Pages

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Uh, Better Call Yer Lawyer

Yesterday was the start of an amazing “trial” in Federal court challenging Proposition 8, the California proposition outlawing gay marriage (after gay marriage was allowed, then, ZIP, gone, whoosh!). The outcome will end up going to the Supreme Court but in the meantime, if you’re married, I’d suggest calling your attorney.

After all, if the ban against gay marriage is found to be unconstitutional, your straight marriage will be over. I know, I’m sorry it had to end like that, but there you are. I mean, everyone knows that allowing gays to marry means that “traditional” marriage will be destroyed. O.K. so there’s no evidence that that’s the case, but that’s been one of the main arguments used by the folks who supported Prop. 8. And in the January 18th edition of Newsweek, Theodore B. Olson, the “conservative” attorney (one of two) who’s bringing this lawsuit before the Feds, wrote: “Another argument, vague and even less persuasive, is that gay marriage somehow does harm to heterosexual marriage. I have yet to meet anyone who can explain to me what this means. In what way would allowing same-sexpartners to marry diminish the marriages of heterosexual couples? Tellingly, when the judge in our case asked our opponent to identify the ways in which same sex marriage would harm heterosexual marriage, to his credit he answered honestly: he could not think of any.”

So, who needs evidence in a court of law? Right. Nobody. So, that’s why I suggest you call your attorney. Never hurts to plan ahead. It takes time to divvy up a household, so it might be smart to start now to put little Post-it notes on the furniture, His, Hers, His, Hers, The Kids, etc. That way you’ll be ready to break up the household if the Supreme Court finds that “equal rights under law” actually means “equal rights under law.”

Uh-Oh

Criicckkk, crrrcckkk, criccckkkk in the quiet of the morning. Then the Black Screen of Death. Yup. Catastrophic Hard Drive Failure. Luckily, I had back up on my little Magic Information Stick so all was not lost. Luckily, my Computer Tutor, Steve Vandagriff was able to come by and together we gazed on the smoking wreck. And being a Luddite, Steve was available to begin the arduous task of getting the thing up and going and we’re still struggling with all the tweaking and add-ons and de-bugging that has to go on whenever you (in effect) get a new computer.

Love ‘em. Hate ‘em. Criicckkk, crrrcckkk, crccckkkkk…

Hey, I’m just askin’

Jan 10 Tribune editorial, “Los Osos sewer project needs to move forward,” which notes that “The project is in line to receive $80 million in federal stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in the form of a $16 million grant and a $64 million low-interest loan.” And further notes that the Coastal Commission needs to approve “the project” and issue a permit for “the project” without delay at the Feb hearing. (“To qualify for USDA funding, however, the project must have a permit from the Coastal Commission – and if issuance of that permit is delayed beyond February, it may be too late. The money may be gone.”

What “project” are they talking about? Do they have a “design” that the CC can issue a permit for? Last I knew (the Planning Commission) the county had settled on three generic components: a gravity collection system (no “design” or blueprints or engineering schematics, just “gravity collection pipes”) and, I think, an oxidation ditch treatment component (no plans, specifications, blueprints,) and tertiary treatment with disposal at Broderson and other places, but I don’t think that included engineered plans or designs or anything the CC could look at to determine if this particular dispersal or even if this collection of components would meet various coastal plans & etc.

Also not known is, do USDA funds require an actual “plan/design” or can funds be allocated on the basis of a generic collection of components, none of which are actually nailed down? Sorta, Give us the money now and we’ll let you know later what we decide to build and where it will be built?

Does the Coastal Commission need an actual designed project to give a permit to, or can they also issue a sort of generic permit, i.e. Here’s a permit for some sort of collection system, placement and design to follow; some sort of treatment plant, size, placement, etc. to be determined later, and a water disposal system that will be detailed later?

And if they can issue a permit for a “component concept,” can the project (or a component) be changed later down the line without losing the permit or the funding, since the permit and the isn’t based on any specific designed project?

Well, maybe the Coastal Commission can answer those questions at their next meeting. As with all things sewerish, stay tuned.

