Here We Go Again, or Los Ososology, Redux
As mentioned here previously, the RWQCB is working on a “Stealth” onsite wastewater systems basin plan amendment (0005 & 0006) and, surprise! public comment ends April 7th. (I know, betcha didn’t know anything about it, did you? That's why I call it "stealth." Clueless public. So if you lived outside the Los Osos PZ, or lived in Shandon or Santa Margarita (poor Ron Crawford over at www.sewerwatch.blogspot.com is having nighmares now) and will wake up a few years down the road to find all kinds of Los Ososological (Ron's term that I'm happily filtching) things coming at you and you say, “What the. . . .????” but it will be too late --- hahahahahahah – so you’ll have to call your lawyer and then it’ll be more Mad Hatter Tea Parties & Torquemada’s Auto de Fes all over again. Sigh.)
By the way, the County WRAC (Water Resources Advisory Committee) will be meeting Wednesday, April 2, 2008, 1:30 pm – 3 pm. in the city/county Library Community Room on 995 Palm St., SLOTown if you want to comment to them on item #4, Proposed Changes to the Basin Plan.
You can also send comments to the RWQCB before April 7th. And attend the May 9th meeting on Aerovista Pl., SLOTown. Not that it will do a lick of good.
The following is my Public Comment on this new Stealth Amendment:
Regional Water quality Control Board
Central Coast Region
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93402
Chairman Young & Board
Re: Public Comment on R-3-2008-0005 & 0006 Onsite Wastewater Systems Basin Plan Amendment
The proposed revision to the Basin Plan criteria and waiver for onsite systems appears to include citizens living in Shandon, Tempelton, Santa Margarita, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo as well as Los Osos. To my knowledge, these citizens have no clue this Resolution is under consideration, even though they and their property will be directly affected by its laws.
While this revision has been quietly circulating among various governmental agencies, to my knowledge, no individual citizens whose property will be affected by this has even received so much as a postcard of any hearings, or town hall informational meetings as to just what this proposal entails, or ways to access the revision or when and how to properly submit public input.
(This public media silence is especially puzzling considering the skillful and close way the RWQCB has always worked with the Tribune to get their “facts” and point of view out. In this case, there’s been dead silence in the media. Why?)
That’s another reason that what I see going on here is another "Stealth Resolution," one that quietly skates by on fulfilling the technical letter of the law while missing its spirit entirely. Public comment is supposed to actually include the PUBLIC, not just a quick, cursory run-by past a few governmental agencies and some buried public notices. A brief informal quizzing of a few members of the Los Osos "public" -- a "public" that is far more informed about all things "onsite" than anyone living in Shandon, for example, -- tells me that folks living outsize the PZ out here, who will also be directly impacted by this resolution, don't know anything about it at all.
Therefore, I have to protest this process and request that you hold off on voting on this draft until you can set up a procedure to at least send out postcards to all "the public" that will be impacted by this (i.e. all the septic tank permit holders throughout the county) so they actually are given an opportunity to get informed and make their public comments. After all, it’s their property and their lives that will be impacted the most.
Apparently, you folks learned nothing from your costly Los Osos fiasco. An informed, educated "public" is your ally, not your enemy, to be skirted around with stealth proposals. Yes, a lot of public comment is silly and wastes time, but a lot is -- again -- actually valuable and can often prevent costly blunders later down the line. And spending time on the front end of public policy always saves a whole lot of time -- and lawsuits -- on the back end.