Monday, October 23, 2006

Putting the Sue in SewerWatch -- Litigation could make agencies responsible for the train wreck in Los Osos pay their fair share of sewer cost

I realize that this probably isn't the most novel approach to tackle a problem in Los Osos, but I think I may have come up with a way to cut the cost of your sewer system in half, at least -- SUE! Sue hard, and sue fast any government agency that has even had a sniff of the project over the past eight years.

Sue the California Coastal Commission.

Sue the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Sue the State Water Resources Control Board.

Sue the county of San Luis Obispo.

Cite something like incompetence, and sue them for a lot of money. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million sounds about right.

Why that figure?

Because the awful decision-making of every agency I just mentioned has led directly to the eight year-and-counting delay in constructing a sewer system in Los Osos, and allowed the cost of the project to skyrocket from around $80 million in 1998 to nearly $200 million today.

That means that the eight year-and-counting delay caused by the terrible decision making of the above-mentioned agencies will end up costing Los Osos taxpayers somewhere in the area of $100 million, at least.

Those agencies should have to pick up that tab.

For all but San Luis Obispo County, the cases are tight.

Take the case of the Coastal Commission, for example. What they did throughout 1998 started the sewer train wreck, which means they are arguably solely responsible for the mess. Their decision-making at several public meetings that year was flat-out awful.

Over and over again they delayed issuing the county a development permit so the county could proceed on their sewer project, and the reasons the Commission gave on why they delayed issuing the county its permit for nearly a year, don't hold a drop of water. And that's where you have them, Los Osos.

Why the delays in 1998?

Throughout that year, the Commission was hit with a barrage of highly orchestrated public relations efforts, spearheaded by Los Osos marketing professional, Pandora Nash-Karner. In addition to her aggressive marketing campaign, Nash-Karner, as many know, was also part of a small citizen's group, the Solution Group, that was proposing an alternative sewer project than what the county was proposing at the time.

Boy, that barrage must have had a profound effect on the Commissioners, because, in hindsight, they delayed issuing the county its permit for almost a year for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Completely baseless.

During that year, Nash-Karner would attend every Coastal Commission meeting on the matter in an over-the-top effort to get the Solution Group's plan through the process. As part of her marketing blitz, she organized dozens of vocal supporters to appear at the meetings, all armed with colorful signs that read things like: "Better, Cheaper, Faster," and "Do-doing it Right." (In all honesty, I was very fond of almost every one of those supporters. Very nice people. And since I'm a fan of activism, I applaud what they did. Where they steered wrong was when they bought into Nash-Karner's marketing campaign, along with the rest of the 87-percent of Los Osos voters.).

However, despite the Solution Group's folksy, nicey-nice, underdog image that Nash-Karner skillfully painted with her marketing skills at every public opportunity, the staff of the Coastal Commission wasn't buying it.

Repeatedly in 1998, their keen staff recommended that the Commissioners not consider the Solution Group's plan, and issue the county its development permit.

Unfortunately, the Commissioners didn't listen to their brilliant staff, and allowed the Solution Group to delay the county's project for almost all of 1998, culminating in November, when the election to form a CSD and strip away the county's authority on wastewater issues in Los Osos overwhelmingly passed due to the promise of "better, cheaper, faster." The Solution Group was off and running.

What happened there is so interesting. Think about it for a minute. The Coastal Commission staff told the Commissioners, "Pursuit of the Solution Group alternative also has the potential to result in significant delays to the implementation of a wastewater treatment project for the Los Osos area."

The Commissioners ignored their staff, and their staff would prove to be 100-percent accurate two years later. Amazing.

In an earlier post, I wrote:

    The Coastal Commission, it appears, knew all along that the Community Plan was dead on arrival. Several sources were confirming this in 1998, including the Coastal Commission's own staff and the Questa Study that eventually showed that the County's project was superior on every point in the study. Yet the 1998 Commission chose to ignore all those competent, credible professionals, and in essence, made this decision:

    "Ah, what the hell? Despite what all these credible agencies, with credible, competent staffs are so convincingly telling us, we're going to ignore them and give these lovable lugs, these feisty underdogs from Los Osos, led by the Solution Group, a shot at local control, and just to make sure that we get you get started off on the right foot -- right out of the gate -- we're also going to make sure that you are saddled with a massive public works project that we already know isn't going to work."