Koff-Koff-Koff

It's 2150 in a sealed laboratory/work station on a planet called Pandora. The work station/ lab is sealed because the air on Pandora is deadly to humans. Into this (presumably) "clean" lab, wherein the humans are creating avatars for use in the deadly outside world, comes our tough, smart head scientist, played by Sigourney Weaver. We know she's tough because she's SMOKING A CIGARETTE, in a "clean lab" filled with all kinds of sensitive equipment in a sealed work area that has to manufacture and constantly clean the air that's being breathed by the humans because the air on the planet is poisonous.

So, we know she's tough on account of the cigarette. But we now know she's really dumb and all the people running the station are also dumb. In films there's "gratuitous violence" and now we have "gratuitous product placement."

Not Avatar's finest moment.

20 comments:

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...

To answer your question as to what constitutes a 'PROJECT':

The official "PROJECT’ is the approved Final EIR (FEIR). Engineering drawings are not required; just the overall description as contained in the approved FEIR.
Once the FEIR is adopted, the FEIR IS AND BECOMES THE 'PROJECT'.

However, in the case of the County's FEIR, it has not yet been officially adopted as there are two pending lawsuits challenging it.
UNTIL THOSE LAWSUITS ARE RESOLVED AND VOIDED, THE COUNTY DOES NOT HAVE A 'PROJECT'.

The County cannot apply for the USDA funds and grants until they have an adopted and definitive FEIR that has withstood the two pending lawsuits against it (also assuming the CCC does not find substantial issue).

THE HARD REALITY: Unless the County has demurred the lawsuits pending against the FEIR by the end of February AND no substantial issue is found by the CCC, they will miss the funding application deadline.
IMO, the County has no chance of meeting the deadline; and never has. There is too little time for the County to deal with the lawsuits within the next 45 days; the Superior Courts own hearings schedule will verify this.

Regarding the CCC’s upcoming meeting to determine if there are substantial issues of the County Project relating to the LCP: the CCC has no choice but to vote that there are substantial issues and proceed to deNovo hearings (essentially taking over as lead agency of the Project and delegating the County as the project implementing agency).

None of the current 22 appeals raise substantial issue; and the CCC staff report is absolutely correct in their analysis that the appeals fail in that regard.

However, the CC Commissioners can find substantial issue regardless of the current crop of inadequate appeals.
The CCC Appeals hearing opens the door for the Commission to discuss the topic; thus allowing them to segue-way into other LCP policies under which the Commission can find substantial issue about the County Project. They will do this.

The CCC has no choice but to find substantial issue and go deNovo for a very simple reason. The CCC in 2004 very specifically established CCC policy and conditions as to what a waste water project must do to protect coastal resources in the Coastal Development Permit they issued to the LOCSD (CDP A-3-SLO-03-113). Additionally, the CCC clearly explained this issue to the County in their project EIR review letter to the County in early 2009.

THE HARD REALITY: The County CDP being considered by the CCC is less protective of coastal resources than the established CCC policy and conditions already set by CDP A-3-SLO-03-113; hence the CCC has no choice but to find substantial issue and proceed to deNovo hearings. The County project is less protective of coastal resources for reasons to voluminous to explain here.


PS: I have joyously not posted anything for over 8 months....I will go back to not posting.
The only reason I posted today is to point out the elephant in the room.

Ron said...

[Huh... a Richard siting.]

Ann wrote:

"The work station/ lab is sealed because the air on Pandora is deadly to humans."

You've got to be kidding me? Is that really part of Avatar?

Ohhhh, too easy.

And, speaking of "you've got to be kidding me":

Ann also wrote:

"Jan 10 Tribune editorial, “Los Osos sewer project needs to move forward,”"

Wanna see something hilarious?

In that editorial, they write:

"Approving a poorly designed, inadequately reviewed project simply to qualify for a price break would be unconscionable, and we aren’t for a minute advocating that the Coastal Commission do so."

