Thursday, March 29, 2012

Take Two Aspirins and Call Dick Cheney in the Morning

Calhoun’s Cannons for March 29, 2012

All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
                George Orwell, Animal Farm

            I must fess up.  I’m of two minds about the upcoming battle in the Supreme Court over whether Obamacare will stand or fall.  Part of me wants to see the Affordable Healthcare Act pass constitutional muster and survive so it can be improved and expanded.  After all, why shouldn’t we all end up with the same health care plan as former Veep Dick Cheney enjoys?  For years, we’ve all been paying for his top of the line government paid health care, subsidizing the kind of  taxpayer-financed “socialized medicine” that Dick’s political party has been moving heaven and earth to destroy. So, I see no reason why sauce for the goose can’t be sauce for all the rest of us ganders. Medicare for all and/or Congressional Health Care for all.  That should do the trick.
            But, part of me, the childishly evil part, wants to see the Supremes knock the Affordable Healthcare Act out of the park.  Make it a total no-go.  DOA.  After all, polls show that nearly half of all Americans don’t like or don’t want the evil Obamacare. So, I’d like to see their wishes come true.  Poof!  Gone. 
            Within days, free of all price restraints, everyone’s health insurance premiums would spike as insurance company CEOs demanded higher bonuses because they needed more gold-plated toilet fixtures for their private offices.  Millions of people who had some minor malady would get a letter in the mail notifying them that their major medical had been canceled and they couldn’t buy more because they were now considered to be uninsurable because of some “preexisting condition.” Other millions, right in the middle of cancer treatment, would be notified that their policies had been canceled. And for all those people who got their health insurance at work, those price hikes would force their employers to downsize, so they’d lose their jobs; no job, no money, no health-care and now totally uninsurable. That’s just the plucky, Republican Party, Ron-Paulian self-sufficient independence all these freedom-loving folks have been fighting for—no more evil creeping socialism and government rules meddling in their lives! 
            Then, by the millions, I want these hardy souls to get sick.  Not lethal sick.  After all, I’m childlishly evil, not mean.  No, I want them just sick enough to really rack up humongous hospital bills, like, say, a two-week stay, plus some sort of surgery.  That should do it.  It’s unlikely the average person could pay that highly inflated hospital bill.  And so they would lose their house and would end up sitting on the curb with their meager belongings, their kids stuffed into the station wagon, with the family dog tied on top.
            And then I could drive by and sweetly inquire, “Are you happy now?”
            But then I remember a friend of mine.  She’s self-employed and healthy and, like most of us, has a very minor condition that has rendered her pre-existingly uninsurable. One minor accident, one illness, and she’d lose it all – her business, her home, everything.  Under the new Obamacare mandates, for the first time, she was able to buy group insurance from a newly formed pool and now has the security of knowing she’s covered against a medically induced financial disaster.  If Obamacare is defeated, my friend will be once again put in danger.
            I don’t want that to happen.  She’s my friend.  She’s a hard working, responsible American. And I can’t imagine why nearly half of recently polled Americans just like her want to put her (and themselves) back into harm’s way again.
            No matter which way the Supreme Court rules, that’s the one question that will remain unanswered.  Whether Obamacare is still standing to be modified and improved, or shot down totally, the state of our health care system is profoundly sick and will remain a national problem.  Many other advanced, democratic countries have figured out excellent ways to deliver cheaper, better health care to more of their citizens at a much lower cost than we do, and with better outcomes.  There is nothing in the world preventing us from cherry-picking ideas from any of their plans and adapting them to our country.  It’s not rocket science, but it does take some smarts, and a pragmatic rather than a rigid ideological mind-set. 
            And a willingness to keep asking and answering two key questions:  Should basic, non-profit health care be a right for all citizens, or should it remain a high-profit luxury reserved only for the privileged few?  And, Why is evil socialized government-administered medical insurance O.K. for our seniors, our vets, our congress and Dick Cheney, but not O.K. for the rest of us?      

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chinatown, Decoded

The main concern and industry of bureaucrats is not to rectify their mistakes, but to conceal them.
                                                                                       Simon Leys 

    For one of the best explanations of just how and why the Los Osos Sewer Disaster became the Great Los Osos Sewer Disaster, Ron Crawford has put it all together for you in an easily readable form at     Let's hope Colin Rigley from New Times or Karen Velie over at Cal Coast News take a gander.  For sheer wasted public money, this puts Paso Robles' recent bungles and pay-outs to shame. And it's a hell of a story, but it has always been a very complicated one, which is why our media and so much of the public has turned away.  Well, no longer.  Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version.  Simple. Clear.
     But ultimately sad.  There will be no accountability here.  The citizens in the PZ will be left to pay the bill, with 45 of them still branded as criminals and their homes under threat. Read it and weep. Your government at work here in . . . Chinatown.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Your Sunday Recipe

Passover and Easter are just around the corner.  I stumbled on a new (to me) recipe in an article by Adam Rapoport, editor-in-chief of Bon Appetite magazine for Matzo brei (rhymes with "fry"). When I made up the dish, which is beyond fast and easy, I couldn't figure out what it reminded me of.  Mr. Rapoport writes, "Just what is matzo brei?  Depends on who you ask.  Some prefer this mixture of beaten eggs and shards of matzo to resemble a crispy scramble -- a kind of a Jewish version of migas, the Tex-Mex tortilla-and-egg dish.  Others sweeten it with cinnamon, vanilla or raisins.   . . .  We Rappoports keep it simple:  eggs, matzo, salt and pepper, mixed into a batter and fried in oil till crisp and golden.  What emerges are crunchy, eggy pancakes that are completely irresistible.  As a kid, I took mine with syrup, although nowadays I also reach for good fruit preserves or jam."

So it clearly is a dish that can withstand some creative cookery and go savory by adding bits of sausage, peppers, cheese and ending up with a kind of Jewish scramble, or staying sweet, pancaky.  When I made a second batch and topped it with butter and maple syrup, it finally dawned on me what they reminded me of:  French toast!

As Mr. Rapoport concludes, "For whatever reason, I only eat matzo brei during Passover -- which, really, is as nonsensical as someone not eating it just because he or she isn't Jewish.  You don't have to celebrate Passover to celebrate good food."

Too true.  So, if you like French toast but don't like the mess of drippy bread slices and egg yolk dribbles all over the kitchen counter, try this incredibly fast, easy and yummy dish.

