Thursday, February 27, 2014

Good News For Sewerville

Ah, at last, a few glimmers of hope for our little Bangladesh by the Bay.  Last night was an update on the sewer project, with the usual litany of dates:

2016 begin digging and hooking up laterals, 2017 full costs for the project arrive on your tax bills, the guestimate of which is now $125-175 or more, plus water bills. 

However, there should be some grants available for the lateral hook ups.  Including up to $7,500 of “free money” If you’re over the age of 62 and qualify as USDA Very Low Income, (1 person-$26,400).  So that’s good news for many of our low income seniors.

But the best news as far as I’m concerned is that SLO Green Build and the County have moved the ball farther down the Tank Bank Road, with future plans to partner with the National Estuary Program for grants to make Tank Banking an seriously attractive possibility.

The little handout notes that the “County will be implementing a septic system decommissioning program within the Wastewater Service Area.”  And that “the County will notify property owners about lateral connections and septic decommissioning requirements six months prior to hook up. At that time, you will start to decide whether to abandon your septic system (e.g., filling it with dirt) or convert it for an alternative re-use.”

Since 2016 will be coming up very quickly, I hope everyone in town will chooser the latter option.  A cleaned, disinfected septic tank is a terrible thing to waste in a community already in water overdraft and in a state that is in serious and chronic drought conditions.

Right now, there are three options: simply fill the empty tank and render it useless for anything,  cut holes in the bottom so it can serve as a passive rainwater infiltration sink., or, best of all, convert it into a cistern to hold harvested rainwater to be used for outdoor irrigation.

Imagine what an impact that could have on our community if the majority of our community decided to go with harvesting rainwater.  The catch, of course, is both cost and, more important, the need for a focused, coordinated outreach program that will make transforming a septic tank into a water bank both fast, easy, and highly affordable. That means the County really needs to get solidly behind such a program since they have the bureaucratic resources to manage this  complicated program. 

I say complicated, because while the set up is pretty simple, the timing is a problem.  The county has a small window to hook up each home and adding in retrofits at each home could create a real problem.  However, if the laws can be changed to widen the retrofit window, and homeowners are fully informed of the options and resources available to them to do the retrofit, this would give homeowners some breathing room to complete the job. Right now the “window” is a matter of months.  What would happen if that were expanded to a few years?  

The reason why this is critical is because homeowners are going to be hit with considerable hook-up costs and it would be unlikely they would tag on even more money for retrofit on top of it at the same time. However, if they were given a few years to regroup, I suspect more people would sign on.  (and if they changed their mind later, they could  always backfill the tank.)

But unless the efforts of the County, SLO Green Build and the NEP makes retrofit more cost effective than simple decommissioning and unless the time allowed to complete the retrofits is greatly expanded so as to give homeowners time to get the money together to finish the job, the plan will fail

And that would mean that an extraordinary opportunity will be lost here. In OverdraftVille, in DroughtVille, a clean, empty septic tank is a TERRIBLE thing to waste. 

So, stop by our local NEP office over in Morro Bay (upstairs at the Marina Square, across the patio from Windows on the Water) and urge them to really push for clean water grants that can help kick-start this project, get on the mailing list at Green Build (, ) so you can keep up with their latest information, and send a note to the Supervisors and to our own CSD and let them know that time is critical on this, and failure really isn’t an option here.

And then take a look at your property and think “cistern,” think “free water all summer,” think “reuse,” think “reduced water bill.”

All of those very good thoughts for Sewerville


Anonymous said...

"...unless the efforts of the County, SLO Green Build and the NEP makes retrofit more cost effective than simple decommissioning and unless the time allowed to complete the retrofits is greatly expanded so as to give homeowners time to get the money together to finish the job, the plan will fail."

Just how much more "time" should be allowed?

Anonymous said...

Los Osos would benefit greatly from a rainwater harvesting program. While that would, indeed, be complicated to implement because of cost, there are possible grant opportunities for innovative measures like that.

I appreciate the grants available for lateral hook-ups, but the big money-drain will be the monthly sewer costs. That's going to be a problem for low-income residents and seniors for sure.

Churadogs said...

Anon #1. I think right now the retrofit has to be completed in a few months. Clearly, it would be cost effective to do it all when you're hooking up, if that can be coordinated, but that added cost may simply be undoable for a whole lot of people. Do you have a figure in mind? 1 year? 2 years? Would have to get further input from Slo Build / retrofitters / water folk to see what might be possible.

Anon 2. I fear that if there isn't a HUGE effort (mainly a huge financial incentive) that very few will take advantage of this opportunity and the groundwater basin will be the loser. And everyone will say, Oh, darn, too bad, oh, well.
That's what happened to the projects in-home retrofit/water conservation plans. Many voices pleaded with the county to start that program up front, which would have started saving water immediately, while the rest of the sewer project trundled on. Instead, it's been backended (at Wed.'s meeting, they were still pitching retrofit info and people were clearly getting details because, clearly, they hadn't done that yet) which meant more wasted water out of an already overdrafted basin. And the official response was a shrug and an Oh, well, . . . .

