“I Aim For The Stars, But Occasionally I Miss And Hit London”
Reading the Final Report of the Independent Advisory Panel on Reviewing the Los Osos Wastewater Management Plan Update and attending the CSD meeting last night presenting and discussing the same, I was put in mind of the above satiric riff on Werner Von Braun’s autobiography, “I Am for the Stars.” (For those too young to remember, Von Braun was snatched up by the U.S. after WWII and was instrumental in starting the U.S. space program since he was one of the premiere rocket scientists that Germany had and did indeed help develop the V-2s that did indeed hit on London.)
That satiric title kept running through my head, not because the report contained any bombs, but because so much of it sort of kept falling into the, Oh, Duh, category. For example, statement 3.3.2: “Given the number of problematic issues with the downtown site, it is the unanimous opinon of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative.” Oh, Duh. Or, 3.2.1: “The STEP/STEG system is a well-developed technology and is a viable alternative to the gravity collection system.” Oh, double Duh. And I especially liked this one, 3.2.3: “Regardless of which type of collection system is selected, consideration should be given to the use of vacuum sewers (STEP) in low lying areas along Morro Bay.” Oh, very, very interesting. Speaks to the problem with traditional gravity pipes of infiltration and leaks in high-ground-water areas, something better controlled and monitored with a STEP system. Very interesting, especially since much of Los Osos has high-groundwater areas, and/or areas where the upper aquifer has risen too close to the surface & etc. If a sealed system is safer along the bay, then that begs the question whether it would be safer through the rest of the town.
Over all, the report (which is available at the CSD office and will be on their website and hopefully will be posted on the County’s website soon (www.slocounty.ca.gov./pw) consisted of a series of statements of fact or expert opinion and or advice or consensus of the Panel, among whom was George Tchobanoglous, author of 13 textbooks and five engineering reference books, several of which are considered by wastewater engineers to be “the bible.” In other words, it was a panel of real experts with no dogs in this fight, not just five guys with spoons.
The report also wasn’t just some vetting of the Ripley Project or a comparison between Ripley’s proposal and the Tri W project, but it did contain some very interesting points and caveats which, IF FOLLOWED, could result in a successful project. Happily, the County was part of the panel, as were representatives from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. No member of the CSD Board was invited to attend, since this was to be strictly hands-off vis-à-vis any “political” input. I can only hope the participants were listening and will be paying close attention to some of the items. And I hope the members of the public will get a copy and read it too. And pay close attention.
Speaking of Paying Close Attention
The County will be holding the first of it’s Town Hall Meetings Monday and possibly Tuesday, December 18 & 19th at 6 pm (for meet & greet) 7 pm for the program’s start at the Los Osos Middle School. Be there. Early information and input and feedback and Getting Info Straight From The Horse’s Mouth is starting NOW. One of the reasons the Hideous Los Osos Sewer Project went off the tracks in the first place is because too many people in the community were asleep at the switch. I can only hope they won’t make that same mistake again. Just because the County’s “in charge” doesn’t mean this project won’t end up going in the wrong direction, again. Keeping it heading in the right direction is the job of everyone who lives here. No excuses this time.
Lawsuits, We Got Lawsuits, Again.
The Bay News reports that, “Los Osos attorney Shaunna Sullivan, on behalf of seven members of the Prohibition Zone Legal Defense Fund (PZLDF),” has filed a lawsuit against the Regional Water Quality Control Board, claiming that “the defendants [the harassed and exhausted Los Osos 45 and eventually everyone in the PZ, which means YOU, HELLO! WAKE UP! PAY ATTENTION! A TINY FEW OF YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS ARE PULLING AN ENORMOUS WEIGHT THAT IF SUCCESSFUL COULD BENEFIT YOU SO GET OFF YOUR DUFF AND MAKE A DONATION TO THE PZLDF ACCOUNT AT THE COAST BANK NEXT TO THE POST OFFICE IN LOS OSOS SINCE YOU’LL BE HELPING YOURSELF THANK YOU] are being denied due process and equal protection under the law by not being able to depose Briggs.” (Roger Brigs, former CEO of the staff of the RWQCB who’s out of the country (conveniently?) just as the kangaroo court “trials” are to begin Dec 14th and 15th. )
There’s also been procedural cock-ups, muddlements, date changes, procedure changes, more muddlements, all of which have resulted in ZERO IMPROVEMENT IN WATER, but HUGE costs for the Los Osos 45 and HUGE costs for the Regional Board.
The tragedy here is the Los Osos 45 (some of them at least) have been negotiating a possible win-win “settlement” that would avoid kangaroo courts, ginned up trials, and an endless trail of expensive court appeals, huge delays and wasted resources spent “prosecuting” the remaining 4,500 homeowners. In short, a settlement that could be offered instead to the entire community and could result in a streamlined process that could result in immediate ground water improvement by having everyone pump, inspect, repair all our septic systems and offer proof of same. Those few not in compliance could then be rounded up by the Board and shot. Their numbers would be small since I personally don’t know anyone who would refuse to comply with that sensible requirement, nor do I think you know anyone who would refuse. That settlement is sooooo close, yet for some reason, the staff and/or Board are balking and may (again) end up with a lose/lose like last year’s Mad Pumping Scheme that wasted a whole year’s time where real mitigation could have been taking place.
Wait, Did I Say Tragedy? Apalling Farce is More Like It.
Patrick Klemz, over at New Times this week, notes that the upcoming “Trials” of the Los Osos 45, wouldn’t be videotaped and broadcast by AGP Video because – are you ready for this – The regional Water Quality Control board is citing “budgetary shortfalls as the reason” for not video taping the “Trials.”
Excuse me? Excuse me?
This from the gang who wasted gazillions on their appalling Mad Pumping Schemes, “trials,” lawyers, paperwork sent and resent, including one utterly silly piece sent special delivery because of some mix up, more hearings, then the dumping of the whole original “trials” to hire a new Grand Inquisitor to start all over again, gazillions utterly wasted when all that board needed to do last year was a simple directive to the community, no need for CDOs at this point, no need to waste all that money in their shortfalled budget.
But Noooo. Money for all that waste, that they have. Taping their kangaroo court “trials?” Naw, too poor.
As of this posting, the NT article notes, “. . .CSD attorney Julie Biggs and the law firm Burk, Williams and Sorensen had each pledged $500. According to AGP, water board staff also promised to secure a contribution. The broadcast outfit itself [AGP] plans to make its own sacrifices on a meeting-by-meeting basis.” . . . “We’ll be there,” AGP’s [Nancy] Castle said of the mid-month hearings.”
Hooray for AGP. Boooooo BOOOOOOO to the Regional Board. Hello over there. Hellooooo. You folks are soooooo close to a success, a real win-win success, an actual “I know, let’s do something to actually affect GROUNDWATER, not just paperwork” success. Please, Pllluuuueeeeze, ya gotta tell us why – WHY – you’re continuing to do everything in your power to screw this all up? Why? Makes no sense at all. None.