Friday, April 27, 2007
It’s déjà vu all over again. The Regional Water Quality Control Board has posted their upcoming CDO hearings on May 10th, as well as staff recommendations for proceeding to a mass CAO auto de fe for the rest of the community. Totally missing from the staff report is information that I had sent to Paavo Ogren and Supervisor Bruce Gibson over a month ago. So far as I know, they did nothing with that information. I have sent another email asking that they contact RWQCB staff immediately, because the material I had sent involves technical problems that have already shown up with the Los Osos 45 CDO requirements to Pump, Inspect, Repair. It was a potential major problem for one particular person. Multiplied by the 4,500 homes that staff is recommending be slapped with a mass CAO and required to comply within a three-year period, it may well result in another ”Mad Scheme” that will result in another train-wreck.
Once again, we’ve got the failure of the left hand knowing what the right hand’s doing, a RWQCB staff that isn’t aware of a potential problem of their own making and so is not letting their Board know that the ground-work for this plan hasn’t been properly completed, and apparently County authorities turning a blind eye to something that is directly under their authority to deal with and/or refusing to coordinate with the RWQCB so as to avoid another “Mad Pumping Scheme” mess.
Once again, the Devil is in the Details, so people in this community need to attend to the fine print and be aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE---------
Gail McPherson, PZLDF
805.459.4535 805-534-191 Mcp@charter.net
Notice Of Public Hearing:
Water Board Hearing Will Determine the Fate of Community
The Water Board targeted 45 of 4700 Los Osos residents last year in a regulatory 'test case' after the $163 Million Los Osos sewer project was stopped by voters. On May 10 the Regional Water Board is expected to rule that Cease and Desist Orders should be placed on the 2 more properties, decide if seven others should be heard, and determine the enforcement fate of the rest of the community.
Of the first 45 selected for prosecution the board has issued 13 orders. Twenty-three signed board approved settlement-Clean up and Abatement Orders. 14 parties filed appeals to the State Board earlier this year citing at least 94 reasons to vacate the orders.
Cease and Desist hearings for William and Beverly-De-Witt Moylan, and Charles and Norma Wilkerson were held January 22, 2007. They will likely join others including the Los Osos CSD in the appeal to the State in order to protect their property. Businesses, schools, and government facilities are all subject to enforcement.
The staff contends the only way to protect the groundwater supplies and Morro Bay Estuary is to hook up to a community sewer project. Few disagree with this. It is the enforcement action that many believe is counter productive to the community healing and working together.
Staff is also seeking to issues blanket Clean up and Abatement Orders to all remaining properties simultaneously without the benefit of hearings. This “Prosecutorial Efficiency” deprives citizens of their right to defend their property against regulatory taking, according to Gail McPherson of the Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund, a group organized to provide support, and defend property rights.
Differences in the Cease and Desist Orders and Clean up and Abatement Orders add huge risks according to the legal opinions of the Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund. Shaunna Sullivan of Sullivan & Associates is defending the appeal. Further, “any enforcement order that requires compliance measures that are not within the control of the citizen to comply with present unacceptable risks.” There is simply nothing to hook up to.
“Individuals can't build a project alone. They say they have already done everything possible to comply with the order, including pumping tanks to insure they are working properly, and paying for a sewer assessment, and have agreed to hook up when a project is available. Enforcement orders can destroy property values, and individuals may have to consider installing treatment systems on their own lots.” Says McPherson. This can hurt a community project.
Public officials, including Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee who put in place the legislation to move a project forward, and Bruce Gibson, County Supervisor for the area, and Paavo Ogren, the new project coordinator have expressed concern that enforcement may be counter-productive and can undermine the county project.
The meeting will be held Thursday May 10, 2007, beginning at 10:00 AM. at 895Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo.
The public is encouraged to attend.
Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund meets every Monday at 7:00 PM at Washington Mutual Bank in Los Osos. Call 805-528-0229 for more information.
RWQCB: Michael Thomas 805/542-4623 Harvey Packard 805/542-4639
County: Paavo Ogren 805/781-5291
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee 805/-549-3381
Listed below is the link to the Central Coast Water Board Agenda Notice for the Board meeting of May 10-11, 2007.
In the agenda you can click on the item of your choice for a staff report and attachments. Audio files will be added after the Board meeting.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Pass the Madeira
Watching Don Imus’ precipitous tumble from the I-man to the Out Of Work Man, stanzas from the old Limelighter’s song, “Have Some Madeira, M’Dear” kept rolling through my head. The song tells of a Sweet Young Thing being seduced by an aging Lothario who warns her against the perils of gin while plying her with sweet draughts of Madeira, until she awakens with “an ache in her head . . . . and a beard on her pillow that tickled and said, ‘Have some Madeira, M’Dear.’”
The song came to mind while watching respectable, virginal CBS and Sweet Innocent Young MSNBC both tiptoeing through their delicate, hypocritical, vaporish hand-wringing, trembling with woe, fingers to the wind, testing for every hum and murmur from their viewers and advertisers, upended twitchy noses scenting like a pair of Culture Bloodhounds sniffing out the zeitgeist for the slightest change, weeping in belated sorrow that they had NO IDEA what that nasty man was up to, Boo-Hoo, Boo-Hoo, until they came to their senses and dumped him with a thud and a promise that they should have listened to Mother and not gone up to his room and surely shouldn’t have drunk all those glasses of wine, Nosir, Nosir!
Adding to the melodramatic comic effect was the Reverend Al (Twana Brawley) Sharpton, and the Reverend (Hymietown) Jesse Jackson’s pious cant churning up a chorus of the faithful to express Shock & Dismay! that the I-man was a crude, lewd, bigoted nimcompoop, while the rich and powerful people who had previously fallen all over themselves to be guests on his show, demurred as to how he was a good man, really, helped sick kids, and that if the Rutgers University women’s basketball team that he so thoughtlessly trashed on air would only “forgive him,” we could all join hands and sing Kumbaya and be redeemed together in this amazing Morality Play about a radio talker who regularly spit out racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic remarks in a radio show that was best described by Constance L. Rice, a civil rights attorney in Los Angeles, in her op-ed piece in the L.A. Times, as “eavesdrop[ping on] a seventh-grade white boy’s locker room . . .”
A seventh-grade white boy’s locker room run by The Cool Guy In School, the edgy dangerous guy who tempted the sweet young things, kicked sand into the eyes of the geeky guys who nonetheless flocked to his door for the sand-kicking so his macho, bully-boy cool could rub off onto them. And so, one after another, seventh-grade White Boy Politicians and White Boy Media Elites played the role of the Sweet Young Things invited into the I-man’s den to look at his etchings, sip some sweet Madeira, and with tongues loosened, indulge in the frisson of trash talking under the cover of pretending to engage in serious political discussions – like guys who claim they only buy Playboy . . . for the interviews.
And all of it done for years without any real consequences or accountability.
It was a lucrative business and moved the I-man from the Get-No-Respect talk radio basement up into the corporate offices high above the mean city streets. But, clearly, it was a phony marriage of convenience that remained dangerously uneasy. Marrying above your station rarely has a good outcome. Corporate America will sleep with the very lucrative tabloid trash, but will never marry one of them when the cost escalates, as Imus learned, to his temporary sorrow.
Well, weep not for the I-man. He’ll find his seventh-grade white boy locker room niche once again. What should have concerned Americans years ago wasn’t the I-man and his ilk, but was the politicization and tabloidization of the news, the consolidation of fewer and fewer media outlets into fewer and fewer corporate hands, the repeated failure of even the basics of journalistic integrity and diligence in reporting the news, and the race to the bottom by all media in the ratings wars that give us Infotainment -- Anna Nicole Smith 24/7 – instead of real news.
All this while deadly problems that need the attention and active engagement of accurately informed citizens gather dangerously outside the blinking, mesmerizing lights of the media circus tent that we have built around ourselves, passively “amusing ourselves to death” by mistaking its contrived dumbshow for “reality.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Interesting article from the Washington Post. Dog food is simply the tip of the iceberg. The USDA (and FDA) has always been crippled by “politics” (lobbying to limit their powers, limit the laws concerning oversight, plus budget cuts to cripple their ability to do even a minimal job, all in the name of corporate profits). With globalization, the problem gets even worse. Laisser-faire-ists would hold that this is simply a “market” problem, no need for any Nanny Government interference. The only problem with that is, Who ya gonna sue when your peas from China have already killed you and now your heirs will have to go to China and try to get a hearing in their courts since you won’t be given standing in a U.S. court since that might offend sensibilities and endanger trade agreements (remember, it’s all about the profit, not the public good)? And since corporations don’t have to disclose where all the stuff’s coming from that’s in that can of soup, how ya gonna know? And are supermarkets required, under law, to tell you where that kumquat came from? I don’t think so. And so it goes.
And it’s only gonna keep getting worse. Unless We the People wake up and realize that perhaps, just perhaps, our health and safety is more important than corporate profits. Gee, ya think? Oh, right, what was I thinking? Never happen.
