Sunday, March 11, 2007

County Supervisors get letters, lot and lots of letters... letterrrrrrrrrs! (including one from me)

Dear Mr. Gibson, Mr. Ovitt, and Mr. Ogren,

In a recent story in the Tribune ("Locals lobby for federal sewer cash," 3/8/07), it reads:

"Gibson and Supervisor Harry Ovitt, who represents the Paso Robles area, led the county delegation that included Paavo Ogren, the project manager, and administrative services officer John G. Diodati."

and:

"... they said they are seeking to boost a decades-old authorization for the sewer from $30 million to $35 million, and to get that $5 million increase in a check as quickly as possible out of a 2008 spending bill."

Here are my questions:

1) If federal money is secured for a sewer project in Los Osos, and IF the Tri-W project is eventually selected by county supervisors, will that federal money be used to pay for things like the $51,000 amphitheater, the $690,000 dog park, the $3,000-a-piece eucalyptus benches, and the $102,000 tot lot that the LOCSD included in the project?

and;

2) Did your delegation inform federal officials that more than $2 million worth of park amenities would potentially be funded with the federal money if the Tri-W project is selected?

Thank you for your time,
Ron

P.S. Below is the financial breakdown of the park element in the Tri-W project. It's from an official LOCSD document, circa 2005:



(IF they reply, I'll post their responses in the comments section.)

24 Comments:

  • Ron, I appreciate how many sewer related facts and how much (mis-)process detail you have under-covered over the years. I and I know many others appreciate that information and consider it valuable whether they admit it or not. But sometimes it does seem you are overly focused on the park part of this drama to the exclusion of other perspectives and possibilities. The Tri-W Park imbroglio is a legitimate issue and a serious procedural lapse in an otherwise procecedural disastor. But I can't help but wonder if the whole park thing isn't just an adjunct to the major theme. Granted, you've well documented - over and over again - that Tri-W permitting and financing was based on a series of questionable assumptions and determinations. Granted, the current Tri-W permits were issued with the park a fundamental and key aspect of the sign-off, design and financing. But, given the current realities I can't help but wonder whether the park part of the sewer can't be compromised away in order to build a sewer without a park at Tri-W. Yeah, that would require some serious editing of just about all the previously issued paperwork. But some might argue such re-writing of the terms of a sewer at Tri-W represents the most expedient way to get a sewer built as cheaply as possible. Rules are made and laws are written but exceptions are always negotiated. Just look at how the intent of our Constitution - a fairly stable and resolute document - has been altered over the last 6 years with seemingly less attention than has been focused on our sewer. I'm pretty sure the rules and players in this sewer drama are much less formidable that the US Constitution. I can see all sorts of amendments being made to the Tri-W licensing and permits to allow the park to be stripped from the plans or, more likely, to be addressed later. With later poorly defined.

    I'm not a champion of Tri-W. Indeed, I think it a poor solution for an ill-defined problem. It might get us down the road and past the CDO's but does little to nothing to solve our REAL issues. A missed opportunity. But I can see lots of people and agencies accepting all kinds of compromises and procedural exemptions to be able to put the Los Osos Sewer behind us. In which case I don't see The Park stuff being an insurmountable obstacle. I hope it doesn't play that way but I wouldn't bet against it.

    By Blogger *PG-13, at 1:18 PM, March 11, 2007  

  • Hello PG-13,

    The reason I focus on the park is 1) I find a never-ending source of entertainment in documents that have the words "wastewater facility" and "picnic area" on the same page, and 2) it's Tri-Dub's Achilles heal.

    And, I got to thinkin', after I sent my e-mail to the Supes, The moment the SRF loan was cancelled, the Tri-W development permit turned into kindling. Here's why: Under the previous SRF loan, the park amenities were funded. Granted, it took "bait and switchy" to get them funded, but they were funded. However, today, those amenities are no longer funded, and the SRF loan will never fund them again, I'll make sure of that. (They shouldn't have been funded in the first place. That was a bureaucratic mistake.)

