Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Design Build for A Los Osos Sewer Speedway?

Paavo Ogren has spoken often of design/build and public/private methods that can lead to both cheaper and faster projects. Once the 218 passes, it’s more than likely that the County will be pursuing such strategies. [from 2007 Business wire]

CELSOC: Public-Private Partnerships and Design-Build Speed Delivery of Infrastructure Projects

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California (CELSOC) applaud Governor Schwarzenegger's call for efficient project delivery. Now that the voters have given our elected officials the financing tools to improve our infrastructure, it is important to quickly deliver the infrastructure that will carry California into the future.

California can deliver projects quickest by mobilizing both public and private resources. Public-private partnerships give agencies access to the expertise, flexibility and financial resources of the private sector to deliver projects on time and within budget.

These partnerships have been used successfully throughout the United States and the world. Many public agencies have sped up the delivery of infrastructure projects by accessing private sector resources. At other times, utilizing private resources made it possible for agencies to even deliver the projects at all. The public agency determines the types of services it needs for the project at hand and by law may only access those services following an open, competitive process.

Design-build is a proven technique that works particularly well with large projects. The public agency competitively selects and then contracts with one entity for both the engineering design and the construction of a project. Design-build allows many facets of the project to be worked simultaneously, instead of sequentially.

The State Route 22 in Orange County is just one successful example, among many, of design-build. SR-22 was recently completed in just 800 days, roughly half the time the project would have taken with traditional delivery methods. The project increases traffic flow and speed, eliminates bottlenecks, adds high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes, makes ramps easier to navigate and widens bridges.

Although to date California has fallen behind the rest of country in fully utilizing public-private partnerships and design-build to promptly deliver needed infrastructure, California now has an opportunity to catch up.

CELSOC encourages the Governor and Legislature to fully authorize agencies to utilize the most modern and advanced project delivery techniques available. We look forward to working together to deliver California's infrastructure efficiently and cost-effectively.

CELSOC is a 52-year-old, statewide association dedicated to enhancing the consulting engineering and land surveying professions, protecting the general public and promoting the use of the private sector in the growth and development of our state. For more information, visit
COPYRIGHT 2007 Business WireCOPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group

Chugga-Chugga, Bay News Moves To SLOTown.

The Bay News, i.e. The Resurrection News, The Little Community Paper That Refuses to Die has steamed out of Morro Bay and into SLOTown to the offices of the SLO City News, along with The Coast News (5 cities area, part of The Bay News) wherein it has and will morph into a hybrid regional paper under the Tolusa Press. More on this in next week’s Can(n)on (posted here Thursday, Oct 18, God willing.) Meantime, check out Thursday’s edition, if they had time to put anything in it to note the changes, since they happened so fast. A hair on fire move, that’s for sure.

CSD May Elect A Pope! Or At Least Send Smoke Signals

I hope everyone in Sewerville, my beloved Bangladesh By The Bay, will plan to attend the Oct 4th CSD meeting at 7:30 pm. at the Community Center. The agenda item will be the CSD Board’s vote on “their” property and I think community input will be crucial.

The Tribune reports that several board members are thinking of abstaining because they don’t want to influence the homeowner’s votes one way or the other. I have stated here that the Board’s vote will likely be seen by many “undecideds” in the community as a signal (Black smoke? White smoke?) like the signal sent out the Vatican’s chimney when the bishops are locked inside picking a new pope. Indeed, the vote will be a kind of smoke signal. But it’s an important one.

The CSD has scheduled another meeting on the 18th to discuss what they intend to do should the vote fail. Since the ballots have to be in before the 23, with the cut-off date the 21st I think, (unless hand delivered) that date is waaaaayyyyy too late to be of use to the community. So, I’m betting a lot of discussion on the 4th will veer off to cover that topic – indeed, it’s actually ON TOPIC since it’s vital that the community know earlier than later what options are available to the CSD before they vote on anything having to do with collective property, should that vote fail.

