pushed out several years. (You would also have to wonder whether the RWQCB would add fines for making non-necessary changes that delay the solution.)

So ... would a wise boardmember want to choose that gamble? Some who view the in-town versus out-of-town as non-negotiable might think it worthwhile. Others who are more interested in the financial aspects would view this as a rather poor idea.

Now, of course you (and others) will quickly (and quite reasonably) say that the Solutions Group board could have switched gears to an out-of-town site way back in 2000. Yes. However, at that time it did seem that the community as a whole did approve of the in-town site. One might claim it was because of the cool ponding or because the cost wasn't estimated to be ginormous. Whatever the case, back in 2000, there weren't many folks who were complaining about the site.

So then ... politics is messy. Decisions must often be made based on only partial information. You're saying that they made a mistake with their TriW choice. I'm saying that the recall effort was a mistake. I'm convinced that at least one of us is right ... maybe both.

Mike Green said...

Wasn't the TAC fine screening report sposed to be done by now? dose anyone know what the story is?

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"Now, of course you (and others) will quickly (and quite reasonably) say that the Solutions Group board could have switched gears to an out-of-town site way back in 2000. Yes. However, at that time it did seem that the community as a whole did approve of the in-town site. One might claim it was because of the cool ponding or because the cost wasn't estimated to be ginormous. Whatever the case, back in 2000, there weren't many folks who were complaining about the site.

So then ... politics is messy. Decisions must often be made based on only partial information. You're saying that they made a mistake with their TriW choice. I'm saying that the recall effort was a mistake. I'm convinced that at least one of us is right ... maybe both.

8:36 AM, May 26, 2007"

If you believe the various documentation Ron has posted and his timelines, then you are looking at a DELIBERATE tragedy -- i.e. false info to the community for a project that was a lie from day one, followed by more deliberate obfuscation during the quiet "morphing" period, add in the phony SOC about the "overwhelming community values" etc. In short, there is a strong case to be made that TRI-W wasn't a "mistake," or just a muddled, messy blunder based on limited information. Instead, the serious question must be asked: Does the evidence suggest that this was no "mistake" but was instead, a deliberate deception. And the beginning of an absolute (and unnecessary) tragedy.