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

At last night's LOCAC meeting Craig Baltimore, the CSD chair, encouraged attendance at next week's CSD meeting where they will be paying particular attention to plans to address our water situation.

Churadogs said...

Bev: Thanks for the head's up.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

The agenda and staff reports have been posted:

Churadogs said...

Toonces: Thanks. I'll try to make it to the meeting. Hopefully, it'll be later in the Agenda. Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Why should anyone not decommission the septic tank very soon after the sewer hookup? After all, we've had some 30 years to prepare. Our families are ready and looking forward to a modern waste water treatment now, not with any further delay.

We are looking at ways to reuse the old concrete tank, but it appears to be more economical to break the bottom and haul off the lid and any other pieces we can easily remove. Then planting vegetables and flowers finally!

Churadogs said...

Anon: The reuse of the tank is to harvest rainwater for use in the garden. I'm sure just breaking the bottom, filling it, etc. will be the cheapest, but I'm hoping there's some way to streamline a community-wide program and maybe get some water reclamation grant money to reduce the cost so as to retrofit as many as possible. Might save a whole heck of a lot of water that we don't have.

Anonymous said...

How much water that we don't have was wasted in the looooongggg waste water treatment battle?

How much pollution has continued and still continues thanks to the sewer war?

Ron said...

An Anon asks:

"How much pollution has continued and still continues thanks to the sewer war?"

That's a GREAT question, and, as usual, the answer is fascinating.

Ol' Rog Briggs and Co. at the RWQCB always pegged the number at "1 million gallons a day."

Now, for some mind-blowing "fun with numbers:"

Had the Solution Group not killed the County's $71 million "ready to go" project starting in 1997, with their whacked/DOA 70-acre ponding NON-project, the county's 1990s project would have been on-line -- and I'm just going to round that date off at the year 2000.

Fast forward to today, and it looks like Los Osos will finally stop polluting "1 million gallons a day" in... what? 2015? 2016?

So, we're looking at 15 years, at 1 million gallons of water pollution a day... 365 days a year... for 15 years.

Do the math. It's fascinating: That's more water pollution than the BP Gulf spill, and the Exxon Valdez spill... combined... thousands of times over.

And it can ALL be traced directly back to the Karners' crazy, DOA 1997 "Comprehensive Resource Management Plan," that was neither "comprehensive," or a "plan," but it DID kill the County's $71 million, "ready to go" project, starting back in 1997.

Think about that: The Karners' crazy, DOA, useless 1997 "Comprehensive Resource Management Plan," is directly responsible for not only forming the LOCSD in the first place (for what-turned-out-to-be no reason whatsoever), but also for more water pollution than the BP Gulf spill, AND the Exxon Valdez spill... combined... thousands of times over.

And, even more fun, the ONLY place you will see that stunning figure reported, is my little ol' bloggy, SewerWatch.

Jeez, forget the worse-than-nothing Trib. Where's 60 Minutes on this?

Anonymous said...

If it was 2005 you could call Mike Wallace and ask him that question.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Why Ron! You are finally back! Great - let's have some more fun with numbers!

But first, a bit of history, a fuller history than what you present, which is has many critical omissions and is full of your political bias.

Prior to the Solution Group, there was a great deal of community dissatisfaction with how the County was handling their wastewater project. People have said to me that you could never get a straight answer from them. You would get different answers to the same question at different times. The community hated the sewer location by the middle school, they hated the chlorine storage so close to the kids. The poor and dismissive way that the County staff was interacting with people in Los Osos I believe, laid the groundwork for some group to come in with a new and completely different project, especially tempting, something viewed as "green." So the Solution Group wasn't some group that "killed" the County's project, the COMMUNITY "killed" the County project by embracing, naively perhaps, a project closer to community values and to be controlled by THEMSELVES.

To the Solution Group's credit, their ideas got resurrected to replace what the CSD of 2000 did, (that is, a gravity project with MBR treatment on a small plot of ground). This idea of Step and ponds got full vetting by the County after 2007 on their attempt to craft a project t that the community would embrace. So you have to give both blame to the community and credit to The Solution Group, their idea would not die.

So the new CSD took control and then found that they could not proceed with the ponds, partial sewering and Step. So, with no choice, the Water Board breathing down their neck, they changed the project to one that the Water Board would accept. What they did NOT do was explain the change well to the community or allow for mourning the loss of the project that almost everyone wanted so badly, including themselves.

Now, with the new project moving ahead in 2001, certain members of the community tried 15 times to stop it. Now THAT is where you have to start counting the gallons up. No one in those obstructionist groups, who by the way were few in number but had the bucks to start lawsuits, seemed to give a rat's a$$ about water! (Of course, when the Lisa board got in, much money was paid out of CSD funds to pay off the legal bills racked up against the CSD, but that is another story. Funny how an "investigative reporter" like you claim to be would find no interest in this flim-flamery. Mike Wallace would have loved this.)

