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Saturday, August 15, 2009





It’s War and Peace and War, Los Osos Style!




Local author Barbara Wolcott finished her book on The Hideous Sewer Wars. Well, The Hideous Sewer Wars . . . . . So Far. Barbara’s previous book, “David, Goliath and The Beach Cleaning Machine,” covered the Unocal/Avila Beach destruction/rebuild and beach cleanup. The new book is at Volumes of Pleasure so you can go buy a copy and see if you’re mentioned in terms that aren’t too unflattering. Then everyone can call their lawyers and start suing for libel and/or start demanding retractions/corrections and we can all start The Hideous Sewer Book Wars.

For Immediate Release 8-11-09
Local Author writes new book about the
Los Osos Sewer Saga
Small Town Perfect Storm:
The Los Osos Sewer Saga
By Barbara Wolcott
Price: $19.95 ISBN: 978-1-930401-75-4
256 pages/softcover
Publication date: August 12, 2009

A monstrous environmental public health disaster lay under a
town of 12,000 people. It had already contaminated one of two
aquifers serving them and the surrounding area. Now it threatened
the remaining water supply. The source was not oil, nor chemicals
but 5,000 septic tanks sending a million gallons of effluent down
drains daily.

An even greater threat loomed as a minority of residents set
out to prove there was no danger nor any need to build and pay
for sewer plant and collection system. What started as a quest
for technical information became a contest of wills—a minority driving the majority to the brink of an economic disaster in an epic battle spanning nearly thirty years. The catalyst who finally found a solution was a first grade student when it began and a California State Assemblyman when he ended it.

Good intentions, enormous egos and a plethora of happenstance contributed to the long contest, creating a Perfect Storm that came gradually, destroyed people, long time friendships, some marriages and trust in government. Few believed the town of Los Osos was worth saving, but it survived with scars and started to reclaim its serenity before the dust settled. There are no comparables. Los Osos cut a fresh path and claimed its own redemption.

SMALL TOWN PERFECT STORM is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online bookstores. For book cover digital images, you may contact Central Coast Press-publisher Bill Charlesworth at ccbooks@charter.net or 805-534-0307. Contact;Barbara Wolcott at sanlobooks@att.net or (805) 543-5240 for an interview.

Planning, Planning, Planning.

The Planning Commission finished dotting the I’s and crossing T’s on August 13 and 5 -0 approved their re-crafted, modified, Giacomazzi-sited, water-smart sewer project, including a water conservation component. And now it goes to the BOS and hence to the Coastal Commission.

So, start yer engines. Lawsuiters, please take a number. Supporters, take a number also. Everyone else, start placing your bets: Who will be the first to sabotage the PC’s hard work and how quickly will it be – Penelope-at-the-loom-wise – quietly unraveled and morphed or buried in the dead of the night by the light of the silvery moon, only to be replaced by some other project that will suddenly appear after the public has fallen asleep only to wake up and rub their eyes and say WTF???

And who will be discovered holding the lethal weapon?

85 comments:

Aaron said...

The great thing about books is: once a book is published, some readers automatically assume that the published material is true.

Let's look at the book's summary:

An even greater threat loomed as a minority of residents set
out to prove there was no danger nor any need to build and pay
for sewer plant and collection system
.

For the record, there has been no study, no poll conducted in Los Osos that can accurately declare -- the people that Wolcott consider as -- the "minority."

Even if there's a minority of people who oppose how the sewer is being planned, designed and constructed, there's a minority within that minority who believes there's "no danger nor any need to build and pay for sewer plant and collection system."

I think we get a little too carried away when we say that the "minority" opposition -- as a whole -- doesn't see any problems at all and don't want a sewer. I would love to see who Wolcott identifies as the "minority," but I'm not going to pay $19.95 for an author who likely hasn't done much research.

Ron said...

Just from reading the press release, I've got a bad feeling about this book.

The press release sez:

"An even greater threat loomed as a minority of residents set out to prove there was no danger nor any need to build and pay for sewer plant and collection system."

That's the great Los Osos myth.

Over, and over, and over again, the vast majority of the town voted to build a sewer system. The ONLY thing they felt they didn't "need" was an industrial (read: NOT "drop dead gorgeous" ponds) sewer plant in the middle of their town for no reason whatsoever... other than the Karner's continued desire to get paid.

Does Wolcott cover the fact the the only rationale used by the 2001 LOCSD to build a "sewer-park" in the middle of town was due to a completely unsubstantiated "strongly held community value" that ANY sewer plant must also double as a "centrally located recreational asset," exactly like I FIRST exposed in one of my New Times cover stories?

If so, does she give me credit, or did she just steal my excellent research?

I'm also curious, does Barbara mention Gary Karner's SWA Group in her book? If so, does she give SewerWatch credit for exposing that?

The press release sez:

"The catalyst who finally found a solution was a first grade student when it began and a California State Assemblyman when he ended it."

There's a "solution?" Huh... that's news to me. Because, just a couple of months ago, county staff wrote this great quote (that I originally dug up):

"The (SLO County Los Osos wastewater) Project team, given the clear social infeasibility issue associated with Mid Town (Tri-W) and the infeasible status of the LOCSD disposal plan, believes that if either of those options are deemed by decision-makers to be the best solution for Los Osos, then serious consideration should be given by the Board to adopt a due diligence resolution and not pursue Project implementation."

Is that Barbara's definition of a "solution."

The press release sez:

... enormous egos..."

No comment.

The press release sez:

"... but it survived with scars and started to reclaim its serenity before the dust settled."

The dust has settled? When did that happen?

God god, who published this thing? Someone with a long-time involvement with Solution Group-turned-recalled LOCSD Directors/Tri-W honks?

The press release sez:

..."you may contact Central Coast Press-publisher Bill Charlesworth..."

I guess I have the answer to my question. (Page 4... and let the record reflect, I first exposed THAT.)

Ann wrote:

" Who will be the first to sabotage the PC’s hard work and how quickly will it be – Penelope-at-the-loom-wise – quietly unraveled and morphed or buried in the dead of the night by the light of the silvery moon, only to be replaced by some other project that will suddenly appear after the public has fallen asleep only to wake up and rub their eyes and say WTF???"

