. . . or are you just glad to see me?
O.K. admit it. This story's just plain goofy, one of those Chinese Water Torture stories that dribble out bit by bit. First, Jamie Irons, the new Morro Bay City Council has a meeting then doesn't have a meeting, then wants to fire their top two CEOs, then it doesn't fire anybody and gives no reason why they're being fired or not fired. Then hundreds of outraged citizens show up with firebrands, making ugly crowd noises and demanding to know what's going on, so the City Council says, Sorry, it's a personnel matter, we can't tell you even though we're not saying anybody's done anything to be fired for, maybe, maybe not, who knows? Then the Mayor says, "Oh, nevermind. Instead of firing, we'll go hire an outside lawyer to find out what we just did or didn't do and what we should do now, not that we're saying we're going to do anything in the first place, or something, maybe.
So, the Tribune readers mull over that enlightening report and a few days later, up pops a follow up story claiming that "several legal experts" (i.e. Tom Newton, executive director of the California Newspaper Publishers Association) have opined that the previous Morro Bay Mayor Yates and his City Council violated the Brown Act when they failed to give proper public notice of their intention to increase their two CEO's severance pay six weeks before before leaving office. And then forgot to report out that compensation.
Then, on the same front page, another follow up story: The Morro Bay City Council voted to cough up $12,500 for an outside attorney to sort through this mess to find out a couple of things: Since the "secret" severance packages were (apparently) done in violation of the Brown act, are they invalid? And, if they are, can the new Mayor Irons go ahead and fire the two CEO's using their old at-will contracts? Thereby saving the city some $300,000-plus in excess compensation?
Well, stay tuned. In the meantime, some citizens have started a recall petition. Morro Bay Politics. A Recall. Oh, dear.
Oh, and you just knew THAT was gonna happen . . .
The Tribune reports that the County code enforcement folks were heading out to drought-parched Paso Robles to investigate dozens of illegal water use violation complaints. When the BOS voted on Aug 27 to forbid any new vines, that meant unless the vintner/farmer/rancher actually had his vines/trees in the ground, they were out of luck. Then they weasled on "vested rights," which allowed some wiggle room for growers who had paid-for vines in transit, for example.
And when there's wiggle room there's sure to be growers willing to wiggle right over the line, then head to court. And so it begins: Owens Valley, redux. Will we hear shotguns in the night? Cut water lines? Sabotage? Hey, they don't call it a Water War for nothing. And when livelihoods and homes are at stake . . . Let's hope the formation of a water district and some sort of water rationing kicks in soon. Meantime, pray for rain.
Water, Water Everywhere! Let's Dump It Into the Bay
Over at Cal Coast News ( http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/los-osos-sewer-contractor-dumping-millions-gallons-water-morro-bay/ ), Josh Friedman picks up the story of the Los Osos sewer contractors being awash in polluted ground-water bubbling up whilst they're laying pipe for the new sewer. Oh, what to do with the stuff? Well, their contract calls for them to dispose of it on land, if possible, and they're certainly doing that daily, with water trucks trolling the streets spraying everywhere. But there's just too much of the stuff and the county plans apparently didn't include running a pipe, for example, up to the Broderson disposal site so the water could percolate back into the ground and do that before digging began in earnest.
Oh, what to do? Well, there's Morro Bay right there, and Morro Bay's made up of water, and polluted groundwater is, well, it's water, so what's the problem? Let's just dump it in the Bay! Who's to object?
The Regional Water Quality Control Board, you might reply? Oh, no. That Board wasted no time and expended enormous amounts of money and time prosecuting 45 happless homeowners (The Los Osos 45) for polluting the groundwater with their septic tanks,but when it comes to dumping gazillions of gallons of polluted groundwater into the Bay? Meh. Not a problem.
The contractor was supposed to exhaust all alternative ground-dispersal options before bay discharge, but there's no evidence that that has been done. And no evidence that the Water Board plans to enforce that requirement. Besides sending the contract a mild little letter of suggestions. No Mad Hatter trials for them! After all, it's only an issue of water quality, nothing the Regional Water Quality Control Board need concern itself with. Ditto for the BOS. More "Meh."
Well, with all things RWQCB, BOS and Sewer, it's all a matter of geese and ganders, isn't it?