Thursday, November 17, 2005

One Move From Checkmate

Los Osos CSD, you owe your old pal SewerWatch a favor, and I want to cash it in.

The State never saw it coming, and now they are one move away from being checkmated.

You've got them.

Here's the favor I'm asking: In your reply to the State's decision yesterday, do this:

First, agree to their ridiculous, democracy-ignoring proposal, then say something like:

    "Fine. Unlike democracy-loving people everywhere that would very much enjoy telling you to jam that ridiculous, democracy-ignoring proposal up your backside, we, the CSD Board, agree to your ridiculous, democracy-ignoring proposal, and we will proceed with the current project if it means we get to keep our funding, because, without that funding, as you Soviet leftovers are very well aware of, we are dead in the water, so we obviously can't "do whatever we want," and you know that.

    But now that we've agreed to accept your proposal that any random Dictator would find brilliant, we want to request one simple project change.

    According to SRF policy, the "loan applicant" (in this case, us) can request a change in the project, and that change can be granted by the State Water Resources Control Board if they "concur."

    Our one project change? We want to take out the $2.3 million park.


The State does not have a response to that.

If the CSD were to say in their response to the State's decision:

"We cannot in good conscience build a multi-million dollar park with taxpayer's money, while communities like Mariposa County have a "$0" in their "Amount Committed" category in the State Revolving Fund loan program, therefore we request from the SWRCB permission to free up the $2.3 million from our loan that was going to fund the park we never wanted in the first place, and give it to Mariposa County for their $2.9 million, park-less sewer facility."

... it would be check-friggin-mate. A response like that would finally bring the park issue front and center where it belongs, and it would put the State on the defensive immediately.

What would the Water Board do? Not grant the request? They would get shredded by every newspaper from here to Sacramento (well, of course, except the Trib... there's actually an interesting update involving the Trib. They recently hired former New Times reporter Abraham Hyatt. That is a good thing. Abraham worked at New Times when they published my cover story Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown in September, 2004. I have spoke with him on a few occasions, and I know he has a nice grasp on the story. Perhaps now we'll see more from the Trib than just the he-said-she-said coverage from their turnstile reporters of the past.)

If the CSD is really, really lucky, the Water Board will say, "O.k. Fine. Build the plant at Tri-W without the damn park."

And that would be that... tip over the King, dust off the hands and call it a day. Because, as I have been writing about for over a year now, without the park in the project, there is no rationale whatsoever to build the facility at Tri-W. Obviously, the Water Board does not know that, and that's where the CSD has them.

According to the California Coastal Commission, "other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected on the basis that they did not accomplish project objectives for centrally located community amenities."

The California Coastal Commission never said, "other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected on the basis that they did not accomplish project objectives of reduced pumping costs."

The California Coastal Commission never said, "other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected on the basis that they did not accomplish project objectives of restricting the size of the sewer plant therefore limiting growth in the area."

And the California Coastal Commission never said, "other alternatives (to the Tri-W site) were rejected on the basis that civil engineers couldn't figure out how to run a pipe across a creek."

And, as we all know now, no one can answer the question on why the park is in the plan to begin with. (Uhhhg... that one hurts.)

Without realizing it, the Water Board yesterday said, "Although there is no rationale at all to build the facility at Tri-W, you will build it there anyway."

The Water Board would have nowhere to go on the park removal request. It would be checkmate. If they denied the request to remove the park from the project, they would be saying, "We don't care if there is raw sewage running down the streets of Mariposa County, we said we would fund an elaborate, multi-million park in Los Osos with taxpayer's money that is supposed to go to cleaning water, and that's exactly what we intend to do."

If they granted the request to remove the park, and still demanded that the plant be built at Tri-W, they would be saying, "Look, we don't care if there's no rationale to site the facility in the middle of beautiful Los Osos, you will build it there."

That would be a difficult decision to explain... to say the least.

I hear the CSD has until next Wednesday to respond to the State's proposal. How long does it take to print out this post?