You betcha! That sure sounds like the "dust has settled," and a "solution" to me.

alabamasue said...

Read the book before tearing it apart. I'm reading it now, and find it fascinating and well researched. Actually, I bought 2 copies. Love to support local talent!

GetRealOsos said...

Does the book mention that the whole RWQCB's case against Los Osos nitrate problem was based on a sample from unsealed wells on a horse farm? ...

...or that the County allowed over 1,100 more homes built after the RWQCB said the septic tanks were illegal?

...or that the County knew about salt water intrusion and did nothing about it for 30 years?

...or that the more the County spends on the current sewer project, the more money the County makes?! (of course they want the most expensive sewer!!!)

...or that the PZ has to pay for the damage the County (and Pandora) have done?!

...or the complete fraud of the claim of pollution? After reading all the experts (including USEPA) it does reveal constructive fraud.)

...or that it's the real estate brokers and agents that plan on cashing on when all the homes (that can't afford $400 a month) come on the market all at the same time and at that time they'll be able to pick those homes up cheap...?

Was the ghost writer Pandora?

Sewertoons said...

Sheesh GRO, if you are going to throw out allegations, at least follow them to their logical conclusions. Of course they will cash in - who do you think has been paying for and promoting all of these No Sewer ideas for years and years to stop projects that have bumped up the price so far no one can afford it??? If you are going to do conspiracy theories here, do 'em right!

Alabamasue, I also bought 2 copies and suspect I will buy more - my friends from out of town just can't quite get the craziness around this sewer thing up here! It is a great read!!!

Thanks to Ann for writing about it!

Aaron said...

Lynette,

If you're going to produce a rhetorical question, you probably should answer it. Who, in your opinion, has been "paying for and promoting all these No Sewer ideas"?

The problem with this book is that Mrs. Wolcott did not bother to contact the "minority" that she seems so keen on vilifying. For someone who was nominated for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize and won awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Newspaper Association, I would imagine that she would be more versed in fact-checking and balance UNLESS...

... she was contacted by someone from Taxpayers Watch or someone who has similar ideologies.

Judging by -- and only by -- the press release Ms. Calhoun posted, it doesn't appear that Wolcott looked at one side of the issue and not the other.

Watershed Mark said...

-And who will be discovered holding the lethal weapon?

Paavo "If there is a significantly less expensive technology, then that technology becomes the new standard and all others fall away" Ogren, in the SLOCO BOS Chambers with a big leaky pipe.

I agree with Ron, Aaron and GetRealOsos because of this statement: The catalyst who finally found a solution was a first grade student when it began and a California State Assemblyman when he ended it.- being so damned “premature”

If Barbra is planning on a sequel to actually finish the story, she should have said something on her cover like “part one” of many, because “this thing of ours” is so not even close to being over…

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette:

Your statements, like you, are so disingenous.
A vacuum collection attached to a USBF(tm) equipped facility for well under $100MM is available in spite what you, Paavo and Bruce think.

Why were these alternatives never studied?

Answer: Because they would have easily floated to the top.

Please be assured I will cotinue my campain to make widely and well known what is "going on" in your town.
The example is just too good to pass up.

Where's Warren's treatment of Lisa's complaint, sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette?
What is he hiding?

Alon Perlman said...

No, haven’t got a copy yet. Hope there is one at “Volumes of pleasure”-Next to Carlock's.
2 plugs in one sentence- Keep the money in the neighborhood.

Looked in the back -Pretty long list included Julie Tacker, Interviewees? I saw Joyce, Don?
There is one thing about Los Osos Sewer books-A lot of people are going to be disappointed.

Nothing published by humans is going to be without bias or perceived bias. Publication of books, is subject to the vagaries of the market, and possibly subject to targeting of an out of LO market.
"You can't tell a book by its cover"
Don’t trust anything you read and especially anything written about something you may read.
But, sure, it looks like there is a bias of the dreamy style.

As for Mr. Blakesley-The book Jacket/ press release
Proclaims that the sewer saga is over- actually 2012 is counted (faintly on the cover).

When Mr. Blakesley presented his compromise, the only possible Sewers were Tri-W and the Ripley Plan. Since then the Sewer has gone to Tonini and now has been moved to Giacommazzi. (Sure, I was one of the people who moved it, where were you?). So, of course it is added to the collection. (should fit on the shelf right next to "Murder in Los Lobos")

One of the Annonimi has already reviewed it on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Perfect-Storm-Sewer/product-reviews/1930401752/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

If you don't like the book, write your own, and if you don't like the news, go out and make your own.
What will sabotage the PC process? There is a lawsuit purportedly helping the CDO's and a complaint against the project design build. Why not start there?
WTF? If we are lucky WWTF, and we will get some W back into the aquifer.
Well, no county memo’s to read and respond to for a while, Just going to sit in the hidden room under the Grand Staircase, wait for all the shouting to die down, with nothing to do but quietly wind and unwind a length of piano wire.

GVD said...

Folks... don't waste your money on this book. I just read the first 25 pages and what a crock... Raw sewage in the streets dotted with porta potties, in a town taken over by Viet Nam protesting hippies. Ive been here 35 years and none of this has happened . The author doesn't know her septic tank from a hole in the ground. and the who's -who in the back of the book is lacking many, many key players .

Aaron said...

@ GVD: Really? That's the first 25 pages? If that's the first 25 pages, I'll be hesitant in reading the rest of the book.

Sounds to me like she interviewed someone who originally propagated those claims and talking points.

Sewertoons said...

The book is a very good, if maddening, read. The time wasted on getting this sewer done is unconscionable. Plenty of blame to go around.

Yes, it is available at Volumes of Pleasure.

Those who have not read it are off base to comment so soon.

I'm with Alon, "If you don't like the book, write your own…"

Many, many of the key players refused to be interviewed. So GVD, take Alon's advice. Interview them and write your own book.

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette,

You lied and therefore are not a worthy source, admit it already.

You are off base in your foundational premise that a leaky gravity sewer is all that is possible while you have been trying to run interference for the county's study of "alternatives".