Apropos that, here’s my observation: If I read the recall vote right, the majority of voters wanted a cheapER sewer system, OUT OF TOWN, and a voice in choosing which type. (Measure B would have given them an “actual” vote; the County can only give them a “survey” and a promise to seriously consider that survey’s results). So, cheapER, out of town, choice.

The county has set in place a Process to go through the various options that have been already looked at (the TAC) and the Process requires that other alternatives be looked at before some final projects float to the top for a (hopefully) final vetting by Dr. T and his group (something I will vigorously lobby for) before being presented for a “survey” choice.

CEQA comparisons and evaluations cost money, vetting options requires money, doing a community survey requires money. If the 218 fails, the project reverts back to the CSD, which has no money. How could they continue the Process started by the county? If they couldn’t continue that Process, and could only put out a few RFPs for some plan or another, thereby short-circuiting everything, then clearly the public wouldn’t have an opportunity to be surveyed on anything – they’d get handed whatever the CSD decided to hand them, which is exactly what happened with the recalled CSD, and which runs counter to what the community voted for with Measure B and the recall. In short, the county has the resources to carry though the Process the community apparently wanted (and likely wanted from day one only the original CSD never had the resources to do that properly), while the CSD doesn’t have any resources.

If that Process is what you voted for via Measure B & the recall, then it’s important for you to show up and let the CSD know that. If they have some way of continuing to deliver that Process if the 218 fails, then they need to ‘splain that Thursday night as well.

And Now, One For The Funny Bone, Maybe

AP, Santa Ana: “Three bloggers who sit on city boards and commissions have been asked to tone down Web ridicule of Santa Ana officials. The bloggers have used the Web site for inflammatory commentary on the motives of city officials and alleged favoritism in awarding city contracts, among other things.”

What makes this odd is that the bloggers in question were bloggers before they got appointed to the various commissions and continued their blogs after they got appointed. What’s nice is that the bloggers aren’t just some bunch of Anonymice hurling poopy-bombs.

But the question that went unanswered in this snippet of a story is this: Do these known bloggers only chew on the ankles of the city council members and commissioners who DIDN’T appoint them, that is, are they acting as political cats paws for their masters, or do they gleefully chew on the ankles of everybody on the council, including those who appointed them?

If it’s the former, then the voters will likely need to clean up that act. If it’s the latter, then you’ve likely got a new breed of cat: Bean-Spilling, Muckraking, Whistle-blowing Insiders!

Uh-oh, Hide the Silverware? Or, Hey, How Can We Hire Those Guys?


TCG said...

I just moved this post up from the Saturday article, as it is more appropriate to today's new topic.

Interesting article this morning in the Trib regarding the CSD Board members' takes on their CSD property assessment votes.

If I have this correct, one Board member says that she will vote no,
because the CSD can't afford the $4,000 per year assessment for sewer service. Apparently, she thinks that the alternative if the vote fails of fines and huge administrative and legal expenses associated with the CSD being responsible for the project will be less costly.

Another director thinks that they should abstain so that they won't be accused of electioneering. If I'm not mistaken, this board member had no problem campaigning in a big way to get elected to the Board specifically to stop a certain project, then advocated heavily for a recall vote to pass. This is not electioneering?

This is not the kind of leadership that I believe is in our town's best interest, and is the primary reason that we desperately need the vote to pass and have an experienced, knowledgeable (not to mention solvent) agency running the project.

I also agree with Ann that if people who voted for the recall are honest with themselves, the only course that meakes sense now is to to vote yes because of the attributes that the County project would have.

Shark Inlet said...

If Chuck, Steve and Lisa vote no or abstain on the issue, the three of them are showing themselves to be ... um ... wishy-washy at best. A yes vote would be the only consistent option for someone who supported AB2701 as the three of them did in the form of a CSD resolution.

Anyone with a conscience could not vote yes then but vote no or abstain now without giving a cogent explanation for their change.

Of course, I expect too much sometimes.

However, because of the lack of clarity from the LOCSD home office about what they would do should the 218 vote fail, I've been thinking about what the LOCSD home office could do should the 218 vote fail.

