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Monday, March 16, 2009

Mark Yer Calendars

In a March 15 Tribune Viewpoint by Paavo Ogren, county Public Works director and Mark Hutchinson, county Environmental Division manager, there will be a special session presented by The San Luis Obispo County Water Resources Advisory Committee (WRAC) on April 4, Saturday, starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Supervisors Chambers in SLO. The meeting will discuss "the relationship between the county's wastewater efforts and the water managment efforts of the community water purveyors."

Which, of course, is a key, critical element in solving the sewer issue. And is why I hope all the Sewer Warriors will plan to attend and take notes and ask questions, if that's part of the presentation.

40 comments:

Watershed Mark said...

Water Jobs

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"In a March 15 Tribune Viewpoint by Paavo Ogren, county Public Works director and Mark Hutchinson..."

Also in their Viewpoint, Ogren and Hutchinson are extremely critical, for VERY good reasons, about that recent hack piece that appeared in the Trib last week by Morgan Rafferty and Jackie Crabb, titled, County should rethink its choice for sewer site.

What a friggin' joke.

Look what they wrote:

"... why doesn’t the county compare the cost of a project closer to town on a much smaller site?"

Really, Morgy and Jackie? Pray thee tell... what "project closer to town on a much smaller site" did you have in mind?

Allow me to take a guess: the EXACT "project closer to town on a much smaller site" that Morgan Rafferty's close friend, recalled CSD Director, Gordon Hensley, wasted over $20 million and five years developing -- the wildly unpopular, technically embarrassing, middle-of-town "sewer park" at the Tri-W site?

Un-f##king-believable.

A quick, 5-second Google search shows that ol' Morgy and ol' Gordy have some very close ties.

They've shown up on Dave Congalton's radio show together, they've met with Coastal Commissioners together... why, they're just regular BFFs.

Yep, I guess ol' Gordo realizes that if HE does something stupid these days, SewerWatch will catch him, and, of course, report on it. So, I guess he's now getting his "friends" to do his dirty work.

"Morgan Rafferty is the executive director of the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County."

I used to respect the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County. Not anymore.

Nice job, Morgy.

Morg, you f-d up. You listened to the Gordon Hensley/Nash-Karner types. ENORMUNGUS mistake!

When will they ever learn?

Sewertoons said...

Um, ron, they meant the Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetery site. That is the preferred "enviro" groups location these days. Sorry - wrong.

Ron said...

Um, 'toons, I'm sure the executive director of the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County appreciates an anonaloser with a handle of "Sewertoons" speaking for her in a public forum, but if Rafferty and Crabb meant "Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetery sites," then why didn't they write "Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetery sites" in their Viewpoint?

And if "Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetery sites" are the preferred "enviro" groups location these days," does that mean that "enviro" "Coastkeeper" (and close friend of Rafferty), Gordon Hensley now prefers the "Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetery sites" over the Tri-W site... that he wasted over $20 million and five years developing, or are he and his BFF not on the same page on that tiny, minor, little point?

Good questions, huh?

Shark Inlet (a.k.a. Stiv Neener) said...

Ron,

It is sad that rather than reading and thinking carefully, you are so quick to jump to incorrect conclusions.

It is almost as if someone doesn't come out with a screed against TriW Ron views them as favoring TriW. Where, oh where, did Rafferty and Crabb say that TriW was to be preferred?

Only in Ron's conspiracy theorist mind has Gordon and Pandora somehow contacted Rafferty and Crabb and told them what to believe.

Sewertoons said...

ron, you don't attend the many (--or any!) meetings here that deal with this issue, so I will give you the benefit of a doubt. They "enviro" group I refer to is the vocal one at the BOS meetings - the Los Osos Sustainability Group --claiming that the water is not over our aquifers at Tonini.

To avoid confusion, all three sites would be needed for the County's project, Cemetery, Giacomazzi AND Branin.

Perhaps you missed Mr. Branin's letter-to-the-editor on Sunday? He states with some authority - as his land is being discussed - that one of the sites, Branin, indeed does produce crops and is prime ag land. It borders Warden lake -- 30 acres of habitat for migratory birds and fish, plus the filtering it does to the water headed to Morro Bay.

