Thursday, August 30, 2007

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, for August 29, 07

Oh Looooocy, Now Jooooo Reeeely, REEELY Gotta Lotta ‘Splainin’ To Do!

It was a defining moment. The Pro/Con TAC Analysis Report on the sewer alternatives was out and there it was, in black and white. Something had indeed gone very, very wrong in this community with the sewer project. No matter how you sliced or diced it, the Tri-W project still kept coming up more expensive than any of the alternatives being proposed.

Which meant that when this community was repeatedly told by the recalled CSD directors that there were no suitable sites out of town, that putting a project out of town would be waaaay more expensive, that the Tri-W project was the cheapest project available, that there were no options, that Tri-W was the best and only choice, well, all that was hokum and had been hokum from day one.

Worse, as Ron Crawford has outlined and documented on his website, the now-crashed Tri-W project was indeed what one Coastal Commissioner called “bait and switch,” and to add insult to injury, the community was never asked for a vote on whether they were willing to pay waaaaay more for a sewer system that was deliberately being kept in the middle of town by an unsupported Statement of Overriding Considerations just so it could have some centrally located park amenities attached to it. As the new TAC report now makes clear, the failure to seriously ask and answer that question early on meant that this town was given a deliberately engineered a priori train masquerading as an unchallengeable “given.”

And instead of the vital checks and balances in place that could have made course corrections early, this poor community was subjected to an appallingly unnecessary train wreck caused by a series of lies, unchecked egos, cover-your-behind flummery, bring-down-the-temple Medean weirdness, a crazed RWQCB staff that kept a gun pointed at the head of an already eerily stubborn and dangerously off-course CSD screaming that they had to put MORE coal in the firebox for even MORE speed so the train would fly off the cliff even quicker and if they didn’t it would be FINES!FINES!FINES! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE INNA STREETS LIKE DAWGS!

And all of this insanity compounded by a lack of due diligence, deliberate misinformation, seriously negligent SRF loan managers (Who in their right mind would release a gazillion-dollar unsecured loan to a community awash in lawsuits and countersuits only weeks away from a recall on a critically contested sewer project?), grotesquely negligent CSD directors (Who in their right mind would start pounding millions of that same unsecured money into the ground only weeks away from possibly being recalled?), public apathy, misdirection, confusion and fear, an inexcusably blind county newspaper-of-record, bureaucratic incompetence or indifference that resulted in a cascading failure on the part of a whole array of governmental agencies whose whole point of existence was to look out to make sure the tracks were clear and the train was truthfully constructed and NOT heading for a cliff.

It’s a saga that’s usually the stuff of Grand Jury Reports, Freud’s couch, or a great novel, with the only question being, Should it be written as a comedy, a tragedy or as farce?

Meanwhile, The County Process moves ahead. With the TAC report completed, the 218 assessment ballots being prepared, if the upcoming vote is successful, the various alternatives can then continue to undergo further scrutiny and strategies that could result in even lower “real” prices than the present “guestimates.” Which makes it clear to me at this point that the reasonable “messages” in the recall and in Measure B are finally being heeded: The majority of voters wanted: (1) a cheaper, more “affordable” plan (2) with the treatment plant located out of town and (3) a 218 vote on the matter.

IF everyone continues to keep their sticky fingers off the scale, their eyes on the wheels of The Process to see that it stays clean and clear from behind-the-scenes, hidden-agenda, electioneered monkey-wrenching by various Sewer Jihadis, then it seems to me that at this point the County’s delivered three for three.

If so, then there’s the possibility that The Hideous Sewer Sardoodledom may have a tragicomic ending after all – better than expected, far, far worse than necessary, a state of affairs that always results when The Process falls victim to the slow-motion tar-baby tangle of human folly and an unchecked, repeatedly bungled System Failure.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yeeee-HAW! Election Time! Crank Up Your Mis-Information Machines!

The morning the BOS met to vote on sending out the Prop 218 Sewer Ballot, the Tribune was off to a great start. In the early morning quiet, I could hear all the bodies of my fellow Los Ososians dropping around town after giving a shriek and blowing coffee out of their noses because right there on the front page, second paragraph, it noted that homeowners “could pay up to $25,000 in property taxes for a sewer . . .” then added the kicker, “That’s on top of monthly bills between $100 and $275 that were estimated in a separate report last week.”

Apparently not separate enough since that $100 and $275 wasn’t “on top of,” but a guestimate of the total cost. The gaffe prompted Supervisor Patterson to suggest to Paavo Ogren that he might want to make sure that important information be sent to the media in the form of a carefully prepared press release with all the critical information spelled out so gaffes like that wouldn’t happen. (I looked to see in this morning’s edition if there was a nice bold correction but couldn’t find anything anywhere. No wonder it’s so easy to fool people out here. Front page whoppers followed by dead silence.)

Well, no matter. It’s now Official Election Time so Sewer Jihadis of all stripes can crank up their misinformation machines and have at it.

Some notes on the meeting:

Paavo was asked if he’d go to the Sept 7th Regional Water Quality Board meeting to present a sewer update and ask that the Board rescind The Los Osos 45’s CDOs and CAO’s and promise to refrain from electioneering threats and any coercive tactics until after the vote. Paavo noted that as staff, that request was outside the scope of his duties, but Supervisor Gibson would be the one to answer that request. So Supervisor Gibson said that he would indeed continue the dialogue on all issues at that meeting, a vague way of saying he may vaguely bring up the “concern” the community has with the RWQCB’s tactics, but I for one am willing to bet the exchange will go like this:

Gibson. “ We’d like to make sure the election is a clean one, with no one group of people unfairly singled out under the gun or under threats, an assurance that you’ll “level the playing field” for the 45 by rescinding the CDOs & CAOs and or officially put them in abeyance, and then issue a public statement that you’ll “stand down” from all threats until after the election since we don’t want anyone to do anything that can be construed as illegal electioneering that could result in a delay and lawsuits and so forth which could result in the ultimate irony of it being the water board who has again sabotaged and delayed this project ”

And RWQCB chairman Young will look wide-eyed and surprised and say, “Why, Mr. Gibson, this BOARD has no power over anything. It’s the staff that has the delegated power as to prosecutions or issuances of CDOs and such like. We’re absolutely helpless to do anything.”

Which will cause everyone in the room who was also in Judge Barry LaBarbera’s courtroom during the PZLDF hearing to snort loudly, remembering that Judge LaBarbera, unequivocally stated that according to statute, it is the Board NOT the Staff that’s the responsible and controlling entity. Bwa-hahahah, so poor Mr. Gibson will be subjected to the old Waltz Me Around Again Willy ploy of, Hee-Hee, don’t look now, but there’s nobody here but us mice.

In addition, the County’s planning on several information mailers on the assessment process, plus a Workshop scheduled for Saturday, Sept 29 at the Sunnyside School that will give people an opportunity to talk with staff and ask questions on the whole process. The Protest Hearing on the vote will be Oct 23 then depending on the outcome, the Board will or will not proceed forward.

Some other notes:

The assessment costs will vary from a guestimate of $25,000 for a single family home, $13,000 for Bay Ridge Estates (since they already have the laterals and collections pipes in the ground, $6,000 for mobile homes & etc.

