Sunday, December 30, 2007
Mother Calhoun hopes you all had a nice holiday break from The Sewer Wars? Unfortunately, she wasn’t so lucky and has been bombarded with daily emails and cc’s of an ongoing squibble-squabble that just kept getting sillier and sillier. So, perhaps, it’s time for Mother Calhoun to say a few words?
Below, is Mr. Tom Murphy, CEO of AES & the “Reclamator.” This email made Mother Calhoun think of a Fuller Brush man coming to a potential customer’s door and saying, “If you don’t buy this really swell vegetable brush, I’ll shoot you in the kneecaps.” For some weird reason, Mother Calhoun doesn’t think that’s been proven to be a particularly successful sales ploy. And, as the New Times’ “Shredder” has pointed out, threatening to sue a bankrupt entity for big bucks . . .? Uh . . . . And threatening the good people of this community individually, based on their assessment vote, is either a very, very bad joke that went awry, or the ka-boom of a gun going off with Mr. Murphy’s foot as the unfortunate recipient of the bullet.
This email was among many emails between Murphy& Mark Low & The Water Guy. Alas, most of them just got silly, so I’m not going to post them here. They’re embarrassing. But, The Water Guy’s email below DOES lay out a procedure that can and will go a long way towards moving this all from a war of words into something somebody can actually deal with.
And, finally, Gail McPherson notes where the REAL problem and concern lie: Make sure The Process has sufficient will and onsite-expertise available to honestly evaluate any onsite plans during the due diligence phase, not simply treat onsites as “also-rans,” as in, “O.K. O.K. already, I’ve looked at your plans thank you for coming there’s the door.”
The “County Process” is already “dead”. It doesn’t matter if we are in the County process or not, the County isn’t going to be able to borrow the money to do the project. The assessments are illegal, if they attempt to asses my house, they will soon find that out. And, when the County goes to borrow money with the old “guaranteed hookup” ordnance to guarantee revenue and payback, we will just notify the lender of the RECLAMATOR at peoples homes and that such an outdated “guaranteed hookup ordnance” concept doesn’t work anymore as some properties now only have “water”, i.e. “Recycled water” which is defined in California Water Code Secton 13050 as a “Valuable Resource”. A “guaranteed hookup” doesn’t guarantee a “revenue” stream to pay for the loan. Any “required hookup” only creates a NEGATIVE REVENUE STREAM.
So, _____, how can the County pay back the money they would have to borrow to build a “non-federally compliant, non-affordable, non-sustainable, energy waster, regulatory created non-point source pollutant generator (it is already a matter of totally industry awareness that a centralized sewer waste management method is the number one source of pollution of our nation’s waters, even beats out septic tanks), and what tops it off is, even if they put the thing in, we will still be providing our service and the customers they might have will eventually disconnect from the sewer (and subscribe to our services) at some point so they can have back control of their water.
Again_____ these guys are already dead and they just don’t want to admit it. These guys aren’t stupid, they are engineers, however, they really are slow to take up change and admit that they have lost control.
It is over for them, I’m not going to do business with the County anyway, even if they called me on Christmas day. I gave them an ultimatum and a date and they didn’t take me up on it. They are out.
Now, we are going to give the LOCSD the last opportunity to do business with us. That should be your focus now, as if they don’t, I am going to go after them for $100,000,000 in damages.
The result will be Los Osos will have to pay the award ($20,000.00 per DUE), AES will then be given the project anyway as an additional reward as the law requires it, make the typical profit it would have made anyway, the grants that I have telling everyone about will kick in to pay for the project and Los Osos still got the most affordable project while AES made an additional $100,000,000 and it only cost each homeowner $20,000,000 and not $70,000,000 per DUE.
However, I am going to exempt all who voted NO and who DIDN’T VOTE. Only the ones who protested our program and voted “yes” are going to be the ones who must pay all “reward” amounts. After all, it will only be fair, don’t ya think?
The BRIDGE is OUT! The “COUNTY PROCESS” IS NO LONGER OF ANY SIGNIFICANCE…………….
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO THE ________
D. Thomas Murphy
RECLAMATOR, “The Future of Water”
Email from The Water Guy:
Dear Mr. Murphy:
Here is the background/data/proof of concept for the high performance biofiltration treatment concept. There are two papers attached. One provides a general review of the technology, along with some examples of its implementation and capabilities. The other explores in more detail nitrogen reduction capability of the technology. The attached tables accompany that paper.
Past experience indicates that you will immediately go after the circumstance that the high performance biofiltration concept may not produce total N concentrations of <10 mg/L. As we have discussed (and apparently disagree upon), that is not necessary in most situations. Nitrogen can be a fertilizer, a valuable resource just like the water is, if applied properly -- e.g., by dispersing treated effluent with nitrogen concentration <20 mg/L in a subsurface drip irrigation field to fertilize the landscaping as well as obtaining an irrigation benefit. There is no prohibition in the "law" against including the soil mantle in the "treatment zone". However, if it is determined that <10 mg/L out of the pipe is required under the conditions of a given circumstance, you can put a "Nitrex" filter on the end of the treatment train, problem solved. So what we have here is a not just a demonstrated "best" technology on the terms that you claim it must meet, we have a technology with a long history of--thus a well-deserved reputation for--stability, robustness, consistency and reliability, even in the face of difficult operating conditions. ESPECIALLY in the face of difficult operating conditions, such as the very lightly supervised on-lot system environment, where any number of "out of bounds" events WILL occur.
From all appearances to date, what you have is an experiment, some ideas (no pun intended) that have been strung together. While they may indeed produce a viable treatment concept, its long-term capabilities--either in terms of consistent effluent quality or in terms of basic operational reliability--remain to be demonstrated. As has been noted, your widget has failed--badly--to perform up to your claims in at least two publicly-funded, independent demonstration projects. It would appear that what you need to find is a demonstration site, your own "Washington Island". AFTER you run your widget through something like that, AFTER you identify its strengths and weaknesses, AFTER you figure out how to minimize or eliminate the "glitches" that WILL occur, THEN you could in good conscience promote your widget in a situation like Los Osos.
That is what the situation appears to be. If indeed you do have in hand the operating history and evaluation that matches in rigor to that presented for the high performance biofiltration concept, we still await you sharing it. In any case, you have been shown that there are other technological strategies that can do what you claim is the sole province of your widget.
David Venhuizen, P.E.Planning and Engineering as if Water and Environmental Values Matter www.venhuizen-ww.com
And McPherson’s observations: (excerpt)
The possible solutions are screened based on meeting criteria from a complete needs assessment. Then the best value options that meet the criteria are placed on the table. Is TRIW adequate to remain on the table? Can any other plans be modified to allow them to remain on the table? Based on the criteria which options and configurations of systems are left???? The rest fall away.
Because the needs assessment was limited and not well knitted together or updated from the TRI W failure, decentralized isn't on the main table.
EIR affords the final comparisons of options and technology/site configurations ...and decentralized must be here as well as Ripley plan. The flaw in the rough screening was setting artificial limits to the "solution paradigm" to centralized only. This allowed an early process failure to develop defensible "best value" project criteria. This prematurely knocked decentralized and Ripley out of the running favor of centralized only and Carollo only.
This can be corrected now and evaluations can be made complete so there is no question for the legitimacy for the process.
Let me repeat that:
“The flaw in the rough screening was setting artificial limits to the “solution paradigm” to centralized only. This allowed an early process failure to develop defensible “best value” project criteria. This prematurely knocked decentralized and Ripley [My note: also Pio Lomobardo’s decentralized cluster/water-reuse plan?] out of the running in favor of centralized only and Carollo only. This can be corrected now and evaluations can be made complete so there is no question for the legitimacy for the process.”
Meantime . . . .
. . . . This can be corrected now. . . yes, IF the citizens will make their voices heard that onsite will be evaluated by experts in onsite programs and on a level field with the other options, not simply something cursorily reviewed at the last minute as window-dressing to prop up a Process that was off kilter from day one.
Meantime, enough with Mr. Murphy & Mr. Low’s Word War 2.0. It’s simply too silly. The documentation path is clear, the test-case path is clear, the necessity of getting a definition of what “is” is, is clear, necessary data required for a fair evaluation should be clear. All of which needs to go to the county and the RWQCB. Or Mr. Murphy can head to federal court and file whatever he needs to file.
In the meantime, Mother Calhoun sez: “Threatening residents isn’t included in that list of Things To Do, Thank You.”
Have a happy New Year!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Ah, what better way to end the old year and start a new one but with continued discussion about lawsuits. As previously posted (12/18 & 19/07), AES CEO Tom Murphy had filed a grievance claim with the state as a first step in suing the state for defamation, and etc. Now the New Times (Dec 20) reports an even more interesting proposed lawsuit: “Soon, Murphy said, he will start gathering signatures from people who are connected to either of the CSD’s group septic systems – the ones who’ve been ordered by the state to cease and desist discharging waste into the ground. There are 224 such houses. The petition will demand that the CSD do business with Murphy. If the CSD rejects it, Murphy said the same residents who elect and fund the CSD would file a class-action suit in the amount of $200 million. . . . “’This is the situation that the LOCSD will be in,’ Murphy said, ‘if they do not finally bit the bullet and do business with us.’” . . . “Members of the CSD were unavailable for comment as of press time, but Deputy County Counsel Warren Jensen said Murphy ‘could certainly file a lawsuit, but whether or not it would be dismissed is another thing.’”
Hmmm, interesting. Now there’s a new wrinkle: Citizens hooked up to a central septic tank suing their government for delaying or refusing to install “proven” systems that would (perhaps) stop or at least reduce “discharging” whatever the RWQCB says they’re “discharging,” and hence reduce their financial liability for fines since fines are supposed to be based on the amount of environmental damage done and amount of “discharge,”and type of “discharge” (“organic” nitrates slightly over the state standard versus high amounts of cancer-causing benzene, for example) and whether or not the discharge is “willful” or “reluctant,” thereby putting citizens in worse financial harm’s way for the full blast of CDOs and fines and loss of their homes and, even jail time, and so forth.
What makes this so déjà vu-ish, is after the new CSD was installed and settled into the office to review papers & etc, they uncovered an old letter from Roger Briggs to then General Manager Bruce Buel giving a tentative o.k. to install certain systems in the firehouse, for example, on a testing basis, onsite systems that were presumed to be able to reduce “discharge” of “pollutants,” and hence could have likely reduced the HUMONGOUS fine the RWQCB later stuck the CSD with for their properties. Ditto, the water office and the Bayridge Estates & Vista del Oro collective system & etc.
According to some of the newly installed CSD Board members (and two of the old, un-recalled members) they had never seen that letter before.
