The following survey came in via email from a PZLDF list-serve member. It was an informal compilation of questions concerning the Wastewater Project. As a general list of Things To Look For, Things To Keep In Mind, Things To Do, it's a good start. If you have any others, do add them. Some of the comments will be good to keep in mind and maybe bring to any public input sessions in the form of a question or two.
The Los Osos Wastewater Project
If you were to give the County a "report card" on the effort to date, what overall grade would you give them to date? (A-F)
The score is from 1-10, with ten the highest, please answer the following questions or statements.
Feel free to add comments
Has the County been true to the mission stated for the project?
Is the Los Osos project schedule realistic?
Is the project on schedule?
Is the Outreach achieving the goal of community participation?
Is the letter and spirit of 2701 being fulfilled?
Are all options being fully vetted?
Will the project be affordable for you?
Is the project funded correctly and adequately?
Are you in favor of private funding if the long term costs prove to be favorable?
Will the water resource and conversation goals be likely met?
Is the timing of a transfer to the County after 2008 appropriate?
Do you support the expenses and budget for the preliminary effort to date?
Do you have confidence that the EIR and other due-diligence tasks are being handled correctly?
What level of confidence do you have that the project will be completed by the County?
What level of confidence do you have that the project will be completed by the CDO enforcement deadline of 2011?
Do you believe that the water board will work cooperatively with the Los Osos project?
I haven't a clue what is happening and need more information from the County.
Did you approve of the TRI W site?
Do you support "Design-Build" for project delivery?
If the Bids for the project come in higher than budgeted, will you support an increase in your assessment?
A system that uses on-lot tanks as part of the collection system (similar to a septic tank) is ok if it provides the best value, lowest cost.
I would not under any circumstances want to have a tank on-lot. Even if it is lower cost.
I have received a notice of violation and I am concerned that I could have enforcement order on my home.
I am participating in the County process, and satisfied with the way the project is going.
I plan to move from Los Osos before the project is delivered.
Recovery 101, Part Tres or Quatro
The De Vaul Ranch Saga continues. As the Tribune reports today, after the County code enforcement folks offically shut down the non-permitted "barn," the folks staying at the ranch moved out into tents near Los Osos Valley Road. They camped out there last time this issue came to a head and the placement of the tents and cots, in an unprotected, windy spot, made me wonder if folks were concerned with safety and well-being or making a public, political, in-your-face statement. After all, it would have made more sens to me to locate the tents and cots back in the lee of the trees or condemned 'barn." But then, so much of this ongoing battle has always been about "in your face" posturing, so the Tent City is now perfectly placed for maximum irritation aimed at the folks living in their expensive ranchette homes across the street, who have complainted that the de Vaul ranch in general is a blight upon their beautiful views, and a likely eyesore to all the motorists passing by who will have to ask, Hey, what's going on, and then go on to pepper their Supervisors with questions and comments .
What's gone missing in this dust-up, of course, are the actual people involved. For the most part, they're homelss, recovering addicts or alcoholics, with a few convicted sex-offenders thrown in for good measure. Since the county is not addressing their housing needs, the question remains: Are they and the community better served by having them staying on the ranch where they can get minimal shelter, some kind of coherent organized food supply and group support while they try to get their lives together? And the sex offenders would be a known quantity under close scrutiny of the police, rather than being scattered to the winds, who knows where, throughout the community. Or would the community be better served having these folks sleeping along the creeks or in county parks or other odd out-of-the way spots, under no supervision and with not even minimum group supervision and support?
Meantime, here's another question. Leaving the housing issue aside, does the de Vaul ranch have sufficient zoning leeway to allow for a group to set up a non-profit operation much the way Growing Grounds has? They're an amazing non-profit sheltered-workshop type program that helps people in recovery from mental illness, teaching them new skills and giving them real, honest to god paid work at a productive job growing plants for sale at nurseries throughout the county. Could something like that work at de Vaul's place? Recovering "employees" would commit to the program of sobriety and work at growing and selling specialty crops, seedling nursery plants, prepare and sell wine cask barrel planters, sell firewood & etc, with profits being used to pay "salaries," and if necessary, meals. Could such a business, properly run, serve as a basis for a practical, real, serious, "recovery" program, one that had as it's end-game, reintigration into society, not just a slightly nicer permanent homeless encampment.
Just a thought. Of course, the harsh reality is that no working ranch surrounded by encroaching million-dollar ranchettes and under tremendous pressure for other upscale future developments will remain a working ranch for long because working ranches are always "unsightly" and messy and have the potential to annoy the neighbors at different times of the season. It's the nature of the beast. So the clock is ticking on that property, one way or the other.
As public theatre, the de Vaul saga has been amusing. As real, on-the-ground human drama, it's not funny at all and remains a tough problem for this county and this country: What shall we do for people who can't or perhaps won't care for themselves?
Anatole France once savagely and satirically observed, "The Law in its majestic equality forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and steal bread." That quote ranks right up there with the thinking that people have a "right" to be mentally ill, as if that were a soberly-considered, competently and logically-made"lifestyle" choice, instead of a dangerous blade that can cut lives to the ground with swift indifferent strokes.