The water benefits portion of the sewer assessments will be considered a general benefit and will have to be paid by the entire community.

If the project ends up costing less than the guestimated assessments, the assessments will be lowered.

Of all the systems now being looked at, Tri W is still the highest. Under various scenarios, a STEP/Biolac or STEP/PMF-Ponds are the lowest, at this point in the process, which might result in their finally being selected. Which possibility didn’t make Mr. Beardon happy since he went to the microphone to begin campaigning early by asking the community to vote Yes on the 218, then went on to spend his other two minutes 45 seconds detailing how much he hates STEP and “doesn’t want alarm bells going off at any time day or night,” like he thinks the STEP system apparently comes with a couple of HUGE bright red firehouse fire bells attached to the house that will constantly and randomly be clanging at all hours of the early morning, startling the neighbors and scaring the horses.

If the 218 passes, under the due diligence phase and CEQA, other systems and technologies will be vetted. For example, Pio Lombardo’s Purple Pipe Cluster System, Orenco, and any other alternatives will be vetted. Indeed, a Mr. Murphy and a Mr. Mark Low stepped to the podium to note that they had onsite technologies and an onsite system that would result in clean water, qualifies for federal onsite grants and loans that could result in installation costs of $3,500 and a monthly cost of $45. They will be free to submit their systems to Paavo to be looked at, though I did suggest to Mr. Murphy that he could save himself a whole lot of time and simply talk to RWQCB staff member, Harvey Packard, who was in the audience. Mr. Murphy claimed that Packard had no say in what he’s proposing since his system doesn’t pollute or “discharge” and so doesn’t come under Harvey’s control in any way, shape or form. Uh, huh, sure, sure, so I just smiled and walked away.

Supervisor Katcho repeatedly expressed concern for the number of people who will be forced out of their homes by a now-guestimated cost of $200 a month. This is a puzzle to me. When Tri-W was finalized, the guestimated base cost was $205 a month. To my knowledge, no Supervisor stood up and said, Woa! You can’t build a sewer system that will cost $205 to start with, a system that’ll simply escalate upwards from that point, a system that’ll force a whole bunch of people out of their homes. Nope, not a peep. But now the County is looking at a project with a guestimated average of $200 before value engineering and competitive bidding has a chance to lower that guess (not a base starting price) and now people are having cows? Are concerned? I don’t get it. Where the hell were all these concerned folks when Tri-W was on the table and literally being dug into the ground?

As regarding the concern of many in the community that the 218 ballot won’t be secret and so can be used by the RWQCB as a “revenge” tactic, the reply to that was: Yep, the RWQCB can use those documents in just that way, but it’s more important for us to ensure that names and parcel numbers remain on the ballot so we can ensure an accurate vote count and an accurate, unchallengeable process.

Unanswered is this: If a sufficient number of people fear retaliation from the RWQCB for how they vote and so don’t cast any ballots, in what way has that ensured an accurate, un-coerced process, an un-skewed, fair, clean election? If the RWQCB refuses to even issue an official statement that they won’t use that information for prosecution and fines, does that open the door for a lawsuit that may delay this project? As I noted before, you don’t have to win lawsuits to monkey wrench projects.

And an ongoing puzzle: Why do so many people waste their time to stand at the podium asking for science, logic, common sense, fairness, justice, more science when they should know by now that in this Alice In Wonderland Mad Hatter Tea Party DADA RWQCB Sewer World, science and common sense have absolutely NO place. None of that matters in this peculiarly Kafkaesque Madhouse. None of it. All you need to remember is the line from Chinatown: “You don’t understand, Jake, he OWNS the police.”

And finally, Paavo closed with a recap of what the County has done since the start of this Process. With the 218 vote, the County Process pauses and the ball goes into the court of the Los Osos homeowners. They will decide whether or not they want the County to continue on to the next phases.

Thwok! It’s up to Los Osos now. They have been betrayed in the past and led down a failed garden path by a whole series of elected officials, regulatory boards and governmental agencies. Do they now have confidence that they can enter a new Covenant with the County and that the County will enter a new Covenant with them, this time with promises being kept on both sides?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

BOS 218 Meeting Today

At 2 p.m today, in the BOS chambers, the Engineers Report, Assessment Ballot & etc. for the Sewer Project will be discussed and voted on. The engineer's report is at the County site at (which link I hope works)

Couple of interesting things that I hope will get covered today:

1. Does an unreturned ballot represent a "yes" vote? Or simply drop off the radar thereby leaving the remaining returned Yes & No ballots to battle it out. The reason why this may be important has to do with voter coercion and/or Los Osos history.

In the 2002 mini-assessment vote, about 40% of the ballots were never returned to the CSD. At the time, I heard from many people that they were afraid to vote because their name was on that ballot and that ballot was "public information." With the Regional Water Quality Control Board already having hammered and pointlessly disrupted the lives of 45 random citizens for well over a year, with the expressed intention of hammering even more if the vote doesn't go the way they want, how many more citizens will now be seriously intimidated into not voting at all? Is that intimidation and fear sufficient to possibly trigger a lawsuit from somebody that could delay this project? (You don't have to win such a lawsuit, only file it and delay.) If so, can/will the RWQCB remove that threat by rescinding the CDOs and CAO's of the 45, and officially guaranteeing no "retaliation" for any vote, and so help to make this vote "clean" and hopefully lawsuit-proof? (Please God) If the RWQCB refuses (they have a long history of having a totally counter-productive, apallingly tin ear), what can/will the County do to make sure this vote is un-coerced?

As to history, in the previously mentioned mini-assessment vote, and later the hotly-contested recall election, about 40% of the eligible voters didn't bother to vote. If 40% of Los Osos is regularly, "normally" Out To Lunch, then whatever gets decided actually represents the wishes of a minority of the community (50% + 1 of 60%), not really a fully engaged community. (Or I should say 50%+1+40% of Yeah, Like, Whatevers.) If the community and the county and the RWQCB keeps that in mind, then maybe people can stop lying about Los Osos with their false narratives of the place being filled with recalcitrant, apathetic crazies. 40% missing IS our Normal, not some weird aberration.

Of course, if the assessment ballot return rate vote drops far below the "normal" 40% mising this time, a couple of additional factors may well apply: Fear of retaliation from the RWQCB (voter coercion) and/or a refusal of people to cast a vote that will literally put them out of their homes.

Also of interest is the $127 million assessment amount for this go-round. As the Tribune notes, the Tri W alone was guestimated at $150-153 million. Which seems to imply that the County also recognizes that the TAC figures are correct, that no matter how you slice or dice it, Tri-W is still waaaayyy more expensive and so may fall off the table. (Unless some sticky little feet get to jumping up and down on the scale?)

This entire Process is, in a profound way, a Covenant between the County and the citizens of Los Osos. Covenants can be kept. Covenants can be broken. Los Osos has a sad history of bait & switchy broken covenants. Will this time be different?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bwa-hahah. The Tribune makes a funny.

The Tribune story following the PZLDF hearing before Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera ruled that the PZLDF case could go forward was headlined: Osos residents get a win in court.

