Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Gone MissingVille

Yesterday, got a packet of info from the RWQCB concerning their upcoming meeting Sept 4-5 for a Los Osos Wastewater update. Included in it was a nifty little pie chart and bar graph to the County’s recent “spin” mailer concerning the STEP questionnaires. I say “spin” because the county’s questionnaire had one key thing missing – cost comparisons – which made the data returned suspect. I mean, how can you approve or disapprove of something when you have no idea what it will cost in comparison to something else?

But here’s what the RWQCB labeled “Exhibit “D,” that I’d label The Smoking Gun:

Of 4,200 STEP Questionaires sent out, 1726 or 42% were never returned. While 288 or 7% had no preference answer, so they’d fall into the category of, Uh, Have No Idea What Their Opinion Is, which makes for a grand total of 49% of this community that was out to lunch on the most important issue their community faces. Gone missing.

Of the rest, 9% strongly support STEP, 8% somewhat support, 4% somewhat oppose, 16 % strongly oppose and 14% are undecided. All “opinions,” of course, based on critically missing information.

So it will be interesting to see how those numbers change when the EIR and final costs come out. Will the Strongly opposed and Somewhat Opposers suddenly see the light if it turns out STEP turns out to be waaaaayyyy cheaper than gravity? Will the Undecideds sudden decide that, aw heck, they’ll go with whatever system is more expensive? Or less expensive? Will the county’s final report also have critically missing information?

Well, here in NowhereVille, where over 42% of the citizenry are permanently out to lunch or have moved to France, the answer is, as always: Stay Tuned.

And Now, From The Land of Duh

All over the country, college presidents are pushing to have a national discussion about lowering the drinking age to 18 because they’re all concerned about binge drinking among underage college kids. Oh, and also binge drinking among of-age college kids as well.

So, here, apparently, is the logic. Many college kids under the age of 21 regularly risk jail time, death on the highway from DUI, arrest for DUI, a permanently screwed up record that could haunt them or even ruin up their whole future careers, Mom & Dad’s fury, possible expulsion from college in order to get hammered out of their skulls.

College presidents think that lowering the drinking age so that 18 year-olds can legally drink will help the situation. It will certainly help the student in question by REMOVING one risk – arrest for underage drinking – while leaving all the others in place. And that will solve the problem of college kids getting hammered out of their skulls.

What am I missing here?

Called the Amethyst Initiative, which is taken from the ancient Greek belief that, what? Plunking an amethyst stone in your cup would prevent you from getting drunk? Which, as everyone knows, works amazingly well, now doesn’t it? And the whole idea is that if you lower the drinking age, you can somehow create a culture of responsible drinking since the underage kids wouldn’t have to sneak around, they could have kegger parties right out in the open. Like they do now. But they wouldn’t have to get hammered because their drinking would be legal.

Again, what am I missing here?

We live in an alcohol/drug culture. This Bud’s for YOU. Can’t have a “good time” unless you’re drinking. Mummy & Daddy having a stressful life? Well, just hoist a few, pop a few pills, no problema. The national ad campaigns say “Drink Responsibly,” instead of “Why do you need to ingest a harmful, mood-altering, dangerous drug into your body and brain in the first place?”

It’s considered weird to have a special event – art show opening, concert, special charitable benefit – without offering a drug to people who apparently can’t do without it long enough to view some paintings, listen to some music or donate money to a good cause. And for many kids, a party isn’t a party unless you’ve vomited in the rose bushes, peed on some neighbor’s lawn and passed out in your dorm room. Comes with the territory of being an 18-year-old in a Drunk/Drug culture.

So until this culture faces its own actions and examines a set of very powerful cultural messages concerning the use of mind-mood-body-altering “drugs,” kids will watch and listen and learn and emulate. Legal or not.


Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

An acquaintance told me she tried to be diligent in getting the county to correct what she termed the "digitally altered" aerial view of her property, as well as provide her some information on the proposed cost of the system before deciding which box to mark. She said she could get no assistance from county personnel, not even when speaking to a county wastewater team person directly. Rather than being asleep, ignoring the process, and merely "failing" to return the form, she said she deliberately refused to submit the form because she could not complete it properly based on the photo and the information she had.

Sewertoons said...

I'd be curious to know what these people who claim their aerial views are altered are comparing them to. Do they have some photo taken by someone? Is it a correctly angled photo, or just a view that they are used to?

I'm glad people are asking about cost. I hope they continue to ask - particularly about their own personal on-lot costs that they will not have 20 or 30 years to pay down, but will need to pay promptly.