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Friday, November 02, 2007

The Tribune, Years Late and Millions Short, Again

Oh, Lordy, it’s coffee out the nose time with the Halloween mini-P.S. editorial, “Tacker, embrace the vote or resign,” wherein the editor chastises CSD Board member Julie Tacker for stating, after the 218 vote, “We know how to derail a project and we will derail it again.” Then demands that she “ . . . needs to get on board – or step down.”

The min-editorial goes on to say “She may have been focusing her comments on the midtown Tri-W site, but it was a threat nonetheless. County staff has already found inadequacies with the TriW site, but state environmental laws require that they evaluate every potential location for a sewage treatment plant.” (Actually, that may not be exactly true. One of the so-called “Andre” sites was declared by the county to be off the table because of the ”fatal flaw” of having power transmission lines on it, so it wasn’t included in the TAC evaluation. There were other “hopeless” sites that were also removed prior to the TAC. Tri W could have been declared “fatally flawed” by the county (lapsed CC permit, laws that have changed thereby making it hopeless, etc.) but, if memory serves, they feared a lawsuit if they did that. Strange, they apparently didn’t fear a lawsuit over removing the “Andre” site, but no matter.)

Uh, so Tri-W has “already” been found to be inadequate by the county, Tacker has been a clear opponent of Tri W for YEARS, and clearly stated in her Viewpoint that ran a couple of days before, “What I was referring to was the Tri-W property, its sale and that project. I remain committed to stand in the way of that project.” Nothing new there. So why was the Tribune “appalled” at her remarks and now demand she “get on board” or resign?

If the Tribune is just now figuring out that the Tri-W has “inadequacies,” then I’d say they’re years late and gazillions short, again. If they weren’t able to figure out Tacker’s comments specifically referred to Tri W, then I’d say they don’t bother to read the Viewpoints they print. And if they are now supporting a 5-0 rubber stamp board, then they should have written editorials decrying Joe Sparks’ election since he often fails to vote with the majority.

Sorry, Tribune. Tacker & Schicker’s “No on 218” vote is what our democratically elected Boards (and congresses and assemblies) are all about. Weirdly, given the fact that a certain percentage of people also voted No on 218, then the Board vote likely perfectly reflects the overall community vote percentages. That’s called representative democracy.

As for me, I don’t want 5-0 rubber stamp boards. If Joe Sparks votes No on something and the rest of the CSD Board votes Yes, I say, Hooray for Joe! Not, He needs to get on board – or step down. Feh. It’s the Tribune that needs to get on board by turning into a real newspaper.

For a start, I’d suggest they go read Ron Crawford’s blog and follow all those nice breadcrumbs he’s laid down then ‘splain to the community why it was that they missed all those “inadequacies with the Tri-W site.” Or read the email exchanges below and connect the dots. Those Tri-W “inadequacies” have been there for YEARS. Tacker and Schicker and Crawford knew about them. Why didn’t the Tribune?


And Now, A Word From Ron Crawford @ Sewerwatch, The County and Ron Again . . . then The County and . . .

The following email exchanges between 11/31/07 and 11/1/07 came from Noel King, and Ron Crawford. The exchanges are a bit long but for Sewerites, very interesting, so be sure to read on to the end. Maybe someone from the Tribune will read it and start asking long overdue questions as well? Nahhhh, that’ll never happen. Printed with permission:

Ron Wrote:

Hello Paavo,

Last November, in an e-mail to me, you wrote:- - -"Although many in the community obviously oppose the site (Tri-W), many others still support it."- - -Do you still feel that way -- that "many others sill support" the Tri-Wsite? If so, what are you basing that on? Is there some sort of documentation that shows that, or perhaps public comment? What?

Thank you in advance for your prompt response,

Ron

Noel King Replied:

Ron,

I'm responding to your email because Paavo is out of the office this week.It is irrelevant at this time what Paavo or any other County Government officials think about who does or does not support the Tri-W site (or other issues such as a gravity or step collection system, or the other possible treatment sites). While some people in the community are stewing over such specific project issues, we are simply following the defined, objective project process that our Board has directed.

As you know if you have read those process documents, among other things this includes additional technical research--leading to formal technical memos, peer review by experienced and independent industry professionals; a full coequal CEQA analysis of the alternatives; and learning more about what State and Federal grant and loan programs can provide, and under what terms.

Then, of course, we plan to scientifically survey the community to learntheir preferences once all of the above relevant information is determinedand made available to them. That is the point at which it will matter whatwe think others think about specific aspects of the project, and willcertainly reflect on that in determining our final project recommendationto the Board of Supervisors. Speculating at this point is not only not constructive and contrary to our directed process, but it also could becounter-productive. I know that you wouldn't want that.

Thanks for your question and continued interest in the project.

Ron Followed up With:

Hello Noel,

Thank you for the prompt reply. I really do appreciate it.

However, I'm not too sure that the "community support for Tri-W" question is "irrelevant."

