Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Two Popes Down, One To Go

Like days of old, when the archbishops gathered in the Vatican and locked themselves into the stronghold to pick a new pope, they would signal how the vote was going by burning ballots. Black smoke meant, no vote yet; white smoke meant we have a pope.

So far, as concerns the Prop 218 vote for The Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project, there are three official votes due on property owned by the public agencies with the following tally: San Luis School Board: Yes. Board of Supervisors (yesterday): Yes. CSD: Thursday night.

Humpty Dumpty? Meet Humpty Dumpty.

Ah, it looks like the battle of the century is shaping up here in Los Osos. At the board of supervisors meeting yesterday, Mr. Murphy of the AES Reclamator company, the company that’s touting the onsite Reclamator as a solution to wastewater discharges and pollution problems in the PZ, has asserted in the past that his system is above the laws governing “discharges” since it doesn’t pollute, meets all federal regulations and so it does not need any permits from the RWQCB.

Yesterday, Harvey Packard of the RWQCB asserted otherwise.

I have previously indentified the RWQCB to be like Humpty Dumpty in Alice in Wonderland’s, “Through The Looking Glass,” who would sniff that when HE used a word it meant exactly what HE said it should mean, nothing more, nothing less. The RWQCB are masters of such assertions. “Do you have any empirical evidence that Mr. Smith is “discharging” anything into the waters of the state of California?” “No.” GUILTY anyway! And so forth.

Now comes Mr. Murphy asserting that his Reclamator doesn’t pollute and so doesn’t need permits and now we’re told that Mr. Murphy has bought a home in Los Osos, will shortly be installing the Reclamator and will see the RWQCB in federal court.

Battle of the Asserting Humpty Dumptys! Get your tickets sometime in 2011 or so.

Meantime, Paavo Ogren noted that he still had not received complete data and documentation on the Reclamator and so he cannot fairly evaluate it as a viable alternative, but he will reserve judgment as to such time as he actually gets complete documentation. He did note, however, that any viable alternative systems wishing to be considered during the CEQA process must take seriously all regulations and must demonstrate with data that they meet all the regulations – even ones they may assert don’t apply. If they don’t, they’ll be out of the running.

Paavo also pointed out that treated wastewater being used above ground for onsite reuse (i.e. purple pipe to water the petunias) is subject to testing for coliform and other nasty bugs and that testing is humongously expensive so that if there were 5,000 Reclamators all over town, they might work perfectly fine, BUT the bill for testing the water coming out of the purple pipe would be extremely high. Even subsurface disposal would require a certain degree of testing and monitoring, all of which would be expensive.

So, the battle of Mr. Murphy and Mr. Packard may be shaping up: Humpty Dumpty? Meet Humpty Dumpty. Is so. Is not. Uh-huh. Nuh-hunh. No. Yes. Sez who? Sez Me. Show me the data. Don’t need to. Do so. Nuh-hunh. Make me. No. Yes.

On the other hand, AB885 is coming down the pike which means that all septic tanks outside the PZ and in the basin and anywhere in an impaired watershed in the state of California will come under the control of their respective RWQCB’s. Which means that everyone outside the PZ will come under the tender mercies of Roger Briggs.

If the Reclamator works as advertised and the data supports its use, it may be a viable system that can be used by folks outside the PZ who will be forced to upgrade their systems with new technology and RWQCB follow up testing & etc.

Also, on the other hand, if Mr. Murphy installs his Reclamator in his newly bought house and keeps data and test results on the output to document what the system is doing, by 2011 he’ll have built up a clear data stream that can be refuted or not, as it will be confirmed and verifiable information and/or a track record over that three year period. That shouldn’t be anything to sneeze at.

Still On The Table

1. Design build. Right now, the plan is for design build competition for parts of this sytem, i.e. collection system, and/or treatment plant, etc. However, it’s still open whether design/build companies can’t also come in with whole projects.

