Sunday, April 16, 2006

How did Los Osos get to where it is today?

(Due to the length and complexity of the amazing Los Osos sewer story, it takes a while to completely wrap your mind around what makes it so amazing. That's why, if you're new to the story, or you're a sewer junkie looking for one-stop shopping on how Los Osos got to where it is today, the following is for you. I just kind of lay things out a little matter-of-factly here -- strung together using choice stuff from SewerWatch. All of the claims below are described in detail and heavily sourced throughout SewerWatch.)

- - - - - - -

There is/was no rationale behind the mid-town, "Tri-W" siting for the early CSD's second sewer plant. Zero.

The previous Los Osos CSD Board was about to build a sewer plant in the middle of town for no reason whatsoever -- several out-of-town sites were much cheaper, technically feasible and environmentally superior.

The only reason the CSD gave to the California Coastal Commission on why their second project had to be located at Tri-W, was false.

The initial CSD told the Coastal Commission that there was a "strongly held community value" in Los Osos that any sewer plant must also double as a centrally located "recreational asset." As SewerWatch has exposed, that "community value," understandably, never existed. It was fabricated by the CSD Board in 2000-01, because without that "community value" there would have been no reason to site their second project at Tri-W.

And it was (and, apparently, still is) very important to a small group of people in Los Osos that the initial CSD Board's second project be built at Tri-W, because, in 1998, a 16-member citizens' group known as the Solution Group promised voters a "better, cheaper, faster" sewer project, with a "drop dead gorgeous" treatment facility at that exact location. That project, marketed heavily and unscrupulously by the Solution Group, was directly responsible for getting the Los Osos Community Services District formed in 1998, and three Solution Group members elected to the initial board, and dramatically altering the way Los Osos is governed.

The problem for the Solution Group was that numerous water quality professionals, before the election that formed the CSD on the coattails of that "better, cheaper, faster" project, were telling them that their plan was simply not going to work in Los Osos. But the Solution Group would exhibit a marketing strategy pattern (that still exists today, by the way) of attacking and falsely discrediting any study, survey, engineer, water quality professional, or journalist that countered their inaccurate information.

Shortly after officially taking office in January 1999, the initial CSD Board -- three of five were Solution Group members -- voted to stop a county designed sewer project, and begin their futile pursuit of the "better, cheaper, faster," "drop dead gorgeous" sewer project that numerous water quality professionals had already told the Solution Group was not going to work in Los Osos.

The official pursuit of that project lasted from early 1999 to late 2000. After nearly two years, the initial CSD Board finally came to the conclusion that their "better, cheaper, faster," "drop dead gorgeous" sewer project was not going to work, just like all those water quality professionals said two years earlier, before the election that formed the CSD on the coattails of the Solution Group's terribly designed project.

It's important to note that the Solution Group's plan relied on a treatment facility that required a large piece of land -- about 50 to 70 acres. At the time, the rationale the Solution Group gave for the Tri-W selection in their "better, cheaper, faster" project was because it was the only plot of land in the area that could accommodate the size of their facility.

When the Solution Group's plan failed, the pressure was on. Two years had been wasted.

In late 2000, the initial CSD/Solution Group Board had the opportunity to go back to their community and say:

"The project that got us elected and the CSD formed is not going to work, just like all those water quality professionals said, two years ago... before the election. What should we do now?"

But the initial CSD Board did not do that in late 2000.

That was the pivotal decision in the entire Los Osos sewer controversy, because when the board decided not to go back to their community and admit their massive and embarrassing failings, they, instead, hastily and quietly developed another project -- their second and much more expensive project -- in less than a year, and that haste led to another terribly designed project. That project was then hastily approved by State agencies that had grown frustrated and angry during the two years that the initial CSD/Solution Group Board wasted in the futile pursuit of their poorly conceived first project.

However, the treatment facility in the initial CSD's second project only required about 5 - 7 acres -- ten times less land than the Solution Group's treatment facility required. The second facility could have easily been moved out of town to land that was much less expensive than the centrally located Tri-W site, and sites that were also "technically feasible" and environmentally preferred by State agencies.

But if an out-of-town site had been selected by the 2000-01 CSD Board for their second project, it would have revealed that the "better, cheaper, faster," "drop dead gorgeous" sewer project that got them elected and the CSD formed, had failed.

So, the 2000-01 Los Osos Community Services District Board, in a desperate attempt to unnecessarily retain the Tri-W site for their second project, fabricated a "strongly held community value" that any sewer plant in Los Osos must also double as a centrally located "recreational asset."

Tri-W was the only centrally located potential sewer plant site large enough to accommodate both a sewer plant and an elaborate and expensive park (a park that the community had already showed through the ballot box that they did not want to be taxed for).

Which is why the 2000-01 Los Osos Community Services District Board publicly stated that the "strongly held community value" was the reason why Tri-W was also selected for their second project... so it could double as a centrally located sewer-park, that the community "strongly" wanted, according to the initial CSD Board and staff.

Armed with that false "community value," the initial CSD Board was also able to convince the Coastal Commission to allow the second treatment facility at Tri-W for the sole reason of a centrally located sewer-park, with, among other things, a tot lot and amphitheater, that the community "strongly" wanted in their sewer plant.

Shortly after coercing the Coastal Commission to reluctantly sign-off on Tri-W because of that false "community value," the initial CSD Board and staff removed the park from the plan almost entirely.

As SewerWatch reveals, a massive amount of excellent, credible evidence exists that shows that the "community value," reasonably and understandably, never existed. It was fabricated by the CSD Board in 2000-01, because without that "community value" there would have been no reason at all to locate their second project at Tri-W, and the embarrassing failure of their first project -- the project that got them elected and the CSD formed -- would have been exposed. They needed something to justify Tri-W for their second project, and the fabricated "strongly held community value" was it.

The early CSD Boards -- Solution Group members made up five of the first eight CSD Directors -- were able to cover all of this up for more than five years because the Tribune, the only media outlet in the county with the resources to cover a story as complex as the Los Osos sewer issue, completely fell asleep on the story and did not write one investigative piece on the intensely newsworthy failure of the Solution Group's "better, cheaper, faster," "drop dead gorgeous" sewer project, even though I wrote a New Times cover story in August 2000, showing that the plan was about to fail. One month after the publication of my cover story, the Solution Group's plan was officially off the table, and the haste to quietly develop a second project had begun.

Modesty (what little I have) aside, one of the main reasons why the no-rationale-behind-siting second project was able to advance as far as it did -- until a successful 2005 recall election killed it (apparently) -- was because no one -- not one regulatory agency, not one reporter, not even a community member opposing the downtown sewer plant location -- asked the question, "What's the source of that 'strongly held community value'?," until I did in my second New Times cover story, in September, 2004, where I showed that the only reason the CSD gave to the Coastal Commission for the Tri-W siting in their second project, was false. If the Coastal Commission had asked that question in 2002, and followed up on the CSD's response, they could not have allowed the Tri-W site for the second project due to the amount of Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area found on the property. State law prohibits the destruction of ESHA for no reason.

(Note: If the Tribune had done its job, and covered the demise of the Solution Group's plan, and then adequately covered the haste to develop a second project, I would have never written another word on this subject after I left as editor of The Bay Breeze (now The Bay News) in 1999. I have a phrase I use to describe the Tribune's coverage of Los Osos over the last seven years: "Worse than nothing.")

