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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Calhoun’s Ca(n)nons, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, for Sept 26, 07


Medea in Sewerville, Part Duh

The pdf file was puzzling. A Sixty-Day Notice of Intent to Sue for Violation of Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act sent to the CSD and cc’d to the Feds. The letter was signed by Gordon Hensley, who is listed as Executive Director and only full-time Staff member serving the “Environment In The Public Interest (EPI)-San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper,” a non-profit organization dedicated to “ensuring that the public has a voice with Government officials charged with responsibilities for environmental protection.”

Mr. Hensley was one of the three recalled CSD Directors and was also involved with the unsuccessful efforts to get LAFCO to dissolve the CSD after the recall election, and now he intends to sue the CSD if they don’t deal with his environmental concerns over the Tri-W site, claiming that “During the month July/August 20076, the District allowed the fence [around the Tri-W site] to fall into disrepair and pieces of the cyclone fencing have fallen on; become entangled in; and overgrown by habitat elements known to provide feeding sites, breeding areas, and shelter for the endangered Morro shoulderband snail.”

Translation? Some of the fencing around Tri-W fell down and some of the veldt grass and other weeds and bushes got smooshed and/or have grown up around it. It’s not clear from the Letter of Intent, whether Mr. Hensley is alleging that a part of the fence actually fell on and killed a particular snail. [You can download the pdf file at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com, link is in right hand column.]

Also cited in the Notice of Intent is that the present harm “. . . may include significant habitat modification or degradation . . .” Significant habitat degradation? In the ginormous mess that is “Tri-W?” Is this a drollery?

Ron Crawford, former editor of the Bay News, has written extensively about the whole sewer issue and has researched and posted documents that can be viewed at the website above. These documents strongly support an argument that the pre-recalled CSD did not appear to have any documented proof that would have allowed Tri-W to be used as the wastewater site in the first place, and no evidence to support the Statement of Overriding Considerations claims of having to keep the sewer plant in the middle of town in order to “accomplish project objectives for centrally located community amenities,” i.e. evidence that there was a ”strongly held community value” that people in the PZ were willing to pay any price in order to keep the sewer plant in the middle of town so they could have a Tot Lot located next to it.

Which means that Coastkeeper-Hensley should have sued CSD Director-Hensley long ago by using those same documents to make the case that Tri-W was an illegal site because there always were alternative non-ESHA lands available out of town, and to legally challenge the SOC that allowed CSD- Hensley to keep Tri-W at Tri-W.

Even odder is that Coastkeeper-Hensley now intends to sue to protect “habitat elements” exposed by missing pieces of fencing when he should have sued CSD-Hensley to prevent him from authorizing the contractors to go on site to begin to significantly modify and degrade the entire Tri-W ESHA snail habitat site when he voted to start this project weeks before the recall election.

But now, after the maximum damage has already been inflicted on the poor snail and its habitat, now Coastkeeper-Hensley shows up intending to file suit over pieces of fallen fence? Why, Yes, it does seem very camel-swallowing and gnat-choking to me.

And, if the CSD fails to do what’s required under law, what’s one more lawsuit inflicted on and paid for by the good people of Los Osos? Especially when Coastkeeper-Hensley could have sued CSD-Hensley when such a lawsuit could well have prevented this entire sewer train wreck in the first place by forcing the Coastal Commission, among other “Government officials charged with responsibilities for environmental protection,” to take a seriously critical closer look at the old Tri-W “bait & switchy,” back when it really could have made all the difference. Especially to the snails.

Dang!. Day late. Dollar short. Which begs a final question. Is that really Coastkeeper-Environment Protector Extraordinaire-Hensley I see on the battlements? Or Mr. Medea, a notice of intent in one hand and a knife in the other?

Better hide the children.

39 comments:

Mike said...

There is a bit more to the history of the septic tank of litigation surrounding the siting of ANY sewer within Los Osos than either Ann Calhoun or Ron Crawford would have us consider. They chose to ignore the many, many failed lawsuits brought on by a few extreme "activists" long before this moment in the sewer time-line.

If Calhoun and the CSD took the effort to ask Mr.Hensley, they would see that the CSD has mismanaged the entire saga of the Tri-W site specifically and the waste water treatment project in general. Prior to the 60 day letter of intent to sue, as required by Federal Law, they would have responded to his first letter asking that the CSD work with the Fish and Game Department to find a solution to the problem. Chuck chose to blow off the letter and ignore another of many warning signs the CSD has ignored over the past 2 years. Mr Hensley was then put in the position as a responsible member of the CoastKeeper associaton of having to send the 60 day letter of intent to sue to protect an endangered species as required by Federal Law. The answer is simple, the CSD needs to obtain a permit to maintain the fence.