OK, here is the numbers part. But I guess it isn't so fun though and there was nothing "fun" about your numbers either. Here are the project cost numbers:

2001 $84.6 million (Final Project Report by Montgomery Watson)
2003 $93 million
2004 $110 million
2005 $134 million
2012 $183 million

Anonymous said...

Ron is not be capable of understanding the major changes in scope of project from 2000 to 2012.

So now the community, in which Ron does not live, decided to change the project from a much smaller project to a community wide project "out of town". It does cost more for the much larger project, maybe the entire SLO County should help pay the cost for sewering the 4th largest town in the county?

Ron said...

'toons writes:

"So the new CSD took control and then found that they could not proceed with the ponds..."

Well, o.k., but "the new CSD" should have talked with their vice-president, Pandora, because she now admits to knowing "they could not proceed with the ponds" in January of 1998, when Roger mailed them this letter.... directly to their home address.

See, 'toons, if you could read, you would've noticed that I exposed how the Karners' now ADMIT to knowing their ponds were "blown out of the water" in January 1998.

Here's the link to the story where I first exposed that:

I call it, "The Karner Confession."

Soooooo... if Pandora now confesses that she knew the ponds were DOA in January of 1998 -- and she does, 'toons (sounds like you need to talk with your friend) -- then why did she over-the-top hype "better, cheaper, faster" to Los Osos throughout 1998, when she knew it was already dead?

Well, as I exposed at this link:

... had the Karners simply thrown in the towel when they got Briggs' letter, they wouldn't have been able to go on and cash in on their SWA Group scam, which they did, as I clearly show, using nothing but primary source documents.

It makes perfect sense.

I mean, why would the Karners lie to the community of Los Osos about the fate of their DOA, fake, non-project?

The answer's clear: So they could cash in on their SWA Group scam, with Gary Karner being a "Principal" at SWA Group... which they did. Their plan worked perfectly. (Brilliant plan by the way.)

Unfortunately for the rest of us, that plan is also directly responsible for (what must be) the largest, (wo)man-made water pollution event in the history of the planet -- more than 5 billion gallons of water pollution, attributable directly to the Karners' fake "Comprehensive Resource Management Plan" scam.

Which makes takes like this:

"So now the community, in which Ron does not live..."

... from anonalosers, so puzzling to me.

What? I don't get to expose the largest water pollution event in the history of the planet, simply because I don't live in Los Osos?

Uh, I didn't live in Los Osos in 2000, when my first New Times cover story exposed how the Karners' fake ponding non-project -- that was solely responsible for forming the LOCSD, AND killing the county's "ready to go" project -- was swirling down the drain, as so many experts predicted before the 1998 election, and then it immediately died the moment after my story was published.

And, I didn't live in Los Osos in 2004, when my second New Times cover story exposed how the the Tri-W disaster was nothing more than a cover-up, to cover-up the fact that the Karners' fake ponds "project" HAD died.

Pa-POW! 2 for 2, baby.

In 2000, I write a cover story that exposes how the Karners' 70-acre ponds disaster WAS a disaster, and BOOM! -- there will never be a 70-acre ponding system in Los Osos.

In 2004, I write a cover story that exposes how the Tri-W disaster WAS a disaster, and BOOM! -- there will never be a "picnic area"/sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos.

2 for 2, baby.

See? The fact that I don't live in Los Osos, doesn't shred one ounce away from how f-ing good I am.

[Oh, and thank you for the opportunity to reset all of that. : -) ]

5 billion gallons of water pollution... stemming from one made-up document.

AWESOME! And I get the story all to myself.


Anonymous said...

You know Ron, it's totally not worth writing back to Lynette. I came across something that landed in my email yesterday. It's something, that in my mind, invalidates everything she's written since she moved to Los Osos.

And Ann, I couldn't give less of a damn that you "hate" this person. He makes more sense out of Los Osos than the people who currently live here.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious this is THE place for hate in Los Osos. It's been that way for years and just gets worse, if that's even possible.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ron, I think you underestimate the power of hope and how through history, seemingly impossible projects have come to pass with perseverance. The fact that the objectors to the Tri-W project kept going with wanting the pond/Step project should have told you that.

Try writing less about yourself and spending more time going over the history to be found in the current project documents on the County's website. There you might find enlightenment, or if not that, at least you might find out how saving the water source in Los Osos by a sewer project's recycling of said water is as important as cleaning it up.

The CSD had no funds to do such a project without the funds from the sewer project. Water saving has languished for years due to the long process in the current project and the CSD's bankruptcy. That is what the recall got us, a sieve for our water source to bleed out.

Ron said...

An Anon writes:

"You know Ron, it's totally not worth writing back to Lynette."

Well, I would reply to her, but I have no idea what she's talking about.

I mean:

"Ron, I think you underestimate the power of hope and how through history"

Huh? No comprendo.

Anyhoot, as long as she's here, though, maybe she can help me research my story.

Uh, 'toons, do you know someone named Gordon Hensley?

