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Friday, February 22, 2008

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, SLO, CA for February 21 2008
(the following was scheduled for run in The Bay News for Feb 14, but was shuffled over to run in the Feb 21 edition.)

Say, Ahhhhh

Coming so near to Super Election Tuesday, it was a perfect storm of images. First up was a Tribune exclusive report on local hospitals having to pick up the tab for “less fortunate” folks in need of medical care. On the front page was a picture of a 40 year-old auto mechanic who was admitted to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center with chest pains. The 40 year-old auto mechanic didn’t have health insurance.

Two thoughts went through my head: That’s not a minimum wage job. How is it possible that a 40-year old auto mechanic isn’t participating in some sort of insurance program? Then I thought: Only in America. If this man lived in Canada, England, France, Norway or one of hundreds of “first world countries,” this wouldn’t be a story, let alone a front page story. In Canada, 40 year-old men go into the hospital with blocked arteries all the time. They get treatment. They go home. No story.

The next day I was flipping through the latest Time magazine and came upon several full-page ads paid for by the American Medical Association, with ad copy that included this: “47 million uninsured. It’s not just a number or a graph in a report. . . . One out of seven of us doesn’t have health insurance, but we all have access to a voting booth. Please vote with this issue in mind. . . . . ”

The AMA is now urging people to vote for some kind of national health insurance coverage? THE AMA? Fifty years ago, when this country, like dozens of other first-world, “civilized” countries, had an opportunity to craft a national health program, it was the AMA that helped lead the charge to stop any such effort. The plans were branded “socialized medicine,” and declared to be a Commie plot to destroy America. Frightened of “Commies,” Americans left themselves to the tender mercies of private, for-profit Insurance Companies. And now, way too late, here’s the AMA urging voters to do something to fix the mess they helped to create?

Even more interesting, Time also noted that,” 44% of GOP voters favor the government guaranteeing universal health insurance, even it means a tax increase, says a November 2007 Pew Research poll.” GOP voters favoring a tax increase AND the AMA urging a national health program? Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Which begs some questions: It has been common knowledge that Americans get the least bang for their health-care bucks of all “first world” countries. Instead of having a system of universal, “Medicare-for-All,” pro-active, easily accessible, affordable “Wellness Clinics” to catch and treat disease early, we decided (with a lot of help from the AMA and the insurance companies’ various scary “Harry & Louise” advertising campaigns) to approach our national health as if it were a for-profit Las Vegas crap shoot instead of a personal and societal responsibility: Pay little or nothing, then pray that the dice don’t come up bad. And if they do, stick the Other Guy with the bill.

Even sillier, in order to avoid that old Commie menace, “socialized medicine,” we opted for a system that too often results in the most expensive, wasteful treatment in the world: Using emergency rooms as a primary care center. Hence, the front page story of a 40 year-old mechanic with no health insurance in an emergency room for hideously expensive surgical treatment of a heart condition that could have been caught and successfully treated far cheaper with diet and medication at a national health-care “Wellness Clinic” years ago.

With the upcoming presidential election, the issue is clearly on the table again. But this time, will enough Americans will be smart enough to see through the scare tactics to ask: Is health care a “right” we wish to give ourselves? Is a healthy citizenry a worthwhile Value of the Commons that we all need to pay for, along with decent roads, schools, parks and bridges? Is it something that makes our whole society better able to function competitively in the world? Or is the fiscal health and bottom-line profits of drug and insurance companies more important?

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” said Barack Obama to a cheering crowd on election night. We’ll surely know if that’s true come this November.

65 comments:

Ron said...

In a comments section a few posts back, Spectator wrote:

"Here in Panama I am getting 4 crowns, and a root plane job, for $1640 American dollars by an American trained dental surgeon, using modern equipment. Dental x-rays cost $10. Teeth whitening, the same system as used by the best in the US costs $250. My wife was quoted $2000 in Atascadero.

In my estimation, a vacation here to get dental work or a medical procedure would produce significant savings, like 75% from American costs.

Panamanian citizens get medical and dental services subsidized by the government with a very small co-pay. Propane is subsidized in 20 lb. tanks. ( five gallons ) $5.00. Taxes are very low, most of the financing comes from a 7.5% sales tax. The balance comes from canal revenue and a corporate fee of $500a year on each corporation. There are more corporations here than citizens. One can ride 400 miles in a modern bus for $9.00. Taxis are $1.50 within a district of five square miles. We have a housekeeper here that does everything for $2.00 an hour, is happy..."


Oh yea, well, in the good ol' U.S.of.A. we have.... ummmmmm... errrrrrrr.... we got..... ummmmm.... well, I'm tellin' ya.... in the only superpower on earth, we have.... ummmm...... errrrrr...... Our military can kick Panama's military's butt! So there!

Awhile back, Jon Arcuni fessed up to being Spectator, and I used to see Arcuni manning the Republican recruitment booth at the Mid-State Fair.

So, let me see if I have this sequence of events straight:

Jon recruits people to vote for Bush, Bush runs the country straight into the ground, and then Jon moves to Panama.

Don't worry, Jon, you just keep-on-a-catchin' all that fresh fish. We'll clean up your mess.

Mike said...

Well Ron... You could elect Hilary and instead of worrying about anything international, we could watch Hilary smoothing over the latest skirt her Slick Willie is caught "advising". It would be about as democratic as watching the latest antic's of our very own LO Sewer Babe and her little love child. Maybe the World would be safer.

Mike Green said...

Ann wrote:
"Two thoughts went through my head: That’s not a minimum wage job. How is it possible that a 40-year old auto mechanic isn’t participating in some sort of insurance program?"
I'll hazard a guess, Jiffy Lube or some discount repair facility, or possibly self employed.
There are more "Wall Marts" than one Wall Mart, and the cost of Insurance for self insured is crazy expensive with horrendous deductibles
(my own case is aprx 600/mo. with 5000 deduct for two)
Jon has got the right idea, I don't have any confidence that the US government can buck the insurance industry, and Ron, Both sides of the aisles in our esteemed halls of legislature are to blame for this mess.
Campaign finance reform and tort reform along with getting rid of for-profit insurance might help.
As for me, Jon, save me a place!

Ron said...

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again -- I hate it when I do this...

I wrote:

"Jon recruits people to vote for Bush, Bush runs the country straight into the ground, and then Jon moves to Panama."

and, oh, do I wish I would have written:

Jon recruits people to vote for Bush, Bush runs the country straight into the ground, then Jon moves to Panama... and brags about that country's health care, economic, and public transportation systems -- ALL "government subsidized," in part, by a "corporate fee."

Don't worry, Jon, you just keep-on-a-catchin' all that fresh fish, using that cheap, government subsidized fuel, in that comfortable, peace-of-mind that your sweet, government subsidized health care system provides you. The rest of us, I guess, will just have to stay and clean up your mess.

(Damn... I hate it when it when I do that.)

Shark Inlet said...

It's rather ironic when Ron complains about having to clean up the mess someone else created.

Did he forget what the post-recall board did to our community?


Perhaps Ron doesn't realize that many many Republicans want universal health care. Perhaps Ron hasn't seen "Sicko" and doesn't know that Democrats seem to be at least as much to blame for our Health Care mess as are the Republicans.

*PG-13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*PG-13 said...

Oops, ....

Gotta agree with Mike Green & Shark. Pretty much all of our leaders lead us into this mess. Of course, the head honcho was leading the parade up to and over the cliff. Simply put, this country is bankrupt. Please, don't try to say we aren't financially bankrupt. To do so is to deny obvious reality by clinging to illusions of the past. Fact: We just keep digging the hole deeper. We have long passed the tipping point. There is slim chance of recovery. Ever. Even our best attempts to manage our economic affairs consists only in slowing the speed of our digging. Pretty much all we can do is delay the inevitable. So now the question is which path do we choose to follow to that end. Do we recognize our societal failures and do something to correct them? Or do we turn our backs and say that's not my problem. If we ignore them we're not obligated to do anything at all. Right? Two paths to the same place. Well, many paths to the same place. Some might be a little longer, some a little shorter. But they all converge eventually. As the other Mike implied, instead of worrying about everything international we could focus on our families and friends. That is what you were saying isn't it? So, do we spend it over there or here at home. There is a limit to how much money we can print and how much credit we can float before the bank goes bust. Fact is the bank is already busted and we're coasting on momentum. So what do we do with that momentum? Spend it on people? Wage more wars? Or suck it up and try to coast as long as we can ignoring the reality around us?

And here's one root of our current health care crisis. The insurance industry is no longer in the insurance business. They are in the banking and investment business. Insurance is supposed to be based on actuarial analysis. Oh, sure, there's still some of that going on. But just enough to keep up appearances. Insurance companies make so much more off their investments than they do insuring things it doesn't pay to insure things. But premiums are to insurance companies what deposits are to banks. You can't keep making more money without capital to invest. So the insurance part of the business is a sham. It doesn't pay to actually insure things. Better to minimize insured loss and maximize investment gain. The longer they can keep the money before paying out the more they make. The vig is huge. As is the time value of the money. Its a great business to be in.

Spectator said...