2. Peer Review by Dr. T and the highly respected National Water Research Institute

3. According to Vicky Shelby of the County Clerk’s Office, regarding the “threats” made by some anonymous folk to make the 218 vote “public” and hold people “legally accountable” or attempt to “embarrass them” if they “voted the wrong way,” etc. (you read one such stupid threat on this site by an “anonymous” poster who I 86’ed off this blogsite because of it), the clerk will keep a log of people who want to view the ballots, so you can check to see who’s checking, providing the checkers don’t lie about who they are and use “anonymous” fake names. Whee! Maybe we’ll end up with the “outers” being “outed” by the “outeees.” And other childish bully-boy games. (And you wonder why people roll their eyes at Los Osos?)

4. The community survey will come before there may be really hard numbers, but according to Paavo, a professional survey team can write a survey that will be highly sensitive to various costs. ( The SLO Coastal School District did that with their Measure A bond issue, years ago. Alas, then Superintendent Denton ignored the findings and cranked the tax rate up to the maximum because he knew better what the community wanted than did the people being surveyed and his rubber-stamp school board majority went along – Why not since it meant more money in their coffers). In this case, unlike Dr. Denton, the County wouldn’t directly benefit from such a blatant ploy. so will likely be more mindful of the survey results.)

Oh, No, It’s Medea Still On The Battlements!

Tuesday’s Tribune story, “No refunds for those who paid for failed sewer,” noted that “Recalled district board member Gordon Hensley, who was one of the first property owners to file a nearly $3,300 claim last year, said the decision Monday [not to refund the money] wasn’t the most favorable but gives him hope that he and other property owners may be refunded if their is no successful bankruptcy plan.”

Here’s what I don’t get about this whole “refund issue.” Somebody correct me, but wasn’t the original assessment vote to get funds to begin to design and buy land for “a [unspecified] wastewater treatment project?” So, wasn’t the money spent (and/or earmarked/committed) long ago on “designs?” And wasn’t it spent on buying land? And mitigation? And whatever preliminary stuff needed to get done to move along “a [unspecified] wastewater treatment project?” And since the project wasn’t specified in the original assessment (much like this present assessment) would somebody please tell me why anyone thinks the money should be refunded. Didn’t it buy exactly what it was supposed to buy? Designs? Land?

I mean, it wasn’t like Gordon and other CSD members took that money and went to France. And if part of what it bought later wasn’t used or maybe turned out to be un-usable, is there anything in that original assessment ballot as it was written that said, If this or that part isn’t ultimately used in whatever the final project turns out to be, then I’ll get a refund on the various components that were discarded or unusable by the time the opening ribbon is cut?

Well, maybe the bankruptcy judge can ‘splain that to the community.

And On the Radio

Paavo Ogren and Supervisor Bruce Gibson are scheduled to be guests on the Dave Congalton Show, KVEC radio, 920 am on Thursday afternoon at 5:30. And remember, CSD meeting Thursday night at the community center for the CSD’s vote on their 218 ballots.


Steve said...

The Tribune said... “Recalled district board member Gordon Hensley, who was one of the first property owners to file a nearly $3,300 claim last year, said the decision Monday [not to refund the money] wasn’t the most favorable but gives him hope that he and other property owners may be refunded if their is no successful bankruptcy plan.”

Uuuuuuh, if there is no successful bankruptcy plan, there will also be no money left for you to try and get your grubby little hands on.

Like most things Gordon is up to lately, his main goal is to destroy the CSD... so I am sure he is trying as hard as he can to sabotage the bankruptcy.

His conflicting statement he made to the Tribune doesn't make sense. And should make everyone question his true motives.

In fact, isn't he on the bankruptcy committee?

Doesn't he now have a conflict of interest?

If he told the Tribune the only way he can recover his $3,300.00 is for the bankruptcy to fail, should he really be on the committe that is responsible for evaluating the viability of the CSD's bankruptcy plan?

If he likely won't recover a dime if the bankruptcy fails, but wants to sue the CSD anyway when that happens, can we really trust anything he says?

Gordon claims to have the best interest of Los Osos in mind, but follow the actions he's taken to the end... where do they lead?

He wants money, he wants land, he wants power. None of those things are good for the people of Los Osos... not now, not ever.

TCG said...

Some observations after watching yesterday's BOS meeting:

-There are about 10-15 people from our town who are still in denial after seeing for over a year that the County's process is legitimate & reasonable. They always will be.