Bwahahahahah. Here’s the “win.” The poor Los Osos 45 who have spent over a year of their lives struggling with the looney tune insanity of the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Mad Hatter CDO/CAO/NOV/MoveTheGoalPostsMoreTeaMoveDownWhatever Tea Party, and then struggled to raise funds from an utterly apathetic and uncaring and clueless community (all of whom are under the same gun as they but apparently don’t know it), are now given a chance to try to raise about a gazillion more dollars to go back into court to spend gazillions in attorneys fees to argue some due process issues that LaBarbara was asked to consider and settle right then and there.

That’s not a “win.” That ju$t ju$tice as u$ual.

But even more fun, was the interesting exchange from Michael Hughes, the RWQCB’s guy, who argued in his filings that OH GAWD, THESE STUPID PEOPLE DON’T NEED AN ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD. THE OFFICIAL RECORDS ARE ALL POSTED ON THE RWQCB’S WEBSITE AND ARE LIKE TOTALLY ACCESSABLE AT THE OFFICE & ETC. (not true, there’s a whole mass of documents that are in such a muddle, what with the Board constantly shifting the goal posts, ruling then unruling on this or that, that it’s doubtful if ANYBODY knows what record goes with what at this point, and until it’s all carefully sorted through there’s the very real fear on the part of the RWQCB, which was nervously cherry-picking during the hearings to make sure that only things that helped their case got in and everything else was forbidden, that something “bad” could accidentally creep into the record that would open the door to a big mess.) AND ANYWAY, WE’RE NOT SURE THESE PEOPLE CAN PAY FOR THE RECORD SO WE’RE NOT GONNA PUT THE RECORD TOGETHER UNTIL THEY PAY UP FRONT AND SINCE THEY WON’T PAY UP FRONT IF THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE A BALL PARK GUESTIMATE OF THE COST WE’RE NOT GONNA PREPARE THE RECORD SO WE’VE BEEN DRAGGING OUR FEET FOR MONTHS.

And other Waltz-Me-Around-Again-Willy stuff.

So, LaBarbera said: Why don’t you prepare an estimate as to the cost (they discussed doing all this in electronic format, which would be cheaper than a hard copy record) and in the meantime, start preparing the record, one copy to PZLDF attorneys, one to the court ,and asked for a time estimate to do that..

OH GAWD, bleated Mr. Hughes, THERE’S SO MANY DOCUMENTS TO CHECK THROUGH (Uh, Mr. Hughes, didn’t you just argue in your written court submissions that all the stuff was posted on the RWQCB web site? Just hit “copy” and there you are? What do you mean, there’s so much to sort through?) BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

Finally, LaBarbera got the Water Board’s waterboy to guestimate that they might be able to have a price estimate together in maybe two weeks but AWW GAWD it would take at least THREE MONTHS (or 90 days) to assemble the record (you know, all the stuff that’s posted on the website? The stuff that Mr. Hughes referred to when he wrote “Petitioners have had ample opportunity to review the documents comprising the administrative record in this case. Petitioners have had access to the public files at the Regional Board all along, both in hard copy and on the Regional Board’s website . . . .” so they didn’t need an administrative record since it was all right there?), which of course puts getting the administrative record well AFTER the 218 vote, which keeps the Los Osos 45 in limbo until AFTER the 218 vote, which keeps all the residents of Los Osos under the gun (since judge LaBarbera chose not to rule on any due process issues at all or offer any protection to the citizens on any of those issues) until AFTER the 218 vote, not that the two issues are related in any way shape for form, or smack of illegal electioneering, AW GAWD, perish the thought, never crossed our minds, ever.

And so it was ordered done, all of which reminded me of several wonderful scenes in The Lion in Winter, wherein Henry II has promised his mistress Alais and her lands to his son Richard, to which Queen Eleanor notes, “He’ll keep the Vexin ‘till the moon goes blue from cold and as for Richard’s wedding day, we’ll see the second coming first; the needlework alone can last for years.”

Then later, when Henry is threatening to go to the Pope for a dispensation to dump Eleanor, she notes well: “I don’t have to stop you; I have only to delay you. Every enemy you have has friends in Rome. We’ll cost you time.”

Ah, yes. Blue moons, the Second Coming, and Time. The Tribune calls that a “win in court.” Bwa-hahahahah

Well, there were also some other interesting things I learned in Judge LaBarbera’s courtroom. One was that lawyers are free to file various motions and statements in writing to a judge that are full of false information and even screwed up facts and that’s o.k., which is interesting since rulings are often made on these filings and if they’re incorrect . . . Oh, well, doesn’t matter.

And this: LaBarbera stated, as fact and statute, that the Regional Water Quality BOARD is the ONLY entity who has any power to do anything, NOT their various CEO’s. Why is that interesting? Because on several occasions during the CDO hearings, the Board members themselves stated that THEY were helpless, that decisions to issue CAO’s or any other such thing was ENTIRELY up to the Staff. That they were the ones empowered to bring action, not them.

Talk about bait and switch. Just another clear indication of the old game of Ask Your Mother, as in, I’m not the decision maker, Ask Your Mother, Nuh-Huh, no, not me, Ask Your Father, thereby keeping the accountability ball moving so citizens seeking to safeguard their rights or due process are galloped around Robin Hood’s barn until their resources are exhausted running up and down deliberately falsified corridors. And all that’s o.k. with the judge as well.

Also, since I had signed on as an “interested party,” (as a test case for the rest of the community,) it was interesting to note, if I understood correctly, that the judge ruled that there was no such thing as “interested parties,” they had no standing, which means the rest of the community has no standing in this matter either. (Except, of course, they are all at the mercy of the RWQCB’s rulings, which can be changed at whim in the Alice in Wonderland Humpty-Dumpty fashion (see above, the old Ask Your Mother ploy.) So, even though a possible future case might have direct impact on all the “interested parties,” i.e. everyone in the PZ, only the single person with a CDO bringing the case will have to shoulder the entire burden alone, because only he/she will be allowed standing at this point.

And, finally, an issue that, so far as I could tell, was (again) left in the air: Resolution 83-13 cannot be challenged until some enforcement takes place. Define enforcement? The RWQCB apparently is now claiming that they’re not “enforcing” anything, that the CDO’s aren’t (heh-heh) really enforcement since, well, o.k. they’ve been issued, but they’re sorta, kinda not being implemented, well, o.k. the requirements put on those people who got a CDO aren’t really “enforcement,” they’re just uh, suggestions? Helpful hints? Sorta? And, o.k. their property may be encumbered, or maybe not since nobody’s clear just what the hell the CDO’s mean until the RWQCB makes up some meaning, and/or until either 2011 comes along or unless the 218 fails (not that we’re electioneering, no, no, ) and no, that Notice of Violation wasn’t a Notice of Violation even though it clearly said all over it NOTICE OF VIOLATION, it wasn’t, until we wish it to be then it will be considered as such, or something else happens THAT WE ALONE GET TO DECIDE CONSTITUTES “ENFORCEMENT,” so you can’t challenge us on anything since we are the Deciders about challenging anything we’ve written or created or asserted or claimed or anything, see?

And LaBarbera didn’t want to touch that one with a ten foot pole, even though it’s at the heart of due process. But then, this is a court of law and due process has no business showing up there!