The Tri-W site was designated an ESHA by Coastal Commission during the initial sewer permitting process. The activists used that to mean nothing could be built on that site. However the government agencies involved with the permitting reached a compromise with the CSD to allow the WWTF on Tri-W with the exchange provisal that the Boderson site would be developed into the ESHA because of the over-riding community good in the need for a sewer system and sea water intrusion protection in the effort to clean up the drinking water supply. Compromise for the community good was thrown aside by the post re-call CSD and in fact, they charged ahead with their legal crusade of sueing all regulatory government agencies. The CSD said they had a plan for a sewer somewhere out of town but never produced any plan, just more lawsuits.

The efforts to sell Tri-W with no real alternative plan brought in a new twist, selling the parcel previously called an ESHA to a developer to build a commercial shopping center. So now we have the same activists who argued that the site was an ESHA wanting to develop a commercial site.

The CSD has continued to spend public funds to fight against using Tri-W for the good of the entire community, but instead to turn the once ESHA into a profit for a developer with direct ties to the CSD. While spending on lawyer fees, they ignored the Tri-W site.

Now the same group is up-set that someone outside their shriking circle of supporters is pointing out that the CSD is not doing their elected job to serve the entire community. Why wasn't Lisa Schicker demanding exactly what Gordon Hensley is now officially asking? Just why can't the CSD simply obtain the permit?

Like it or not. the CSD has the responsibility to obey ALL the laws, not a select few! This CSD is not the final legal authority and does not make laws!!!

Go obtain the permit and do what you were elected to do...

Richard LeGros said...
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lisa said...

Dear Mike - unfortunately, someone has misinformed you about what has been going on with what the LOCSD did and didn't do regarding the snails and wanting to remove the fence (costing all of us approx. $1300/month). I can respond to you personally, later and in more detail if you need it, but suffice to say our President and staff were in direct contact with USFWS, we had hired an approved and permitted snail monitor (the same firm that worked there before) and we were in complete compliance with the laws and the conditions placed on the work by USFWS.
Hensley knew this, because he had been calling USFWS daily to "report" us, continuing with incessant phone calls even after he was assured by USFWS that we were in compliance. Please also recall that NONE of the ecological damage at the TRI W site (tree removal, vegetation bulldozing, site grading, fence installation. etc,) had to occur before the recall election and there was total destruction of 11 acres!!!! of ESHA and snail habitat authorized by the old Board on a 3-2 vote - Hensley could have easily stopped it then as a Director, so coming after us and the fence now?????, - it is obvious to everyone what is going on - and it is sad that Gordon hangs onto revenge. I only we wish he would please move on to other more meaningful projects. But please do not assume that we did not follow the laws or that we somehow "blew-off" the agencies - not true at all - we were in direct contact with the responsible agencies. Our President Chuck Cesena can also provide you with more details if you need them, but please, next time, go to the source for the info you seek, we would be more than happy to provide you with any info that you need. Thanks very much from Lisa Schicker LOCSD Director

Richard LeGros said...
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Richard LeGros said...
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Rick said...

Sigh.

This is perhaps the lamest side story to a relatively lame spat amongst people who are blessed enough to live in a nice place.

And people wonder why most of the people in Los Osos aren't paying attention? Heap all the scorn you want, but most of us don't have time to obsess over what shenanigan the latest old coot has pulled.

I, on the contrary, have developed a great deal of contempt for those involved. While I continue to believe that the Water Board's trampling of Constitutional rights must be stopped at all costs, the rest of these school yard Hatfield and McCoy sideshows need to stop.

Please, grow the f--- up.

Mike said...

Dear Lisa...

You skirted the snail/fence issue and never said that the CSD has or has not applied for the permit.

Very simple... Yes or No...???

Shark Inlet said...

I'm going to have to chime in support for Rick here.

I think that Richard has a very good point for sewer-wonks ... that the LOCSD seems incapable of doing what they are required to do by law ...

But Ann ... do you really think that this matter is worth a full column? And ... if it is worth a full column ... why just criticize Gordon for his actions? Why not criticize the current LOCSD board for their choice to try to skirt federal laws?

Mike Green said...

So just what the heck dose Gordo think he is going to accomplish?
Force a bankrupt CSD to get a permit it can't afford?

Rick is right! Some folks need to get a life!

Richard LeGros said...
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Mike said...

The issue is NOT the escargot tartar...!!!

The real issue is a CSD spending funds on lawyers like Shanna Sullivan to continue fighting the RWQCB and putting waaaaayyyyy too much emphasis on a waste water project they will NOT see returned to the District to plan.

