CSD Director Tacker’s Request to the RWQCB
The following editorial Viewpoint was sent to the media, directed at the RWQCB for their Friday meeting at Aero Vista Place in SLOTown, with the Los Osos Wastewater Project update report from the county team and BOS Gibson due in the afternoon session.
On Friday, (September 7, 2007) the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) will be meeting at their Aero Vista offices in San Luis Obispo. The Los Osos Waste Water Project Update given by SLO Co. Public Works Director, Paavo Ogren and District 2 Supervisor, Bruce Gibson is on the afternoon agenda. The update will inform the Regional Board the status of the County’s work -- under the guise of the Blakeslee bill AB2701 thus far.
The County will explain their next step is the Proposition 218 election process and its $25,000 lien facing property owners of developed property (no vacant lots) in the Los Osos “Prohibition Zone.”
The 218 vote is a public vote, the ballots will be printed with Assessors Parcel Numbers, property owner names, and voters will be asked to sign their ballots and return them to be counted by October 23rd. The ballots will become part of the County public record and subject to the California Public Records Act, giving anyone who asks access to them to see which voters voted and how.
The RWQCB has held the community of Los Osos hostage to threats of fines (equating to millions of dollars) for nearly 20 years if we don’t build a community-wide sewer. In fact they have no authority over type of sewer the community builds; their only charge is that we discontinue discharge to our groundwater. These “threats” translate to “fear” of the public ballot and likely voters will participate if they know the RWQCB can look at their ballot and perhaps target them for the next round of enforcement.
In the spirit of cooperation and democracy without fear, I would ask that the RWQCB publicly state at Friday’s meeting that they will not seek access to the ballots. That they direct their “prosecution” staff to take a “hands off” approach to the process and let the will of the voters be. If the vote is successful, the County will stay their course. If the vote is unsuccessful, the Los Osos Community Services District will be charged to pick up the pieces of projects old and new and move ahead as quickly and sensibly as is reasonable. Continued threats of enforcement from the RWQCB distract the community from a necessary focus.
The overarching issue facing Los Osos (at large -- not a select “zone”) is a severe water shortage, the “threat” that hangs over this community should not be fear of the RWQCB and its enforcement actions; the real fear is sea water intrusion that plagues our only source of drinking water.
The community realizes millions of dollars in infrastructure needs to be spent and that those dollars must be spent in a direction that includes a waste water system to collect, treat, and dispose the treated waste water in places where it can be used again and again. The 30+ year, multi-million dollar, “Sewer Saga” isn’t about sewers, nitrates, politics or fines, it is about a sensible solution at a reasonable cost in the most effective location that protects our drinking supply.
Los Osos Community Services District
36 year resident of Los Osos
Additional Point by CCW-PZLDF Gail McPherson
From a recent email on the request to rescind the CDO’s and CAO’s of The Los Osos 45 at Friday’s hearing. If 83-13 is the basis for that assessment, then the County is the “responsible” party. Question of the year: Will the RWQCB finally get with the “virtuous cycle” and off the “vicious cycle” and actually fix their mistake?
McPherson will be on The Dave Congalton Show, KVEC 920 am at 5 pm. today, Wednesday, Sept 5, so any interested callers should call in with questions regarding this water board meeting. It may well be THE critical meeting before the 218 vote and could have profound implications on that vote.
Additionally, by vacating the individual enforcement against all property owners with enforcement orders the RWQCB would go a long way toward allowing a decision free from illegal threats and intimidation. Further,the position by the Board to not base any future enforcement against individuals on how they vote needs to be stated as well as enforcement placed rightly on the governmental agency empowered to carry out the needs of the community.
The basis of the assessment is CCRWQCB resolution 83-13, and that was specifically included in the assessment engineers report. 83-13 is directed at the County NOT individuals, and as such the water board should make amotion to vacate all enforcement. The board should direct staff to prepare a simple letter vacating the orders, and allowing anyone with an order who objects to it being vacated afforded the opportunity to be heard. Otherwise the signed acknowledgement of the rescission of the order would be simply returned by mail.ASK FOR THIS PLEASE!!! It may not occur to the Board they could actually fix their mistake.