To Ron: Ahh yes, I remember you well! Weren't you the guy wearing the Che Guavara tee shirt with the bad body odor, and accompanied by another guy covered with tatoos?

Yes, I am a Rebublican and a past vice president of the SLO County Lincoln Club, and proud of it! The reason to be in the booth was for Lincoln Club promotion. The Lincoln club supports local candidates to local offices only. It is in our charter. And if we find a level headed democrat or independent, we will support them in non partisan office. We look for bang for the buck and intelligence to get it for us.

You will not get our support.

I am not a religious right conservative. I am a pragmatist, steeped in reality brought by experience.

I am an American Citizen, live in The US and in Panama. I am not about to give up my property in the US without a fight or my right to vote. I will obtain dual citizenship in five years.

Now to Panama and why Socialized medicne works well. Ann has brought up many answers to her article.

1. This country works under the Nepolionic code system of law. The legistators legislate the laws, and the judges look to the intent and writing of the law to decide cases. The law cannot be altered by case law, it is the original law that decides all cases.

2. Anyone can sue under the law, but must deposit the consequences of dollars if they lose a case. This includes court costs, defense legal fees, and defendant inconvienience and damages. So It had better be a good case to start with. Lawyers do not take cases on contingincy fees. There are no ambulance chasers here.

To Ann: In every town there are medical clinics and dental clinics administered by the department of health. There are John Hopkins hospitals and Scrips hospitals. Doctors make house calls, and live up to their Hypocratic oath. You must be a citizen of Panama to use the clinics for free. This is preventive medicine at it's best.

There is no place for illegal aliens in Panama. If you do not have citizenship, you cannot work. Period. You will be picked up by a road stop, manned by police to stop drunks and illegals.

This country welcomes tourists. But you better have proof of a plane or bus ticket out. A tourist cannot stay for more than 90 days if they are American, many other other countries 30 days max.

Unless you have a legitimate visa, you cannot get a drivers license. However those with visas can employ citizens, and for certain kinds of visas they are required to do so. All workers get mandatory social security and vacation. Pregnancy leave is paid by the employer. It is hard to fire an employee after three months on the job. Severence pay is required depending on the length of service.

There are no teachers unions, public employee unions, etc. This is a "right to work county". Individuals have to take care of themselves if they are able. If not, they must look to their family or friends. Medical is paid for the indigent, and there are few.
No beggars on the streets. Every check out stand at the supermarkets, as good as those in the USA, with lesser prices, are manned by kids who pack the groceries, deliver them to the cars, pack the cars, and do not expect a tip. I tip them however. Gas is pumped by Panamanians. There is no self serve. However, they have not learned to wash windshields and glass for Big tips. I will be working on this. I believe in supporting work ethic, and not slackards. Always.

No graffiti here.

Socialized medicine will never work in the US unless the trial lawyers can't put their fingers into it. Hillory's solution would have worked and been supported had not the problem with the trial lawyers, and frivilous suits been omitted.

Hillory is a trial lawyer, and supported in most of her political donations coming from trial lawyers. Most of the elected representitives to major office are lawyers. Judges have been lawyers and get their political contributions by lawyers.

It seems like almost everyone in government is or has been a lawyer. And they perpetuate themselves. They write laws that cannot be understood except by lawyers, and then the intent of the law is changed by lawyer judges. This way, that way, and then again.

Now Ron can blame George Bush for all our problems. However, the congress of the US ultimately decides every issue, except those of national security. And George Bush did not bring the towers down. It was foreigners here under lax immigration administration coming from the previous administration. In the meantime we have intercepted numerous threats under his administration.

Yes this war costs a lot of money.
But who is to protect us but the government, and they have never done a good job ever. Hell, the cops can't even take care of a graffiti problem. No graffiti in Singapore, they beat the artists there with canes. And in public. No graffiti in Iran.

Now with oil world wide at $100 a barrel, can Ron understand economic warefare? And he would be the last one to let us drill in Anwar, or develop our oil resources off our coasts. And look to those who have made the building of refineries in our country prohibitive, or nuclear plants. Well the government will take care of everything, but before they take care of the people they will more than take care of themselves. Especially the lawyers.

And we subsidise buses that few ride in, and a taxi cab from San Luis Obispo to Los Osos is $35. Butter is $4.00 a lb. and vegetables are very expensive. Bananas here are 1/2 a cent apiece. You cannot buy one bannana. Filet mignon is $2.25 a lb. Pork chops, $1.50 a lb. And mountain oysters are available everywhere. Freash fish, $1.80 a lb. And why? No lawyers in your pocket.

So vote for the party of trial lawyers, they will get you sooner or later, or when you die, your heirs. I guess you get for what you vote for. Shortly you will be making a choice between national security, fattening trial lawyers, corporate greed (and corporations are owned by people like you and me, union pension plans, and employee pension plans ), or assholes without a real plan.

Obama can't do a thing without the support of congress. False hope in a great orator. But hollow, as is McCain. Hillory is chopped chicken liver.

The only black person in the US who has addressed the problems of our poor black population is Dr. Cosby. The only white man has been a republican, Jack Kemp. It is about time for Oboma to address our national disgrace, and the problem with the self perpetuating trial lawyers. Fat chance.

Business as usual, regardless. Them that have, have, those who don't, don't. Money talks, bullshit walks. It has been this way since the beginning of civilization.

I welcome the debate between Obama and McCain. Maybe things that need to be said will be.

And to PG-13: If the insurance companies did not make money on their investments of you premiums, you would pay twice as much for your insurance. And would the government bail you out? With what? You are correct that the government is bankrupt by all fiscal standards. The government has simply paid more than it had to, to those who did not deserve it, and lost sight of what it's princpal responsibilities were. 40 years of a socialistic congress, buying vots. Do not suffer, get a job or a second job.

Ron: no one will hire you unless you start to spout sense. There is no free lunch anywhere.

And now I am going out to a fine Mexican restaurant, drink fabulous Panamanian beer at $.75 cents a bottle, and the bill for two will not be more than $12.00 with tip.

And I will be enjoying 65 degree Boquete weather. There are no Che tee shirts availble here. Try Cuba.

Watershed Mark said...

I have been to Panama a couple of times on business and wish Jon well as long as his American money holds out he should be OK. It is very humid and close to the sun. Two seasons the rainy season and the less rainy season.

The tin horn policizia take bribs and can detain anyone anywhere for anything. Step outside of the "finely" defined areas and you are in the third world and at risk. Jon how much "oppourtunity" is available if you were down to his last 100,000 dollars?

Seems like Jon lacks humility, again as long as his (or his wife's) money holds out he should be OK.

I hope his "Albondigas" soup doesn't have "other human DNA" in it, as the little people don't like the "ugly american" no matter how much they smile at you. Think Gadfly here.

I would go to Panama one more time just to take my family to see the canal. But I would do it on a cruise ship and I hate crusing.

Churadogs said...

Joh sez:"Socialized medicine will never work in the US unless the trial lawyers can't put their fingers into it. Hillory's solution would have worked and been supported had not the problem with the trial lawyers, and frivilous suits been omitted."

Actually, the "Harry & Louise" TV campaign was paid for by the various insurance groups, not the trial lawyers. Interestingly, from what I've read, the number of truly "frivolous" lawsuits (the ones the right wing spin machine loves use, are a minute percentage. The vast majority are caused by refusal to accept responsibility for harming someone.) And it's that lack of accountability that causes so many problesm i.e. "no fault medicine" with damage being automatically mitigated, i.e. screw up a patient, patient automatically gets the medical care he/she needs to rectify the screw up without having to go hire a lawyer. A sort of "no fault" deal. Same with corporate damage of individuals or the environment. Kill an individual, fix the problem that caused the death, rectify the damage, accept responsibility, make restitution, see it doesn't happen again. Instead we have the callous notion that only until the death rate and contested lawsuits reach a certain monitary amount, well, it's cheaper to just keep doing business as usual, no matter who dies. Do we, as a people, really believe that's the right way to operate in this country? That that's all we're worth? Some ticks on a corporate bottom line?

If I read Jon's original comment/posting, he mentioned talking with some Canadians visiting Panama who decried their government run medical program. While Jon seems to laud the government run Panamanian system. What are the differences between the two? How do they both compare with, say France's system? Are there elements from all those systems that could work here in the U.S. IF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WISH TO MAKE IT SO -- which means kicking both political parties in the butts until they fix this mess instead of both raking money in from the corporate players who have a vested interest in the status quo?

Watershed Mark's observations are certainly pertinent. Does Jon's wealth (compared to the average Panamanian's income) and American passport guarantee him "protections" not available to the average Panamanian on the street? If so, then Ron's observations that Jon supports a President (and system and party) that runs this country off into a ditch (phony war, "shock economics," huge deficits, runaway pork spending, corporate giveaways, etc. etc.all, I might add, supported by Dems also raking in the dough) then gallops off to live in and benefit from a country with "socialized" medicine while still maintaining the privileges of Citizenship (US) is certainly worth thinking about.

