Uh-oh, Sunday morning heart-attack time, again. Wander to the end of the driveway in my bathrobe, peer into the gloom of the dawn, listen to the muttering of the crows expecting their ration of dog kibble to be thrown out to them, pick up the Tribune and see the headline through the plastic wrapper: "To sue or not to sue over sewer?"
Well, I posted the Protest Letter here a few days ago, the one sent by Mr. Timothy J. Morgan, the one listing a whole bunch of reasons why Mr. Morgan thought the recent 218 assessment vote might come under legal challenge, and then I noted that IF there were indeed serious legal issues, I hoped the County could sort them out ASAP.
According to the story, we'll know in two weeks whether the law firm will actually file suit. In the mean time, the County will chug along with the engineering/CEQA/technology selection stuff, so no time will be wasted, BUT I hope Mr. Morgan and the County's attorneys can have a little tet-a-tet sit-down to ask and answer The Basic Question:
What's The Problem . . . Really? Is it the PZ screwing up an equitable, fair, "benefits" vote? As noted in the story, "Chief among Morgan's arguments is that a sewer would not just benefit those who live in the so-called prohibition zone but all property owners in the coastal town. "
If the real problem is the PZ, and if we lived in a place where we had a sane Regional Water Quality Control Board, they would have realized YEARS AGO that the PZ was nothing more than a stumbling block ROCK IN THE ROAD and potential TRAIN WRECKER, and so they could have led the way to demand that they and the County update the Basin Plan YEARS AGO, thereby giving this area more flexibility in solving WATER problems and BENEFIT problems in a SANER manner YEARS AGO. But we don't have a sane RWQCB.
So, despite that lack, is there any chance of that happening now? Like maybe if the County & the RWQCB & Mr. Morgan all sit down for a little chattypoo and maybe realize that they all need to rethink this really, really quick or else there'll be ANOTHER trainwreck? If so, could it be done quickly enough to result in a new PZ that would include basin dwellers who -- ironically -- are now under the control of the RWQCB and the new state-wide AB885 rules, some of which can get onerous, indeed.
Or could AB885 be quickly co-joined to the PZ with a new RWQCB Resolution 83-14-07, and the 218 be then re-written to include all those folks falling under AB885 and thence we'd end up with a way to write a 218 that offered a more balanced "benefits" assessment on everyone? And if that happened, would everyone -- again -- vote Yes? (My guess is, yes, they would vote Yes, again.)
If there's no chance of that happening, and Mr. Morgan's issues are really, really serious, then I guess we can hope that the county can re-write the 218 and we can all vote -- again? And if it can be done while other things are clanking along, no harm, no foul.
If not . . . . Gaaaakkkkk. Well, stay tuned.
Supervisor Gibson and a host of Library Folk and various Friends of Libraries and Cal Poly Students and a whole raft of bookish folk gathered Saturday at the Atascadero Lake Pavillion for a "Library Summit: Great Expectations 2007," a sort of convention/workshop/brainstorming session for people to network and create a vision statement for how we want our libraries throughout the countyto be in the future.
Among some of the more interesting presentions were power-points on various super-duper updated libraries in other cities, including the new Idea Store in London -- a completely modernized library that was a combo of community center, bookstore, internet portal, government/social services connection, life-long-learning centers, and a coffee shop on the top floor. In short, a place far removed from the old 19th century fusty, dusty Temple Of Books -- Shhhhhhh -- of yore.
As Brian Reynolds, head of the County/ city libraries pointed out, libraries need to be somehwere . . . and everywhere. And with the internet, we now can have virtual libraries. No need for stone buildings set off in a park somewhere. We can now put libraries in the middle of shopping malls, let up mini-outlets, hook through e-government portals with your local branch so you can access government programs and doings without ever having to troop "downtown." The list of possibilities is endless. And exciting.
And, of course, is limited only by $$, a lot of which is seriously lacking because we live in the era of the Diminished Value of the Commons. Instead, we have become Blackwater Nation -- privitize it, baby. Want a new library? Go build it yourself.
Which, of course, raised an issue that seemed missing from the conference, and one I kept raising with our table as we were asked to "envision" a future for this county. It does no good to ask the Choir to envision what THEY want THEIR Choir to look like -- they're already engaged and will naturally enough make changes THEY want to see made.
But here's what I wanted to know: Has anyone done a full demographic study and a "marketing research" survey county-wide to find out two things: Who uses the libraries now, and why and how? and Who DOESN'T use the libraries now, and why not? Those two things would tell you a lot about the present and point the way to make changes that are needed in order to get to a future, it seems to me.
Of course, in a county that voted down Measure L, a minute sales tax that would have been earmarked for libraries, a county that constantly pleads poverty while slashing budgets and raising administrators and BOS salaries, there is no money to do such a comprehensive survey. Which means, a future envisioned by already committed members of the Choir, all of whom are flying blind, will result in more of the same, not real change.
But, for a really cool CD . . .
The Friends of the Library (our wonderful Los Osos Branch) did have an information booth at the conference that was featuring, among other things, a new interctive 90 minute CD-ROM commissioned by the Friends of Los Osos Library, "Exploring Morro Bay Estuary." The CD covers the estuary, how it works, all the critters and plants, the general Geology and georgraphy, protecting and restoring the estuary and all kinds of interactive suff. Way cool.
You can buy a copy at the South Bay Library, also it's available at the Morro Bay Natural History Museum and at the National Estuary Center on the Morro Bay Embarcadero in the Marina Square bldg. It's really a beautiful, interesting CD, for kids, adults, and for any friends living out of town or out of state, it would make a great Holiday Gift.
If your friends just think you live in Plain Old Sewerville, send 'em a copy of this CD and they'll see -- It's Sewerville-PLUS!
Now, do I dare go open the paper?