Here's why...

You wrote:"... peer review by experienced and independent industry professionals..."

Hasn't that already happened?

The NWRI Peer Review, that included Dr. Tchobanoglous, of the Ripley Report reads:"Given the number of problematic issues with the downtown site, it is the unanimous opinion of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative. "

So, if a "peer review by experienced and independent industry professionals" has already concluded, "It is the unanimous opinion of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative," and the county has already made an official finding that there are non-ESHA sites available, which makes the ESHA Tri-W site in violation of the CZLUO -- and therefore could be "eliminated from further consideration," just like county officials did with the Andre1 site, and STILL meet CEQA requirements -- then it seems that the only reason left to continue to spend time and money evaluating the Tri-W site would be some sort of massive community support for it, so where is it?

When Tri-W's CDP was up for expiration, not one person, out of many, spoke in favor of the site.

So, naturally, I'm very confused.

If independent industry professionals, like Dr. Tchobanoglous, have already said, "Given the number of problematic issues with the downtown site, it is the unanimous opinion of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative," and to construct a public facility at the Tri-W site is in violation of the CZLUO, AND there's absolutely no community support for the project, then why keep spending time and money evaluating it? It doesn't make any sense.

The county evaluated it, as per CEQA, and it's not going to work.

It sounds like a complete waste of time and money to continue evaluating it.

Does CEQA really require that ALL potential sites MUST be evaluated throughout the ENTIRE process, even if one of those sites is illegal, unpopular, and loaded with "problematic issues," according to independent industry professionals. If so, shouldn't you then put the Andre1 site BACK into consideration? It sounds like you're not following the "the defined, objective project process that our Board has directed" by eliminating the Andre1 site.

It seems like one or the other needs to happen -- either put Andre1 BACK into consideration, or eliminate Tri-W from consideration -- after all, Tri-W is loaded with "problematic issues," it's in clear violation of the CZLUO, and it has zero community support, unless you can show me a document that states otherwise, and I already know that document does not exist.

I asked you this before, and I never got an answer: Can you give me the specific code in CEQA that says something like: "ALL potential sewer plant sites must be evaluated through the entire development process, even if they are illegal."

Because, if that's REALLY the case, then shouldn't you also be evaluating the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve as a potential sewer site? It's illegal to build a sewer plant there, too, just like Tri-W, but that doesn't seem to matter. According to the county, CEQA requires that ALL potential sites be evaluated, and, although I'm not an engineer, I'm pretty sure that if you cut down enough trees, and poured enough concrete, the county could force a project into the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. So, why isn't it being evaluated as per CEQA?

Sorry I'm so confused, but I just don't see why all this time and money needs to be spent evaluating a sewer plant site that is illegal, and independent industry professionals, like Dr. T, hate it as much as the community.

It doesn't make any sense.

CEQA REALLY says that -- that ALL potential sites must be evaluated for a sewer plant through the ENTIRE process, even if some of them are illegal? What's the section? I need to know, because, to be frank, if it REALLY does say that, then that's one of the worst laws I've ever heard, and I want to report on it.

Thanks again,Ron

And Ron also Added,

Hello Noel,

I just wanted to quickly add a few thoughts to my e-mail . . . [above]

You wrote that, currently, it is "irrelevant" what the county thinks of the community support for the Tri-W project.

You also wrote that the Tri-W project will undergo "additional technical research."

Noel, THAT -- the "additional technical research" on the Tri-W project --is irrelevant. Continuing to evaluate a site that is infeasible makes thatevaluation irrelevant, and wasteful.

It kind of reminds me of.... no, not "kind of"... it exactly reminds me ofwhat the early CSD did with the Andre1 site, when they spent all that timeand money studying it and THEN said, "Whoa! Where did all of these gigantic towers loaded with high-voltage power lines come from? Oh well, looks like we can't build here after all. Tri-W it is... and that's a very convenient thing for us, because that's the exact site where we told the community we were going to build the "better, cheaper, faster" plan that got us elected and the CSD formed in the first place, but then failed two years later, and if we build our second sewer plant at Tri-W, no one will know that our over-the-top-hyped first plan failed."

You don't want that to happen to the county, do you?

You guys don't want to have to say something like this:"

Yea, well, we did spend a heck of a lot of time and money evaluating theESHA Tri-W site, and THEN we discovered that it is illegal to build a sewerplant there because there are several other feasible non-ESHA sites, that are downwind and out of town, and 23.08.288d of the CZLUO says: "... public facilities within ESHA only where there is no other feasible location."... do you?

Thanks again,Ron

To Which Noel Concluded (for now?)

Congratulations, Ron.

Being the skilled journalist that you are, you havesucked me into a little further discussion on this issue even though Idon't really have the time for it.