-If the County was proposing the "Reclamator" as the suitable technology for Los Osos, those money grabbing carpetbaggers would have been run out of town on a rail long ago. "Any port in a storm" was never more apt.

-The CSD, and particularly Ms. Tacker, is not representing us responsibly as she lobbies to oppose the vote of the CSD Board regarding their assessments. With no plan in place to beat the RWQCB deadline, those facilities will be subject to CDO's and our public money will be paying fines and worse if the 218 vote fails.

-There are apparently still some people out here who don't get it that,if the vote fails, the County is done with us (Mr. Cesena).

Mike said...

Sorry Steve, but you are very confused about Mr.Hensley and his motives.

As for the wanting the CSD to fail, they, Ms.Schicker & MRS.Tacker have already assured and in fact destroyed the CSD as a viable local government. They FAILED all by themselves. They declared bankruptcy all by themselves. They have never produced any reasonable PLAN for either a sewer or resolving the BANKRUPTCY.

BTW, did the CSD ever obtain the permit to protect the endangered Morro Shoulder Banded snails or are they still in denial of Federal Law?

Mike Green said...

Also, on the other hand, if Mr. Murphy installs his Reclamator in his newly bought house and keeps data and test results on the output to document what the system is doing, by 2011 he’ll have built up a clear data stream that can be refuted or not, as it will be confirmed and verifiable information and/or a track record over that three year period. That shouldn’t be anything to sneeze at.

Of course it will be FAR too late for L.O.
The boat will have already sailed.

2011 is the halfway built date in order to avoid Water Board ACTION (an agreement brokered with the COUNTY not L.O.)
That means fines, and possible revocation of any ability to discharge ANYTHING.
The water laws are clear in California, discharging anything into a known water source is NOT A RIGHT it is a PRIVILEGE subject to the laws and regulations of the state as enforced by the water boards.
One of these Humptys has a hammer.

Sewertoons said...

Mr. Murphy stated that he was in Los Osos back in the 90's. Why didn't he try to establish a beachhead with one of those things then? He would have 10 years of data by now to prove his point - one way or the other. Maybe he didn't do it because the tests cost around $260 or so per month. He couldn't afford that? Look at all the money he is spending on ads and a website! More likely he knows it wouldn't pass muster and is trying for an end run carried by a gullible public - he is looking for a base and funding for his lawsuit against the Water Board. Anyone know of a gullible town that might want to participate?

Mike said...


Vote Yes and end this nonsense!

Shark Inlet said...

On the question on the reasonability of the lawsuit to recover one's 2001 assessment now that the LOCSD stopped TriW ... I've always thought it an odd lawsuit.

Ann is dead on right that the assessment was for money to design, site and permit a sewer system and WWTF. That there were reasons the LOCSD didn't pursue that plan that the assessment bought seems besides the point.

I won't argue that the purpose of the lawsuit was to bankrupt or damage the LOCSD, but rather to make the point that once the money was borrowed, the LOCSD has the obligation of providing some actual benefit, not just a design. In short, the lawsuite was one of frustration rather.

This is much like the various lawsuits brought by folks in CCLO/CASE and LOTA. On their face value they seemed ... um ... a bit of a stretch. That being said, no one associated with any organization who has sued the LOCSD in the past really has a right to complain about others suing the LOCSD.

TCG is right that the board of supes meeting as a real hoot. It is no wonder that people view Los Osos as a parade of idiots ... the same crew of folks who seem incapable of understanding do the same act every week and then get outraged when no change occurs. If you're asking for the earth to stop spinning, don't complain when it doesn't. If you're asking the County to fight the RWQCB, you shouldn't be surprised when they don't.

A CSD vote against the 218 assessment is a vote in direct opposition to the vote to support AB2701. If Lisa, Chuck or Steve vote anything but "yes", I would like to see them explain how they can justify both votes. The only thing I can think of is that something has changed since AB2701 but I certainly can't tell what has changed. Maybe they know of something that I don't.

Mike Green, even if Murphy's magic reclamator works, Paavo has pointed out clearly that for us regular folks to use the system we'll have to shell out big bucks for regular testing. My buddy in Monarch says that their neighborhood pays out hundreds of dollars each month to have their water tested for various contaminants. We'll all have to do the same. That Pio plan is sounding better and better each day because the testing cost would be spread across more homes and when something does go wrong, the fines would be paid by those who manage the systems, not individual homeowners like with the Murphy and Low system.