Matzo Brei
2 servings

Break 2 sheets of matzo into 1/2" pieces in a bowl.  Cover with hot tap water.  Let sit 30 seconds then drain off water.  Beat 2 large eggs in another bowl, season as you wish.  Add drained matzo.  Stir and mix well.  Scoop scant 1/4 cupfuls of the batter into hot oil or butter in a frying pan.  Cook about 1 minute, until golden, and turn once and cook until done.  Break out the pure maple syrup, add some spiced chicken sausage and fresh fruit and you've got a Feast of Spring-- Passover French Toast!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off To The Carizzo

The Nature Conservancy Legacy Club held it's annual field trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument yesterday.  What seems like centuries ago, I and other volunteers often went out to the newly built visitor's center on work days to help landscape and plant natives around the area, including crawling around on hands and knees to put in plugs of salt grass, a staggering bit of botanical hubris, considering the scale of what actually needed revegetating.  But, miraculously, some of the seedlings have survived all these years.

The Legacy visitors were loaded on a bus for the drive up to the sacred Painted Rock.  This was a meeting place for both Chumash and Yokut tribes (among others)  both for trading and for ceremonial rites.  The rock is a remnant of sandstone outcropping from a prehistoric inland sea.  Its fragility (and historical and sacred importance to the Chumash) is one reason that since becoming a National Monument, a serious effort was made to repair, protect, restrict visitors.
 Years ago, when the land was in private hands, little care was taken of the rock.  Sheep were penned in its bowl-like center, generations of nincompoops carved or spray painted their initials on it, defacing the ancient pictographs within.  The Getty Museum restoration team assisted in the work to repair the rock and much of the more recent graffiti was removed and restricted use will protect the rock as well as the nesting peregrines and hawks (and an owl) that call it home.

 Most of the remaining pictographs are tucked under some of the overhanging rock where they were protected from the elements.

And,  standing in the center of the rock and looking out into the valley, it's easy to see why this became a very special place to so many. 

And, of course, no visit to the Carrizo would be complete without visiting its keystone species, the famed, endangered Kangaroo Rat.  The rains have been late and/or nonexistent at his point, so the vegetation around their "precincts" was pretty scant.  When the rains are abundant, the rat family cuts down a swath of grasses about 3' feet around his burrow (which territory they ferociously defend against another rat family with their nearby 3' circle.)  The cut grass dries and as needed, the seed heads are dragged into the burrow for din-din.  Recent aerial surveys have discovered that these circular precincts extend over a far wider swath of the plains than had been previously believed.  Which is good news for an endangered species. And further research of this kind is also revealing just profound an impact the little grass-cutting critter has on the overall  health of the plains and the other animals whose lives depend on that environment.  Including the lovely kit fox who depends on the K-rat for food.  Hence the rat's designation as "keystone."

At the center of the plains is the great Soda Lake.  Since the rains have been so poor this year, there's lots of soda, very little lake. 

But what would the Carrizo Plains be without the great Soda Lake.  Since the rains were missing, the vast sheets of wildflowers were either still asleep or had already given up the ghost, or, if the rains come today and tomorrow, they may start their life cycle again.  But the Carrizo dressed up in it's finery or sere and dry, is still a very special place of abiding. of endurance and great beauty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Waltz Me Around Again, Willy . . .

           When your police chief is accused of going out drinking with her officers and she ends up allegedly dancing on the bar, you know you’re in trouble.  When the same chief is accused of hot-tubbing with her officers while on a tax-payer financed “retreat,” and is accused of sexually harassing some officers, and putting quotas on ticket writing, and there are claims that because of budget cuts, the reduced staff ends up ignoring real crimes, then, you really know you’re in trouble.
            And when the city manager, Jim App, the police chief’s boss, refers to her as Rita, the Lovely Meter Maid and refers to himself in official emails as “PBG phat bald guy,” you just gotta know that trouble’s heading your way.  And, as Cal Coast News reports, said city manager sends out a too-cutsey-by-half note about a social function: “To all staff re: Saturday nosh: ‘Roasted bean squeezing’s, [sic] bagels und phruit in a dam, sammies, rabbit nibblers, phinger-sweets mid-day.  Nuf fer 35, Dig? J.” – phruit?  Phinger-sweets?  Really? – well,  you just  KNOW you’re  in for it now.
            Some $250,000 worth, which is what said police chief walked out the door with after promising that nobody would sue anybody. Or I should say, $250,000 worth and counting as the scritch of legal pens on legal-sized paper start churning out lawsuits and counter suits.  All hands on deck.  Let the killing commence!    
            Meantime, the City Manager is still in his job, which means the good people of Paso Robles, who are gonna be left to pay for this Big Phat Mess of Roasted Bean Squeezings, now need to ask one  simple question:
            -- Where were the City Council members?  Their primary job is to make sure the City Manager, who they hired, is doing his job properly.  And when they get a whisper of somebody dancing on bar-tops, it’s their job to start asking questions. And if they don’t get a whisper of same, their job is to unstopper their ears, get off their soft comfy City Council Chairs and make sure they’re walking around in their community with their ears to the ground in order to make sure they’re the FIRST people in town who hear about bar-top dancing.
            Sigh.  In this County, nobody learns anything, so we get to waltz around again, some more. Get out your wallets, Paso Robles.  This time, the dance is on you.  

Shane! Shane! Go Away, Shane!

            There will be a lot of ink spilled and TV time spent on an endless discussion of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Marin, in Florida. Tears will be shed, hands will be wrung, brows will furrow with earnest discussion.  It’s all a waste of time.  Nothing will change here. The case is a simple one:
            Trayvon Martin was guilty of Walking While Black in a land where every armed nincompoop thinks he’s Shane. 
            That’s it. And that’s exactly the way we like it. It’s the American Way. Nuf said.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

This lovely piece by Osip Mandelstam, translated from the Russian by Christian Wiman, from the April 2012 Atlantic magazine. 

The Necklace

Take, from my palms, for joy, for ease,
A little honey, a little sun,
That we may obey Persephone's bees.

You can't untie a boat unmoored.
Fur-shod shadows can't be heard,
Nor terror, in this life, mastered.

Love, what's left for us, and of us, is this
Living remnant, loving revenant, brief kiss
Like a bee flying completed dying hiveless

To find in the forest's heart a home,
Night's never-ending hum,
Thriving on meadowsweet, mind, and time.