That is exactly right (exactly right), and that's where you have them. That decision, and the decisions that led up to that faithful day, were atrocious.

Commission staffer Steve Monowitz would later tell me, "Let the record reflect,that was against staff's recommendation."

Interestingly, a citizens' group in Los Osos known as the South Bay Property Owners Association, sued the Coastal Commission in 1998 to get them to issue the county its development permit, arguing the delays granted to the Solution Group by the Commission were baseless. That lawsuit failed. Looking back, it was 100-percent right.

The train wreck is largely the fault of the 1998 Coastal Commission. Sue them.

Then there's the case of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Los Osos, sue the hell out of them.


Faced with a gigantic pile of evidence that the Solution Group's project simply wasn't going to work in Los Osos, the staff of the RWQCB, led by Roger Briggs -- the only person with the authority to pursue enforcement action against the fledgling, yet failing, CSD -- allowed the district to pursue the Solution Group's plan for nearly two years, from early 1999 to mid-2000.

Think about what transpired there carefully. It's mind boggling:

Briggs and his staff knew -- through a gigantic pile of evidence -- that the Solution Group's project wasn't going to work, yet they still allowed them to chase it for nearly two years before it finally crumbled to pieces from the exact same reasons found in that gigantic pile of evidence... two years earlier.

That makes zero sense, and it's one of the most stupid episodes in this saga, and that's saying something.

During a public meeting in 2005, Briggs said he was just trying to be "nice" when asked why he didn't begin enforcement action against the early CSD.

Again, Los Osos, you have them. That two-year delay caused by Briggs' "nice," yet nonsensical and awful decision-making was absolutely disastrous, for many, many reasons.

They had a huge hand in the train wreck. Sue them.

Then there's the very interesting case of the State Water Resources Control Board.

Their awful decision-making in this story is almost imperceptible -- you have to look really close to see it -- but one tiny decision by them in 2004 would end up having a big, and costly impact on the train wreck.

It's complex, and very subtle, but it's there. Los Osos, you have the SWRCB, too.

The case against them goes like this: When the Coastal Commission finally approved the mess known as the Tri-W development permit in 2004, the SWRCB staff immediately did something really stupid.

They agreed to loan money to the District to fund the multi-million dollar park amenities in the project. Without that funding, there would have been no cash around to pay for those amenities, and, as we all know now, no park amenities, no Tri-W.

What makes that decision by the SWRCB staff so stupid is that the very policy that guides where that money should be spent explicitly and brilliantly states:

"Ineligible. Decorative items."

Yet, against their own brilliant policy, the staff of the SWRCB decided to fund the "decorative" park items found in the Tri-W project.

Last year, SWRCB staff told me that they decided to fund the amenities because they considered them "mitigation" since they were part of the conditions of approval for the Tri-W development permit.

However, what they didn't know at the time is that the only reason the amenities ended up as a condition of approval, is because the LOCSD played "bait and switchy" with the California Coastal Commission when, after they locked in Tri-W in 2002 with a non-existent "community value," they removed the amenities from the project almost entirely because they did not have the funds to pay for them.

Fast-forward to 2004 and the Commission reasoned, logically, that the only reason they allowed the zoning change in 2002 was to accommodate the "strongly held community value" for a sewer-park in the middle of town, so, in an effort to ensure that there was at least one reason why an expensive sewer plant was about to be built in the middle of a beautiful central coast town, the Commission told the District they couldn't move forward with the Tri-W project without the amenities in the plan, but not before Commissioner Potter blasted them as, "bait-and-switchy."

Right there, the District could have, and should have, moved the project.

Would they have been fined by the RWQCB for doing that, and highly embarrassed? You bet.

Instead, the Directors unanimously voted to "reincorporate" the multi-million dollars worth of park amenities into the project.

Not only was the SWRCB staff unaware of the "bait and switch" move the CSD played on the Commission, they were also unaware that the documents associated with the zoning change in 2002 clearly state that extensive environmental mitigation would be required because of the inclusion of the amenities.