    And unless someone can figure out where to find $3 million to fund them (and good luck with that), then currently, as I type, the Tri-W development permit is kindling. Without the park in the Tri-W project, then that project is in violation of its development permit, and there's no funding for the park amenities... can't meet that "condition of approval." And if that "condition" doesn't exist, and it doesn't, then there is no "approval," unless the Coastal Commission feels like rewriting the development permit, and that's not going to happen, I'll also make sure of that.

    Here's my idea: Since the Tri-W development permit is now kindling, the LOCSD should purchase a one-day liability insurance policy and then open up Tri-W to the public some night, and we'll all have a bon fire at the ditch, and we'll start the fire with shredded copies of the now useless Tri-Dub development permit. Then we'll all sit around and make shmores and sing Kumbaya.

    I know Harry Ovitt -- not personally, but because he's been on the board forever -- so I also know that when he gets wind that he was asking for federal money that could potentially fund things like a $690,000 dog park, and a $51,000 amphitheater for Los Osos, he's going to be pissed. That is soooooo un-Harry Ovitt. Especially if no one from county staff told him about the $3 million in park amenities in the Tri-W project -- a project the county is still considering.

    That means that Tri-W is hanging by a thread. County staff is about to see the whole "no-funding-for-park-therefore-development-permit-is-kindling" thing (if they haven't already, and , if they haven't, it's just a matter of time before they do). That's why, any day now, I expect them to make the announcement that Tri-W is off the table (they really don't have a choice, if you think it through). And when they do, I can only hope that they also announce that an investigation is underway by the District Attorney's office focusing on the circumstances that led to the Tri-W siting for the CSD's second project. Why did the second project have to go there? There's no good answer to that question... at least no good answer until someone mixes in some subpoena power.

    And we all deserve a good answer to that question.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:40 AM, March 12, 2007  

  • Ron,

    What makes you think any project the County does at Tri-W will include a park?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 PM, March 12, 2007  

  • So glad you're continuing to keep up on every issue where you can mention the word "Park".

    The problem, as PG points out so correctly, is that your focus now seems to be preventing TriW and/or preventing a Park at TriW. It is almost as if the park question, because you are amused by it, is more important to you than the question of where the best site for the sewer is and what is the cheapest and quickest WWTF we can get down here.

    It's not exactly schadenfreude, but your attitude seems to almost be "ha ha, I was right about the park and now you'll have to pay more."

    Now, I know that you don't want us to have to pay more, but please realize that to many down here, your continued harping on this issue plays that way.

    On the question of whether TriW and a park are tied together ... right now, according to the CCC they seem to be. Should the SLO BOS do their own study of TriW vesus other places, the could get a plant developed without a park. They would simply need to dust off the older LOCSD report and make a few changes. The SOC that you say is so flawed is actually pretty sound. There are overriding concerns here and there is no perfect site. Even without the park, TriW was less ESHA than some of the other sites proposed. Furthermore, the other sites studied (both earlier and recently) were too small, too close to creeks or had AG uses.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:30 PM, March 12, 2007  

  • I don't expect the County's Tri-W project option to include any frills, as their intent is to keep a high cost as low as possible. There is no relationship, whatsoever, between the efforts that I see going on at the County and what the initial CSD Board did.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 AM, March 13, 2007  

  • "I find a never-ending source of entertainment..."

    There you have it folks. Our problems are Santa Margarita Ron's entertainment. Just in case you haven't figured that out yet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:55 AM, March 13, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "What makes you think any project the County does at Tri-W will include a park"

    Well, like I just wrote above, because as the development permit is currently written, they can't do a project at Tri-W without the park. You do know why Dave Potter of the Coastal Commission called the LOCSD "bait and switchy" in 2004, right?

    And, also right now, that "condition of approval" is not funded. Right now, no one knows how that condition of approval is going to get paid for. No condition, no approval.

    Shark wrote:

    ".... your attitude seems to almost be "ha ha, I was right about the park and now you'll have to pay more."