Take, for all that is good, for all that is gone,
That it may lie rough and real against your collarbone,
This string of bees, that once turned honey into sun. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Neigh, Neigh

            PETA strikes again.  And in their usual self-promoting fashion, they hit the wrong target. But the target they hit is an easy one that will get them the headlines with little or no effort.
            Anybody who’s even vaguely aware of thoroughbred racing, -- and who hasn’t heard of the Kentucky Derby? – knows that horse racing is a dangerous business for horses and jockeys.  There have been 5,000 horse deaths on tracks since 2003.  About 2 -3 horses are put down a day on the tracks throughout the country.
            The reason, of course, is because horse racing is all about speed; speed and money.  Which means we’ve created a fragile, Darwinian-unhealthy, animal whose great speed is paid for in the price of fragile legs.  And when the legs go, the horse goes. Plus, in a crowded field of huge, thundering horses, one slip, one bump can mean death to both horse and rider.
            Even the jockey’s are at constant risk because of the need for speed at all costs.  Superb athletes, they’re often forced to regularly undermine their health by too rigorous diets to maintain the lowest weight possible, not to mention the diuretics they often take to get that water weight off before raceday.  Destroyed kidneys, ruined health, busted up bodies from falls make that sport dangerous for humans as well.
            So, given all that, does PETA move to shut down racing?  Go after the Kentucky Derby?  No.  They force the cancellation of a MOVIE about racing. 
            The series, “Luck,” which was created by producers David Milch and Michael Mann, was set at a racetrack and involved a huge cast of characters whose lives revolved around racing, gambling and . . . luck.  Initially the producers agreed to suspend filming of any scenes that involved horses until an investigation into the horse deaths was complete.  The film company was working in conjunction with the American Humane Association and racing experts to ensure horse and rider safety using the various protocols that are used by the film industry.  Despite their efforts, three horses used in the filming died, including one that died in a freak accident while walking back to the barns after filming had been completed.  That death is not a rare incident.  Said Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director at the racing board, “We see several of those injuries in the stable area every year.”
            But facing a PETA threatened publicity onslaught, the series was canceled and production stopped. Which was sooooo PETA.  They’ll shut a movie about racing down but won’t shut racing down.  With them, it’s all about picking the easy target, garner headlines, rake in the donations then move on to the next easy target.
            And real horseracing is one industry they’ll never target; too hard to do, too much money in that particular sport.  And you sure didn’t hear a peep out of them when hard times resulted in thousands of horses being abandoned by their cash-strapped owners and were being sold off for slaughter.  Nope.  When there’s a real issue involving animals, don’t look to PETA to go to the heart of the matter.  Instead, they’ll shut a movie down then mix up a few mint juleps and head for the Derby to dream up some other stunt. Typical.   

Thank You Mr. Greg Smith

            The retired executive director at Goldman Sachs, who made sure his bonus check was cashed, waltzed out the door and wrote a blistering Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, spilling the beans about Goldman Sach’s “ethics.”  Hahahahah. Actually, Mr. Smith, you’re too late.  Matt Taibbi, in his brilliant original pieces on the Wall Street debacle and later in his book, Griftopia, has already said all that needs to be said about that company, calling the firm “a vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
            But, good on Mr. Smith anyway.  When a company gets a critical level of employees who actually have ethics, then the company ceases to be a squid.  Unfortunately, Mr. Smith left the building which likely means Goldman Sach’s “ethical” level has been reset at zero.

Meanwhile, Happy St. Paddy’s Day.  Take an Irish personage to lunch. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sustainability Group's Report and Link

     I received a copy of the Sustainability Group’s request for permit revocation that was presented to the Coastal Commission.  A previous posting that simply referenced Ron Crawford’s recent posting on a sewerish issue brought out the sewer crazies in this comment section.  This document is for the sane people who might wonder just what’s in the document.  (I note the cover letter’s notation that the Tribune apparently never bothered to read the document or even call for clarification before writing their story so it’s likely there’s a whole lot of people who have no clue what was sent to the Coastal Commissioners.) There’s also a link to the complete document giving fuller information as to why SG is asking for the Commission to take a second look.
     This document will  a) be totally dismissed, or b) cause some further modifications or improvements to be made, or c) result in the permit being pulled.  A few years down the line, the document will be proven to be a) a huge waste of time and effort or b) a chilling blueprint outlining a train wreck.  
     But, I’m posting it here so anyone interested in following all this can at least read what was actually written and the reasons behind the request, instead of just making stuff up or flying into hysteria then making stuff up. The history that focuses on Resolution 83-13 is most interesting.  I’ve long held that that Resolution was and is the fatal flaw in this entire enterprise. Because it went for the cheap/fast/easy “low lying fruit,” it was both too little and too much and kept missing the fundamental issue:  A Water Basin.
     History will decide whether all of this will play out as planned.  Or not.  Either way, the SG’s effort is part of the Process that is the Coastal Commission’s responsibility to review before moving forward.
     A warning to some of you Sewer Crazies.  I’ve left the open comment on this blog so it’s easier for sane people to participate in a discussion without fear of harassment.  But if you start in on your ridiculous neener-neenering, I’ll start dumping you right and left.  This document has plenty of interesting factual information in it to discuss and plenty of rational opinion to discuss.  It doesn’t contain ad hominem attacks and so doesn’t require that in return.  So, mind your manners, children. 


Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to update you on what the Los Osos Sustainability Group (LOSG) has been working on for the last 5 months. After going through over 1,000 documents (over 10,000 pages), a comprehensive story developed that  explains  how the current project developed over the last 30-years, and how this project  could have disastrous adverse consequences on the Los Osos area, including the water basin and vital sensitive habitat. We feel the evidence presented strongly shows this project will do more harm than good. I am hoping you will take the time to read the following, and if you agree with it, take the time to write the Coastal Commission, and let them know of your worries and concerns.

As you may of read in the Tribune, LOSG submitted a "Request for revocation of the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the Los Osos Wastewater Project (LOWWP)" on February 20, 2012. There have been many comments regarding the request, but frankly, few have read the request, so many of the comments we feel are unfounded. The Tribune did not even read the request before printing the article, nor did they contact anyone from LOSG for comment or questions. We hope that you will read it, and then any comments you have about the request, positive or negative, at least will be from an informed position.

The full request can be viewed here:

Email addresses of Coastal Commission members are attached.

I am including the cover letter for the request below, which gives an overview of the request (this can also be downloaded from the web site, along with the full request, and an outline).

