Tuesday, November 15, 2005

"SewerWatch Strategy" at Water Board Meeting Could End This Sordid Affair Once and For All

If I was a Los Osos CSD Board member, and I was heading to Sacramento tomorrow to ask the State Water Board to keep the sewer funding a-comin', I'm pretty sure I could end this sordid affair once and for all with a little something I like to call, "The SewerWatch Strategy."

Here's what I would do at that meeting:

I would show up with a County Supervisor from Mariposa County and their public works director in tow.

Then I would step up to the podium and say something like:

    "Honorable Board, we will move forward with the current wastewater project if it means we get to keep our funding. And to give you an idea of just how committed the new CSD Board is to clean water, we are willing to build two, two, wastewater treatment facilities in California without adding a penny to our current SRF loan.

    Here's how:

    We request from the Water Board, permission to forfeit the $2.3 million dollars worth of park amenities contained in the previous CSD's project, you know, that amphitheater, tot lot, dog park, play fields, and all of that other nonsensical stuff that is inexplicably included at the site of the current sewer plant -- amenities that the community never wanted in the first place but that you guys are about to fund with taxpayer money -- and instead, give that $2.3 million to the great County of Mariposa -- a county that has 80-percent of its residents under the state median income level -- so they can fund their badly needed wastewater treatment facility -- a "Priority A" project, just like Los Osos, that the County of Mariposa has repeatedly requested SRF money for, but, to date, has a gigantic goose egg in its "amount committed" category.

    Of course, we understand that once we give up that portion of our funding, we will no longer be able to pay for the elaborate, multi-million dollar park that the community never wanted in the first place at the site of our sewer plant, and that means we won't be able to include it in the current project, which, of course, means that the "project objective" of "centrally located community amenities" will no longer be part of the project, which, in turn, of course, means that there's no longer any rationale to site the facility at the "centrally located" Tri-W site since, 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." (pg. 89)

    So, we'll just keep the same project as the previous board -- the one you are willing to fund -- except, since there's no longer the "project objective" of "centrally located community amenities" in the plan, and the only reason the Coastal Commission allowed construction at Tri-W was because of that "project objective," well, we'll just make a couple of "design changes" to the current plan (something the previous board did all the time) and simply, quickly and casually relocate the facility out of town, because, now, without the park in the plan, as we all know now, there's no reason to build it at Tri-W.

    Honorable Board, look at everything that would accomplish. We get to keep our funding because we are moving forward with the same project that the loan is designed for (albeit with a few "design changes"), the Los Osos Community Services District FINALLY appeases the California Coastal Commission by not building our sewer plant on Environmentally Sensitive Habitat for no reason other than the multi-million dollar park that we never wanted in the first place, you guys get to adhere to your SRF Policy by not having to fund an elaborate, multi-million dollar park that Los Osos never wanted in the first place, the spirit of Measure B is honored by moving the facility out of town, and two wastewater facilities, one for Los Osos, and one for Mariposa County get funded by our one SRF loan."

That argument would leave the Water Board with absolutely nowhere to go.

What would they say?

    "No, no, no Los Osos. Look, we don't care if the policy that governs the distribution of the SRF loan so wisely says that "decorative items" are not eligible for SRF money, and we also don't care if the Democratic process has made it illegal to build a sewer plant at Tri-W, and we don't care if there's absolutely no rationale at all to build an industrial sewer plant in the middle of your beautiful town, and obviously, we also don't care if Mariposa County is spilling raw sewage down their streets. We said we were going to fund that damn amphitheater (that your community never wanted in the first place) at your sewer plant, and, by God, that is exactly what we intend to do; along with the tot lot, community gardens, "decorative" wave wall, walking paths, play fields, dog park, public restrooms, public parking lot, and, of course, all of that REALLY, REALLY expensive stuff to accommodate the downtown "sewer-park," like the cost of burying the facility because it's "centrally located," and the massive on-going expense of the extreme "odor scrubbing" because it's "centrally located," and the extensive mitigation required because it's "centrally located" on ESHA, and the... ahhh, you get the point."

