Oh, For God’s Sake, Roger, Sit Down And Shut Up and STOP Monkey Wrenching The Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project!
As if poor Los Osos doesn’t have enough problems, now we’ve got Regional Water Quality Board CEO, Roger Briggs, screwing things up again.
Seems the Coastal Commission permit on the Tri W site was due to lapse. The CSD holds the permit and didn’t want to ask the CC to renew it for a variety of reasons, chief of them being that to ask for a renewal or extension could well trigger an appeal from somebody in the community which would mean the original permit would get a look-see and lord knows what worms would have climbed out (all that “bait and switchy” stuff that NOBODY wants to see crawling around on the floor).
And the County didn’t want to touch that permit extension with a ten foot pole because of all those worms as well, and if the permit were then transferred to the County, the County would likely inherit the hideous mess at Tri-W, created when the three recalled CSD board members started work on that project weeks before the recall election, thereby tearing up that site (all ESHA land with awful mitigation requirements on it), so there it sits, No Man’s Land, as radioactive as if a toxic meteor had hit it, which in some ways is exactly what happened.
So, without bothering to check to see whether or not this permit had any real function, now that the County was in charge of the project, Roger goes all postal and sends a letter to the Board of Supervisors and project head, Paavo Ogren, accusing the County of “delaying” the project – RogerSpeak code words for FINES!FINES!FINES!YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREETS LIKE DAWGS! and (falsely) claiming that the permit lapse would cause YEARS OF DELAY AND COST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREETS LIKE DAWGS!
So the BOS scheduled the matter to be on the agenda where we find out that, No, the lapsed permit won’t really delay things all that long, and No, the lapsed permit won’t cost millions since the huge majority of the work has not only been done but remains valid and can simply be used should Tri-W be the final site selected and No, we’re not all going to die in the streets like dogs.
However, we also learned that letting that permit lapse does have one really crucial benefit: It levels the playing field when considering all the other options. During TAC discussion, the Tri-W site was always given a special pass-through seat at the table, so to speak, because “it has a permit.” Never mind that the permit was obtained under, uh, questionable circumstances (see www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com, Ron Crawford’s posts concerning that permit), never mind that conditions and rules and regulations have changed since that permit was issued so that if that site were picked, another hearing would be necessary and then it’s likely all those worms would spill on the floor anyway and so everything would likely end up at square one, thereby rendering the benefits of a permit moot anyhow.
To anyone without a tin ear, that permit was a liability in getting an accurate TAC report, a clean Process and a fair 218 vote. Paavo further noted that trying to extend or transfer that permit just wasn’t worth it because the value of the permit is in the report, which is still useful, while its liabilities were not worth it. That he would rather get sued for being objective as the county promised they would be when taking over this project, than getting sued for trying to defend a project the county never signed onto in the first place.
In short, here’s what Paavo felt was the wiser course. WALKING THE CLEAN PATH.
Are you listening, Roger? Walking the clean path. That means no more hysteria and false claims. No more uninformed monkey wrenching. No more threats. Get your fingers out of this pie. You’ve done enough damage to this community and this project already. Because here it is in a nutshell, so listen up RWQCB and SWB and BOS and Roger and all the ships at sea:
Los Osos is now like an old, rattling barn filled with half-crazed, sorely used and abused, spooked wild mustangs, hot air blowing out of their nostrils, hooves stamping, bodies jumping and slamming at every twig snap, white eyes rolling, a fearful, spooked, terrified bunch of horses ready to bolt at the least noise, ready to crash through the walls and stomp the place to pieces.
A horse whisperer with a golden ear, would have the horse sense to know that he needed to arrive at that barn with soft words, a gentling touch. He would carefully and visibly and slowly remove all the spooky elements of rattling doors, flashing lights, loud noises, let the mustangs see those things were gone. He would make his calm presence known, clear away scary dark debris, keep the barn clean and clear and quiet and well lit so the horses could clearly see their surroundings and track who was moving where.
That’s what s smart horse whisperer would do.
But guess who we’re stuck with? Right, Roger Briggs who runs into the barn carrying a flaming torch, armloads of tinder-dry hay, tossing cherry bombs everywhere, yelling GEE!HAW!FINES!FINES!FINES!YER ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREEETS LIKE DAWGS!
And then stands there looking puzzled while the mustangs run amok and tear the barn down and says, “Whaaattt? Whadda I do?”
So, Regional Board members, you want a successful 218 election? You want a successful wastewater project, completed as fast as possible? Then here’s what you need to do: Either put a cork in Roger, or get him on another slow boat to China, Pllluuueeeeeze.
If you don’t, the biggest Monkey Wrencher-Project Killer in this whole process will be your own boy.
Mercifully, the BoS saw through this incompetent, appallingly ill considered ploy and voted 5-0 to follow staff’s advice and let the CC permit die a timely and merciful death.
Even Supervisor Gibson, who attempted a last minute “compromise” fishing expedition letter to try to see if the CC would, on its own accord, sorta just somehow delay the permits expiration, heh-heh, let the status quo stand, let sleeping dogs lie, thereby maybe make the Tri-W supporters happy while making the non-Tri-W supporters not too unhappy, decided to withdraw the letter. He explained that it was clear from comments from his fellow BoS members that the letter wasn’t helpful, was clouding the issue, not clarifying it, and was a mistake. That withdrawal was a move that also indicated that, unlike Roger, Supervisor Gibson doesn’t have a tin ear and was actually paying attention to the feed back loops.
And finally, the Board unanimously voted to confirm the newest TAC addition, Dr. David Dubbink. He has my thanks and my deepest sympathy.