There simply is no source for that "community value." The former CSD will tell you it's in a 1995 document called the Vision Statement. It's not. It does not exist, and never has, of course. That "community value" was fabricated, made-up by the initial CSD Board and staff in 2000-01, and successfully used to unnecessarily lock in the Tri-W site for their second project, in a coordinated effort to avoid public humiliation and potential civil penalties resulting from the embarrassing failure of the Solution Group's terribly designed, yet heavily marketed, "better, cheaper, faster," "drop dead gorgeous" sewer project. The quiet transition from the Solution Group's failed project to the forced mid-town location of the second project would slowly, yet eventually, result in massive controversy, and deeply divide Los Osos. That division continues today.

All of the evidence uncovered by SewerWatch shows that the exact opposite "community value" existed in Los Osos at the time of the Tri-W site selection for the second project. All of the evidence, reasonably, shows that the community "strongly" did not want to be taxed for an expensive park, and then have that park dictate an expensive, mid-town sewer plant location for their already-very-expensive sewer system.

And, of course, again, the Tribune has not written one story on this extremely newsworthy angle, despite the fact that my second New Times cover story exposes all of it.

And that's that. I realize it's a lot to digest, but when you're able to wrap your mind around all of it, it becomes clear why Los Osos is a tragic, yet very interesting, war zone today. It makes perfect sense.

###

[Here's an example of the Solution Group's marketing tactics. It's a newsletter that includes members' names.]

(Again, all of the claims above are described in detail and heavily sourced throughout SewerWatch.)

55 Comments:

  • Ronnie,

    Me thinks you protest too much.

    Books will be written (for the psychiatric press) about paranoid delusional obsessions such as yours.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 PM, April 16, 2006  

  • Funny that Ron complains that the Trib hasn't covered Ron's favorite angle on this story ... the angle that highlights things that occured before 2002.

    The ironic thing here is that while Ron is complaining that the Trib has missed the boat, it is Ron who has refused to cover any new details about this story since 2002.

    Does Ron even know that stuff has happened since the recall? I don't remember him making any comments about stopping construction, lawsuits, ACLs, CDOs and dissolution.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:12 PM, April 16, 2006  

  • Sharkinlet

    Good point!

    Ron has mistakenly confused his opinion for news. His opinion that the Solution Group fabricated "core community values" to bamboozle the CCC is not borne out by the facts or the actual history of the project. He seems to be in a time warp, harping incessantly about his opinion of events that happened five to six years ago; yet seems not to have one coherent thought or observation about current events. Odd that he has not acknowledged that all the dire warnings made by past CSD Boards, the CCC, the RWQCB and the SWRCB regarding the consequences of stopping the project have come true; nor comments on the misadventures of the current Board.

    Peace!

    Inside the CSD

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:41 PM, April 16, 2006  

  • ItC said:
    "... yet seems not to have one coherent thought or observation about current events."

    Fair enough... I'll give you a take on that subject: What's my opinion of the current board? One word -- Teflon. Nothing can stick to them. They are the rescue team. There was no reason to put the site in the middle of town. None. After that, nothing can stick to the new guys.

    For me, the worst thing the new board has done is put out that press release a few months back that said work was about to re-start. That didn't sit too well with me, and I know Shark remembers that one, too (it's one of his few good points). But other than that? I don't see anything sticking. What? Slow on a few public records request? Give me a freaking break. So what? It's not like they don't have a few other things on their mind. No plan? Thank your lucky stars they left that up to qualified people, unlike the Solution Group.

    My coherent thought or observation on the new board? I've said this before: With their transparency, and their sticking to campaign promises, and their reality-based approach to solving wastewater problems... they bore the hell out of me.

    Maybe that's why I'm stuck in the past, I'm just being nostalgic. I miss the days of "bait-and-switchy," and project reports (plural) that contain partial sewering, and a third project report that contains an expensive, centrally located, "drop dead gorgeous" sewer-park with a tot lot and amphitheater. Ahhhhh... the good ol' days.

    Anonymous said:
    "Me thinks you protest too much"

    Didn't King George say that to the Colonists?

    One more thing, just an observation... I didn't broadcast my latest post via e-mail, but there were three replies by morning. What? Are you guys stopping by here on a regular basis?

    Quick memo: You live in one the most beautiful places on earth, back away from the computer and go enjoy it. When was the last time you sat on the bench at the end of the Sweet Springs trail, or hiked to the top of the sand spit?

    Gotta go... time to work on the golf game. It's gettin' nice outside.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:55 AM, April 17, 2006  

  • Gee Ron, you are missing out on all the fun stuff that this board has to offer!!

    I remember a campaign promise of $100/month for the sewer, the court ordered audit which they had to postpone because they -uh- weren't DONE with last years books yet, the comedic Ripley who wanted to use AB 885 as a "sledgehammer" on anyone who won't hook up to the -well, whatever it is he recommends to get built... (plus AB 885 will have little impact here) Are these goin's on just a little too subtle for ya?

    Oh, reality-based - how many times was it that the step/steg thing was nixed...?

    Yes, it is very beautiful outside - that's why I moved here a year ago. Hope by the time all this settles I can still afford to be here....

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:03 PM, April 17, 2006  

  • Ron,

    It seems that you are saying that MWH and Bruce Buel are not professionals but that Ripley is.

    Furthermore, if this new group is leaving things up to the professionals, why did they stop construction on TriW without first consulting with professionals?

    Nope, to me it seems that this new group has abandoned what the professionals had told them ... in advance of their decisions ... only to seek out yet another professional who would tell them what they wanted to hear.

    Myself, I am waiting until August when Ripley comes back and tells us that the "out of town" option will end up costing us a lot more than what TriW was going to.

    Along the lines of fibbing to the press ... maybe you and I are the only two people who remember Dan's press release. I think your description of Teflon may be accurate because one would think that a motivated opposition would have been able to find a few flaws with that press release. If nothing else, I have to wonder about the timing ... why right after the Trib ran an article saying "out of town" would cost us an extra $70M (that's without a change in the interest rate).

    In any case, I would think that Ann or Ron would want to follow that issue up with a scathing commentary just to show you are unbiasaed...

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 5:30 PM, April 17, 2006  

  • Shark, 'toons, various Anons...

    Do me a quick favor:

    Type in the letters:

    t-o-t l-o-t a-m-p-h-i-t-h-e-a-t-e-r s-e-w-e-r-p-a-r-k

    then lean back in your chair and squint your eyes.

    That is what you are arguing for.

    Doesn't that read a little ridiculous to you? It does to me.

    By Blogger Ron, at 1:06 PM, April 18, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Sounds like you would be wiling to pay an extra $100/month just to get rid of the tot lot. To me, that is a little ridiculous.

    Maybe you are right that the tot lot should never have been included in the plan, but once it was, taking it out would only raise the cost over keeping it in the plan. A six month delay to argue over the issue (like, say, CCLO did a few years back) will have an impact of half a year's inflation on the total project cost. If the project cost had been $100M before the delay, it was $104 because of the delay. Even if the tot lot had been taken out, the cost of delay to get it out of the plan is more than the cost of building it.

    Isn't there some sort of phrase about being penny wise and pound foolish?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 2:45 PM, April 18, 2006  

  • Ron,

    This makes more sense


    y-o-u-r-b-l-o-g-s-a-r-e-n-o-n-s-e-n-s-e-s-o-g-e-t-a-l-i-f-e

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM, April 18, 2006  

  • Shark said:

    "Sounds like you would be wiling to pay an extra $100/month just to get rid of the tot lot. To me, that is a little ridiculous."