Their "study process" is a house of cards and you are a lying joker.

Watershed Mark said...

“Today's vote finally settles the issue in California that the ocean is a not a garbage pail,” said Joey Racano, a vocal opponent of San Diego's waiver request.

Why didn't the SLOCO Study of Alternatives include a very effective biological treatment technology design (USBF'tm')that sets the stage for tertiary treatment in favor of a more expensive secondary design?

Aaron said...

The people I've considered to be "key players" were never asked to be interviewed. I've asked around. It's easy to say, "They refused to be interviewed." It's as easy as saying someone declined to comment when you never picked up the phone to ask them for a statement.

Secondly, even if the "key players" refused to be interviewed, that doesn't give the author or the journalist the license to exaggerate in favor of those who were interviewed. There's fact-checking. There's Google. There's research. If Wolcott based her book solely on the opinions of extremist views, then maybe, just maybe she didn't do a good job.

Raw sewage leaking in the streets? Joyce Albright talked about that at CSD meetings circa early 2006, but that was left unproven. Streets dotted with porta-potties? Pandora Nash-Karner put a bunch of "Honey Huts" around town in protest of the recall. That was a publicity stunt, not the end result of raw sewage leaking in the streets.

No, I didn't read the book yet -- and I most certainly will, but I'm basing most of my arguments on the book's premise in the press release and GVD's comments.

Saying, "If you don't like the book, go write your own," is a cop-out from justifying the information presented in the book. If a non-fiction has fiction, that fiction needs to be sorted out before things get out of hand.

If you're going to serve as a cheerleader for the book, brag about buying multiple copies for your friends and tell everyone they're "off base" for their comments without clarifying misconceptions, then get lost. You're nothing but hot air.

Churadogs said...

People can read the book and make their own conclusions. I've read the book and my conclusion is that Ms. Wolcott was very, very poorly served by her editor. Very. I say that with real sorrow, knowing how hard she worked on this project. And it's a real shame because even attempting a project such as this is an overwhelming thing, so I have to doff my cap for even trying. Anyone who attempts a book about The Hideous Sewer Wars has my deepest sympathy, because every "fact" requires at least 21 sourced footnotes and every footnote requires 17 more footnotes.

That said, there are still certain "journalistic/authorial/ethical/factual" standards that any author MUST meet, if they wish their work to have any credibility, which is why God invented hard-eyed editors. And it's clear to me that Ms. Wolcott did not get one of The Gimlet-eyed Ones. Which is a damned shame. Also gone missing was a fact-checker and a good copy editor, too. Dang!

Well, as Alon sez, you want a better book, write one yourself. And if you do, be sure to get a really, really, really good editor. One with a green eyeshade . . . and a whip.

Watershed Mark said...

Now that's a fair and balanced review!
Thank you Ann, with my reading load I appreciate Barbara's book being taken off my plate.

It really is a shame that there isn't a paper reporter that can claim the "Hideous Sewer Battle" raging in Los Osos.

"Most" people are so influenced by what other people tell them in lieu of doing their onw thinking.

You aked "When did folks people so stupid?"

I ask "what will it take for folks to wake up?"

The people get the government they deserve.

Watershed Mark said...

You aked "When did folks become so stupid?"

I ask "what will it take for folks to wake up?"

The people get the government they deserve.

GetRealOsos said...

Mark,

You ask, "what will it take for folks to wake up.."

I say, it will take that big fat bill they get, and then of course, layers of 218 assessments, cost over runs, and added fees and charges. The PZ pays for the County's screw ups. Where's the lawyer? That's my question.

But anyway, that's when they'll wake up, but of course it will be too late.

Alon Perlman said...

Well, I for one am glad that the definitive Osos Sewer book has not been written. I'm basing my retirement on it. Never the less, a view, askew, is exactly what is to be expected in any effort.
And who is to write the final chapter. In some comments by chair Christie, she noted that the process is far from over.
A wierd echo- when ab2701 was still in assembly, I noted (or later in Early TAC?)
"This is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, it is perhaps, the end of the middle."
Who comes up with stuff like that?
Well, we are at the beginning of the end (?).

If someone wants to sell me the book at half price, I'll likely be at the next CSD meeting.

I'm also looking for an editor with a Green visor and those slinky arm bands to hold up the sleeves for that era when attached collars and the inventory of shirts (mostly hand made till then) came with a selection of one sleeve size. And... Munching a soggy cigar stub.
"Facts? We don't need no stinking facts!... Details, shmeetails...,"
"?..." "Then, make it a work of fiction!... No! make it a work of friction!!!. Darn! Look what you made me do now! My cigar went under the roll top desk."

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"Ms. Wolcott was very, very poorly served by her editor. Very. I say that with real sorrow, knowing how hard she worked on this project."

That is very sad, and I, too, feel bad for her.

My question for Barbara would be this -- was she aware of her publisher's -- Bill Charlesworth -- involvement with the pro Tri-W camp, and how Pandora Nash-Karner uses the media as "tools?"

Did Charlesworth ever inform her that he spoke at several public meetings involving this issue, and, according to an e-mail to me, owned a vacant lot in the Prohibition Zone, AND, according to sources, was strongly pro Tri-W and strongly anti post-recall CSD Board?

Did Barbara know that?

Or was she, also, used as a "tool?"

Hopefully, I'll get a chance to ask her that question... you know... for my book.

Because that's a big part of my book -- how the media was deliberately used as "tools" by the Tri-W types, specifically, Nash-Karner.

It's very interesting in this case, with lots of parallels to how we ended up in Iraq -- media as "tools."

It's the media's job to realize they are being used as tools, and in Los Osos's case (as with the invasion of Iraq), they have utterly failed to do that.

So, did Barbara know that she was deliberately being used as a "tool," just like Congalton, and Morem, and Blackburn, and on and on and on, were used as "tools" for the Tri-W agenda?

Did Wolcott know that Nash-Karner, on her marketing biz web site, writes, "We use a wide range of tools, including... the media. Through the power of behavior-based marketing strategies...?"

That's my question.

Watershed Mark said...

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.
Edward Bernays

Aaron said...

I've talked to a few more "key players" this morning. I was told they were not contacted by Barbara Wolcott.