If the 218 vote were to fail ... because we would still be under a RWQCB mandate to hook up by 2011 (because, in part, of a post-recall LOCSD claima that they could have a sewer online by 2010), they need to take quick and decisive action. Unfortunately they have no funds now. The first thing they would need to to is to have a 218 vote to borrow enough money to design and permit a sewer and WWTF. They would need to borrow some $20M just to get that done.

If they wanted to go with a design/build option, they would still need funds to get folks in Sacramento to approve a design/build option for us. Even so, the design/build folks wouldn't likely have anything online by 2011 (no matter what Ron says).

What is sort of ironic about the argument commonly made against the 218 vote is that they apply equally well, if not better to an argument for a yes vote. Arguing against a "yes" vote because we don't have a site/technology locked in doesn't lock in any site or technology. Arguing that the cost isn't fixed doesn't fix the cost. A desire to fix the cost and to influence the site and technology is most likely to be met via a vote to continue working with the County who has been pretty up front with us all along.

Sewertoons said...

Shark, your logic is impeccable, as always. Anyone who uses "We don't know the cost or the location" to vote no, smacks of someone who doesn't want a sewer at worst, or at best, wants only their idea of a perfect sewer no matter what the cost.

I'm tired of being held hostage by these people.

Mike Green said...

Personally, I think the LOCSD board should voluntarily
state that they will resign in mass if the 218 fails.
It would basically go right back to the county as they would be responsible for appointing replacements.
Can you imagine where we would be now if the solution group had resigned when the ponds of Avalon flamed out?
When EGOS beat logic.

Shark Inlet said...

In Chuck's Viewpoint in this morning's paper (read the last three paragraphs in particular) he shows that he doesn't agree with the County's understanding of CEQA rules. The County claims that because TriW has already been permitted, it is, de facto, a viable project.

Unfortunately Chuck provided no evidence that would allow us to confirm he is right. I also think it fair to say that the County is likely far more familiar with CEQA than Chuck ... after all, Paavo has explained the County position ... the response to Chuck and Ron's claim that TriW should be dropped ... several times in great detail during the Supervisors meetings.

So, presenting no evidence at all, Chuck is telling us that the County is simply wrong. Hmmm.

I wonder what would happen should the 218 vote fail. If the project goes back to the LOCSD and they were to go thru the CEQA process having dropped TriW from the running, would there be a delay because of their choice to not follow CEQA rules? Quite likely so even if TriW isn't the best choice. It makes me wonder whether Chuck's goal isn't further delay or killing TriW no matter what it costs (isn't that word for word what he said?) instead of getting the 218 vote to pass and getting the best project for our community.

Simply put ... if TriW is as bad as the critics say it is, there is no way the citizens, property owners and County will prefer that site. If it really is more expensive (after a more careful look), we'll reject it.

Chuck may be saying that if the County were to just drop TriW, the 218 vote would be more likely to pass. He forgets, however, that doing something illegal that violates the proper process has negative consequences that might outweigh expediency. Has there been another situation in the last few years where Chuck has made this same mistake?

TCG said...

The County is not going to change it's process with three weeks to go in the election period, and Mr. Cesena knows this.

By saying that they should, he is probably costing the effort "yes" votes. Does he realize this? If so, he is a "no project" man.

Mike Green said...

It would be interesting to know just how many property owners would let the LOCSD influence their vote.
I think el tiburon may be right in guessing that the 49% that voted against recall are united and are bolstered by folks(like me) that have changed their opinion of the CSD.

Mike said...

Could someone answer how the CSD can pay $9,583 per month for a General Manager...???

Apparently they can't afford to pay for the Tri-W fence permit, but they can hire a GM...???

By the way... could someone let Tacker know that the CSD does not pay property taxes, the CSD as a government agency is exempt from property taxes... Maybe she is just "electioneering"...

Sewertoons said...

How much was the last one supposed to get?

Mike said...

Even more if memory serves me... so are you saying that the CSD is actually saving the District money...????