    That is stunningly naive, and displays, once again, an embarrassing inability to comprehend complex issues.

    Shark, you remind me of the person that has a terrible singing voice, but thinks they have a great voice, so they get on stage at every opportunity and sings badly... for a long time.

    But unlike everyone else in the audience that points and snickers, I'm the good, "tough love" friend that will give you the phone number of a skilled vocal instructor.

    So, Shark, as your good, "tough love" friend, I'm directing you to these web sites.

    Similarly...

    I also see a lot of third grade level argumentation in the comments section of my, and Ann's, blog.

    I would love to see something like this:

    "Ron, you're wrong because according to these wastewater engineers, the Solution Group plan was brilliant and viable, and according to these documents, 78-percent of Los Ososans 'strongly' want a park in their sewer plant."

    But I don't see that, because those arguments do not exist.

    So what do we get instead:

    "Ron, you're a poo-poo head."

    Now, I could stoop to that level of argumentation and say something like:

    "Oh yea, well I'm rubber and you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you."

    or

    I could be the good, "tough love" friend, and help you guys out, too.

    I choose the latter. Please check out these web sites.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:08 AM, April 19, 2006  

  • Oh come on, Ron ... I don't have a reading comprehension problem but it appears that you were just unwilling or unable to connect the dots that I thought were pretty clearly forming a pattern.

    Let's review because perhaps I need to explain myself more carefully.

    I was granting you the point that it was odd that a park should be included in the TriW project plan. You've stated in the past that getting the park out of the plant or the plant out of town is a good idea.

    Flash back to Sep 26, 2005. Estimated costs are about $205/month per household.

    Now that the new board is taking actions to get the plant out of town (and you've stated that by and large you agree with their choices), a conservative estimate of the cost we'll be facing is more than $300/month per household. (This is where I was assuming that you've been following this discussion and, in particular, cost estimates.)

    So ... if you support these actions that are causing my costs to go up ... you think it is a good trade off to spend an extra $100/month to have the plant out of town. [This would be the point where Ann chimes in "but we don't really know anything and we need Ripley to tell us the answers ... we'll I'll tell you up front that Ripley's answers aren't going to be too different from mine once inflation and interest rates are added into the figure.]

    The part about getting rid of the tot lot was rhetorical flourish. We don't seem to have that option anymore (even though the LOCSD and CCC staff had ageed to drop some amenities to reduce costs, CCLO argued that these amenities need to be put back in the project) if it was going to stay at TriW.


    Ron it looks as if either you are being critical of my choice of evaluation criteria (which is not your place to do) or you really don't think that the plant ought to be moved out of town even though you've spent considerable effort over the last year or three telling that TriW is a mistake.

    I don't get it ... you say that I am misunderstanding what you write ... what do you think I am misunderstanding?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:16 PM, April 19, 2006  

  • I think the following poem is great. I republished it in an earlier post, and I originally heard it on Garrison Keillor's, Writer's Almanac, last year. I find it perfect for Los Osos -- not only for the current situation, but, especially in the context of the hasty transition from the Solution Group's original plan to their second plan -- the second Tri-W project.

    "Do not work after you are annoyed just so the job will be done more quickly."

    Brilliant.

    PUTTING IN A WINDOW
    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.

    ###

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:12 AM, April 20, 2006  

  • Shark said:
    "Oh come on, Ron ... I don't have a reading comprehension problem"

    Yes, you do, a bad one, because you displayed it, yet again, when also said:

    "You've stated in the past that getting the park out of the plant or the plant out of town is a good idea."

    I have never said that. Shark, for the fiftieth time, the park can not be removed because it was the only reason the CC allowed Tri-W in the first place. No park, no Tri-W, period. It's that simple.

    You also said:
    I don't get it ... you say that I am misunderstanding what you write ... what do you think I am misunderstanding?

    Please re-read Tangled Web, although I'm not holding out much hope that you have the ability to comprehend it, give it a shot anyway. What the hell, huh?

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:40 AM, April 20, 2006  

  • Ron,

    I can see why you might think I have a reading comprehension problem, Ron, but I suspect this is largely because you and I are coming at this issue from different points of view to begin with.

    Before any detailed discussion ... the summary. Ron believes the plant should be out of town. To do this the costs will be higher.

    This is perhaps a slight oversimplification, but accurate. By no stretch is it stunningly naive ... an embarrassing inability to comprehend complex issues."

    One can't get rid of the tot lot without moving the plant to another site ... fine. I guess that I should not have expected you to be so literal, my bad. For the record, Ron has never advocated removing the park from the plant. (However, I would suggest it will be impossible to find any place where he writes positively about a park at the plant and I would even suggest that he thinks a park at the plant is a dumb idea.) Furthermore, Ron has even offered us his opinion that the CCC would never have approved the TriW location without the park. Note: the supporting document Ron offers was a few years later than the original TriW site approval and found in a different context, so I am not convinced of Ron's point. Even so, I'll grant him the point ... again.

    However, when you write stuff like http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2005/09/better-cheaper-faster-nobetter-cheaper.html and your earlier posting in this comment section that says you support the actions of the current board you've got to admit it looks like you are suggesting the plant be moved elsewhere. If you believe the plant would be best at TriW, fess up. Otherwise, we'll just assume that you meant what you said and that you believe that out of town would be better than TriW.

    So, when you consider that the cost associated with moving the plant from TriW to out of town will raise our bills by at least $100/month (I noticed you did not contest that figure), how can we not conclude that you think it a good idea for me to fork over an extra $100/month for some 20 years to have the plant out of town.

    Do you deny that you believe the plant should be somewhere other than TriW? Do you deny that doing so will raise our costs?

    I've said before that often it is easier to work around a mess than to clean it up. In this case, it will be far less painful to live with a TriW WWTF than to move it elsewhere. To argue that we ought to move the plant anyway just because it is the right thing to do is what is shows an inability to understand complex issues.


    Perhaps it would be easiest if I simply ask you directly. Do you think it would be better for Los Osos to have the TriW plant and park and $205/month bills or would bills in excess of $300/month, but an out of town plant be better? Inquiring minds want to know what you think.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:00 PM, April 20, 2006  

  • Wow, it gets quiet down here in the bowels of the comments section... looks like it's just me and you, Shark. Thanks for sticking around. I'm discovering I have a new, favorite "rainy-day" activity -- blogging. I'm just kinda bummed I'm still doing that activity on April 22nd.

    You said:

    "Do you think it would be better for Los Osos to have the TriW plant and park and $205/month bills or would bills in excess of $300/month, but an out of town plant be better? Inquiring minds want to know what you think."

    At the risk of sounding callous, since I don't live in Los Osos, I really don't care where your plant is built or how much it costs. I have no emotional or financial ties to this story at all. I just know a lot about it, because I've covered it for 15 years as a reporter and editor. And, to tell you the truth, that is exactly what Los Osos needs -- no emotional or financial ties/tons of knowledge.

    Ron believes the plant should be out of town.

    Shark, like I just said, since I don't live in Los Osos, I don't care where you build your plant. If you guys want to build your sewer plant on top of Carlock's Bakery, I could care less, as long as there actually was a "strongly held community value" to build the plant on top of Carlock's Bakery, and not just a made-up "community value" to do that, like the situation for Tri-Dubya.

    Now, getting back to my new favorite angle of this story -- your lack of reading comprehension skills -- Shark, prove me wrong. Answer this question:

    If you were the Coastal Commission, how would you respond to my revocation request?