So - just HOW environmental or ag conscious do you want to be? I wonder how Rafferty and Crabb missed these environmental issues?

Ms. Rafferty and Ms. Crabb are proposing to put the extra costs for all that they want included in the project onto the backs of the PZ homeowners, rather than split the water issues off onto the rate payers of the entire area off the water purveyors rates. This is being done anyway with the work going on with the participants in the ISJ.

Also, careful reading shows the words, "closer to Los Osos" and "closer to town." Do you think they may have said "in town" if that is what they meant? If someone told them "what to believe" it sure wasn't Gordon. Or the County either, for that matter.

Ron said...

TO: SLO COASTKEEPER

From: SewerWatch

Subject: Journalist with SLO COASTKEEPER questions, please

Dear SLO COASTKEEPER,

I'm an independent journalist based in SLO County, and I'm working on a story that involves SLO COASTKEEPER, and I was hoping you could answer a quick question for me, please.

In recent weeks, since the release of the County's Draft EIR regarding the Los Osos wastewater project, I've heard several local environmental groups chime in on the best site location for the proposed treatment facility.

Here's my question:

Which site alternative does SLO COASTKEEPER, "a program of Environment in the Public Interest," support?

Thank you,
Ron

- - -

Before I go, upon further review...

I wrote:

"I used to respect the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo County. Not anymore."

That probably could've been worded better, but, anyhoot, what I meant, of course, was:

"I use to respect..."

(Some typos I can live with, some, not so much.)

Ron said...

To: Linda Sheehan, Executive Director, California Coastkeeper Alliance

From: SewerWatch

Subject: No Response from SLO Coastkeeper

Dear Mrs. Sheehan,

As a resident of San Luis Obispo County, I recently contacted the office of "San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper" to get a feel for which site location that office supports for a wastewater treatment facility that is currently being proposed by County officials in one of our local coastal communities (Los Osos), however, I've yet to receive a reply.

To date, several local environmental agencies have weighed in on this important matter, but not the SLO Coastkeeper's office.

On the SLO Coastkeeper's web site, it reads, "a program of Environment in the Public Interest."

Depending on where the proposed wastewater facility is constructed, the "Environment" will be impacted in a variety of ways, so its final location is definitely of "Public" "Interest," therefore, I'm very interested in your organization's thoughts on the matter.

Since I'm having such a difficult time getting an answer to this extremely important environmental question from SLO Coastkeeper, I was hoping, perhaps, that your office could look into this matter, and supply me with an answer to the question I asked SLO Coastkeeper:

- - -
In recent weeks, since the release of the County's Draft EIR regarding the Los Osos wastewater project, I've heard several local environmental groups chime in on the best site location for the proposed treatment facility.

Here's my question:

Which site alternative does SLO COASTKEEPER, "a program of Environment in the Public Interest," support?
- - -

If you have any questions, please just ask.

Thank you in advance for your prompt reply.

Ron

Ron said...

And, in less than 10 minutes, I get this excellent response from Sheehan,

"Thank you for your email. I'm not certain of the exact position of SLO Coastkeeper on that matter, but I will email Gordon and see if I can facilitate a reply to your question.

Best,
Linda Sheehan"


Can't wait to hear what SLO Coastkeeper's "exact position" is on the matter.

Watershed Mark said...

On the other hand...

If the county “is” considering tertiary how come the DEIR and supporting memorandums don’t support “that?”

Among numerous errors, the Viewpoint incorrectly asserts: 1) that the wastewater project does “nothing” for the community’s water problems; 2) that prime agricultural land will be removed from productivity without consideration of whether feasible alternatives exist (an evaluation required by the California Coastal Act); 3) that the county is not considering “tertiary” treatment; and 4) that the visual impacts of a 32 acre “industrial site” would conflict with the county’s viewshed policies.

The Farm Bureau especially would be wise to understand that these coordinated efforts significantly reduce the chances that the Los Osos urban groundwater litigation will spread to adjacent agricultural areas just as the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin litigation (initiated in Santa Barbara County) spread to urban and agricultural areas in San Luis Obispo County as far north as the five-cities and the base of Lopez dam.