But before anyone hollers, the point of using Obama's quote at the end of the column is a deadly serious one: We ARE the people we've been waiting for. Question is, are WE willing to do the hard work necessary to right this run-aground ship, a ship we allowed to be run off the road? And, in doing so, ask ourselves one critical question: Why were We The People so easily fooled and lied to and fleeced? What happened, over the years, to transform the "Show Me" pragmatic Missourian who demanded accountibility and honesty and fair play, into a near illiterate "Jay Walking" ignorant doofus terrified that the Republic will fall if some gay person living across town gets married, a fool with a big target on his back saying "Sucker!" What the hell happened to us, anyway? And do we have the sense and information and will to set this right?

*PG-13 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*PG-13 said...

Shark said > Perhaps Ron doesn't realize that many many Republicans want universal health care.

Really? No, I'm serious. Really? Just trying to get my head around that and having a difficult time. How does that work? How would a Republican rationalize universal health care?

And now on to the really good stuff ......

Spectator, that was great. I loved your description of idyllic Panama. And Panama just jumped forward about 15 spots on my must visit list despite Mark's more sobering perspectives. Still, as good as it sounds one has to wonder how much of what you describe is home-grown and sustainable and how much is dependent on outside sources. When landing in such spots it is far too easy to become an idyllist.

(Disclosure: I've never been there. Nor have I ever been to Central America or South America. So what do I know? I know more about sewers than I know about Panama.)

I'm certainly no apologist for the United States. But it's easy and natural to compare to that which we are most familiar. So let's.

A quick scan of the factbook shows: Panama is slightly smaller than South Carolina with about 1 million fewer people (~3.2 million). The country has a decidedly younger slant than the US. Meaning the US has twice the percentage of people over age 65 (6.4% to 12.6%). 85% Catholic/15% protestant. Has a Dollarized economy. Shares 350 miles of border with other countries. Has an infant mortality rate more than twice that of the US (15.96 to 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births). (Infant mortality is often cited so I presume its indicative of something.) All interesting. But I think the ethnic composition of the population is noteworthy: 70% mestizo; 20% Amerindian and mixed (West Indian); 10% white. There are many vetted citations on the net describing how the distribution of wealth is extremely unbalanced. Any bets how the wealth maps to the population demographic? As Mark notes, Spectator's experience is heavily influenced by his comparative personal wealth. That's not a slam on Spectator. It's just a fact. I found this, albeit slightly dated, and the accompanying comments similarly informative.

*PG-13 said...

PS - Jon. May I call you Jon? How do I get dual citizenship? That sounds like something I really need to get.

Spectator said...

To Ann:

Yup, the insurance companies did have a hand in the defeat of Hillory's system, but the drug companies even more. The trial lawyers had nothing to lose. For them it would be business as usual.
It has always been about the trial lawyers, and the price extracted from the American taxpayer and consumer by trial lawyers. This is not right wing spin, it is about reality. Sort of strange for you to put left wing spin on honest comments by calling it right wing spin. You wear striped socks, I have never seen you in a Che tee shirt.

As far as frivolous suits are concerned, why are the doctors that deliver babies leaving the profession in the US? And yes, the AMA has done a poor job of policing it's own, and certainly has restricted the supply of doctors from medical schools. And those who grduate, go on to internship and residency, work long hours for little money and are treated like slaves. There is a shortage of doctors in the US. And there is a reason why. Why do we see doctors from foriegn countries in our hospitals, etc. And many are hard pressed to understand English? They nod, but do they understand?

If frivolous suits are not a factor, and the trial lawyers not a factor, why is malpractice insurance so high for doctors? The trial lawyers would blame this on the insurance companies who they want to rape.

I am in favor of universal health care in the US. I am in favor of it just for US citizens. I have no idea how it could be structured with a one payer system, berhaps with a quasi government private non profit structure with congressional oversight. But AMTRAC has not worked well, and the Post Office seems to be working well. These are two examples. I am sure there would be significant savings of costs, if competion was required by doctors, and mal practice insurance could be lessened by making the trial lawyers post bond or come up with money up front before filing suit.
FAT CHANCE!

Right now, $88 a month is deducted from my social security, and I pay $125 a month for supplemental insurance to Blue Cross. That comes to $213 a month or in slight excess of $2500 a year. So if my taxes were raised by this amount and it became a wash, and I could get the same care if needed, put me on the list. The only way this would work is a national sales tax, flat tax, or consumption tax on goods imported or manufactured in the US so everyone would pay.

You need to check with the school teachers who are forced to pay medical insurance, deducted from pay check, and cannot opt out of the program and get their own. And then check out what sherif's deputies are forced to pay under the same system. $800 a month?

Blue Cross and medicare does not pay Panama bills. However, when I move here permanently, I will be able to get private full coverage medical insurance for $125 a month, and will drop my US insurance. Let the suckers pay for the trial lawyers, and rediculous jury awards. And the fact that it costs less to settle than fight a legal case. ( High cost of trial lawyers ) And by the way, I have the most prestigeous law firm in the world representing my interests, and they charge $150 an hour. Check out www.marimor.com They are the most expensive, here.

A doctor has a hard time going into private practice because of malpractice insurance, and that is why you find medical corporations composed of doctors who work for the corporation. And this is why the patient gets to pay for all sorts of tests, when most are not necessary. Just to cover the doctors rear from the lawyers.

And Ann, you are absolutely correct about responsibility. I am just sick and tired of socialistic tirades trying to get the taxpayers to pay for the government to protect the irresponsible from themselves.

However, I have never read a single piece from you concerning the irresponsibility of the recall board to the taxpayers, and you are in the same boat with me.
Watershed is correct about people of wealth from other countries in Panama. And wealthy Panamanians. However, under the law everyone is treated equally. And yes there is corruption, but tell me that it does not occur everywhere. He has never been to the high cool country in Panama, so knows little about the weather. There are many places like Boquete, which has been named one of the five best places in the world to retire to. There is a wet and a dry season. Sometimes there is no rain for a month in many parts of Panama in the dry season. In the wet season, it usually rains once a day for an hour, usually in the afternoons, and it is welcomed. Panama is safer than the US. I have yet to find Albondigas soup, there is a vast lack of Mexican food restaurants. No illegal Mexicans here!
Watershed is full of misinformation. If he is as wrong about the reclamator, and the law, as he is about Panama, he will be a sorry looser. Spend your money, Mike. Money talks, bull crap walks.

However to get a pensionado visa, all one and his/her spouse has to show is proof of social security from the a legitimate country or a pension from a legitimate corporation of $700 a month and you can get a visa for you and spouse. If you do not have the above, CDs in a Panamanian bank for a three year period, securing an income will obtain it. 200 grand or better depending on interet rates. You can be of any age. However, you will never become a citizen.

In order to become a citizen, you need to make an investment in Panama, be it by buying property, investing in a reforestation project, a business, or other means. This takes approximately $250 grand.

Your last comment shows a deep disrespect for the intelligence of the American people, and our traditions. Too bad most understand your spin, and certainly do not agree with you.

They will make up their own minds, attend to their own security, and exercise a "show me" pragmatic view point when they vote. They understand that there is no free lunch.

And a reclamator that has not been proven to work, is just more "pie in the sky".

Mike said...

Jon... There is indeed some serious "follow the money" taking place in trying to hold ths post-recall Board accountable.

Spectator said...

To Mike:

Yes, there is a serious attempt to hold the post-recall board accountable. And if it were not a real good case, I doubt that the lawyers would take it on contingency.

This is a case that deserves to be heard. The PZLDF case also, even though it is a delaying tactic. I doubt if Sullivan has taken it on contingency.

And reclamator Mike's case deserves to be heard. If his reclamator is actually proven to work and lives up to his claims, or anyone else's system based upon the same laws quoted by him is proven to work, it would be to the benefit of every community facing a nitrate pollution problem and every person in that community. It would be a great benefit to affordable housing in areas with a nitrate problem. But he really needs to show everyone that it works. Submarine or not.

And another thing needs to happen: Investment in solar by individual home owners. This business of the electric companies not paying for over production is bull crap. If a person wants to make an investment to satisfy his and his neighbor's needs for electricity, he should be paid for the electricty that he produces and does not consume. Right now you get credits for production up to what you use from the electricl company, and it will zero your electrical bills, but you do not get paid for the overage that you give to the electric company. And you give your solar electricity in peak usage periods where sometimes there is not enough to go around. Thus brownouts. Stupid. Look to the democratically controlled legislature who do not want to make homeowners into power generators. Hell, some of the payoff would pay property taxes, but would still be taxed as income, and THAT is wrong. Electrical power generation by individuals needs to be incouraged. Right now it makes no fiscal sense. I do not like monopolies. I worked hard to break the monopoly of the NFL, and the American football league was formed. Has this hurt football? Nothing like competition. And in ideas especially. Pragmatism should rule. As soon as we can take care of ourselves, we can start taking care of others on the local level.

In the meantime I am a hard nosed pragmatic republican, and I find nothing wrong so far with Bruce Gibson, and he is certainly a democrat. As a matter of fact he should be commended for his efforts, and service to his district which includes Los Osos.

Mike said...

You make some ver good points!