All in all, a perfect example of “justice” in this county.

And finally, in the REEEELLY BWA-HAHAHAHAH department, The Tribune also notes a little noisy tet-a-tet in the courtroom after the case was finished between CSD Board member, Joe Sparks, and PZLDF spokesperson, Gail McPherson. Joe was loudly, and inappropriately (wrong time, wrong place, totally out of context, truly weird confrontation) pressing McPherson to right then and there officially come out in favor of a 218 vote, to which she tried to reply that PZLDF hasn’t taken an official position on the 218.

A hint to Mr. Sparks. Uh, Joe, when you’re in public, with a reporter standing near by (or was that the whole point?) you might try to remember that you’re not a plain ordinary citizen now but an elected official representing your community, so you might want to pull on your Big Boy Pants and behave accordingly. Sqawking like a fishwife while literally getting in someone’s face in a very inappropriate but public place isn’t really very professional behavior. (or, again, was your point to create a bit of loudly staged and witnessed theatre that was sure to make the news?)

Ah, well, I suppose it’s too much to ask that our elected officials behave like elected officials. After all, they do represent Los Osos, so what can one say? There’s clearly something in the water here that’s caused so many people to lose their marbles. Sigh.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Dogs Can Teach Us

The following is one of those interesting Internet Canards, a new version of The Urban Legend, nice stories purporting to be “true,” that fly around cyberspace on the wings of angels. Contrived, but nice nonetheless, here it is. Have a nice Sunday.

A Dog's Purpose, from a 4-year-old:
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for four-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.” Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The four-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that; so they don't have to stay as long.”

Remember, if a dog were the teacher, you would learn stuff like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
Take naps.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Stop when you have had enough.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Oh Loooooocy. . . . . .

Whole lotta 'splainin' going on over at Ron Crawford's Wanna follow the bounching bait and switchy ball? Take a visit. Read it and weep. Ron says he's working on a book. It'll be a doozie.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, for August 15, 07


His name, Kifani a Jameel – likeness of Jameel –stood for years as an example of the folly of naming something after something else. As a puppy, he was the spitting image of his uncle, Jameel Sadeeq. When grown, he looked like no one in his family. He was indeed, sui generis, with his slender build, long legs and deep red coat. But he earned other names as the years went by.

My Little Boomerang Boy was soon applied, since he had been sold to a couple in Ventura who, despite my best efforts at education and counsel, turned out to be idiots. Mercifully, he came back to me, but not without some suspected hard handling while there, a possibility that haunted both of us to the end.

Then, when my friend Nancy needed a dog to take to dog training class, she asked to take Kifani. The idea of a Basenji doing anything but flunking out of any training class made the request startling, but Nancy’s skills earned him yet another name, The Bestest Little Guy In The World. And for years, every time she came to the house, he raced to the front door, waiting to go with her to a class that had long since been over.

And it was that sweet enthusiastic sensibility that kept him his own gentle self, an optimistic belief that the end of any road will surely hold wonderful things, perhaps even tasty eats. And so he soldiered on, even when beset by adult onset epilepsy of a weird pattern – grand mal seizures strangely spaced about a month apart, almost to the day, hitting usually at 2 a.m. Since the treatment would have been worse than the malady itself, I made do with Rescue Remedy, herbal tinctures, swaddling, which lessened the severity of the attacks, and whisperings in the dark that he was safe and was to have no fear. When the body-rattling electrical storms were over, I held him tight until sleep came and the next morning he was up and about, gazing at a new world with a happy countenance and a Hoovering nose looking for breakfast.

But I’m sure that after 14 years, those attacks took their toll. When some accident – a fall? being banged into by the hurtling greyhound? – put a crick in his neck and back, chiropractic treatments returned to him a good range of motion, but there followed nerve problems of some sort that left him tottering with wildly uncoordinated hind legs on a feed-back loop that clearly wasn’t working properly. Still his gentle and sturdy optimism kept him going and fully engaged with his surroundings until it quickly became clear that something far more fearsome was closing in on him fast.

His sister knew. She kept by his side for several days, sleeping next to him at night, her head on his shoulder as his breathing grew more labored. And she was there with him on the day when he finally decided that he’d had enough. When I carried him into the veterinary clinic, he roused only long enough for one last sniff of the fresh air and to blink for a bit in the brilliant sunlight. Then his doctor helped him go as I whispered a final judgment into his ear. That he was, indeed, The Bestest Little Guy In The World.

By coincidence, on the morning of his death, I had picked up a California native grape vine, a gorgeous plant with green as well as red leaves the color of Kifani’s deep red coat. I had planned on putting it in the far corner of the yard near the yellow Adirondack chair. Now, Kifani’s ashes are buried there as well to become one with the vine, coil up the fence and trellis out towards the sun.

And once again I will resolve to spend more time in that chair, to revel in the beauty of the day, the colors of the Four ‘O Clocks wildly blooming, to listen to the humming bumble of the bees bobbing on the sun-sweetened lavender spears, and to watch the remaining dogs race around the flower beds, oblivious to everything except the joy of the day, the warmth of the sun, and the sheer fun of the chase, until darkness comes, and time runs out, and we can stay there no longer.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


The Los Osos Wastewater draft TAC report is in. My thanks for all their hard work. They have done the community a real service by being a vital part of The Process.

If I understood correctly at the last meeting, they plan on doing some follow up charts that will illustrate various component-combined possibilities complete with pro/con and possible prices available to the community. The sample they were looking at really looked great since it combined icons as well as data so non-engineers in the community could see at-a-glance-the different “plans,” sorta like the graphics laying out different pricing plans for Dish TV, for example.

I do hope they’ll follow through with that notion and that the county will incorporate those pages into the pre-218 brochure they’ll be mailing out since it should give the community a quick view of the various options and combinations now under serious consideration, complete with guestimated price tags.

All of which will be helpful since it was clear from the BOS meeting yesterday, that there are now about a zillions balls in play, combining, recombining, and with a fast approaching Prop 218 vote looming, the community better have a pretty good grasp of at least several of the probabilities that will likely turn out to be The Real Deal.

In addition, I hope the community will still keep paying close attention. There still exists the possibility that sticky little fingers will sneak onto the scale or that Roger Briggs from the RWQCB will again run amok and threaten the whole delicate process. (A speaker quoted from one of the RWQC Board members, Dr. Press, when he spoke of a need to return to a “virtuous cycle, not a vicious cycle.” Too true. Mr. Briggs and his Board need to be reminded of Dr. Press’s observation.)

And Gail McPherson of PZLDF-Citizens for Clean Water, noted to Paavo Ogren, that she hoped he would “keep your word to the community as you have done so far,” to which Mr. Ogren replied that he hoped the community could see that this Process is doing just that. A reminder again how critical it is that The Process remain clean and transparent so everyone can see just how the wheels are turning and meshing and so see when any one wheel gets out of whack so it can be fixed in a timely manner.

Meantime, there are several things the TAC report have made crystal clear.