If you follow their logic, the SWRCB staff's decision to fund the decorative items found in the Tri-W project, was a decision to fund mitigation that required massive mitigation. Let me repeat that: They were funding mitigation that required mitigation. And it's my guess that's a big no-no in public works' circles, especially if that circle's policy says, "Ineligible: Decorative items."

Like I said, you have to look very closely, but it's there. Los Osos, you have the SWRCB on that. The decision to fund the park amenities was a careless, lazy and potentially illegal decision, and has now delayed the project for nearly three years-and-counting.

The SWRCB has had a huge hand in the train wreck. Sue them.

Then there's the second case against the Coastal Commission. Unfortunately, this case doesn't bode well for one of the characters I hold the most respect for in the whole Los Osos sewer story -- Coastal Commission staff member, Steve Monowitz.

In 2002, when the CSD was attempting to get the zoning changed to allow a sewer plant at the Tri-W site (a lengthy process), Monowitz failed to completely research the rationale for the zoning change request.

Instead of relying on official documents and things like election results, for example, Monowitz relied on the word of CSD Directors, primarily Pandora Nash-Karner, as the sole source of a so-called "strongly held community value" in Los Osos that any sewer plant must also double as a centrally located community park. Tri-W was the only centrally located site under consideration, therefore it was the only site that would satisfy that "community value." That's why the CSD was asking the Commission to change the zoning on Tri-W in 2001-02... the "community value." (Are we clear on that? It's very important.)

Had Monowitz not relied solely on CSD Directors as the source of that "community value" and had researched it further, he would have discovered that the "strongly held community value" never existed. Not only is there no evidence at all to support that extraordinary claim, there's all kinds of evidence to support the claim that it never existed, including a lethal combination of election results, public opinion surveys, and a very suspicious document -- the 1995 Los Osos Vision Statement -- that included this line:

"Our waste water treatment facility(s) is based on a natural biological process rather than
mechanical system approach to the highest extent possible. These facilities have become a visual and recreational asset to the community...

That line in bold is no longer in the Vision Statement. County planner, Mike Wulkan, recently told me, "It didn't make it to the next stage of the planning process." Monowitz told me he was unaware that the line had been removed from the document when I spoke with him a few months back.

Additionally, the unscientific polling that served as the basis of the Vision Statement does not substantiate that line at all. That line -- "These facilities have become a visual and recreational asset to the community" -- seemingly came out of nowhere, and was in the Vision Statement just long enough to get it into the Final Project Report, and once there, it would prove to be the only thing that locked in Tri-W for the early CSD's second project.

Without that "community value," as many know now, the zoning would not have been changed on the Tri-W site in 2002, as sites out of town were shown to be "environmentally preferred" because they were already environmentally degraded due to decades of agricultural use, unlike Tri-W.

Former CSD Director and Solution Group member, Pandora Nash-Karner, was one of eight people with their name attached to the Vision Statement, along with her husband, Solution Group founder, Gary Karner.

That "community value" simply did not exist in 2002, and Monowitz should have caught that, and if he had done the proper research (fairly easy research, I must add), he would have caught it, the Local Coastal Plan would not have been amended in 2002, and Tri-W would have been bounced out of the running right then and there. State law would have demanded it.

Monowitz recently told me, "It was inappropriate of me to rely on Solution Group members to determine community values in Los Osos."

I think Steve Monowitz is one of the more brilliant people in the entire train wreck (certainly one of the hardest working), but that was a huge f-up.

In his defense, however, he really didn't have any reason to think the LOCSD Directors would lie to him about a manufactured "community value" for the sole purpose of making damn sure that the location of their second treatment facility, was the exact same location as their first treatment facility -- the facility that got them elected and the CSD formed in the first place in 1998, and a facility that required exactly ten times more land than their second project.

But that doesn't let him off the hook. "Why would a community want a tot lot in their sewer plant?" is not a difficult question to conceive, and then find a legitimate answer to.

And so, Los Osos, you have the Coastal Commission again. If they would have caught the fact that that "strongly held community value" did not exist in 2002 -- and they should have, and easily could have -- the past five years would have played out entirely different in Los Osos.

My recommendation? You guessed it. SUE!... for a lot of money.

As for the County, the case against them isn't as strong as those above.