Finally, let's talk about what happens if the 218 vote fails. The County would, indeed, be done with us (see the footnote at the end). Can the LOCSD provide us any plan at this stage for what they would intend to do should they get the project back? If they can't tell us that they've already got a contingency plan and if they can't tell us already some of the key details, I would suggest that the gang who couldn't shoot straight shouldn't be given the option to do nothing for another full year before the State takes over yet again.

Footnote: if the 218 vote fails and the LOCSD gets the project back but the LOCSD then requests a dissolution and ultimately a dissolution occurs, the County does get the project back and the debt as well. If this were the case, I don't know that the County could legally charge us for their earlier planning costs and a I don't think they could charge us for the debt either.

Mike Green said...

Sharkey! I love it, the LOCSD board can get up on Thursday and declare that they will vote no, and promise everyone that if the vote goes no, then they will either vote for a resolution to dissolve the CSD or that the LOCSD board will resign in mass.
Boy, would that tear ol TW a new one!
I can just see the line of folks down at Rodewalds place begging to change their vote.

Good One!!!!!

Mike Green said...

Oh, and as far as Monarch Grove goes (motto, we buy our house paint in bulk) maybe they can get a BIG reclamator and tell the water gods to stuff it!

Have your friend give Mark a call.

Steve said...

I will bet you...

IF everyone on the PZ were to install a Reclamator at their house we could get better pricing on monthly testing.

I will bet you...

IF the testing yielded positive results month after month after month... eventually you would be able to reduce the frequency of testing... either by agreement of the RWQCB, or through legal action.

Even if I lose the top two bets...

I will bet you...

I can talk one of my neighbors into sharing a Reclamator and its expenses... and if you cut the cost in half it looks like it would beat the price of a sewer.

If I could talk two neighbors into it... and if they have a large enough reclamator... then I have no doubt I could save money...

In fact... what is that phone number... I think I'm gonna call right now and see if they have a large capacity one... I'll let you know.

Steve said...

To the people who are sueing to get their assessment money back... consider it the cost of thinking Tri-W was a good idea.

Maybe if you would have protested such a bad idea five years ago instead of lining up to be the first sewer lemming to jump off that financial precipice... there never would've been a Tri-W project to stop.

It was an expensive lesson.

Mike Green said...

Steve, gonna need a permit, better start asking around for those gypsie sewer workers while you are at it.

Mike Green said...

Steve, I know some of those folks that payed up front didn't give a hoot about where the treatment plant was going to be, they were looking at the savings of paying an assessment up front as opposed to paying over time with interest accruing. They may have felt comfortable with that investment because it was supposed to be a government infrastructure project funded by the people receiving the benefit.
None of that happened, the Government of Los Osos failed.
We have a constitutional right to petition our government for redress.
I hope some of them get some of their money back.

Steve said...


"some of those folks that payed up front didn't give a hoot about where the treatment plant was going to be"

Maybe they should have... its smart to know what you are paying for... or as you said, what you are "investing in".

"They may have felt comfortable with that investment"

It was a risky investment... those against it were trying to explain that but we were being painted as anti-sewer by the Pandora Dream Machine.

"a government infrastructure project funded by the people receiving the benefit"

When you take for granted that if something is labeled with "goverment" it is above board, legitimate, smart, and in your best interest... you are asking for trouble.

When you do that you may soon find yourself in a concentration camp, or a siberian prison, or a DeBeers diamond mine, or in the sheriff's private movie collection, or in a RWQCB CDO hearing... or in court
trying to get your "investment" back.

The people should pay attention, participate, and vote informed... otherwise they pay the consequences.

"the Government of Los Osos failed"

No, no... the People of Los Osos failed... we failed to stop a bad project before it had serious consequences.

Mike said...

Let's be VERY CLEAR:


Right now, the community of Los Osos has NO LOCAL GOVERNMENT...!!!

The LOCSD is bankrupt and has no intent to resolve the issue!

It is now COUNTY 14, LOCSD Zero...!!!