The CSD is beyond bankrupt, it's broke, insolvent, and has no way to recover...!!!! If anyone disputes that, then present an accounting that shows they have enough to keep the doors open beyond September 30...!!!

Shark Inlet said...

Mike Green,

I can't say what Gordon wants or expects ... but I can say what I would be thinking had I alerted the LOCSD to their possible violation of federal law. I would expect the LOCSD to change their illegal ways.

You are right that this smacks of political retribution, but we can't be sure. What we can be sure of is this ... the LOCSD shouldn't be allowed to violate laws just because they aren't in a financial position to pay for the permit work. (And who would be responsible for keeping enough money on hand to pay for necessary things? Perhaps the LOCSD.) As Richard suggests, it doesn't seem right to say "well, you're poor, so it's okay that you killed a man for his boots" when we would punish OJ Simpson for a similar murder. (Oops ... poorly chosen example ... please forgive.)

The LOCSD should have seen this financial need and planned for it. They should have also initiated the permit process far sooner if they really wanted to save money ... um ... or they could have not let the TriW CDP expire. That would have been a quick way to save $50k.

Too bad that the good folks at the LOCSD office and on the board are a batch of dim-bulbs who are not used to dealing with federal and state government regulations because otherwise they would have seen this one coming a mile off. I can't blame the temporary GM because she is not an expert in such things. The CalTrans employees who happen to also be LOCSD directors, on the other hand, can be blamed 100% for this fiasco.

Mike Green said...

To Richard and Sharkey and Mike,
You all make good valid points, but isn't this like beating a dead horse? If the CSD is broke and dysfunctional, why sue for action that you ALREADY know won't happen?
Egos and smoke and mirrors, we've seen it a hundred times on both sides, quite frankly, I'm tired of it!
Richard, I hope you never go faster than 70MPH in your car, you will be breaking the federal law!

Nitpicking is alive and well in LO.

I'm not defending the CSD, I'm saying this is a poor time for petty distractions, evidently Gordo failed to learn the same political lesson that Richard got an F in
Political Timing, Don't give the opposition ammo and time.
Good time to put their backs up Gordon, Thanks, now go sit down!

Conspiracy Boy said...

Yes, distractions...Gordon MIGHT file a suit...and all this -- over what? Besides, didn't the Dreamers' little darlin', Joe Sparks, vote to take the fence down too? Or was it all another set-up for this board?

The county is about to force a mega project on this town and many, many people will get their homes taken away from them -- even if they can't pay up to $9,000. for their laterals -- and the ballots are SO QUESTIONABLE! Hey, what about the owed $6.5 million? Has the county mentioned that? If its pennies on the dollar in Bankruptcy court, the county still is putting that on our bill? Where? It's not in the assessment... And what about the 15% administrative costs for the county? Not in the assessment either. Anyone who thinks $25,000 is the price is nuts. We're liable (PZ) for everything and anything - any accidents (like before with the flooding) and on and on and on.
Talk about a "blank check".

Yes, distractions. That always works on the people in Los Osos!

Yes, distract from what's really happening to us and maybe we won't notice!

The county is in a big hurry to put in this sewer that won't correct any problems -- right Gordon? Isn't that what you admitted to??

The nitrates are from other sources and you all know it-- what a hoax! I resent getting taxed out of my house because of the farmers up the creek with their horses and cattle. And that damn California lilly! And storm run-off in the illegal test wells.

Who benefits? The developers, the realtors, and everyone who gets a nice kick-back, because it's all based on one big fat lie.

And to Richard: You talk about following the law? God help us all!

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

You're theory of how nitrates enter our aquifer doesn't match the data. In particular, if the nitrates were agricultural in origin the nitrate readings would be higher East of town instead of lower like they are.

Just thought I would toss a fact out there ...

Conspiracy Boy said...

Shark Inlet:

They are higher east of town. Where have you been? They're higher below Cabrillo too.

How about Morro Bay's problem? They blame their nitrate problem on agriculture, but how does that get through the mountains to Morro Bay?
Hmmmm....

Just thought I'd toss that out there...

I say it's all a hoax.

I say the Regional Plan that Paavo and the county seem to want is a hoax. They don't want anyone in the county to spend a dime on Los Osos, yet want to allow everyone in the County to bring their shit here to Los Osos. How nice. I'm sure we'll pay much more in energy costs, etc. for a regional plant too.

By the way, who paid for all the wastewater systems in other cities in the county? Just wondering...

Conspiracy Boy said...

Shark Inlet:

P.S. It's so very interesting on what you care to address -- and what you don't care to address.