A county staffer once told me that after the 1998 election that formed the CSD with a whopping 87-percent of the vote, they just "washed their hands" of the entire Los Osos sewer situation, and conducted almost no oversight at all.

"Hey, 87-percent of the town wants to pursue the Solution Group's plan. Who are we to say no," is apparently how their reasoning went.

That's actually not a bad take. Fair enough.

But what it fails to take into consideration is that the county was privy to the same gigantic pile of evidence that Briggs had on his desk -- the evidence that showed the Solution Group's plan wasn't going to work -- and yet the county just "washed their hands" of the situation. That is extremely careless policy. They knew it wasn't going to work, and they didn't do a thing either.

What the heck, huh? Sue them too.

[Good Lord. Now that I think about it, just how many agencies did Nash-Karner's marketing blind? The 1998 Coastal Commission had all the evidence that showed that the Solution Group's plan wasn't going to work, and they allowed them to pursue it anyway. In 1999, the County had all the evidence that showed that the Solution Group's plan wasn't going to work, and they allowed them to pursue it anyway. And from 1999 - 2000, the Regional Water Quality Control Board had all the evidence that showed that the Solution Group's plan wasn't going to work, and they allowed them to pursue it anyway. What in the hell happened?]

Look, I'm a decent person, and since I know how beloved SewerWatch is throughout Los Osos, I'm willing to help and do my part to keep the cost of the sewer down for everybody.

Here's my proposal: If there's an attorney out there that wants to go Ed Masry, and work pro pono on this until all that fat cash comes rolling in, I'll do the same for said attorney. Think of me as your very own Erin Brockovich. We could do some sort of class action thing, after we argue our way around the statute of limitations issues, of course. It'll make you famous.

The beautiful part about my "Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue, Sue" idea is, if it's successful (and I don't see why it wouldn't be), Los Osos taxpayers would be locked in at around $80 million for the project no matter how long it takes to complete, or how much it ends up costing. $300 million? Whatever. Sue them for $220 million, plus, of course, a handsome attorney fee.

Anything over the 1998 price tag of $80 million, those agencies should pick up. After all, they're the ones most directly responsible for the eight year-and-counting delay. That's why they exist in the first place, isn't it? To make sure that things like Los Osos don't happen. Well, Los Osos happened. Are we supposed to believe that all the agencies responsible for the oversight had nothing to do with it? That's absurd, as I've shown.

Too bad you can't sue the Trib, as well. They're as culpable as anyone for this mess.



  • And shouldn't we sue you and Ann Calhoun as well for your campaigning for the recall? After all, the recall only passed because off folks who downplayed the real costs of stopping the TriW project. Oh yeah, no deep pockets.

    Seriously ... your idea won't work. A "lower" government agency cannot successfully sue a "higher" government agency unless it can be shown that there was some intent to do wrong. Unless you can show that Monowitz intentionally misled the CCC, no money can be obtained from the suits you suggest.

    Suing Willdan and BWS, on the other hand ...

    You do have a compelling case, Ron, that many many agencies and individuals all made mistakes which have caused problems ... before 2004.

    By the time we hit 2004, the question we needed to ask ourselves is this "is continuing with TriW better than the alternative?" On the question of money alone, the answer was "hell yes!". Essentially this makes the question one of "how much more are you willing to pay to get the sewer moved out of town?"

    Without even taking a survey on that question and based on a "mandate" (which itself was slim at best and based on a slew of false claims), the current CSD board chose, without doing a simple cost projection, to take a very risky action.

    Shouldn't the LOCSD board itself be sued by the same logic you've said would justify the lawsuits against other government agencies? Oh yeah, they have been.

    The funny thing here Ron is that you are pretty sharp about spotting some flaws in process and flaws in logic but you have been so silent on the clear problems of the current board.

    Why the silence?

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:39 PM, October 23, 2006  

  • Shark,

    How did I know you would be the first to respond, still waving your TRI-W banner?
    I think you may have mis-understood who Ron suggests sues the agency. He never said "a lower agency" should sue. Sounds to me, since he says "Los Osos should sue", that perhaps he is suggesting a class action suit set forth by the citizens of Los Osos. Can somebody (other than Joyce) form a group of citizens to initiate a class action suit? Here is a chance for one of you critics to "put your money where your mouth is". I know that person won't be you because you are strictly TRI-W blind.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:33 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Typical Ron Crawford/Ann Calhoun/current CSD supporter's mantra. It's everyone else's fault except those now running the show. The term "personal responsibility" just doesn't exist for these people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:54 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Is it true or urban legend that Pandora wore a Knagaroo Rat costume to one or more of those Coastal Commission hearing? I just gotta know. That's nuts! If it's true. someone please verify.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:14 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Suing the State is not the answer.