Even if people refused to cooperate with Wolcott, there is another side of the coin that is well-documented without the aid of interviews -- resources like Google, The ROCK, The Tribune, SewerWatch and this blog.

Regarding Bill Charlesworth's investment with the pro Tri-W camp, that's really interesting. Someone in an earlier comment that it's human to be a little biased, but what happens when that human has their eyes and ears open to only one perspective?

M said...

Was this like a press release or something about the book? I tried to google the book, but couldn't come up with anything. I did stumble across a storyline with several editions involving, maybe my all time favorite-Michael Drake. It was a fun read until the sadness of his once presence here brought me back to reality.
If what I read from your article Ann, is excerpts or highlights from her book, then it loses all of its credence. The book that is.
Just to remind everybody, the floating feces story came about in the early 80's as a result of the lake that was allowed to grow and sustain at 16th and Paso Robles street intersection. I believe this was the first El Nino, or event named such. When pleas from residents to the County to do something about the condition the County created with no drainage solution went unheeded, some of the residents took it upon themselves to round up fire hose and pumps enough to try and reduce the size of the ever growing lake surrounding their homes. Somebody began the mantra, '"See, we need the sewer, feces are floating in the streets!"
Sincerely, M

Alon Perlman said...

There was a "Visit the cess-pots of Los Osos tour"
One of the RWQCB appointees (Or State Water board?) Noted in '05 that he had been to Los Osos and was taken to the "hot spots" tour.

More recently there was the Pelosi mud flap....for which Mike green asked on this Blog in Jan 08- "Where is the sample?"

(Kubler-Ross? “ Oh, Dang, I Wish I Had Written That!”... You will Alon, You will.) And let's not talk about Chain of Custody.

And Visclosky...Well, he said he'll never forget his visit to Los Osos..

Department of "things that make you say "M""
As for Captain Drake; There's $60,000 the CSD will never see again. "Floating Dreck gets no respect" .
Drake was similar minded to GRO. According to him 1.4 million Gallons of waste a day were pouring into the Bay. (leaving nothing to contaminate the aquifer, you can't have it both ways.)

Shark Inlet said...

I absolutely warm up inside when I read Ron's responses ... having worked with a person who was related to the best friend of Gary Karner means that one is evil to the core.

Some things never change.

Ernie said...

Have to chime in after reading this blog and yet to get the book.

Aaron has already formed a conclusion based on talking to 'key players', but apparently has failed to contact the author before going off half-cocked. Surely these 'key players' Aaron chases down are reliable sources of information. The writer contacts numerous individuals and said individuals don't respond, so instead Aaron doesn't hesitate to go after a book written by an author whose prior work and methods are are well recognized.

Ann Calhoun is quick to chime in on the negative based on her own opinion of 'facts', she herself not being an independant player as well as being the beneficiary of subsidies from the public trough. Ann seems to be the queen of the nit-pickers, so used to looking at trees and failing to see the forest.

And then add Crawford, quick to chime in with a Charlesworth-Pandora connection - what else would anyone expect form the Crawford Conspiracies Media Machine. When did Charlesworth know it and what did he know?

Given what is lacking in the reactions from the above 'key players', sounds like it might be a worthwhile read.

Aaron said...

Ernie is basing his analysis on me under the assumption that I've "failed" to contact the author before "going off half-cocked." You know how credible assumptions can be.

You can have a writer who is well-recognized, write great books, but the author can still make mistakes and post inaccuracies. Secondly, if an author writes a well-recognized work, that doesn't make her immune from criticism.

Nice try, Ernie.

Alon Perlman said...

"To the attention deprived, bad publicity is just as valuable as good publicity."
The Greek philosopher, Hooret

Ernie said...

ok,

So who are these 'key players' not contacted. What makes them a 'key player'? Schicker, Swanson, Senet, Gray Davis, ? Pandora's poodle, Barrow, Biggs, Briggs, Arnold Schwarzenegger, ? There are also transcripts.

Aaron said...

Would it make any difference if I told you? At that point, wouldn't the discussion turn into who is a "key player" and who isn't? I don't want to go down that road, personally. Egos might erupt.

What I can say is this: I've contacted people who (1) have been mentioned prominently in The Tribune, New Times and other local media outlets, (2) have been vocal in the community, (3) have or had leadership roles with a degree of oversight over the LOWWP and (4) have traditionally opposed having a gravity collection sewer built at Tri-W.

Transcripts would be nice to see.

Ernie said...

Aaron went down that road. It might give him some credibility since he is the one that brought it up. Aaron brought into play the credibility of the author.

The 3rd category Aaron brought up does meet the definition of a 'key player'

As to the other ones, anyone could debate that, so leave those out. For instance if the author contacted LeGros but not Schicker that would be interesting and would bring into question bias. But if they did not contact an Ochs, wouldn't be a huge oversight.

Aaron said...

I didn't go down that road.

Lynette Tornatzky made the claim that key players "refused" to be interviewed -- so if you look at her comments above mine, you'll notice that I wasn't the one who initially brought it up. I find that claim suspicious because the people -- who I've talked to -- talked about the desire to get coverage in the media, especially since the Tribune doesn't do investigative reporting.

Neither I nor any Ochs was contacted by Wolcott, but that doesn't matter -- never did and that was never the underlying basis for my suspicions. To boil your comments down to saying, "But if they did not contact an Ochs, wouldn't be a huge oversight," creates the implied assumption that I'm somehow dismayed that I wasn't contacted.

Now you're down 0-2 and you're about to be struck out.

Sewertoons said...

Might I just mention that Ms. Wolcott listed the people she interviewed in the back of the book, so we know who she did interview. Aaron probably has not even looked beyond the online cover so he does not know that fact. Aaron fails to mention the names of the people he asked with a fear that the discussion would lead to an analysis of who is a key player and who isn't.

Cop out.

Alon Perlman said...