    No. My attitude is, "ha, ha, I was right about the park, and if the LOCSD would have listened to me in June of 2005, when Julie Tacker, in open meeting, read my letter out loud, to the recalled-3, telling them about the park and the disastrous consequences that would result if the Tri--W project was pursued, you would be paying less.... much, much, much freaking less!"

    Shark Rove said:

    "Even without the park, TriW was less ESHA than some of the other sites proposed."

    First, according to the project's EIR, Tri-Dubya was loaded with ESHA (but thanks for spreading that bit of misinformation, anyway. I'm sure Los Osos appreciates it), second, according to the development permit -- no park, no project. So, IF the county goes with Tri-Dub and decides to take out the park, then they'll be in violation of the development permit, like I wrote above.

    Shark, have you read any of those documents? They're great. I highly recommend them... lots of "wastewater" words contrasted with lots of "tot lot" words, and I think you know how much I like contrast.

    Anon:

    "I don't expect the County's Tri-W project option to include any frills, as their intent is to keep a high cost as low as possible. There is no relationship, whatsoever, between the efforts that I see going on at the County and what the initial CSD Board did."

    No frills in their Tri-W project? Then they'll be in violation of the development permit. They don't have a choice, if they want Tri-Dub, then they HAVE to add frills... $3 million bucks in frills. It's that "Tangled Web" thing, I wrote about here. The county is caught in that web, now, and that's an embarrassing web to be caught in. I'm tellin' ya, Tri-Dubya's hanging by a thread. The permit's kindling.

    "There you have it folks. Our problems are Santa Margarita Ron's entertainment."

    That's not what I wrote, I wrote that I find a never-ending source of entertainment in documents that contain the words "wastewater facility" and -- well, I used "picnic area" last time, so this time I'm going to use... oh, let's see here... "community gardens" on the same page.

    The nano-second the county finally takes Tri-W off of the table -- which could be any day now, including this afternoon's meeting (I don't see why they shouldn't do it this afternoon) -- then I wouldn't have to use so much of my resources on the park subject, then we could all focus on tackling Los Osos's other problems, after our bon fire, of course.

    (Real quick, I have the Supes meeting on in the background, and guess who's there? Good ol' Laurence "Bud" Laurent. Maybe he'll speak at this afternoon's sewer meeting. I'd love to hear his takes on the reasons why the LOCSD was formed in the first place. As 2nd District Supervisor at the time, he supported it, and worked closely with Nash-Karner. He played a huge role in getting Los Osos to where it is today, but he skipped town shortly after leaving office, and has been flying well below the radar for years.)

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:35 AM, March 13, 2007  

  • Ron says:
    "The nano-second the county finally takes Tri-W off of the table -- which could be any day now, including this afternoon's meeting (I don't see why they shouldn't do it this afternoon)"

    Guess you didn't look at the agenda Ron, so don't hold your wishful-thinking breath. And if you bothered to find out, Tri-W can't come off the table because of its already existing EIR report.

    Nice to know you are so concerned and involved in OUR community Ron. Can you tell us the wonderful things that you do for YOUR Community?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 AM, March 13, 2007  

  • Ron, keep up the great work you're doing! I totally agree with you on ALL POINTS. Pandoraland by the Bay was completely frivolous. What purpose could an "amphitheater" with parking for 15 cars be? I live in the PZ & I OBJECT STRONGLY that only 5000 or so mid to low income folks are "paying for" this nightmare. Note I didn't say "dream".. Everyone in the world could come to this "park" that ONLY A FEW OF US ARE PAYING FOR". Everyone needs to pay their fair share...or maybe THIS really isn't about "CLEAN WATER"...What do YOU think?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:21 AM, March 13, 2007  

  • Ron must have been frightened by Pandora when he was a child. He is certainly obssessed with all things related to her (no matter how far in the past).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:59 PM, March 13, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "Nice to know you are so concerned and involved in OUR community Ron."