Is there any real data on the PZ? How many people have low flow fixtures?
How about their median house hold income? The last census was in 2001 and it was for all of Los Osos. I was unaware that an EIR could be based upon assumption, guess work and hope. Why should we buy 600 plus acres when we need less than a tenth of that for a treatment
facility? Are we to become the sludge facility for the County? And why would we pay 25 million for secondary treatment, which would create abundant sludge, when we could have tertiary ponds for 13 million or bio membrane tertiary treatment for 9 million with minimal to no sludge? Why was Carollo’s re-use element for their Petaluma project not examined for use here? How about Ag exchange? Why has that not been investigated? There are plenty of farmers locally who would gladly use our treated effluent instead of pumping from wells. We have contacted them. We have also come up with sound plans for balancing the basin, through a real conservation plan and have been ignored. Why? All of this; conservation plans, ag exchange, inexpensive tertiary treatment options, inexpensive and environmentally sound vacuum collection, STEG cluster systems, have all been submitted to the County. Where are they?


Good DEIR questions, I am looking forward to some very thoughtful DEIR responses given the additional $286,000.0 asked for Michael Brandman and approved by the BOS.

Watershed Mark said...

I am looking forward to some very thoughtful DEIR responses given the additional $286,000.00 asked for by Michael Brandman and approved by the BOS.

Mike said...

Hey Ron... After the "stuff" you have written, are you so stupid that you would even think Mr. Hensley, or anyone else that you have attempted to "expose" with your yellow muck raking, would even read, much less respond to you...???

I guess you really are that stupid...!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why haven't you done your "investigative reporting" on Gail McPherson....????

Watershed Mark said...

Don't forget Mr. Dean(I forgot his last name).

Churadogs said...

Some good questions raised here. Hope you'll all plan to attend the WRAC hearing on the 4th and see what's presented. Hopefully there will be time for Q&A and if not at least you can formulate some questions. The really serious game is afoot in the "water" part of "wastewater."

Aaron said...

Joyce Albright posted a viewpoint in The Tribune today, which you can see here.

Taxpayers Watch, you need a new spokesperson.

1. Recall was in 2005, not 1995.

2. Gravity is collection, not treatment as it was referred to in the viewpoint.

3. Mr. Cesena is not wholly responsible for this problem. Every board member post-recall has shared accountability.

Know your target. Know your facts.

Mike said...

Hmmm... I don't know who made the typo, Ms.Albright or the Tribune... but the intent of her message is certainly plain to read...

Aaron is correct in that Chuck was the only name listed, but it is clear enough to understand... "Every board member post-recall has shared accountability."

...and Aaron, there has been to this day, no accountability by the CSD5 to date, although Taxpayers Watch is patiently working within the legal system to finally bring the post recall Directors to community wide accountablity... and return some $2,000,000 to the District...

Aaron, I make as many typo's as anyone, maybe more... but rather than nitpik the small stuff, I try to understand the whole picture... You may become a leader some day, try to avoid the micro-management trap...

Richard LeGros said...

Hi Aaron and Mike,

Just a clarification.

Today's viewpoint by Joyce Albright was providing only her personal opinion and not those of the Taxpayers Watch organization. The Tribune added the footnote suggesting that Joyce was acting as the 'spokesperson for Taxpayers Watch'; which was not her intention.

Taxpayers Watch sole purpose to have a judicial review of the in-office actions of CSD board members Tacker, Schicker, Fouche, Cesena and Senet.

-R

Aaron said...

Mike, I nitpick because I want the message to be clearer. I got the gist of what she said, no doubt about it, but when she says the recall happened in 1995 in the second paragraph, one could ask, "Does she really know what she's talking about?"

You get the idea. I'm not trying to micromanage.

Churadogs said...