You emailed Paavo Ogren yesterday with questions regarding what wecurrently think about how many people we believe still support the Tri-Wtreatment site and why we believe they feel that way. I responded onPaavo's behalf that it is irrelevant at this time what we think about whatothers may feel about the Tri-W site (or the other key technical issuesinvolving the project).

I went on to explain that we are involved in a comprehensive Board directed process that will include , among other things, a full environmental review, further funding research, additional technicalresearch with technical memos being developed on certain issues, furtherpeer review and finally, when this additional relevant information is made available to the community, a formal community opinion survey. The opinions of the Los Osos citizens reflected in that survey, based on more complete data, will be of importance to us at that time.

You responded back to me today with the following concerns: (a) the NWRI peer review team already deemed the Tri-W site to be an inferior alternative, so we should exclude it now, and (b) that we would be wasting time and money by further evaluating the Tri-W site.

Your first point kind of disappoints me, as I would expect a little better from you. I know that you are aware that the previous NWRI peer review was of a concept paper done by the Ripley team. The paper had no where near the level of information that is now available, and it will not include the content of the information gained in a CEQA analysis. I am not, by any means, suggesting that something further will come up that would shed a more favorable light on the Tri-W site. I am just saying that we will have Dr. T's group review many things as part of our remaining project development process, including our draft technical memos. I would not expect much additional time, at all, to be spent by them on issuesdirectly related to the Tri-W issue.

Regarding the second point, the apparent wasting of further time and money on the Tri-W site, as I just noted, I would expect any future staff or peer review work to have relatively little direct involvement with the pros and cons of the Tri-W site, so the incremental cost associated with that possible plant location is not expected to be material.

I don't believe that it would be wise to deviate from our documented project development process for a couple of reasons. First, as staff we follow the direction given by our Board. Additionally, the history of the Los Osos sewer issue includes many instances where people in positions of influence have made specific isolated decisions about a potential project that they believed was the best way to go, instead of allowing for a complete analysis and public review to occur. In fact, you have focused on this as a theme in many of your blog memos that I have read.

I believe that by not trying to make isolated judgments on certain aspects of this project before "going the distance" with our documented approach,we will honor the process that we have presented to the public and will keep the trust that the recent protest election seems to indicate that we have earned.

Prior to the recent election, you expressed concern that we would be triggering many "No" votes and jeopardizing the passage by not officially taking the Tri-W site off the table before the election was held. It seems that the property owners were able to connect the dots in their minds, based on our approach, as to how the Tri-W issue may end up when we have completed our work.

End: For Now

25 comments:

Area51 said...

The 80% mandate made a WHOLE LOT of people in Los Osos irrelevant. None more so than Santa Margerita Ron. That boy needs some serious help with his obsessions. His worn old story elicits nothing more than a great big YAWN anymore.

Much more relevant to me is Julie Tacker’s reasons for the overwhelming support of the 218. According to her (unless of course she was misquoted again, this time in The Bay News, or the true “context” of her statement is missing or whatever), the reasons people voted for the 218 were 1) fear of the water boards 2) the Tribune made them do it and 3) voter fatigue. That's it.

Hmmmmm. Nothing about the homeowners actually wanting a sewer? You know, people putting “the big lie” to rest? Nothing about educated people making an informed decision, and doing it overwhelmingly? No praise for Los Osos for voting to help their water situation? Clean the bay? Help obtain grants and loans through the power and credibility of the county? Nothing about the voters rejecting the CSD as being capable of doing ANY project, but rather trusting the county to do it?

Nope. Nothing about putting the “big lie” to rest, Ann. You’re Tackers mouthpiece and biggest apologist. Any ideas why this is?

Anyway, there you have it Los Osos homeowner in the PZ. 80% of us supported the 218, but only because 1) fear of the water boards 2) the Tribune made us do it and 3) voter fatigue.

Boy we sure are dopes, aren’t we.

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Ann,

"Circling the wagons" around Julie while castigating the Tribune is a red herring issue; and a waste of time.

Thanks for publishing the Ron/County dialogue. The exchange reinforces my confidence in the County process Re: the CEQA process/WWTP siting review.

Regards, Richard LeGros

Ron said...

Boy, that was kind of weird... since I read Ann's piece before I checked my e-mail, that was the first time I read Noel's reply to my second e-mail.... weird... anyhoot... I guess I'll reply here:

Noel wrote:

"You responded back to me today with the following concerns: (a) the NWRI peer review team already deemed the Tri-W site to be an inferior alternative, so we should exclude it now"

What is he, Shark Inlet all of a sudden? I never said that. What I DID say is that Tri-W is in clear violation of he CZLUO and THAT's why it should immediately be "eliminated from further consideration," just like the Andre1 site was months ago.

Me pointing out that a peer review already concluded, "Given the number of problematic issues with the downtown site, it is the unanimous opinion of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative," was just icing on my tight argument's cake. After all, it was Noel that originally said, "... leading to formal technical memos, peer review by experienced and independent industry professionals..."

I just wanted to point out that that has already happened.