    All you have to do is coherently refute my arguments for revocation, Shark, and I'll back off on the whole "reading comprehension" thing. My tight takes for revocation are spelled out in my blog. Did you comprehend them?

    I'll let you in on a little secret, because I'm not sure you're getting this -- your unnecessarily sited amphitheater/sewer plant, right now, as the rain falls outside on a mid-spring day, is hanging by a thread.

    You could wake up on any given morning over the next few weeks, and if the Coastal Commission staff decides to do the right thing and follow their own regulations, and recommend permit revocation, the Tri-Dub development permit will be revoked, and that silly "Pandoraland" project, as Dave Congalton calls it, will be gonzo, forever.

    So, Shark, let's test your reading comprehension skills:

    If you were the Coastal Commission, how would you respond to my revocation request?

    Where am I wrong? (I'll save you some time... I'm not.)

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:37 AM, April 22, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Try to answer sharkinlets questions for once....or are you a coward to answer?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:30 PM, April 22, 2006  

  • Well, if you would be so kind as to let me know where your revocation request is, it will make it easier to reply. After all, I need to know the details first.

    While you're digging that link up, would you be so kind as to explain why you support the current board's actions (which will raise my bill) even though you don't live in Los Osos and you say you don't care about the question of where we build the sewer and how much we care. After all, if you don't care and you don't live here ...

    While you're digging that link up, perhaps I should also point out that if the actions of the previous CSD boxed us into a park if we were to stick with TriW, it does sort of limit our choices to TriW and a park (which you seem to have a huge problem with) or elsewhere at huge cost increases. Ron, do you have some magic way of giving us cheaper options? Pretend, for the moment, that the whole park issue isn't part of the equation ... in any way ... would you think it wise for a community to choose a sewer option which will raise bills by $100 a month over the already quite high $200 per month?

    By the way, if what Los Osos needs is you with your tons of knowledge and lack of emotional and financial ties ... why don't you offer your opinion of what the wisest thing we could do now to keep our bills as low as possible? Why don't you offer your opinion about what we should do now to chose the site that best suits our communtiy needs?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 5:54 PM, April 22, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Answer sharkinlets questions directly.

    Do not evade them.
    Do not sideline them.
    Do not cross over into other arguments you are more comfortable with....

    JUST ANSWER THE QUESTIONS!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:41 PM, April 22, 2006  

  • This is fun. I love debate.

    Anon said,

    "Try to answer sharkinlets questions for once....or are you a coward to answer?"

    Hey, easy on the coward smack. Not only did I answer his question, I thought I gave an excellent answer.

    Here are some more:

    Shark said,

    "Well, if you would be so kind as to let me know where your revocation request is, it will make it easier to reply. After all, I need to know the details first."

    That's my point, Shark. I wrote it, you read it, and you didn't comprehend it. It's there, lurking, in the mysterious depths of SewerWatch.

    "would you be so kind as to explain why you support the current board's actions"

    I don't necessarily support all the things they do. However, I did think it was a good idea to get qualified people to design a sewer project, instead of just some friends from the neighborhood, like the Solution Group did. That was a good idea by the current board, wouldn't you agree?

    "it does sort of limit our choices to TriW and a park (which you seem to have a huge problem with)"

    Here's the huge problem pro-Tri-Dubbers have: They are willing to build a sewer plant in the middle of town, when there is absolutely no rationale behind the siting of that sewer plant, because they MIGHT save a few bucks.

    The foundation, in a figurative sense (and also literal sense, from what I hear), is shaky to begin with, and I'm a big believer in a good foundation. I would never build a multi-million dollar house on a pier and block foundation, even if it meant that I had to delay construction of that house, and MAYBE add to the cost, to create a nice, stable, reasonable foundation. You would. That's our main difference.

    "why don't you offer your opinion of what the wisest thing we could do now to keep our bills as low as possible?"

    Like I have said many times, I have no idea. What makes you think I would know that? I am not a wastewater engineer.

    Do you want me to take a stab at an answer? It's this: That park, because it was dictating the mid-town location, was adding, in my ballpark, guestimation -- when you figure the extra land cost of Tri-Dub and Broderson (about $8-mil, right there), and all the mitigation, and the cost of the park itself, and everything it took to accommodate the mid-town location due to the park -- about $30 million dollars to the project. Yep, a $30 million dollar park in your sewer plant.

    That's why I said awhile ago that Los Osos doesn't have a sewer controversy, you have a park controversy. The previous CSD Board wasn't building a sewer project, they were building a park project, and that project included a sewer system.

    So, you have $30 million of fat that could be cut, right there. Put that next to the already bloated $160 million price tag of the Tri-W project, and I don't see how Ripley doesn't come in tens of millions of dollars cheaper, with an out-of-town plant, that will pass regulatory muster.

    What's the wisest thing you could do? I don't know, how about wait to see what Ripley, who is a wastewater engineer, has to say this August. How's that?

    "Why don't you offer your opinion about what we should do now to chose the site that best suits our communtiy needs?"

    Sounds like the current board is off and running on that, aren't they? Your community NEEDS a sewer system. It doesn't NEED an amphitheater in the sewer plant.

    One more thing, you keep asking me for my opinion. I'm not so sure that's a good idea. I'm not big on opinion. My comfort zone involves documents and interviews with credible sources, and stuff like that. You know? The stuff they teach in journalism school. Opinion? Not so much.

    NOW...

    Hows-about-you a-answerin' my question:

    How would refute my Revocation argument? (and please be coherent).

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:53 AM, April 23, 2006  

  • Ron,

    ANSWER Sharkinlet's QUESTION....

    "Perhaps it would be easiest if I simply ask you directly. Do you think it would be better for Los Osos to have the TriW plant and park and $205/month bills or would bills in excess of $300/month, but an out of town plant be better? Inquiring minds want to know what you think."

    Your EVADING the question by resorting to your own tired rhetoric. Additionally, I and sharkinlet completely understand your argument.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:33 PM, April 23, 2006  

  • Ron,

    I am tired of your non-answers.

    You evaded my question (while smugly saying that you think your answer was "excellent").

    You asked a question that you asked me to answer. I was willing to answer but wanted to read the document you refered to. You also didn't provide a link (which is rather odd because you typically provide quite good links) and because I don't want to spend my time trying to find what you were writing about I asked you to give me a reference.

    What is odd to me here is that rather than provide a link (which should be pretty easy for you) you just decided to tell me off.

    Oh, by the way, if you're not big on opinion and if you're not a wastewater professional, it does seem that you're pretty quick to offer your opinions on these issues.

    If you get me the reference, I'll answer your question. I trust that you will answer my question ...

    Let's talk briefly about that extra $30M. Suppose that TriW is clocking in at $160M and that $30M is pure park. Suppose also that another $20M can be chopped off the bill somehow ... that puts us at a $110M project. Now, what if it takes five years before the construction starts. At 8% inflation per year on construction costs we are now back exacty at $160M. Furthermore, if we have to borrow at 6.5% instead of 2.3% (losing the SRF is a real bitch), it puts the monthly P&I payments at $241 ... thats even before other costs like O&M are added in.

    So, how will Ripley save us money? How will the additional time delay be a good thing?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 9:54 PM, April 23, 2006  

  • Not to mention the extra money for digging and piping to bring all that processed water back into town for recharging the aquifer. (You can't do that out of town. That is the out-of-town aquifer, not ours.)

    Even Bleskey said they would need to look at keeping Broderson for its original purpose (besides the ESHA trade).