Uh, Triby? Allow me to refresh your memory:

In 2005, you popped out THREE editorials "advocating" the Tri-W embarrassment:

And since then, here's what County analysis says about that "project":

"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."
SLO County Project team, June 29, 2009

and;

- "(Tri-W's) downtown location (near library, church, community center) and the high density residential area require that the most expensive treatment technology, site improvements and odor controls be employed."

and;

- "It has high construction costs..." ($55 million. The next highest treatment facility option is estimated at $19 million.)

and;

- "Very high land value and mitigation requirements"

and;

- Tri-W energy requirements: "Highest"

and;

- "Small acreage and location in downtown center of towns (sic) require most expensive treatment"

and;

- "higher costs overall"

and;

- "Limited flexibility for future expansion, upgrades, or alternative energy"

and;

- "Source of community divisiveness"

and;

- "All sites are tributary to the Morro Bay National Estuary and pose a potential risk in the event of failure. Tri-W poses a higher risk..."

and;

- "NOTE: It was the unanimous opinion of the (National Water Research Institute) that an out of town site is better due to problematic issues with the downtown site."

and;

- "ESHA – sensitive dune habitat"

and;

- "We believe that the changes that have occurred since the 2005 LOCSD Project provide an excellent opportunity to deliver a Project for Los Osos that will cost less, provide greater equities, and will be better and more acceptable than the 2005 Project."

And, of course, the Tri-W embarrassment didn't even come close to making the short list of viable projects... BECAUSE it's "infeasible."

Yang:

"Approving a poorly designed, inadequately reviewed project simply to qualify for a price break would be unconscionable, and we aren’t for a minute advocating that the Coastal Commission do so."
-- The Trib, which popped out three editorials in 2005 advocating the Tri-W embarrassment

[By the way, in their recent editorial, they don't mention the Tri-W "project" (a "project" that Richard, as a CSD Director, threw $25 million at) once. Journalism amnesia, I guess.]

Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard LeGros said...

Geez...I make one little post and all Ron breaks loose. LOL.
By the way, the word is 'Sighting', not 'Siting'.

Not to belabor the point, but you completely missed the gist of my prior post.
The issue has nothing to do with the Tri-W project, your spin about it, or the opinions/editorials expressed by others.

The point being made (i.e. the huge pink and green elephant trumpeting about the room) is that the CCC has already established policy (under CDP A-3-SLO-03-113) regarding CCC expectations pertaining to ANY waste water project’s conditions needed to protect coastal resources. The County CDP fails to address specific established CCC policies and conditions; hence the CCC will find substantial issue, proceed to deNovo hearing(s) and alter the County Project by adding conditions (and yes, adding costs too along with further delay) to bring the County Project into compliance with established CCC policy.

PS: I will not respond to any future posts regarding this and my prior post. For that matter, I see no reason to post again on this issue. I am much too happy not doing so.

PPS: For the record, I hope I am wrong about what the CCC will do. The community has had enough delay and grief over this issue. Just get the project in the ground ASAP.

Sewertoons said...

Thank you Richard for your reasoned comments.

What's ironic or perhaps predictable for Los Osos, is that even if the County's project passes the CCC - and we just have to wait and see, the people touting affordability elect to throw lawsuits in front of the project that practically guarantee that it will wind up to cost more. (Of course if your aim is to have NO sewer, this makes perfect sense.) At the appropriate time - like the sooner the better - the "my-way-or-the-highway" attitude needs to step out of the way to accommodate the will of the majority and the needs of the environment. They are "helping" only in their own minds.

Alon Perlman said...

Well it’s as good an analysis, I’ve heard so far Richard, given that I don’t consider wishful thinking by a few others to be information. (It is an unknown process, with probabilities assigned to the appellant’s contentions making the LCP bar, and the rules of "penetration by repeatability of message" apply. Even a great theory is only a (large) probability until it actual happens (or doesn’t happen). So the most likely determinant of the process is external to the Hearing process?
I was aware of the power of the lawsuits, and received a partial analysis on one, consistent with parts of your comments. I considered that there may be other CCC commissioner and staff priorities, and unknowns.
As an Appellant there is a level of mystery that would be nice to keep. One needs to believe that the process is wide open, to retain purity in message.