The Sacrament Bee, with the slightest nose for news, would turn the Water Board into the laughing stock of Sacramento for a decision like that. As it is, the Water Board's still gonna have a lot of 'splainin' to do on why they plan on funding an elaborate, multi-million dollar park in Los Osos with state and federal taxpayer's money -- a park that the previous CSD Board unanimously voted to add to the project on June 17, 2004 -- when other communities like Mariposa County don't get a dime for their park-less, bare bones, reality-based wastewater treatment facilities.


P.S.: Garrison Keillor, on his Writer's Almanac show this morning on KCBX, recited the following poem. I found it very appropriate for the situation in Los Osos:

by John Brantingham

Carpentry has a rhythm that should never
be violated. You need to move slowly,
methodically, never trying to finish early,
never even hoping that you'd be done sooner.
It's best if you work without thought of the
end. If hurried, you end up with crooked
door joints and drafty rooms. Do not work
after you are annoyed just so the job
will be done more quickly. Stop when you
begin to curse at the wood. Putting in
a window should be a joy. You should love
the new header and the sound of
your electric screwdriver as it secures
the new beams. The only good carpenter
is the one who knows that's he's not good.
He's afraid that he'll ruin the whole house,
and he works slowly. It's the same as
cooking or driving. The good cook
knows humility, and his souffle never falls
because he is terrified that it will fall
the whole time he's cooking. The good driver
knows that he might plow into a mother
walking her three year old, and so watches
for them carefully. The good carpenter
knows that his beams might be weak, and a misstep
might ruin the place he loves. In the end,
you find your own pace, and you lose time.
When you started, the sun was high and now
that you're finished, it's dark. Tomorrow, you
might put in a door. The next day,
you'll start on your new deck.


  • I like your practical approach to some 80% of the issues here.

    The problems are that the SWRCB doesn't have the ability to allow the CSD to remove the park and that the SWRCB will view moving the plant out of town as unnecessary delay.

    The CCC is the group that says the park is part of TriW (just like Julie and the previous board wanted). We cannot remove the park without opening up a can of worms with the CCC that will cause additional problems and delay, which we all know, is expensive. Along those same lines, no reasonable SWRCB would allow us to pursue a plant out of town unless we are somehow obligated to build at TriW if we can't find something out of town quickly. Something like the results of the negotiations.

    Let's for a moment pretend that the negotiation had been agreed to by all parties. Don't you think it likely that a lawsuit by neighbors of Andre or a finding of a wetland would delay the project until the TriW site construction would be mandated? I am pretty sure it would.

    Furthermore, you seem to forget that the SWRCB may feel the need to come down hard on a community so that in the future other communities don't think they can jerk around the state and waste money all the while continuing to pollute.

    I am sure they would say "no dice" to your reasonable offer.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:57 AM, November 15, 2005  

  • Some here who point fingers and blame current CSD members especially Julie Tacker should read this letter from a former CSD member to Polhemius at the Central Coast Water Control Board regarding the proposal:


    In it he claims that the proposal fails to address the clear Cologne Clean Water Act violation. He claims to represent SLO CoastKeeper.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • Thank you anonymous. An interesting read. I wonder if Polhemius was offended......after all, he was the representative from the SWRQCB.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • So you are complaining that Gordon still has the right to express his viewpoint?

    I don't get it. He writes is that moving the plant will take considerable time and that this time will hurt both our pocketbooks and the environment. How is this a problem for you? Both statements seem pretty obvious to me.

    How does this relate to Julie?

    Perhaps you would like to explain.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:38 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • Perhaps the point is that Hensley is now one of the people who is delaying the project by argueing against the negotiated proposal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:17 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • Let me think here.... Gordon Hensley delays a sewer project, The buisness manager lies to the papers and the SRWCB, Ron Crawford documents the frauds, the CCC and the SRWCB act as if they have no clue and don't care about results. Ann Calhoun goes Bwaa Ha Ha Ha.
    It's Los Osos caught in a time warp and endless reruns. I say it's high time for some realy radical action! Lets seceed from the State of California!, Put up border crossings and don't let any government officials in! Or how about a general Los Osos strike! That may get the State to finaly pay attention to the results of this unfunded mandate. Just spewing for fun here. Mike Green

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:08 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • Good one, Mike!

    So, Gordon thinks that moving forward with TriW is wiser than the negotiations where the likely result is construction at TriW, just two years later. How is this delaying the building of the plant? If anything it sounds like an argument to accomplish the goal earlier.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:41 PM, November 15, 2005  

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