So, why is that letter important? Well, the RWQCB has strung up The Los Osos 45 and has fined the CSD millions of dollars, declaring them to be illegal, evil, law-breaking “dischargers” who are willfully polluting the groundwater, destroying Morro Bay, damaging the environment with millions of gallons a day of sewage, Gaaaaahh, we’re all gonna die in the streets like dawgs, emergency! emergency! and all the while, they knew the previous General Manager had a letter in hand for several years now giving permission to install a system that would likely immediately reduce said pollution, (thereby reducing any fines since the fines are supposed to be based on the amount of pollution discharged that actually was polluting the waters of the state of California) a system that had the o.k. of Roger Briggs to go ahead with this particular onsite system, yet two un-recalled members of the old CSD board stated that they were never shown that letter, and just as clearly the old CSD majority did nothing and the RWQCB did nothing, until it came time to levy fines on the new board after the recall, when the HUGE hammer hit, all based on “discharge” amount and number of days discharging and etc. and never once did the RWQCB give the CSD any opportunity to install anything before slamming them, or assist them with any pollution reduction efforts. Zip. (Which in the case of Bayridge & Vista del Oro, meant that the homeowners who were financially on the hook, had no way to getting themselves out of harm’s way.)
Clearly, Mr. Murphy sees that as a basis for a class-action lawsuit. The homeowners of Bayridge Estates and Vista del Oro, for example, who are facing huge pro-rata individual fines and loss of their homes and being sent to jail even if they don’t pay up, may want to think about those dollars per gallon fines and think about that letter from Briggs to Buel, and think about the year it sat in somebody’s file while nobody said anything and nothing was done except to keep those gallons of “discharge” flowing, all the while racking up huge potential “discharge” fines.
So, now, here comes Mr. Murphy claiming that his Reclamator will instantly stop “discharges,” (Yes, I know, nobody wants to define that term or certify anything at this point) thereby reducing (or eliminating) the daily “discharges” and hence the daily fines accruing for doing nothing while waiting for the county to build some kind of wastewater system, and the CSD and the RWQCB are still sitting on their hands.
Even weirder, a CDO recipient stated at a recent RWQCB hearing, that he had complied with everything the CDO required and asked Matt Thompson, the RWQCB staff go-to-guy, If I install an onsite system that eliminates all discharges, reuses water, etc, will you rescind my CDO,” and the answer from the RWQCB staff member was, “You don’t want to go that way . . ..”
You don’t want to install something that would eliminate “discharges” and thereby stop violating the law and come into compliance? You don’t want to go that way? This from the very outfit that declared this person a criminal and slapped a CDO on his home? Threatened him with jail time? Loss of his home? YOU DON’T WANT TO GO THAT WAY????
Which begs the question: If the RWQCB told this homeowner that he should NOT go the way of installing an onsite system that would stop pollution, what then was the emergency that required the RWQCB to spend two years and pots of money harassing him and the other 44 citizens with CDO’s and fining the CSD gazillions, all while totally ignoring their previously approved “test” system at least three years ago, and ignoring (near as I can see) Mr. Wickham’s in-tank Sludgehammer and/or Mr. Murphy’s “Reclamator,” and/or any other onsite system that reduces pollutants & etc, then telling a CDO holder he doesn’t want to go the way of installing any onsite system that would bring him into compliance and/or stop polluting the waters of the State of California?
If the pollution of the groundwater was so all fired important, wouldn’t you think that since the RWQCB laws require they HELP citizens come into compliance, that instead of spending gazillions “trying” and hanging those 45 people, they could have used that money to HELP them install whatever system could reduce their discharges and so lessen their potential fines (per gallon), until the county finished their project and everyone hooked up? (Not to mention that any system that actually reduced nitrates, even a little, would actually be helping clean water. So there was an interesting choice: use taxpayer money to help pay to clean water or just soak the taxpayer for the cost of the Mad Hatter’s Kangaroo Court while doing nothing to the water.)
It’s an interesting dilemma, that’s for sure. On the one hand you have the County and the RWQCB itself that issued permits for some 1,100 more homes AFTER the RWQCB had passed their 83-13 resolution that was supposed to STOP more homes (hence septic discharges) from happening, a RWQCB that did nothing for years except to publicly single out and hang 45 citizens and fine the CSD huge amounts, all the while knowing there sat in the files a letter from them that, had it been acted on earlier, could have reduced those fines (Indeed, if citizens had known about that letter, could they have installed different “reduction” systems, thereby lessening their fine liabilities based on the amount and type of pollution?)
(Since this is about nitrate loading, what impact would it have had on lessening the nitrate loading if the RWQCB had, long ago, implemented 83=12 and required the County, then the CSD, to form a septic management district, systematically pump, inspect, repair, replace, and/or install nitrate reduction systems in “hot areas,” HELPED fund nitrate reduction systems for the CSD and the citizens wishing to help actually clean up water and so forth. How much nitrate reduction to the upper aquifer could have been accomplished in all these years?)
(Even weirder, at the preliminary informational meeting prior to the start of the RWQCB Mad Hatter Tea Party & Auto de Fe Public Hanging, during the time they had proposed their Mad Pumping Scheme as some kind of “mitigation” effort, I spoke with one of the RWQCB staffers and asked him, Since this pumping scheme is an effort at mitigation, do you have a list of other Approved-by-you in-tank systems that could deliver the same guestimated mitigation numbers? He first looked at me with total incomprehension, then when he realized what I was asking, said, Oh, I see what you’re getting at. Yes, that would be a good idea, but no we don’t have any such list. That told me immediately that this Regional Board Staff HADN’T THOUGHT THIS WHOLE THING THROUGH. The rest, as they say, is history when the Air Quality folks walked in and started the crash & burn first Big Mess, followed by others.)
Clearly, the previous CSD board majority (if the three of them were shown that letter), and the previous General Manager, Briggs’ letter in hand, likely made a decision not to do anything since the wastewater project was chugging forward and would soon make “discharges” and 83-13 moot and the RWQCB agreed to “look the other way” at all the daily “discharging.”.
HOWEVER, that old “we’ll ignore our resolutions when convenient” attitude, takes on a far different cast when the same regulators later then decide to go hang 45 citizens. So the question comes back to “selective” punishments for “selective” reasons. And the question I asked above needs to be asked again: Did both the RWQCB and the County and the CSD have a responsibility to shield citizens from their (RWQCB, County, CSD) own selective failure to assist with compliance or assist with nitrate mitigations?
If the answer to that is Yes, then it’s possible Mr. Murphy has happened on an interesting problem. If Regulators and Governments know their failure to act and/or their present actions are putting individual citizens in harm’s way, what responsibility to they have to keep them OUT of harm’s way or reduce their exposure and risk?
Instead, what seems to have happened here is we have Regulators and Governments keeping quiet, burying inconvenient items, wink-nudge, then, when convenient to themselves, or because of a fit of pique and anger and a wish to “punish” citizens for daring to want to move a wastewater plant out of the center of their town, instituting a kangaroo court to convict and hang selected individual citizens to the nearest telephone pole as punishment so as to cover up the real problem: The years-long failure of both the County, the CSDs and the RWQCB to follow their own regulations.
Plus the bigger question: Is the RWQCB interested in water quality? Or just CYA political expediency?
Oh, Lucy, jooooo still gotta lotta ‘splainin’ to dooooo.
Apropos that, the following emails from Mr. Murphy:
As this was news today, I answered to Warren Jensen’s statement in regards to his suggestion that our lawsuit, provided there even is one, might be “dismissed”. I’m sending it to you to post on your blog if you wish. Yet another feeble attempt by the opposition to suggest impotency of AES, but just served as yet another opportunity to point out their weaknesses. The “truth” shall prevail!
I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and May God Bless,
To Mr. Low:
I would like to address the statement made by the Deputy County Counsel Warren Jensen. He said “Murphy could certainly file a lawsuit, but whether or not it would be dismissed is another thing”.
First off, it wouldn’t be “Murphy” who would file a lawsuit, but a select group of citizens of Los Osos who would as a “class action”.
Secondly, the lawsuit, if it were filed and I hope it doesn’t have to go this far, would be charging the LOCSD for “Intentionally violation of State issued Cease and Desist Orders by refusing to act in compliance with the requirements of such State Orders when presented an opportunity to “cease and desist all discharges of waste and comply with such State Orders”.
If such a lawsuit was dismissed, a precedent would then be set making all State Cease and Desist Orders meaningless.
What are the chances of this happening? What would this mean to the other CDO recipients? Why would the LOCSD refuse to comply to their CDOs in the first place? What would make them “above the law”?
A State can not selective use a CDO for a mechanism to force it’s own agenda, nor can a Judge selectively charge or not charge an entity who has been served a CDO and blatantly and knowingly refuses to comply with such order when given an opportunity.
D. Thomas Murphy
RECLAMATOR, “The Future of Water”
AES Central Coast Discharge Elimination Company, LLC.
Advanced Environmental Systems, Inc.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Traveler, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Qarima Zuri Sana McGurk is boofing at the nutcrackers that now march along the fireplace mantle and stand guard on the hunt table. Bred for the fierce light of North Africa and cautiously suspicious of all things not caravans or caftans, camels or gazelles, little in her Sloughi DNA has prepared her for these sentinel creatures from the misty dark of northern climes, their oddly blank faces gleaming in the colored Christmas lights.
Of the pouring rain, the first blessed storm of the winter that is thrumming on the roof and drenching the thirsty land with cleansing water, she has taken no notice. Nor does she seem to mind the appalling spectacle of The Mighty Finn MacCool, my lanky rescue greyhound, dressed to the nines in Christmas gear, a stuffed Christmas mouse stuck onto his harness, all gussied up for the Los Osos Christmas parade. Perhaps, to Zuri, he looks like a camel, packed and ready for a journey.
The Basenjis, of course, pay no attention to any of this. Except the rain, which they absolutely hate, a puzzling aversion for dogs that originally came from the Congo where it does little but rain most of the time. Perhaps they share a genetic predisposition with those hardy denizens of the snow-heaped northeast who head to Florida first chance they get and thereafter cringe and grumble at even a glimpse of frost.
The great wheel of the seasons has come round again, this time quicker than ever I can remember. But so far the weather clues have been all awry – cold snaps one day followed by tropical breezes from the south the next. The giant Four O’ Clocks that should have abandoned their foliage and stems to flee into their tuberous underground dens for a nap are sending up new shoots that are soon turned to icy mush by an unexpected frost. It is likely all a harbinger of more troubling times ahead as the Climate Piper comes to be paid. We were warned. We did not listen. We do not listen still, so the unnecessary price that will be paid for that delay will be fierce, a terrible legacy for our great grandchildren and polar bears, neither of which had a say in the matter.
In Washington, another year of unraveling lies, incompetent kleptocracy and more corporate cronyism has created in me a kind of stunned paralysis and a gaped mouth question: Just how low can this administration sink? Will it set some kind of Guinness Book Of World Record for Stealing the Silverware? Just how long will President Pinocchio’s nose have to grow before sheer gravity pulls his head permanently to the ground? And won’t that make for some weird photo-ops?
If it didn’t involve so much suffering and death, lost faith and lost public treasure, it would be comical. But in these dark solstice nights, I have nearly given up hope of any real change in the Corporate Oligarcy that we have allowed to become our government. That change will only happen if the American people wake up and start connecting some vital dots. The opportunities for profoundly beneficial change are golden and ripe and ready. But if the vision and will is missing, nothing will change. And courage, too.We need courage. Surely we’ve had enough of allowing ourselves to be frightened by lies so we can be herded like goats and fleeced like lambs?