So, again, the most likely determinant of the process is external to the Hearing process?
A six year old policy, (CDP A-3-SLO-03-113). Why did not two commissioners take issue to clearly reference and address those determinants? They had that opportunity. I took the time and space to thank them in my appeal, for creating the opportunity for my appeal.
I don’t doubt that there is a probability (probably; a big probability), that you are right.
A six year old policy. Strange that, tonight, at the board of supervisors I spoke shortly to issues in AB 32, and Sea level rise that are considered part of this project EIR. And not as much even only six years ago. The one EIR that finalized in a SECONDARY treated water disposal to Broderson, making it by definition even “Dumberer” than Midtown? (Just kidding folks; Tri-W)

Though carbon impacts were known to Coastal Commission and staff, in 2004, it was a very different world. So I, the last of the appellants, the least expected to have appealed, the one that formed and announced an intention to appeal on 11/24, cannot create time for myself to review, and most importantly link, numbers and sections of coastal policy, which, within the appeal process, creates the most chance for a substantiating quasi-legal finding by the commission. Not that they won’t listen (attrition of attention is likely, Bum-Rush the process, all appellants ALLOWED equal ACCESS TO THE COASTal commission?. 3-5 Min x 22, Yawn)
Not that they are not Grown-up Coastal Commissioners, and know relatedness when they hear it.
Will the commissioners, if taking the “De-novo, here we go” path, will they reference the lawsuits? After all, if that path is taken, Lawsuits go into suspended animation.
Will they reference the previous CDP?
Will they pick one or many of the appeals, those “substantial issue deficient appeals” probably one chock filled with either CLZU references, or those Hot Key Words that we all like to listen to nowadays?

Anyway, up the creek without a project, or a certified EIR.
Due dily Ron.
And-Trib follows in next para- “We believe this is a sound, well-researched project — indeed, one of the most studied projects in county history.
Yep, sound enough to pick up its skirts, march a short but significant distance back into town, sit down and hurl a cleaner stream of water in a completely different direction.

And thanks for noting “require that the most expensive treatment technology, site improvements and odor controls be employed” since Mark H reminded me of that cause for the price diff. and I saw a recent post from one reliable that indicated a different reason, and had wanted to respond then but didn’t get round to it. Incidentally there is no way to know and eliminate the extremely slim probability that additional similar or similarly expensive mitigations be tacked on Giacomazzi.
And unfortunately some TW land mitigation is sunk cost (?) given disturbance.
Back to Richard, I hope there comes a time that you are happy to post. The question marks above are not intended to attempt to bring you to respond.

As occasionally the machine spits them out: former

Churadogs said...

Richard sez:"The point being made (i.e. the huge pink and green elephant trumpeting about the room) is that the CCC has already established policy (under CDP A-3-SLO-03-113) regarding CCC expectations pertaining to ANY waste water project’s conditions needed to protect coastal resources. The County CDP fails to address specific established CCC policies and conditions; hence the CCC will find substantial issue, proceed to deNovo hearing(s) and alter the County Project by adding conditions (and yes, adding costs too along with further delay) to bring the County Project into compliance with established CCC policy.

PS: I will not respond to any future posts regarding this and my prior post. For that matter, I see no reason to post again on this issue. I am much too happy not doing so."

Wait, one question. First, thanks for your input. One question: IF the CC does call for a de novo hearing, do you believe that will open the door to bringing up items that were discussed and decided on at their original (on Tri W) de novo hearing, since they'll be looking (again) at their original rulings and requirements and plans?

What I'm curious about is the original SOC that was presented to them as a reason for keeping Tri-W in town? Ron's been looking for the substantial documentation required to support that SOC and can't find it. If a new de novo hearing is open, maybe the CC can look into that file and find those documents for him? It had to be in the paperwork submitted to them the first time around.