    Building the sewer at Tri-W immediately while sueing Wildan and BWS for malpractice is.

    Los Osos needs to recover the $60 million in debt Los Osos has incurred dued to Wildan's and BWS's insane advice to the LOCSD. If we do not, we will be paying $400 or more a month for the damn sewer.

    -Still Laughing at You

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Ron,

    "...and since I know how beloved SewerWatch is throughout Los Osos..."


    That's a good one, Ron. You just keep telling yourself that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:48 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • ANNON 9:31

    The fact that you laugh at Ron (and are still laughing) shows what a meager grasp of the train wreck you actually have. If you did one iota of the research of the FACTS that Ron (and Ann) do, you possibly might be able contribute something useful. But the sad fact of the matter, for you, is that you only listen to wags and have nothing to make your point. Why don't you sue Wildan and BWS.....or would you rather have someone do it for you since all you are is "mouth"? It would be most interesting to hear your case. STEP UP TO THE PLATE, big man/woman, or go back to the bench where all the other nay sayers are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:52 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Whether it is the LOCSD or individuals who would sue the RWQCB or CCC or whatever board, the burden of proof is exactly the same. I would also suggest that the cost associated with an individual or even a group suing the SWRCB would be very very high by comparison to the likely payout ... even if the payout would be to the individuals.

    Not exactly waving a TriW banner, but until you or someone else has a plan with a cost estimate that shows out of town will do a comparable job and be less expensive, you are essentially ... um ... asking me to give up the best plan to date because you feel like it and you don't mind that you are asking me to pay a whole lot more.

    Not exactly neighborly.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:15 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • So do the Coastal Commission and CCRWQCB carry errors and omissions insurance? If they were sued, and I doubt any regulating board can, where would the money come from assuming they lost?

    By Blogger Spectator, at 11:58 AM, October 24, 2006  

  • Shark,

    So will I, neighbor. However, I believe there will be found a better solution than your beloved TR-W. We just have to wait and see. Talking about what should have been and who should have done it, is just wasted diatribe. Let's all move on. See what the county comes up with.
    If they deceide on TR-W, then you can tell us all how wise you were.

    Then you can start harping on how much less expensive it would have been if they had just gone ahead and built the WWTF,( that is not one that will work,) with the illegal loan and unbelievable O&M and other cost down the line. Pay now or pay later....unless you plan on bailing out after some sort of WWTF is built. As for me, I'd like to stay here and help all you discontented people pack your moving van.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:23 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • "As for me, I'd like to stay here and help all you discontented people pack your moving van."

    This is a great line!!!! I think these very thoughts every time I watch a CSD meeting and see the same old nasty, tired people get up for every public comment.(especially the known renters). Kudos Anon 1:23 for a great sentiment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • To our anonymous friend of 1:23pm ...

    It seems that you haven't offered us a real plan but instead you are telling us that if just "wait and see" that the solution will be better. Well, I do believe that a better plan can be found. But the question here is "at what cost?". Just tell us how much it is worth to you to get the plant out of town and we can start a discussion that would be good for our community. If out of town is better .... if MBR is bad ... if Ag Exchange is more sustainable ... how much more should we pay to have these good things?

    As to your suggestion that O&M would be unbelievable ... please remember the meeting last year where Lisa told us some of the details of the "negotiations" with the SWRCB. A key part of the "savings" was lower O&M ... by about $10/month per household. At the time I asked whether it is wise to spend $70/month (inflation, etc.) to save $10/month. No one then argued that it was a wise choice.