Honorable Commissioners:
Attached is our Request for Revocation of the Los Osos Wastewater Project (LOWWP) Coastal Development Permit (CDP). This cover letter provides an overview of the issues covered by the Request, including why we are submitting the Request and why the Commission should revoke the LOWWP permit. Basically, the information we present shows the LOWWP could have disastrous adverse consequences on the Los Osos area, including the water basin and vital sensitive habitat, and agencies intentionally provided inaccurate, erroneous, and incomplete information that failed to disclose these impacts. Additionally, the evidence we provide shows agencies substantially exaggerated the benefits of the project and failed to disclose that a much less harmful, feasible alternative is available. As you know, the Los Osos Basin is a threatened resource, on which many vital systems rely. Water and wastewater decisions must be based on the best possible accurate and complete information.
Basis for revocation request and why we must submit it
The LOSG received the email from Mr. Carl on January 23, 2012, stating the criteria we must meet for a successful revocation request. We are sure our request meets that criteria and the Commission will see that 1) the County and CCRWQCB withheld information or intentionally provided inaccurate or erroneous information prior to June 2010, 2) the information was crucial to decision making and could have led to denial of the project or changed conditions, and 3) the LOSG has done due diligence as citizens to get the information to the Commission as soon as possible given the complexity of issues, size of the record, intentional withholding of information, and necessity for the issue to be addressed comprehensively. (Also see LOSG letter to the Coastal Commission dated January 26, 2012, pp. 10 & 11 and Section IV.E of the Request for Revocation for further evidence of due diligence.)
A comprehensive picture of issues, in the case of Los Osos, is necessary to show why a large body of evidence on the record supporting the project no longer constitutes substantial evidence. A complete presentation of issues is also needed to show how and why very serious potential adverse impacts remain unmitigated, why the project could do more harm than good (and cannot not be conditioned to protect resources), and why a management alternative is the least harmful feasible alternative. Finally, a comprehensive picture is needed to show why a process driven by Resolution 83-–-13 is inherently flawed and has led to a project that will harm resources.
We are sure the Commission will see that the issues are too important not to address. This project could have extremely serious adverse consequences on the Los Osos Valley Water Basin, the sole source of water for the area already threatened by an extremely urgent seawater intrusion problem. It could have severe adverse impacts on very high value sensitive habitat, including Morro Bay National Estuary and Los Osos Creek endangered steelhead habitat. It could also have severe adverse consequences on the lives of many people now and in the future, on air quality, and climate change. The Commission approved the project on the basis that it is “critically necessary” to protect these resources, based on County and CCRWQCB official statements and documents. However, the information we present shows that information is not accurate, and the project could severely harm those resources.
As citizens in possession of this information, we have no choice but to present it as soon as possible in the effort to prevent severe harm to resources. If agencies cannot show with specific evidence that septic systems are a significant source of pollution of the estuary and pose a significant threat to health and safety, that the project will stop that pollution and threat and is essential for basin sustainability, and that the severe potential adverse impacts we identify are mitigated with specific, measureable, enforceable-–--–-and feasible measures-–--–-then the permit should be revoked. This is what the County and CCRWQCB information claims, yet it is not supported by the information we located in the record. The decision to allow this project to go forward must be based on facts and an unbiased analysis of facts using the most relevant, complete, and accurate information available. This project has the potential to destroy a water basin, vital habitat, and a community. The decision to allow this project to go forward cannot be based on popular opinion, political expediency, or on information that might otherwise fail to meet Coastal Commission standards for accurate and complete information or CEQA standards for substantial evidence.
The information the County and CCRWQCB provided to the Commission claims that septic systems are causing significant harm to resources and the LOWWP will stop that harm, it is needed for basin sustainability, and it is least harmful feasible alternative. The information we provide shows that County officials knew the following prior to approval of the project on June 11, 2010.
·       Septic systems are not significantly polluting the estuary or related habitat, and the project will not provide a significant benefit to these resources.
·       The project provides no significant benefits to the basin and is not needed for basin sustainability.
·       The project has severe unmitigated potential adverse impacts on key resources: 1) the Los Osos groundwater basin, 2) very high value environmentally sensitive habitat (ESHA), 3) human health and safety, and 4) air quality (GHGs), for which feasible mitigation is unlikely.
Some of the most serious unmitigated potential impacts not disclosed include the following:
·       Severe impacts from earthquakes due to liquefaction under homes downhill from the Broderson disposal site that could result in loss of life, major property damage, and long-–-term shut down of the wastewater system.
·       Substantial adverse impacts to the upper aquifer (significant drops in water levels, seawater intrusion, reduced beneficial use, and adverse impacts to protected aquatic habitat), resulting from two issues: a delay of 2 to 14 years or more between the time septic system return flows stop recharging the upper aquifer (dispersed vertical recharge) and the time Broderson leach fields (centralized lateral recharge) restore water levels and replace flows (assuming Broderson disposal is feasible and works as planned). This impact is substantially increased by the adverse cumulative effects of major shifts in pumping to the upper aquifer, which water purveyors are currently planning to address the urgent seawater intrusion problem.
·       Substantial adverse impacts to all aquifers and habitat from conservation and recycled water programs that provide little if any mitigation. The CDP provides for a conservation and recycled water program to back up to Broderson disposal and add a margin of safety. However, agencies overstated the mitigation potential of both of these measures and failed to disclose adverse impacts. By June 2010, a considerable amount of conservation had already occurred in Los Osos greatly reducing or eliminating the potential for conservation to mitigate for the project. Also, agencies knew the recycled water program would not offset pumping of the lower aquifer significantly (so would not significantly mitigate for seawater intrusion), and they knew the high salt content the water could destroy soils and aquifers, also resulting in underuse of the program and/or the need for additional mitigation and facilities. The SWRCB has required a “feasibility study” for the recycled water program. However, a “study” after the fact does not mitigate for impacts or ensure feasibility. The CDP includes the recycled water program as a main mitigation measure for seawater intrusion and habitat, yet it has undisclosed, unmitigated potential adverse impacts on the basin, habitat, farmland, and farming aquifers.
·       Substantial unmitigated adverse impacts, including indirect and cumulative impacts, on the lower aquifer that could make the extremely urgent seawater intrusion problem worse. Purveyors have not come to an agreement on how to manage the basin to stop seawater intrusion and will not likely come to an agreement or make necessary investments to shift pumping to the upper aquifer realizing that the project will have major impacts on the basin. For example, they know the project has significant unmitigated impacts on the upper aquifer, and they know recycled water will be high in salts. They will not commit resources to the recycled water program or shifts in pumping to the upper aquifer if these measures put investments at risk (although experts agree urgent major shifts in pumping to the upper aquifer are needed to address seawater intrusion). The project also has unmitigated socio-–-economic impacts on these resources. The project will delay or prevent necessary water management measures, future mitigations, and major system repairs (e.g., due to earthquakes) because these essential measures will not be affordable to rate payers.
              • Substantial unmitigated impacts on Los Osos Creek, endangered steelhead habitat, resulting from a reduction in groundwater flows that could reduce flows in the creek and  increase contaminant levels by reducing the size and viability of buffering wetlands (e.g., Willow Creek Drainage). The project includes extensive mitigation for a possible minor drop in water levels in the creek as a pipe is installed over the creek, but ignores this much more serious impact.
These are some of the unmitigated impacts that we identify and explain in our Request for Revocation. The information we provide shows that County and CCRWQCB withheld information necessary for the Commission to recognize that the project has severe unmitigated impacts, provides no significant benefits on the estuary and basin, and will do more harm than good. The evidence we provide also shows these agencies withheld information showing a less-–-harmful, feasible alternative exists. A comprehensive management program, similar to the plan in effect for the San Lorenzo River Watershed will do everything officials claim this project will do, and much more, at a fraction of the cost. The CCRWQCB also has jurisdiction over the San Lorenzo Watershed.
Why information provided by the CCRWCB should be considered in this request
Although the County is the CDP applicant and lead agency under CEQA, your decision to grant the permit, according to the CDP Staff Report of May 27, 2010, is based on the finding that State and Regional Water Boards are requiring the Los Osos project. Further, the Commission relied, to a large extent, on information provided to you by the CCRWQCB for findings that resulted in the approval of the project. Much of that information is inaccurate, erroneous, or incomplete. Although the Commission’s authority is limited when reviewing a treatment works, the Commission does have the right and responsibility to expect and ensure the information provided to you by agencies is accurate and complete, in order to make the best decision possible. It has become clear to us, based on the evidence we provide, that, while the CCRWQCB and SWRCB are requiring the project, the agencies are not committed to project mitigation or basin sustainability.