Well, read (if the link works) it at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/cityguide/index.html?referrer=emailarticle
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
This excerpt from a friend. Interesting. No wonder we often have such a hard time understanding one another. No wonder it’s so easy to manipulate vast swaths of people to do evil things or things running directly contrary to their own self interests.
It’s also interesting to note the different approach of the two groups: One requires a comforting Daddy Figure, (vertical hierarchy of Authority) the other requires a more independent, egalitarian, Don’t Listen To Daddy, We’ll Figure This Out Ourselves, mode of operation. That in itself guarantees a conflict.
Well, as I’ve said before, we are little more than tribal monkeys who often demonstrate less sense than God gave a goat, alas. Unless we are constantly reminded to Stop, Take a Deep Breath, and THINK.
Subject: Psychology Today - interesting
The Ideological AnimalExcerpt:Abstract Art vs. Talk Radio: The Political Personality Standoff
Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals-not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics. And that's just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.
"All people are born alike-except Republicans and Democrats," quipped Groucho Marx, and in fact it turns out that personality differences between liberals and conservatives are evident in early childhood. In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments. They weren't even thinking about political orientation.
Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. They found arresting patterns. As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. The reason for the difference, the Blocks hypothesized, was that insecure kids most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority, and they found it in conservative politics.
The most comprehensive review of personality and political orientation to date is a 2003 meta-analysis of 88 prior studies involving 22,000 participants. The researchers-John Jost of NYU, Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, and Jack Glaser and Frank Sulloway of Berkeley-found that conservatives have a greater desire to reach a decision quickly and stick to it, and are higher on conscientiousness, which includes neatness, orderliness, duty, and rule-following. Liberals are higher on openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, excitement-seeking, novelty, creativity for its own sake, and a craving for stimulation like travel, color, art, music, and literature.
~~~~~For liberals, conservatives, and independents alike, thinking about death actually makes people more conservative-at least temporarily.
Fear and Voting In America-- Campaign strategists in both parties have never hesitated to use scare tactics. In 1964, a Lyndon Johnson commercial called "Daisy" juxtaposed footage of a little girl plucking a flower with footage of an atomic blast.
In 1984, Ronald Reagan ran a spot that played on Cold War panic, in which the Soviet threat was symbolized by a grizzly lumbering across a stark landscape as a human heart pounds faster and faster and an off-screen voice warns, "There is a bear in the woods!"
In 2004, Bush sparked furor for running a fear-mongering ad that used wolves gathering in the woods as symbols for terrorists plotting against America. And last fall, Congressional Republicans drew fire with an ad that featured bin Laden and other terrorists threatening Americans; over the sound of a ticking clock, a voice warned, "These are the stakes.""
At least some of the President's support is the result of constant and relentless reminders of death, some of which is just what's happening in the world, but much of which is carefully cultivated and calculated as an electoral strategy," says Solomon. "In politics these days, there's a dose of reason, and there's a dose of irrationality driven by psychological terror that may very well be swinging elections."Solomon demonstrated that thinking about 9/11 made people go from preferring Kerry to preferring Bush. "Very subtle manipulations of psychological conditions profoundly affect political preferences," Solomon concludes. "In difficult moments, people don't want complex, nuanced, John Kerry-like waffling or sophisticated cogitation. They want somebody charismatic to step up and say, 'I know where our problem is and God has given me the clout to kick those people's asses.'"
Into The Blue Studies show that people who study abroad become more liberal than those who stay home.People who venture from the strictures of their limited social class are less likely to stereotype and more likely to embrace other cultures. Education goes hand-in-hand with tolerance, and often, the more the better:Professors at major universities are more liberal than their counterparts at less acclaimed institutions. What travel and education have in common is that they make the differences between people seem less threatening. "You become less bothered by the idea that there is uncertainty in the world," explains Jost.
That's why the more educated people are, the more liberal they become-but only to a point. Once people begin pursuing certain types of graduate degrees, the curve flattens. Business students, for instance, become more conservative in their views toward minorities. As they become more established, doctors and lawyers tend to protect their economic interests by moving to the right. The findings demonstrate that conservative conversions are fueled not only by fear, but by other factors as well. And if the November election was any indicator, the pendulum that swung so forcefully to the right after 9/11 may be swinging back.
~~~~~If we are so suggestible that thoughts of death make us uncomfortable defaming the American flag and cause us to sit farther away from foreigners, is there any way we can overcome our easily manipulated fears and become the informed and rational thinkers democracy demands?
To test this, Solomon and his colleagues prompted two groups to think about death and then give opinions about a pro-American author and an anti-American one. As expected, the group that thought about death was more pro-American than the other. But the second time, one group was asked to make gut-level decisions about the two authors, while the other group was asked to consider carefully and be as rational as possible.
The results were astonishing. In the rational group, the effects of mortality salience were entirely eliminated. Asking people to be rational was enough to neutralize the effects of reminders of death. Preliminary research shows that reminding people that as human beings, the things we have in common eclipse our differences-what psychologists call a "common humanity prime"-has the same effect."People have two modes of thought," concludes Solomon. "There's the intuitive gut-level mode, which is what most of us are in most of the time. And then there's a rational analytic mode, which takes effort and attention."The solution, then, is remarkably simple. The effects of psychological terror on political decision making can be eliminated just by asking people to think rationally. Simply reminding us to use our heads, it turns out, can be enough to make us do it.
Friday, April 20, 2007
This from a recent email. The contaminated materials coming from China seems to be expanding. Now it includes rice and corn, not simply wheat gluten. Keep checking the FDA list and stay tuned to find out what other brands of pet food have been contaminated. Not to mention human food.
The dog food recall continues to expand to include Venison formulas from Natural Balance and Blue Buffalo kitten food. Here’s a quote from a Forbes article posted at this link:
In another development, it appears that some of the contaminated rice protein concentrate made its way in to hog feed. The extent of the problem isn't known. It's also not known if hogs fed the contaminated food have made it into the human food chain, the FDA reported.
"We do understand that one of the companies that was manufacturing pet food had some pet food that was unfit for pets and it made its way into some hog feed," Sundlof said. "We are following up on that."
Meanwhile in South Africa, melamine has been found in Royal Canin pet food company's Vets Choice and Royal Canin dry dog and cat food sold exclusively in South Africa and Namibia. The source of the melamine appears to be from corn gluten imported from China, according to published reports.
The FDA believes that the pet food product contamination might be intentional. Melamine can make it appear that the protein content of the wheat or corn gluten or protein concentrate is higher than it actually is.
"We are aware that melamine can increase protein content," Sundlof said. "It's still a theory, but it seems to be a plausible one. The motivation would be economic in that you can take a product that is low in protein and would not qualify for the designation as protein supplement and make it appear that it has a high protein content so it can be sold at a higher price."
FDA representatives are hoping to go to China to investigate the manufacturers of these products. However, they have not yet been able to clear the diplomatic hurdles that would make the trip possible.
For more information on pet food, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
This email from a friend. It seems that more pet foods are being recalled as being tainted, so it ain’t over yet. If you have pets you’d better keep checking the FDA’s website for the updated lists. This new recall is especially disturbing since the Natural Balance foods are considered “specialty” foods often used by old, sick or autoimmune dogs who can’t eat “regular” foods. Next question, Did that contaminated wheat gluten end up in human food? Stay tuned.
As you know, a few days ago I sent a message to your blog that I got from D.E.L.T.A. Rescue saying Leo Grillo had been in touch with the Natural Balance people and that they had assured him that their food was tested by them and was safe. I just looked at today's USA Today Money section and its top story was a recall of Natural Balance pet food. Apparently the same ingredient that has contaminated the wheat gluten in Menu pet food products, melamine, has turned up in some of Natural Balance's food in a rice protein concentrate used in the Venison and Natural Brown Rice canned and dry dog foods, dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. The rice protein is mixed with venison meal. Natural Balance has received about 10 reports of sick pets, mostly dogs, since Thursday...some of the pets developed kidney failure. Apparently it was a new ingredient they had begun adding to those particular pet food products. I would just want to be sure your blog readers know this as soon as possible.
Yes, Virginia, Staying Involved & In The Loop Actually DOES Mean Something in The Hideous Sewer Wars.
Over at Ron Crawford’s blogsite (http://www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com/) Ron’s taking credit in his humorous TAC-wars for the County’s TAC changing direction and now including the Tri-W plans in the fine screening process. Before, they were simply going to get a pass as a “given.”
It’s certainly possible that Ron’s email to the TAC on this issue brought about the change. It’s also equally clear that the change came as a result of other community members attending last Monday’s PZLDF meeting to bring up that very topic with guest speaker, Supervisor Bruce Gibson, and those who attended Tuesday’s first Los Osos TAC public input meeting, where it was brought up several times by citizens who made their concerns known to the committee. In short, what happened to change the process somewhat was the result of citizens staying involved, staying in the loop, offering feedback and criticisms and ideas, which is part of the Process and is why I keep nagging folks to stop complaining to this blogsite and go attend a meeting or contact the various people in charge of this project directly.
