The Planning Commission continued ticking off subjects on their Sewer Project List. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
The Ripley Plan minus the step tanks and at a higher cost due to the higher cost of the gravity pipes, plus the higher cost of welding portions of the gravity pipes in low ground water (costs you don’t have with STEP since the pipes are smaller and since they’re under pressure, are already sealed.)
Tonini, by straw poll, 5 – 0, is off the table, which means the County’s Plan is sort of off the table. Turns out with the Sustainability Group’s research and stress on conserving water (i.e. not getting it dirty so you have to pay big bucks to clean it up in the first place), we again have . . . . The Ripley Plan.
Commissioner Christie asked staff to look at the disposal AFY (acre feet a year) numbers and think like Monterrey County: They reuse all their treated water and have an ocean outfall as an emergency, wet-weather back up. She proposed looking at the Broderson site as a back up. Apparently the numbers were crunched and it’s doable. Plus, Dana Ripley guesstimated that the ag reuse demand will likely double or triple the already conservative figures they are now using, so Broderson would become less and less needed, even as a “back up.” So, once again, we have . . . . The Ripley Plan.
Which begs the question: Why didn’t Corollo Engineering, who were paid gazillions in tax money, see The Ripley Plan as the elegant, green, future-smart plan it was. Instead, they wasted millions to come up with an expensive cockamamie Tonini "Let's Throw The Water Away" Plan evaporate it, dump it, get rid of it as if it were a “waste,” instead of a very expensive, precious resource? The CSD had already paid $600,000 for just such a water-smart, green plan. It was called . . . The Ripley Report . . . and had been turned over to Corollo when the County took over the project several years ago.
Next question: During public comment, Jeri Walsh reported that Supervisor Gibson was at a recent LOCAC meeting saying that he thinks the Coastal Commission letter of July 15th was written by the staff and once the CC commissioners themselves get, uh, educated, they’ll likely come to different conclusions. Translation: Are Supervisor Gibson and Paavo Ogren and other, uh, interested parties, going to sabotage the Planning Commission solution in a series of ex-parte, wink-nudge, schmooze-fests and/or crank up organized former Dreamers to start letter-writing campaigns to dump The Planning Commission’s Modified Ripley Plan in order to return to the Throw The Water Away Tonini Plan so beloved of Paavo and Gibson and Corollo?
Well, stay tuned. I had to leave by the afternoon session. Chairperson Christie suggested that they’d need another meeting to check the whole thing over for any dangling participles and missed minor points, then it will be good to go.
Dribble, Dribble, Dribble.
The Tribune reports that Judge Barry LaBarbera needed time to review late documents before ruling on wither to release the county’s report on the firing of former CAO David Edge and former Assistant CAO, Gail Wilcox. At the heart of the argument are privacy issues and since Wilcox has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against both Edge and the county, the issue of whether making the the report public would taint the lawsuit or impede Ms. Wilcox’s rights to a fair trial.
At issue for the public is the curiosity about “person X” as the Trib calls him, the person with whom Wilcox was allegedly having “an inappropriate relationship.” Here’s what Mother Calhoun knows about what the point of all this is:
Nothing good can come of knowing who person X is. Nothing good can come of making this report public. Edge and Wilcox will not be rehired. Person X, if he’s married, will be publicly embarrassed and, from what the Trib reports, has already hired his attorney, so we may see another lawsuit. Or he could be targeted and fired at some point down the line. So, Mo Money, Mo Money, Mo Money will be wasted. The lives turned upside down by this unholy, Walking While Stupid mess will never be returned to normal. The pain this mess has caused in all of the players’ lives can never be undone.
Having said that, Mother Calhoun recognizes that certain bells cannot ever be un-rung. Wilcox herself opened this Pandora’s box with her lawsuit. If there’s one thing Mother Calhoun has repeatedly wasted her breath on it’s this: Lawsuits are always Pyrrhic Victories. No winners. Just some losers losing less than other losers. Scorched earth all round. Lives ruined. And once you decide to go down that path, understand it’s total war and you’ll be lucky to escape with the smallest portion of you life . . . maybe.
On the other hand, the report (and certainly Wilcox’ lawsuit) may let the public know whether the BOS handled this whole thing correctly. Having “at will” employees can seem like an easy way to avoid all those complex, time-consuming, expensive “Civil Service” procedures, but the allure of “at will,” still carries with it the potential to become just another Full Employment For Lawyers action. That report may help the public and the BOS think about how they want to deal with future CAOs – stay with “at will,” return to Civil Service, re-institute annual, sexual harassment training procedures for all employees, improve pre-firing investigative procedures and so forth.
Otherwise, this will all happen again. Sigh.