If so, do me a big favor, ask him a question that he refuses to answer for me, and then lemme know what he told you.

It's a GREAT question, and I've always wanted to know the answer to it.

It goes like this:

When Gordon was on the initial CSD Board with Pandora, from 1999 - 2000, did Pandora ever tell him, and his fellow Board members, about that January 1998 letter from Roger -- that was sent directly to the Karners' home address -- where Pandora now confesses to knowing that her ponds were "blown out of the water" when she got that letter... nearly a full year before the election that formed the CSD?

See what I mean there? It's such an important question:

Did Gordon ALSO know that the ponds were never going to work when he wasted two PRECIOUS years and millions of dollars chasing the Karners' fake "project," OR did Pandora just keep ALL of her fellow Board members in the dark on that vital, VITAL point, and she just never showed them Roger's letter.

I've got a sixer of Heineken that says it's the latter, and that's very good news for Gordo.

See, here's G.'s chance to distance himself from that 5 billion gallons of water pollution. All he has to say is something like, "She never f-ing told us," and he's in the clear.

How 'bout it, 'toons? Like I say, I've asked him that question, but he won't answer it.

[Oh, and P.S.: You forgot a critical entry in your "project cost numbers" list above:

1998 $71 million (the County's "ready to go" project that the Karners killed with their fake, DOA "project"... and then the rest of that list is a direct result of the Karners' fake "project," along with the 5 billion gallons of water pollution.]

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Let me connect the dots for you Ron. People in 1999 LIKED the pond/Step idea. After the Tri-W project was crashed, people STILL LIKED the pond/Step idea and tried to resurrect it with the County when it took over the project. It was a hard idea to kill, it's green!

Price was important, but as we saw from the Tri-W destructo crew in 2005, having a GREEN was VERY important. So that sort of negates all your hype that Pandora "fooled" people with a marketing campaign. The desire for that "green" sewer remained in 2005, even after the pond idea crashed the first time. It was clear that it was NOT going to cost $39/month by then and all of the objections to ponding had been studied, yet people still wanted it!

However, perhaps with a little tweaking maybe there was a way to make the ponds work. The reason I say that is because of what Roger Briggs wrote. Is your brain so compromised by your bias that you could not understand that Briggs was not telling them that their plan could not work, but that were some things that they had to do to MAKE it work?

On pages 2-4 of the Briggs letter, he answers the Solution Group's questions and tells them this (the questions/answers are broken into two days so the numbering is broken, or perhaps some questions were not answered or they were combined):

1. They need a qualified consultant.
2. Explain to the public that the ponds would have septage in them, not sewage and that they need to put them farther away from houses.
3. Include habitat issues costs in your plan, the County didn't know how many issues there were until the evaluation.
4. You need a bigger setback.
5. The County's plan with aeration reaches septage processing faster than a passive pond.
8. Briggs and Solution Group agree another pond would be needed, please add in the extra costs for the issues that go with that.
13. Briggs doesn't think Step would be cheaper (from 2006 on the sewer-crashers STILL believed Step would be cheaper).
16. Include in your estimate the cost to replace all tanks and pumps where needed.
19. "Again, we are not saying it can't be done, we're just pointing out the obvious contradictions between the proposal and many of the perceived problems with the Broderson percolation ponds." Quote from Briggs.
1. Briggs disagrees with their nitrogen loading calculations. Recalculate!

You fail to see Ron, how much the people LIKED this the Solution Group's project. The people were behind this project. So to say it was all Pandora's or Gary Karner's fault is simply untrue.

The COUNTY FUNDED the Questa Study, so duh, no wonder it came out in favor of the County's project! The town HATED the County's sewer idea. They were not too keen on the County of then either. The County plan at Pismo left out a lot of the costs too. The County BTW has cleaned up its act from the wild west of the good old boys.

I re-read your blog post asserting that Pandora "confessed" but find no such thing. It took me a while to get past all of your self praise to do so I will add.

Churadogs said...

Toonces, you're right, the community did like, and want "green," still does. But my main quarrel with this is that letter arrived BEFORE the election, and I sure don't remember any public forums during the CSD election run up outlining and debating all this. (Remember, the election at this point was about forming a CSD only. The Solutions Group linked the Ponds of Avalon to the formation of the CSD --- i.e. the only way we can have this $39 a month, wonderful Green sewer project is if we form a CSD and do it ourself. The debate and the struggle to meet Briggs' requirements went on after the election. Imagine what would have happened IF a good part of the formation of a CSD vote, discussion and debate was spent discussing the implications of Roger's letter.

As for Karner "confessing," that took place in a letter to The Bay News, years later. I'm sure Ron has the link on his fingertips. And will post it here.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"As for Karner 'confessing,' that took place in a letter to The Bay News, years later. I'm sure Ron has the link on his fingertips. And will post it here."

Indeed I do, and indeed, I will.

I've hilariously titled that file: "karners_rambling_manifesto.doc," because that's exactly what it is.

Wow... what a crazy, crazy document. What were they thinking? And that mess got published?!