If the Process is working right, input really is important. The members of the TAC are not Gods. They have an enormous pile on their plate, so if they’re overlooking something important, or there's a problem with GIGO, (wrong data), they rely on you, Dear and Gentle Citizen, to help bring it to their attention for consideration. So, please, attend as many meetings as you can, keep up with the printed material as best you can, offer any ideas you feel are important. Your attention will see that the Process works properly.
The next Los Osos public TAC meeting is scheduled for April 24 at 7:30 pm. in the South Bay Community Center. The area they’ll be covering will include Finance. Then on Tuesday, May 1 at 7 pm., also at the SBCC, they’ll be covering Environmental issues. Please plan to attend.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The following was a press release from Citizens for Clean Water - PZLDF, regarding the recent mass mailing "Notice of Violation" sent from the RWQCB to the homeowners in the PZ in Los Osos. Further information is also available at the CCW-PZLDF table at the Monday farmer's market.
Citizens for Clean Water
What can I do to protect my rights?
1. In response to the Notice of violation----- THE WATER BOARD IS NOT REQUIRING A RESPONSE. Nothing is required. And it may even be legally problematic to inform them that you received it.
2. DO NOT SEND OFFERS TO SIGN AGREEMENTS OR SETTLEMENTS! (CAO’s) since that could adversely affect your ability to defend yourself, and ultimately risk loss of your home..
3. Keep abreast of the county’s progress toward an acceptable project. (see FAQ-reports & schedules) http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/PW/LOWWP.htm
4. Participate in the process and let your wishes be known concerning an acceptable project, based on costs, type, and location but do not feel compelled to vote Yes in a 218 election if you do not agree with it……
5. Learn your compliance options if the County fails.
6. Protect the process from the county’s actions being influenced by water board enforcement- coercion and intimidation tactics. Notify the county you want a clean process-protected from Water Board interference.
7. Contact your representatives about your concerns.
District 2 Supervisor Bruce Gibson:
Room D-430, County Government Center
San Luis Obispo, California 93408
(805) 781-1350 Fax
Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee
Palm Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Congresswoman Lois Capps
San Luis Obispo 1411 Marsh Street, Suite 205 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 Phone: (805) 546-8348 Fax: (805) 546-8368
Peter J. Visclosky (IN), Chair: (WRDA Grants-Funding Asst.)
Dixon Butler, Subcommittee ClerkRoom 2362-B Rayburn House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3421
8. Learn more about your rights, the regulations and legal help available.
Sullivan & AssociatesA Law Corporation2238 Bayview Heights Drive, Suite CLos Osos, CA 93402(805) 528-3355(805) 528-3364 fax
Pacific Legal Foundation 3900 Lennane Drive, Suite200Sacramento, CA 95834Phone: (916) 419- 7111Fax: (916) firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Attend PZLDF informational meetings on Monday evenings at 7:00 pm at Washington Mutual Bank Community Room, and join Citizens for Clean Water-PZLDF.
10. Protect your property rights by being proactive, and by donating your time, money and resources. DONATE TO FUND THE LEGAL ACTIONS EITHER TO PZLDF OR DIRECTLY TO SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES.
COME TO MEETINGS, HELP WITH FUNDRAISING, STAY INVOLVED!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Once again, ITWS – It’s The Water, Stupid – that’s the key. Recent UN report points to severe, Dust Bowl-like drought conditions in the southwest by 2050, a group of states and Mexico who are already fighting over what we now have. And, wasn’t that T. Boone Pickens last seen buying up the water rights in vast stretches of West Texas. Houston? We have a problem. And here we are contemplating building our own wasteWATER system with the real question being, Will we build for the 19th century or the 21st century, take your pick.
From a recent email:
Date: April 13, 2007 9:52:34 AM PDT
Subject: Tap, tap. Time to wake up.
Leaked document reveals bulk water exports to be discussed at continental integration talks
OTTAWA, April 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The leaked document of a prominent Washington-based think tank obtained by the Council of Canadians reveals that government officials and business leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States are scheduled to discuss bulk water exports in a closed-door meeting at the end of the month as part of a larger discussion on North American integration.
Titled the "North American Future 2025 Project," the initiative being led by the U.S.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Conference Board of Canada and the Mexican Centro de Investigacisn y Docencia Econsmicas calls for a series of "closed-door meetings" on North American integration dealing with a number of highly contentious issues including bulk water exports, a joint security perimeter and a continental resource pact.
According to the document, a roundtable on the "Future of the North American Environment," is planned for this Friday April 27 in Calgary, and will discuss "water consumption, water transfers and artificial diversions of bulk water" with the aim of achieving "joint optimum utilization of the available water."
"This is just the latest in a series of closed-door meetings that grant the business sector privileged access while shutting out the public," says Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. "The document is damning not just because it outlines a process that lacks transparency and accountability," says Barlow, "but also because of what is being discussed by governments and so-called corporate stakeholders."
The document also reveals that "trilateral coordination of energy policy" and the development of "North American security architecture" are being discussed by high-level government officials from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
The Council of Canadians is demanding that the Canadian government cease all further participation in such talks on North American integration until there is parliamentary debate and meaningful public consultation on the issue.
UPDATE: The Vancouver Sun is covering it at length.
From the Vancouver Sun article [ ] above.
Canada has 20 per cent of the world's water "if you drained every lake and river" - but actual available supply amounts to only about seven per cent, she said.
The outline notes that "fresh water is running out in many regions of the world," particularly the U.S. and Mexico, while "Canada possesses about 20 per cent of the Earth's fresh water."
It goes on to say Canada, the U.S. and Mexico must discuss such solutions as bilateral agreements on "water transfers" and the diversion of water.
The outline notes "the overriding future goal of North America is to achieve joint optimum utilization of the available water."
Pressure on Canada from the U.S. will be intense, according to the UN report.
It warns that drought might cut by 40 per cent a key Texas aquifer that supplies water for 2 million people, and decimate the Ogallala aquifer, which underlies eight U.S. states.
The Ogallala Aquifer (click on accompanying image)
CAPTION: "The Ogallala aquifer underlies portions of eight states. This image documents the decline in the level of water in many areas for the period 1980-1995. Source: USGS"
Maybe we will someday go to war with Canada after all. Over water.
Friday, April 13, 2007
TAC Special Working Committee Meeting Schedule
The is a listmail notice regarding three upcoming special working TAC committee meetings. Mark your calendars and plan to attend.
Dear Los Osos ListMail Subscribers,Re: Los Osos Wastewater Project – Technical Advisory Committee Notices & AnnouncementsBelow is a list of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings. This information is being brought to you on behalf of the Department of Public Works, San Luis Obispo County, Technical Advisory Committee. To enhance communications, TAC will now be supplying information to you (i.e. ListMail Subscribers) via this service also. Meetings and notices will be delivered in as timely a manner as possible.Future e-mail messages will have some/all of the following words in the header: LOWWP – TAC MTG – Agenda – Notice – Date, etc.You can also keep up to date by frequenting the County’s “Los Osos Wastewater Website” at: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/PW/LOWWP.htm. Current schedules, agendas, and staff reports are available there.----------------------------------------------------------------------------Notice: Wed. 4/11/073 SPECIAL WORKING TAC COMMITTEE MEETINGSThe Los Osos Wastewater Project Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) will be hold three special working committee meetings in order to receive public input on the Alternatives described in the Potential Viable Projects Alternatives Rough Screening Analysis.The schedule for the meetings is as follows:Tuesday, April 17, 7:00PM - South Bay Community Center - Eng/Water Resources committeeTuesday, April 24, 7:30PM - South Bay Community Center - Finance committee Tuesday, May 1, 7:00PM - South Bay Community Center - Environmental committeeThe full document and an overview of the Alternatives is available at the County Websitehttp://www.slocounty.ca.gov/PW/LOWWP/DOCS/Current_Documents.htm------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THESE MESSAGES – THEY GO TO A COMPUTER – Send TAC responses/e-mails to: LOWWP@co.slo.ca.us
Next Up, PZLDF Meeting with Guest Speaker, Supervisor Bruce Gibson
Monday, 4/16/06 at 7 pm, in the meeting room at Mutual Bank, Los Osos, Bruce Gibson will be the guest speaker. If you have any questions, do plan to attend.
The following email was sent to Rob Miller of the Wallace Group by Los Osos resident Steve Paige. He has raised issues concerning the assessment district and the general benefits vs special benefits for the sewer project. If he is indeed, correct, that the PZ itself may create an awful legal mess down the road, then I would suggest that NOW is the time for the TAC and the County and the RWQCB to face this problem head on. There are many sound reasons to revisit the Basin Plan/PZ issue. This is one of those reasons. As for Steve’s observation regarding global warming, energy costs and water shortages and building a system for the 21st century, not the 19th, I can only say, Amen. Amen, too, to his claim that he believes the County “gets it,” vis a vis environmentally smart systems. I can only hope he’s correct. Next up for some future 218 discussion: How do you financially separate Water from Wastewater in a scientifically indefensible PZ that’s in a water basin with multiple purveryors? That’ll be a toughie. Posted with permission.