    You're welcome... and have been since 1991. You know those "population/elevation" signs you see when you come in to town? Yea, those. I'm solely responsible for those signs going up. I did it when I was a reporter for The Bay News in the early 90s. That's gonna bug you, isn't it? Now, ever time you see one of those signs, every time you drive in to town, you'll think of SewerWatch.

    "Can you tell us the wonderful things that you do for YOUR Community?"

    I could, but that would kind of give away my location -- and, no offense, Los Osos -- but I don't really trust you guys.

    "Tri-W can't come off the table because of its already existing EIR report."

    A report that had to override the entire environmental review process so it could be certified. Nice.

    Welp, if Tri-W can't come off the table, then the county sure needs to answer this question: How are they going to fund Conditions of Approval 12 and 17? Those conditions are estimated at about $3 million. How is Harry Ovitt planning on paying for the $51,000 amphitheater for Los Osos?

    Fair enough questions, dontcha think?

    Another Anon:

    "I OBJECT STRONGLY that only 5000 or so mid to low income folks are "paying for" this nightmare."

    That is yet another reason why Tri-W will never work. Only part of the community pays for Conditions of Approval 12 and 17, yet the entire community "benefits" from them (if you consider a picnic area in a sewer plant a benefit). A local judge has recently ruled, reasonably, that's a no-no.

    I wrote about it here. That's an interesting post.

    "... maybe THIS really isn't about "CLEAN WATER"...What do YOU think?"

    What do I think? I think the entire process was so botched over the last nine years, that what's going on these days is nothing but CYA (Cover Your Ass). I see it in every agency involved, especially the RWQCB.

    "Ron must have been frightened by Pandora when he was a child. He is certainly obssessed with all things related to her (no matter how far in the past)."

    Not frightened, fascinated. Her story is excellent. And the earliest I can trace her "behavior-based marketing in Los Osos" story back is 1992, during the Laurent/Coy election... and it's been nothing but fascinating ever since. It's amazing what marketing can do, and Los Osos is a prime example. Perfect case.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:54 AM, March 15, 2007  

  • "How are they going to fund Conditions of Approval 12 and 17? Those conditions are estimated at about $3 million. How is Harry Ovitt planning on paying for the $51,000 amphitheater for Los Osos?"

    Ron,

    As La Lisa and Tacky are so fond of saying - the CDP can be amended. If the County wants Tri-W without a park, they'll get it, regardless of what you think or want. As for thinking of you everytime I (or anyone else) who drives by the population/elevation signs - don't flatter yourself. You're not that important.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:25 PM, March 15, 2007  

  • I wrote:

    "2) it's Tri-Dub's Achilles heal."

    Achilles heel
    –noun
    a portion, spot, area, or the like, that is especially or solely vulnerable: His Achilles heel is his quick temper.

    Damn, I hate it when I do that.

    Anon wrote:

    "... the CDP can be amended. If the County wants Tri-W without a park, they'll get it, regardless of what you think or want."

    We'll certainly find out, won't we? Also, don't forget that the staff of the Coastal Commission has already said I deserve a hearing on the CDP's revocation if ANY entity, including the county, decides to pursue Tri-W. And I will hit that revocation request so deep in the upper deck. I'll just stand at the plate, and watch as it leaves the park. It's going to great. I recommend that you be in the audience at that meeting. My PowerPoint presentation will be awesome.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:02 AM, March 16, 2007  

  • The whole basis of your "grand slam" is the assertion that there was never a "strongly held community value" regarding a centrally located facility with park amenities. If the park amenities are removed, and the property owners approve a 218 for options that include Tri-W, do you honestly think the Coastal Commission will ignore the County's desire to build at Tri-W in favor of the desires of a third rate hack from Santa Margarita, with no financial stake in Los Osos?

    You go right ahead and ask for your revocation hearing, Ron - then sit back and watch the PROPERTY OWNERS challenge your status as an interested party. They will eat you for lunch.

    If and when you get your day in "court", rest assured I will be there, laughing my ass off as you are summarily dismissed by everyone in the room.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:57 PM, March 16, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "If the park amenities are removed..."