If I were King, EVERY house in the USA would have full photovoltaic roofs. That would go a long way to breaking this fossil fuel economy. I'd also build a series of nuclear electric generating plants for commercial and industrial power and shutdown the oil and gas burners. At least until fuel cell units could be developed.

And just for Mark, Los Osos would have a conventional gravity collection sewer with the as designed main treatment facility on the Tri-W site. All opposed would be sent to Iraq for a 40 year induction to "police" work.

Good fishng Jon, hope to visit you someday.

Shark Inlet said...

Why would a Republican want universal healthcare? Because it is cheaper than the current system, for one. Because it would allow for a more fair competition between US firms and those of other countries where the salaries (after benefits like healthcare are included) are far lower. Because there wouldn't be a cohort of folks who wait until they are deathly ill before seeing a doctor.

The only republicans I know who oppose universal healthcare are those who believe the lie of "rationing" and "long lines" and the like. Right now we have exactly that system ... even for the insured with serious health issues.

The question here is whether HillaryCare, BarackCare or McCainCare is the best option. While I pretty much prefer either of McCain or Obama to Clinton at this point in time, she has the smartest plan on health care being discussed this go 'round.

Spectator said...

To PG-13:

The effects of poverty is relative to the mind. Poverty is simply a comparison of wealth. It is not a state of mind. Many people don't care about keeping up with the Jones. They just want to eat, sleep, fish, hunt, have shelter, and enjoy family and friends. They like old cars and treat them like old friends. They like old clothes, and most of all old comfortable shoes and their dogs.

People make choices, and I judge the quality of life by happiness.

In Panama there are the indiginous people. They choose a life style based upon family and religion. They exist, pretty much the same way they have for centuries. The women stay home, wear their traditional dresses, and take care of their smiling happy kids who show no signs of starvation like one would find in the interior of Mexico. The men work mostly in agriculture, producing the fruits, vegitables, and coffee. The men also work as fishermen and sell their fish for distribution. Other indiginous men work in the construction industry. An indiginous man is easily identified by his short stocky stature, the women and girls by their bright clean long
dresses. They take joy in their families, their communities, and their church, which is catholic. Becuse of their extensive family relationships, they take care of themselves. They really resent outside interference, especially "do gooders". They have pride in their traditions and work.

They do not beg or hitchhike.

During the time I have been in Panama, and I have been here for four years, two months at a time, I have never been bitten by a mosquito, or my wife. But we have not been in the truely wild areas such as Darian provence on the Columbia border. This provence is jungle, and mostly uninhabited.

I have driven a total of 8000 miles around Panama. The carribian side, the pacific side, and through the mountains where possible. I have travelled Costa Rica extensively.

I prefer Panama, because of the people and optimism.

The city of Panama is outgrowing itself. Primarily because people from around the world wish to live there. Two thirds of the country's population lives in and around the city of Panama, and this city is 480 killometers away from me.

When I look at Panama, I look at it realistically. It is not idealistically. I am not a flaming liberal, or communist, wishing to change the world according to my ideals, only to understand it. Some of the negative comments written to the article you linked are from such people who look at Panama through dark red glasses.

They do not understand happiness, and only look to discontent, because of their own discontent.

I just wish to remain happy, along with my family and friends, and take joy in others happiness, however they achieve it. And there is no doubt that the persuit of procreation for the indiginous is part of the happiness. It is their tradition.

And now a new draft bill is on the desk of the president of Panama. It will ease the restrictions on Multinational Corporations coming here to do business here and throughout central and south america, and wishing to open offices, by providing special visas for the employees coming here, and vastly increase investment. Panama City will become a new Singapore in time. At this time with the construction going on, it is starting to look it.

The beauty here is fantastic, and most of Panama is an ecological preserve. Besides the great beauty, fine fishing, river rafting, beautiful beaches, and quality of life, there is another consideration. I did not work hard all my life for the government to take away what I earned in inheritance taxes. I have children and grandchildren to consider.

In 2011, it is entirely possible that inheritance taxes will be reinstated fully by a possible democratic, socialistic congress and executive in the US. This will not happen to me or my heirs. It does not happen in Panama: there are no inheritance taxes. I believe in protecting my own. I do not have great wealth, I just want to keep what I have, and this is the place to invest it. It is not about me, it is about my family and children. I will be happy regardless, and I learned a long time ago that the more you have, the more you have to take care of, and then you have to hire people who can possibly steal it, if you do not make a full time job of just watching them. This does not bring happiness.

Lots of information on the web, should you just look.

Churadogs said...

Spectator sez:"And now a new draft bill is on the desk of the president of Panama. It will ease the restrictions on Multinational Corporations coming here to do business here and throughout central and south america, and wishing to open offices, by providing special visas for the employees coming here, and vastly increase investment. Panama City will become a new Singapore in time. At this time with the construction going on, it is starting to look it."

Uh, oh. Be very careful what you wish for . . . easing "restrictions" on multi-national corporations now moving into Panama to . . . do business.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Ron's observations that Jon supports a President (and system and party) that runs this country off into a ditch..."

He actually did more than "support," he recruited, and if he recruited 512 voters from Florida to vote for Bush in 2000, than he did a hell of a lot more than just "support." (Although, I mean, c'mon, it's Florida and elections. Nader got about 70,000 votes in Florida in 2000, and he could've gotten about 170,000 votes, and Bush STILL would have taken Florida by 512 votes... it's Florida and elections, after all. (I swear, I'd rather have Cuba as a state, than Florida.)

Ann:

"What happened, over the years, to (the) pragmatic Missourian who demanded accountibility and honesty and fair play..."

Welcome to SewerWatch.

*pg-13 wrote:

"Pretty much all of our leaders lead us into this mess."

... through lies cooked up by Karl Rove and his BFF, Cheney.

Mike wrote:

"There is indeed some serious "follow the money" taking place in trying to hold ths post-recall Board accountable."

You know what would be a fun debate on Congalton's show? Who's more accountable for the train wreck? The pre-recall board or the post recall board? I'll argue that the pre-recall board is SOLELY responsible for wasting upwards of $100 million of California taxpayer money since 1998. Who wants to handle the other side?

Mike:
"Los Osos would have a conventional gravity collection sewer with the as designed main treatment facility on the Tri-W site."

No, you wouldn't.

Finally, this is when I think Ann's blog is at its best -- when there's good, thought-provoking, interesting commenters bouncing off each other. People like *PG-13, Ann, Mark, Mike, Mike Green Jon, and me. (Let me scroll back up and see if I left any good, thought-provoking, interesting commenters out... nope. That's it.)

Churadogs said...

Had an additional thought since reading what's been posted here regarding Panama. PG-13 noted, " Has an infant mortality rate more than twice that of the US (15.96 to 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births). (Infant mortality is often cited so I presume its indicative of something.)"

Actually, it's usually indicative of poverty. Why that would be odd in Panama is that Jon reports they have an excellent nationally subsidized health care system. So the question remains: Just which Panamanians are losing their babies? Usually a high infant mortality rate is indicative of poverty. So that would be the question: Which Panamanian babies are dying? Also, a high infant mortality rate is often indicative of the the status of women/girls whose babies are dying. One question for Jon would be: What's the literacy rate for Panamanian women/girls? Jon speaks of the "traditional" families, but in a Catholic country, where birth control is nil, the status of women to control the size of their families is also about nil. And in a patriarical Catholic society, doubly so.

Jon notes:"In Panama there are the indiginous people. They choose a life style based upon family and religion. They exist, pretty much the same way they have for centuries. The women stay home, wear their traditional dresses, and take care of their smiling happy kids who show no signs of starvation like one would find in the interior of Mexico."

Hence my question regarding these "traditional" families -- are the mothers literate? Are their daughters? Do they have access to the same pre-natal health care as a middle class city-dweller & etc. While the Panamanian middle-class's daughters are educated, what about the kids (especially the daughters) of these "traditional" families? In a poor "traditional" family, who gets to go to school? and etc.

Jon also notes,"Some of the negative comments written to the article you linked are from such people who look at Panama through dark red glasses."

I didn't find the statistical info posted "negative." it is what it is. American's "statistics" are also often pretty grim, but the info does point to underlying situations that can be mitigated and thereby bring a better quality of life (i.e. "happiness") to more people -- the same "happiness" Jon is seeking. After all, it isn't just relatively rich Americans who are entitled to persue happiness.


Ron sez:"You know what would be a fun debate on Congalton's show? Who's more accountable for the train wreck? The pre-recall board or the post recall board? I'll argue that the pre-recall board is SOLELY responsible for wasting upwards of $100 million of California taxpayer money since 1998. Who wants to handle the other side?"

I've called for a Truth & Reconciliation Hearing -- Immunity to all who testify truthfully -- so this community could finally piece together the decisions made at so many critical junctures, the failure of decisions at so many critical junctures, that sent this train off the cliff. Take away the element of "blame" that has everyone so defensive and frightened and angry, and just ask, O.K. so exactly what happened here and why? It's not rocket science. When I read the TAC report and saw where TriW kept coming up (last) it confirmed what I already knew: Something had really, REALLY gone wrong with the system and the entire Process.