Thanks for coming by the other night for PZLDF and suffering my questioning. I have some facts and personal observances that I think we can both agree on outside the politics and rancor of the Los Osos 218 assessment debauchery left over from the State getting cold feet about their bogus SRF loan. Can't fool me. You either for that matter.
[ . . reference to his PC 13269 Waiver request supplementary agreement filed with the RWQCB . . .] because I have a list of people that agree with me about proportional discharge vs. Zero Discharge and it's relationship to "Environmental Justice". They are all willing to fall on the 'proportional discharge' sword.
The RWQCB has not met Cal. G.C. 65040.12 (e) in that the RWQCB3 discriminates against an income group defined as the owners and equity holders of lesser sized properties in the P.Z. vs. properties exempted by the RWQCB because the properties are over one acre. That dotted line is a killer for the RWQCB3 and 'regulatory takings' issues. Why else would they sit on my waiver and risk me invoking Cal GC 65940 etc.
Their actions suggest to me that there is fear amoung the prosecution team of a challenge to the 'zero discharge' order for 'regulatory takings' on several points of law. Raising those points during TAC hearing phase will be necessary for establishing a later legal challenge. It could be rectified in a later legal complaint. No hurry. The issue would effect the 218 scoping initially or wreak havoc with the tax structure after the fact.
In Burbank vs. SWRCB (2005) (35 Cal. 4th 613, Rptr.3d) the Court sent the SWRCB back to study the "economic considerations"of not allowing any trash in the concrete lined Los Angeles river from storm drains. A near impossible task, as is the zero discharge order for smaller lots in the Los Osos PZ. How will it pan out for the RWQCB3 when this issue reaches the appellate Court level? Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and APCD issues, take your pick, will be the final nails in the RWQCB's zero discharge coffin, along with 'Enviormental Justice' issues. Zero discharge is a eminent domain claim no brainer....
In a further act of administrative passion theRWQCB3 left out the mandated 'takings' study. Under E.O. 12630, Regan, 1988., the RWQCB is advised to 'study' the regulatory takings impact of their zero discharge enforcement. They have not. What would be the downside for the County if property owners within the PZ were to prevail in a 'regulatory takings' class action suit over zero discharge and allowed the more equitable 'proportional discharge' pogrom outlined in my Settlement agreement or be compensated? 5000 times what amount for compensation if we loose the use of our property? I can smell the oiled burled walnut in the Federal Supreme Court already.........
The County could retroactively owe millions of dollars in assessment compensations to the PZ landowners because of the miss-scoped 218 vote based on 'zero' discharge based on some fairytale Valhalla 2011 zero discharge my-property-is worth-nothing date. I tried to bring the proportional discharge debate to the attention of Harvey Packard with my waiver and remedy for them, (see letter) the Environmental Justice issue. I like Harvey. If my waiver was allowed, anyone could have an avenue to comply (using proportional discharge and Nitrogen sequestering) by copying me in a SEP program as a temporary mitigation before the sewer is built. 'Zero discharge' is the shot gun at the wedding. It's forcing a very expensive Sewer Project on a community that has 36% of it's families on the school lunch program for low income parents (4% above the County average), and 24% of the community on fixed income social security. I think You need to know my motives. I believe in economic justice for people like myself with a passion.
I based my request to the RWQCB for proportional discharge on sound reasoning and matters of fact. The present parallel enforcements of the CDO's and allowance of 375 GPD discharge on properties over one acre is a logical paradox. Under these conflicting orders you could have a one acre property in the PZ allowed 375 GPD plus (as up on Highland drive), and could have a .99 Acre parcel next door with no discharge allowed. In essence you are creating two economic classes of enforcement. People with properties over an acre can simply put in a normal septic system and lesser properties, even the one described above, have to put in a 'zero discharge' system at many times the expense and in small lot cases, even impossible at any expense. So what is the 'taking'?
The 'taking', is the commensurable difference in cost between 'proportional discharge' by lot area vs. the zany 'zero' discharge order. With little relationship to other basin plan orders and orders for outside the PZ the 'zero' discharge order causes financial harm by manipulating the scale, energy consumption, infrastructure, and cost of the basin nitrogen contamination cleanup impacting a particular economic class defined by income and equity. Lesser properties are given the burden of compliance while properties over an acre are doing nothing.
Which brings me to the launch of your engineer's report. If you took the whole water district instead of the PZ and applied proportional discharge as a principal for defining special benefits based on property size, zoning , and distance to groundwater; you would end up with persons who were creating the largest impact on the aquifer paying the most. The PZ line would vanish. The hydrologic cycle would be represented in the revised order. We are drinking the water we recharge with. We would be living within our water means.
The County is on a fools errand to think that State water will bail out Los Osos. Greenhouse warming will destroy the winter snowpack in California leaving the State in perpetual water crisis just a few years out (OK to count on one hand). We need to live within our means, right here, right now. It is the Counties responsibility to 'Smart Growth' the Sewer/ water issue and create linkage between discharge and water use as I propose in my agreement. The 'smart growth' lip service [ www.mnforsustain.org/natural_gas_supply_in_decline-youngquist_duncan_1203.htm . . . .] laughable when you look at the 16% per annum Natural Gas supply collapse now occurring in Mexico's biggest oilfield. Functionality is directly related to energy consumption. End of story. Proportional discharge allows you to do more with less and puts on the table solutions that can be energy related and blackout or brown out hardened. Any other solution is a rear thinking dead end in a 1950's sewer reality.
I love the County government. These are the people that allowed me to build the first Hot Air-Pebble Bed Solar House in Los Oso in 1976. And allowed me to use 80% recycled materials in a house for Bill Walther in 1989 by Lopez Lake. They see the light. Ken Hagard of the San Luis Sustainability Group and myself just made the list with a simple Passive Solar House in the secondary housing competition. I think the County really gets it. I know they are more capable of building a sewer that is more energy efficent, resource comprehensive, and cost effective than the Tri-W 218 yahoos. Just because the bar is lowered doesn't mean that you can get lazy or greedy. If you scope the benefit using propotional discharge, you bring the project into the 2100 Century and make it relative to our around the corner, high efficency reality.
My first 218 question then is how do you scope the project given these contingencies? Or do you just ignore them.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
As a headline, it was hard to beat. There in the March 31 Tribune, from a New York Daily News story, “’My Sweet Lord’ chocolate Jesus outrages Catholics.”
Artist “Cosimo Cavallaro’s anatomically correct Jesus, titled ‘My Sweet Lord’ was made from almost 200 pounds of dark chocolate. The sculpture was to be displayed in a street-level window at the Roger Smith Hotel’s Lab Gallery starting Monday.”
A life-sized, naked, “anatomically correct” crucified chocolate Christ hanging in a hotel window at the start of Easter Week naturally enough engendered a protest. “It’s an all-out war on Christianity,” fumed Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. “They wouldn’t’ show a depiction of Martin Luther king Jr. with genitals exposed on Martin Luther King Day, and they wouldn’t show Mohammed depicted this way during Ramadan. It’s always Christians, and the timing is deliberate.”
Well, what can you expect from an artist who’s “ . . . best known for slathering both a Hell’s Kitchen hotel room and model Twiggy with melted cheese . . . ?” A check of his website (http://www.cosimocavallaro.com) shows an artist well versed in creating a variety of startling artworks out of ham, candy and rubber, so Artist-as-Provocateur should be assumed.
And putting aside Mr. Donohue’s wish to play the minority victim card as a persecuted “Christian” in one of the most Christianized nations on earth, what was interesting to me was that he apparently didn’t object to the deeper weirdness of chocolate and crucifixion, but did object to the nudity. Alas, such a complaint is quaintly 500 hundred years too late. Michelangelo beat Mr. Cavallaro to the punch when he painted his Sistine Chapel’s monumental masterpiece, “The Last Judgment,” so loaded with shocking, anatomically correct nudity that Cardinal Carafa later hired a hack with a brush, now forever known as Il Braghettone (The breeches-painter), to come in and paint over the offending parts.
Thus the uneasy artistic battle ever since, with the body of Jesus being portrayed in myriad ways throughout history -- from the stiff iconic figures of Byzantium, to the nearly nude, ripped-muscle writhing of the Baroque period, to the strange marriage of Spanish Counter Reformation and Mesoamerican images, with their eerie focus on blood and gore, to the total disappearance of the figure altogether in the protestant shift away from the “Popish idolatry” of “graven images,” which often led to an empty cross in a bare chapel.
And through the ages every medium has been used in Jesus’ depiction: paint, wood, stone, clay, glass, textiles, straw, you name it. But with chocolate as the medium and crucifixion as the subject, we do end up with a particularly dissonant pairing of sinful edible delight and appalling holy suffering.
On the other hand, the pairing of food and Christian icons is nothing new either. If you go to Chocolate Fantasies at http://chocolatefantasies.com/religious.htm you can order 3 oz. chocolate heads of Jesus or Mary (in profile with halo) for $5.50 each, in a cello bag with ribbon, with the creepiness here being the same as for animal crackers: Where do you bite first?