C' mon CSD. Be bold and do your ol' buddy a favor.



  • Interesting idea.

    I think you may misunderstand one thing, however, the SWRCB issue is all about whether we want funding. If we ask to simply use $2.3M less of the $135M committed, they'll say "okay, whatever." On the other hand, the CCC will still us to require to build the park if we build at TriW (thanks much, Julie!). We would just have to fund the park by ourselves.

    No funding for the park doesn't mean it wouldn't still be a requirement to build at TriW. And if we need to move the plant to satisfy the CCC, we lose the TriW specific loan ... and if you think that we'll ever get another crack at a SRF loan, you're smoking Joey-weed.

    The issue here is money ... do we want to spend less at TriW or more out of town. Both are reasonable choices, but there don't appear to be any other reasonable options.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:47 AM, November 17, 2005  

  • Both CCC and SWB are state agencies. Sometimes they are known to cooperate...what is the CCC position vis-a-vis the SWB action? If Los Osos teamed up with the CCC to take on the SWB to mandate a preferred site with fewer environmental impacts, don't you think one state agency will look stupid and the other very reasonable?

    Look at the policy issues and implications and not just the funding process.

    Retired Land Use Planner

    By Anonymous Retired Land Use Planner, at 12:01 PM, November 17, 2005  

  • Hi All,

    I agree with shark inlet. The issue is funding of a REQUIRED Waste water project.

    +Use the SWQCB funding for the current project or the LOCSD gets nothing.

    +Without State funding, the CSD
    will be bankrupt and likely be dissolved (hence never have the chance, nor the money, to move to another project.)

    +Without state funding and the rejection of the current project, the cost of a new project will go up atleast $100,000,000 dollars; and take atleat another 5 to 10 years to realize.

    A vey simple choice actually
    ......solve the community's problem now using State money to build with a project that you do not personally like, and save about $100,000,000 in the process.
    ......or, we're all up the proverbial "creek".

    signed; In the Know

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:15 PM, November 17, 2005  

  • Oops!

    The LOCSD Board played their hand and LOST THE LOW INTEREST LOAN.

    The very loan that Lisa, Julie, Chuck, Staeve and John said we would "never lose" because Los Osos is a special, magical place.

    So Ron; I am sure your happy now that the Project is very dead; no park or anything EXCEPT about $20,000,000 needlessly wasted getting to this point, and about another $30,000,000 in recent CSD debt (that we must pay), and the upcoming fines of $11,000,000 to $44,000,000 from the RWQCB. What a terrible waste! So Ron, pat yourself on the back for being such a schmuck because you didn't want to pay for the park. Now the rest of us will have to pay for your delusions.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:06 AM, November 26, 2005  

  • Um ... Ron doesn't live in Los Osos. He was never going to pay.

    Ron is very good at the history of the project and the ... um ... issues that caused us to have a park included and the site in the center of town. I disagree with him on some of his conclusions but Ron is not the problem here ... the problem is the people of Los Osos who were told they would pay less if we moved the plant out of town. Even if they were lied to by Lisa, Al and Chuck, they had the information at hand to investigate the claims by those backing Measure B and the recall. They should have known better just like the current CSD board should have known better than to take the actions they have.

    There is an interesting parallel here. The 1st CSD board came into the position hoping they could use a cheap system and change the state opinion on the matter of nitrates, step-steg and partial collection of the prohibition zone. State authorities had (according to Ron) told them othewise before they even ran. This new board came into position hoping to change state opinion on the matter of nitrates, step-steg and the location of the plant. State authorities (according to public documents) told them otherwise before they even ran.

    Who is to blame? The 1st group for promising to do it cheaper than the County and the 2nd group who promised to do it cheaper than the 1st group.

    By the way, I wonder whether this 2nd group really believed they would keep the SRF loan and not be fined. Were they just hopeful or were they fibbing?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 9:28 PM, November 29, 2005  

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