Sewer plant sites out of town are NOT waaayyy more expensive. There are now about NINE sites being looked at, not ZERO unavailable. No one has mentioned the “fact” that the Coastal Commission won’t allow sewer pipes to cross a creek. The Tri W site isn’t the ONLY site that will work. The Broderson site was never able to carry the full load of recharge, so the old Tri-W project needed add-on components, which would have driven the price even higher than where it was guestimated to be. The guestimated “final” price of Tri-W was about $205 a month. At this point in the county’s “guestimations,” of various alternatives, the starting price is about $200 a month, a number that can go down with competitive bidding and value engineering and such like. Right now, cheapest combination with the best case scenario (federal $, low cost financing, grants, etc) has a guestimated price of $120 a month to a high of worst case scenario of $250. Reality may lie somewhere inbetween OR, if competitive bidding breaks out as the project nears the “let’s get RFP & Seriously Sign Contract” phase, could go lower.

At this point, it’s too early to tell. But here’s the irony: The new options are still under old Tri-W project’s guestimated costs, while offering greater flexibility which could translate into future savings on O&M&R costs. (i.e. alternative energy technologies, increased ag reuse, newer options and technologies that could be utilized better at a more flexible out of town site that would have been prohibited by the in-town one, & etc.)

And, clearest of all, no matter how the TAC report is sliced, the Tri W project remained the most expensive, so when the recalled CSD Board kept telling this community that there were no suitable sites out of town, that putting a plant out there would be waaay more expensive, that Tri-W was the cheapest solution available, the best solution available, the only solution available . . . that simply wasn’t true.

Interestingly, as untruthful as the Tri-W project always was, a huge portion of the community was ready to accept those lies, and that $205 price tag and grudgingly and fatalistically end up with a sewer plant in the middle of their town.

Also interesting, as near as I can tell, the “messages” in the recall and in Measure B were these: The community wanted:

(1) a cheaper plan (keep in mind the word “cheaper,” with the emphasis on “er.”)
(2) with the plant located out of town
(3) and a 218 vote in the matter.

Near as I can see, the County’s delivered three for three.

Before sewer Jihadis on either side of this war crank up their VOTE NO ON WHATEVER, they might want to think about the above: Three for three.

For some in this community, that still won’t be good enough, but my bet is that the majority of property owners have been given what they asked for (cheaper, out of town, 218 vote), so I’m betting they’ll say, Hey, thanks, vote for the 218, then take the Community Preference Survey as to what type of system they prefer, (Um, waaaallll, personally, I like blue and do put those little purple thingees on it And if you can, you know those round orange whatachamacallits, let’s have some of those scattered around over here and there, if they’re not too expensive, that is.”)

The county will say, Thank you very much for your input, the BOS will try as much as they can to see that the community preferences are realized, then the project will go out to bid, digging will commence, and people will start paying dearly for the apalling train wreck that was unnecessarily visited on their town by a series of lies, unchecked egos, CYA weird Medean and Freudian and Shakespearian human failings, that resulted in a lack of due diligence and apathy and incompetence and failure on the part of a whole array of governmental agencies whose whole point of existence was to look out to make sure the tracks were clear and the train was indeed, NOT heading for a cliff.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More Reminders:

This just in:

The Final Fine Screening Report is now able. You can order a copy of the Final Fine Screening Report from the Public Works Department. You will be charged for the cost of printing, which is approximately $25, and for postage. Contact our department receptionist at (805) 781-5252 to order a copy. Reference copies are also available for public review and/or copying at the Public Works Department in SLO and at the Los Osos Library and Los Osos CSD. And, of course, on the project website at

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The PZLDF case will be heard Tuesday, August 22 in Dept 2 of the SLO courthouse on Monterey St starting at 9 a.m. (The various demurrers & etc. were filed a few days ago) The judge will be asked to rule on a variety of procedural and legal issues regarding the “hows” and “whats” of the CDO’s and CAO’s. The outcome of the hearing will affect the entire community, one way or the other.

For those of you supporting your friends and neighbors of The Los Osos 45 who have filed the case, PZLDF will be holding a fund-raising take-away BBQ chicken dinner August 19, from 3 – 6 pm at the Los Osos Community Center. Donations are $10. Tickets will likely be on sale at the Farmer’s Market Monday.

TAC meeting: A meeting of the Los Osos Wastewater Project Technical Advisory Committeewill be held on Monday, August 13, 2007 from 7:00pm - 9:30pm in the SouthBay Community Center at 2180 Palisades Avenue, Los Osos. The meetingagenda is attached. This information can also be viewed on the Projectwebsite at meeting is scheduled to be broadcasted, live, on Charter Cable channel20 in Los Osos.

BOS MEETING: Tuesday August 14, 2pm Board of Supervisors chambers, SLOTown:


Consider the presentation of Project Screening Analysis by the project team.

Consider the presentation of the Project Pro/Con Analysis by the project Technical Advisory Committee.

Consider the presentation of future work efforts.

Approve Exhibit A - Project Selection Strategies. (RECOMMEND APPROVAL.)

Staff Report - Large File - 388 pages

Sewerwatch Posting: Uh-oh, Ron Crawford over at has posted a new piece. I can hear his little Happy Feet Dance from here as well as the susurrus rush of unhappy feet of the various “commentors” who will rush from this blogsite to his to start furiously sniping at him and one another over whatever he’s got posted there, as well as lobbing some nasty snark-bombs onto this site just for the heck of it.

Them Sewer Jihadis. Gotta love ‘em. Proof positive that grade school never ended.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh, For God’s Sake, Roger, Sit Down And Shut Up and STOP Monkey Wrenching The Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project!

As if poor Los Osos doesn’t have enough problems, now we’ve got Regional Water Quality Board CEO, Roger Briggs, screwing things up again.

Seems the Coastal Commission permit on the Tri W site was due to lapse. The CSD holds the permit and didn’t want to ask the CC to renew it for a variety of reasons, chief of them being that to ask for a renewal or extension could well trigger an appeal from somebody in the community which would mean the original permit would get a look-see and lord knows what worms would have climbed out (all that “bait and switchy” stuff that NOBODY wants to see crawling around on the floor).

And the County didn’t want to touch that permit extension with a ten foot pole because of all those worms as well, and if the permit were then transferred to the County, the County would likely inherit the hideous mess at Tri-W, created when the three recalled CSD board members started work on that project weeks before the recall election, thereby tearing up that site (all ESHA land with awful mitigation requirements on it), so there it sits, No Man’s Land, as radioactive as if a toxic meteor had hit it, which in some ways is exactly what happened.

So, without bothering to check to see whether or not this permit had any real function, now that the County was in charge of the project, Roger goes all postal and sends a letter to the Board of Supervisors and project head, Paavo Ogren, accusing the County of “delaying” the project – RogerSpeak code words for FINES!FINES!FINES!YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREETS LIKE DAWGS! and (falsely) claiming that the permit lapse would cause YEARS OF DELAY AND COST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREETS LIKE DAWGS!

So the BOS scheduled the matter to be on the agenda where we find out that, No, the lapsed permit won’t really delay things all that long, and No, the lapsed permit won’t cost millions since the huge majority of the work has not only been done but remains valid and can simply be used should Tri-W be the final site selected and No, we’re not all going to die in the streets like dogs.