And Lord knows, for years images of Jesus and Mary have been appearing on a wide variety of comestibles from toasted cheese sandwiches to tortillas, followed by an appearance of a photograph of the latest venerated miraculous food item on The Dave Letterman Show, accompanied by snorting laughter from the incredulous unfaithful.
Yet this pairing of Food & Faith does have a deep connection with the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and some Protestant sects’ dogma concerning the miracle of transubstantiation, wherein communion “bread” and “wine” become the body and blood of Christ and are ingested by the faithful.
Eat this in remembrance of me, said Jesus at the Last Supper. And for centuries, believers did as instructed, although the idea of transubstantiation was a belief that many European missionaries and priests had a difficult time explaining to various indigenous people they were trying to convert, since many of their erstwhile converts thought that these pale-faced, black-robed strangers were simply terrifying cannibals who daily “ate their God.”
And now we have a new Hershey Heresy, a sadistic gourmand’s delight: A 200 pound Candy Crucifix -- Death by Chocolate. Yum-yum. Eeeuuuuuwwww.
Well, to the God of Small Things, I can only offer thanks that at least the artist didn’t choose to use Cheese Whiz.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Uh, oh, Ron Crawford, over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com has fired up his S.Wa.T.T.Force 1 and taken on the county's Los Osos Sewer TAC team. It's a rumble in the sewer and amongst the myriad rules and regs and Commissions and laws and reports. Wheee! Let's hope some of his cogent points make it into the county's TAC report.
Next Public Hanging & Auto de Fe at the RWQCB Mad Hatter CDO Hearings for The Los Osos 45 Left Still Standing
May 10 the RWQCB will reconvene at Aerovista place (check their website for time and date) to finish torturing and burning the remaining Los Osos 45. Interestingly, the Chairman has also quashed the subpoena submited by a few of the 45 on March 13th who wished to depose RWQCB CEO Roger Briggs, now that he has returned from sailing the high seas.
Bwahahahahah. The Board can't possibly let THAT happen, so has requested "A protective order [from such subpoenas] is necessary to preclude any additional attempts to issue or request subpoenas for the deposition of witnesses on the staff of the Central Coast Water Board. "
In other words, if you're an individual CDO recipient and you wish to use your right to question witnesses, including Mr. Briggs now he's back in town, too bad. Outta luck. You'll simply have to make do with whatever the Board has decreed is the record to date and settle for whatever the Board wishes to to allow to go into that record. Nothing more. Nothing less. More tea! More tea! Move down! Move down.
Also on the agenda at that May 10th meeting, a decision by the board as to how to proceed with the CDOs for the remaing 45 as well as the rest of the community.
If my math is correct, using the figures supplied in this ruling, the RWQCB has spent about a year and a half and tons of taxpayer money to "prosecute" about 45 people. Of that 45, 30 settled, many under durress, but seven later withdrew that settlement agreement and have requested a "trial," which means that 23 settled, 22 did not. And there are a few remaining people who still have yet to be prosecuted. The return rate, then, for this massive process, is about 50%. And there's still some 4,500++ homeowners left to go.
And the appeal process STILL hasn't been heard by the State Water Board. And not a single drop of water has benefited by this extraordinarily expensive operation.
So, does someone want to explain to me what the cost/benefits are to the taxpayers of our dear state for this apallingly bungled, misguided operation?
I would advise everyone to attend this important meeting simply to watch the pro-forma, previously decided Rubber Stamps at work. Makes a nice piece of theatre.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The Tribune reports that Congressman Pete Visclosky, D-Ind, will be coming to Los Osos to tour our fine burg from 2 - 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 12th. “He is expected to meet with county officials and members of the state and regional water boards, and tour Los Osos. . . . . State Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee . . . county Supervisor Bruce Gibson, and a representative from a state loan program are also expected to attend,” says the Trib.
Since it was studiously unmentioned, I presume that official representatives from Los Osos itself, you know, like the president of the CSD, for example, have NOT been invited.
Since the meeting is about lobbying the Congressman, who chairs a house committee that funds water projects in hopes that some federal dollars will be allocated “under the Water Resources Development Act” to help pay for the Los Osos sewer, a project that will impact everyone in Los Osos, why should anyone from the elected board of the CSD be invited?
Well, let’s hope Mr. Visclosky pays close attention to the words “water,” and keeps a strong focus on the words “affordability,” during his one hour tour as well. You can be sure that that unnamed “representative from a state loan program” (wink, nudge, wink, nudge) will be at his elbow, whispering, “Put out the cat. . . puuutttt outtt the $6.5 million caaaattttt…”
TAC Comments Over the Transom
The following comments are by Tom Ruehr, Cal Poly soil scientist, on the work done by the TAC that is in their recent preliminary rough screening report. Dr. Ruehr has been involved with various sewer TACs over the years and, as made clear from some of his comments, is seeing familiar problems and issues crop up again in this TAC report. Hopefully, his comments will be considered by the TAC and the County as they move ahead with this process. And will be considered by the citizens as well, since many of these concerns are familiar ones.
Los Osos TAC Report Comments by Tom Ruehr March 30 through April 8, 2007
Major concern for not recharging the lower aquifer. Probably no sewer system will be able to do this. We will continue to lose water to Morro Bay. This remains a serious deficiency in terms of water management. We must insure we do not connect to the state water. We must prevent connecting to Lake Naciamiento water. This water contains sufficient mercury (even when it is below the mercury detection limit) to contain millions to billions of atoms of mercury in each gallon of water.
Using the recycled water through ag exchange will help to reduce the total water pumped from the lower aquifer. Water management in terms of deep aquifer recharge is critical and can not be solved by this sewer. However, we need to insure any results of the sewer will not make the potential for deep water recharge any worse.
Ironically, the RWQCB is so concerned about nitrate and potential “pollution” eventually no water will exist to become polluted unless they change their focus from contamination to recycling and retention of useful water.
I am pleased they have finally started looking down at the end of the process first (disposal and recharge) and working backward to how to collect the sewage. This is one reason previous studies have missed the major problems. They looked too closely only on collection.
I believe we must try as much as possible to prevent any use of the State Revolving Fund monies. I believe we can have access to private funding. It will cost not much more than the state funding. Most importantly, we will be able to insure we can have a sewer with the least amount of cost overrides if we reject using the SRF. With the SRF and an early 218 vote, we will very likely end with buying a pig in a poke. By this I mean the sewer installation companies will continually increase the costs and the total cost will be a continuously changing number, mainly because they have ignored the problems encountered with water recharge and biosolids processing.
The RWQCB has continuously changed their criteria. The major past problem has been their absolute stupidity of rejecting all science and technology developed within the past 25 years. They have been excessively wedded only to multinational sewer companies providing sewer systems for cities of 2 million people. These processes are not appropriate for small communities of 20,000 people.
Many amazing technologies have recently been developed with much superior and effective water processing in the past few years. Within the past decade a major mindset change has occurred. This new mindset essentially argues previous massive sewer installations should be avoided because of the serious problems (long term they create) and the realization smaller is more efficient, effective with lower long term maintenance and providing better water quality at a much lower treatment cost.
Be aware of the previous bait and switch process. They allow the TAC to develop many useful ideas. Then at the very last minute, all previous work is negated by claiming many “fatal flaws” resulting in all previous work having no value. Consequently, only the new ideas with no opportunity to evaluate their impacts publically are forced upon the community. This has occurred several times in the past in Los Osos.
The County and the RWQCB has ignored the nature of the people in Los Osos. For many years they assumed the community was full of dissidents only interested in trying to prevent having a sewer. Los Osos contains the most highly educated people per 1000 individuals between Monterey and Ventura. The reality is they do not want to pay for a non-functioning sewer rat hole with the obvious escalating costs associated with problems poorly examined (as was the recharge at the Broderson site for example).
The recharge site proposal for the Broderson site and Tri W was about 100 to 1000 times the actual water application rate which could be allowed. The County engineering and the RWQCB signed off indicating they accepted these rates. This was a major professional mistake. This is a fatal flaw regarding the recharge process. Because the County engineering and the RWQCCB signed off and approved this improper rate, we can not trust them fully to look out for the welfare the Los Osos residents. They are not considering all of the factors, only those which will make the sewer cost the most.
The RWQCB will be making more money in the form of monitoring the Los Osos wastewater situation in the future. The larger the plant, the more money will be coming to the RWQQCB. Consequently, they have a vested interest in forcing Los Osos to have the most expensive sewer possible. This helps to explain their zeal for approving anything in Los Osos regardless of whether it works or protects the overall water quality.
What is needed is not slick covered fancy multiple color brochures. They need to provide a clearly reasoned comparison step wide of why each option was chosen and why each other alternative was rejected. The people of Los Osos do not want to spend more money on glitz, they want more solid clearly argued thinking with more effective and assured results for these steps in the sewer process.
Page TS-3 estimate of 65 gallons per capita per day seems low, previous values were closer to 75 to 80. I hope they are correct with this new value.