Hmmmm.....

Mike said...

Conspiracy Boy is a Payne,,,,

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

Are you saying that the nitrate levels in the upper aquifer are higher East of town than in town? And that this same aquifer stretches to underneath Cabrillo and that the test wells into the same aquifer underneath Cabrillo are revealing higher nitrates than in the heart of Los Osos?

Sewertoons said...

cb, please cite your sources for your faulty claims as to where the nitrates are coming from and the configuration of your version of the aquifer - and the rule for septic efficacy is generally one house per acre, FYI. There are up to 8 houses per acre in LO.

Oh yeah, now you are going to rant about how the County permitted this. Spare us please, we have heard it before and I'm sure you have told them too. Will that fix the problem? No. So let's just get past the anger and move on to a solution. Vote YES on 218. My guess, if we don't, is the State will coming in and doing the job. Look forward to Tri-W. If you want ANY say in the matter, vote YES and ask for step.

Conspiracy Boy said...

Sewertoons,

Who in the state can come in and take over? Let's hear it. That's bullshit. (Maybe Sam can do another piece of legislation and keep it hidden, but that's the only way the state could come in and take over, otherwise the state would have to pay for the sewer.)

You're for the big hoax and you & hubby will gain (or perhaps already have.) Too bad you and SharkInlet are so uneducated. You want to see the facts? They're out there...guess you haven't read the reports and studies -- how convenient. How corrupt.

The county WILL NOT DO STEP. You and I both know that.

Vote No to the hoax. Vote No to Tri-W. Vote No to a $500 a month bill (maybe more when all is said and done.)

Vote No to the economic cleansing.

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

Presumably you have read the various studies and reports on the nitrates in our aquifer. Which ones indicate the nitrate levels are higher under Cabrillo and East of town?

I have to admit that I've not read all of them, but the most recent Cleath report along with the report generated by the Ripley folks all showed the nitrate levels higher underneath the town. Ripley even went so far as to suggest sewering the highest nitrate regions the first and they were all in the heart of the number streets.

Unless you would like to point us to a specific study that demonstrates your claim I will consider the matter closed. If you're going to pull some sort of "the facts are out there, you just need to look" crap, I'll suggest that if someone is trying to look, that sort of answer is ... um ... unhelpful at best.

Shark Inlet said...

Oh ... one more thing ... for Conspiracy Boy.

You asked who in the state could come in and take over. I've already answered this question for you a few times. Via special legislation (like what was required to take the project from the LOCSD and give it to the County) the project could again be taken from the LOCSD and given to ANY part of the government that is specified by the legislation.

I would think that DWP, Corrections or the UC has folks who could handle this sort of problem. While you suggest (in the past) that DWP hasn't done sewers in the past, that doesn't mean that they won't if ordered to do so by the legislature and governator. The benefit of choosing Corrections or the UC is that both groups have sewer and construction experience.

On the matter of who would have to pay for a sewer if the State came in ... we would. Even if we didn't approve an assessment via a 218 vote, they could always spread the construction costs over 20 years and raise the monthly service fees to cover construction and O&M. No 218 vote would be necessary at all and if someone didn't want to tie in, the RWQCB could then issue a CDO or CAO or whatever the heck they feel like.

If we vote "no" on the 218 it will go from ugly to uglier ... and the "economic cleansing" you write of will become even more common. Because of the actions of many in our town over the last 10 years (including both Pandora and Julie) the costs have grown and grown and grown. Stop the nightmare and vote "yes"!

Conspiracy Boy said...

SharkInlet:

I do hope Sam steps in and does some legislation.

The bigger they are the harder they'll fall.

Too much fraud going on here and it will be exposed.

Mike said...

Sure is... let's see what a State Audit of the CSD reveals...

Shark Inlet said...

Um ...

Conspiracy boy ... are you going to tell us what evidence backs up your claim that the nitrate levels are higher East of town and in Cabrillo than in the center of Los Osos?

Mike said...

CB Payne doesn't have any "evidence", he only wants to complain...

Shark Inlet said...

If Conspiracy Boy doesn't step up and tell us where there is evidence that backs up his claim of higher nitrates East of town and in Cabrillo ... or apologize for making a mis-statement ... I would suggest that enough of what he writes is so full of crap that he should be ignored by others until he backs up his earlier claim.

Richard LeGros said...
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Richard LeGros said...
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Conspiracy Boy said...

Shark Inlet:

I've got a deal for you (since YOU like to make deals...)

I'll share my reports with you when you share your reports about the millions of gallons of septic discharge going into the bay. Show me that, and I'll show you what I've got. How does that sound?!