However, we also learned that letting that permit lapse does have one really crucial benefit: It levels the playing field when considering all the other options. During TAC discussion, the Tri-W site was always given a special pass-through seat at the table, so to speak, because “it has a permit.” Never mind that the permit was obtained under, uh, questionable circumstances (see, Ron Crawford’s posts concerning that permit), never mind that conditions and rules and regulations have changed since that permit was issued so that if that site were picked, another hearing would be necessary and then it’s likely all those worms would spill on the floor anyway and so everything would likely end up at square one, thereby rendering the benefits of a permit moot anyhow.

To anyone without a tin ear, that permit was a liability in getting an accurate TAC report, a clean Process and a fair 218 vote. Paavo further noted that trying to extend or transfer that permit just wasn’t worth it because the value of the permit is in the report, which is still useful, while its liabilities were not worth it. That he would rather get sued for being objective as the county promised they would be when taking over this project, than getting sued for trying to defend a project the county never signed onto in the first place.

In short, here’s what Paavo felt was the wiser course. WALKING THE CLEAN PATH.

Are you listening, Roger? Walking the clean path. That means no more hysteria and false claims. No more uninformed monkey wrenching. No more threats. Get your fingers out of this pie. You’ve done enough damage to this community and this project already. Because here it is in a nutshell, so listen up RWQCB and SWB and BOS and Roger and all the ships at sea:

Los Osos is now like an old, rattling barn filled with half-crazed, sorely used and abused, spooked wild mustangs, hot air blowing out of their nostrils, hooves stamping, bodies jumping and slamming at every twig snap, white eyes rolling, a fearful, spooked, terrified bunch of horses ready to bolt at the least noise, ready to crash through the walls and stomp the place to pieces.

A horse whisperer with a golden ear, would have the horse sense to know that he needed to arrive at that barn with soft words, a gentling touch. He would carefully and visibly and slowly remove all the spooky elements of rattling doors, flashing lights, loud noises, let the mustangs see those things were gone. He would make his calm presence known, clear away scary dark debris, keep the barn clean and clear and quiet and well lit so the horses could clearly see their surroundings and track who was moving where.

That’s what s smart horse whisperer would do.

But guess who we’re stuck with? Right, Roger Briggs who runs into the barn carrying a flaming torch, armloads of tinder-dry hay, tossing cherry bombs everywhere, yelling GEE!HAW!FINES!FINES!FINES!YER ALL GONNA DIE IN THE STREEETS LIKE DAWGS!

And then stands there looking puzzled while the mustangs run amok and tear the barn down and says, “Whaaattt? Whadda I do?”

So, Regional Board members, you want a successful 218 election? You want a successful wastewater project, completed as fast as possible? Then here’s what you need to do: Either put a cork in Roger, or get him on another slow boat to China, Pllluuueeeeeze.

If you don’t, the biggest Monkey Wrencher-Project Killer in this whole process will be your own boy.

Mercifully, the BoS saw through this incompetent, appallingly ill considered ploy and voted 5-0 to follow staff’s advice and let the CC permit die a timely and merciful death.

Even Supervisor Gibson, who attempted a last minute “compromise” fishing expedition letter to try to see if the CC would, on its own accord, sorta just somehow delay the permits expiration, heh-heh, let the status quo stand, let sleeping dogs lie, thereby maybe make the Tri-W supporters happy while making the non-Tri-W supporters not too unhappy, decided to withdraw the letter. He explained that it was clear from comments from his fellow BoS members that the letter wasn’t helpful, was clouding the issue, not clarifying it, and was a mistake. That withdrawal was a move that also indicated that, unlike Roger, Supervisor Gibson doesn’t have a tin ear and was actually paying attention to the feed back loops.

And finally, the Board unanimously voted to confirm the newest TAC addition, Dr. David Dubbink. He has my thanks and my deepest sympathy.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And don’t forget the BoS today at 2 pm.

Guest Speaker: Paavo Ogren, project manager, LO wastewater project
NOT YOUR USUAL ELECTION - Q&A’S ON THE 218 VOTE IN LOS OSOS - AUG. 7****************************************************

When Los Osos citizens cast their ballots this fall,
it’s not an election in the usual sense and votes will
be public record.

These and other aspects of the upcoming 218 vote
will be addressed by Paavo Ogren, county project
manager for the Los Osos wastewater project, on
Tuesday, Aug. 7, 7 p.m., at the Sea Pines Resort.
The talk will include an extensive question-and-
answer session. The event is free and open to the public.

Proposition 218 requires affected property owners’
approval of new fees and taxes, including sewer
assessments. The results of Los Osos’ vote will
determine whether the county proceeds with building
the community wastewater project or not.

“It’s an unfamiliar process with huge consequences
for property owners, and questions abound,”
said Gail McPherson, spokesperson for Citizens for
Clean Water, which is sponsoring the event.

“The community wants to find out about the 218 vote
– what it is and what it’s not, as well as its purpose,
scope and process.”
Citizens For Clean Water is a Los Osos nonprofit organization. It does not endorse any sewer site, technology, or project cost, but seeks to assure that all options are considered to achieve an open public process and informed citizenry.

For more details, please call 534-1913 or 459-4535

# # #


If approved by the Board of Supervisors at their Aug. 28
meeting, mail-in ballots will be distributed by early September.
The ballot may then be submitted, changed, or withdrawn
anytime prior to the conclusion of public testimony at a public
hearing tentatively scheduled for Nov. 20.

Voting is limited to owners of 4,700 developed parcels within the
so-called prohibition zone designated by the water board, as
these owners are the ones threatened with enforcement actions.
Owners of undeveloped land may have an opportunity to vote
at a later time. Renters are not allowed to vote.

It is not a one-person-one-vote process; rather, votes will be
weighted based on the total special benefits the property will receive
from the wastewater project. For instance, if the total special benefit
is determined to be $20,000 for a property, the ballot will ask the owner
to approve or deny as assessment of $20,000. Once all the ballots are
returned, the total dollar amounts will be added up, and the total dollar
amount of the “yes” votes will be compared to the total dollar amount
of the “no” votes. If the “yes” vote dollar amount exceeds the “no” vote
dollar amount, the assessment passes.

The county may publish the total monthly cost prior to the 218 vote,
but this will appear in supplemental information – not on the ballot.

While a pro/con analysis for the county has presented lower-cost
options to the abandoned mid-town project, final decisions on
location, type of system and exact cost will not be determined
prior to the 218 assessment vote.

# # #


Gail McPherson
Citizens for Clean Water/Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund
Cell 805/459-4535

Monday, August 06, 2007

Viewpoint from LOCSD Board Member, Joe Sparks

The following Viewpoint was sent by LOCSD Board Member, Joe Sparks. It represents his opinions and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the Board.

4 August 2007

Open Letter to the Los Osos Community:

Over one year ago, the LOCSD approved AB2701 authored by Sam Blakeslee, and unanimously approved by the California Legislation.

The County Public Works Department has since conducted a deliberate and open public process culminating in a Fine Screening Report which identifies feasible options for the Los Osos wastewater project.