Then perhaps that should be my Christmas prayer this year. That we be given the grace to realize a change of heart, a change of view, a change of perspective. It takes only the blink of an eye, a small amount of courage, and only a glimmer of faith to make that tiny leap. It is the small mustard seed that can move mountains, the little child born in a manger who transforms half a world, that one individual who asks “What if?” It is always just that one small step off the path that ends up changing the entire road forever.
The rain has stopped now. Zuri has stopped boofing, too. She finally realized that the Christmas nutcracker was simply painted wood and nothing to fear. I head out the front door in the dim winter light to scatter California poppy seeds onto the wet ground. They are sturdy little flowers and once they take root they are ready for anything.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The EIR Scoping meeting at the community center last night was pretty well attended, considering the weather. No TV coverage, however, so if folks were wanting to see it later at home, tough luck..
The Notice of Preparation (NOP) was sent out to the various state and federal agencies, any and all agencies that will be involved in this project. Apparently, earlier in the day, at the BOS meeting, CSD Board member Lisa Schicker. noted that an important document had been left out of the NOP’s “partial list of existing information for this project.” The missing document was the RESCINDED SOC. The original EIR’s with their original SOC in it that allowed Tri-W to be built in the first place are listed, but not the RESCINDED one that made a finding that the original SOC wasn’t supported by any fact or evidence concerning having to keep Tri-W at Tri-W (or should I say “Formerly known as Tri-W) because of “community values,” and such like.
The RESCINDED SOC is an important piece of “existing information for this project,” since if it’s gone missing, various agencies might proceed on the incorrect assumption that the original SOC is still in place.
Well, perhaps Schicker will mail a copy of the RESCINDED SOC to the various agencies and they’ll remember to include it in the NOP paperwork before going forward.
In a cc of an email sent to Supervisor Gibson and Paavo Ogren, Schicker is still asking for a copy of the law that the Tribune keeps referring to as in, Tri-W is still on the scoping table because Tri-W has to be evaluated as “required by law.”
What law? Near as I can see, the county , as lead agency, has a lot of latitude as to what they will or won’t consider, what will and what won’t be on or off the table. The term “reasonable” is bandied about and as lead agency, the County will, like Humpty Dumpty, determine what “reasonable” is.
Maybe that’s just the Tribune misspeaking itself? Or one of those phrases bandied about when you want to shut people up and have them stop inquiring too closely. It’s now clear that Tri-W (aka Formerly Known As Tri-W) will remain on the table for a variety of “political” and “personal” reason, none of which are necessarily found in “law.” Also, it will serve as a useful comparison model for other things to be evaluated against. As in, Is System X more or less expensive than Tri-W? Is System Y’s energy use footprint less or more than Tri-W’s? and etc.
Uh, Oh, It’s One More Email 101
Los Ososian Michael Jones also took frothing umbrage with Supervisor Gibson’s bland dismissal of The Los Osos 45’s CDO’s as “symbolic” and fired off an email. Posted with permission. Still don’t know is if the BOS majority will come up with a resolution or merely send one of those genteel and meaningless We View With Alarm, Point With Dismay “letters,” to the RWQCB that allows everyone to pretend they’re now off the hook – Look, we sent a letter, what more do you want, you tiresome symbolic people?
To all my friends and neighbors who love and care about Los Osos,
Over this past week, I have read and listened to at least a half dozen complaints regarding Supervisor Bruce Gibson's representation of our Community regarding the CCRWQCB's enforcement actions and CDO's.
As I watched the replay of the last County BOS meeting(12/11), during the supervisor's comments on the Los Osos wastewater issue, I was transfixed watching Supervisors Achadjian and Patterson represent and defend the community of Los Osos while listening to Bruce Gibson explain and back pedal away his reasons for not representing us. During this exchange, all I could feel for Supervisor Gibson was embarrassment. It had the total appearance that Supervisors Achadjian and Patterson were "taking Bruce to school". How to be a representative of your community school. How to represent your district 101. Watch the tape if you haven't. It's quite sad. Rather than represent his constituents and the community of Los Osos, I guess Bruce chose to represent the RWQCB by restating the Water Board's position that the CDO's are being held in abeyance due to a PZLDF lawsuit. The first thing I would say to Bruce is, our property owners, who have been issued CDO's and attacked by a rogue state bureaucracy that has no oversight, have no choice but to defend themselves in a real court of law and not the kangaroo CDO court that has been held by the RWQCB. They really don't have a choice, do they. Think about it. I would also like to thank Supervisor Patterson for representing us by making the point that if the CDO's go away, the lawsuits go away. Supervisor Gibson stated that he hadn't read the PZLDF lawsuit recently. I wonder if Bruce has ever read the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. There are things in there about States depriving persons of life, liberty, or property and other things about Equal Protection under the Law which is a huge line the RWQCB crossed when they decided to pursue selective "random" enforcement actions. I can't wait to see what a real court has to say about this one. What our wastewater project needs right now is movement and the biggest act of constipation to point is the enforcement actions of the CCRWQCB. It's too bad our local district 2 representative refuses to take a stand for us on this issue.
It's my understanding that Supervisor Gibson received heavy campaign contributions from the Pandora Nash-Karner led Taxpayers Watch Group and that Taxpayers Watch received heavy contributions from Barnard Construction, the gravity sewer collection company who lost their contract when the Tri-W project went belly up. Follow the money. Perhaps this explains why Bruce Gibson drafted a letter last Summer to the Coastal Commission supporting the extension of the Coastal development permit on the Tri-W property(you'll recall this motion was shot down by everybody in the room including Pavvo).
It is a matter of record and fact that Pandora Nash-Karner(Taxpayers Watch) drafted a letter(email) to the CCRWQCB asking them to pursue fines against the community of Los Osos. Perhaps this is why Supervisor Gibson refuses to take a stand on the CDO issue and all his comments are mealy mouthed and merely reactionary.
I also watched the replay of the December 7th CCRWQCB meeting. Of the many on that day who spoke at the lectern representing Los Osos, I believe our Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, was the only one who did not advocate that the CDO's be rescinded or vacated. Even Taxpayers Watch supported LOCSD representative Joe Sparks and Taxpayers Watch supporter Don Bearden both clearly stated and requested that the CCRWQCB vacate the CDO enforcement action.
So, I guess my question for Supervisor Bruce Gibson is this......
What's the frigging problem?
This is not the type of leadership we are looking for in our elected representatives.
There is only on word I can think of to describe Supervisor Gibson's performance as our representative to date.
His fear of offending a minority special interest group has impeded his ability to defend an entire community.
Is it too much to ask that he just believe in something and take a firm stand?
Here's a question......
When the County accepts responsibility for the wastewater project, shouldn't the responsibility for the CDO's and the fines that go with them be transferred to the County who permitted the septic tanks in the first place?
Maybe this is reason #645 why the County of SLO needs to support our property owners and adopt a resolution supporting that the CCRWQCB VACATE AND RESCIND ALL CDO/CAO ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS.
I'm sorry I can't attend the County BOS meetings but I know there will always be good people there to represent us. I thank and love you all.
your pal in Los Osos,
p.s. sorry for the rant but venting makes me feel better. I can't even imagine what our front line 45 CDO recipients have gone thru but I want to thank them for representing us all.
Is That a Lawsuit I See In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Glad To See Me?
As previously posted here and now noted in the Dec 18 Tribune, (“Reclamator salesmen seek $80M in claim – The Company that says its device turns sewage into drinking water asserts it was ridiculed by the state.”), AES CEO Tom Murphy and his business partner Mark Low, filed a claim against the state alleging “defamatory statements” about their product via Harvey Packard, the RWQCB enforcement guy. Apparently, Packard went on KVEC AM 920 radio and dissed Murphy’s Reclamator. And Roger Briggs, the RWQCB’s CEO sent a letter to AES (which was cc’ed all over the place by various folks) that stated that “Low and Murphy have been making ‘false, misleading and unsubstantiated’ claims about their technology.”
The claim was filed with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and my guess is that it will be turned down flat, thereby allowing Murphy to go into a “real” court if he intends to pursue a defamation lawsuit against Packard or Briggs.
Personally, I don’t get a “defamation” lawsuit. Impossible to win unless you have a smoking gun in the form of a letter, signed in blood, stating: “I _________ intend, with malice aforethought, to lie about Mr. Ms. Mrs __________ knowing full well all my statements are false and I further fully intend to cause them harm by falsely attacking their character, their businesses, and lying about whatever I can lie about in order to deliberately ruin them and their reputation. Signed __________
Otherwise, you got zip chance because the person you’re suing can simply say, “Oh, gee, sorry, I made that statement based on the information I had at the time and I had no reason to believe the information was false, I harbored no malice towards _______, never intended harm, but was working from verifiable information. & etc.
Even trickier, OPINION, is often totally shielded, as in, "I think Mr. Ms. Mrs. ________ is a Doodeyhead." Free speech. Opinion. Protected.
BUT, by entering this claim, Mr. Murphy allowed the Tribune another bite at this apple – a perfect chance to run a headline that referred to Murphy & Low as “salesmen,” with all that – wink-nudge—implies and wrongly state that they plan to turn “sewage into drinking water.” (If Murphy demands a retraction of the drinking water quote, that retraction will be buried in tiny print somewhere inside the paper, never to be read by anyone—more wink-nudge.)
And as for Water into Wine, Sewage into Drinking Water, to my knowledge they’ve never asserted that. They do assert that whatever they’ve turned the sewage into meets the federal standards “which meets or exceeds MCLG’s for on-site beneficial re-use and recharge,”and therefore doesn’t qualify as “discharge” of pollutants, whatever “discharge” means, a definition they’ve got to settle with Briggs, the County, the RWQCB, and, likely, a federal court who may finally have to define what the hell “discharge” actually means in Water Board World where Citizen X is forbidden to “discharge” anything into the PZ while the CSD was given a “discharge” permit to “discharge” gazillions of gallons of treated “pollutants” back into the ground .
Well, good luck to Murphy & Low. Unless you’re just looking for headlines and don’t care what people say about you as long as they spell your name correctly, never, as the old mot goes, never argue with someone who buys ink by the ton. Or, like the Tribune, that often gets things so deliciously wrong then continues to cut-n-paste the wrong info in order to keep sticking it – like boilerplate – onto the tail end of so many Los Osos stories.
And Now, Let Me Go To The End Of The Driveway, Feed The Crows, And Get The Paper To See If Something Really Dumb Is On The Front Page.
Whew, nope. But, interesting to see it’s a case of deja vu all over again with Animal Services. Years ago, during the Title Nine Wars to re-write the animal regs, DAS ended up in disarray, was handed off to the Sheriff and things quieted down for a while. Now, things are in disarray again – clearly from the testimony at the BOS yesterday, we’ve got a typical problem coming up again: How to reconcile the various missions of Animal Services – legal issues and code enforcement, public safety and health issues, humane sheltering and active adoption programs, public education, and so forth. It’s quite a list and a hard balancing act to get all those often overlapping missions done right on a limited budget.