Straight from their crazy manifesto:

"Mr. Paul Jagger acting for Roger Briggs of the RWQCB in a letter dated January 23, 1998 inferred that 100% of the septic tanks in Los Osos would have to be replaced... When the RWQCB demanded that the entire Prohibition Zone be collected and treated, the AIWPS pond capacity to treat the collected area grew to a point where it required far more land capacity than was reasonably available at the Tri-W/Morro Shores site. The cost for land and construction became prohibitive.

The cumulative system expansion and costs blew the proposal out of the water (so to speak, no pun intended).

"No pun intended?" Unbelievable. Here they are, confessing to an unimaginable disaster, that includes 5 billion gallons of water pollution, and they're joking about it.

Well, o.k., Pandora. But, if you knew that your fake, DOA, non-project was "blown out of the water" in January 1998 -- as you just confessed to -- then why did you saturate Los Osos with crap like, "maximum monthly payment of $38.75" THROUGHOUT 1998... and then, of course, those lies got you elected, and then you, as vice-president of your baseless CSD, hired your husband's "firm" -- the SWA Group.

See? Makes perfect sense. Helluva plan! And it worked!

[Why the FBI hasn't pounded down their door years ago, I have no idea. For god's sake, they CONFESS to their scam. How am I not done here?]

And, before I go, some fun YIN/YANG:


"The County couldn't care less about the Los Osos Community..."
-- from the Karners' crazy manifesto, 2005


"... could the LOCSD transfer the sewer project to the county BEFORE the current CSD-3 leave office?
-- Pandora Nash-Karner, 2005, in an email to a bunch of officials, right after the recall election, where she also implemented her "strategy" to have Los Osos "fined out of existence."

Damn, she may be crazy, but she can also be funny.

I mean, "Can we transfer the 'project' to the county, that couldn't care less about the Los Osos Community."


(Hey, Bruce? How's this taste?: "The County couldn't care less about the Los Osos Community..." And that's coming from your own Parks Commissioner. HIGHlariouser.)

['toons, ask your friend, Gordon, if Pandora told him about that letter, when they caused that 5 billion gallons of water pollution. Buh-bye.]

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Thanks for the history, you are adding good info to the discussion which I have never heard. Yes, that discussion would have been helpful. The same goes for the newly elected Lisa board and the discussion that could have been about what the Water Board was saying at that point - we're going to yank the SRF money! CDOs, NOVs! No discussion once again. The outcomes may have been different had those discussions taken place, but then a Board has the final vote on what happens, it isn't everyone voting to do something, so I'm not so sure anything would have changed on the second time around. I just recall the talk being, "we won't lose the money, we won't be fined."

The internal information on the "Manifesto," which is the title Ron gave this MS Word document, is that it was edited the second time by Gary Karner on Friday, September 16, 2005 at 12:26 PM, Created Monday, March 7, 2005 and Printed Saturday, March 5, 2005 which leads me to believe that the writing was even earlier than the March 7, 2005 date. That is what I gleaned out of the document Ron posted at points earlier.

Churadogs said...

I keep telling you all, this saga is more amazing than "War and Peace!"

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Well, I meant to say that Ann's posting was the history that I was appreciating and had not heard, not Ron's. I didn't know his post was going to go before mine or I would have been specific.

Here are some more interesting points out of Mr. Karner's writing that were scary true after the Lisa board took over:

1) Probable fines by the RWQCB (and they have been directed by the SWRCB to do that if the project does not break ground by September 20, 2005).

3) Takeover of the project by the County is most probable.

4) The permits and loans granted to date to the LOCSD, and all current environmental reports, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reports, and approved low-interest loans are all PROJECT, AND SITE SPECIFIC! None will move to another site or project. We start all over again with ANY other project type, description or location.

5) If we start all over again, it will take a minimum of six (6) years to get to the same point we are now with any "new" project or site, together with all of the requirements of the approval boards, and environmental restrictions (that may increase). The escalation in construction cost and inflation alone make this prohibitive.

What was NOT true was this:

"The County couldn't care less about the Los Osos Community and will likely proceed with the project at the site and whatever cost is necessary to implement the project." THAT did NOT happen. The County bent over backwards with meeting after meeting to get feedback and input (and knew with half the town against it, Tri-W was a no-go).

Well, the Lisa Board got their wish, "Out of Town" and most of us got our wish, "Gravity." The cost now at $183 million......well, maybe that is not so great. And six years to "get to the point we are now" was an understatement by Gary to say the least. No one could deliver on cheaper or faster. No one needed to fine LO out of existence, sewer obstructionists, due to the escalated costs of each delay they caused (remember 15 lawsuits against the Tri-W project - ALL LOST), have made it horribly difficult for many residents to exist in LO. (We'll see what the County can do to help those with low incomes.)

Also, the incorrect point Ron makes with his "Pandora" quote, "Can we transfer the 'project' to the county, that couldn't care less about the Los Osos Community." It was Gary that said the County didn't care, not Pandora. You can't meld the two together as if they were one person.