Aaron's point is well taken. To that I would add that using meaningless phrases, such as the mantra "anti-sewer obstructionists" to describe whichever group of people you disagree with only stops thought and stops meaning and indicates, to me at least, that the person using such phrases isn't really paying attention to what's going on. They're just typing propaganda since they've clearly failed to denote that anti-sewer-obstructionist 1 is not anti-sewer-obstructionist 2 is not anti-sewer-obstructionst 3 and hence that phrase has no meaning. (Another hint: objecting or criticizing or asking questions about one or another sewer systems is NOT "obstructing." If it were, the entire TAC would be considered "anti-sewer-obstructionists" because members were constantly questioning, criticizing, objecting to, dismissing, selecting, etc. one system or another. That was their job, just like it's the citzens job to pay attention, ask questions, point out issues and problems, object to faulty proceedures & keep the Process honest and on track.

I also have to keep scratching my head over the repeated (here in this comment section and in various Viewpoints and letters to the editor) the constant appearance of the demand that "we just get on with it . . . stop delaying . . . get it done . . ." and so forth, like the county ISN'T moving ahead and HASN'T been moving ahead since it started this thing? To read these repeated, hand-wringing phrases (also meaningless mantras) one would conclude that the County's been sitting on their hands for the past couple of years doing nothing. In case anybody's not looking, the County isn't delaying a thing, they have been steadily, relentlessly, unstoppably moving forward. So, why the hand-wringing, like this was a eal issue? Just more fear mongering?

Sewertoons said...

Hmmm. What was the result of the recall - a sewer? Mere unintended consequences? (Remember, the Lisa Board refused doing the bridge loan and a 218 vote, yet bitterly complained of having no 218 and spent buckets on Ripley a few months later.)

What would you call Budd Sanford's threats?

On a smaller, more theatrical scale, what do you call shovel tossing?

If we go gravity and people people try to block that because they want step - what do you call that?

If the process winds us up back at Tri-W and people chain themselves to the fence what do you call that? (Although the fence might be gone if the present CSD is successful.)

If the process brings us to Giacomazzi, Branin, Cemetary and the Clark Valley Road people sue, what do you call that?

If the process brings us to Tonini and people sue because it is "too far away" what do you call that?

No, the County has just been extraordinarily skillful at defusing the obstructionists thus far. But they are still alive and well and looking for opportunity. We are at the prelude to the real event, which will occur when contractors and siting are selected.

Not fear mongering here Ann, just open eyes about to what has occurred in the past. 15 lawsuits the CSD dealt with didn't stop Tri-W from going ahead, but what was the result of that? No, the word "obstructionist" is very low on the list of fear mongering, the word "history" is at the top.

Questioning isn't obstructionism, threats are.

Realistic1 said...

"To that I would add that using meaningless phrases, such as the mantra "anti-sewer obstructionists" to describe whichever group of people you disagree with only stops thought and stops meaning and indicates, to me at least, that the person using such phrases isn't really paying attention to what's going on."

OMG, Ann.

You mean meaningless phrases like "stealth update"?

Practice what you preach.

Aaron said...

I have a better idea of what "obstructionist" means since I've been talking to a few TW supporters about it. I think Joyce is referring to "obstructionists" as those who file lawsuits to delay construction of the WWTF, not those who simply criticize it.

However, this mantra of "anti-sewer obstructionists" typecasts dissent because not everyone is "anti-sewer" and not everyone is an "obstructionist." When people like Joyce point out the obstructionists, I can understand that, but don't overgeneralize and say that everyone who disagrees with you is one.

The County is not obstructing the process because they're not filing any lawsuits to hinder their own progress. They're in compliance with CEQA and AB2701, but I do think that the County should have been more forthright in proceeding with gravity if they knew all along that gravity collection would be the "signed, sealed and delivered" deal. A lot of time has passed and we can't afford to sit around anymore.

With that said, I don't believe that gravity collection is the best suited system for Los Osos, but at the same time, we cannot rely on STEP/STEG because the County has been very, very specific about their doubts for that technology being a part of the mix. Because of the rising costs, because it's going to be $400/month, we should be even more focused on finding affordable alternatives that really are sustainable. The buck should not stop at Carollo.

Sewertoons said...

Aaron, I keep hearing the $400/mo. costs. Is this for wastewater only OR wastewater and the water rate increases from water reuse by the purveyors combined?