People are nattering on about "healing" the community. There can be no "healing" and reconciliation without truth. Once we have that then the entire "story" will make sense and can be laid to rest.

Watershed Mark said...

Once we have that then the entire "story" will make sense and can be laid to rest.

A tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. A whole is what has a beginning and middle and end.
Aristotle

The "stone walling" has got to cease and desisit. Power to the People.

Maria M. Kelly said...

Here's a thought about the story. It's a wheel with spokes like a wagon. It starts on the outside and ends in the middle. This analogy has been around for a long time.

Each story travels a different spoke and even though the ending is the same, the "truths" that each story carries is different.

How do we have a truth and reconciliation hearing? What if we collected 30 people with this breakdown.
10 who have been here since 1972
10 who have been here since 1983
10 who have been here since 1996

Each group gets a decade of time to present what their perception of "the story" is. I've listened to a lot of different people and spoken with a lot of different people and there is no question the stories conflict. One of the major common denominators to the differences: place and time.

It sounds as though there are personality issues threaded through out but the bigger issue appears as though who was where when and who heard what. People at meetings and work shops, people not at meetings and work shops. People that remember the county presentation on Pismo, people who weren't even living here yet. People who remember the discussion about moving the sewer, people who don't and people who never knew that discussion happened. I know a very intelligent couple that have lived here for over 15 years and 2 years ago when I had a conversation with one of them, were embarrassed to ask but still not clear on "now what happened to the ponds?"

The other common denominator is agency involvement and the overall dropping the ball. There is agreement that the county dropped the ball in the 80's and part of the 90's and that the RWQCB just keeps tossing the ball around changing the actual game anyone is playing - it's what happens when we are governed by laws.

The final commonality is disagreement among the community. In defense of the agencies, they were addressing a community who lacked widespread agreement on what the issue even was. We are coming through an era, multi-generational, of rampant mistrust of our governing bodies. In this issue, it even came down to the local CSD. Was there cause for concern, likely. But, to try to find the one group/person/agency to blame for the sewer issues, I'm skeptical that it's possible.

Breaking it down is what has been happening. The isolation of groups/individuals/agencies has resulted in the following match ups. Please remember this is my perception on one of the spokes.

County - AB2701/Community
RWQCB - PZLDF/CSD/Community
State - CSD/County
CSD - Community/PZLDF/TW/AB2701

The CSD has a lot to account for on many levels. Can we attribute any of this situation to general growing pains? I don't mean "growth" in the development sense of the word but rather developmental.

The consequences to the community will be the greatest in comparison to any of the other agencies or groups. We suffer the consequences of any failure both monetarily and emotionally. More than likely if we asked, those who have been involved in this issue at an agency level have also suffered emotionally. It has been difficult at best to discern who gets to hold the card for the most suffering. Is it the community as a whole? Is it the individual CDO holders? Is it the CSD?

What is lacking throughout:
Sense of humbleness
Sense of consequences
Sense of personal responsibility
Agency responsibility

We are all watching everyone dance around and not one group/agency/individuals has ever stepped forward and said, "well, there was this one time that....I could have done this but didn't because of this and maybe I could have...."
There are people individually that I have spoken with who have speculated and wondered and noticed how unintended the consequences were.

I don't believe that we have to stop as a community to get started again. Some of the "knots" or stories or truths will just have to be left alone. If we try to untangle all of them, we may just end up more frayed and no more answers.

I have sat through Mark Hutchinson's presentation of the scoping 3 times. Each time, the same questions get asked, the same confusion arises. It's a process. Ron doesn't understand it. Ann, you have written comments that make it clear that you don't understand it and what will happen in the end when people "don't get what they want" or understand, they'll cry process foul. Why? Because people seem to believe that they are so right that if everyone was just listening to them, they would get what they want! Their "truth" would be the one.

Ann, how do you suggest we pull all the stories together and do you believe we'll find one truth?

Ron said...

Maria wrote:

"I've listened to a lot of different people and spoken with a lot of different people and there is no question the stories conflict."

I can tell by your post that one of the people that you've listened to is Nash-Karner. GINORMOUS mistake. Just ask Roger Briggs, Steve Monowitz, the 1998 LO electorate, Darrin Polhemus, and on, and on, and on, and...

In fact, Maria, now that I think about it, that's EXACTLY what you need to do -- call someone that f-d up and listened to Nash-Karner. Call Steve Monowitz. He is now working for the city of San Lorenzo. You need to call HIM and ask HIM about HIS "perception" regarding what happened between 1998 and 2004 in Los Osos.

In journalism, Monowitz is what we call a "primary source." I've corresponded with him -- through e-mails and phone calls -- many, many times over the years during my research for a lot of my sewer stories. How many times have you talked with him, Maria?

"... were embarrassed to ask but still not clear on "now what happened to the ponds?"

The answer to that question is "behavior based marketing." THAT's what happened to the ponds. Trust me, back in 2001, when those same property owners were voting on that crucial 218 election, I guaran-freaking-tee, they, like every other property owner in LO, thought they were voting for Nash-Karner's "better, cheaper, faster" project, when, in truth, that project was long gone at that point, and she, as an elected official, just neglected to inform any voters of that fact (after an overwhelming amount of volume trumpeting that failed project in the run-up to the election that formed the LOCSD in 1998), and all those property owners were actually voting to pay for the design of the embarrassing, expensive, illegal, "bait-and-switchy" park-with-an-industrial-sewer-plant in the middle of town.

I'm crystal f-ing clear on what happened to the ponds, and how critically important the demise of that project was to this entire story. Crystal clear. And sometimes, I think I'm the only one that is.

"But, to try to find the one group/person/agency to blame for the sewer issues, I'm skeptical that it's possible. "

Maria, please, PLEASE, read this:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2007/05/she-is-los-osos.html

" It's a process. Ron doesn't understand it."

First of all, f-you. Second, trust me, NO ONE understands the process more than me, because this is the THIRD TIME I've reported on it. The first was the county's process in the 90s. The second was when the CSD had the project (and then overrode that entire process with an unsupported SOC... for no reason whatsoever), and this makes the third. (Man, I knew that TAC was going to be a complete waste of time.)

More Maria:

"Ann, you have written comments that make it clear that you don't understand it and what will happen in the end when people "don't get what they want"

I know exactly what people do when they don't get what they want. The organize strategies to have Los Osos "fined out of existence." They waste a lot of time and money trying to dissolve the very government agencies they created (by the way, how's that LAFCO bill coming along, Taxpayers Watch?) They sneak around behind the scenes with county officials doing weasily things like drafting a resolution, that was intended to help 45 families that have been drug through hell for the past couple of years, and USE IT TO PLAY THE BLAME GAME! Absolutely disgusting.

Hey, Maria, I wrote:

"You know what would be a fun debate on Congalton's show? Who's more accountable for the train wreck? The pre-recall board or the post recall board? I'll argue that the pre-recall board is SOLELY responsible for wasting upwards of $100 million of California taxpayer money since 1998. Who wants to handle the other side?"

If you want to handle the other side, Maria, let me know I'll contact Dave today.

"Some of the "knots" or stories or truths will just have to be left alone."

Tell your buddy, Nash-Karner, that SewerWatch says, "Nice try."

Maria M. Kelly said...

Sorry Ron I can't handle the other side. You never have left any middle ground for even a toehold. Anyone, and I mean anyone who has challenged you, questioned your line of reasoning and pointed out blatant misses in your points, you fling insults and hostility or even ERASE their comments from your blog.

You understand the lack of a process. That is all that your reporting has ever been on - process failures.

Your reporting bias is all based on the Coastal Commission and your bizarre obsession with Pandora. When are you going to respond to and report on the fact that it was Steve Monowitz's initial staff report that told the CC to approve the permit and they didn't.

The year 2008- the sewer, still not here. How has being on any side helped anyone in this community ever? Who ended up marginalized? Everyone.

Did you ever read the SOC? Just curious. FYI, SOC's are part of the process. Just for fun, contact the county and find out how many of their projects, or for that matter any project that comes before them has an SOC, Negative Declaration or any other designation. In fact don't stop there. Check in on local cities and developers as well.

You can call me naieve if you would like to but to tell me to f-off when I actually live here and am raising my children here and walk my dog and work on projects and watch Little League games and shop in the local stores and serve on committees you have absolutely no grounds what so ever to assert that I'm not entitled to my opinion of what "knots" could/should be left alone.

What "knots" would you suggest the community leave alone with the current board?

Finally Ron, in case you haven't noticed, well since you don't live here of course you couldn't have noticed, I don't travel in the same social circles as Pandora. I'm glad that I finally got to meet her in AUGUST 2007 but other than local community events, that's my history thus far.

Want to talk? Fine. Insult my time and my intelligence, there is no conversation worth wasting either of our times on. You'll just keep doing what you do and I'll keep doing what I do and in the end it all comes out the same. 20/20 contemplation on how we spent our lives. If you are satisfied harboring your knowledge and obsession with pride and willingness to continue to share via Ann's blog because I rarely make it to your anymore, far be it from me to criticize.