Toonces sez:"What's ironic or perhaps predictable for Los Osos, is that even if the County's project passes the CCC - and we just have to wait and see, the people touting affordability elect to throw lawsuits in front of the project that practically guarantee that it will wind up to cost more."

Why would pending lawsuits cause the CC to not issue a permit, unless there's a restraining order? Didn't the (pre recall) CSD chug along with plans despite pending lawsuits. After all, lawsuits can be frivolous. Perhaps the CC should read the lawsuits and see if there are indeed technical issues in them likely to prevail and correct those issues at their meeting with corrective conditions and thereby remove those conditions as a reason for complaint? (After all, they sent the Planning Commission a pre-hearing letter, a warning shot across the bow that helped keep Planning focused and working on solving their concerns. And the BOS convened that last minute hasty appeals meeting/non-meeting to vote on yet another minor change to please the CC's concerns.)

Well, fingers crossed.

Mike said...

Good Morning Alon... Are you taking exception to asking that the Coastal Commission "go easier" on the requirements for the SLO County design (once they ever have one) than they did for the Tri-W design and location...???

If my old memory remembers correctly, didn't the CC grant a permit to build the Tri-W design on the Tri-W Site some 6 years ago...??? Have the CC concerns lessened since the County was given responsibility to design and build the sewer...???

Ron said...

Ann wrote:

"IF the CC does call for a de novo hearing, do you believe that will open the door to bringing up items that were discussed and decided on at their original (on Tri W) de novo hearing, since they'll be looking (again) at their original rulings and requirements and plans?

What I'm curious about is the original SOC that was presented to them as a reason for keeping Tri-W in town? Ron's been looking for the substantial documentation required to support that SOC and can't find it. If a new de novo hearing is open, maybe the CC can look into that file and find those documents for him?
"

Oh, if there's a god in journalism heaven, PLEASE let that happen. That'd be SOOOOO sweet!

To be very, very clear on this: I ALREADY know that there isn't a shred of "substantial evidence in the record" that supports that fake (and, therefore, illegal) SOC.

It simply doesn't exist.

So, what I'm doing now over at SewerWatch, is just blasting off those e-mails to the officials that never bothered to ask my excellent question (already knowing they can't answer it), just so I can now report that I asked County Planning and the Coastal Commission for those extremely important documents, and they NEVER replied to my e-mails.

Again, I call what those agencies are now doing: "The government version of a child covering his eyes with his hands, and thinking that no one can see him."

SewerWatch sees you... you're right there.

Richard wrote:

"Not to belabor the point, but you completely missed the gist of my prior post."

To belabor the point, it's not that I missed the gist of your prior post, it's that I don't care. (Jeez, talk about "opinion." And, that reminds me... I've always loved that take from you guys, about me -- that the quotes I dig out of official documents are my "opinion" -- I love that take so much, that I actually wrote my one and only "poem" on the subject, at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/02/whats-my-opinion-poem-in-verse-of_10.html

[By the way, Richard, according to dictionary.com, the word is "segway," not "segue-way," and "the Superior Courts own," should be, "the Superior Court's own..." (Boy, that kind of crap gets old fast, eh?)]

Richard LeGros said...

To answer Ann’s reasonable question if the CCC will review the LOCSD’s TriW FEIR with attendant SOC, the answer is NO.

Even if the CCC votes to go deNovo, those discussions will never occur.

The CCC will not open up that FEIR for discuss simply as that is not the issue before them. As far as the CCC is concerned the former manifestation of the waste water project is moot as the County has opted to configure and pursue an alternate project. The only project before the CCC for consideration is the County’s proposed project.



THE ONLY ISSUE to be discussed before the CC commissioners tomorrow is if the commissioners agree or disagree with the CCC and County staff determination that no substantial issues remain regarding the County’s CDP. End of discussion.
Only a yes or no answer is required; the ‘reason whys’ remain for a future CCC meeting.

If the commissioners agree with CCC and County staff, then the County remains the lead project agency and the project proceeds as permitted and conditioned under the County’s CDP.