The County was only trying to accommodate what the Community seemed to want. The people pushing step gave incomplete information about it, and as points came out that had been left out, support dropped away. Cost and on-lot impacts being foremost. I think the process brought us to the right conclusion, but the community needed to see it for itself, not have the County say - "Gravity, that's it, now shut-up."

But then, neither of us is wastewater experts. I only know what I DON'T want happening on my property. I don't see how the work that would be needed around here to restore things after step would be one bit cheaper to me.

And vacuum, sounds good in the sales talk - but where is the proof the RWQCB expects from us?

GetRealOsos said...

Hey Lynette,

How about testing the wells? We are right about at the drinking water standard (take away Sea Pines well and we'd be okay).

Why doesn't the RWQCB care about what's going on in Morro Bay? They ignore that. Fair, Firm & Consistent? Give us a break. They are in bed with Montgomery/Watson/Harza -- no two ways about it.

Vacuum would be affordable and fast, but the County refuses to really consider it because that's not what M/W/H does.

Give us a break Lynette.

Besides, you don't care about anyone not being able to afford the project, you compare homeowners to renters. You try to get people fired (your Taxpayers Watch people have been doing the same for years with anyone who doesn't want the M/W/H monster) so please don't act like you care about anyone but yourself!!

Mike said...

You are the biggest quack on this blog...absolutely no one goives a damn what you think because you have no credibility because of your made up "facts"...

There is nothing anyone can ever say that will satisfy your anger...so how about moving off to some place where you'll be happy...???? You really are going to have a stroke...!!! and you know where I stand on that subject... Q&F....

Aaron said...

To answer your question, Sewertoons, the $400/month is wastewater-only cost (which includes lateral hookup and decommissioning of the septic tanks). The $400/month figure has been confirmed by Paavo Ogren and the figure was mentioned by Richard LeGros. If we add the water rate increases from water reuse, that could skyrocket the total monthly cost for the homeowner.

A good chunk of the community doesn't want that, I assure you -- at least a part of the community that can't afford it.

Sewertoons said...

Connecting the lateral was around $2,000, as I recall on the last project. How long would it take to pay that off? I'm not sure about decommissioning - the latest talk is just cleaning the tank and using it for rainwater catchment and drainage through the leachfield (which might be optional). Or it could be just punching holes in the bottom and filling it with rocks. Don't know the cost on that, but a scoop of California Gold 7/16" pebbles runs $72.65. That is the nice stuff. Pea gravel is way cheaper. The labor to fill the tank? I don't know. Pumping is around $400.

Well, if Paavo is at the site field trip tomorrow, I'll try to ask him if he isn't swamped. I'd like to see that $400 broken down.

How is your vacuum system research going?

Churadogs said...

Lynette sez:"On a smaller, more theatrical scale, what do you call shovel tossing?"

Theatre.


aaron sez:"However, this mantra of "anti-sewer obstructionists" typecasts dissent because not everyone is "anti-sewer" and not everyone is an "obstructionist."

Thank you. Couldn't have said it better myself. By separating out real "obsruction" (filing a lawsuit stopping a project, peititioning LAFCO to dissovle the CSD, etc.) from "objection" (a recall designed not to stop a sewer but to move the sewer plant out of towwn, speaking at public forums, signing petitions, tossing shovels down, etc.)

Using "anti-sewer obstructionist" simply muddies the discussion and by lumping babies and bathwater difuses focus.

Realistic sez:"You mean meaningless phrases like "stealth update"?"

Uh, Realistic, did you get a post card from the RWQCB announcing the initial "input", public comments on the new Stealth Updates? No? How's about a flyer informing all steptic tank owners in the county what the proposed ordinance will do and cost? No? Read about it in the paper? No? Or maybe get a letter noticing you that when this gets passed, within the allotted, say, 30 days, you will not be able to challenge any of it EVER? No? That sounds like a basin-update (county-wide) that's pretty stealthy to me.

Mike sez, responding to Get Real Los Osos :"You are the biggest quack on this blog...absolutely no one goives a damn what you think because you have no credibility because of your made up "facts.

"There is nothing anyone can ever say that will satisfy your anger...so how about moving off to some place where you'll be happy...???? You really are going to have a stroke...!!! and you know where I stand on that subject... Q&F...."