The viable project options from Fine Screening Report provide opportunities for alternate treatment, site selection, and effluent and solids disposal methods that can yield long-term on-going cost savings as well as potential environmental and aesthetic improvements. The uncertainty in the details of design for those options means there is less certainty for the final cost. These options must be considered until completion of the next EIR.

Community input has been diverse with alternative technologies (particularly STEP collection) being scrutinized in exhaustive detail so that the cost estimates are conservative as opposed to the past history of LOCSD pre-election ‘low-balling’ that culminated in the LOCSD losing credibility to both homeowners and agencies.

Within the report, the Tri-W project has been evaluated further and provides a viable option and a practical comparison to the other project options. Because of the prior completed design and permits for Tri-W, there is less uncertainty as to the estimated final design & construction costs for that project option. It provides an existing feasible option for the community to construct a wastewater system. It must be considered until completion of the next EIR.

It is important to understand what the purpose is and will be for the 218 assessment. It was never intended to provide a single specific project and certain final cost. Nor could any assesment provide a certain final cost of a specific project. Detailed design, permitting, and construction costs can only be precisely determined when construction bids are obtained.

Our community can have reasonable certainty for the following:

Approval of the 218 assessment will provide certainty to allow the community to pursue grants, secure competitive financing, and pursue affordability goals with both State and Federal administrators and legislators.

Approval of the 218 assessment will allow the County to obtain competitive design bids and build bids for a wastewater project.

Approval of the 218 assessment will provide the means for homeowners to come into compliance with the State mandate imposed upon the Prohibition Zone. An approval of a 218 would prevent any material cessation of the progress being made towards improving the quality of the waters of the State of California. I cannot emphasize enough to the community that the groundwater of the Los Osos basin belongs to the State of California, not Los Osos.

Approval of the 218 assessment will provide for the community to address saltwater intrusion and the degradation that impacts the water supply.

Approval of the 218 assessment will allow our local government to guide beneficial disposal and water use practices for the water supply we utilize.

Approval of the 218 assessment will provide a means for resolution of the Chapter 9 bankruptcy that the District must emerge from to continue as an on-going entity.

Approval of the 218 assessment would provide the mechanism to eliminate future violations of the Basin Plan that the RWQCB might impose upon the LOCSD due to operation by the LOCSD of three wastewater systems (Fire department, Vista de Oro, & Bayridge Estates).

In short, approval of the 218 assessment continues a commitment and a PLAN for Los Osos future.
History has shown the LOCSD to be incapable of completing a solution for our wastewater infrastructure. The District is not financially stable enough to administer a project.

The District has no wastewater reserves at present.

Any attempt to manage and design a project will require borrowing funds and place the already low amount of water and fire reserves in jeopardy.

The District has no full-time or permanent General Manager, even though the LOCSD Board had the opportunity three months ago to hire from multiple qualified candidates.

The District has yet to re-pay approximately $400,000 borrowed from the Water Quality Trust Fund to fund the 2006 Ripley report, and Ripley remains a major creditor in the District’s Bankruptcy proceedings.

The District has yet to re-pay approximately $700,000 that was borrowed from the Bond Reserve Fund to make a Bond Redemption payment because the District had insufficient funds to make the payment on September 1, 2006. From the period of October 2005 until April 2006, approximately $1,100,000 in assessment revenue (District General Ledger 4061) was deposited in District accounts for the purpose of making the September 1, 2006 Bond Redemption payment, yet those funds were not available to make the payment.

The District is subject to further enforcement of $10,000 per day from the date of issuance of the last Administrative Civil Liability of October 6, 2005 (disputed by the District) until present.

Failure of the 218 assessment will result in more financial and legal chaos for the District.

I did not support the creation of the LOCSD nor Measure B nor the recall because of the failure of advocates to clearly identify a defined project and financial PLAN. The County of San Luis Obispo, both prior to the formation of the LOCSD and with AB2701, had and has a clearly identified project and financial PLAN. I am committed to having the County of San Luis Obispo complete a wastewater project for those reasons.

No one wants to spend one more dime than necessary on the Los Osos Wastewater Project. The County is not asking for anything, let alone a blank check. It is offering solutions, trust, and cost constraints for a completed project. I look forward to the successful completion of a 218 assessment and the successful implementation of a wastewater project for the homeowners & community of Los Osos.

Joe Sparks
Director, Los Osos Community Services District

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Mommy, Mommy, Why Are Roger & Gordon Hopping Up And Down On The County’s Sewer Scale?

That’s the first question that went through my head after reading today’s Tribune story about the county staff recommending that the Board of Supervisors NOT grant an extension for the Coastal Commission’s Tri-W Project permit while Gordon Hensley, recalled CSD Director and Roger Briggs, CEO of the RWQCB were pushing for that same extension to stay attached to Tri-W.

The next question was equally important: Why are Gordon and Roger deliberately trying to sabotage the County Process, sabotage the TAC and screw up the 218 vote as well? Do they both suffer from tin ears? Or are they pursuing hidden agendas?

That puzzle was followed by this question: Has the Board of Supervisors been keeping up with Ron Crawford’s blogsite, as well as various comments he’s posted here vis a vis various, uh, coastal permit documents he’s shared and discussed with Steve Monowitz, the Head Staff Guy at the Coastal Commission?

And did Steve, in turn, share those same documents with County Staff and the County Engineers working on this project? (The staff report notes that county staff had been communicating “with staff of the Coastal Commission over the past 6-9 months on the status of the existing CDP and issues that might be related to that assignment.”) Did and of those “communications” about those “issues” make it to the TAC for their review? If not, why not?

Did Gordon & Roger contact Steve Monowitz? No? Why not? Before authorizing Briggs’ letter, shouldn’t some Regional Board member have contacted Mr. Monowitz? The Tribune further notes that “ Paavo Ogren, county deputy director of Public works, said he worried about how the state water board – which oversees the regional board – would react.”

I’d worry about that too, but I’d worry that the State Water Board might call Steve Monowitz and end up getting an earful. Especially since the Tri-W project involved state revolving fund monies and “parks,” and all kinds of stuff that Ron keeps babbling on about. Maybe they all need to place a conference call to Ron & Steve and have a nice little chatty-poo to see if somebody can FINALLY straighten out the, uh, issues clouding that permit?

And what’s with the Tribune reporting that Roger’s “terse” letter to the BOS states that not extending that permit “would tack on several more years and extra costs to the sewer project.” If Roger had bothered to read Ron’s blog, he would have been reminded that it was Roger who did absolutely NOTHING for two years while the original CSD futzed around with The Ponds of Avalon even after being told by Roger that those Ponds would never be permitted by him or the board, ever, ever. Now . . . . NOW he’s whining about “several years” delay? Jeeze, Rog, you’re way too little and waaaaaayyyyy too late.

And what’s with Gordon? Most people who get recalled from office have the sense to understand the message: Thank you for your service, you screwed up big time, there’s the door, please go away. But not our Gordy. Like some bad penny, everywhere you turn, there he is. Here’s his quote, “it’s incredibly shortsighted on the part of the county. It demonstrates to the water board a lack of will to move ahead and eliminates the site for what appears to be purely political reasons.”