You are a phoney. I bet you don't live in the PZ, and if you do, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you are Pandora or hubby.

You say that you don't know any of these people...yeah right...

And Richard, you are just a liar, a Pandora sidekick, a man who sold out the town for some bucks for himself (just like the girl in the background calling all the shots...) You're so damn confident with your strong relationships with Blakeslee and the county.

The truth will come and bite you in the butt.

You are a key player with Pandora and the county and the RWQCB in the big hoax pulled on the people of Los Osos. You moved out of the PZ and want to destroy thousands of lives. You two are just beautiful. By the way, how does she tell Roger Briggs what to do and he jumps?! What's up with that Richard?!

The facts are all here Richard, but you threw them all away so you could force a big fat expensive sewer down our throats when we NEVER needed a centralized plant. You fed the lie. All the lies. You are a lie.

Regards,
ConspiracyBoy

Richard LeGros said...
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Mike said...

CD Payne...

You should be encouraged to continue the lawsuits against the RWQCB with all your evidence. In fact, you should join with the LOCSD to hire yet another lawyer as soon as possible. I'm sure Gail will be a big supporter. Mrs.Tacker, the mouth of the CSD, will be right there with all the remaining District funds. Yes Bruce, since you feel so strongly that you are right and have all the evidence needed to show the PZ is not causing pollution, go for it!!! Sue the pants off the RWQCB... You won the last round didn't you...???

You will be able to take out a 2nd or 3rd mortgage and press on in your personal quest to halt any sewer in Los Osos... Please rally the CSD to spend even more in the crusade... We are all right behind you...!!! Keep on spending... BTW, for how much would you be willing to sell your house right now...????

Conspiracy Boy said...

Richard:

Thousands of peoples' lives destroyed. Thousands.

Not just the riff-raff you and your friends in Cabrillo want out -- it will be working families with young children -- and it will be seniors that stand to lose everything because of what the RWQCB and you and Pandora did to the real estate market.

There's such a flood of houses on the market and it will only get worse. Good thing you're comfortable in Cabrillo! Comfortable in Cabrillo -- has a nice ring doesn't it? And doesn't Jon Seitz mom live there too? Yeah, protect your rich friends that believe in economic cleansing.

Yeah Richard, thousands of people. How do you live with yourself when you know it's all been based on lies and it's a big hoax?

You know as well as I do, that the SWRCB insisted on Tri-W with Montgomery Watson Harza -- why?! Why, when the water board is SUPPOSED to let the community decide? It's never been about this board fighting the state, it's been about the state fighting the homeowners to force a very bad project in the middle of town (with your help and let's NEVER forget Pandora!!)

Don't blame this mess or cost on the new board. Pandora told Roger to have the county take the project days before and after the recall. The bankruptcy was planned (and is in writing) by Roger Briggs and Pandora. The stratagies we all worked out a long time ago. The SWRCB's hands are not clean. Your hands are not clean.

The truth always prevails, it just might take a while.

So, who is full of bullshit?! It's you Richard.

Mike said...

Potty Mouth loser....!!!!

Shark's right, you should be ignored...!!!!

Mike Green said...

Naw, let him rant, the more shrill the better, in fact egg him on.
Come on CB is that all you got?

Richard LeGros said...
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Sewertoons said...

cb, if you had real evidence you would be more than willing to share it with all of us to convince us that what you say is true. You point us to no websites, you post no pdf's on the Trib blog, you name no reports - in short, you are telling us with actions (that speak so much louder than words) that you've got NOTHING.

Do you not recall the Arroyo Grande creek clean-up? The State did come in first and was only put off the case by the town agreeing to and following through with a 218 vote to assess themselves to clean up the creek. After the clean-up, their cost to do it themselves was far less that what the State was intending to charge them.

You and your ilk are calling for this project to be far more expensive by a no vote - inviting an already irate State to come in and do this job for us. You serve no one with your unfounded assertions of economic cleansing, in fact you undermine the very process which will provide assistance to those unable to pay.

Until you show us "proof," you are only causing more people to vote YES on 218 with your rantings, which is clearly not your intent.

Shark Inlet said...

Conspiracy Boy,

First off, no deal. I have no obligation to present to you reports that demonstrate something I never claimed.

Second ... if you want people to take you seriously, you ought to back up your claims when asked.

As to your suggestion that I don't live in the PZ or that I am some sort of Karner ... I do live in the PZ and have never met either Karner.

That being said, you've got the opportunity to prove yourself as more than hot air. Where are those reports that show the nitrate levels higher East of town? Either put up or admit having misrepresented the facts (most likely it was unintentional, of course).