    Lastly, your "Los Osos, like it MY WAY or leave it" comment is telling. I am so glad you are more interested in getting your neighbors (who view TriW as wiser) to move out of town than you are interested in working with them to achieve the best possible solution.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 2:31 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • That's right. We want the "best possible" solution. But what is it? It ain't TRIW and it ain't "pie in the sky". So Inlet or Mr. Panama or Mr. Green please do tell us, the good folks of Los Osos, what is IT??? I dare anyone to come up with a definitive answer cause there ain't one! I personally would prefer to keep my septics (I own two properties), hook up to the Mom and Apple solution and freakin' CALL IT GOOD. I've had my septics for years. If I can get the effluent drained off for a reasonable cost that's fine with me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:56 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Well, that's the rub, isn't it.

    Best is in the eyes of the beholder.

    My ideal (cost is no object) system would be a HUGE non-stinky ponding system with a cool park at TriW (and pretty much all the other undeveloped properties in that area (or any kind of plant something out of town, don't care that much) but the recharge of the aquifer would be done by returning treated wastewater to the individual households for irrigation. Saltwater intrusion would be stemmed by using some of the same treated water for freshwater dams at the edge of the aquifer. Whether STEP or gravity is used is probably not a big deal.

    If the costs and timetable were the same for TriW versus my ideal solution, I would prefer my ideal. On the other hand, the size of the ponds alone would make the ponding system too expensive. Furthermore, returning wastewater for to homes for irrigation would be another huge expense. Design costs, inflation and delay would make my ideal too expensive even if it would have estimated costs similar to TriW (but that is pretty unlikely).

    So ... if you can't have a million dollars a year just to pursue your whims ... what job should you get? The best one available once you consider the package of salary, location, cost of living and benefits?

    If you can't get a perfect wastewater treatment system, which one should you choose? The cheapest system which will come online the soonest!

    Until someone out there demonstrates that there is even a reasonable hope of an alternative to TriW that is in the same cost ballpark, it is absolutely stupid to assume that there is a better plan that will cost lest. Please don't ask us to simply believe that better is just a matter of trying harder. If the best the "move the sewer" group can get us is Ripley, the discussion is already over. Richard showed that Ripley (as proposed) is simply more expensive than TriW. When you remember that the Ripley plan is inadequate, the costs go up again.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 5:27 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Thank you for your response, Mr. SI. If you are not running for a LOCSD seat you should be. I mean it. Now, I ask you this because I think you might have an answer. Do you know if the "Orenco" people who gave us a workshop last Thursday are the same "Orenco" who consulted on the Step/Steg proposal of 1998 by the Solutions Group?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:42 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Why doesn't somone discuss the pros and cons reguarding a letter to editor recently, about hooking up with SanLos' new addition? The tunnel under the bay to Morrow Bays WWTF was kind of far fetched, but hooking up to SanLo doesn't sound too bad.
    .....and Shark, I offer no plan because I am not a WWTF planner, just am tired of all the whining and want to get on with it. I have no "my plan" and am not anxious to have you TRI-W groupies to move anywhere......but if you want to wishes and good luck......just stop whining about it. If TRI-W is meant to happen, it will...if not, it won't!!!! Simple as that, and I don't think any of us can do a darn thing about it, (not even a new CSD) except WAIT AND SEE!!!!!
    We all missed the boat by listening Pandora and her Solutions Group in the first place. So, now I'm's catchy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:09 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • I am tired of people blaming Pandora. Blame yourselves. You voted for her plan! Even when the RWQCB had said it wouldn't fly! Cheep cheep cheep said the cute little Los Osos birds.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:23 PM, October 24, 2006  

  • Inlet SEz:And shouldn't we sue you and Ann Calhoun as well for your campaigning for the recall?"

    Inlet cleary never read all my columns on the Hideous Sewer, those always titled, "Oh Lucy, Jooo Gotta Lotta Splainin' To Do!" which is shorthand for PAY ATTENTION LOS OSOS VOTERS, THINGS GOING WRONG HERE, RED FLAGS, RED FLAGS.

    But Inlet prefers to shoot the messengers?

    While Anonymous, on the other hand, wants to shoot the citizens and sez:"I am tired of people blaming Pandora. Blame yourselves. You voted for her plan! Even when the RWQCB had said it wouldn't fly! Cheep cheep cheep said the cute little Los Osos birds."