Word verification: hyper
So let me get this straight, Aaron.
1. You havn't read the book.
2. Therefore you don't have the list of interviewees.
3. On a weekend, You call up at least 4 busy people and ask them if they were contacted for an interview, just because you don't want to buy the book?
4. A book that a reliable source (who read the book) has declared slanted, so there is no reason to belive that it's roster is not slanted.
5. But you do not disclose who you called because you don't want your opinion, as to whom is a Key player, to be challanged?
6. Your criteria 1-4. is it all criteria (only Senete, Shicker or Fouche, possibly Chuck, not Julie (to my recollection she was in the back list, but you would not know that if you hadn't read the back index)
Or is it just one criterion from the list (everybody who stepped out to the mike)
7. Are you sure that this is all about the book?
I think it's all about you.

Who'se Ernie? and where's Waldo?

Ernie said...

I guess if Aaron is keeping score he can make the score whatever he wants. Big deal. It remains that Aaron has not identified one real 'key player' who was not contacted and meanwhile has weighed in negatively on a book he has not read. It does not matter whether Howard the Duck brought it up. This is really funny.

The subject of the blog was a book that Aaron and others have taken issue with and which Aaron and some others have not even read. Aaron can congratulate himself all he wants for being his own umpire, but the pitch was thrown to him and he has yet to swing the bat, only calling balls and strikes. It is interesting to see the opinions of those that have not read the book versus the opinion of those that have. Those that have read it have some credibility about their opinion on the book, those that haven't don't.

E

Alon Perlman said...

OOps 3 postings appeared magicly while I was responding to previous

Aaron said...

It's absolutely true. I didn't read the book yet. I'm also aware of the list of people interviewed. And? Is that the best, "Gotcha!" you got in your sleeve?

There were people I talked to -- who could have easily and willingly contributed to Wolcott's book -- that were not contacted by Wolcott. I never said I doubted her list nor am I trying to undermine the people who were interviewed.

My concern -- never stated as a matter of fact -- is that the "minority," as presented in this book, did not get the opportunity to present their case. This concern arose from what I've read in the press release, not the book.

The second concern was that some "key players," who were not mentioned in the book, "refused" to participate. That's a hefty claim -- but Lynette Tornatzky's claim is not questioned.

Ernie struck out, Alon got caught in the double play and Lynette completely blew the game.

Can we get some real people in here? I want to debate different people, not people who lost in the CSD elections or were recalled.

Alon Perlman said...

Sad

Sewertoons said...

…very.

alabamasue said...

From page 7 of Wolcott's book: "Of the more than a hundred twenty-five people I wrote asking for interview time, only four of the UltraOpposition agreed to meet." Loved the book, poor editing aside. Its a very useful timeline of events, and a good story of local government gone horribly wrong. Please read before dissecting!

Churadogs said...

Alon sez:"I'm also looking for an editor with a Green visor and those slinky arm bands to hold up the sleeves for that era when attached collars and the inventory of shirts (mostly hand made till then) came with a selection of one sleeve size. And... Munching a soggy cigar stub."

Irony: Couple of days ago, Anne Allen (link on sidebar or www.annerallen.blogspot.com ) just posed a piece on finding a good editor. Seems they no longer come with the publisher so you're pretty much on your own, which is a shame because great writers and great editors are the Frick & Frack of publishing. Her piece is apropos and makes for interesting reading.

Ernie sez:"For instance if the author contacted LeGros but not Schicker that would be interesting and would bring into question bias."

Check the bibliography in the back of the book wherein Wolcott lists all her contacts and the type, i.e. interview, personal calls, printed/published material, etc. Richard Le Gros but No Lisa Schicker. No Ron Crawford, and while "Sewerwatch" is mentioned in the text with no real context to help the reader understand what it is, it's not listed as a bibliographyc/resource. (This is where a copy editor comes in handy, to catch these oversights which are so easy to miss in a project with sooooo many players and documents to read) GM Blesky is mentioned in the text, but apparently wasn't interviewed since he's not listed in the Biblio. No mention of Gail McPherson in the biblio either. No interview? How is it possible to write a book about the hideous sewer wars and NOT interview Schicker and McPherson?? (This is where a tough editor would say, "Go back and get that interview. The story isn't ready until you do.Or until you get a confirmed refusal, not just, oh, she didn't call me back.")

Another critical thing a tough editor would do is to make sure sources are cited or there are at least two sources for critical statments. For example, there's a fascinating discription of the "secret" meeting with Blakeslee, Robertson, Polhemis, Blesky, Schicker and Fourche and Ms. Wolcott then writes: "The only participant who failed to engage fully was Blesky, who appeared to the other negotiators that he was suspicious of any progress made." . . . ."Blesky appeared to the others at the meeting to be looking for conspiracy or double talk, frequently referring to legal redress ratherthan looking for a solution. He was remarkably skilled in derailing the negotiations and seemed more interesteed in suing the State Water Board than working toward a compromise." No sourcing for who told Wolcott how Mr. Blesky "appeared." /Blesky, Fouche and Schicker were NOT in the biblio as a source. So who, in that room, drew those conclusions and are they "trusworthy" since the reader is given no source. Again, that's where a tough editor would demand sourcing for those conclusions.

Watershed Mark said...

Ann, Folks understand that sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette and Sue who wrote she thought she saw Mr. Dean "I forgot his last name" are not trustworthy.

I would hope that those two had nothing to do with Barbara's book.

Aaron said...

Ann,

Authors need to realize that they are the ones who are initially responsible for editing their own book before the manuscript is passed on to the actual editor.

Based on that passage you cited regarding Dan Blesky's "appearance," it would have made more sense if Wolcott cited the person who talked about Blesky especially when the people -- who would truly know what went on behind the scenes -- were not mentioned in the biblio.

In this case, Wolcott portrayed Blesky as the strawman who is so easy to despise. This is fishy.

GVD said...

comment

Now that we know that Baywood Park was taken over by radical Viet Nam war protesters, with their anti-government mind set, I'm horrified to wonder what they will do next when the sewer is finished and put to bed. Who are these people? Gwen and George? Ann? Richard? This is really starting to scare me. Had I known this 35 years ago I would have never moved here.

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

" Check the bibliography in the back of the book wherein Wolcott lists all her contacts and the type, i.e. interview, personal calls, printed/published material, etc. Richard Le Gros but No Lisa Schicker. No Ron Crawford, and while "Sewerwatch" is mentioned in the text with no real context to help the reader understand what it is, it's not listed as a bibliographyc/resource."