Why Resolution 83-–-13 must not drive decision making and should be rescinded

Resolution 83-–-13 is driving the implementation of a centralized wastewater project for the prohibition zone of Los Osos, but Resolution 83-–-13 is not based on substantial evidence in the record. Most of the key findings supporting Resolution 83-–-13 have been refuted or no longer apply. CEQA precludes inclusion of inaccurate information as substantial evidence. So long as the effort to solve the water quality and supply issues in Los Osos begin and end with Resolution 83-–-13, Los Osos resources will be at risk. We’ve provided a discussion of Resolution 83-–-13 in our request so the Commission, including why and how Resolution 83-–-13 has resulted in a flawed environmental review process and project that will harm resources.
Los Osos should not be subjected to a project and process controlled by an obsolete regulation. Resolution 83-–-13 was implemented in 1983 under very different conditions, and current science contradicts most of its findings. In 1983, seawater intrusion was not a concern and decision makers believed they could resort to imported water if a centralized wastewater project caused seawater intrusion or buildout proved unsustainable. The realities of the 21st Century are much different— evidence supports that the carrying capacity of the basin has been reached and additional building is unsustainable. Thus, a centralized project—conceived and designed to allow buildout—should not be implemented. It will only increase growth pressures at the same time it causes a major disruption to a water basin already under stress from accelerating seawater intrusion moving through the large lower aquifers-–--–-9/10ths of total basin capacity—at 700 feet per year. Los Osos should not be held captive to decisions made in the 20th Century, which threaten resource substantially in the 21st Century. Therefore we are asking you to use your authority to have Resolution 83-–-13 rescinded.
How this project drives unsustainable growth
As our members of the LOSG have pointed out in the past, this project drives unsustainable growth by being so expensive that property owners and public officials will support more growth just to have the costs reduced. This is one way the County is promoting more growth. Recently, we’ve heard the County is preparing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and applying for a “Sustainable Community” grant for a “study” of sustainable water supplies. This “study” will undoubtedly find that there is enough water in the basin for build out. To support this finding, the study will undoubtedly provide “proof” in the form of a hydrological study that relies on modeling. In the 1980s and 1990s, rather than limit growth, the County relied on revised models, which “proved” the basin could sustain more growth—and 20 years later we have a critical seawater intrusion problem. It is time to stop this cycle of resource overuse in Los Osos. We do not have the luxury in the 21st Century to sponsor growth at the expense of resources, nor do we have the luxury to install a $190 million wastewater project whose only verifiable benefit is to allow building, both of which set Los Osos on a course toward disaster.
How the Request for Revocation is organized
Our request for revocation entitled Request for Revocation of the LOWWP CDP is divided into for parts:
Part I: “Agencies intentionally provided the Commission inaccurate and incomplete information that would have required additional or different conditions or denial of the permit.” [Violation of Coastal Commission Administrative Regulation 14 CCR § 13105 (a)]
Part II. The project’s adverse impacts and risks far outweigh its benefits.
Part III. “Property owners adversely affected by the project were not notified and given a chance to comment.” [Violation of Coastal Commission Administrative Regulation 14 CCR § 13105 (b)]
Part IV. “The Commission failed to comply with the Coastal Act and CEQA due to inaccurate, erroneous, or incomplete information. (The CCRWQCB and SWRCB also violated CEQA.)
(Please also see “Outline of Request” and previous related letters/emails attached or on disc.)
If our Request for Revocation is denied, we ask that the Commission provide specific reasons and the specific evidence (documents) used as the basis for the decision. Again, we regret any inaccuracies or inconsistencies in our request. We have done the best we can to cover the issues within a timeframe that avoids harm to resources. If Commissioners or Commission Staff notice errors or inconsistencies, we request that they are pointed out. We will clarify or correct them.
We thank for your consideration of these important issues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Game Unchanged

Calhoun’s Cannons for March 13, 2012

Humans are the only animals who will follow unstable pack leaders
                                                  Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer

            Sarah Palin and John McCain have both said they didn’t intend to watch HBO’s “Game Change,” an account of their run for president and vice president in 2008.  I’m sure they think the made-for-HBO movie would trash them and anyway, who wants to be reminded of  such embarrassments? While the film does hold them to account for their hubris and blind ambition, overall, they are treated with sympathy; players caught in a win-at-all-cost ethos that did not end well.    
            At the time, like most of the nation, I was stunned when Sarah Palin blew out of the north, her clueless optimism and oddly un-political family in tow, and with the first few national speachs, blew McCain’s train off the track and permanently shoved national politics into a lethal mash up: “American Political Idols Dance With The Stars.” 
            Overnight, Palin’s adoring fans overwhelmed the straight talking express, McCain became that-guy-with-Sarah, and Democratic candidate Obama suddenly had his star-power, media-savvy, crowd-stirring, Great Communicator match.  Yes, half the country watched Katy Couric ask Sarah what newspapers she read, saw her draw a blank and said WTF?? 
            But the other half flocked to her rallies, enthralled as she cranked up the dog whistle music.  Suddenly, those too often forgotten or dismissed by the Washington elite were being told that they were the real Americans, their values were the real American values. And they responded with adoration to their self-styled Mama Grizzly. Sarah! Sarah!   Even Tina Fey’s dead-on comic portrayals could get no traction with those crowds to point out the appallingly obvious:  McCain’s an old man, he’s had cancer once, Palin is one heart-beat away from the Presidency.  This woman is not qualified.
            Even Dick Cheney – Dick Cheney! – called the choice “reckless.”
            But Steve Schmidt, McCain’s political strategist “got it” right in the middle of the campaign, if this film is accurate.  The belief that his candidate had to win no matter what drove him and McCain to make that Hail Mary, stunningly reckless gamble on Palin. It was a choice that made a mockery of McCain’s campaign slogan, “ Country First.”  As they would sadly find out, it was always Palin First.
            And that, for me was the most puzzling part of this whole affair.  How self-blind do you have to be to get a phone call out of the blue asking you to run for the second highest office in the land and with nary a qualm say, “You betcha! Sure. I’ll be a great Veep.  Heck, I’d be a great President.  When do we start?” 
            A normal person would say, “Sorry.  I’m not qualified.”  But an egotistical narcissist with no capacity for reality checks would have no problem. Or somebody in the grip of some delusional religious mania: “God told me to run for office.”  Or maybe a cynically ambitious sociopath who knows the American voter can be Elmer Gantried into buying anything.
            Or, perhaps, it was as simple as the L.A. Times television critic, Mary McNamara suggests: “The film, obviously, belong to (Julianne) Moore, who works hard to make Palin not so much fatally ambitious as one of those naturally confident people who believe that confidence and faith are the most important ingredients of success; ability or even competence can be learned on the job.”
            Except when it can’t.
            As the movie makes clear, after trying to educate and fill in Palin’s gaping information void, her handlers finally gave up, realized she was a natural “red-light” actor, and just wrote Cliff Notes scripts for her – talking points, summaries, buzz words and phrases.  Which solved some of the most glaring problems of an extemporaneous Sarah, but sill left her handlers with a serious disconnect: Imagine an unprepared student who just skims the topic and memorizes key points and phrases but who then over reaches and overloads the mashed-up answers into nonsense.  That would go a long way towards explaining Palin’s distinctly odd and incoherent verbal rambles.
            Overall, the film was extraordinarily kind to Palin, showing a plucky woman working hard to do her bit but who was pushed beyond her capabilities and into overwhelm until she finally decides to go rogue and quickly becomes a distraction and then a liability to a campaign heading for the cliff. 
            But the film didn’t bother to do any more than hint at the deeper political problems the McCain/Palin campaign illustrated:  A cynical win-at-all-costs mind set, a philosophically bankrupt political party bereft of any new ideas but determined to cling to power for no other reason than a need to cling to power, and a dangerous conflation of bread and circus entertainment with cynical beltway politics, all tapping into America’s dark dog-whistle, social-values heart. 
            It is the same disease that’s infected the Republican Party’s primary election and the plague will arrive full blown in both political parties come November, all fueled now by unlimited, secret PAC money – Democracy as a fully financed corporate block-buster TV special.   
     Bring on the dancing bears.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Persephone Rising

Last year, my spectacular 20++ year-old mallow plant blazed into a stunning glory then, pounded by the heavy weight of rain, collapsed and fell over.  I quickly took some cuttings from the plant, potted them up, and months later, re-planted a hardy new Persephone.  She's not yet ready to bloom, but that will happen this summer.  And she's not 8' tall, yet, but that will come as well.

The first day of Spring will arrive on March 20th. Treasure the miracles that are happening all around you. New life from old, all the little glories.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ah, Yes, The Smart-Ass Comedy Tour Continues

     Ron Crawford over at has posted a classic, complete with map.  The reply to his appeal letter from the Coastal Commission hearing today will undoubtedly put the dot on the "i" and the cross on the "t."  And I'm sure he'll post that as well.  Comic snarkery at it's finest and why the Hideous Sewer Wars have always been the ultimate of Mad Hatter Tea Parties. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Don't Let The Dogs Out

     The BOS met yesterday to work on amending the ordinance concerning "menacing" dogs. (See the March 1 posting.)  To date, the county only has a leash law (when off your own property, dog must be constrained by a leash or under direct voice control at all times, except for being in a designated dog park, etc.) or State Law that allows potentially dangerous dogs to be processed through the courts and if they repeatedly attacks, have them seriously contained and/or destroyed.  There is no inbetween.
     Under present state law, a dog has to kill or injure something twice before the authorities can begin do anything. And under present law, potentially dangerous animals, like a giant python that kept escaping from its owner and roaming the neighborhood, are free to roam the neighborhood until they have something for dinner once.  Not a happy situation if you happen to live in that neighborhood.

     Which is why the Supervisors were at work.  After some testimony and some discussion, it was resolved and voted 5 - 0 to have county counsel review the language to see if they can clarify the language a bit in order to make sure the public has clear definition, up the fines imposed and return it all on April 10th for final review.  At that time, if improved, the ordinance would:
     1.  Be complaint driven.  If your neighbor's dog escapes and chases you up on your porch, or runs at passersby and threatens them or harasses their dogs while they're walking by, terrorizes a neighbor who's just trying to enjoy her backyard, and so forth.
     2.  A DAS officer will go out to assess the situation, issue a citation if needed, that would require the owner to properly secure the dog/animal in question and issue a "ticket."  He'll return later to see that the problem is solved.  If it repeats, if there are other complaints, another ticket, at a much higher price, will be issued.  If the harassment involves any kind of injury/bite to man or beast, depending on the seriousness of the bite, even on a first strike, certainly on a second strike, the dog can be removed to a secure, licensed boarding kennel (paid for by the owner) and the matter taken immediately to processing via the state laws and the court.
          3.  First citation will cost up to $250, the second up to $500, the third up to $1,000 and or removal.
         4.  It was urged that perhaps the ordinance also include language that would allow property owners be notified of the citation as well (in the case where the dog's owners is a renter) since a lot of incidences seem to involve (implied, Cal Poly?) renters, who may  have little or no liability, but the landlord certainly does.  Which might be one way to put them on alert that they might be left holding any lawsuit bags if their tenant is keeping a dangerous dog on their property.
     So, if you own a dog named "Trouble," or an escaping python or irascible wombat, come April 10th, you're on notice.  And if you are "Trouble's" neighbor, come April 10th, you now have a glimmer of  hope that you can get some help to get your life back from a clueless owner and a menacing mutt with sharp pointy teeth who's terrorizing the neighborhood.