Then he wrote:

"Your first point kind of disappoints me, as I would expect a little better from you."

I'll tell you what, if that HAD been my point, it would have disappointed me too. I expect MUCH better points from me.

Noel:

"... the history of the Los Osos sewer issue includes many instances where people in positions of influence have made specific isolated decisions about a potential project that they believed was the best way to go, instead of allowing for a complete analysis and public review to occur."

Gordon? Pandora? Wink. Wink.

"In fact, you have focused on this as a theme in many of your blog memos that I have read."

I sure have, haven't I? (Always good to see another SewerWatch fan.)

"Prior to the recent election, you expressed concern that we would be triggering many "No" votes and jeopardizing the passage by not officially taking the Tri-W site off the table before the election was held."

And I was right, as usual. That 80% would have been higher.

"It seems that the property owners were able to connect the dots in their minds, based on our approach, as to how the Tri-W issue may end up when we have completed our work"

Ohhhhhh, yeaaaa, that's what I'm talkin' about, baby! I love it when officials run smack. Gordon? Pandora? You guys can't like the sound of that.

Ann added:

"End: For Now"

And, of course, again, no answer to my outstandingly excellent question:

"Can you give me the specific code in CEQA that says something like: "ALL potential sewer plant sites must be evaluated throughout the entire development process, even if they are illegal?"

What bums me out so much about their refusal to answer that question, is that I had the courtesy to supply them with the specific code (23.08.288d) in the CZLUO that shows that it is illegal to build a sewer plant at the Tri-W site. Or as the Trib calls it, "inadequacies."

Freaking Trib, what a joke.

Now, off to check my e-mail and thank Noel, again, for his reply. It was good. I liked it. Sure, it would have been better if he actually answered my questions, but still good. I really enjoyed this part:

"It seems that the property owners were able to connect the dots in their minds, based on our approach, as to how the Tri-W issue may end up when we have completed our work"

That is so good.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

That you think King didn't answer your questions just shows how convoluted your understanding of this pretty plain issue.

Everyone but you thinks that you were saying that there was a peer review of TriW that said it was inferior and that you were implying that the County shouldn't pursue TriW any further because of that peer review. If that wasn't your point, you certainly don't write very well.

Nope, the peer review considered many topics but not the cost and not all the facts that are known today. Noel pointed this out to you very clearly.

On the matter of why TriW was kept in the analysis when other sites were dropped, it is interesting that Ron seems to have a reading comprehension problem. It has been pointed out to him time and again that the fact that it was approved by the CCC at one point in time essentially means it has been vetted by one of the very same agencies which would have to re-approve it should it be chosen by the County.

While Ron claims that the CCC feels differently at this point in time, no one on the CCC has officially informed the County that TriW should be off the table for the reasons that cause Ron to say it is an illegal project.


I even wonder about Ron's claim that the majority of Los Osos disapprove of the site. While this may be the case, there has been no poll that shows this. (Considering he complains about the previous LOCSD board arguing for TriW's community acceptance without even a poll, I would think that Ron would feel quite uncomfortable arguing that the County should eliminate the site on the grounds that it is unpopular.)

Ron also suggests TriW is more expensive. Yet again Ron either overstates the TAC report or misstates it. There have been several deficiencies of the costing of TriW in the TAC report noted ... yet Ron persists in acting as if TriW really is more expensive.


One more curious feature about the ordinance Ron keeps mentioning. It says that ESHA land cannot be developed if there is a feasible alternative. Feasibility is they key here. Would a WWTF site that costs 30% more and doesn't recharge the aquifer as well as would TriW be considered feasible alternative? I would suggest the County could make a good case with the CCC that TriW is more feasible than other options.


Ron, you are asking us to all trust you and your take on these situations rather than the take of the engineers and lawyers who work for the County who actually are experts in these areas. Why do you not listen to them when they answer? Why do you not pursue simple questions like on the bias in the estimation of the costs of various systems yourself?

Churadogs said...

Area 51 sez:"Nope. Nothing about putting the “big lie” to rest, Ann. You’re Tackers mouthpiece and biggest apologist. Any ideas why this is?"

You've just contradicted your whole phony point. If you'd read my previous Can(n)on column, you'd see that far from being some mouthpiece for Tacker, my opinion is 180' opposite. While I have no doubt that some people voted Yes out of fear or fatigue, the whole point of my column was that the big lie about this community was that they were all "anti-sewer obstructionists." They never were. But that's a mantra you saw repeatedly on this comment section, like a drumbeat, for example, and in letters to the editor, and constantly repeated at various public comment podiums by certain folks -- "anti-sewer obstructionsis!" Big lie.

And here you are starting another phony drumbeat, that I'm Tacker's mouthpiece. Feh. More big lies. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Richard sez:"Hi Ann,

"Circling the wagons" around Julie while castigating the Tribune is a red herring issue; and a waste of time."