Table TS 1 is critical to understand. The BOD loading with the conventional system is the reason for the excessive cost for grinding pumps and water flow compared to using the septic tank as a distinct part of the total treatment process. The BOD with STEP can be reduced nearly 3 fold. This means the treatment plant has a much better chance to process the waste water.
The conventional sewer processes this high BOD sewage so fast it results in a much greater mass of biosolids than will be generated with the STEP system even when the septic tank pumping added to the total process. In general, the faster sewage is processed at any central processing plant, the more total tons of biosolids which will be produced.
The County refuses to see all aspects of water for Los Osos (as the Blue Ribbon Comm.) was charged to do a decade and a half ago. We must drastically reduce the total mass of rain water runoff by installing holding basins (possibly underground) and provide for carbon filtration to remove oils from highway surface interactions of this runoff water and reuse of this water currently lost. We must harvest the water from the upper aquifer and use this wherever possible. This will greatly reduce the total water lost from the community into Morro Bay.
We must be much more serious about sea water intrusion. This is what I mean by looking at the end of the process first. Again, this report seems to have ignored how to prevent the sea water intrusion. Without addressing these points, the total value of the sewer is completely negated.
It is absolutely critical to establish an on site treatment process for biosolids treatment. We must have an effective means for aerobic composting and total biosolids biomass reduction on site. It will be essential to provide some clear process of utilization and beneficial processing of the biosolids. The metals content should be quite low and fortunately additional toxic chemicals are usually quite low in Los Osos.
A serious consideration is the presence of pharmaceutical and personal care products. These are not being processed during the conventional sewage treatment process. Releasing these products in the treated water will have very adverse conditions. For example, birth control medications will pass through the water and will eventually place all residence on birth control when they drink this recycled water. It is not certain whether soil filtration of these products will result in the elimination of these products.
In addition to birth control products, other serious considerations are the possible body elimination of major anti-cancer medications. Fragrances and antibiotics will present major problems. If we begin drinking treated waste water even after passage through soil will probably result in converting the citizens of Los Osos into a huge guinea pig experiment where they will be exposed to the potential transfer of the antibiotic resistance genes being transferred to people. If this occurs, the health of all individuals in the community will be seriously threatened because physicians will have no alternative during the critical process of administering life saving medications when the current antibiotics are no longer effective due to the people possessing these antibiotic resistance genes.
Table TS 2 These considerations suggest we must use disinfected tertiary treated waste water plus a much more intense treatment with Ultra Violet light and possibly hydrogen peroxide. Chlorine should be avoided because the addition of chlorine gas results in uncontrolled organic chemical reactions creating organic chlorine compounds which increasingly are seen as suspected cancer causing agents.
A consideration for ag exchange is what the RWQCB considers being inside the basin. In the past, this has created problems. The Los Osos valley for about 6 miles to the east is part of this basin. Don Asquith has helped to continue to confuse people about this problem.
Percolation ponds should be avoided. Maintaining constant saturated water over the soil results in microbes forming slimes which eventually clog the soil pores and greatly reduce the total rate of water infiltration and percolation over time. This is under appreciated. This problem will magnify if only secondary water is used for the infiltration percolation ponds. Only the highest level of water treatment should be used for this purpose. Loading rates should allow at least one full day of complete drainage before adding more water.
Leach fields should not be used for disposal of any other than the highest quality of treated waste water. Secondary waste water will eventually clog due to the many lamellae in the sand dunes. This eventually will plug up the soil pores.
Creek discharge must be prevented. A constructed terminal wetland might work. However, the proximity to the sea level and the fog will mean this system will not be able to work optimally.
Table TS 3 Energy use has been played down by past proposals. Most of the conventional sewage treatment processes are extremely energy intensive, especially for electricity to move the water around. Other systems are much less energy intensive. Past considerations suggested we would have to have a complete dedicated electrical line directly to the treatment plant and this may not be enough for a conventional sewer. An excessive energy cost should be considered as a fatal flaw for any high energy proposal. This is especially true for future increases in energy costs.
The treatment site location must consider what I consider a fatal flaw from the human health perspective. Because of the persistent fog, any viruses entrapped in the air due to movement of the sewage and wastewater will result in a major down wind direction effect of contaminating residents close to the treatment facility. This effect is well know in the wastewater community where sewage treatment personnel are often fairly sick for the first several years until they become immune through previous exposure to these various viruses and microbes. However, the problem is much more serious for susceptible individuals (infants, elderly and those with a compromised immune system). Ideally, the treatment facility should be completely inclosed and all air leaving the facility should be treated with UV radiation to reduce the possibility of this happening in Los Osos.
Oxidation ditch, trickling filters and ponds have the same problem as identified in the previous paragraph. However, ponds may be a great idea for the purpose of removing phosphate by encouraging algal growth to remove both phosphate and some nitrate. I do not see any other treatment consideration which can assist in removing the phosphate. Phosphate contamination of Morro Bay is one of the primary reasons for the decrease in water quality to Morro Bay. Once the local sand dunes become saturated with phosphate, any additional phosphate from waste water treatment will move directly into Morro Bay regardless of whatever treatment process is used, unless algal treatment is added to the process.
Class A biosolids must be generated. Then these biosolids must be further composted aerobically ideally for over 6 months to a year on sight. This might most effectively be achieved by mixing the biosolids with green waste. This will greatly enhance degradation by providing more nutrients, more water holding ability, more aeration and more rapid degradation. The resulting composted material could be used for erosion control and other purposes, including crops harvested with a protective cover (corn, wheat, etc.) but can not be used for root crop production.
Biosolids composting must emphasize vertical processing to enhance aeration and improved microbial degradation rather than the traditional horizontal processing only. Soil inoculation should be considered to insure these systems work optimally. Inclusion of rice hulls and straw will most likely greatly enhance the rate and quality of composting.
My suggested best location is the land just south of Los Osos Valley Road across from Turri Road and to the east for until the next home is encountered. This land has a slight elevation, has higher clay content for water filtration, allows for wells down hill being able to obtain the ground water for reuse. The closer the site is to Morro Bay water, the less effective it will be overall. Any site north of Los Osos Valley Road east of Turri Road has a problem of being dominated by serpentine soils and this will greatly reduce the effectiveness for waste water remediation (clean up).
I appreciate the emphasis upon using less productive soil sites. This is fine for the treatment plant site, but the waste water application soils should have an adequate amount of silt and clay to allow for both adsorption of phosphate and metals, plus the microbial soil community allowing the microbes to decompose the organic components in the waste water including potentially decomposing the pharmaceutical and personal care products.
It might be good to explore John Alexander’s electrical agglomeration process. This will reduce metals and potentially may enhance the water quality prior to the water entering into the treatment process. John is a recognized engineer who has been ignored by most of these sewer people. He is a local resident (Cayucos) and has a patented process we should at least consider for the potential benefit to residents of Los Osos.
The best site location for the treatment facility is north of the cemetery where the plant can be primarily hidden by the topography. This will reduce virus spreading to the eastward (down wind and has much less fog).
The best site for application of the waste water is on locations with more clay than in most of the sand dunes area. The land south of Los Osos Valley Road between the creek valley to the land south of Turri Road is mostly sandy loam soil which is only moderately effective for potential microbial decomposition. Application of the waste water onto the sand dunes should be avoided because of the presence of the lamellae which prevent the effective water treatment and prevent an adequate rate of water infiltration and percolation with a maximum rate of microbial decomposition (which is low in sand dunes and sandy loam soils).
Conventional gravity collection will cause several major problems. First, the large diameter pipes will leak sewage downward into the soil below each leak. This will result in many uncontrolled leaks. This will provide non-treated nitrate, phosphate, and pathogens to the soil and enhance contamination within the collection zone. Second, these large diameter pipes will leak inward meaning in zones closes to the sea level, sea water will move into these pipes. Any sea water leakage into these large diameter pipes will have two effects. The sea salts will strongly inhibit the microbial decomposition in the treatment plant. More importantly, these sea salts will prevent this water from being used as a water source for humans. This is absolutely to be prevented under all circumstances. This is a fatal flaw for the collection system. Ironically, the RWQCB approved of the Tri W collection process because it does not care about this problem of sea water quality deterioration of the collected waste water because of its excessive zeal for the most expensive sewer being installed in Los Osos. So much for the RWQCB’s true concerns over water quality for Los Osos.
Another fatal flow is the major deep soil disturbance due to installation of the large diameter pipes. This process will cause disturbance at several major locations going from high on the hillside on the south downward towards the bay to the north. The problem is this will greatly increase the problems of soil erosion when water concentrates moving down the streets oriented north to south. If any of these streets leaks water, it will result in major outwash of the soil along the route of the sewer lines. In addition, in the event of an earthquake, this may greatly increase the probability of structural damage in homes because the stability of soil can never be returned to the original stability after such a deep soil disturbance. This situation will decrease over time after the sewer is installed, but it will never go away with the number and degree of deep digging actions in this vicinity.
STEP, vacuum and low pressure allow much faster response to leakage problems and other difficulties because it has much better monitoring. The greatly improved methods of installing small diameter pipe with minimal soil disturbance avoids much of the problems identified in the previous paragraph.