Thanks to policy changes, and most critically the change in policy that requires all dogs or cats adopted be spayed or neutered before being released to their new families (ironically, earlier nationwide studies showed that huge number of shelter dogs were actually coming from . . . shelter dogs . . . as adopters “forgot” to neuter their new dog and so the cycle started again.), as well as the tremendous work of the volunteers, DAS kill rate is one of the lowest. (More irony again, a few years ago with Sheriff Hedges and DAS Director Anderson’s help, groups of county “animal welfare” folks came together to form the Animal Alliance and search for ways, for example, to tap into Maddy’s Fund, a private donor dedicated to reducing the kill-rate at shelters, only to find out that, thanks to so many volunteer groups’ efforts, our County’s kill rate was too LOW to qualify for those particular dollars (understandable since Maddy’s Fund could then concentrate on counties with really awful high kill-rates.)
So, clearly there have been changes for the better. But just as clearly, there are still problems. The county will be looking into ways to solve said problems. The Tribune story notes that the civil grand jury is “believed to be investigating” the shelter as well.
This isn’t rocket science. There is so much information already out there as to how to build on the success this county has already enjoyed, BUT there has to be a commitment – and finances – to improve things. Active, funded, aggressive spay/neuter programs, reconciliation and fair enforcement of laws, strongly supported volunteer programs, with an active coordination among all the private rescue groups, a fully funded humane education and outreach program for both kids in schools as well as the public in general, (how many dogs get dumped at shelters simply because their frustrated adopters don’t know how to successfully potty train their new pup?), all are critical parts of any program that even hopes to be successful.
I can only hope that whatever problems are found, whether personnel or structural or procedural, can be solved. There are so many active animal welfare groups manned by so many wonderful volunteers that surely solutions can be found both on a governmental level and on a public/private level that can allow us to do better for the cats and dogs we all profess to love, but then too often abandon with such cruel indifference..
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The following Viewpoint was published in the Sun Bulletin last week (Dec 10-14) by CSD Board Member Lisa Schicker. The EIR Scoping meeting is tonight (Dec 18) at the Los Osos Community Center at 7 pm. These kinds of issues will be discussed, so I hope the community will attend and let the county know any concerns you have as to the updating of the EIR be given to them. Speak now or forever hold your peace. (I hope the links will work. A reader noted that a previous link listed for Ron's Sewerwatch site apparently kept leaving off an important tag. Hmmmm)
Tri W is Dead – Viewpoint by Lisa Schicker December 10, 2007
A recent article about Los Osos and snails at the old downtown sewer site (Tri-W), states that the County says they are “required by law” to re-evaluate TRI-W.
As an environmental professional who writes CEQA/NEPA documents for a living, I disagree with that statement – I can find no environmental law that “REQUIRES” the County to re-evaluate the abandoned downtown (TriW) sewer site. If that were true, the County would also have to re-evaluate all of their past selected sewer sites – are the Turri Road and Pismo sites, for instance, also being re-evaluated?
As an elected official who helped expose the numerous environmental, engineering, health and safety flaws of the abandoned downtown-by-the-National Estuary-sewer site, I also disagree that the County must re-evaluate Tri-W.
There is ample evidence to abandon Tri-W now, and not waste another minute of time: The citizens of Los Osos elected a Board of Directors (and recalled three old directors) in three separate elections that ran on a “Move the Sewer” platform (move it away from tri-w). The citizens voted and approved Measure B – an environmental siting ordinance based on the original flawed selection of the downtown site.
The LOCSD Board rescinded the 2001 EIR’s CEQA/NEPA Statement of Overriding Considerations (SOC) in Resolution 2006-20, because most of the 2001 SOC’s were based on fraudulent statements and unsubstantiated conclusions. Coastal Commission official transcripts reveal “had they known then, what they know now, they would have never approved a project” at TRI-W.
New laws and the newly designated Morro Bay State Marine Reserve have made it unlikely that the downtown site is environmentally viable at all. The County’s 2007 Fine Screening Report, the 2006 Ripley Project Report Update and 2006 National Water Institute’s Independent Professional Review have also discounted the environmental viability and logic for choosing this site.
The County has ample justification under the laws of our state to abandon any further evaluation of this old sewer site, especially when our budget is so tight and the project will be so expensive and also because Tri-W is "ESHA" (environmentally designated sensitive habitat).
Since the County has already identified several other feasible, non-ESHA sites, that instantly makes building at Tri-W a gross violation of their land use ordinance called the CZLUO. ("CZLUO Section 23.08.288d allows public facilities within ESHA only where there is no other feasible location.").
There is no justifiable reason or law to keep Tri-W alive any longer. SLO County, please don’t waste any more of our money and time, those of us who are paying for this project and your services, with any further consideration of this Tri-w downtown sewer site.
Thank you. Lisa Schicker, LOCSD Director and Baywood Park Citizen…..
Please also publish on your website the following attachments, to support these claims that Tri-W should be abandoned now, and not later.
SLO County CZLUO Section 23.08.288d allows public facilities within ESHA only where there is no other feasible location. http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PL/Ordinances/Title+23+-+Coastal+Zone+Land+Use+Ordinance.pdf
Link to 2007 County Fine Screening Report: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PW/LOWWP/document+library/FINAL+Fine+Screening+Report+8-07.pdfLink to 2006 Ripley Project Report: http://www.losososcsd.org/
SLO County CZLUO Section 23.08.288d allows public facilities within ESHA only where there is no other feasible location. http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PL/Ordinances/Title+23+-+Coastal+Zone+Land+Use+Ordinance.pdf
2006 National Water Research Institute Report (attached) and linked http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PW/LOWWP/NWRI+LOWWMP+Update-Dec+4+2006.pdf.pdfLOCSD Resolution 2006-20 – Rescission of 2001 EIR Statement of Overriding Considerations (attached) Link to Research conducted by Ron Crawford and Ann Calhoun Independent Journalists:
Monday, December 17, 2007
The email below (and the heading above) by Ron Crawford, was posted by Ron on the comment section of the previous blog. Since we're into emails 101, I've copied it off the comment section and put it here because he raises an interesting question. If and when he receives a reply and cc's that to me, I'll be happy to post that reply here as well.
Dear Supervisor Gibson,
Considering that Pandora Nash-Karner developed and implemented a "strategy" (her word), in 2005, to have the Regional Water Board fine the LOCSD "out of existence," is the same person that publicly endorsed you during your campaign, and then was your appointment as 2nd District Parks Commissioner, why should the 45 families that now have CDOs due to RWQCB enforcement actions have any faith at all that you represent their interests when it comes to those enforcement actions... against those 45 families?
See what I mean there?
You're closely aligned with the same person that supports the local Water Board fining the LOCSD and the property owners of Los Osos, so much so that she developed, and implemented, a "strategy" to help make it happen (I report on that "strategy" at this link: http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/05/contrast.html), and then you appointed her to a powerful county seat, and now you're appearing before the local Water Board to... well, I'm not sure what.
So, I guess I have another question: Mr. Gibson, do you, like your Parks Commissioner appointment, also want to see the LOCSD "fined out of existence?"
Are you two aligned on that "strategy," or do you differ from her on that subject? If so, it might be beneficial for your constituents if you made that distinction clear and public -- the distinction that you, unlike your Parks Commissioner appointment, do not want the RWQCB to fine Los Osos "out of existence."
I can think of at least 45 families that would be very interested in that distinction.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
In my previous posting (Dec 14), I printed an email sent to Supervisor Gibson from Bev De Witt-Moylan. Herewith Mr. Gibson’s reply to Ms. De Witt-Moylan, posted with her permission. I look forward to “a Board resolution,” if any, on the fate of The Los Osos 45. So far, the silence from day one from them has been deafening. And posted next, Ms. De Witt-Moylan’s response to Supervisor Gibson’s’ reply. As she has in other postings, her comments should be read very carefully by anyone who doesn’t seem to understand what has happened to The Los Osos 45 and what the implications are of this whole insane RWQCB Mad Hatter Tea Party & Auto de Fe Public Hanging, and what it has really been like for those who are living through it. Her observation about the utter "bait & switchy" untrustworthiness of the RWQCB warrants particular attention for any who wonder at the “why” of this lawsuit. I can only trust that at least the other Supervisors are paying attention.
Subject: Re: Fw: Contact Us (response #787)
Ms. De Witt-Moylan: First, on Tuesday, I do believe that I said I hadn't read the PZLDF lawsuit "recently". I did read the first complaint, which I understand has been substantially modified subsequent to the first hearing. Second, I believe that I also said that the CDOs at this point were "more symbolic than substantive". I certainly acknowledge the unfairness of 45 households out of 5000 being singled out for enforcement and I do hope that the Regional Board acts soon to rescind those actions. That said,the progress made by the County over the last year has impressed the Regional Board and its staff. With that progress, the RB has held new enforcement in abeyance and has indicated that no action on the existing CDOs will occur in the forseeable future. I believe the RB would likely rescind the existing CDOs if the current litigation can be resolved. I appreciate Sups. Patterson and Achadjian suggesting a Board resolution. This will give us an opportunity to speak to many important issues facing the County and community in the coming year. Sincerely yours, Bruce Gibson
Email Reply 101
And now Ms. DeWitt-Moylan’s point by point response to Supervisor Gibson’s e-mail reply. [For clarity, I have put Gibson’s original email comments in italics]
Ms. De Witt-Moylan: First, on Tuesday, I do believe that I said I hadn't read the PZLDF lawsuit "recently". I did read the first complaint, which I understand has been substantially modified subsequent to the first hearing.
It would seem logical, Mr. Gibson, that substantial modifications in the PZLDF lawsuit would have led to your curiosity and to your own research into the amended lawsuit to keep yourself current, so that you might be able to report to the BOS from the original source rather than from what someone had told you about the suit or what you vaguely remember from the first suit that no longer fully represents the case. The PZLDF lawsuit in its entirety is very important to your District 2 constituency, and as I explained in my previous communication, it has implications for the entire state of California. Though you are engaged and occupied with the business of all the towns within District 2, the PZLDF lawsuit addresses issues that impact all your constituents, and such it deserves your time and attention.
Second, I believe that I also said that the CDOs at this point were "more symbolic than substantive". I certainly acknowledge the unfairness of 45 households out of 5000 being singled out for enforcement and I do hope that the Regional Board acts soon to rescind those actions.
With all due respect, Mr. Gibson, this response is unacceptable given the situation at hand. Your explanation and elaboration are as unsatisfactory as your original statement. Indeed, your comments are insulting to recipients of enforcement actions and demonstrate that you have not made a conscious cognitive connection with what we have been telling you since before you took office. I would sincerely appreciate your suggestions about what else people can say about their experiences as Designated Parties in receipt of CDOs and as Interested Parties living in fear of enforcement to help you to comprehend that the effect of these CDOs has been and continues to be crushingly substantive.
When we say we have spent thousands of dollars of our fixed and hard-earned incomes and thousands of collective hours of our own time in our defense, we are describing a substantive impact. When we say that we have spent time in doctors' offices, ERs, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and therapists' offices, as a direct result of CCRWQCB prosecution and enforcement, we are describing a substantive impact. The collective thousands of dollars in medical bills alone would add up to an impressively substantive amount if we enumerated them all.