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:25 PM, April 23, 2006  

  • I can never quite get my head around why this board supports out of town with step/steg. They claim as it is done in components, you can just keep adding more people on to it. Isn't that sort of pro-development, as opposed to Tri-W which had a fixed capacity for 19,000? This board is pro-development?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:32 PM, April 23, 2006  

  • Sewertoons,

    I think the board believes that Ag-exchange will solve the recharge problem. If we take our drinking water from their aquifer (well, at least a lot of it) and we return treated wastewater to the farmers, the theory is that we wouldn't need any disposal site (and in theory we wouldn't need to deal with saltwater intrusion either because we wouldn't be taking from our aquifer).

    I don't know how viable this is, but I suspect that much additional study would be necessary before we could pin any hopes to the idea.

    I think the reason our community is in such trouble is that we've been far too quick to glom onto the latest hopeful idea until we find out it isn't good enough. Then it's the next idea. The solutions group partial sewering/STEP/ponding idea, ag-exchange, the pirhanna, etc.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 8:44 AM, April 24, 2006  

  • Hello Shark,

    Again, all smugness aside, I thought I gave excellent answers.

    Here are some more:

    You said:
    "How will the additional time delay be a good thing?"

    O.K., here's my answer, it's coming up, get ready. Are you ready? Here it is... my answer, right here:

    The answer to your question is it will be a good thing because then there would actually be some rationale behind the siting of the sewer plant, unlike the very unpopular, mid-town site, which has no rationale behind the siting, at all. None. Remember -- no, check that -- Did you comprehend my whole 'foundation' analogy?

    A few takes on your numbers:

    What if it takes five years before the construction starts?

    I just left this in the comments section of Ann's blog:

    "There's no doubt in my mind that if the State would just get the hell out of the way, and bitter, former Solution Groupers would just go away, Los Osos would have a functioning, reality-based system in about three years. It's not rocket science -- build a collection system (most of the logistics for that are already complete, right?), hook it up to a big pipe that goes about two miles downwind to a bare-bones, reality-based, viable treatment facility. It's that simple, but the bitter, former Solution Groupers just won't go away and allow it to happen. Why? I have no idea."

    Five years? I just don't see that happening. The only reason it took the Solution Group board so long is because they wasted two years monkeying around with their silly Community Plan.
    Here's how you do it: Boom, boom, boom -- collection system, two mile pipe downwind, reality-based, out-of-town facility. Will there be whining along the way? You bet. Just a hell of a lot less. And you and I, Shark, will be one, beautiful chorus, telling them to stop their whining.

    " At 8% inflation per year on construction costs..."

    I hear that assumption a lot, and I'm just going to assume it's true, if it is, then I have a question: How many huge, concrete and steel, decorative "Wave Walls" would it take to supply the material needed to build one bare-bones, treatment facility? One? Two? A half?

    What about all the concrete and steel it was going to take to build the public restrooms, and parking lots in your sewer plant? Don't even get me started on the amphitheater and tot lot in your sewer plant. (Remember the $3,000 eucalyptus benches they wanted to put in your sewer plant and the $5,000 public water fountain? That's hilarious. Damn, I miss the good ol' days.)

    If construction material is so expensive, and becoming more expensive, then why do you want to use tons of it on all that frivolous crap?

    I don't have a magic calculator, but methinks that's got to make that inflation argument moot.

    "... that puts us at a $110M project."

    Yep, pretty much. Which shows, again, that an out of town sewer plant was much, much cheaper to begin with.

    As for the SRF loan, Ann's right. They don't call it "Revolving" for nothing. And you know what would make it revolve much faster and easier? If all you guys supported my tight revocation request.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:26 AM, April 24, 2006  

  • First comment ...

    If you were having difficulty finding information on permit revocation on the CCC website, I hardly think it fair for you to expect me to know the regulations better than you.

    In any case, let's just work on the issues at face value. The key part of your argument is that the LOCSD board (at the time) lied to the CCC or intentionally withheld information. Your issue here is that you believe that the park was the reason for the TriW choice.

    Reading through http://www.coastal.ca.gov/sc/4-2005-Th12.pdf it becomes pretty clear that the CCC would need to see convincing evidence before they would revoke the permit. Furthermore, it looks like you would have to file a formal permit revocation and I wonder whether the timeframe for that is past. Perhaps you could hire a lawyer (maybe pro-bono ... they seem to make out pretty well these days) to represent your argument to the CCC.

    The other thing that amazes me is that you seem to have forgotten that we've gone over these things before.

    Okay, on to your argument...

    In a nutshell, you are saying that there is no community support for recreational amenities so the TriW location shouldn't have been selected by the LOCSD.

    I think the CCC would reject your application for permit revocation because you've not proved your point.

    Measures D and E and the poll you've told us about don't really address the issue of whether we want extra parkland in town. Do you really think that the citizen's rejection of a measure to build a pool means that we don't support other sorts of recreational amenities? Furthermore, do you honestly think that the poll shows almost zero support for a park? The poll asked people which reason they would most support the TriW project ... and a majority of them answered that they liked the project because it would finally get a sewer in town.

    Furthermore, the park was not the only reason for the site selection. Other factors, including cost, environmental issues and the like were included in the selection matrix. To say that the park was the only reason for TriW is to say that there was another site which dominated TriW except for this particular issue and TriW was favored because of the park. This is simply not the case. Andre (both I and II) have easement issues, the driving range was next to a Cal Cities well, Turri has environmental issues, Pismo ... I forget.

    In any case, there is no perfect site. Compromises must be made. The CCC simply wanted to know that apropriate thought had been put into the decision. If you go to the CCC and tell them that the park was the only reason for TriW, they will laugh and reject your application.

    Maybe if you can show enough evidence behind your claims it will cause them to take a second look, but right now, all you've told us in your blog is that you believe the park was the reason for the site. Folks on the LOCSD board at the time they voted on this issue deny your claim and you've not proven them wrong.

    Perhaps burried somewhere in the CCC archives are the site-selection document presented to the CCC. Perhaps the County has similar documents filed away. If you request these public records you should be able to get as much information as you'll ever get. If there isn't enough evidence there to show a lie or an incomplete story, you're not going to meet their burden of proof ... that you prove a lie (or incomplete story) where the truth (or complete story) would have caused them to deny the permit.

    How would I reply if you came to me asking to revoke the development permit? I would ask you to prove your claims which you haven't yet done. I would then ask you to explain why your new information (which you've not yet offered) would have caused the CCC to deny the permit in the 1st place.

    Now, if you're gonna tell me that I have a reading comprehension problem yet again, I would ask you to politely explain why. After all, if in six months worth of discussing this matter online you've not been able to explain your argument well enough for me to understand, there are other theories about the lack of communication ... it could be that you just aren't explaining yourself very well or it could be (and this is my favorite) that the two of us are tending to focus on different issues. Perhaps while you like the project history and the park story, I focus on the costs and what is best to do next...



    On the topic of costs and the like, even at three years of inflation, a $110M project will cost $205/month for each household if we borrow money at 6.5% to build the thing. That's just for P&I, never mind the $60/month to run the thing. Not a savings versus the $205/month for TriW by any stretch.