Yes, More amazing than "War and Peace!" There has been a lot of war in LO, let's hope when we finally get to flush and forget in 2016 or 2017 that at there will finally be peace!

Ron said...

'toons, one final point:

Your rambling, incoherent, all-over-the-map, excuses-filled writing style on exhibit here in these comments, is VERRRRRY similar to the rambling, incoherent, all-over-the-map, excuses-filled writing style found in the Karners' rambling manifesto.

They both read the exact same way.

I just wanted to point that out.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Thanks Ron, it means a lot to all three of us.

Anonymous said...

Four of us. I just stopped by to witness Ron's obsession. Ok, time I'll never get back and absolutely no new nothing. I wonder what it's like to be so obsessed that you don't even realize you are telling the same story over and over and over and it's still isn't that big of a story. It's all about perspective and perception. Ron's tale does not strike a nerve with me as being a huge conspiracy. Mistakes and missteps yes. My perception and perspective is that the biggest fraud was caused by Julie, Lisa, Chuck and Steve because they intentionally and continuously, for YEARS misled their neighbors. It's not here or there or right or wrong, I think that if someone of Ron's ilk became obsessed with that story, it would make for a much better read. Doesn't matter how Ron spins it, Pandora did not cost the CSD and the tax and rate payers millions in foibles and bungles. She just didn't. Voters voted to assess themselves period. It makes no difference if Ron agrees with me or Ann, it's just what I believe to be true.

Thankfully there is a sewer going in. Thankfully people who were unhappy with their roll in the pollution can sleep much better at night knowing that the sewer water is becoming recharge water and that the out of whack balance may have a chance to resolve. Sick of the whiners and victims who only cry about themselves and what they want and how they feel and how horrible the sewer is and that it's evil and there will be more people and blah, blah, blah. Suck it, you are polluting the ground water and the bay. Just because you didn't plan ahead doesn't mean everyone else should suffer. Thank god now you can whine about McDonalds and well, whatever comes up next because the rest of the community, is ready to move on.

Churadogs said...

Aw, DANG, Anonamouse, you almost made it through a reasonable, thoughtful response. Then you couldn't help yourself and veered off into your quasi rant about whiners and blah-blah-blah. Let's hope this doesn't trigger more anonymice to jump in with neener-neener. If they do, heeeere comes the old delete button.

As for your first paragraph, Ron's "obsession" aside, what's useful about what he's doing sure makes all the original documents available, which helps sort out this complicated narrative, a bit. Now, let's hope he moves up in time and starts in on the recall, Montgomery, Watson, Harza, the mysterioso meeting with Sam Blakeslee, the recall Board (2 members, I think) and whazzhisname from the Waterboard, oh, and what really happened to cause Roger Briggs to loose it and lead his Board into the embarrassing insanity that was the Mad Pumping Scheme/Looney Mad Hatter Trial of the Los Osos 45. Now THAT will make War and Peace look like a novella.

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ron promised me over a year ago that he would put up the Bear Pride newsletter where the project change away from the ponds was discussed but we all still have not seen that. This seems like a good time to remind him.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"Now, let's hope he moves up in time and starts in on the recall, Montgomery, Watson, Harza, the mysterioso meeting with Sam Blakeslee..."

Actually, the funny thing here is, I want to move BACK in time from that fascinating 2005 recall election (probably THE most important election in the history of this county).

You know who I'd love to interview these days, and it's a name that has NEVER come up, either here or on my blog, but I just have a hunch she would have some excellent takes for my story?

Peg Pinard.

I know, I know: "Huh? Peg Pinard? Of all people. Why?"

The reason I would LOVE to interview Peg Pinard now -- in 2014 -- is because she was on the SLO County Board of Supervisors in 2003, when that Board unanimously approved the Tri-W disaster (by denying an appeal).

She, like the rest on that Board (including current State Assemblyman, Katcho) has ALOTTA 'splainin' to do -- she approved an "infeasible," nonsensical, mid-town, "picnic area"/sewer plant, that never even came close to making the county's short-list of potential projects... the SECOND time they considered it, from 2007 - 2010, and now will never exist, BECAUSE it was such a disaster.

Had Peg and Co. NOT approved that disaster in 2003, almost certainly, Los Osos would have ended up with the exact same thing you have now: Gravity collection, plant out-of-town... a DECADE ago.

Soooooooo, Peggy, uh, you know? In the context of 2014, WTF?

I would love to know if she NOW thinks that voting to approve that disaster was a really, really, REEEEELLY bad idea, OR does she still stick with her gigantic mistake... an approval that led to billions of gallons of water pollution, and wasted untold millions of public dollars.

I just Googled her, she's still around. She wrote a commentary for New Times just a couple of years ago.

Of course, another person that's got ALOTTA 'splainin' to do, is current SLO County planner, Nancy Orton.