You still haven't convinced me that there is anyone person or agency to blame.

Watershed Mark said...

Follow the Law.

Watershed Mark said...

Maria,

The process continues to obscure the truth.

Pay special attention the lack of attention to exfiltration discussion on the County's TAC. You are participating in a process does not address a very important component of sewerage...

Any "infiltration" discussed by your TAC must include whose water is being "appropriated" and how it will be measured, billed and who will pay for this currently under thought aspect of sewerage.

Follow the Law. As it is the "only" thing that mattersat this point.

Watershed Mark said...

From today's Tribune:Hedges also declined to answer Gibson’s repeated questions about specifics.

“My problem,” Gibson told The Tribune later, “is that the sheriff comes before us and tells us that gangs are an existing problem. But it’s all anecdotal. Are they 1 percent or 10 percent or 90 percent of his problem?”

It’s difficult to make budgeting decisions without that information, Gibson said.

Although supervisors said they back public safety, they did not rank the other issues they deal with. Edge asked them to provide priorities for the various jobs the county does. Supervisors did not set a date for having that discussion.

If only this kind of "concern" wasn't limited to requests to be excused from budget cuts.

Funny that Supervisor Gibson, like me, wants answers, only he doesn't give any, unlike me.

If Noel King has been hired as a consultant for the county, does that mean that Paavo Ogren isn't qualified to be a Director of Public Works? Is gang activity less important that "Public Works"?

Sewertoons said...

mark says,
"Any "infiltration" discussed by your TAC must include whose water is being "appropriated" and how it will be measured, billed and who will pay for this currently under thought aspect of sewerage."

Firstly mark, you call it Maria's TAC. I suspect she would object to that as the TAC is part of the process that "belongs" to us all, even you.

Secondly, what does " thought" mean in your sentence?

Watershed Mark said...

Secondly, what does " thought" mean in your sentence?

Currently, under "consideration/thought"

-the TAC is part of the process that "belongs" to us all, even you.

Then why won't exfiltration, carbon foot print and Nativie Aericanburialsite distirbances be "examined or discussed"?

Perhaps you can ask Maria when you see her at the next meeting?

"My add ons are currently disabled"...

*PG-13 said...

Regarding Panama: I'm sure there are many truths in Jon's descriptions of Panama. As I am also sure there is truth in Ann's comments. Jon's descriptions are near lyrical. Which is only as it should be as he is there and seems fully committed to being a positive factor in the community. I wish him well - as I'm sure all the rest of us do too - and hope to continue to hear about his experiences in Panama. Still, despite Jon's declared pragmatism, I can't help but feel he is being perhaps a bit too much an idyllist. I accept his word. I'm sure Panama is everything he says it is. But his prose sounds a bit too similar to my ear to E.M. Forster's descriptions in A Passage to India. Sorry Jon. You write beautifully. And I am convinced of your good intentions. But I gotta note a bit of White Man's Burden syndrome creeping into your imagery. I'm sure you don't mean it. But I gotta note it. Still, you've convinced me I need to experience Panama for myself. Thank you.

Prior to your mentioning it I noted the similarities between Singapore and the budding Panama. I appreciate Singapore. It is unique. Disneyland codified. And I suppose there is room on this globe for more than one Singapore. And it sounds like the perfect place for you. I'm curious though. What are the ramifications of being so close to Columbia, one of the most insecure country's on the globe?

Regarding Ann's comments on infant mortality. Even as I noted that statistic I was aware the US infant mortality rate is nothing to be particularly proud of. In 2007 we placed 180 out of 221 countries. Thankfully we land on the flatter part of the curve. The lowest infant mortality rate is 2.30 in Singapore. The highest is 160.3 in Sierra Leone, followed by 157.0 in Afghanistan. Bet'cha we haven't helped that one recently. Still, most - if not all - of those placing lower than the US have some form of national health care system. Most of the countries with lower infant mortalities are no surprise. Think Sweden, Japan, Iceland, France, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Cuba. Even South Korea. But the Czech Republic and Slovenia? (sigh)

Regarding Maria M. Kelly on Ron: Ziiiiinng!

We all hafta get hyperbolic sometimes to get our point across. I might have guessed Ron was tasting the Old Bushmills. But at 9:59 in the morning? Such is the life of an independent journalist.

Thanks all, I enjoy the conversation.

Shark Inlet said...

Maria,

Don't mind Ron ... he's gonna rub thinking people (in a Meyers-Briggs sense) the wrong way.

On the Meyers-Briggs personality profile, he is most assuredly an "FJ" personality. As such, he doesn't have the same criteria as would a "TJ" and he doesn't have the same understanding of process as would an "FP" or a "TP".

I would agree with you that when he retreats into name calling, deleting comments and just plain ignoring crystal clear comments that don't support his opinion, he's part of the problem and not part of the solution.

He also, as evidenced by his bizarre obsession with Pandora, seems to be rather quick to judge a situation and then to stick to his guns on his earlier snap judgment.


Not a good reporter ... but a great opinion piece author.

Should Ron want to grow up and deal with all the facts we face today and not just the 1997-2003 time period (and even only a subset of the relevant data from that timeframe) he would be a valuable addition to our discussions. If he only adds comment to the effect of "f you" and "it's all Pandora's fault" and "I'm so freakin' insighful that you you should all bow down and worship me" it would be great.

Watershed Mark said...

Not a good reporter ... but a great opinion piece author.

Shark:
Here is where perception is king.
Ron has reported "in depth" regarding LosOsos Sewer Issues" et. al. bar none. Think SEWERWATCH here.

Exfiltration/Infiltration Carbon Foot print, you real issues like this not being addresses after all this time and taxpayer's money spent.

You want the truth? Like Jack Nicholson said "you can't handle the truth", some never will.

Ron said...

M. wrote:

".. anyone who has challenged you, you fling insults and hostility or even ERASE their comments from your blog."

Just a sec, I have to wipe the coffee off my screen... there we go. Maria, have you read some of the comments that I are on my blog right now, and have been for months and years... for all to read, haven't you?

"Sorry Ron I can't handle the other side."

Finally, you got something right.

"Did you ever read the SOC?"

Ah gawd, Maria, you really need to stop by my blog sometime. I recommend it. Not only is it entertaining and funny, it's very informative.

Of course I read the SOC, I love it. It's great because it's so blatantly illegal. I also reported on it... the only reporter that did.

Here's one of the many links:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/08/loopiest-of-loopholes-recently.html

That's a great story, Maria. Read it with an open mind. You'll learn something.

(Central location will save $5 million in collection costs, even though that same central location adds $50 million to the project. That kind of logic is why I love that SOC so much. Poor Los Osos. You guys had to deal with that kind of logic for seven years... at a cost of $20-plus million. God, I love this story.)

"FYI, SOC's are part of the process."

1) Not necessarily (See? I know more about the process than you), and; 2) Definitely not illegal ones

"... if you would like to but to tell me to f-off..."

You -- someone that's been around for what? Two years? -- first called me too stupid to understand the process. For future reference, you might want to back off those kinds of statements, or your probably going to get a lot more of f-this and f-that and f-you from f-ing moi.

"What "knots" would you suggest the community leave alone with the current board?"

None! If there's a knot, untie it. That's SewerWatch style, baby.

"I rarely make it to your (blog) anymore"

Anymore? You write like you've NEVER been there, period.

On to other things...

Wanna hear something funny regarding my debate idea?

After about five people -- all of them responsible for developing the Tri-W project -- I can't think of ONE OTHER PERSON that's even on that other side... let alone can "handle it" in a debate.

There's Pandora, Gordon, Richard, Frank, Bob (all former CSD Directors responsible for throwing more than $20 million at the Tri-W project), and that's where I start to run out of names. So it HAS TO BE ONE OF THEM to handle the other side, doesn't it?

And that sucks, because I LOVE my debate idea. It'll be so fun. I'll bring beer. GOOD BEER! Heineken. And then we can just sit around in Dave's studio, drink good beer, and talk sewer. It'll be awesome! But the problem is, outside of those five, is there one other person that's even on that side?

Shark, if you're not one of those five, do you want to handle it? I'll even let you remain anonymous, I just want to debate. But I should let you know -- anonymous debaters normally don't achieve a whole lot of integrity.

How 'bout Joyce?

Finally, here's something else that struck me as funny:

County Supervisors, including Bruce Gibson (that went so far as to actually crunch the numbers on the Los Osos public comment speakers as to who was saying what and for how long [uhhhhg]), that were all whining recently about how only the same people show up at the Tuesday afternoon LO public comment periods, so they eliminated the LO public comment period altogether, have THIS attitude towards the proposed Carissa Solar Plan:

From today's Trib:

"Specifically, he (Jim Patterson) said he would like to see at least one weekend meeting at a location easier for all concerned residents to get to—such as Atascadero or Santa Margarita."

Makes me wonder... what do you think the LO public comment period would have sounded like it if had been held at a time when the "public" could actually get to the "period?"

Watershed Mark said...

XXXCELENT!... what do you think the LO public comment period would have sounded like it if had been held at a time when the "public" could actually get to the "period?"