    Let's also talk "revolving" a bit. In this context it means that as money is paid back to the SWRCB, they will loan it out to communities who need the funds. The fact that Los Osos has a huge project should bump us up the needs list a bit, but the fact that we've defaulted on the last one and that we sued the SWRCB won't help. I think the clincher about whether we'll get another SRF was way back in November (I believe) when Lisa, Dan and Jon took their show on the road and found it didn't play in Sacramento. The three of them may have been feeling pretty confident based on the reactions they got in front of the local crowd, but the SWRCB members simply looked astounded that Lisa didn't remember the words "Site Specific" from earlier in the year and that Dan thought that the clause allowing for found archealogical objects could justify moving the WWTF some number of miles.

    Nope, this new group has committed us to a more expensive path than we were on previously, no way around the logic. Presumably you don't care about our costs because you live out of town or you doubt me because you've been unwilling to run the numbers yourself to verify or you simply think it is a good idea to pay more per month just to have an out of town plant. All are fine positions, but you've got to pick one. What's your poison, Ron?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:24 PM, April 24, 2006  

  • Ron,

    YOU STILL HAVE NOT ANSWERED Sharkinlets QUESTION.....just danced around it as if you were Mohommed Ali (ahem....Cassius Clay)

    In reading your blog, all I can say is that it "baloney-based". When I have a few spare minutes I will tell you why.

    But I will say that sharkinlets' 5 year time frame is OPTIMISTIC, and the 8% inflation rate is BELOW what the construction industry is experiencing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 PM, April 24, 2006  

  • A guy can only dream that the CC would reply to my revocation request the way Shark did above. If they were to pitch me that 48 mph, hanging curve ball right over the middle of the plate, I would rip it so deep into the upper deck that Congress would launch an investigation to see if I was on steroids... no one could hit something that far under natural circumstances.

    Shark, that is just a mess of faulty logic and inaccurate information, and you know what really sucks about it, is that I'm a nice guy, so I'm going to leave it on my site, but there it will sit, in all of its inaccurate suck-i-ness, for all to read (well, the three people that make it this deep into a comments section). I would pick it apart piece by piece, but I've already done that about 50 times, so why would I think you would comprehend it on the 51st?

    Anon said:

    "YOU STILL HAVE NOT ANSWERED Sharkinlets QUESTION.....just danced around it as if you were Mohommed Ali (ahem....Cassius Clay)"

    I have answered that question about three times, in a variety of ways, but how's this for a fourth answer. Will you be better off delaying the project a few years to build the project that should have been selected in the first place? Yes. That three year time frame estimate comes from a 2004 CSD document, and like I succinctly mentioned above, the inflation argument seems all but moot because of all the construction material you'll be saving.

    I'm about to set up the "SewerWatch line," where we all can call our shot on the time/cost estimates Ripley brings back in August.

    One more thing, I see this a lot: "Your opinion," or, in your case, Anon, "baloney-based."

    If you think it's my opinion that I say the following line is in a Coastal Commission document:

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

    ... then I just don't know what to say. It's my opinion that that line is in a document? "Oh, no, no, no, Ron, it's your opinion that water is wet." Whatever.

    As for Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali... I'm kind of diggin' that comparison:

    "SewerWatch... I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:04 AM, April 25, 2006  

  • Ron,

    You just will not answer sharkinlets question.

    You are definately a coward.

    The finacial disaster that has occured far outweighs your silly vendetta / rant over park ammenities at Tri-W.

    Also, do not forget that Mohammed Ali is severely brain-damaged due to being punched too hard too many times. So float away; the sting will come.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 AM, April 25, 2006  

  • Boy the haters are out today. Wonder why... Too bad about their precious CDOs.
    Well Ron, I'm still in your corner. For the first time in awhile, I think before it is over, these bastards are all going to be spitting blood and picking their dentures of the floor. Calling you a coward, what a pussy move for an anon, and all too typical.
    Remember they're not here to debate you, but rather to dissinform, and signal jam. They are the real cowards.

    By Anonymous Dogpatch Refugee, at 12:14 PM, April 25, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Perhaps we should just agree to disagree. You think that you are right and I think that I am right. What seems saddest to me is that I feel that I've tried to answer your questions and rather than reply to my answers you just said that you've already answered and tossed in some ridicule. I guess that is the point of our discussion ... you believe you've addressed my questions and I don't believe you have.

    Just for fun, let's toss it out one more time just because everyone should get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chance. You offered the opinion that delay and whatever Ripley comes up with will be less expensive than TriW. Considering inflation your belief seems very fanciful and hopeful at best. Perhaps it is you who has a reading comprehension problem. Did you even read my earlier comment where I showed, based on very reasonable assumptions, that inflation plus losing the SRF more than makes up for all of the cost savings you claim we'll get plus an extra $20M? You succinct argument earlier was wrong ... you didn't do your calculations right. One has to wonder whether you even did the calculations of that translate project cost + inflation over time + interest rate into dollars per household per month.

    As to your selective quoting from CCC documents ... you seem to have missed the sentence where they wrote that there was no evidence of misleading or incomplete information in the TriW permit application. If you only quote one sentence here or there but ignore the tone of the entire document it is pretty easy to create unintentional misunderstanding among those who haven't read the thing.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:33 PM, April 25, 2006  

  • Hi dogpatch refugee and Ron,

    No, I don't hate you or your politics. Life is too short for that nonsense; nor do you matter in my life.

    But I do think you are completely crazy.

    Sharkinlets positon that the costs to build a waste water project are correct. He has made a complelling case regarding project cost escallation due to time delay inflation costs, cost escallatin due to higher financing rates and cancellation costs move forward from the old project to a new project.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:13 PM, April 25, 2006  

  • Anonymous,

    I appreciate that you agree with me, but I won't call Ron crazy. I think that there are very valid reasons for not wanting the plant downtown and even for being willing to pay more to get a plant more to your liking.

    What irks me is when some people promise "cheaper" when all signs indicate that "more expensive" is the likely result of their proposed actions. I would put the solutions group and the current group both in that category.

    The problem here is that we've bought the lie twice now.

    A friend who lives in SLO says that the smart money is on higher and yet higher bills and eventually all those who cannot afford will be forced to sell for a price below what they could otherwise get. Who benefits in such a situation? The person with money to begin with who is willing to speculate. Carmelization or Malibuization would be a good way to explain the likely longterm impact of the CSD (both versions ... especially when you take the sum of both effects).

    Nope, I don't mind people willing to pay more to have a plant they like better ... but I despise those who would downplay the real costs (whether because of ignorance, hopefullness or just plain lies) just to get their way.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 2:14 PM, April 25, 2006  

  • Hi Shark inlet,

    Yes, I agree. There are pros and cons for locating the plant at Tri-W; for that matter sites outside of town as well. It is not on this subject that I think Ron or Ann are crazy. On the site issue they're just plain wrong in their opinion that skullduggery occured during the site selection process.

    But Ron and Ann are crazy in that they smuggly stand by and watch the new CSD Board financially butcher Los Osos citizens and be happy (and supportive)about it. What is tragic and foolish is that they are incapable of acknowledging it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:50 PM, April 25, 2006  

  • Dogpatch said:
    "Calling you a coward, what a pussy move for an anon..."

    True, but I don't really care. That kind of stuff doesn't bother me much. In fact, I find a lot of it humorous. It kind of reminds me when Akroyd would start off his side of the debate by saying, "Jane, you ignorant slut."

    Shark said:
    "... where I showed, based on very reasonable assumptions..."

    Yet, still assumptions, aren't they? Assumptions from an anonymous person posting deep in the comments section of a little-known blog. Now there's a quality source you can trust, huh?

