Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, for January 17, 08
Poor Lost Osos
What a week for my poor Bangladesh By The Bay: A Dead On Arrival (but very revealing) BOS Resolution, plus our very own “Tacky Chippingate” scandal.
First up was the Board of Supervisors’ proposed resolution asking that the Regional Water Quality Control Board rescind the CDO’s on The Los Osos 45, those hapless citizens who were singled out for nearly two years of jerking around by the RWQCB. What some of the Supervisors had in mind was a simple resolution noting that the RWQCB’s process of individual enforcement was wrong, unfair, pointless and counterproductive, and that in light of the good progress the community and county are making on the wastewater project, ask that the RWQCBoard rescind the CDOs and “stand down.” Simple.
Instead, what arrived on the Supervisor’s dais was an elaborate Selectively Misleading History Of The Sewer Wars (With Really Interesting Parts Left Out) that contained a one-sided request that the CSD and others involved in the Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund lawsuit (the one that is now in Superior Court) all agree to drop that lawsuit, with no guarantees from the RWQCB that they, in turn, would stop future individual enforcements on everyone in the PZ.
Worse, the resolution conflated that lawsuit with totally unconnected “derailed” projects, or what “others have stated” and falsely noted that “The Cease and Desist Orders and settlement agreements do not require any burdensome actions now or in the near future.”
That last howler indicated that the county staff members who had written this resolution had not followed the ACL and CDO hearings at all. No mention that the Los Osos 45 had been threatened with daily retroactive fines all the way back to 1988, nor that the RWQCB reserved the right to “revoke and impose” all fines totally on their perception of whether the County was “making progress,” nor that should the county project fail for whatever reason, those 45 people would be forced to leave their homes after 2011, nor any mention of the onerous burden those CDOs put on anyone trying to sell their homes, and certainly no mention that the CDO process itself requires that the recipients file any objections in a “real” court of law before a certain amount of time has elapsed or else they will lose all their rights.
And then, closing the long list of “Whereas’s” was this capper: “The foregoing recitals are true and correct.”
Errrrnnnkkkk, not even close. Add in Supervisor Patterson’s cogent observation that he was not comfortable with an official County resolution that would demand a quid pro quo on a lawsuit he was not familiar with, one that could possibly interfere with a citizen’s constitutional rights, one that wasn’t even supported by the very people who had originally requested it, and this resolution was soon sensibly tabled, for now.
But the citizens of Poor Lost Osos should now be on notice: That resolution, which Supervisor Gibson supported, makes one thing absolutely clear: Protecting the interests of the County and the interests of the RWQCB come first -- NOT protecting the interests of the citizens. You have been warned.
Then adding insult to injury, there was the embarrassing front page Tribune news story about CSD Board officer, Julie Tacker and her boyfriend Jeff Edwards, involved in last November’s community-wide Chipping Day. That day is mandated by and partially paid for out of the community’s solid waste franchise fees, while any budget overruns come out of the fire department fund and/or the CSD’s water fund. In short, the ratepayers pay for this service.
Which is why this particular piece of idiocy warrants a full CSD public hearing since this one involved inappropriate verbal abuse of CSD employees, either misunderstood and/or incorrect procedures used to sign up homeowners, and stupidest of all, clear indications of someone attempting to game the system while sticking the ratepayers with the bill.
Well, if the CSD can devote a whole meeting to consider the censure of a particular private citizen, surely it can spend a meeting to determine who the players were in this game, what reimbursement to the CSD is required, how the system can be fixed to avoid this in the future, and if any Board member was involved in this scam, to consider an appropriate response.
Like poor Lost Osos doesn’t have enough trouble, now we gotta hide the silverware? And the eucalyptus leaves?