And, for the record, the last two New Times cover stories on this subject, by Abraham Hyatt and Patrick Klemz, both Klemz and Hyatt phoned me while they were researching their stories, and we had great, lengthy conversations.

So far as I know, Wolcott never even tried to get ahold of me.

Also and... for the record, I just Googled: los osos sewer

... and out of 13,700 results, SewerWatch was #2 -- just behind the county's official page, but above Wikipedia, which was #3.

"Ernie" wrote:

"And then add Crawford, quick to chime in with a Charlesworth-Pandora connection - what else would anyone expect form the Crawford Conspiracies Media Machine. When did Charlesworth know it and what did he know? "

Aw... c'mon, Ern, after all this time together, you should know me better than that.

Detailed SewerWatch post on that excellent story is forthcoming, of course.

When will you people ever learn?

Aaron said...

Those people GVD mentioned -- yeah, really scary.*

* Sarcasm applied

Sewertoons said...

Ann says:
"How is it possible to write a book about the hideous sewer wars and NOT interview Schicker and McPherson?? "

Perhaps they were contacted and refused to be interviewed?

Plenty of very public record on the words of those two anyway.

Aaron said...

Lynette writes, "Many, many of the key players refused to be interviewed," (7:47 PM, August 15, 2009) and now the claim is finally downgraded to a "perhaps."

When attempting to contact someone for an article or research, sometimes the respondent will decline to comment or they are unable to be reached for comment. Recently, I've been finding out that quite a few people were not even contacted by Wolcott.

I agree, there's plenty of public records that discuss the people who weren't interviewed, but still, when writing a book, it's best to get in touch anyway so all key perspectives are taken into consideration.

Sewertoons said...

No, "perhaps" refers to these specific two out of a pool of many.

Would you like to provide the readers here with your list of people who said that they were not contacted?

Aaron said...

The answer is no.

"Would it make any difference if I told you? At that point, wouldn't the discussion turn into who is a "key player" and who isn't? I don't want to go down that road, personally. Egos might erupt." (7:18 PM, August 16, 2009)

Sewertoons said...

Aaron,
No one would dispute that Gail and Lisa are key players. Did you ask them?

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, I forgot hislast name Lynette,

Are you ready to admit that you lied about there being a "Mr. Dean, sorry I forgot his last name" who claimed to represent a wastewater treatment technology?

Tell us why you lied.

Shark Inlet said...

I suspect the reason Ron's sewerwatch clocks in so high in the google page rank is that there are so many links here for it ...

Frankly, Ann's blog deserves the top spot due to actual information appearing here.

However, she doesn't shamelessly promote her blog in other places, making people think it is far more popular than it actually is.

Aaron said...

No need to ask Lisa or Gail. Ann already said they weren't interviewed (see 8:00 AM, August 17, 2009 comment). I haven't e-mailed Lisa, but I didn't -- and will not -- talk to Gail.

I'm going to read the book, check it out, see what it says and arrive at my own conclusions. I've read some passages from Wolcott's book on Avila Beach, which can be seen on Google Books -- and I can see she is a good writer.

We'll see.

Churadogs said...

Aaron sez:"Authors need to realize that they are the ones who are initially responsible for editing their own book before the manuscript is passed on to the actual editor"

True, but a good editor is critical because they're removed from the battlefield and can better see and keep the writer focused on the whole picture. It's easy to get so involved with such a complex project as this that you get off track or, worse, becasue you may be familair with the material you assume your reader is and so forget to keep setting the context. Or, if you get your "story line" wrong or confused out of the box, it'll stay off track. And, of course, keeping all the details straight is critical for credibility. The task isdaunting for any author, which is why I said that's why God invented editors.

aaron also sez:"I'm going to read the book, check it out, see what it says and arrive at my own conclusions."

Excellent idea. I'd suggest people commenting on the book do the same. Would also be interesting to read it because you'd likely come up with other key missing pieces. For me, an interesting ommission is I can find no mention of Pandora's famous email to Roger Briggs asking that he fine the CSD out of existence and what the context for that was and what it turned out to actually mean for 45 people.Nor can I find any mention of the $10,000 given to the Dreamers during the recall by the contractors. Nor a word about Coastal Commissioner Potter's famous bait and switchy comment with the context to explain what that meant. Stuff like that.

Watershed Mark said...

Important stuff like that...removes the word "non" from the fiction in her work.
Thanks again for the review Ann.
No need for this commenter to read that piece of work.

Watershed Mark said...

More reasons to protect the Los Osos Aquifer:
But if water is diverted to sustain smelt and salmon, the water is not available to support farms and growing cities.</a

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"For me, an interesting ommission is I can find no mention of Pandora's famous email to Roger Briggs asking that he fine the CSD out of existence and what the context for that was and what it turned out to actually mean for 45 people.Nor can I find any mention of the $10,000 given to the Dreamers during the recall by the contractors. Nor a word about Coastal Commissioner Potter's famous bait and switchy comment with the context to explain what that meant."

You've gotta be kiddin' me?

For god's sake, what's the book about? That's like... THE story.

What? Are you now going to tell me that she also doesn't mention the unsubstantiated "strongly held community value" that I first exposed in New Times?

And, while I'm at it:

"no mention of Pandora's famous email to Roger Briggs asking that he fine the CSD out of existence"

I first broke that story at this link.

"Nor can I find any mention of the $10,000 given to the Dreamers during the recall by the contractors."

I recently reported on that excellent story at this link.

"Nor a word about Coastal Commissioner Potter's famous bait and switchy comment with the context to explain what that meant."

I first reported on that story at this link, this link, and this link.

And, just to clarify, Pandora's "famous e-mail" with the "I hope the CSD gets fined out of existence" quote, was actually to David Edge. What she did with Briggs was even worse... if you can imagine. That's when she actually phoned Briggs and implemented her "strategy" to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence," by directing several of her followers to e-mail Briggs demanding that he begin fining the LOCSD and individual property owners, in a desperate attempt to save her "dream" -- her mid-town "sewer-park."