    And there you have it. Red flags all over the playing fields, voting public asleep at the switch, bridge out, slow to sixty, certain players with a gun to the head of the engineer, go faster! go faster!. All players had so many opportunities to avoid the wreck, and even when the train was off the cliff, could still have "compromised" and reduced the carnage, but they chose not to. They CHOSE NOT TO. (remember the old "fine the CSD out of existence!" Kill pussycat, kill! kill!) There's the tragedy of what's happened here in Slo Mo.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 8:35 AM, October 25, 2006  

  • Shark said:

    "By the time we hit 2004, the question we needed to ask ourselves is this "is continuing with TriW better than the alternative?" On the question of money alone, the answer was "hell yes!"."

    That's wrong.

    By the time you hit 2004, and the words "bait and switchy" came flying out of Potters' mouth, that meant the overriding reason to ignore the EIR was invalid. Shark, listen closely, cost wouldn't have even come into play! State Environmental Law demands that the project be built at the least environmentally damaging location, unless you have a valid SOC, which they didn't and don't.

    Anon said:

    "Sounds to me, since he says "Los Osos should sue", that perhaps he is suggesting a class action suit set forth by the citizens of Los Osos."

    If you follow the link on the word "incompetence" at the top of the story, it will take you to a very interesting story about a case in Louisiana involving a class action suit against the incompetence of several government agencies for their role in Katrina. There're a lot of similarities with L.O.'s incompetency case.

    Anon said:


    "...and since I know how beloved SewerWatch is throughout Los Osos..."


    That's a good one, Ron. You just keep telling yourself that."

    I thought that might get a rise. It made me laugh, so I kept it in.

    Spectator said:

    "If they were sued, and I doubt any regulating board can..."

    Again, I'm not saying the CSD sue them, I'm saying you sue them, and your neighbor sue them, and your neighbor's neighbor, etc.

    As for the cost of the litigation that's why I said it would have to be pro bono until all the fat cash came rolling in, minus a handsome attorney's fee, of course. (In the main post I erred and said "plus" a handsome attorney's fee. I meant "minus." What? Am I the only one that's seen Erin Brokovich? Great movie. I recommend it. Finney's excellent in it.)

    Anon asked:

    "Do you know if the "Orenco" people who gave us a workshop last Thursday are the same "Orenco" who consulted on the Step/Steg proposal of 1998 by the Solutions Group?"

    That was Oswald engineering... my favorite part of the Oswald story is how the SG trumpeted as God's saviour to wastewater from 1998-2000, and then when his plan didn't work, they sued him! Great!

    An Anon said:

    "I am tired of people blaming Pandora. Blame yourselves. You voted for her plan! Even when the RWQCB had said it wouldn't fly! Cheep cheep cheep said the cute little Los Osos birds."

    Judging by the comments so far, I think people are really missing the excellent point of my main post. The point is, Pandora's not to blame, a host of government agencies are to blame. They were derelict in their duty. And if you ask me, I think I make a pretty strong case for incompetency... just like what they're doing in Louisiana.

    Then you can settle with those agencies in a year or so for multi-millions, and that cash could go to the cost of the sewer and keep the price down for everyone (minus a handsome attorney's fee, of course, since I would be working for said attorney.)

    Sharky said:

    "... shouldn't we sue you and Ann Calhoun as well for your campaigning for the recall?"

    Speaking of incompetent... good ol' Shark.

    Let's examine how poorly constructed that question is:

    Campaigned, Shark? I don't know about Ann, but did you see me going door to door in Los Osos in 2005? 'cause I don't remember doing that.


    Second, hey Spock Inlet, using your logic, anyone that campaigned for anything could get sued. If you ever decide to run for Clerk Recorder, Shark, no offense, but I think I'll stick with Julie Rodewald.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:37 AM, October 25, 2006  

  • Ron, I've tried Ann with this question with no luck so now I'll try you and your clear, concise and focused (very very very focused)journalistic sleuthing. Can you provide information as to what happened to John Fouche? Inquiring minds want to know. Thank you in advance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:18 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • Ron,

    Maybe if I type slowly you will be able to understand better. If the question were one of money only, TriW beats out of town. Your earlier response to that statement of mine was to write about SOCs and parks and bait-n-switchy and entirely off topic of which plan would be least expensive.

    Off topic. Strike one.