Although concerns about access to private property is a concern with septic tanks in place, all home owners need to understand what the trade off is in costs. The costs for not having a septic tank and not having access to inspect these tanks results in more than double the overall cost of the sewer. Some very wealthy people will not feel this is justified, but most people will realize this is a much better trade off if the system costs one half as much and it has a much less invasive soil treatment below ground. The community has to accommodate in various was and this is one of the realizations for having the sewer imposed upon the community. Maybe the cost would have to include buying a region near the street where new septic tanks would be installed. This would allow public control especially if community septic tanks were used instead of individual septic tanks.
A STEP collection system with a lower BOD treatment plant and effective Ag water exchange can be installed and working within about 2.5 years, whereas a conventional gravity sewer with the high BOD treatment plant will require about 4 to 5 years to complete. If speed is urgent, then we should consider these trade offs.
The 218 vote must clearly define all of the benefits to be gained from adopting the completed proposal to install the sewer. The vote should only be taken once the full costs are disclosed. The final cost must not be exceeded under any circumstances. Proper contingency expenses are included in any engineering project. We must insure the creeping costs do not exist. Note, the Tri W site and Broderson site are examples of previously approved systems with now obvious engineering fatal flaws which would have necessitated millions of dollars of creeping costs increases over time. These provisions for a definite cost maximum, assurance of no creeping costs, a clearly articulated design for collection, treatment, an water reuse, and a firm deadline for completion must be spelled out before the citizens of Los Osos can be expected to approve a 218 vote.
Since the Tri W site is very much on the table, it is extremely important to point out at every opportunity how the County engineering and the RWQCB have adopted and approved of a fatally flawed system. This is a good example of the ethics violations of the process. They hide under the CEQA regulations as if this absolves the County engineering and RWQCB of criminal action for approving of significant errors in approving of the Tri W site as would have occurred if this process had not been stopped. Even now, many want to ignore these fatal flaws in their zeal to move forward in a speedy fashion.
The Supplemental EIR and additional CEQA review should be done prior to any 218 vote, not afterward. All community and regional considerations must be made prior to the 218 vote. This is again the reason so many problems have arisen in the past. All the facts must be known to the residents before they are willing to vote to support the sewer project. Again, we can not afford to have another debacle with unknown problems occurring and tremendous cost overrides after the 218 vote. We must never buy a pig in a poke regarding the Los Osos sewer.
Nacimiento water has the fatal flaw of containing mercury. Mercury is an accumulative poison. Thus, any mercury is too much mercury to allow its use by Los Osos. Water from Morro Bay and Cayucos is state water. This appears to be an effort to force state water upon the citizens of Los Osos. This was the original intent of bringing the old County engineer to San Luis Obispo, to force Los Osos to have to buy into state water. Now it rears its ugly head again, this time in disguise. Cayucos and Morro Bay are underlain by serpentine rock and soils. Any water mixed with the state water has a disproportionately higher level of magnesium. This creates a variety of problems including water infiltration. High magnesium in water makes people more “regular” than they may care to become.
State water is dangerous and potentially fatally flawed. The state water brought into the Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles is loaded with natural organic compounds picked up when the water flows through the San Joaquin Delta histosols (organic muck and peat soils). These organic compounds react with the chlorine treatment to form a wide variety of organo-chlorine compounds many of which are known or suspected of being cancer causing agents (carcinogens). Why should we expose our citizens to this problem. It makes no difference whether other communities continue to do the wrong thing, it is not appropriate to allow Los Osos to expose our residents intentionally to this very serious potential health threat. State water flows through the San Joaquin Delta and has this problem.
This is the major reason we must insure all aspects of the sewer do keep all of our water locally. We must be able to reduce our water loss to Morro Bay to a minimum of about one inch of water per year. The rest must be effectively reused and must not be wasted by allowing it to enter the bay by seepage from surrounding soils from the upper aquifer.
The Community advisory survey should be made a long time prior to any 218 vote. The citizens must know clearly what they are paying for instead of continually changing the system after the 218 vote.
It appears a vast waste of time and effort to do the process of comparing several cost estimates after the 218 vote. This means we will have no idea of the cost prior to voting on what it will cost. This is an totally asinine approach. Again, it treats the citizens of Los Osos in a totally paternalistic fashion trying to tell them what to do instead of reasoning with them about what will be done and exactly why these things will be done and the exact cost of doing these things. We must stop this paternalistic action in Los Osos.
Another paternalistic action was the process Blakesley used to become the white knight. How often has the state government imposed its will upon the properly elected citizens of Los Angeles or San Francisco in a similar manner? Those who would lose from a major very expensive conventional sewer installation wanted to insure a major sewer project would continue in Los Osos. This state intervention was the major reason for the state intervention. It had nothing to do with local politics or the capabilities of the CSD members to provide direction to the community process. It is all about insuring multinational sewer corporations can win in Los Osos, because if they can then they can impose their own very expensive wills in every other small community in the nation. Los Osos is recognized worldwide as a test case of gigantic multinational sewer corporations versus reasonable community wide small to medium size sewer projects to use the most modern technology at ecologically applicable means and least costs.
All viable alternatives must be known and the single best one must be selected and clearly explained to the residents prior to any 218 vote. Again, we can not afford to have a repeat of the sewer debacle. Placing the 218 vote prior to all of these considerations is a pure invitation for stupidity by the County and will insure a no vote on the 218 resolution.
I am deeply troubled by the assumption only SRF funds with major government strings will be the only way to go in Los Osos. I firmly believe various firms will be able to provide private lending because they realize the ecologically friendly small and medium size sewer companies are also fighting for their existence. If any community can obtain private funding for their sewer process, I can affirm it will certainly be Los Osos because of this world wide attention and understanding of these problems.
Figure 1.1 is a classic example of the problem. It says “Proposition 218 assessment to match final project selected”. Again, we see the paternalistic and blank check approach the County engineering believes is the way. Certainly, the County engineering wants to run up the total costs as much as possible. We must do everything possible to turn this around allowing the citizens of Los Osos to be in control of what they will have to pay by knowing up front the true costs of this project. It is time to treat the citizens of Los Osos with respect and mature reasoning from facts and fiscal responsibility rather than continue the paternalistic dictatorial approach used in the past.
The bait and switch tactics consisted of the first TAC exploring the various waste water alternatives (over 20 were examined) had reached a consensus to move ahead with the sewer. After we made our presentation to the County Board of Supervisors, the engineer presumably working with us (but who had refused to meet with us or share any information) made the voodoo economics presentation charging the cost of the conventional sewer against all of the other proposals we knew were much less in cost. This was the first example
The bait and switch tactics continued with the vote to approve the creation of the CSD. The citizens were under the impression the Solutions Group’s proposal for a ponding system would be used. All of a sudden from nowhere, the full blown sewer at the Tri W site with the Broderson recharge was adopted. Many citizens were waiting to learn when they would be voting on the approval of this indebtedness. The legal counsel explained they could circumvent the law in this case. Clearly, this was a form of taxation without representation of the full electorate on a bond issue as occurs in nearly every California State election on bond issues. These bonds are voted on with a clearly indicated cost and the implications of the resulting passage or failure of the vote.
The threat letter sent to all Los Osos residents will in all probability assure a no vote on the 218 vote. The threat letter in effect is saying if the community votes no, then the RWQCB will proceed with condemnation of property by declaring the entire community a toxic waste site. This will have the effect of making the residences useless and the property value will be zero. This is clearly a taking under the law. This will constitute the largest taking in U.S. history for trivial reasons. The process will be declared unconstitutional based upon related taking cases. However, it can potentially destroy the entire community of Los Osos before the Supreme Court rules on this issue. In addition, because the RWQCB has continually argued the problem is nitrates in Los Osos, they have created a problem for themselves.
The various geologic and hydrologic models clearly indicate the nitrates under Los Osos will not clear up even with a sewer for at least 40 years and in all probability it will be much longer. It the community is classified as a toxic waste dump, then the RWQCB will be required to clean it up because the took responsibility for it when they issued the letters of condemnation. Obviously, by evicting all home owners and rendering their property worthless, the property can not be sold to pay for the nitrate clean up. Where will the funds come from to be able to declare Los Osos an non-toxic waste site. All of these constitute unprecedented actions. They clearly indicate acts of desperation by the RWQCB and have not been processed to their logical conclusions.
The current TAC proposal smells all over of the same bait and switch tactics. The TAC members will be led along just as with the first waste water TAC. At the last minute I fully expect some white knight (as occurred with Sam Blakeslee) will step in and turn the whole project on its ear. This is why we must not have a 218 vote before the full cost and the consequences are known.
The community must have an Economic Impact Analysis prior to any vote. We need to know the full impact on this community, especially because of the large number of retired people living on fixed incomes. Two economic Impact Analyses are needed. One including only the residents within the prohibition zone and one including all those potentially benefitting from the proposed sewer and potential hooking up in to the future.