Thump, thump, thump. Ah, phony drumb beats, I see. And once again, you miss the bigger point. There are no wagons circled around Julie. But there is the puzzling editorial from the Tribune that they feel a Board member needs to "get on board" or resign. Folks need to think about the implications of that for a while. Very scary. As for me, nuh-huh, I want vigorous dissent on Boards,and split votes, not lock-step 5-0 votes.

Inlet sez:"On the matter of why TriW was kept in the analysis when other sites were dropped, it is interesting that Ron seems to have a reading comprehension problem. It has been pointed out to him time and again that the fact that it was approved by the CCC at one point in time essentially means it has been vetted by one of the very same agencies which would have to re-approve it should it be chosen by the County"

I don't think Ron has a reading comprehension problem at all. What went missing from the King/Crawford Q & A discussion was this: Does the county have discretion when considering the section covered under the ESHA rules? That is, even though the rule says you cannot do such and such, is there wiggle room to leave something on the table for "political" reasons while knowing full well that it's there for show, but can't possibly work for a host of engineering/scientific/financial reasons. For example, (one that Ron used) the county COULD have chosen to put Andre I back on the table for "political" reasons. Yes, there are power lines there, and yes, they could be moved. So, technically, it should still be in the running. But they decided to dump it. As the law is written, did the county have the wiggle room to be allowed, for political reasons, to leave Tri-W on the table? Or is the law absolute? No political wriggle room? As I see it, that's the question Ron was asking.

For me, the fact that the question went unanswered speaks volumes and my presumption is this: The county felt (or maybe got county counsel legal opinion?) that they did have wiggle room under the statutes. If that was the case, why Mr. King didn't just say that remains a puzzle.

On the other hand, are there any lawyers in the house?

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"As I see it, that's the question Ron was asking."

And asking, and asking, and asking. In fact, when I replied to Noel yesterday to thank him for the response, I asked again:

"By the way, did you ever find that CEQA section I've been asking about (maybe Mark [Hutchinson -- environmental specialist for the county] knows where it's at)? I'm very interested in reading that language."

Now, I'm going to check my e-mail, and I'll let you know if there's finally an answer. What should we peg the odds at that there's not? 3-1? 5-1?

Drum roll please... I'll be right back...

[Insert buzzer sound here]

Damn, I should have bet.

Do you realize that all the Trib has to do is simply ask that one question I've been asking, yet they won't do it? Even after they wrote this:

"... but state environmental laws require that they evaluate every potential location for a sewage treatment plant.”

Aren't they interested at all in getting that verified? It's kind of important, ya know. And if it's true, then why isn't the county evaluating the Sweet Spring's Nature Preserve, just like I asked Noel?

Sans that CEQA language, that means something fishy, behind the scenes, is going on, because there isn't one good reason that I, or you, dear reader (unless you ARE one of those fishy behind-the-scenes-types), can see on why the Tri-W site can't simply, easily and legally go the way of the Andre1 site right now.

Additionally, a source recently told me that the LOCSD can't sell the Tri-W site -- a move that will greatly help with their bankruptcy proceedings -- until the county eliminates the site from further consideration. So, apparently, by unnecessarily, and inexplicably (unless they can produce that CEQA language) keeping the illegal Tri-W site around as a "viable alternative," they are hurting Los Osos.

The county needs to come clean. If they aren't eliminating the Tri-W site "from further consideration" due to the threat of some type of ridiculous lawsuit from the ones of Tri-W supporters/developers, like Nash-Karner, then they need to say that, or else I'm just going to keep asking my, "Where's the CEQA language?" question over, and over, and over again.

Or the Trib could ask it once, but they won't because they are worse than nothing.

TCG said...

I think Ron and Ann are reading way too much meaning into everything Tri-W. From what I recall when the County was doing it's rough and fine screenings, they said that they were going to bring forward a hand full of options for future consideration. The Tri-W site was a no-brainer, and they said that there was an acknowledged group of people in town who did not want a treatment plant in town. Because of that, they said that their fine screening would exclude all other in-town sites.

Tri-W has always been in the universe of consideration for them and it will continue to be, at least, until they finish their CEQA review. After that, it would not suprise me if it was documented as an inferior site prior to the Survey. At the end of the road, I don't think that a significant number of people here will prefer it, and I do not believe that the County staff will recommend it. We just need to relax and let them do their work, as they have promised. Since the Prop 218 election passed, the path to choosing a project has been made real clear. Having the County start to make changes to that path, as Ron is urging, would only muck up the process that was in place when we voted. That is what some in this blog have called "bait and switch," and we have had enough of that in the past.

Sewertoons said...

Last I heard, Broderson (for recharge) was part of every treatment option. To access Broderson, or to have a pump station to send effluent out of town for an out-of-town project, a portion of the Tri-W property would be needed. How about those reasons for keeping it from being sold?