When it is all said and done, a Waste Water Treatmentment facility at the Tri-W site will have been cheaper, faster and more sustainable... enjoy the Yes Vote...!!!

Mike Green said...

Well basically Steve, if you are arguing that everyone in L.O. is going to get exactly what they deserve due to their non involvement in the government of Los Osos and folks should have no confidence in government, well, OK you have a point, but take it further. Dollar bills have no real value, we invest that value in the confidence of our government.
Ever hear of the Treasury?
No, confidence in Government is a cornerstone of our society, the right to redress is what keeps it (somewhat) clean.

Shark Inlet said...

Ohmygosh Ron's an ass...

Because he didn't like my questioning his conclusions and couldn't back up his point of view, when I called him on it he deleted my comments.

The following comment was posted originally at the Trib discussion:

When Ron Crawford can't spin the discussion in his comment section he deletes it.

In his blog today he deleted all the comments from his most recent article. (See for the article itself.)

Besides being an a**hole for deleting my comments at all, he wrote that the would delete the entire comment section if I were to even make any more comments. Not only is that over the top a**hole behavior ("play by my rules or I take my ball and go home" ... sheesh ... I've seen 8 year olds with more maturity than that), he then went ahead and deleted everything anyways even though I made no additional comments.

If you want to read any or all of those comments, you can do so in the attached PDF file.

I can't decide if I am more angry at him for misleading those in our town and then refusing to admit it when called on his misstatements or whether I am sad for him because he doesn't have the maturity to deal with such issues without resorting to behavior that should embarrass any "journalist".

Additional comment (the reason for the edit):

When I first read Ron's threat, I thought "make a PDF of this in case he deletes it". Then later I laughed to myself, thinking "nah, he would never do something that childish". I am now glad that I didn't delete the PDF file that I made on a whim ... I would rather folks have the opportunity to read all the comments and make up their own mind.

Mike said...


"Look, I'm busy (it took me a week just to get around to reading your
latest bullshit) and I don't have time to deal with your crap. So, if
post in this comment section again, I'm going to delete this weak
"thread," since it's just you guys... signal jamming.
One more word, Shark, one more word...
By Ron, at 12:34 PM, October 17, 2007"

Mike Green said...

Ya Ya Sharkey, the only thing stopping you from having your own blog is lazyness.
Personally, I think an open comment section is entertaining, regardless of the content (maybe I'm just easily entertained too) It keeps me coming back to check, Oh well it's his blog and his domain.
Whatever blows his skirt up.

Ron said...

If those people that paid the assessment in advance really want their money back, they're going after the wrong people.

They should be going after Hensley, and the actions of his board.

Quick show of hands: How many property owners that paid the 2001 assessment in advance thought they were paying for the design of the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster" plan?

Yea, that's what I thought.

See? That confusing, Prop 218 mess that happened in 2001 was the result of the CSD's extremely quiet transition from the Oswald ponding system to the Montgomery Watson reactor system.

Those property owners had no idea what they were paying for in 2001. They thought they were being assessed for a "better, cheaper, faster" plan, when in reality they were being assessed for the CSD's second project -- the "not better, not cheaper, not faster" $150-$200 million industrial sewer plant in the middle of town. Had they known that, would they still have paid, or even voted for the assessment in the first place? I think it's safe to say now, that's a BIG "No."

So, if they really want to get their money back, they should sue the CSD, alright, but for what Hensley, and Nash-Karner, and Gustafson, and Ogren (as the interim GM of the LOCSD at the time) did from 1999 - 2001.

Those property owners got screwed by the extremely quiet transition between project #1 and project #2,and Ogren was right in the middle of all of it. If the folks that paid in advance were to take that argument to court, they'd win. (By the way, congratulations on your promotion, Paavo.)

Steve wrote:

"... we failed to stop a bad project before it had serious consequences."


Anonymous commentor wrote:

"When Ron Crawford can't spin the discussion in his comment section he deletes it."

When Ron Crawford has to waste his time reading and responding to the deliberately misleading BS posted solely and incessantly from a creepy anonymous poster, Ron Crawford will turn off the comments from that post so he doesn't have to waste his time reading and responding to that crap.

Mike, you left off the best part of my comment...

