Is That More Whereas’s In Your Pocket?
The BOS met yesterday during the “Oh Darn Let’s Discuss Los Osos” portion of the meeting and up on the agenda was the Resolution asking that the RWQCB rescind the CDOs for The Los Osos 45.
The Resolution under discussion was astonishing, but even more astonishing to me was the following:
1. The County Staff and clearly some Supervisors, including Los Osos’ own Bruce Gibson, didn’t have any problem with the language used. Their concern was in placating the RWQCB, NOT placating citizens being injured by the Board’s actions, even though they acknowledged that they felt those actions were wrong, unfair and counterproductive. Nope, citizens weren’t of interest to them. Making another agency happy and officially scratching its back, even with demonstrably slanted and often inappropriate language and incorrect facts and conflations, was.
RWQCB’s backside: 10 – Citizens: 0
2. Several Supervisors and Paavo Ogren made it clear that they didn’t care what was said in this official Resolution. The language didn’t matter, the “facts” didn’t matter, history was important but not, apparently, correct history, and what was said didn’t matter. What was important was to “set a tone,” to “step into their shoes” (the RWQCB’s shoes, not the citizens’ shoes), that if the County is asking another governmental body for something (to rescind what all agree were wrong, unfair, counterproductive individual enforcement actions) then you have to phony up the document to soothe the other guy’s back, kissy-kissy, so he’ll have in writing “evidence” that you agree with his position (even if you don’t) so OFFICIALLY he’ll look good – “See? Even the County supports our [misleading] “history.” It’s all there in their Resolution.” – so it was a case, not of honestly presenting a formal request honestly, it was all about Bureaucratic ass-covering, one scratching back to another.
3. Even more interesting, from Supervisors whose votes create LAWS, was the rather cavalier attitude towards words and their meanings. Surely they, above all folks, know that Official Documents actually become “real” and that language really does count. A wrong word can land you in court. Language and wording are important. That wrong facts enshrined in some Official Document can cause all kinds of mischief later. (Look at the problems set in place by the recalled CSD’s unsupported SOC. That’s where not caring about language and facts can lead.)
4. Not even the folks who originally asked for this Resolution supported it. Not even CSD Board member Joe Sparks. He didn’t spell out exactly why he wasn’t happy with this thing, but it seemed to me to be tied to the CSD’s lawsuit. Perhaps it was the quid pro quo section that didn’t carry with it the quo from the RWQCB that they would not issue individual enforcement actions again, period. (Was there anyone in the room that trusted the RWQCB to actually keep their word, had the Resolution been accepted as written? I think not, not based on past experience with the RWQCB’s actions.)
Mercifully, Sup. Patterson expressed concern that an official county document should be involved with canceling out or tying up or voiding out a lawsuit the county wasn’t familiar with. Plus, he didn’t think the Supervisors should be supporting a Resolution that even the people who asked for it can’t support.
Sup. Lenthall noted, accurately, he admired the intent but this document didn’t hit the mark. He’d like to see it come back.
Sup Ovitt, no surprise there, is heartily sick of all things Los Ososian, didn’t care what the thing said, doesn’t want to spend any more time on it, wouldn’t make any difference, doesn’t care about the history, basically wanted it and Los Osos off the table permanently.
And Supervisor Gibson, true to form, eased his way out of this fiasco by giving his fellow board members an easy out: If there isn’t consensus, let’s table it; if you have any questions or are uncomfortable with any of this, table it. There’s no time schedule to adhere to, can always revisit this later, table it.
So it was tabled. For now.
Practically speaking, Unless both the RWQCB and PZLDF (CSD) both agree not only to drop their lawsuits and the RWQCB also agrees to not issue any future individual enforcement actions against people living in the PZ, and the PZLDF members agree not to sue for damages & etc, then this thing’s likely going nowhere. Each side clearly has too much to lose and absolutely NO TRUST in the other. With good reason for the Los Osos 45. They all have whiplash from Jeffery Young & Co. whipping them 180’ repeatedly for two years. Who in their right mind would trust anything that Board had to say? Not me, that’s for sure.
Meantime, if you want some more Whereas’s, here’s a list read yesterday by CDO recipient Bev Moylan: [posted with permission]
If you decide to adopt this resolution, I have a few whereas’s of my own for you to consider before you sign off as true and correct the allegations of the CCRWQCB in their unilateral history of the Los Osos wastewater project contained therein:
WHEREAS San Luis Obispo County and the CCRWQCB together bear significant liability for the overdraft and alleged pollution of the Los Osos aquifer by permitting the construction of over 1000 homes within the Prohibition Zone between 1983 and 1988, despite CCRWQCB resolution 83-13, and
WHEREAS the CCRWQCB failed for years to engage in enforcement against San Luis Obispo County and the original Los Osos CSDs for failing to produce a WWTF for Los Osos, and
WHEREAS the CCRWQCB determined to engage in individual enforcement to occur directly following a legally conducted election in Los Osos, and
WHEREAS many of the CCRWQCB enforcement actions in Los Osos were carried out following a series of messages from a small group of citizens encouraging the CCRWQCB to fine their neighbors, in fact, to fine the CSD out of existence, and
WHEREAS the CCRWQCB determined to conduct their prosecution randomly, thereby ensnaring the elderly, the sick, the disabled, the poor, the incompetent, young families, single parents, and families without resources, and
WHEREAS individual prosecutions by the CCRWQCB have resulted in thousands of dollars of fixed and hard-earned incomes and thousands of collective hours of time spent in defense against enforcement actions and spent in protecting due process rights, and spent in doctors' offices, ERs, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and therapists' offices, and
WHEREAS citizens facing enforcement have requested compliance assistance from the CCRWQCB and suggested widely accepted compliance solutions, all of which were rejected by the CCRWQCB, and
WHEREAS the only compliance solutions proposed by the CCRWQCB to date are either to pay the daily fine for alleged violation or “vacate the premises,” and
WHEREAS the CCRWQCB has in effect provided no compliance assistance to Los Osos citizens facing enforcement as required by its own regulations, and
WHEREAS individual prosecutions have resulted in numerous due process and civil rights violations of private citizens, and
WHEREAS citizens facing prosecution were advised by no less than CCRWQCB Chairman Jeffrey Young to look to the courts for redress if they disagree with CCRWQCB enforcement, and whose right to legally challenge the process is endorsed by the Chairman of the CCRWQCB, and
WHEREAS hundreds of Los Osos residents of the Prohibition Zone have suffered for two years substantive harm to their health and welfare, much of that harm significant and some of it irreversible, with no discernible improvement to the waters of the state,
BE IT HERE RESOLVED AND ORDERED that the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors affirms its support for these citizens and respectfully requests that the CCRWQCB with all due haste vacate enforcement orders in Los Osos.