If the commissioners disagree with CCC and County staff then the commissioners will not approve the County’s CDP and direct staff to set a future CCC hearings to discuss what substantial issues remain (if any) that need be resolved in order to bring the County’s project into compliance with the LCP.

As the issue to be decided is so cut and dry, it should be a short meeting.

The commissioners will not be discussing the REASONS WHY the County CDP does or does not raise substantial issue. The discussions about the ‘reasons whys’ will occur only if the commissioners vote to disagree with CCC and County staff (i.e. go deNovo).

The commissioners expect the appellants to focus on the cut and dry issue being discussed that day. They will not be pleased if the appellants insist on droning endlessly about the REASONS WHY as a simple ‘Yes, I support the County CDP’ or “No, I do not support the County CDP’ is all that is pertinent to the discussion.

I believe that the CC commissioners will not agree with CCC and County staff.

I believe that the commissioners will vote to go deNovo as they want the opportunity to discuss if substantial issues remain to be resolved. Their decision will be made regardless of the current crop of inconsequential appeals before them.

I believe that the commissioners sense that to approve the County’s CDP; which is a project that is less protective of coastal resources than the project they approved in 2004; is akin to saying that they are not serious about enforcing their adopted POLICIES and CONDITIONS they expect ANY waste water project to resolve before a CDP will be issued.

In short, why would the CCC approve a project that fails to meet existing CCC policies and conditions?


PS. Golly gee whiz.....just stop asking me questions (reasonable or Ronish) as I have much better and joyous things to do.

Ron said...

I just thought of something funny, and amazing...

This is great!

I wonder if me pointing out how that SOC is illegal, will influence whether or not the CCC does what Richard said.

Think about that, it's so damn interesting:

If what Ann asks is true -- where if the Commission takes the project, then that action opens the door for (finally) not-verifying the fake Tri-W SOC -- then can't-cha just see it? The Commission, and staff, behind closed doors, today, saying something like, "Look, there's NO F-ING WAY we can re-open that fake Tri-W SOC can of worms, because, if we do that, by deNovoing this project now, it'll show that the Commission got lazy in 2004, and failed to do their job, and the resulting massive delays were our fault!"

If the answer to Ann's question is, "Yes," then if I was the CCC, I'd be screaming, "No substantial issue! No substantial issue! What the County came up with (whatever it is) is FINE WITH US!"

Sewertoons said...

I don't know if Richard is still listening over here, but he would certainly have the best info on what the lawsuits meant to the prior project. As for THIS project, he would be very able to make an assessment on these questions. Please correct me if I am wrong, but:

1. The lawsuits don't mean anything at this hearing.
2. The lawsuits could cause the County to not take the project until they are resolved.
3. If the County does not take the project, they will not go out to bid. Delay ensues.

Sewertoons said...

ron, get your head our of the clouds and off your ego for once. Please re-read Richard's response above.

Now, let's try again: Can you think of any non-ego related reason the SOC is going to be a hot topic for the CCC? And can you think of any other reason that the CC may say "No substantial issue" that does not involve the old project's SOC? Please try, so we can think that you haven't completely gone stupid on us.

Sewertoons said...

Back to the first topic. There is a very interesting article written on the gay marriage issue in the January 18 issue of Newsweek by Theodore B. Olson, who is one of the attorneys attempting to invalidate Prop. 8.

Churadogs said...

Tick, tick, tick. We'll know one way or another what the CC will be doing, then (since this is The Hideous Sewer Project) wait for another shoe to drop. Death by The Infmous Dropping Shoe Torture. Dick Cheney would love it!!

Churadogs said...

Hmmm, tried posting an entry this morning, after my crashed computer got repaird, but the blog isn't responding and is coming in rather screwed looking, so may not be able to post any comments re the Coastal Commisison hearing decision. Will try to see what's going wrong. If you start discussing here, remember, mind your manners.

Alon Perlman said...

Just to say that Sigourny Weaver's best acting took place on an excercycle.
And that the other shoe has dropped.
And L0ST Osos is under it.