From the October 21, 2003 meeting minutes:

"Ms. Nancy Orton: Project Manager (of the Tri-W disaster) for the County, presents the staff report; outlines the location of the project; addresses the issues of the appeal... recommends adoption of the resolution upholding the Planning Commission’s recommendation and deny both appeals."

Uh, Nanc, why didn't YOU, in 2002 - 03, see that the Tri-W disaster was an "infeasible" disaster, like your fellow SLO County government colleagues did from 2007 - 2010?

I've sent her emails, and left phone messages, to ask her that question, but she NEVER replies, of course.

Of course, that's also an excellent question for the entire 2003 SLO County Planning Commission, that included ANOTHER blast from the past that's still around: Pat Veesart. (Boy, does HE have ALOOOOOOOTTA 'splainin' to do in 2014.)

'toons writes:

"Thanks Ron, it means a lot to all three of us."

You mean, "all 'three' [finger quotes] of us," right?

Churadogs said...

Ron, what a splendid idea. Yeah, Peg's around, so might give her a call. It's always interesting that people refuse to diss some of this stuff. I mean, why not just 'splain their thinking and reasoning. There is no "insane" here. (Except Roger Briggs and his "mad pumping scheme," and the RWQCB (led by Briggs) and their Mad Hatter Tea Party Gonzo Looney "Trial" of the Los Osos 45) Everything that was done, every step of the way, has a very logical, reasonable explanation. Honest. True, the reason may not look good in hindsight, but at the time, it was perfectly reasonable. That's what makes this all more interesting than "War and Piece."

Ron said...

[Part I]

Ann writes:

"True, the reason may not look good in hindsight, but at the time, it was perfectly reasonable."

Yep, perfectly reasonable UNTIL my New Times cover story, Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown, was published in 2004, THEN the reason to build a "picnic area"/sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos immediately became very, very, verrrrry unreasonable.

To this day, it blows me away that I was the ONLY person, let alone reporter, to ask THIS basic question:

"What's the source of the 'strongly held community' value that an industrial (read: no ponds) sewer plant in Los Osos MUST be built in the middle of town simply so the town's residents can more easily access the 'picnic area' built into their industrial sewer plant?"

Un-friggin-believable -- I was the ONLY person to ask that question, and, when no official could provide me with a source -- because there isn't one, of course -- that was that for the Tri-W disaster.

Wanna see something stunning?

Go read the HUGE amount of public testimony from that Oct. 23, 2003, BOS meeting.

NOT ONE is saying anything remotely close to what I exposed in Three Blocks, a year later.

Had just ONE speaker said something like:

"Uh, Supervisors? The LOCSD's own Facilities Report is stating things like:

'The size and location of the other sites did not provide an opportunity to create a community amenity. The sites on the outskirts of town could not deliver a community use area that was readily accessible to the majority of residents in the manner that a central location such as (Tri-W) could.'


'It is essential that any proposed wastewater project within the community of Los Osos reflect these strongly held community values (of) Creating a wastewater treatment facility that is a visual and recreational asset to the community.'


'[The Andre site] is 1.5 miles from the edge of the community and would not be able to provide the community with a readily accessible recreational area. On a non-cost basis this site was viewed as less favorable than the Resource Park site.'

Soooooo, Supes, if ALL sites out-of-town were rejected simply because they 'could not deliver a community use area that was readily accessible to the majority of residents in the manner that a central location such as (Tri-W) could,' then we're REEEEEEELLY going to need to see some VERRRRY 'substantial' evidence that a 'strongly held community value' actually exists in Los Osos that the residents demand that they can 'picnic' in their sewer plant, and then also demand that their "picnic area"/sewer plant be in the middle of town so they can 'readily access' it."

... the Tri-W disaster would have died right there, and I never would have had this spectacular story.

So, yeah, as long as Pandora, the elected LOCSD official that invented the Tri-W disaster, AND was/is an appointed SLO County Parks Commissioner, is running around telling all of her SLO County government friends/colleagues, like Shirley, Pat, and Peg, that there IS a 'strongly held community value' to picnic in a sewer plant, then, yes, the reason to build a sewer plant in the middle of town is "perfectly reasonable."

But when I exposed how, obviously, that's not the case, it immediately meant that there was going to be an industrial sewer plant in the middle of Los Osos... forever, for no documentable reason whatsoever.

So, my question to people like Peg, and Pat, and Nancy, these days is, why didn't THEY, in 2003, do the research I did, in Three Blocks, in 2004?

Had they, the past decade of Los Osos sewer war would have never happened.

Ron said...

[Part II]

Wanna do a fun Google search?

Google: "Paavo Ogren" "scale in favor" [with the quotes]

And you'll see that Paavo Ogren, in 2007, wrote:

"However, the objectives that tilted the scale in favor of this (Tri-W) site may no longer have the weight they were given when the site was originally selected. In other words, 'amenities', like community parks, will not obscure the goals of providing the most efficient and cost effective solution to wastewater and groundwater problems."

The moment I read that, I knew the Tri-W disaster was dead, because, like I exposed, the ONLY reason it was going in the middle of town in the first place was because of the 'amenities,' SO: No 'amenities' -- No reason to build the sewer plant in the middle of town.