-Some folks just don't let the facts get in the way of their beliefs. Another good reason for the Law...

Journalists are like dogs, when ever anything moves they begin to bark.
Arthur Schopenhauer

Ron Crawford is a Patriot...The County is coming, The WaterBoard is already in our midst! People wake up...Take your CSD under your control, save yourselves. The Law will shield your treasure, if only you will pick it up...

Or just stand by and watch the LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution and thoseresponsible for it fight for your freedom.

For an author to write as he speaks is just as reprehensible as the opposite fault, to speak as he writes; for this gives a pedantic effect to what he says, and at the same time makes him hardly intelligible.
Arthur Schopenhauer


Again Ron, well written/said...

Shark Inlet said...

Ron,

You know darn well that many have asked you why you are unwilling to ask any tough questions about what happened during the post-recall period in LOCSD history. They made many choices that would appear at face value to be dumber-than-dirt and yet you don't raise any questions. Instead you write stuff like "it's all the fault of the pre-recall board because if they didn't screw up, the post-recall board wouldn't have had to make those decisions."

Face it, the post-recall board had an agenda to push and they pushed it as far as they could. They didn't take any input from those who would disagree with them and not a single person in the media (including commentators and independent journalists) seems to want to hold them accountable for some millions of wasted money and poor decisions that will likely cause additional waste.

That's a knot you are unwilling to try to untie. Just because you pretend it's a non-issue doesn't make it so.

Your debate will occur. We'll wait until the accountant finishes the audit of the post-recall board and until the lawsuits and any possible criminal suits are resolved. By that point in time it will be clear what happened and who really screwed the pooch in Los Osos.


Maria is right ... many many governmental agencies dropped the ball and all made decisions with unintended consequences. That you are unwilling to grant grace to the early LOCSD boardmembers and unwilling to scrutinize the actions of the post-recall LOCSD boardmembers essentially tells us of your bias.


Presumably if you are open to debating, you would be willing to defend Chuck, Julie, Steve, Lisa and John. Let us know if you are open to discussing recent history instead of pre-2004 actions.

Watershed Mark said...

Maria is right ... many many governmental agencies dropped the ball...NOW it is TIME to follow the LAW

Just because you pretend it's a non-issue doesn't make it so.

Mike said...

Shark is also correct and Ron has NEVER EVER attempted to hold the post recall management to the same standard he likes to measure the pre-recall Board!!!

...and Mark, it was ALWAYS time to follow the Law, the pre-recall folks did a hell of a job in the face of the very vocal detractors. You, yourself was one of those as you would not listen to what the old Board was telling you. I'm not sure you are listening today! You type many words saying little of substance save your inane advertisments with no data to prove what you are saying, but you already know that. The pre-recall men and women of this community were not the monsters Ron would have us believe. Hell, he doesn't even live or own property or vote in Los Osos, yet he wants to critize something he knows really only a portion.

Watershed Mark said...

Mike:
I am glad to see that you are in agreement with me regarding the Law.
I'm curious, what is your understanding of what the LOCSD's position was and is today?
Facts are stubborn things.
Ronald Reagan

Mike said...

I am NOT in "agreement" with you Mark, regarding the law or how you interpret it! nor with your sales tactics or the way you treat those who disagree with you!

I only want to see Ron "debate" with Shark

Watershed Mark said...

Mike:

I think the offer was originally to you and on DG's radio show...

Here is my estimation of the "debate" result between Shark Inlet and Ron "Land Shark" Crawford after reading both have written, over time:

Shark inlet rules as long as he can stay in the water. Unfortunately the tide is rapidly receding and he is caught behind the shifting sands of reality as it becomes known.

I wish him luck knowing his fate, given the laws of nature.

-I am NOT in "agreement" with you Mark, regarding the law or how you interpret it! nor with your sales tactics or the way you treat those who disagree with you!
You can always stick with the county study process.

*PG-13 said...

OK, we all know - beyond any doubt - that Ron has staked out a position on ALL OF THIS. And, I daresay, we've ALL GOT TO AGREE that there is way more than enough blame to spread around to damn near every body that has ever been involved with the great sad LO sewer saga. Including you, me and anybody who has ever voted on any of the number of occasions we've had to vote. So pick your spot and wail. Here's my take.

Shark Inlet said > Face it, the post-recall board had an agenda to push and they pushed it as far as they could.

And that's a fault? I don't deny the post-recall CSD made some, uh, less than perfect decisions. Still, they were elected with a mandate to make many - if not most, possibly all - of those decisions. We elected them to push! Isn't that what a mandate means? Get real. I ask you. Who, immediately following the recall election, believed the newly elected board members were elected to continue with what the previous board had left them? I don't think so. They did what they were elected to do. Shut it down. Stop and re-evaluate. And that's exactly what they did. And yes there are costs associated with that. Tough. That's just the way it is. That's how we voted. And now you want to second guess their decisions and blame them?

I try to place myself in their shoes. Not just their shoes but in the shoes of all the CSD representatives (both pre- and post-recall boards). After all, they are citizens just like me. And you. But they chose to step forward and serve. That right there - pending any appearance of legal impropriety - gives 'em all one Get Out of Jail card. So I ask myself how would I - and you must ask yourself how would you - have made decisions in real time? And that's where the rub comes in. Without going through every little nit of history of each board I gotta say I wouldn't have supported some of the key decisions of the pre-recall board. Especially their end game. And I can't fault - given their mandate - most of the decisions of post-recall board. Please note, the pre-recall board had years to work their stuff. Many twists and turns and in's and out's and what did it get us? Simply put, not much. (Read: Nothing. Hence the successful recall election.) The post-recall board had only days to undo what took years to craft. Thus I fault the pre-recall board for getting us into the situation. And can only wish the post-recall board could have found a better way through the mess they inherited. So, do they share equally in fault?

Parsing and assigning fault doesn't accomplish much except to spawn endless blog comments. But haven't we discussed this before? More than once?

I'm sure all of this can be perceived differently. It's all in where you stand. But what do you think the recall election was all about? What do you think we were voting for? For better or worse the post-recall board did what they were elected to do.

Shark & Maria, in harmony > ... many many governmental agencies dropped the ball and all made decisions with unintended consequences. That you are unwilling to grant grace to the early LOCSD boardmembers and unwilling to scrutinize the actions of the post-recall LOCSD boardmembers essentially tells us of your bias.

They should be granted grace. Except where there is appearance of misconduct, misfeasance or hidden agendas. And I think this is what Ron's been reporting on. Granted, he tends to drive his point hard. Over and over and over again. But who else was reporting on this? Give me two names. Hell, give me one name. Ron has uncovered so much S*** and exposed so many lies and agendas I hate to think how ignorant we would be without his reporting. Ya might not like his style but ya gotta appreciate at least some of his content. Maybe not all of it. But sometimes ya gotta taste some bitter to get the fruit. And yeah, he has a bias. Don't we all?

Watershed Mark said...

No stomach for the sport, 13?

Sewertoons said...

*pg-13 said:
"We elected them to push!"

Yes, but what got them elected? $100/$154 out of town! Cheaper than the proposed $200. Something even they knew they couldn't deliver on. They had NO PLAN, (as Lisa stated at the December '05 Water Board hearing), yet they got elected on it.

*pg-13 - " Please note, the pre-recall board had years to work their stuff. "

Yes, but there was a gun to their head every step of the way courtesy of the Water Board.

Now that the interesting news about Julie's relationship to Jeff had surfaced, and we all know Jeff has wanted Tri-W for ages… well, wouldn't it just be possible that Tri-W should be made to LOOK like a horrible plant location, so it could be later sold to - Jeff! (At least that didn't work, although it was tried.) Appearances you say? Hidden agendas?

Shark Inlet said...

PG,

The recall was quite close ... by no means a mandate. That being said, the recall candidates ... who ran on a platform of listening to everyone before making any decisions ... simply didn't.

As I've mentioned before, they won the recall by promising us better and cheaper. If it was wrong in 1998 to promise $38/month, it was wrong in 2005 to promise $100/month. (Some would even argue that it was even more in error because the there was never any plan shown to the public that would justify that figure.)

On Ron's insight ... I would be a lot more willing to agree with you if he were even handed. To focus on only the bad in one side is to present an inherently biased viewpoint.

Ugh!

Spectator said...

To PG-13:

Panama is protected from Columbia by 50 miles of impossible terrible jungle with high mountains. In addition there are green berets undergoing jungle training, and not too happy about it. To get into Panama you must take a ferry from Cartahena. The ocean waters are patroled by the DEA of the US, to stop drugs, and assissted by the US Coast guard by treaty.

You will notice that there are no illegal Costa Ricans or Panamanians slipping into the US or other countries.

As far as the infant mortality factor is concerned, I could only venture a guess, and that it lies in isolated areas, and primarily is with the indiginous.

As to education, grade school is mandatory, and a catholic education. The illiteracy rate is very low. You should see the kids going to school in their clean uniforms. They are taught English and Spanish in the schools.

To ANN: The comments that I referred to were in PG-13's link to a Panamanian blog.