Once the water shortage is mitigated, (which I am certain will follow on the heels of the wastewater solution), the CSD can sell what's left to a developer for primo prices (Broderson was the trade-off ESHA, don't forget) - condos, retail, a motel? Restoring it to ESHA would cost hundreds of thousands, but would free up Broderson for housing! Who would pony up for that? Developers! The citizens of Los Osos? It won't sit idle for too many more years. Something will go there. What do we want?

Shark Inlet said...

Ron doesn't get it.

He believes that TriW is illegal, costs more than other options and is opposed by the majority in Los Osos. He has not demonstrated that any of these beliefs are facts.

[Interestingly enough, he's asking the County to take on faith our community's disapproval of a TriW project without presenting any evidence of that ... even though he earlier castigated the LOCSD for making decisions on public opinion without that opinion being verified in some way.]

That being said, of course he wonders why an illegal, costly and unpopular site isn't simply eliminated.

The rest of us, ones who value the process being followed carefully, think that unless there is evidence that TriW should be eliminated on scientific, engineering, legal or financial grounds, it needs to stay in the mix. There are reasons to eliminate Andre I and Andre II, so it was.

Furthermore, to eliminate a viable option (that the CCC has already approved it once and they've not indicated they will not approve it again if asked makes TriW viable) without cause is to limit Los Osos options. We ought not to eliminate options prematurely.

To suggest (as Ron does) that TriW should be sold so the LOCSD can pay off some bankruptcy debts is to ignore the likelihood that the site is likely to play some role in the ultimate project ... to sell early wouldn't save us money at all ... it would likely cost us more in the long run that such an action would save.

Even so, let's ask an interesting question ... who would buy TriW? What would they do with it? I would propose that if the site is, indeed, ESHA enough to prevent a sewer plant, it would not be useful for offices, condos or homes. My question is this ... is the site ESHA ... in which case, the LOCSD now owns something that can only be used for undeveloped park space ... or is the site not ESHA in which case it could be a location for the WWTF.

Ron, your suggestion that the site be sold shows the lack of clarity in your thought. It's not about you or your opinion on TriW or the Solutions Group. The issue we face is ours and is about what is best in the long run for our town.

Shark Inlet said...

Why is it when a politician is on the side of the voters, the voters have given their mandate but that when the voters are on the other side, it must have been the voters who were confused?

As an example, I offer up the post-recall LOCSD board including Julie who acted as though their victory justified any action they took to block TriW (even though many reasonably believe that the recall passed because of promises of better and cheaper). Now, once the people have spoken ... and pretty loudly this time ... Julie is telling us that she'll fight TriW if the County were to feel it was the best possible choice. Didn't our community just vote to trust the County and to refuse to return the project back to Julie-n-Krewe?

I also wonder about Gail's "you lost, get over it" comment after the recall. If someone were to tell this to Julie today, would it be any more out of line than two years ago?

LOPZ said...

Dear Mr. King,

If you or your staff respond to Ann or Ron, please do so out of the County General Fund, and don't spend our assessment money on opinion writers or obsessive reporters who do not understand CEQA. You have an obligation not to waste any of our money explaining the same thing over and over to these guys multiple times.

Thank you.

PZ Property Owner

Churadogs said...

lopz sez:"Dear Mr. King,

If you or your staff respond to Ann or Ron, please do so out of the County General Fund, and don't spend our assessment money on opinion writers or obsessive reporters who do not understand CEQA. You have an obligation not to waste any of our money explaining the same thing over and over to these guys multiple times.

Thank you.

PZ Property Owner"

Sorry, I'd have to disagree. I'm glad Mr. King 'splains things. It's all part of the community outreach/information/workshop/flyers/folders/website/Q&A county blog. County staff has spent a huge amount of time informing people and I for one am grateful. I found Mr. King & Mr. Crawford's email Q&A very informative and best of all they're directly from the source, not some second source. So, If I get any clarifications or info directly from the county, I'm happy to post it here so others can read it. Ditto from info from various groups with info important to the folks in the PZ. Lack of complete information can lead to people being penny wise but pound foolish. I'd prefer penny wise and lots of pennies wiser.

Sewertoons said...

I think lopz is saying the same thing shark has been saying - repeat, reword, re-explain how this all works, over and over and over - yet nothing sinks in for Ron because he has an OPINION of how it is SUPPOSED to work and the facts just don't fit his OPINION. Hence non-comprehension. lopz is entirely correct as is shark - it is a waste of time and money trying to explain things to Ron.

I'd be careful Ron at how many times you keep harping on how awful Tri-W is. The backlash of a quirky community might be to embrace Tri-W out sheer spite. It has become clear to many, that the supposed awfulness of Tri-W was brought forth as a marketing ploy. We'll see how pound foolish stopping Tri-W was as the process unfolds.

Shark Inlet said...

Ann,

If you're so much in favor of a fair process ... why do you raise questions only about TriW? Why do you suggest that TriW is "hopeless"?