    Anywhoot... Assumptions. No assumptions. Rope-a-doped. Not rope-a-doped. Sewer plant on top of Carlock's Bakery. No sewer plant on top of Carlock's Bakery. I don't really care at this point of the comments section. I'll toil down here for a while, because I don't want to move the initial post for these comments off the top of SewerWatch anytime soon. (Too bad you don't have the ability to comprehend that post, Shark, because it's a doozy. You'd like it.) I want that to be the first thing that the handful of people that actually stumble on to my blog see for awhile.

    How 'bout we try this, Shark? Point to something, anything, that shows that "strongly held community value." That would be cool.

    or...

    How 'bout those Dodgers?

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:50 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Hi Shark inlet,

    Seems Ron just can't get his mind off the "strongly held community values" rant.....which is a complete non-issue in light of current events. He just drones on and on and on. Ron is incapable of answering your questions as he will not face the facts of what has recently transpired here in Los Osos.

    Anyway Shark inlet, I have decided to leave Ron and Ann alone to fend for themselves. It has been nice blogging with you. See Ya around.

    Sincerely, Anon

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:12 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Yet again Ron refuses to answer a key question because he just doesn't care about how much the damn thing will cost.

    Again, that is probably why we'll never see eye-to-eye on this topic, Ron. I care about how much things will cost me and my neighbors because I don't want to see my friends forced to sell their homes for a loss and move out of town because of the SNAFUs of the new guys. The old guys were bad enough but they had at least a solution to our water issues and weren't causing fines.

    Ron you seem to care about ... hell, I can't figure it out. Every time I think I've figured out what you're main point is (like when you write about it being a good idea to put the plant out of town or when you write that a jewel-encrusted gate is stupid) you seem to just respond by saying that I have a reading comprehension problem. I'm tired of you acting like a bully and telling me that I'm wrong. No, Ron the problem is you. If you can't make your main point clear in a year or more of writing about the issue, you must not be a very good writer. (Well, there is another theory ... maybe you just don't care at all and view this as a game you play for sport.)

    The key point my good friend is for me and people of my community this is all very real. To you none of this is real. You simply aren't going to have to live with the consequences. As you've said earlier, this gives you an upper hand that you can view things dispassionately. I'm afraid you're being so dispassionate that you've neglected to count the costs to very real people.

    Oh yeah ... in Los Osos our strongly held community value is evidenced by our high voting rate, our youth soccer and by sales of "Los Osos" license plate holders and T-shirts at Rexall. Do you all up there over the grade have any community values?

    Are you going to turn the comments section off now because you don't want people to see that you are unwilling to address simple commonsense questions? Maybe it would be best to do so because every time you avoid the issue there are people in Los Osos who lose respect for your opinions.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:36 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Sharkster,

    I love Los Osos, and the people of Los Osos, more than you will ever know, but...

    Real quick (it's another rainy day... why not blog?):

    You said:

    "Andre (both I and II) have easement issues..."

    All smack aside, am I missing something there? I know about the deed restrictions on the larger parcel because I called the real-property manager at PGE and discussed it with her, but she also said they didn't have any restrictions on the smaller Andre site. Are you saying there's also some type of deed restriction on the smaller lot? If so, please share the details. I don't know about that, and I would like to. Thanks.

    Also you said:

    " ... it is Ron who has refused to cover any new details about this story since 2002."

    That's not entirely true. I covered, extensively, the fact that Coastal Commissioner, Dave Potter, called the 2004 LOCSD Board and staff, "bait and switchy." Yep, covered that part of the story. Oooooohhhh, did I cover that. And then I did extensive follow-up on why he said that... which is just great -- one of my favorite parts of this whole story. And that was in 2004.

    Also, real quick, Shark, I said earlier that I'd back off on the whole 'comprehension' thing if you gave a coherent argument to the revocation request. You didn't, but that's alright, again, since I'm a nice guy, I'll back off anyway.

    But I am interested in that restriction you mentioned for Andre2. What's the deal there? Thanks.

    By Blogger Ron, at 2:02 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • The problem with Andre II as I understand it is that the Andre I site has a restriction. In particular, they won't allow for the sewer lines to cross their power line easements. In other words, anything East of the power lines is off limits.

    I forget where I read this, but I think it was in the Tribune.

    If you've got better information or are able to clarify with the PG&E property person what the company position is on the matter, it would be good to know.

    Maybe you'll be better able to understand my answer to your revocation request question if I make my answer shorter: Request denied because 1) no compelling evidence was presented to indicate the applicant had provided misleading or incomplete information and 2) no evidence was presented to indicate that the development permit would have been denied had the alleged full and complete information been provided.

    Honestly Ron, you really ought to hire a lawyer to make your case better. If you want people to believe you, you really ought to document things. Just because you claim it was misleading and incomplete doesn't make it so. Furthermore, even if was misleading or incomplete, we don't know that the CCC wouldn't have approved the application anyway. That's the difficult hurdle with their rules as far as I can tell. Not only do you have to show that someone tried to pull a fast one, you have to show that the CCC decision depended on the slight of hand ... that's a rather tough thing to demonstrate.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 2:30 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Hey Ron,

    One strongly held community value would be "I'm not spending any money on this." Enough acted on their convictions and that's why we have no sewer here, and are in trouble with the RWQCB.

    Ron, Shark has the brains to do the math, plus he is providing more factual information than you are - AND - it is RELEVANT too.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 5:27 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Sewertoons,

    It's not so much brains to do math but excel ... perhaps the file I just uploaded to the Trib forum will be helpful.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 6:51 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Shark,

    That's interesting about Andre II, if it's accurate, because like I said, I spoke with the real-property manager at PGE and she said there weren't any restrictions on Andre II. I'll have to check that out. That's important because wastewater engineers have already told me that it could accommodate a bare-bones treatment facility, and I also know that the CC would approve it in a heartbeat. It's in the "environmentally preferred" area they wanted in the first place.

    Also, I know what you mean about that "request denied" stuff, but that was for the LOTTF request. Mine involves a totally different argument.

    On 1), There's actually a ton of evidence that shows the applicant had provided misleading or incomplete information. Although, we really don't need to go any further than the 1995 Vision Statement. They told the CC that the "community value " was in there, it wasn't. That is blatantly misleading.

    2) no evidence was presented to indicate that the development permit would have been denied had the alleged full and complete information been provided. This is where my argument gets really good. I can show, using the CC's own regulations, that, not only "would" it have been denied, it couldn't have been approved in the first place. They wouldn't have had a choice. They could not have approved the permit. State law prohibits the destruction of ESHA for no reason.

    You said:
    "... we don't know that the CCC wouldn't have approved the application anyway.

    I do, because they couldn't have approved the application without the "strongly held community value." Bottom line: No "strongly held community value," no Tri-W. Period. And I can back that up from here to the end of my arm. The problem? That "strongly held community value" can not be documented, anywhere. There simply is no source for it. I've looked everywhere. In fact, all the evidence shows the exact opposite "community value" existed. Please keep in mind the subtle, yet very important distinction that the CSD didn't say that "community value" was for park space. They said there was a "strongly held community value" that any sewer plant double as a "recreational asset." That's a huge difference. It was never true, and if you think about it, it's ridiculous. They made it up to unnecessarily keep Tri-W for their second project.

    And, thanks to SewerWatch, the brilliant staff at the CC now knows that. The question is, are they going to follow their own regulations? If they do, then the development permit must be revoked, according to the California Coastal Commission. Cool, huh?