And to Ron and the rest trying to affix blame for the sewer mess, there is plenty to go around, and it starts with those who live here never wanting to PAY for a sewer, any sewer, feeling that it was not needed, or would lead to growth.

Today I received an email from McPherson, a survey I could not fill out due to the WORD format. It should have been sent in ASCII. Of course it was searching for opinions on unresolved questions about unresolved issues.

The survey was seeking discussion points on stuff that certainly has been discussed to death in the past. The same way things keep being discussed here on this blog. Over, and Over, and OVER again. More stirring of the pot. Rubbish! Time to look forward when a project has been decided. Of course, any project will be picked to death if possible, but $900 a month threatened by the CCRWQCB for a discharge permit is stark warning that something must be done. Time to support the county process while being vigilent as to the process.

Watershed Mark said...

Facts are stubborn things.

Can't handle the debate? I don't blame you, Ron is a "Great White" and would eat you and Shark Inlet alive on the facts.

It has got to be a difficult put on a "gag" from the closet. MIKE, Shark, 13? That "bit" is tired.

At least toons has a profile...

With few perceived negative consequences, anonymous or semi-anonymous forums often provide a soapbox for disruptive conversational behavior. Some people[attribution needed] label those who do this online as Internet trolls.

Relative anonymity is often enjoyed in large crowds. Different people have different psychological and philosophical reactions to this development, especially as a modern phenomenon. This anonymity is an important factor in crowd psychology.

Question: How does a taxpayer funded agency (WaterBoard) fining another taxpayer entity (the prison) for the failure of a WaterBoard approved system help to prevent from future failure?

Question: Where is the incentive if those responsible (WaterBoard & Prison) never run out of taxpayer money?

Questions: How recent was the the up-grade? Who engineered it? Who built it? What about the warranty? Where is the accountabilty?

Question: Who are the "water officials" by agency and by name?

Speaking of Clowns;

-the TAC is part of the process that "belongs" to us all, even you.

Gags, bits and business
"Business" is the individual motions the clown uses, often used to express the clown's character. A "gag" is a very short piece of clown comedy which when repeated within a bit or routine may become a "running gag". Gags may be loosely defined as "the jokes clowns play on each other". Bits are the clown's sketches or routines made up of one or more gags either worked out and timed before going on stage or impromptu bits composed of familiar improvisational material. A gag may have a beginning, a middle and an end to them, or they may not. Gags can also refer to the prop stunts/tricks or the stunts that clowns use, such as a squirting flower.

Facts are stubborn things.

Watershed Mark said...

Time to support the county process while being vigilent as to the process.

Sorry Jon, impossible to do both...

Panama would be very different if not for the the ugly, crappy, terrible US..so much so you probably wouldn't want to live there...hmmm

Mike said...

"...the ugly, crappy, terrible US."

Pathetic Mark! Take your sorry butt to some country that will appreciate you for the slime you really are!!!

Churadogs said...

Maria sez:"Ann, how do you suggest we pull all the stories together and do you believe we'll find one truth?"

Actually, I think this "story" is relatively straightforward and simple. Especially if you focus on certain key points and ask some simple key basic questions.

You apparently don't think I "get" the Process. Believe me, I do "get it." Which is why I think this "story" IS quite simple. No need for some long complicated history, just a handful of dates, data, documents, formal decisions at key points, will 'splain WHAT happened. WHY may well get off into personalities, human nature and a whole raft of tangled issues. You mention people who made key decisions at key times. The "why" may be clear and logical or that "why" may fall into a tangle of personal motives, where things get murkier. But the WHAT is relatively simple but it still does demand honesty.

Mike said...

Do you think Tacker has been "honest" in this whole process?

Shark Inlet said...

But Ann,

Don't you think the process is tainted when folks run on campaigns promising something they can't deliver and when lawsuits which will possibly have great costs to our community are presented as if they won't cost anything?

Watershed Mark said...

Pathetic Mark! Take your sorry butt to some country that will appreciate you for the slime you really are!!!
Mike, relax- its called "sarcasim".
The USA is the greatest Nation on God's Green Earth Brother..Bar NONE.

Los Osos will be the Silicon Valley of Water RECLAMATION. Think World Visionary here...

Sewertoons said...

mark, your not having been on this blog long enough is demonstrated by your statement, "Ron is a "Great White" and would eat you and Shark Inlet alive on the facts."

Not true. shark in particular, has poked holes in ron's arguments and "facts" on numerous occasions, and has never been trumped. shark knows his facts, whether you like it or not, and is not afraid to become a "shark" in arguments with ron.

Shark Inlet said...

The sort of holes in Ron's arguments tend to be based on assumptions. For example, the lack of documented evidence to support a SOC that claims public support for TriW doesn't mean that TriW wasn't supported by the majority in the 2001-2004 timeframe. Furthermore, Ron presumes that if the CCC staff hadn't "trusted Pandora" they would have not approved the TriW CDP. That the staff argued against CCLO's CDP revocation request in 2004 would argue that they felt comfortable with their original decision even with the best arguments to date against TriW. That Ron tells us his new SOC argument wasn't considered just means at worst that his side didn't play their cards right. We shouldn't assume (as he does) that saying "they didn't conduct a survey" means that the CDP should not have been issued in the first place.

Essentially the overlapping jurisdictions of County, CCC and RWQCB make this project a permitting challenge. The challenge is further complicated by Federal and State laws governing Ag land, wetlands and the like.

Simply put, finding one law or rule which is presumably violated by a possible project doesn't mean that it isn't the best project or that the alternatives would be any more likely to follow all laws and regs.

Back in the day (2001), the LOCSD picked a site based on preliminary work which showed downtown to be cheaper than other possibilities. The public at the time was generally favorable to that position. Those who proposed the downtown location were re-elected and the 2001 bond verifies property owner support (in particular) for the site.

The process was followed until we hit 2005. Ron and others were angry that they didn't get their way so they claimed the process was flawed.

Watershed Mark said...

Toons: The only holes I am concerned with at this momment are the ones the County's Study Process and TAC are attempting "NOW" to poke into the water supply and budgets of the citizens on LO/BP.

There is plenty of time for the oppourtunity to "strech out the hide" to look for imperfestions and defects.

Focusing on what is important ?NOW" is important "NOW".

Longevity of "blog" aside...let the debate "begin"!

Watershed Mark said...

Essentially the overlapping jurisdictions of County, CCC and RWQCB make this project a permitting challenge. The challenge is further complicated by Federal and State laws governing Ag land, wetlands and the like.

Simply put, finding one law or rule which is presumably violated by a possible project doesn't mean that it isn't the best project or that the alternatives would be any more likely to follow all laws and regs.

Shark: I hope you are not condoning violating the Laws of the United States. Federal Law has supremacy unless there is a more stringent law. The LOSTDEP RECLAMATOR Solution is "ultra compliant" with everything on the table. So by defintion if there are no ther technologies that compare, by defintion it is "best".


I wish you luck in the debate, I really do.

Shark Inlet said...

Mark,

Here's the funny thing about that "debate" that Ron says he wants to have. He wants to control which issues are allowable and which are not. Once I make it clear that I am interested in discussing the actions of the post recall board he seems no longer interested at all.

I can't blame him. I am not interested in debating the actions of the solutions group.


As for your contention that your product is not something the RWQCB has any regulatory power over ... won't we need to see what a court says on that matter? After all, if you claim that but the RWQCB is telling us that we can't use onsite systems to avoid connecting to a sewer, we're being told two different things that are incompatible.

Once you've convinced a judge (and the appellate court if necessary) that you are in the right, get back to us. Until I know that I have another realistic option, I'll pursue the one that seems the cheapest in the long run and I'll argue with anyone who ... because they have a "better system" or "magic sand" or whatever ... are advocating for a delay in the process. Simply put, delay has always raised our costs in the past ... I see no reason to believe now that it will suddenly lower them.

Watershed Mark said...

Waiting for legally compliant technology has saved the citizens tens of millions of dollars.

I understand your wanting "consensus" among regulators and courts and you should have it.

We are working with "government". I'll promulgate develpoments as they become available... We are anxious to begin work that will stop the septic tank discharges which are the subject of 83-13, CDO's and NOV's.

I know the CCRWQCB is interested in eliminating the discharges as that is their duty, by statute.

Perhaps "everyone" is paying closer attention to what is happening now, so that the mistakes made in the past, perceived or real, will be avoided, this time around.

Ultra filtration membrane compatable technology as embodied in the RECLAMATOR has changed the way the society will handle its human activity waste issue.

Citizens of Los Osos-Baywood Park,
from obstructionists to world visionaries.

Sewertoons said...

mark - should your working with "government" not come out the way you expect, will you leave Los Osos?

Watershed Mark said...

I Love Los Osos. Why wouldn't the government follow the law?

Watershed Mark said...

I Love Los Osos. Why wouldn't the government follow the law?

Sewertoons said...

Your "interpretation of the law" may not be universal. So - will you leave?

Watershed Mark said...

No. I Love L.O. to the tune of Randy Newman's I Love L.A.- WE LOVE IT!

Don't you wish everyone, especially those in government were this available and responsive?

I do... I love L.O.