How about letting the County do some analyses and reach fair conclusions? Why the obsession with telling us that the County could have eliminated TriW already and why they should have done so? Do you know CEQA law? Do you know that the County has done something wrong? Unless you know so, I would suggest your protestation here is motivated more out of your bias against TriW than out of your desire of a clean process.

Again, because Ron will misunderstand unless I say it directly (and even then there is a sizable chance that with his reading comprehension problem that he'll screw it up), I really hope that there is an out-of-town site that is better and cheaper than TriW and I really hope that the TriW site can end up as park space for our town. However, if the TriW sewer plan is better for our aquifer and cheaper for our town, I don't want that possibility eliminated before we really know that it isn't better.

To suggest that eliminating Andre already but not yet eliminating TriW is wrong is simply foolishness. Ron and Ann are fools if they really think that a PG&E easement preventing a sewer plant isn't an ironclad reason for eliminating Andre. Similarly, anyone who thinks that the CCC has already told us that TriW is illegal is a fool. The CCC has made no such statement.

Because I don't believe that Ron and Ann are fools, it must be the case that they are grasping at straws when they make a comparison between these two sites at this stage. Makes you think they're feeling desperate for some reason. Why? Is it that they don't really believe that TriW is worse so they're afraid the County will go with the site? Is it because they view County staff as bought and paid for by Pandora, Inc.? I can't think of any other reasons for talking down the site with such a frequency.

I'm sensing it is a combination of both a desire to block TriW, no matter whether it is best or not and a mistrust of the County.

Sewer Magic said...

Good afternoon bloggers,

My friends, Tri-W and gravity collection is a mindless, illegal endeavor. Let's drop that subject now since that has already been established.

Sewer Magic

Shark Inlet said...

Our friend Magic Man tells us that gravity is illegal. Need I say more?

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Shark Inlet,

Just a thought regarding your last post questioning the hysteria surrounding the Tri-W project.

Reading through all the blog postings over the last few months, the 'vibe' I am getting from Ann, Ron, The CSD board majority (and others of similar political ilk)is their desperate search for JUSTIFICATION of their actions to derail a project and the resulting morass that the CSD has become. You may have unintentionally started this 'soul searching' when you earlier posted "was it worth it?".

Have we not not already read and heard as much. Cenesa and others pronouncing that the TAC review of Tri-W found 'problems' that justify the killing the project and the recall; all which we know not to be true.

Just a thought.

Regards, Richard LeGros

PS: Sewer Magic, to answer the question in your mind, I have no doubt that all my decisions on the WWTP were justified, legal and prudent. Now I have made political mistakes; but after all, I am only human. There is no law requiring that I have to be perfect to serve on a penny-ante polical board like the LOCSD.

Sewer Magic said...

Shark,

You can say more, but for every unfounded statement you make, there are at least twenty well-respected wastewater experts and engineers in the country that disagree with the installation of gravity collection systems because they discharge a whole lot more than septics and since discharging an excessive amount of nitrates is illegal, gravity is illegal.

Richard,

I had no question in mind, but thanks for anticipating.

I have no doubt that all your decisions on the WWTP were unjustified, illegal, and unproductive. Your actions on Calhoun's Cannon reflect the seething venom that you injected into every wastewater-related measure you invested in when you were a member of the LOCSD (in spite of research, logic and people who are concerned about affordability).

Sewer Magic

Shark Inlet said...

Magic Man,

Presumably you understand that the treatment plant reduces the nitrates, not the collection system.

Face it, gravity is not illegal. To say so is simply foolishness.

If you can produce any sewer expert who will testify that gravity systems are illegal, you will have made your point. If not, it will be good evidence that you're using language far stronger than would be justified by the facts.



Oh ... one more thing ... if the County analysis later reveals that picking up with TriW will save us money in the long run over an out of town plant, which would you support ... the cheaper TriW or the more expensive out of town plant? (Note: there is no wrong answer to this question ... different people will have different reasonable answers to this question.)

LOPZ said...

there is just something so weird about Ron & Ann's fixation about Tri-W and lack of reading comprehension. 80% approval with consideration of Tri-W as one of the alternatives. They do not understand CEQA, can't read too well, so let them pay or the Santa Margarita taxpayers pay for staff time to answer these variations on the same bleeping question - Shark says 'Get over it!' Couldn't agree more. Time to move on.

Shark Inlet said...

LOPZ ...

A correction. I did not say "get over it." That was Gail.

I would suggest, however, that anyone who didn't stand up at the time and tell Gail that her words were both ungracious and out of line would appear to have no moral grounds to argue with you if you were to tell them to "get over it."

That being said, Ann, did you castigate Gail back then for he inappropriate choice of words?


I find it interesting that the context in which Gail spoke suggested that she felt any opposition to the CSD majority, including Taxpayers Watch and their lawsuits was needing to simply heed the outcome at the polls.