Let's see. Mike is an "anonymous" poster with zip credibility. Anonymous posters should be viewed as "quacks" and everyone take them with a huge dose of salt. Mike often makes up "facts." And Mike is very very often an angry, juvenile, name-caller. Hmm,makes me wonder if "Mike" wrote that while looking into a mirror?

Shark Inlet (a.k.a. Stiv Neener) said...

I love how Ann defines the TW request to dissolve the LOCSD as being real obstruction but does not define the PZLDF lawsuit as such. Both, if successful, would result in delay by re-defining the rules of the game. How is one bad and the other not bad?

Ann seems to be someone who feels that the ends justify the means. This, plus her critical remarks about boards with people named Gordon and Richard but her lack of public concern about very questionable actions by boards with members named Chuck and Steve make us think that Ann may not be as much about process and building a sewer as she is about getting her way.

In the same way that Goebbels may have never killed any individual jews and while he never filed a lawsuit to stop a sewer, his words and actions led directly to Kristallnacht. How is encouraging actions which lead to delay in Los Osos but ... not actually filing a lawsuit ... not obstruction itself?

Realistic1 said...

No, Ann. I didn't get a little postcard.

But as a resident of Los Osos for nearly 20 years (and my family more than 30) I pay attention to what the Water Board is up to.

I read the legal notices in the paper and check the Regional Board's website regularly. I also watch the meetings on Channel 21. I take responsibility for keeping myself informed despite a more than full time job and familial obligations. I don't wait to be spoon fed information, especially at such a critical time in Los Osos.

Realistic1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Realistic1 said...

Another thought - I'm sure there are plenty of people, like yourself, who keep their own communities informed of the daily "stealth" activities of the Water Board. The people in those communities have a responsibility to stay informed, just like you are always preaching to the people of Los Osos.

Residents of other communities that may be affected by the Water Board's actions can read the same legal notices I do, so I don't feel compelled to worry about whether or not they know what the Water Board is up to.

Aaron said...

Lynette,

I'm done with the vacuum research for now. I think I've seen enough.

The $400/month stands.

Ed has a viewpoint in the Tribune today. Check it out!

Sewertoons said...

Hi Aaron,

Yes, I read the paper this AM. Well, my question was after reading it - what is the system Ed wants?

Are you going to write an article on vacuum?

Are you going on the Planning Commission tour? If so, see you there!

Aaron said...

I think it's best to e-mail Ed and ask him yourself. I think the answer is rather simple, but since it's Ed viewpoint, let Ed answer.

There won't be an article on vacuum for my blog because that medium is not a means of advocating technology. You may see something in The ROCK, you may not.

I'm not going to the Planning Commission tour. Let me know how it goes, though.

Sewertoons said...

Oops, sorry Aaron, I asked my same question on your blog because I read yours before Ann's.

I want the answer to be in public though - is there a blog on the ROCK?

Well, OK, you have offered us opinion here, I quote you, " I don't believe that gravity collection is the best suited system for Los Osos." What, in your opinion, IS best? You have gone through a bunch of info on vacuum, and I believe you are a thorough researcher. No article then, but what is your opinion? Is it as great as certain community members claim?

The Planning Commission tour was really very informative, I took a zillion notes but the wind was blowing so hard my paper was flapping and my hair was blinding me - so my notes are kind of scribbly - plus everyone spoke pretty fast. It is a lot easier taking notes sitting down at a table, or just sitting down.

I'll write more later, but right now I need to get a project done - I'll be back!

Churadogs said...

Ilet sez: " ... as being real obstruction but does not define the PZLDF lawsuit as such.

The few points PZLDF is based on will have no impact on a sewer project, but it will have an impact on the CDO's put on the homes of 45 people and, hopefully, will force the RWQCB to improve the way they do business.

Shark Inlet (a.k.a. Stiv Neener) said...

Ann,

You know as well as I do that one part of the PZLDF lawsuit was aimed at getting the PZ redefined or removed. If you don't think that is asking for for delay you are woefully confused.

Please explain how I am wrong on this one.

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