We have lost our privacy. Though my husband and I do not have our address printed in the telephone book, on January 22, 2007, our name, address, and a map to our house was displayed on a screen, video recorded, live streamed, and shown on television many times subsequently. Anyone who accesses that hearing on line today can see it for themselves. Our request for redaction was denied. The ruling was that the public's right to know outweighed our right to privacy. Other information which I considered personal and private, which many people with whom I worked and socialized did not know about me, has become common knowledge in our defense against CCRWQCB enforcement.
At the December 2006 hearing the CCRWQCB prosecution team displayed on a large screen the name and address of a CDO recipient who had requested and been granted redaction. Reminding the prosecution team of the redaction, that defendant had to ask them to remove the personal information from the screen. Of course, the damage was done. Prior to receipt of the Proposed Cease and Desist Orders in January 2006 we were all private citizens exercising our choice to live and work anonymously in the community. That part of our lives is gone for now. The loss of our right to privacy because we had become defendants in a random prosecution is yet another substantive impact. A reading of the amended lawsuit would provide you considerable background on substantive impacts of the CCRWQCB enforcement actions to date.
It is confusing that you believe that, because the Water Board "indicated that no action on the existing CDOs will occur in the foreeseable future," we are out of danger. The CCRWQCB has a poor record of consistency, of doing what they said they would do, except for their resolve to continue to prosecute us, even as they insist they intend to treat everyone equally. It is astonishing given the CCRWQCB's history with your constituents that you continue to take this board at their word when our experience has been so different. "Unfairness" hardly begins to describe the CCRWQCB's actions toward us who have received orders. Nothing short of their vacating our orders will take us out of harm's way. They have the power of the Attorney General's office behind them. We have you. And you are not behind us. "I do hope that the Regional Board acts soon to rescind those actions," is simply not a commitment from you for those of us who have been on the receiving end of this enforcement for this long. We have enough experience with the CCRWQCB to know that mere hoping is futile and weak. The CCRWQCB does not respect "hoping." It is surprising that you do not know that yet.
Your peers on the Board of Supervisors see a significant enough degree of substantive threat in these enforcement orders that they are willing to consider drafting and presenting a resolution to the CCRWQCB in support of CDO and CAO recipients. Your failure to initiate such an action yourself and your noncommittal response to the action of your peers demonstrates a lack of support for vulnerable members of the community you represent.
That said,the progress made by the County over the last year has impressed the Regional Board and its staff. With that progress, the RB has held new enforcement in abeyance and has indicated that no action on the existing CDOs will occur in the forseeable future. I believe the RB would likely rescind the existing CDOs if the current litigation can be resolved.
The CCRWQCB has repeatedly changed the conditions of the prosecution, the orders, the dates, and the timelines throughout the past two years. They have changed the meanings of important words. I can only wonder about their definition of the word, "forseeable," as in "forseeable future." Elderly people and invalids who hold CDOs and CAOs are waiting for this process to end so that they can sell their homes and move into assisted living. As you know, the enforcement orders go with the property. It is very hard to sell a home with an enforcement order. These are people with no time to spare. That is a substantial impact.
You may remember that CDO defendants spent quite a bit of money to develop and propose a settlement agreement a year ago at this time, which many of us signed, the Sullivan agreement. We pledged to hook up to a WWTF as soon as one became available. We were naively hopeful a year ago that this reasonable action which demonstrated cooperation with the spirit of the CCRWQCB's enforcement would embody a satisfactory compromise. That agreement was unacceptable to Mr. Reed Sato and the CCRWQCB. Subsequently Designated Parties and many Interested Parties have spent considerable money to comply with the interim compliance requirements. The 218 has passed. Nothing is left for us to do except to hook up to a WWTF when one becomes available. Yet the orders remain. The Sullivan agreement is dead. There is no way to explain how maintaining enforcement orders on 45 households has any useful purpose in promoting the safety of the waters of the state.
That the CCRWQCB "has held new enforcement in abeyance" is cold comfort and an unacceptable rationale for 45 families to continue to have their property encumbered and threatened by CDOs and CAOs, with the real, substantive consequences occurring right now for people you represent. This tradeoff does not make sense as the best way for you to protect your constituents and stand for environmental justice. All around us people are remodeling and enlarging their homes, getting ready for the holidays, spending disposable income. At the same time we who face enforcement are concerned about what 2011, a mere three years away, will bring. No one has reassured us that when the CCRWQCB is finished with us we won't be walking away from our homes, for most of us our single biggest asset, at some future date. We have spent money on document costs, mailing costs, interim compliance costs, court costs, legal fees, contributions to the legal defense fund, medical costs, and therapy costs. Some of us have no disposable income left to spend on Christmas this year. My husband and I are dipping into our savings as it is to cover our own costs. All of these are substantive impacts.
The CCRWQCB has had almost two years to treat citizens rationally, respectfully, and equitably. We begged them. Defendants, your constituents, met with them personally, repeatedly, to tell them what this prosecution was causing and to ask them to use other means. They persisted with the prosecution, however, leaving us no choice but to ask a court of law to protect our rights. No one else has stepped forward in our defense. We are alone. I am sorry that you see the sacrifice of 45 of your families as an acceptable exchange for the County's good graces with the CCRWQCB and for the merely relative safety of the rest of the town - for the time being. I am most sorry that you have put yourself in a position to make the CCRWQCB's case, to represent them instead of us.
This is what I wish you had said at the CCRWQCB meeting on December 7, 2007. Instead of politely and passively expressing your hope that the CCRWQCB might resolve the enforcement issue soon, I expected you to tell them as our representative that you protest their actions against us. I expected you to tell them that, while you are committed to working with them, you also have a solemn obligation to protect your people. Standing for us and working with the CCRWQCB do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you do not take a stand for us, Mr. Gibson, who will?
I wish you had stood up for us. I wish that you had explained to the CCRWQCB the absurdity of their requirement, that no individual homeowner can build a WWTF, that this enforcement action is unacceptable, that prosecuting 45 private households for failures of government is a dangerous, destructive, unproductive, ill-conceived and poorly thought out strategy that threatens the health and welfare of your constituents. At the least, you could have demonstrated your support for us silently by staying at that December 7 meeting. Instead, you demonstrated the distance you put between yourself and us by leaving as soon as you were finished with your remarks. We got the message, as I am certain the CCRWQCB did, as well. We stood alone again.
Our country was founded, not by those who hoped that things would work out eventually, but by those who took a stand against tyrrany and established a government of the people. A grave mistake of those in power in a democratic society is forgetting who their employer is, who pays their salary. The citizens of Los Osos are taxpayers, and as such are the CCRWQCB's employer as well as yours. We deserve in that capacity the respect and protection we are due. Sometimes those who have temporarily been granted a modicum of power forget that the people ultimately decide who is protecting them, and who is not. Sometimes those with temporary power require a substantive reminder.
As our representative to the Board of Supervisors, I expect so much more from you, Mr. Gibson, than what you have offered so far. It is regrettable that we 45 families must look for relief and support in this struggle to Supervisors who have their own constituents to protect and defend. How fortunate for us that those Supervisors recognize that the CCRWQCB's prosecution in Los Osos has implications for all citizens of San Luis Obispo County and are willing in the name of San Luis Obispo County to come to our defense.
"The first obligation of government is to protect our people."
- Senator Susan Collins of Maine - 4/27/2006
In case you missed it, there’s a rather funny story by Patrick Howe in this week’s New Times, “Merry Christmas, Sunny Acres!”
Seem Dan De Vaul and the county are at it again. The De Vaul ranch is that stretch of land near the corner of Los Osos Valley Road and Madonna Rd. A short time ago, Mr. De Vaul was in hot water with the county code enforcement folks for running “Sunny Acres, a not-for-profit clean-and-sober living facility” without the proper permits for the renovated barn where the residents were sleeping.
This resulted in the “evicted” residents setting up a sort of mini- “Little Hoover” rough camping arrangement by the road (for maximum exposure) of wind-shelters, cots, a fire pit, all asking a pitiful Question for passing motorists with winter coming on, “If we can’t stay in the barn, where are we to go except to camp out here in the wind and weather?”
And of course, embarrassment to the County by raising another question: Shouldn’t the COUNTY be doing something to help these people so they don’t have to go live in a Little Hoover encampment next to Los Osos Valley Road, right across the street from all those nice million-dollar ranchettes with people looking out of their million-dollar windows to this constantly changing . . . eeeuuuuu mess, and . . . eeeuuuu… all these homeless addicts and who knows who else . . . eeeuuuuu?
Now Mr. De Vaul’s selling Christmas Trees to raise money to support the Sunny Acres project but according to this story, doesn’t have the proper permit to sell the trees. Plus, the County enforcement is now fed up and threatening to charge him $99 per hour to deal with any new enforcement complaints. Says Mr. De Vaul, “I think all they’re doing is looking for a chance to bust my balls because of what I did with the beds.” Naturally the County denies any connection.
But here’s the question that rattled through my head reading, again, about this ongoing saga: Isn’t one of the first steps in recovery the No Bullshit Rule? No cons, no weasels, no games, take responsibility for your decisions, own what you do, clean up your act, straighten up, play by the rules, do it right?
If so, then what seems like a merry game to outsiders looking in – Merry Prankster Dan versus Mean County Code Enforcement Scrooges – is actually counter productive to Recovery 101 that the “clean-and-sober living facility” – Sunny Acres – is supposed to be all about.
Interestingly, in the same New Times, was an update on “Project Amend,” the only drug and alcohol detox live-in facility in the county. The group, headed by Michael Axelrod, has been working diligently to upgrade their small facility on Broad Street, raising money to do the work AND GET THE PERMITS NEEDED. They are still looking for donations of “cash, computers, office equipment, bedding, a lawnmower and volunteer labor” to finish the job.
So, there’s a recovery facility abiding by Recovery 101 – no excuses, no BS, do it right.
Which is a good thing since there are about zero facilities for live-in drug and alcohol treatment in this County.
And for more irony, the story following the De Vaul story was an excellent piece, again by Patrick Howe, “Putting the Pieces Together – If San Luis Obispo County is such a nice place to live, why do so many people kill themselves? Or is that part of the answer.” And at the top of the list given for the high suicide rate is this: “There aren’t enough mental health amenities.” Add in the high association of suicide with drug and alcohol abuse (chicken and egg) and you have some interesting dots to connect running through all three of these stories.
Which reminds me, since Project Amend over on Broad Street is in need of volunteer help, why not give Mr. Axelrod a call at 782-9600 at get on the work-party list. In the season of giving, the gift of time is the most precious of all. Barring that, send ‘em some cash to help pay for all the various proper permits the county requires so they can continue to do the work the county should be doing.
And, There Ought To Be A Law 101
As previously posted, Ron Crawford’s “ought to be a law” was one of seven selected by Assemblyman Blakeslee in his recent contest. Ron cc’d the following email to Blakeslee’s office to make the following important corrections to his proposal:
Thank you for your phone call the other day informing me that my "Ought to be a law" idea was one of the seven finalists.