Today it seems that the outcome of the polls would say that the vast majority of the PZ believes in the County process and furthermore that Julie and the LOCSD and those who would file suit against the 218 vote should just step out.

Anyone who wants to tell us that lawsuits are now okay or that Julie has a good point that TriW should be fought to the death should point out where they told Gail off a year and a half ago.

Presumably it might be the case that there is a difference between Gail's words back then and those of some in town today ... but I can't figure it out. If you were fine with Gail a year and a half ago yet support a lawsuit today, it would be nice to explain to the rest of us why democracy is the end all and be all sometimes but not others.

Churadogs said...

Inlet sez:"If you're so much in favor of a fair process ... why do you raise questions only about TriW? Why do you suggest that TriW is "hopeless"?

How about letting the County do some analyses and reach fair conclusions? Why the obsession with telling us that the County could have eliminated TriW already and why they should have done so? Do you know CEQA law? Do you know that the County has done something wrong? Unless you know so, I would suggest your protestation here is motivated more out of your bias against TriW than out of your desire of a clean process."

You're confusing me with Ron. I didn't protest keeping Tri-W on the table. I figured the county did so for a variety of reasons. Having Tri W on the table also acts as a sort of "base-line" against which other projects can (sort of) be compared, so it serves a useful purpose that way as well.

Inlet sez:"Today it seems that the outcome of the polls would say that the vast majority of the PZ believes in the County process and furthermore that Julie and the LOCSD and those who would file suit against the 218 vote should just step out."

Part of the Process includes lawsuits. The county knows this. When I posted Morgan's Protest Letter, I also noted that I hoped that IF his arguments help water, the County would fix things ASAP, so the vote doesn't end up in court. On the other hand, since lawsuits are part of the process, the county will double-track things so the court issues can clank along while the engineering issues are clanking along -- hopefully one won't trip up the other and cause another train wreck.

Ron said...

I don't waste my time reading Shark Inlet's comments anymore (if someone leaves a bad but short comment, I'll read it, I someone leaves a long and good comment, I'll read it. But long AND bad, like Shark Inlet's? Not so much...), but I do read Ann's excellent comments so I DID read this:

Ann said that Shark Inlet said:

"Do you know CEQA law"

No, I don't, and I don't plan on turning myself into a CEQA expert just to find one passage in the f-ing act. That's why I've asked, repeatedly, that the county simply supply me with the language they are pointing to in CEQA to justify keeping Tri-W around. They won't do it. It's extremely frustrating.

Did anyone but me notice that in my e-mails to Noel, I mentioned -- about a hundred times -- that Tri-W is in clear violation of the Coastal Zone Land Use Ordinance (and I DID supply the specific code), and not once did Noel say something like, "No. Tri-W is NOT in violation of the CZLUO."?

He didn't refute it once.

I mean, what in the hell is going on here? This is so ridiculous.

The Andre1 site was officially bounced months ago, and no one said a word about CEQA. But, now, that Tri-W is on the ropes, and taking a vicious SewerWatch style beating (sometimes I feel like the fighter that is pummeling his opponent, and then stops for a second and looks at the ref, as if to say, "Aren't you going to stop this?," And the ref just stands there, so I have to just shrug my shoulders and continue the pummeling) all I hear is "CEQA, CEQA, CEQA." Where was that for Andre1?

Maybe that should be added to Mr. Morgan's concerns over what could trigger a lawsuit... the fact that Andre1 was prematurely "eliminated from further consideration," and therefore, according to the county's interpretation of CEQA, violated state environmental laws.

Lopz said:

" You (Noel) have an obligation not to waste any of our money explaining the same thing over and over to these guys multiple times."

If you think it through, all I'm asking for is that they copy and paste the CEQA language I'm requesting into an e-mail and send it to me. That should take about 30 seconds.

They have an annoying habit of replying to me with these long e-mails (most of which do not answer my questions), when all I'm asking for is one f-ing paragraph out of CEQA... that's it. That's all I'm asking for.

"80% approval with consideration of Tri-W as one of the alternatives."

And it would have been 90% without it... just what that same 90% of the community has always wanted the nano-second after the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster" plan failed in late 2000. Right? You 90% of "anti-sewer obstructionists."

Ron said...

I was just re-reading this post (because it's funny as hell) and I noticed I wrote:

"CEQA REALLY says that -- that ALL potential sites must be evaluated for a sewer plant through the ENTIRE process, even if some of them are illegal? What's the section? I need to know, because, to be frank, if it REALLY does say that, then that's one of the worst laws I've ever heard, and I want to report on it."

Now that I've re-read that...

After this:

"... then that's one of the worst (worse? ahhh, whatever) laws I've ever heard... "

... I wish I would have added:

"... right up there with the California elections code law that allows elected officials that are up for recall, to set their own freaking recall election date!"

Now THAT is a horrific law.

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

It is really telling that you would rather read your old comments and make comments on your old comments than answer questions that folks directly ask you.