    In your reply to Sepctator (when he raised the question of how the RWQCB or SWRCB would pay damages) you cite a movie where a company, not a governmental agency, was sued. Again, off topic.

    So far, you are 0-2 in your comments.

    As for as my comments on Ann's campaigning for the recall, I find it odd that you are interpreting the word in such a strict sense. Maybe if you had read the word as more along the lines of an "advertising campaign" it would make more sense. Hell, get a freakin thesaurus and think a bit before acting like I'm the one who doesn't make sense. By the way ... it was a joke. Jeez!

    Strike 3 ... you are out. You're batting about as well as Detroit did last night.

    Maybe you shouldn't complain that your readers can't read but start to wonder whether you should have taken some more time to edit your comments. A good writer doesn't blame his readers for his own lack of communication. Nope, we got your point ... lots of people have failed us. You seem to miss our point ... that you and Ann are two of those people.

    You did give one response that wasn't entirely off-topic. Oswald. Might I suggest that Ripley has designed a system that similarly isn't up to RWQCB snuff. Ripley is as open to exactly the same such sort of lawsuit ... but when you remember that the LOCSD hasn't fully paid Ripley yet, that suit wouldn't likely be successful.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 12:54 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • Ron, you talk too damned much. Nobody reads your crap, we just get on here to take a few pot shots at one another. At least the comments are brief, not like those damnable, "War and Peace" volumes you put out.

    YOu are a crank, plain and simple.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:28 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • YOU???

    Erin Brockovitch???????


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:31 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • To 7:09 PM:

    Your spelling and sentence structure leads me to believe that you are the one and only Franc3, better known as one of the "ladies" on the BOD, and her two Mr. Hyde alter egos.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:38 PM, October 25, 2006  

  • TO: anon 5:38

    Can't find no annon 7:09PM....where are you reading? You an English teacher or something? This ain't no term it? We just trying to get it said....don't cha know......"n, whatcha got agin' franc, anyway?....'sides his spellin' 'n stuff? you be a reel A..Hole.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 AM, October 26, 2006  

  • An Anon asked:

    "Can you provide information as to what happened to John Fouche? Inquiring minds want to know."

    I can not. Although, I must admit, I really don't read much into that. Hey, he came in, served the term he was elected for, and decided not to run for a second term. Not only is that not unheard of in politics, that's not unheard of in the LOCSD. Heck, at least he didn't quit mid-term.

    Wasn't there something about that in the Bay News or SB? There should have been.

    If I may be so bold, allow me to play his press secretary here:

    He wanted to spend more time with his family.

    Spock Inlet said:

    "Maybe if I type slowly you will be able to understand better."

    Finally, Spock, a good idea. Lemme give it a try:

    C-a-n y-o-u r-e-a-d?

    Well, what do you know? You're right, for once. That might actually help.

    An Anon said:

    "... we just get on here to take a few pot shots at one another. "

    That's fine with me. It makes for fun reading.

    An Anon said:

    Erin Brockovitch???????"

    Only much, much, much less sociable.

    Anon said:

    "We just trying to get it said....don't cha know....."

    That's a great take. I try my hardest to keep it clean, but if I were to worry about proper grammar and syntax with every keystroke, this would be an awfully quiet blog.

    Look, I think we're all comfortable with the fact no one around here has a copy editing staff... well, with the exception of the agency known as Shark Inlet, Inc.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:00 AM, October 26, 2006  

  • Ron,

    I appreciate your vote of support for my clarity of writing, even if you are misguided into thinking that I am writing for more than one person ... myself.

    However, you most definitely are on a snarky streak of late ... and I am again saddened that you don't actually address the questions and issues that people raise but instead you just continue to beat the drum of "everyone but the current CSD board and those who agree with the board are to blame but the current board and their supporters have had nothing to do with the problem at all."

    Your tone over the last year has grown far more snippy and off-putting. This has happened while your content has declined in volume, factual content and careful analysis. Don't know why, exactly, but one might be tempted to think that as you have less and less to say about the current situation, your comments grow less and less valuable in general.

    In any case, I don't mind the insults and derision. To some extent, the lack of thoughtful input from you makes me think that I may have hit the target pretty squarely.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 2:05 PM, October 26, 2006  

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