    As for how to formally submit the request, that's where it got confusing. It's not like I do these things everyday. I asked Steve at the CC if he needed anything else from me, he never replied, so I assumed he didn't. Then, about two weeks ago, he said he would have an initial response for me soon, so I assume I'm doing the process somewhat correctly, but I haven't seen it. I also don't know if there's some type of statute of limitations involved.

    I don't really need a lawyer. I don't want to get that formal... too many lawyers in the broth already, for my taste. I know Steve understands my arguments, and that's all I'm concerned about. It's up to them now. They can either do the right thing, or not. We'll see. It would be great for Los Osos if they did. That way, with Tri-W officially gonzo, your beautiful community would have no choice but to pull in the same direction.

    You're time/cost assumptions are a bit on the pessimistic side, let me give some assumptions on the optimistic side: Ripley comes back with a viable plan this August (basically -- the one that should have been selected in the first place). It quickly gets green-lighted, bidded out and the contractors are back in town by October -- a one year delay. Why not? Everything's already been studied to death, all the logistical work is pretty much done, and everyone outside of the old CSD Boards knows what the right project is for Los Osos. Sounds like someone should start getting some ducks in order, like the SRF loan revolving again (the CSD will need that to clean up the water faster), and a "heads-up" to the CC for fast development permit processing for Andre II (or and adjacent property).

    Just an assumption, but if it's even close to correct, hit the ground running this October. Let's get this thing over with, yes?

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:09 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Ron,

    I would presume that friends of the current LOCSD board would want to follow up on your CCC permit revocation request because it looks now like with Measure B being dead and all, they will need another way of covering the board's ass. In fact, if your argument were so darn solid that the CCC would, of course, go along with it, I would think that CCLO and the like would have filed such a request a while back. In any case, if you are right you should expect a call from Julie Biggs soon.

    If you argument has validity (which I don't believe, but it seems that you feel quite strongly that your point is solid), someone in Los Osos will pursue it.

    If you think that my time and cost conclusions are pessimistic, I think that your knock out in a year idea is wildly optimistic. In any case, working from your numbers ($110M construction cost, start construction in a year and the most positive assumptions possible) it will still cost us more per month with your plan than TriW would have cost us ... about $60/month more. The main reasons for the increased cost would be the various fines and the higher interest rate we'll have to pay after giving up the SRF. Nope, even your most optimistic scenario shows the point quite clearly ... stopping construction at TriW will cost us money.

    By the way, did you download the excel spreadsheet? Whether pessimistic or not, you can at least make your own guesstimates about time until construction starts, the cost of designing the new plant, the cost of the new land minus the amount we'll get if we sell off TriW and the spreadsheet will tell you what things will cost us...

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:41 PM, April 26, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Even if all the people in town pulled in the same direction, the people out of town who have money and can hire lawyers to stop the project are not going to pull in that direction.

    In the light of Los Osos' new, even lowered junk bond assessment to "CCC" and the fact that SRF loans won't be given for step/steg, where do you think the money will come from to build anything?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:08 AM, April 27, 2006  

  • Sewertoons,

    Just to compare the $70M gravity system (where we borrow the money over 20 years at 2.3% interest) to a "cheaper" $45M STEP system (where we borrow the money over 30 years at 10% interest):

    The monthly payments would be about the same because the higher interest rate would be ofset by the longer term, but the addition of an extra 10 years worth of payments means raises the total cost by about $55M (or $25M in present dollars, assuming a 3.5% inflation rate).

    So ... is the cheaper STEP system really cheaper?

    I figure that some who promote STEP don't really consider the issues of financing the system.

    This doesn't even include the costs to homeowners ... presumably buying a whole new septic system is considerably more expensive than simpy decomissioning your old tank.

    Whatever the case ... why is STEP any better than gravity? If it isn't, we should go with the cheapest plan. If it is better, it had better be worth an additional $25000 per household.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:24 PM, April 27, 2006  

  • Thanks Shark! Depressing news, just one more bitter pill to swallow.

    Bleskey went on about how he wasn't good with books in the last LAFCO meeting. We can see the fallout of that in these figures.

    This kind of so-called "better" is not worth it to me because I can't afford it. I wonder what happens to the old people on fixed incomes and the renters to whom this cost will be passed on to?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:23 PM, April 27, 2006  

  • Well, I don't believe that renters will have to pay the increased costs. A supply and demand argument suggests that people would be pretty willing to move to Morro Bay, SLO or elsewhere to save on rent. Simply put, those who rent out homes and apartments cannot raise their rents too much.

    In any case, your point about those on fixed incomes is a good one ... many more people will have to move out than under the old board's plan. [Note: far too many were going to have to move out then, now it is even more.]

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 1:30 PM, April 27, 2006  

  • Hey Ron,

    I just thought of an interesting question for you.

    If your revocation argument is so sound and so rock solid ... why did none of the earlier requests for permit revocation make the same argument?

    Presumably Lisa, Julie, Gail, CCLO, TOTTF, LOTA, Al and the gang, etc., the people who are pretty much willing to do anything to get the project moved from TriW would have hired lawyers who would have come up with all the good reasons already.

    So my question for you ... is there something new in your revocation argument that has only become known since the last revocation request was filed?

    Unless you can point out a specific new fact, I must conclude that you are far brighter and more knowledgable about laws relevant to the CCC than the lawyers hired by project foes or that their lawyers didn't think your argument carried any weight.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 7:50 AM, April 28, 2006  

  • Shark said:

    "... I must conclude that you are far brighter and more knowledgable about laws relevant to the CCC than the lawyers hired by project foes..."

    Real quick, 'cause I got to go...

    Finally, Shark, you got something right.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:39 AM, April 28, 2006  

  • " is there something new in your revocation argument that has only become known since the last revocation request was filed?"

    No. They just didn't see it, and some kind folks from LOTTF have told me as much.

    Like I said awhile ago, they had the right idea, just the wrong arguments.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:44 AM, April 28, 2006  

  • So Ron,

    You seem to be saying that the kind folks at LOTTF and their lawyers ... the ones who are now at the helm of the Titanic ... didn't see some clever legal maneuver so obvious that even you, a journalist with no legal training whatsoever could easily spot.

    The way I see it, either they figured it out and it had no merit or it had merit but they didn't figure it out. In the first case, you are howling at the wind. In the second case, we are being led by fools.

    I guess that logically there is a third possibility as well ... that the argument has no merit and we are being led by idiots.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:00 AM, May 02, 2006  

  • Hi Sharlinlet,

    LOL...I vote for your third possibility.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:53 AM, May 02, 2006  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:30 AM, May 02, 2006  

  • Shark, your logic is always impeccable and very, very entertaining!

    (Had to remove that last post as part of the sign in code jumped up here and garbled the message.)

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:32 AM, May 02, 2006  

  • Shark said:

    "I guess that logically there is a third possibility as well ... that the argument has no merit and we are being led by idiots."

    and Anon said:
    "LOL

    I have to admit, Shark, that is kind of funny. A rare 'good one.' I didn't know you had that kind of cleverness in you.

    "... it had merit but they didn't figure it out.

    It's that one.

    That doesn't make them "fools," they just didn't see it. In case you haven't noticed, the issue is slightly complex, and there was a little bit of deliberate confusion (aka: a behavior based marketing strategy component) going on in your neck of the woods for the past few years (and, continues today, by the way).

    "I guess that logically there is a third possibility as well...".

    Why I otta...

    ('toons, thanks for cleaning that up.)

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:08 PM, May 02, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home