Uhhnnn, Awwww, Noooo, Dear God, NOT Another Six Weeks  
      Yes, I'm afraid so.  The Hideous Republican Primary Traveling Circus will grind on for another month or six weeks like a horrible groundhog that has seen his shadow.  There's nothing for it, I'm afraid.  The Menacing Dog ordinance doesn't cover politicians, even though they are life threatening, so that's no help. I know.  It's awful.  I suggest moving to France for a while.  That might help. 

Rush Gets a PAC!

     It's not just for politicians any more!  As Rush Limbaugh faces a bunch of advertisers heading out the door pretending they are shocked! shocked! by his latest over the top outrage, an unidentified big money donor from a PhonyName PAC stepped up to give Rush some nice money to make up for the loss.  Rush, of course, blamed "the liberals" for his troubles (Classic abuser tactic.  Classic!), and whined that the advertisers who were fleeing were ingrates who were now deserting his ship.  A point the advertisers probably didn't appreciate.  I mean, reminding their customers that they made lots of nice money off of Rush for years, all the while knowing what kind of man he is and what kind of things he says, and now that they are being held to account, they're running for the hills pretending to be all high-minded?
     Well, I suppose that reminder is better than nothing.  Not known at this point is whether Rush's support/fans/sponsors will continue to erode until, like Glen Beck before him, "management" decides that Rush is a liability and suggest he "retire."
     This whole kerfluffle has been interesting on a lot of levels. First, of course, Rush breaking into the mainstream consciousness allowed a lot of people who don't normally listen to the guy to get a giant YouTube, full-color, audio/visual gander.  It's all sorta like your creepy Uncle Herman.  You know the guy makes you shudder, but you ignore him because, well, he's harmless, isn't he?  Until you're forced to take a close look and, uh-oh, there he is, that guy, naked under a dirty raincoat, standing out on the sidewalk drooling over sweet young things walking by and yelling at them incoherently about "too much sex." And you think, Holy S--t!  I'm going to change my name and move to France and pretend that I don't know that guy.  No, no, he's not related to me.
     On a deeper level, Rush speaks to, feeds  and feeds on the ugly deep well of American Know-Nothings -- a primarily older, white, male cohort that is unconsciously reacting to our Brave New World -- a world that's browning/blacking, it's youth-ing, it's female-ing, it's gay-ing, it's unchurching, it's high-tech-ing, it's equal-rights-ing.  All of which spells the death knell of the primacy of the angry, gun loving, fearful, blue collar, white Christian patriarchal male.
     Which creates a ripe brew for Rush to paddle about in, stoke, and stir up -- an historical blend of  anger, resentment, bullying fear, seething paranoia, misogyny, racism, xenophobic jingo, anti-anything non-Christian, suspicion, gun-toting anti-government paranoia. And when times get tough, that dark pool ripples out to infect even "decent folk" who usually don't want to be (publicly) associated with such ugly stuff.  (Unless they pretend that Rush is "just an entertainer, a comedian," which allows them to publicly venture safely into a little nostalgie de la boue.)
     Eventually, the toxins people like Rush feed upon and dish out to their followers can grow so toxic
it poisons the organism itself.  And when the light is turned on or the zeitgist changes, when people suddenly wake up and peer into their cups and find that anger and meanness has becomes a liability, not a badge, or they find themselves exposed as objects of ridicule or worse -- irrelevant -- then suddenly to be seen drinking that dark brew in public becomes a liability.  When that happens, the brew-master demagogue becomes an embarrassing has-been. I mean, who knows who Father Coughlin is today?  And, say, where is Glen Beck anyway?
     Meantime, Rush has his anonymous PAC, advertisers get to pretend their hems are now clean and they always never did like that guy anyway (even though advertising on his show was incredibly lucrative), and Rush gets to play the victim.  A total win-win for everyone.
     Except for so many of his true believers who truly are forgotten.  Their displaced suffering is real.  While trashing women, blacks, gays, muslims and all the other "others" that haunt their dreams, won't fix their problems, we know from history that reaching out to women, blacks, gays, muslims and all the "other" others in shared solidarity actually can improve their lives.  After all, each one of us is an "other," and isolated and targeted and alone we are weak and helpless. Fair game for demagogues and corporate-owned lawmakers.  But together, we are the US of the USA.
     That's the one fact that Rush and his ilk do not want his listeners to understand.  It would cut into the bottom line of his corporate/political masters.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Aw, Honey, I Was Only Joking