Boom. Done. So simple. (Oh, and Los Osos, you're welcome.)

By the way, Paav got something wrong there: "The objectives that tilted the scale in favor of this (Tri-W) site," NEVER had "the weight they were given when the site was originally selected," obviously.

Which means that Pat, Peg, Shirley, and the rest ALL approved a baseless disaster... that went on to cause, and IS CAUSING, billions of gallons of water pollution.

And that's exactly why I'd LOVE to interview those people today.

I mean, HOW did they all get SOOOOO duped? (Uh, one guess ; -)

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Ron, you really ought to take Ann's advice. Everything that was done, every step of the way, has a very logical, reasonable explanation. Honest. True, the reason may not look good in hindsight, but at the time, it was perfectly reasonable.

Approach your interviews with that mindset.

You complain that people don't return your calls. Well, when you put out there that these people's ideas or decisions are horrible, culminating in a "disaster" what really do you expect?

If you want the story people played a part in, you can't attack them and expect them to participate. But it is probably too late.

Ron, if you do not have copy of that Bear Pride that I keep asking for, just tell me so I can stop asking. If you have it, why are you holding out?

Ron said...

'toons writes:

"Well, when you put out there that these people's ideas or decisions are horrible, culminating in a "disaster" what really do you expect?"

What I find interesting about that, and it's another reason why I'd love to interview people like Pat Veesart and Peg Pinard these days, is that I wonder if Pat and Peg even realize that they ARE directly responsible for three billion gallons of water pollution in SLO County.

I mean, look how great this is, in 2014: Here's Pat Veesart, Joe Environmental guy: "Sierra Club California staff member, Executive Director of ECOSLO, and as a Planning Commissioner for both the City and County of San Luis Obispo. He is currently on the Board of Directors of Los Padres ForestWatch and works for the California Coastal Commission."

Yet, while he was a "Planning Commissioner for the County of San Luis Obispo," in 2003, he gets lazy, gets Pandoraed (of course), and actually APPROVES an environmental disaster -- a disaster that posed the "highest risk" for spills into the Morro Bay National Estuary, than ALL the other treatment options, as the County showed in 2009 -- and all for the sole reason so Los Ososans could more easily "picnic" in their mid-town sewer plant... on ESHA.

The disaster he approved never even comes close to working, of course, yet, due to Planning Commissioner Pat's nonsensical approval, it leads directly to another 3 billion gallons of water pollution.

So, ONE of my questions for Pat these days, is: Is he even aware that he IS directly responsible for 3 billion gallons of water pollution in SLO County?

Same question for Peg.

See? It's fascinating. What a story!

'toons writes:

"If you want the story people played a part in, you can't attack them and expect them to participate."

Well, the way I see it, here's Pat and Peg's chance to come clean. I'm providing them a GREAT opportunity here. All they have to do is tell me... well, exactly what happened. Something like:

"Look, we were duped. We were told by the LOCSD that there was some crazy 'strongly held community value' to picnic in a downtown sewer plant, and we didn't go Reagan: 'Trust, but verify.' We f-d up, BIG TIME, and, for that, we deeeeeeeply apologize to the people of Los Osos, SLO County, and California."

I get a feeling that someone like Pat would appreciate the opportunity. I mean, the guilt MUST be weighing heavy on him. For god's sake, he's a HUGE environment guy, directly responsible for 3 billion gallons of water pollution.

Sounds like he'd LOVE the opportunity to come clean. [Although, I did just check my files, and I sent him an email in Oct 2011, asking him a version of that question, but he never replied, of course. So, maybe he doesn't want to come clean on the fact that he's directly responsible for 3 billion gallons of water pollution in SLO County.]

'toons writes:

"Ron, if you do not have copy of that Bear Pride that I keep asking for, just tell me so I can stop asking. If you have it, why are you holding out?"

Well, if you could read, you would have noticed that I HAVE answered your question... about 50 times.

And the answer always goes something like this:

Considering that Bear Pride newsletter is completely irrelevant to my story, why do I have to supply it to you? Go get it yourself.

You might as well be asking me for my bean tostada recipe. It has about the same relevance to my story as that Bear Bride newsletter.

Wait... I take that back. My bean tostada recipe is MUCH more relevant, because my bean tostada recipe ROCKS!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Gee Ron, your memory is short. I asked you at that small claims hearing in SLO where we met in person and you said that you would post it for me. You offered. So now I see that either you have forgotten, don't have it, or simply do not want to give it to me. Thanks for your clarity.

And you really do not understand human nature very well. Maybe the people you wish to interview don't want to get into an argument with a so-called "journalist" who clearly has an agenda and is not open to their thoughts on the topic if they do not happen to agree with you. In other words, you are already putting your words in their mouths that aren't there, "Well, the way I see it, here's Pat and Peg's chance to come clean." Yeah, right, they MUST be feeling guilty! Guess we will never see that interview and I sure don't blame them!