Shark wrote:

"Let's just resolve this little issue by agreeing..."

and then I wrote;

"No. Let's resolve this issue by saying you guys creep me out with your anonymous, incessant, deliberately misleading blog commenting, and you continue to harm Los Osos with your disgusting marketing techniques."

That was the good part.

But, after I wrote that, I got to thinkin'... all those people do (I refer to Shark Inlet as "those people," because the thought of one guy, in front of a bank of computers, bouncing around from blog to blog to blog to blog, every single day, several times a day, and posting deliberately misleading crap, anonymously, and outwording Ann and I combined at about a 10-1 clip, well, that is just tooooooo creepy of a mental image, so it helps me to think of Shark Inlet as some type of hired PR firm. Still creepy, to be sure, but not nearly as creepy as a single dude, lurking, anonymously in a dark room, littered with empty Mountain Dew cans, incessantly commenting, day after day after day... yikes!) is deliberately mislead, and since I show on my blog how Los Osos has been torn apart by being deliberately misled over the past ten years, I thought to myself, "Why do I allow them to get away with it?"

So, I didn't even wait for "one more word." I just shut it off. Too bad, too. I had some excellent takes in there, like this one:


I'll tell you what, Shark, here's what you should do... in your imaginary little world, if you perceive that things have been breaking your way ever since Three Blocks was published in 2004 -- things like the Tacker/Schicker election, the recall, Measure B, the Cescena/Senet re-election, the ridiculous dissolution effort, the pathetic expiration of the Tri-W CDP, the phony Statement of Overriding Considerations, the Ripley Report, the Ripley Peer Review, the Fine Screening Report, SewerWatch -- then, by all means, do whatever possible to make sure that the Tri-W site continues to delay a wastewater system for Los Osos. It has for nine years. Why stop now?

Take it all the way, guys... back to the Coastal Commission. That should delay everything another 2+ years, and I'm sure it'll work out for ya. The staff of the Coastal Commission seems to have a VERRRRY positive outlook on the Tri-W site these days. I'm sure you won't have a problem slipping that ESHA site past them... these days. Everything seems to be sailing right along for your side, as the past three years indicate.

One thing I know for sure is, you guys will never go away... so... keep on a-fightin', Shark. You da man/woman/Inc.

By the way, when I was speaking with Dan Carl (permit supervisor with the California Coastal Commission), we discussed "bait and switchy," ("Oh, god," was his response) and he told me that Dave Potter is still a commissioner. I'm absolutely, 100-percent-positive that Potter would love to see Tri-W and its ones of supporters -- the same people responsible for developing it -- in front of him again.

I'd pay to watch that.

So... keep on a-fightin', Shark."


Great stuff.

"Ones of supporters... ." Hilarious and true.

"I can't decide if I am more angry..."

Reality check! Reality check! You guys post ANONYMOUSLY. In your imaginary little world, how can you possibly be offended? YOU'RE ANONYMOUS! You could be a 16-year-old boy living in your parent's basement for all we know, and judging by the depth of your logic, that whole "16-year-old in parent's basement" thing seems about right.

It's a little like the "If a tree falls in the forest" proverb -- "Is it possible to personally offend an anonymous person(s)?"

All I know is I won't have to waste anymore time responding to your deliberately misleading, signal jamming, creepy, whatever it is that you guys write. Hallelujah!

Now, off you go, little Sharkies, to drag your wheelless Tri-W wagon through the thick mud, all the way back to the Coastal Commission, just to prove me right... again.

Like I said above, I'd pay to watch that.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron ...

You would certainly know about "deliberately misleading crap" because it appears to be your specialty.

When I called you on it, you first denied you made such a statement. When I pointed out the exact location of the statement and asked for a reply, you told me that my question was too long and confusing for you. When I shortened it, you answered with "evidence" that was irrelevant. When I pointed that out you deleted the discussion.

You couldn't handle my insightful comments and my utter decimation of your points. As usual. End of story.

Mike Green said...

Hey Ron! I found a taste of the Tobin James 04 Syrah at Tognazini,s Dockside. Dynamite!
But all in my party agreed that the Slyvester or Kelsey was better
Screw the sewer crap, it's all in the mail by now.
Margaritas ante porcos!