Calhoun’s Cannons for March 5, 2012

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

            When Don Imus called some Rutgers University black female basketball players, “nappy-headed ho’s,” the wrath of the world fell down upon his Radio Jerk Boy shoulders and he was bounced off the air.  Slam dunk! Imus’ ugly comment was blurted out once and once only. No matter.  Boom! Gone.
            When Rush Limbaugh, the de-facto Big Daddy spokesperson for the Republican Party went on air and not once, but day after day repeatedly called out by name a  Georgetown University white law student, Sandra Fluke, and declared her to be a “slut” and a “prostitute,” and suggest she make a video of herself having sex and put in on the internet so he could watch, the wrath of women and Democrats fell down upon his drug-addicted, Viagra-addle, Creepy Boy voyeuristic head. President Obama even called Ms. Fluke to offer her his support in withstanding Big Daddy’s un-called for, ugly, slanderous attacks. But his time, there was no slam dunk.  This time, with this Radio Jerk Boy, there was no getting booted off the air. Clear Channel’s CEO obviously didn’t have a problem with Rush’s slandering Ms. Fluke. Perhaps she wasn’t black enough.  Or wasn’t a terrific athlete.
            And no wrath was forthcoming from the Family Value’s crowd either.  Speaker of the House John Boehner’s response, given days after the event, was so tepid and feeble I was afraid that even that minimal effort to respond to Big Daddy would cause Boehner to have the vapors and sink down in a faint on the floor of the House.  The Republican candidates, tub-thumping around the country on platforms of purity and Christian virtue, were equally febrile in their non-denunciation of their philosophical Soul Master, The I Want To Watch Jerk Boy.
            Interestingly, while the Family Values Crowd remained strangely quiet, six of Rush’s sponsors walked.  Apparently Sleep Number, Quicken Loans, Sleep Train and Carbonite, among others, suspended their ads because they felt Limbaugh’s statements “do not align with our values.”  Which begged the question:  Really?  You’ve been advertising with the guy for years, you know who and what he is, and you just now figured that out?  Well, who knew? 
            But this is America and I have no doubt a dozen other corporations will have “values” that will allow them to fill those missing advertising slots.  After all, pandering to ugly, abusive, misogynistic Jerk Boy Radio fanboys is a sure-fire money maker.  And, as we know, in America, money trumps all.   
            Meanwhile,  MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow had a gleeful time explicating one of Rush’s rants at Ms. Fluke, pointing out in great detail, complete with a lady-parts medical diagram, that Rush had obviously confused Viagra with birth control pills.  He had excoriated slutty Ms. Fluke for “having so much sex she can’t pay for it,” making the false assumption that birth control pills work like Viagra -- one snog per pill and so, if you can’t afford all those pills, don’t have so much sex. 
            And, need I point out that Rush’s rant completely ignored the fact that, so far as I know, Viagra is routinely covered in health insurance policies without question? So, if paying for people to have sex is Rush’s problem, why wasn’t he crusading to get those expensive Viagra prescriptions out of our insurance policies as well?
            Unless this wasn’t about people having sex, it was about women having sex.
            And there is the true dark heart of the matter. In the center of the culture wars now raging, control over women’s bodies, women’s reproductive rights, once again takes center stage. And any woman speaking up for herself or her rights is fair game. 
            After milking his attack for as long as he could (improves his ratings, hence his income), Rush was finally dragged, kicking and screaming, to a feeble apology.  But it was the apology of an abuser – “Awww, honey.  I was only joking. It won’t happen again.” 
            But it will.  Rush is the acknowledged, unchallenged and unchallengeable Philosopher King of the conservative movement and what he says matters.  His is the true face of what the Republican Party has become.  So all of you millions of birth-control-using American Sluts, you need to pay attention.  Rush and the Republican Party is talking to you.
            And when someone shows you who and what they are – believe them.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Your Sunday Poem

By Wislawa Szymborska, from the March 8 New York Review of Books.  Translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak.

Hard Life With Memory

I'm a poor audience for my memory.
She wants me to attend her voice nonstop,
but I fidget, fuss,
listen and don't,
step out, come back, then leave again.

She wants all my time and attention.
She's got no problem when I sleep.
The day's a different matter, which upsets her.

She thrusts old letters, snapshots at me eagerly,
stirs up events both important and un-,
turns my eyes to overlooked views,
peoples them with my dead.

In her stories I'm always younger,
Which is nice, but why always the same story.
Every mirror holds different news for me.

She gets angry when I shrug my shoulders.
And takes revenge by hauling out old errors,
weighty, but easily forgotten.
Looks into my eyes, checks my reaction.
Then comforts me, it could be worse.

She wants me to live only for her and with her.
Ideally in a dark, locked room,
but my plans still feature today's sun,
clouds in progress, ongoing roads.

At times I get fed up with her.
I suggest a separation.  From now to eternity.
Then she smiles at me with pity,
since she knows it would be the end of me too.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Calling Humpty Dumpty

     The Tribune reports that the Los Osos Sustainability Group has filed a request to the Coastal Commission asking it to revoke its permit for the sewer project. They allege that "the approval [of the upcoming coastal permits to proceed with this project] is based on willfully submitted inaccurate information."
     Says the petition, "Basically, the information we present shows that the Los Osos Wastewater Project could have disastrous adverse consequences on the Los Osos area, including the water basin and vital sensitive habitat, and agencies intentionally provided inaccurate, erroneous and incomplete information that failed to disclose these impacts."  The request for review/revoke is supported by "a 6-inch-tall stack of documents that allege false information was provided by the county and the Central Coast Regional Water quality Control Board in order to obtain the coastal development permit needed to build the sewer.  . . . These include whether nitrates from the town's septic systems pollute the Morro Bay estuary; whether disposing of effluent would cause liquefaction of nearby soils; whether the project would worsen salt-water intrusion into underground aquifers; and whether the project would cause unsustainable growth to occur in Los Osos." And concludes, "The decision to allow this project to go forward cannot be based on popular opinion, political expediency, or on information that might otherwise fail to meet Coastal Commission standards for accurate and complete information or (state law) standards for substantial evidence."
     And what was the response from Tim McNulty of the County Counsel's Office? "We are absolutely certain that there was no intent on anyone's part to provide that type of information.  Under these circumstances, a project-delaying suspension is quite improbable."
     And why would that be?  Well, because "The petitioners must prove that information was inaccurate, that it was knowingly submitted and that the information changed the outcome of the commission's decisions."
     Doncha love it?.  It's not enough that the information may be factually incorrect, i.e. that the numbers are wrong, that doing X will result in disaster Y, the bridge will fall because you've transposed weight bearing numbers, the dam will collapse because you added the numbers wrong.  No.  That's not the key thing here.  What's key is that you INTENTIONALLY gave the Commission the wrong numbers.  That you MEANT to fudge the numbers, nudge the numbers, make the numbers smiley-faced, happy numbers so as to get whatever permit you're after. The fact of their wrongness isn't enough to get the Commission to back off and double-check.  Nope.  You have to prove intention. 
     And, of course, your correct numbers have to be sufficient to have caused the Commissioners to change their minds, which is a really high bar because nobody on the face of the earth believes that the Commissioners wouldn't have approved that sewer, no matter how fudged the numbers were.
     Once again, we're back in Alice in Wonderland Land: actual facts don't matter much.  Intention, not mere incompetence, trumps all.  "Yes, the numbers are wrong and the bridge will collapse.  But, we're not going to change the plans since the Engineer didn't mean to add them up wrong."  

Meanwhile, Back On The Old SewerWatch

     Ron Crawford, at, has also written a letter to the Coastal Commission on a similar issue.  And posted that letter.  He's having way too much fun and this letter will be a delight for careful Sewer Watchers -- it's sly, and funny.  And if you read his response to a blog comment, you'll see the further comic possibilities in his original letter. Sauce for goose and gander.  After all, if "park amenities" were so critical, such a vital, overriding "community held value" for which the TRI-W defenders fought so ferociously, then here's the chance to get those park amenities back from the very Coastal Commission and Commissioner(s) who originally approved them. 
     Talk about Win Win.