The fatal flaw from the last two EIRs have been allowing the community to develop to full build out of the community as projected by the County. The fact is we are well beyond our current sustainable yield. We continue to lose water from the upper aquifer into Morro Bay at an unacceptable rate. Both the over drafting of the ground water causing sea water intrusion and the current failure to capture the water from septic tank recharge flowing into the bay are serious problems. They should never be allowed to occur. Much of the sewer is being driven by this development potential. However, the fact we are currently beyond the allowable sustainable yield tells us we can not allow further development to occur on undeveloped lots in Los Osos.
The Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) have been highly flawed. For example, it failed to assess the potential impact on wetlands in Los Osos. It has continually failed to assess properly the impact of the Broderson site for waste water recharge. The presence of Don Asquith on this current TAC appears to be a conflict of interest because the firm he works for has done the previous EIRs. Continuing to use this same firm will insure the same fatal flaws will be passed on the citizens to have to pay through the nose to correct problems the EIRs should have flagged.
Both the new Economic Impact Report and the Environmental Impact Reports should be done by people completely dissociated with any investments or interest in the sewer industry or in Los Osos or in San Luis Obispo County.
I have stopped processing this document. I reached section 1.3 on page 1-7. It is highly depressing to read how the County intends to force the conventional gravity sewer onto the community of Los Osos with bait and switch tactics and a blank check mentality. All parts of the sewer as currently conceived will contain fatal flaws which should have been eliminated, but they continue to reappear time and again in report after report without correction.
Somewhere an Engineering firm will have to bite the bullet and say these are fatal flaws and they can not install this sewer. Maybe County Engineer George Gibson many times reminded the waste water alternatives TAC, the many problems in Los Osos may very likely prevent the proper functioning of any installed sewer in this community.
I recognize a sewer is needed. I only ask for a true, open and honest assessment of every single facet of the myriad of problems related to this sewer. We owe the citizens to know all of the facts and the full costs before we approve of any legislation to contract bonds for the construction of a sewer in Los Osos. We must have some guarantee the various fatal flaws will not occur. Sufficient small businesses are in the sewer game, they probably will willing step forward to provide these guarantees and do this for much less cost, with less adverse environmental impact and with much less social disruption for this community than will occur by approving the Tri W site with the Broderson recharge and the failure to treat the biosolids problem or the initial hookups from each home to the sewer pipes.
Monday, April 09, 2007
And Now, Another Wrinkle
The following email exchange was in response to some issues raised by Lynette Tornatzky in response to a press release by PZLDF, which was itself in response to the Notice of Violation Letters recently sent out by the RWQCB. (Lynette’s comments also appeared here, April 02 8:06 pm. on a previous blog posting.)
Electioneering is one of those Monty Python issues. You know, the “Wink, Wink, Nudge Nudge, Know What I mean? Know What I Mean, Say No More, Say No More,” sketch? Everybody knows what’s going on but entities are free to skate up to and over the line with impunity because if they do it right, they have the benefit of bland deniability –“Why, I don’t know what you’re taking about, Your Honor. I’m simply stating FACTS. If these “FACTS” influence an election, why that’s not MY responsibility, Wink Nudge, Know What I Mean, Know What I Mean?.” Add in the Tribune as the water carrier for the RWQCB instead of watch dog, and you have the perfect storm of Wink Nudge electioneering. As for the Fair Political Practices Commission, Bwa-hahahahaha, Oh, Pluuueeeze.
Well, electioneering certainly is a worthy topic, so herewith . . . a thoughtful discussion and some interesting issues raised by Mr. Risch and Ms.Tornatzky.
Your message (shown below) was forwarded to me, and I want to comment on it. It offers two key points, from which you say that you will not try to raise the level of fear of others:
1. The County cannot make the Water Board "do" anything.
2. The Water Board's repeated attempts to interject itself into the 218 vote.
Allow me to address the second point first. As you know, the only permitted actions of a government entity in connection with an election is to set the date and to conduct it fairly. The RWQCB has repeatedly interjected itself into the 218 vote and other elements of the sewer plan for Los Osos. The most recent example were in the Notice of Violations that includes two mentions of the Blakeslee law that possibly returns control over a Los Osos sewer system construction to San Luis Obispo county. Since that law mandates that a positive 218 vote is required for the County to continue the process of design and construction; since the Water Board illegally identified everyone in the Prohibition Zone as violators; and with the letter’s mention of the so-called settlements that are more draconian than CDOs; the Water Board's letter was utterly illegal and definitively threatening. That letter, following on other very public actions and announcements have raised the consciousness of many more innocent citizens who see themselves as threatened by the RWQCB.
To amplify on my phrase, "illegally identified everyone in the Prohibition Zone as violators," I should point out that the U.S. and California Constitutions both require specificity of charges. The Water Board has been blatant about suggesting that their statistical "evidence" (itself fraught with scientific flaws) is sufficient. Beyond three explicit deviations from its own rules for issuance of Notices of Violations, the letter makes it clear that only by development of the County plan, whatever it will be, can Prohibition Zone citizens avoid CDOs that potentially include the illegal "taking of private property." Furthermore, their claims of discharge violations have grown from statistical assertions of nitrates to "any discharge" into the ground.
As for the County not being able to make the Water Board "do" anything, that's not quite true. Perhaps a more accurate statement would be that the County can get the Water Board to STOP doing things. For one thing, the County is the owner of property in the Prohibition Zone, and thus, is a violator under the Water Board's specious definition. Secondly, under the Blakeslee law, the Country now has the legal responsibility of conducting a 218 vote. This vote is to implement a project under the aegis of Federal E.P.A. laws. Thus, the County has a legal obligation to force the State Water Board to "cease and desist" from any involvement in the election, if not to seek a way to mitigate the damage that has already been done. However, please understand that damage done is not the standard applicable to the Water Board's illegal actions.
And perhaps this is the central point of my remarks: The actions of the RWQCB don't have to have any effect on the electorate to be illegal. It is the action that is illegal, irrespective of the result.
Underscoring that point, it is clear to many that the Water Board isn't really concerned about the seriousness of their threats and violations of law. Simply put, it is a matter of timing. Irrespective of when the Water Board is doing now, illegal or not, if their actions produce a positive 218 vote, they will have accomplished their goal. If those actions are found illegal later, the decision will be moot. Again, the "ends justify the means" approach itself isn't legal. Indeed, it is possible, if not probable, that California's national leadership in environmental protection could be severely curtailed by the approach of this agency and its parent.
While your personal promise to separate the two matters is unique at best, it is essentially irrelevant at worst as a matter of law.
I hope that this offers some perspective on some of the issues your comments raised.
Date: 4/2/2007 7:47:15 PMSubject: Re: Los Osos home owners: FYI: CITIZENS FOR CLEAN WATER poster
Thank you Katie, for keeping me in the loop.
It is unfortunate that the Water Board has been so unsure of how to approach the problem of our discharge that they have flip-flopped and ham-handedly dealt with this issue; but the County must not be stained by that taint.
As Paavo has said many times, the County cannot make the RWQCB "do" anything. And the County can't control HOW the water Board's actions may affect its 218 vote, either. We then, should make it clear to all, that the 218 belongs to the COUNTY and we should be solely influenced by what the COUNTY says about the 218.
I'm going to keep these two things as separate discussions and NOT further the fear that the 218 will be ruined by the Water Board's actions. Not everyone has concluded that and I don't want to give them that idea.
Only positive energy is sustainable.
From: "RonandGail McPherson"
Subject: CITIZENS FOR CLEAN WATER posterDate: Sat, 31 Mar 2007 19:56:42 -0700
Residents in Los Osos have homes with legally permitted and properly functioning septic systems. Property owners in the prohibition zone are already paying a sewer assessment. The government is in control of the wastewater project for Los Osos. Individuals do not build sewer systems. It is wrong for the water board to coerce a 218 vote with threats of enforcement, and undermine the credibility of the County process. If you support clean water, regulatory compliance, and protection of property rights, you are in alignment with Citizens for Clean Water-PZLDF.
Please print, then post or hand out this message from Citizens for Clean Water. Neighborhood meetings to educate the community on the enforcement issues, and the NOV are being scheduled. Alan Martyn is handling the schedule. If you would like to host a coffee in your home call him at 528-0229 and set up the date and time.
A link to the RWQCB NOV http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/documents/LosOsosNoticeofViolati onInteractiveVersion.pdf
Water Board FAQ http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/documents/FrequentlyAskedQuestio nsreNOV.pdf
Make sure the community knows they are not required to do anything in response to the NOV. The FAQ's says property owners will be hearing from the water board in the next months. The Board is seeking "prosecutorial efficiency" and will likely attempt to put clean up and abatement orders within a settlement agreement to avoid the hearings and appeals of 4400 individual cases. The enforcement in Los Osos is also precedent setting for future action in AB885. NO PROPERTY OWNER SHOULD SIGN A CLEAN UP AND ABATEMENT ORDER. CAO's go beyond the Cease and Desist Orders and place property and legal rights at risk.
Feel free to write if you have questions-or come to a Monday meeting for more information. [Note: Meetings are at the LOVR Washinton Mutual Bank meeting room a 7 pm. Mondays.]
Citizens For Clean Water