Uh, Gordon, I suggest you take a peek at Ron’s blog and go click on his links to the documents in question. Political reasons? No, what appears to have been of concern to Monowitz and the CC is the validity of the original permit, a validity or lack of same, that puts a cloud over this Process and could well derail the county’s efforts if it remains attached to Tri-W.

In short, that permit and the circumstances under which it was granted, are a potential poison pill that needs to be removed exactly so the process stops being “political” and returns all the projects being evaluated to a level playing field, to be evaluated without fear and without favor.

Unless, of course, certain people don’t want a level playing field, don’t want a balanced scale with no thumbs on it, in short, don’t want a fair, clean Process?

Is that why Gordon & Roger have taken their thumbs off the scale and instead have climbed on top of it and are now leaping up and down? Boing! Boing! Boing?

If so, I can only hope that the BoS can see through their game and will tell them, Thank You for Sharing, Now Kindly Shut Up & Sit Down. Thank You.

BOS agenda item D1 will start at 2 p.m. in the BOS meeting chambers, Tuesday, August 7th.

Friday, August 03, 2007

218 Assessment Vote Q&A, TAC meeting & Most Important BOS meeting Tuesday, & Etc

Ding, Ding, Ding! This is an update of the previous (deleted) post with new information just in: See below, Tuesday listing


A meeting of the Los Osos Wastewater Project Technical Advisory Committeewill be held on Monday, August 6, 2007 from 7:00pm - 9:30pm in the SouthBay Community Center at 2180 Palisades Avenue, Los Osos. The meetingagenda is attached. This information can also be viewed on the Projectwebsite at meeting is scheduled to be broadcasted, live, on Charter Cable channel20 in Los Osos.

TUESDAY DAY: UPDATE From: John Waddell: The easiest way to view the Board agenda is to go the County homepage at the Board of Supervisor agenda quicklink on the right side of thescreen, then click on the agenda link for the August 7, 2007. Scroll down to Item D-1.


From: Noel King:

Ann, I read in your blog that you were not able to access the Board ofSupervisors agenda for August 7. That is unfortunate because this is an item that I believe many is Los Osos will be interested in.Part 2 of the staff report deals with the TRI-W Coastal Development Permit,which is expiring on August 11, 2007 unless an extension is requested. We are recommending to the Board that the extension not be requested, and that the permit be restarted, although much work would not need to be repeated(one of those playfield leveling things).Coming in as a corrigenda attachment to our staff report is a letter fromthe RWQCB which strongly opposes our recommendation. This is something that we thought many of your readers may be interested in following. (emphasis mine)

I noticed that we don't have the staff report posted on our project website yet (the people who do that are on vacation) and I an trying to get that corrected this morning. People can still access it by going through the Board of Supervisors County department website. Our project team is in meetings with the consultants all day, so I hope this all makes sense and you get the message in a timely manner. Thank you.Noel King

TUESDAY NITE: Press release from PZLDF

Community meeting
-----The Los Osos project----
The 218 Assessment Vote
Q & A
Speaker: Paavo Ogren

Tuesday Aug. 7th 7:00 PM

Sea Pines Resort Conference Rm.
sponsored by
Citizens for Clean Water-PZLDF
For more information call: 534-1913 or
To make donations to PZLDF: Coast Bank or PO 6095 L.O. 93412

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons,, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, For August 8 07

Sacramento Dog Fight, Redux

Every few years certain people with hidden agendas and vested interests arrive in Sacramento to “do something” about all the unwanted dogs and cats that the taxpayer is paying to annually have killed and dumped. Some kind-hearted legislator, disgusted at the inhumane, expensive, and appalling waste, is found to put forth a bill to “fix the problem.” Out comes some ginormously complicated, un-funded, heavy-handed, Rube Goldberg bill that threatens to affect “certain interests.” Then, as regular as rain during the Monsoons, the shock troops are called out by other people with more hidden agendas and vested interests to start tacking on loopholes which will render the bill totally useless. Or, if the bill still retains some teeth and threatens The Big Money Boys Of The Puppy Mill & Dog Breeding Trade, it will be attacked so viciously that it simply dies in Committee and is never heard from again.

Until next time.

This is exactly what happened during the recent dust-up over the so-called Spay/Neuter Bill put forth by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine. After withdrawing his bill, the poor man expressed his shock and sorrow at how he had been “personally attacked and vilified,” and about how personal it all became.

If the good Assemblyman had checked his history, he would have seen the playbook, understood the players, and would have known exactly how the melodrama would unfold and how it would end. Rerun time.

Make no mistake, pet overpopulation is a problem exacerbated by the same old gang – The American Kennel Club selling their often worthless AKC “papers,” papers that too often put false value on a dog, lucrative “papers” that their own Board members referred to in a secret memo as “the basic cash cow;” The High Volume Breeders (some of whom are now joined at the hip with AKC to mutually benefit from that “cash cow”); Pet Stores (What reputable dog breeder would ever, ever sell his or her dogs through a pet store, so guess where those dogs are coming from?); the multi-gazillion-dollar-a-year Puppy Mill Trade that treats dogs like agricultural commodities, just like chickens and beef for the back yard BBQ; irresponsible owners of all stripes (Gee, I think I’ll make some money breeding my overpriced, “purebred AKC registered” genetic-wreck dog.); the idiot Mom or Dad who wants their child to “experience the miracle of birth” without also taking their kids down to the pound to see the “miracle of death” that will surely follow; the various “humane societies” who use the kill statistics and photos of poor puppy mill puppies as a fund-raiser (Send money or I’ll die!), rather than actually pursuing measures that would stop some of the worst abuses at the source.

That’s just a partial list of “interested parties” that can be counted on to rally their various shock troops whenever their special interests are threatened. And that’s just for dogs. Unwanted cats is another enormous problem altogether.

Happily, there are ways to diminish the over-breeding and unnecessary killing, but it doesn’t reside in Sacramento. It lies as close as your city or county government. There are already all kinds of leash laws, breeder permit ordinances, licensing laws, even a state-wide Dog Lemon Law (bet you never heard of that one) already on the books. They only need clear direction from local governments that they will be enforced. Then include a few public hangings of some irresponsible fools to get the public’s attention, toss in adequate funding for low-cost spay/neuter programs, better funded humane education, including a variety of low-cost adult outreach and basic dog-owner education programs, and a strongly supported and coordinated volunteer base of people dedicated to reducing the number of throw-away pets.

All of these can be designed at the local level so as to focus on specific local problem areas, all fully funded at the local level by local taxpayers who finally understand that they’re already paying big time on the back end to deal with a whole lot of dead dogs and cats, so why not pay up front and thereby reduce the suffering and death in the first place?

Prevention has always been more cost effective than clean-up. Of course, the ultimate price is paid by the dogs and cats, but the choice to do a better job locally to reduce that horrible toll remains with each of us and is only a few phone calls away.

Blog Note: If you’re interested in getting a dog, check with your various local humane shelters, Dept.of Animal Services & etc. Also, if you’re interested in a “purebred” dog, google the breed’s name with the word “rescue.” Every breed has a rescue group out there helping to ensure that their particular breed gets “rescued” from shelters and re-homed properly. And, if you’re after a particular breed of puppy, log onto the Humane Society’s website at to learn how to avoid getting fleeced.