In the Trib, it said that my law idea was:
"* Prohibit special districts from establishing their own recall election date and instead transfer that authority to the Local Agency Formation Commission."
Here's my question: When that says "special districts," does that also include things like City Councils and Board of Supervisors, and the like? Because that's what I meant, and it's very important.
What happened in Rosemead, for example, involved a city council, and not just a community services district.
So, I guess what I'm not clear on is this... is a city council considered a "special district?"
My suggestion is that ANY elected official facing a recall in California should not have a say in setting their own recall election date.
Just wanted to clear that up.
As always, much thanks,Ron
What’s in a Name 101
Well, it is true: Success has many fathers; failure is an orphan. There in the Dec. 15 Tribune is the headline: "Firm disputes sewer moniker -- Tri-W Enterprises wants public works officials to adopt a different name for the midtown parcel. "
Awww, Jeeze, and here we were told that the Tri-W Sewer Plant” was gonna be a jewel in the crown, a tremendous benefit and beautiful addition to the community, a community resource complete with tot-lot and playing fields, the ONLY solution to Los Osos sewer woes, the BEST solution, in short a tremendous asset. You didn’t hear anything from the Tri-W Enterprise lawyers threatening mayhem if the name Tri-W was associated with our centrally located Tri-W “resource park.”
But now? Quotes the Trib: “The company’s attorney, in a strongly worded letter, says that the repeated use of the name “Tri-W site” or “Tri-w parcel” with the “ill-fated wastewater treatment project . . . continues to defame my client’s good name.”
Lordy! Defame? Continues the Trib. “While there haven’t been specific problems with Tri-W’s name being attached to the site, Ochyliski [the attorney writing the “strongly worded letter”] said, ‘The way the name is used has a potentially bad connotation.”
Lordy! A “potentially” bad connotation? As in, maybe someday somebody might connect a sewer plant sited on the basis of an unsupported SOC with some kind of “bait and switchy” nefariousness? And maybe suspect that the Tri-W Associates had something to do with all that nefariousness? That kind of “potentially bad connotation?”
Thankfully (no doubt because they’d get laughed out of court?) the lawyers haven’t threatened to sue over the matter. Continues the Trib, “It has offered suggestions to the county, such as calling the land the “midtown site,” the “Pallisades site,” or the “Los Osos CSD site.”
Or how’s about doing like the rock star Prince did when he decided to change his name to “Artist” or “The Artist,” and/or used a weirdo symbol to represent himself, which forced everyone to print the weird symbol and then add, “The Artist formerly known as Prince.”
So, how’s about this? The Palisades site, Formerly Known As Tri-W.
In the meantime, my advice for the Boys over at Tri-W Enterprise, GET A GRIP. If the County Process doesn’t get derailed or a fix isn’t in or there isn’t some bait and switchy pulled at the last minute, it seems, at this point, that the FormerlyKnown As Tri-W site may never be selected for the sewer plant. In which case, it will be sold or traded or – God willing—be bought by the county and turned into a public park for under-parked Los Osos, with the result that maybe we’ll end up with a “resource park” without the sewer plant in the middle of it.
And should that happen and should the park be a beautiful park, we could call it Formerly Known As Tri-W Park and who knows, maybe the boys at Tri-W Enterprise will donate money to build a huge bronze monument to The Sewer Wars, something really artistically mediocre involving horses, goats, dead bodies, pikestaffs, snarling faces, leaflets flying everywhere – you know, like one of those monumentally ginormous realistic heroic sculptures found all over Russia to commemorate the Great Struggle To Save The Motherland.
Something big and bronze that the pigeons can poop all over. Something we can all be proud of. Something we can bring our grandchildren to see and point at and say, in a feeble voice, “Sonny, Ah served in thet War. An’ ever' time hit rains or Ah flush mah toilet, Ah gits a twinge in mah old war wound. Them wuz the days!”
More Sewerville 101
The following email was cc’d to me from Mr. Murphy of AES. With the following attachment. I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. As I’ve posted here previously, it will remain to be seen in this Battle of Words, (and battle of government agencies) just what/who will prevail: county? State? Feds? And what the meaning of “is” is. Which means we’re back in Humpty Dumpty Land: What are “pollutants?” What’s a” point source discharge?”And so forth. And who decides? A state judge? A federal judge? Well, stay tuned.
My “goal”, which is in alignment with the “National Goal”, is to “comply” with the already existing laws, not to change any law as the laws already in place to support (require) everything that I am saying, doing and proposing to do toward the implementation of the AES program, not only locally, but nationally. The RECLAMATOR, as the “Ultimate Water Conservation Device” achieves the “National Goal” as defined in U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26 of “eliminating the discharge of pollutants at the source”.
The County’s due diligence phase, provided done ethically, will result in the County’s not moving forward with the project and turning it back to the LOCSD who are going to have an opportunity to enter into a Public Private Partnership Agreement with AES and move forward with the only federally compliant solution for Los Osos. However, if for any unforeseen or known justifiable reason the LOCSD doesn’t accept our generous offer, put $20 million in their account, acquire a $150,000 ongoing monthly revenue stream and challenge the current debts against them as unjustifiable as a result of them being a part of an unlawfully “Water Board” approved sewer project that was not in compliance with the requirements of U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26, AES is prepared to, as a private organization, move forward and retain all revenue and proceeds from the project as a totally private entity. This will simply be the LOCSD’s own choice. Please understand that the AB 2701 does not preclude nor prevent the LOCSD form moving forward with AES to provide its “Discharge Elimination Services”. This is a “service” and not a “sewer project” and upon us, i.e. AES and the LOCSD, or AES alone moving forward to provide this service to Los Osos, the County will then be precluded from moving forward with any “sewer” project for Los Osos as there will no longer be any “sewage” to “collect” within the community and therefore, no need for a County provided sewer collection system.
In regard to the County “entertaining proposals for decentralized solutions”, we are prepared to file a federal injunction against the project if any solution, decentralized or otherwise, is proposed which does not comply with the requirements as defined in statutes provided in U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26. Any proposed “solution” shall consist of the “best available demonstrated control technology currently available which will eliminate the discharge of ALL pollutants at the source” and additionally meet all other criteria (U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26, Sections 1311, 1312, 1313, 1314, 1316 and 1317) that is required to be considered by any authority who is authorized to identify such “best available innovative and alternative technology” and them to promulgate, require and assist in the implementation of such as an area-wide waste management solution and shall be specified by “name brand or equal” based on its performance. The RECLAMATOR is such a technology which achieves this “National Standard of Performance” as defined in U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26, Section 1316 and is additionally superior in comparison with all other “decentralized solutions” which, by law, if not “best”, aren’t such solutions at all. I have attached my “annotated working version” of this U.S.C. 33, Chapter 26 for you to familiarize yourself with if you wish.
In regard to your suggestion that there is a need to “replace septic systems in high density areas with a community system”, you are absolutely wrong. There is only a need to “eliminate the discharge of pollutants” through retrofitting such septic systems to “eliminate the discharge of pollutants”. This is what the AES Discharge Elimination Service will do. Neither “density” nor TMDL considerations are any longer an issue when the “discharge of pollutants” has been eliminated. A “community system” as you are suggesting will only be a community “water collection” system and I really don’t think the County wants to purchase our water which they would be collecting via their “community system”. How logical would that be? They have many other sources of water that would be much less expensive.
[ . . . ], the RECLAMATOR may show up in the “environmental review process”, however, AES isn’t going to enter into any working relationship with the County as their deadline to enter into an agreement with AES was the 23rd of October. I have already made that very clear with them. Any more money that the County spends on moving forward with the Los Osos “community sewer project” is only an unnecessary expense which is not justifiable since the AES Discharge Elimination Service providing the RECLAMATOR has become available as the most cost effective and best available technology which can eliminate the discharge of pollutants at the source as the federal law requires. I would encourage and support the citizens of Los Osos in gaining reimbursement of any unnecessary economic burden that may be unjustifiably imposed upon them as a result of the County continuing its project in light of recent developments.
The County process is dead as they cannot implement a “sewer collection lateral” with no positive revenue stream to pay for it. It is only simple arithmetic. To borrow funds to build and pay for a conventional system, they must guarantee the payback of the loan. It has always been a “basic operational procedure” in the past under these circumstances to provide to the lender a guarantee of payback through implementing a security agreement which would result in an ordinance being established that would require every property within the to-be-sewered-area to “hook-up/connect” to the publicly owned treatment works.
When in the past, a “required hook-up” justified a positive revenue stream to help pay for a conventional system. The “required hook-up” was able to be “required” and legally implemented upon the individual sources, i.e. homeowners, as they were discharging “pollutants”, however all that has been changed with the availability and implementation of the RECLAMATOR technology.
Rather than a “required hook-up” generating a positive revenue stream to assist in paying for a conventional system as has been the previous practice in the industry, a “required hook-up” would only create a NEGATIVE revenue stream for the County as California Water Code § 13050 defines the permeate produced by the RECLAMATOR as a “valuable resource”. Furthermore, California law clarifies that whoever owns the “facilities”, i.e. RECLAMATOR, that reclaims such recycled water also owns the rights to the water. AES retains ownership of all of its facilities it uses to provide the Discharge Elimination Services to its Clients. AES also has full right to establish the “price” of such and its price would be sufficient enough to cover any additional assessments or other economic impositions which may have been placed upon its customers by any public entity. For the record, the price of the AES recycled water has been currently established at 5Xs that of the cost of the public water source serving the same property.
The County, who is already in a $20 million dollar deficit, won’t be able to pay AES for its water. There is no law which requires a homeowner to deliver “sewage” to a public sewer service, and just to the contrary, we all have the right to 100% consumptive use of all the water we purchase from a public water supply entity. The RECLAMATOR enables the homeowner to benefit from such 100% consumptively. There is no legal means for a public entity, such as the County, to impose a service fee on anyone who has no need for such service.
[ . . . ]
D. Thomas Murphy,
AES Central Coast Discharge Elimination Company, LLC.
Advanced Environmental Systems, Inc.