Absolutely disgusting.

And that's not in Wolcott's book?

Well, that's just terrible reporting. Embarrassing.

And that "$10,000 given to the Dreamers during the recall by the contractors"?

That was actually given to "the Dreamers" -- chaired by Pandora Nash-Karner, of course -- AFTER the recall election. That's what makes those donations so suspicious. (By the way, it was $10,000 A PIECE, given by Barnard Construction, AND Montgomery Watson Harza, immediately AFTER the recall election. And that reminds me... Mark keeps asking a great question -- where is Jensen's report involving Lisa Schicker's complaints about MWH?)

Wow, Wolcott REALLY should have contacted me. Of course, had she, her story wouldn't have jibed with her publisher's agenda, so, I can understand why she didn't.

Ann also wrote:

"Would also be interesting to read it because you'd likely come up with other key missing pieces."

Ya think?

Aaron said...

Ann wrote, "True, but a good editor is critical because they're removed from the battlefield and can better see and keep the writer focused on the whole picture. It's easy to get so involved with such a complex project as this that you get off track or, worse, because you may be familiar with the material you assume your reader is and so forget to keep setting the context. Or, if you get your "story line" wrong or confused out of the box, it'll stay off track. And, of course, keeping all the details straight is critical for credibility. The task is daunting for any author, which is why I said that's why God invented editors."

I completely agree. I also think authors should be responsible for attributing sources (who said what) and making sure that the author's commentary doesn't dilute the information. Even authors who are deep in the trenches should be able to make these necessary clarifications.

Editors are extremely important indeed.

M said...

At first I just shrugged it off. But the more I think about some of the comments here about this book left me to wonder.
A few posters mentioned buying or possibly buying multiple copies of this book. One mentioned that their friends could not get enough of our sewer debacle.
My conclusion,
A. Anyone willing to spend that kind of money for a book about this is way to vested in this sewer.
B. Someone willing to spend that kind of money on a book of this nature must have a considerable amount of disposable income to fritter it away on this subject. Apparently the sewer bill would not be a problem.
I know I could go to the bookstore and look at the list of contributors, but does anyone have that list they could paste on? I certainly don't want to spend the money to buy a book about this. At least not until it is settled and done.
Sincerely, M

Sewertoons said...

Gee M - you are entitled to your conclusions, but FYI, $19.95 is a bit different than $25,000.00. A book of "this nature?" Being a little judgmental today are we? I buy presents for my friends - some of whom happen to appreciate strange doings in desirable places to live and they have birthdays.

Yes, I am way vested in the sewer having seen property values tank before the national debacle hit. Without it, even when property values rise again nationally, we will remain depressed. Just compare LO to Morro Bay - smaller lots there, less house, more money to buy one. And yes, they do have a sewer, (albeit one that they have needed to work on for a while and are now doing, just to head that useless and disparaging conversation off at the pass.)

Some of us like reading books on the area where we live. Ms. Wolcott's book on Avila Beach was fascinating. I'm now reading a book on the Dunites by Norm Hammond.

My comment was that it was difficult to explain Sewerville to my friends. This book does it for me.

Maybe the library has a copy of Ms. Wolcott's book? Or you could request one if it doesn't?

Alon Perlman said...

To some extent arguing who are the "Key players" is futile, precisely because the "Key Players"
themselves will not agree as to who the other "key players" are.

But that comment is commenting about comments by people responding to comments about comments.

There is source, there is inference.
There is a place, there is a picture of a place.


let's get back in touch with the physical universe.

So let's evaluate the book.
It is about half an inch thick.

Close your eyes, touch the cover.
It is waxy, glossy. The cover is on a thin but dense paper, still sharp at the edge. Flip the book over to its back, open your eyes and look at the writings- a monsterous red "A" looms over three paragraphs of text.
(The same text discussed at leangth on this blog, validly by people who did read and didnt read, because it is the first impression- the author's approved condensation of the book entire) Look beyond that text-look at the picture behind the text- there it is on the hillside, the scar, the slump, the collapsed section of mountainside. The overlying text states ".. a contest of wills-..." the slump extends through three lines of text ending at the words "...nearly thirty years".
Now, flip the book back to the front cover, see the pale years printed over the picture. (What "year" is closest to Broderson?)
Can you see the Turkey vulture? Under "2001"? Over "2008", above "Barbara".
Speaking of Barbara, there she is, photographed in shades of gray in the back inner page, smiling at us, interrupting the vanishing point on an oddly slanted Avila (or is that pismo?) Pier.
This has been a Comprehensive Cover to Cover review, The rest is only "Content".

Future reviews will depend on the amount of actual "reading" I will do. I prefer to "Randomly sample". followed by reading from the ends toward the middle. Kind of like paleontology, chipping into the layers.
The Prologue, and Epilogue focus indicates this book will be good for "honest Sam's" career.
Even with out an organised read I can see where Ann's (Reviewing as a Writer, not as a Player)comments are right on. This could had been a better book, Literally and Literarilyeven while staying in it's Blakesley-Waterboard centric, pro tri-W political position. And, even if you accept that the saga ended in 2007, as the book does.

There is good use of the concept of "organizational charts" in pages 11-13 but PZLDF and CCW are left out. More bias shows through with some very poor research (plenty of records available) and editing in Chapter 28 (Basty incident? sewer related?). The generalised use of "The Ultra-opposition" Bogieman is really transparant, there.
The book ends in Paavo's birthday and the passage of 218.

M said...

This excerpt from the book "The catalyst who finally found a solution was a first grade student when it began and a California State Assemblyman when he ended it".
Well, here we are four years later, and what solution? Mikes beloved CSD had a fully permitted, fully funded, fully fully everything in four years. Had actually broken ground.
Course, nobody actually wanted the stupid thing there, nobody could buy the fact that this was our panacea. Not at this cost. Not here.
For those of you who have read the book, how would opine as to where culpability was lain? Did it mention all the additional septic tanks permitted after they were outlawed?
Out of curiosity, how many pages is this book?
And yes Sewertoons, I am being judgemental I guess. From the excerpts in Anns story it sounds to me like a one sided story right off the bat.
Buy your friends a book about a sewer?
Sincerely, M

Mike Green said...