RECLAMATOR, “The Future of Water”
"Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity." ~~Inventor Nikola Tesla
“ADDENDUM” TO GOVERNMENT CLAIMS FORM1) DEE THOMAS MURPHY, an individual; ADVANCED ENVIRONMENTALSYSTEMS, INC., A Nevada Corporation; AES CENTRAL COAST DISCHARGEELIMINATION COMPANY, LLC, A California Limited Liability Company15) There are approximately 5,000 dwelling unit equivalents (DUEs) in theLos Osos area. The Service Establishment Cost Profits are $37,500,000(5,000 DUEs X $7,500 [net profit after service establishment cost]). The OngoingMonthly Service Fee Profits are $42,000,000 over 20 years (5,000DUEs X $35.00 [net profit per month per DUE] = $175,000/month,$2,100,000/year and $42,000,000 [plus inflation]/20 years, which is thetime frame defined for such facilities in 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.).18) The state agencies or employees against whom this claim is filedpublished various false and defamatory statements with malice orconstitutional malice during the course of a radio broadcast on September14, 2007, as well as in writing on September 6, 2007, which include, but arenot limited to, assertions that: Claimants have misinterpreted relevantfederal law; the Reclamator is not exempt from federal regulation; theReclamator discharges “waste;” the Reclamator discharges levels of “waste”that are not acceptable; Claimants have made claims related to theReclamator and its role and place in wastewater purification that areunsubstantiated and untrue; and, Claimants told representatives of theRegional Water Quality Control Board that Claimants were in Los Osos todisrupt the county assessment vote process.19) Under California law, a public entity may be held vicariously liable forthe conduct of its employees acting within the scope of their employment,but only to the extent that the employees may be held liable. (Gov. Code, §815.2, subd. (a); Peter W. v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist. (1976) 60Cal.App.3d 814, 819 [131 Cal.Rptr. 854].) The state is responsible for stateagencies or employees, such as those against whom this claim is filed, thatmake statements with malice or constitutional malice that are false in theirentirety as they pertain to Claimants, are slanderous or libelous on their faceas written, as well as through innuendo, and where such false andunprivileged publications expose Claimants to hatred, contempt, ridicule orobloquy, which has caused them to be shunned or avoided and which hasinjured them in their trade and occupation.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Don’t forget, Tuesday, Dec 18, the TAC meeting will coincide with the EIR Scoping Workshop meeting. Public input and attendance is important. Speak now or . . . .
A special meeting of the Los Osos Wastewater Project Technical AdvisoryCommittee (TAC) will be held on Tuesday, December 18, 2007 at 7:00pm in theSouth Bay Community Center at 2180 Palisades Avenue, Los Osos.Members of the TAC will attend the Environmental Impact Report ScopingMeeting for the Los Osos Wastewater Project presented by County PublicWorks Department staff. The TAC will take no action at this meeting.The meeting agenda is attached. This information can also be viewed on theProject website at www.slocounty.ca.gov/PW/LOWWP.htm
The following was excerpted from a PZLDF mailing. Various “Signal Jammers” on this blog have been claiming that the PZLDF lawsuit is about “fighting the waterboard,” or “stopping the project,” or that old phony stand-by, “anti-sewer obstructionists.” Here’s what the PZLDF case is about:
“The Water Board appeal filed by the petitioners request is truly in "self defense" -----no one petitioning for relief is picking a fight!
The terms in our petition are not unreasonable...review them below.
Compel and direct the water board to:
Invalidate and vacate Cease and Desist Orders (CDO) issued in the process of the enforcement actions against individual residents, businesses and homeowners in the Los Osos Baywood park prohibition zone.
Invalidate and vacate all Clean up and Abatement Orders (CAO) that purported “settlement agreements” entered into in the process of enforcement actions against individual residents, businesses, and homeowners in the Los Osos, Bay Wood Park Prohibition Zone.
Invalidate and Vacate all Notices of Violation (NOV) issued on or about March 21, 2007
Invalidate and vacate any and all attempts to apply retroactive fines under resolution 83-13, based on the 1988 County building moratorium.
Cease issuance of any further CDO’s CAO;s or NOV’s against petitioners or other similarly situated in the Los Osos/Baywood Park Prohibition Zone.” [END]
The County is responsible for a project. Individual home owners have voted to assess themselves for a project. Individual home owners cannot build a sewer plant on their own. The RWQCB has warned these homeowners not to even think about onsite systems that would protect them. In short, the RWQCB has singled out a few citizens for nearly two years of harassment, yet made it impossible for them to do anything to save themselves; they can’t build a sewer system themselves, they won’t be allowed to install onsite systems to solve the issue, and with CDO’s on their homes, they have been handed a financial hit on their property values. Their non-CDO neighbor’s haven’t been hit. But they have.
So, somebody please tell me what is wrong with the citizens’ demands listed above? The RWQCB has in hand and has stated their plans for instant community-wide “Paper Convictions” in the form of CAO’s, which can blanket the entire town in a matter of days, do not require any hearings, no due process, and are guaranteed automatic denials at the State level. Bam! Whole town convicted and ready to be hanged.
So, why are these Los Osos 45 STILL left hanging in the wind, continuing to suffer real damage to real people in an utterly pointless exercise in the RWQCB’s shameful CYA bungling?
Apropos Of Which, Let’s Add Injury To Insult.
The following letter was sent to Mr. Shallcross, of the RWQCB by CDO Recipient Bev De-Witt Moylan. Posted with permission.
Los Osos, CA 93402
December 10, 2007
Gary C. Shallcross, Board Member
895 Aerovista Place
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Dear Mr. Shallcross,
Please accept my apology for my outburst near the end of the RWQCB meeting on December 7, 2007. Though I believed you were finished speaking, and I had therefore interjected a response to your comment, my speaking from my seat when public comment was over was out of place and inappropriate.
Certainly, at our hearing on January 22, 2007, you were kind enough to assure me that despite Chairman Young’s indications to the contrary we would have our full fifteen minutes for our testimony. I am grateful that you respected the rights of defendants to have their say at that time. You were correct to point out to me that you did not interrupt me when I was at the podium to deliver my remarks last Friday, which had been prepared for the normally allotted 3-minute public comment segment, yet were truncated to a 2-minute time slot by Chairman Young.
Naturally it was deeply disappointing to have waited 3 hours through a hearing during which citizens from Morgan Hill had been afforded their customary 3 minutes, only to have public comment from Los Osos shortened by a third, because of the Chairman’s arbitrary decision that only an hour would be allotted to us. The “lateness of the hour” became the determining factor in our right to be heard. Somehow Chairman Young calculated that 21 or 22 comment cards divided into 60 minutes resulted in only 2 minutes each. Simply allowing us the same 3-minute limit extended to the Morgan Hill citizens and exceeding the hour by a mere 6 to 10 minutes would have been a simple concession to those who had assembled and waited in vain for hours in a futile hope of influencing the board’s decision regarding the enforcement actions, a hope that this time you might not only hear our words, but listen to them.
Throughout the nearly two years of this procedure in which Los Osos citizens, in particular the families randomly chosen for enforcement actions, have had a singular sense of being dismissed and demeaned, I have maintained composure and adhered to principles of decorum. Facing an impossible situation in which we have been chosen for retribution in circumstances over which we have no control and with no end in sight over this length of time, however, takes its toll. I had come to the December 7 meeting directly from a two-hour medical infusion appointment, and so I was in a weakened state. Sitting in the water board meeting room all those hours in that condition had been particularly taxing. That is not, however, an excuse for my behavior.
Perhaps you are familiar with the induced depression experiments carried on and replicated over decades in college and university psychology labs. I do not know if these experiments continue, but in prior years they were common. In these lab experiments dogs would be randomly electrically shocked. No behavior they exhibited could stop the shocks or mitigate their severity. No normal fight or flight behavior was possible to escape the shocks. Eventually the dogs simply ceased reacting to the shocks, ceased reacting to anything at all. Powerless to effect any change in their circumstances no matter what their instincts dictated, their nervous systems shut down, and the dogs finally collapsed.
As you know, I have been a student in a trauma program through The Foundation for Human Enrichment in Colorado for the past three years. I am now a graduate of that program and am enrolled in a post-advanced program through that Foundation. My studies have provided background and training in many kinds of trauma including that resulting from inescapable attack and sadistic emotional and physical abuse. Each class of trauma has specific characteristics, outcomes, and resulting symptoms in their victims, as well as prescribed methods for treatment.
In sadistic abuse the victim feels completely invaded by the perpetrator (for example, “On January 30, 2006, the RWQCB moved in with us. We have not had a moment alone since. You crowd our dinner table. You sleep between us. You meet us in the shower. You sit with us as we spend sleepless nights staring at just one more document.” De Witt-Moylan closing argument 1/22/07 CDO hearing.) Empathy becomes the perpetrator’s weapon instead of being a resource for the victim (for example, “I know how you feel.” Chairman Young to William Moylan May 11, 2006 in regard to being a CDO defendant). Keeping the victim waiting is a component of this form of abuse. Time and passage of time while the victim waits for the known or unknown punishment to come at a known or unknown time (for example, the Los Osos 45 are approaching 2 years of threats of fines and losing their homes through fees and fines and possible retroactive fines at a future unnamed date with enforcement beginning at a future named date) are classic weapons of the perpetrator of sadistic abuse.
Some of the common resulting symptoms arising in the victim of sadistic abuse are
…sense of helplessness…impulse control problems…poor boundaries…problems with immune system…allergies … depression…suicide attempts (for example, “I can’t take it anymore; I’m going to kill myself!” A message we found on our answering machine from an ill, elderly CDO co-defendant with a completely disabled husband and no relatives living nearby), among others. (See Somatic Experiencing Healing Trauma. Foundation for Human Enrichment. Boulder, Colorado. 2007 p. I3.10. See also DVD Somatic Experiencing Presented by: Diane Poole Heller, Ph.D., Intermediate III Philadelphia 2004-2005.)
Faced with these forms of abuse and the resulting array of symptoms they engender, having access to defensive responses is a sign of health. The conundrum is to maintain the balance between healthy and appropriate expressions of defensive orienting responses in context. The predictable outcomes of ongoing sadistic abuse, however, would indicate that outbursts are a possibility and that impulse control could well be an issue. Individuals can only endure for so long threatening circumstances over which they have no control before the nervous system moves beyond the threat response into dysregulation.
It has been iterated and reiterated, Mr. Shallcross, to the point where your board is bored with it. No action we can take will affect or effect the outcome you seek. No amount of evidence we have submitted and no amount of time spent on hearings and related meetings has so far done one thing to change the condition of the waters of the state in Los Osos nor our circumstances.
We are powerless to give you what you want, and we are being punished for not giving you what you want. It makes no sense to a rational being. And so, when the rational mind cannot cope, the brainstem takes over and we enter survival mode – fight, flight, freeze. Acting out is not a surprising or unexpected outcome.
Though I was wrong to speak out on Friday in response to your comment that the citizens of Los Osos have used their time at the microphone to “trash” you, I need to reiterate in other words now what I said in those poorly timed remarks. This is not about you, Mr. Shallcross. It is about us. It is about private citizens coping with ongoing sadistic emotional abuse over months, and now years. I truly am at a loss to understand how you can construe as “trashing” you or the board my comments or anyone else’s about how these orders have affected us and have changed our lives, about how we cannot comprehend the rationale behind the board’s apparently irrational enforcement behavior, and about how none of the board’s actions have resulted in anything constructive, beyond passage of the 218, which in the end did nothing to help those of us with enforcement orders. And so still we await the retribution we have been assured in writing will come. We wait.
On Tuesday I will make my way to Santa Barbara yet again for another appointment with the somatic psychotherapist who is helping me to cope with this existentially insurmountable situation. The cost of those weekly appointments is mounting, but they and my regular infusions are all that has helped me, while your board waits for this or that eventuality that has as yet made no difference in our situation, except to make it worse.
As a veteran of 38 years of teaching I spent my career and much of my private life serving the public. When I determined that I could no longer physically meet the demands of the job, I retired. To me public service always meant serving the public. If public service becomes personal instead of professional, the public servant is burned out. If the public servant succumbs to a sense of being trashed and unappreciated, that person can no longer serve objectively and effectively. If the public servant makes decisions based not on protecting and serving the people but on something else, then it is time for that person to consider moving on. If those trying to communicate with a public servant meet a barrier formed from that public servant’s projections, then that person cannot fulfill the obligation of every public servant to protect the people and should seek other employment.
Inserted below is the full text of the comments I had intended to make at the December 7, 2007, meeting. In my effort to comply with the 2-minute time allotment at the meeting, I left out portions that I would have liked to say to you. I hope that you are inclined to read and digest the thoughts behind the words.
I thank you, Mr. Shallcross, for supporting our right to speak. I appreciate your willingness to afford us the courtesy of uninterrupted comment. I apologize for interrupting you.
I now await the apology from the RWQCB for what all of you have done to us.
Beverley De Witt-Moylan, M.Ed.
John H. Hayashi
David T. Hodgin
Monica S. Hunter
Russell M. Jeffries
Daniel M. Press
Jeffrey S. Young
Beverley De Witt-Moylan
December 7, 2007
On April 27, 2006, the day before the first RWQCB CDO hearing Senator Susan Collins of Maine said, The first obligation of government is to protect our people.
At a CDO hearing on December 15, 2006, Chairperson Young said,
22 CHAIRPERSON YOUNG: Okay. This is a
23 cumbersome procedure, but it actually goes towards
24 higher levels of due process being offered,
25 believe it or not.
On May 10, 2007, Vice Chairperson Jeffries, who was not present at the January 22, 2007, hearing and had to base his vote on the record of that hearing said,
RWQCB meeting Transcript for May 10, 2007
25 VICE CHAIRPERSON JEFFRIES: I read all
1 202 pages.
2 CHAIRPERSON YOUNG: Okay. And did you
3 watch anything?
4 VICE CHAIRPERSON JEFFRIES: No, I did
5 not. When I found out the length of the meeting
6 my wife wouldn't let me tie up the DVD that long.
8 VICE CHAIRPERSON JEFFRIES: So I read
9 all 202 pages during "Deal or No Deal".
Vice Chairperson Jeffries subsequently voted to issue two Cease and Desist Orders that day based on that record. No one on the board objected or made any reference to his comments. The transcript to which he jokingly referred contained evidence of extreme hardship and duress endured by the CDO defendants sitting before him.
None of you has any idea what it is like to be us. None of you has any idea what it is like to come home to a hysterical phone message from a CDO co-defendant saying, “I can’t take it anymore; I’m going to kill myself!”
You have no idea what it is like to be us. And so you can make jokes or tolerate jokes about our lives and deceive yourselves into believing that the CDOs are not burdensome. In fact, the human cost has been and continues to be incalculable.
By deciding not to vacate these CDOs but instead to consider further individual enforcement, you continue to fail in your obligation to protect the people. Holding citizens accountable for failures of government is irresponsible and unconscionable.
“The first obligation of government is to protect our people.”
-Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Supervisor Gibson Also Hears From Ms. De Witt-Moylan
And a good thing, too. One of the key problems with the RWQCB is that they rely for information on staff. So what happens when staff gets it wrong? I find it very interesting that apparently Supervisor Gibson hasn’t bothered to read PZLDF’s lawsuit? How is that possible? And that he is somehow unaware of the impact the RWQCB’s Mad Hatter Tea Party & Auto De Fe Public Hanging has actually had on his constituents, not to mention the whole community, to the point where he can apparently claim that the impact of the CDOs and the two years of CDO hearings are “symbolic?” How is that possible? All while the County stands silent? Not even a “symbolic” protest? Hmmmm?
Well, as George Orwell has it, “al pigs are created equal. But some are created more equal than others.” I guess The Los Osos 45 don’t much count – except symbolically, of course – as Mr. Gibson’s constituents.
“The first obligation of government is to protect our people.”
-Senator Susan Collins of Maine 4/27/2006
Dear Chairman Lenthal, Supervisor Achadjian, Supervisor Gibson, Supervisor Ovitt, and Supervisor Patterson
On Tuesday, December 11, 2007, I listened to the Los Osos portion of the Board of Supervisors meeting on KCBX Radio. I was travelling back to Los Osos from Santa Barbara and did not arrive in San Luis Obispo in time to attend. I did, however, hear most of public comment and most of the discussion that followed.
Supervisor Gibson made two comments that I found disturbing. He said that he has not read the PZLDF lawsuit. He also stated as though it were fact that the impact of enforcement orders issued to Los Osos homeowners by the CCRWQCB has been essentially “symbolic”.
These comments concern me because Supervisor Gibson represents my community. We rely on him to provide the other supervisors with accurate information about his district. The enforcement orders issued to his constituents have implications for all his constituents in Los Osos, indeed for all his constituents in District 2, all residents of the county, and all citizens of the State of California. That he has not taken the time to read this important lawsuit and cannot report to you on it, except in the broadest of terms, raises a question about the source and accuracy of the information he did give County Board members.
Last Friday immediately following his remarks to the CCRWQCB Supervisor Gibson left their meeting. He missed the opportunity simply by his presence to demonstrate his support for his constituents. CDO recipients and others living in fear of enforcement orders have iterated and reiterated to him the daily effects of the CDOs and CAOs. Their lives have changed. These orders have had no positive effect in Los Osos beyond their stated goal of ensuring a positive 218 vote. Nothing has changed for the better for those in Supervisor Gibson’s district who face regulatory enforcement actions. The changes have all been for the worse. These impacts are not “symbolic.”
Recipients of enforcement orders have explained to Mr. Gibson repeatedly in detail that this enforcement has cost thousands of dollars in personal income and thousands of hours in personal time. Not knowing what awaits us in 2011, my husband and I have put off plans to improve our home. The CDO automatically precludes our being eligible for the home improvement loan amount we would qualify for if we did not have a CDO. Selling our home is not a choice and would be quite difficult, since the order is attached to the home. We face a real possibility of having to “vacate the premises” following CCRWQCB action on 1/1/11, of literally having to board up our home and walk away. We have an order that will prevent us from living here given the daily fine for violation. The CCRWQCB’s real threats to make the fines retroactive to 1988 would wipe us out financially. None of these impacts is “symbolic.”
We have stood virtually alone against the CCRWQCB for almost two years.
I was grateful for Supervisor Patterson’s interest in our plight and to hear his thoughtful, provocative questions and proposal for a board resolution. It was encouraging, as well, to hear Supervisor Achadjian’s comments in support of Supervisor Patterson’s proposal. Naturally, it was disappointing to hear Supervisor Gibson’s response to that proposal. He misrepresented our circumstances by diminishing the impact of the enforcement actions.
It is my hope that we can rely on the support of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in this arduous struggle that has taken such a toll on citizens of all ages and circumstances in Los Osos. I am grateful for your willingness to consider a County resolution regarding the CCRWQCB enforcement in Los Osos.
Beverley De Witt-Moylan
And the Supervisors Heard from McPherson As Well:
From an email of remarks prepared by Gail McPherson for the BOS’s “Oh, Jeeze, It’s The Danged Los Osos Sewer Update Portion of Our Regular Meeting so It Must Be Tuesday” regular meetings.
I have repeatedly stressed how important this Process is, and how it must be kept clean and transparent and fair. A continued TAC, reviewed for any conflict of interests now that we’ve moved into another phase of this project, a renewed TAC with eyes on the page and eyes on the prize will go a long way to keeping that Process open for scrutiny.
The time for all due diligence is at hand during this critical next phase. The cleaner that is, the better that is, the easier all the rest of this will go. Sometimes, going a bit slower means getting where you need to get much faster – a lesson that wasn’t learned earlier and for which we are paying too high a price..
Item: LOWWP SLO County BOS
Honorable Chairman Lenthall, Supervisors, and County staff,
I first wish to thank your staff---PW director, Paavo Ogren and Supervisor Gibson for their joint presentation on September 7, and follow up with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board with a short presentation last Friday December 7, 2007.
The citizens of the County and residents and taxpayers of Los Osos can view the 1.5 hour meeting. The only reason it was video taped and available was because both Paavo and the Los Osos CSD general manager, Mr. John Schempf agreed to cover the expense at the last moment. My sincere thanks for their recognition of the need for open information to the public affected by the discussion for the current and future enforcement.
The item scheduled for 1:30 was not heard until nearly 5:00 PM, and provides some praise for your ability to keep items on schedule and orderly. Both presentations are at www.slo-span.com and www.PZLDF.org.
I strongly recommend the Sept. 7 project update is viewed by each of you, and shown on both Ch 20 and 21, as it contains important information and details of the due diligence review, the affordability analysis, sustainability criteria, and a economic impacts analysis which you adopted. This is the subject of continued requested and long sought by the community.
I would like to suggest the county direct the TAC revisit their “mission” as the TAC has been extended in both the time and reach of their original commitment.
Renaming the public outreach group more appropriately “Community advisory workgroup” more accurately describes the next phase.I make a strong recommendation for the County to consider reviewing the participants for any conflicts of interest that exist, or may occur in the near future, such as running for office, or working on projects or with entities in conjunction or related to the wastewater project.
The need to review the community proposals presented by the Coopers for NWRI, and by Citizens For Clean Water and others, and criteria to establish the community values is critical for project selection. This must be established and reviewed to assure the needs are covered in this next most important evaluation process. The ability to deliver the best value project is based on the fair process, with checks and balances in place to assure accountability, and independent third party review. This process is part of all quality assurance/quality control, and an absolute must to build trust.
Please direct the staff to assure a credible and robust process by implementing these recommendation and move forward with an effective due diligence process. An energized team is high priority for a community advisory workgroup.
I submitted the enforcement petition for review and the record, and information on Citizens for Clean Water "Insider Exclusive " show that is also on the pzldf website and public access channels.
And Finally, A Shout Out To Ron Crawford. Way To Go!
If you remember, Ron, our smarty pants blogger over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com posted one of his own “There Ought To Be A Law” proposals in Assemblyman Blakeslee’s “There Ought To Be a Law” contest. Well, by gosh, his “ought to” made the cut, one of 7. His proposal? “Prohibit special districts from establishing their own recall election date and instead transfer that authority to the Local Agency Formation Commission [LAFCO]”
Ron thought it nuts when he discovered that under the present law the Los Osos CSD members who were recalled got to set the date of their own recall election. Which means that under current law, people who are the target of a recall get to strategize an election date for their own best advantage, which may not necessarily be to the best advantage of the community as a whole.
Congratulations to Ron. Let’s hope Blakeslee has some luck changing that law.
There were also some other great ideas as well, such as this one: “allowing property and businesses owners who use solar power to sell their excess electricity to their neighbors or get a tariff for excess energy put into the grid.” Wouldn’t that be cool? Get those solar panels and put them to work. Light up your neighborhood, share the wealth, the huge investment in your panels get paid off quickly, all while helping to reduce carbon footprints. Where do I sign up?