Blasphemy!
Who dares to question the Water Gods!
Here is your guidance, a Real BOOK!!
It is printed on PAPER It must be TRUE!
BOW! if you are too lazy to type 20 thousand words!

I am offended if there is no mention of the cargo cult in Los Osos.

Then again, offended is a common occurrence.

Watershed Mark said...

Ron,

If and when Warren writes and releases a formal response to Lisa's formal complaint he will provide those who will bear down on this "issue" with valuable tools that should help illuminate why "alternative" technology was never studied during Pavvo "If there is a tachnology that costs significantly less, then that technology becomes the new standard and all others fall away" Ogren's buddy's study process.

Why would "anyone" want the appearance of impropriety and conflict of interest?

Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Watershed Mark said...

Sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette,

The currently RFQ'd Gravity and Treatment will not be built for $25,000.00 per home.
Vacuum and smart treatment can be built for a price that will leave change on the table which can then be used to help pay for a Storm Water Sewer.

Did you forget about that too?

If you want to improve the value of your home, get the best technology money can buy, becuae it works better and costs less.

Watershed Mark said...

M wrote: "Did it mention all the additional septic tanks permitted after they were outlawed?"

If there are any flies on you, they must be paying rent!
Too bad MIKE little mouse or "r" have chickened out of the discussion. I would love to see them spin. Sue and sorry, I forgot his last name Lynette are completely out of gas...

Alon Perlman said...

Lisa's complaint is partly answered on LOWWP
no
no
no
no
and no

(from Warren report this day BOS)
now showing chanel 21

Sewertoons said...

http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PW/LOWWP/document+library/2009-08-18+CoCo+Eval+of+Schicker+Matls.pdf

Here's the link.

Ernie said...

Good God. Someone please tell me that the Prohibition Zone Assessment District was not charged for the time Mr. Jensen spent on this folly.

Watershed Mark said...

Warren wrote: "Preliminary Conclusions. Based on my review of the materials submitted before May 2009, and a sampling of some of the materials submitted thereafter, my preliminary conclusions are as follows:"

Warren weaseled, so he is still in the hunt. A far cry from a complete dismissal. I wonder who he thinks he actually works for.

Watershed Mark said...

WARREN R. JENSEN
County Counsel

The citizens are paying his fee...

Aaron said...

The results of his -- may I add "preliminary" -- analysis doesn't surprise me. In his opinion, he dismisses Schicker's complaint as opinion.

Jensen's analysis is a tad off.

I didn't know you could get a law degree from Toys 'R Us.

Ernie said...

Good God. Now what we really need is for Aaron to be so kind as to supply his expert legal opinion and where he got his law degree from and forward to the Board of Supervisors so everyone can get to the bottom of this.

Sewertoons said...

And so to make this assessment Aaron, your law degree is from…?

Watershed Mark said...

Warren wrote:

"Due to staffing constraints, and an increase in competing demands on our time beginning in early May, County Counsel has not been able to complete review of all of the materials submitted, which are now in excess of 1,300 pages."

Excuses in a legal opinion "preliminary" or final is "weak" very weak indeed.

It's hard to be held accountable for a work in progress, but that must be the strategy.
Now we will await his final conclusions, hopefully before he is fired, resigns, retires or takes a leave of absence.

Watershed Mark said...

Tell us why you lied Lynette.

Sewertoons said...

Hi M,

To answer your questions:

"Well, here we are four years later, and what solution?

AB2701. We are getting a sewer for sure. It may not be pretty with all the additional time it has and will take, but getting it we are.

"Course, nobody actually wanted the stupid thing there," and "Not at this cost."

Well, was it 49.3% or thereabouts that seemed to be OK with it, and of the remaining 50.7% that believed Measure B and the mistaken people behind it, a certain percentage of that number was simply swayed by $100/out of town, and the rest, location or both. So even though we can't pinpoint those numbers, we can't say "nobody wanted."

"…how would opine as to where culpability was lain?"

I would ask which part? But generally, IMHO, Supervisor Laurent played a huge part and then the County for issuing the additional permits. However, had those additional permits not been issued, Los Osos would still need a sewer. Had Laurent not disregarded his own committee's findings, we would be paying almost nothing and this conversation would not be happening.

The book is 256 pages long. I will say it was a page turner for me.

Buy your friends a book about a sewer?

I have some friends with wide interests, plus who would not be interested in a citizens vs. government tale and a government vs. citizens tale with ingredients as odd as these? It really isn't just about a sewer.

Watershed Mark said...

Do your friends know you lie?

Aaron said...

Lynette,

And you got your degree in wastewater engineering... where?

Come on, children.

Watershed Mark said...

I'll anwer your question after you answer mine: Why did you lie?

Watershed Mark said...

Answers are still free from me.

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

Whether you decide to buy the sewer saga book or borrow it, consider supporting a dying breed, an endangered species, the local independent bookstore, by buying Barbara Wolcott’s book or another book at Volumes of Pleasure. If whatever you want is out of stock, they will order it for you. After years of success and increasing sales, Carroll and Barb are now struggling to keep VOP afloat in the face of mega competition and the economy. Because it is impossible for them to make it selling only books, they also carry gifts and cards, exotic clothing, yoga and other alternative healing resources, along with supplements.

I just purchased five copies of a wonderful book from Volumes of Pleasure that I am giving to some of my dog friends. The book is THE DOG CHAPEL by Stephen Huneck, a multi-talented artist who built a chapel on Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury, Vermont for "all breeds all creeds no dogma allowed." A few pages of photos of the chapel, along with several pages of woodcuts paired with dog friendly aphorisms comprise the book - such as: "If your dog is your guru you could do a lot worse." It is short, very sweet, and perfect for all ages and persuasions.

Sewertoons said...

I'll put in my 2 cents for Volumes of Pleasure - I LOVE that place!!

Carroll and Barb and every person on staff is incredibly helpful and friendly and have found books for me that I didn't even have the title to. Place your order and it comes in quickly. But I have found many a gift directly off the bookshelves and a some very cool, but inexpensive bracelets for me too. A great treat to shop there!!!!