    So, not only are you in favor of overriding the environmental review process (again!) to keep Tri-W on the table, but now you are also in favor of carving up the project's development permit to keep Tri-W on the table. Sounds like you guys have a good, solid plan there. And I'm sure you won't run into any opposition when you start carving up the development permit. That should go pretty smoothly for ya.

    "... do you honestly think the Coastal Commission will ignore the County's desire to build at Tri-W in favor of the desires of a third rate hack from Santa Margarita, with no financial stake in Los Osos?"

    Damn, not even a second rate hack, huh? Tough crowd.

    I honestly think the county will NEVER have a desire to build at Tri-W because Tri-W will never work. It will simply never work, for numerous reasons. But, hey, keep futzing around with it if you want... it's a free country.

    "You go right ahead and ask for your revocation hearing, Ron - then sit back and watch the PROPERTY OWNERS challenge your status as an interested party."

    Trust me, it'll never get to the revocation hearing, because Tri-W will never work. Too bad. That's the ending I want for my book.

    "If and when you get your day in "court", rest assured I will be there, laughing my ass off as you are summarily dismissed by everyone in the room."

    Except the staff of the Coastal Commission, that already agrees with me.

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:36 AM, March 20, 2007  

  • "Except the staff of the Coastal Commission, that already agrees with me."

    And has Steve Monowitz publicly stated that he agrees with you? Does Steve Monowitz make the final decision about the CDP? Does Steve Monowitz have the final say about what conditions stay in, and which ones get deleted?

    If the County wants Tri-W, they'll get it - despite the protestations of a third, no - fourth - rate wannabe "journalist" from Santa Margarita.

    Have a great day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:35 PM, March 20, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "And has Steve Monowitz publicly stated that he agrees with you?"

    That's what he told me. Feel free to call him, and ask him yourself.

    What's interesting, as he'll tell you, is the biggest obstacle in my revocation request is that I filed it way too late, because it took so long to put all the pieces together, and now I have to show something called "standing" to get my hearing. I'm confident that I can show that, but it will be tricky. However, if the CDP comes up for carving, as you suggest, then all my arguments will instantly become timely. I won't have to show standing, which means not only will the Tri-W's CDP NOT get carved-up, it'll get revoked... in dramatic fashion.

    "Does Steve Monowitz have the final say about what conditions stay in, and which ones get deleted?"

    Nope. He just has the final say in what is recommended to the Commission, and the Commission almost always listens to him, and if you think he is going to recommend a carved-up CDP just so Tri-W can be even more forced in to place, well, then you don't know Steve Monowitz... someone that is intimately familiar with the circumstances behind the Tri-W siting.

    ..."despite the protestations of a third, no - fourth - rate, wannabe "journalist"..."

    First, that's funny. Second, only a tiny, minuscule portion of those protestations will be coming from me. The other thousands upon thousands will be coming from the majority of Los Ososans over the last three elections, that will simply say, "No, Coastal Commission. You will not carve up your own document so you can force Tri-W down our throats." And they'll be right, and that's why the Commission will NEVER carve up the CDP. It would be very embarrassing for them.

    "Have a great day."

    Thanks... kinda rainy, though, that's why I'm on the computer so late in the afternoon.

    By Blogger Ron, at 5:01 PM, March 20, 2007  

  • "and now I have to show something called "standing" to get my hearing."

    That's the thing, Ron.

    As a non-resident, non-property owner, YOU HAVE NO STANDING.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:36 AM, March 23, 2007  

  • "As a non-resident, non-property owner, YOU HAVE NO STANDING."

    Not according to the Coastal Commission. I'll be frank... the fact that I'm wicked smart, and can put my super tight arguments together in a clear and concise manner, gives me lots and lots and lots of standing with the California Coastal Commission.

    Plus, I find your take so strange, and I see a version of it all the time.

    Patrick Klemz of New Times doesn't live or own property in Los Osos. According to your logic, he shouldn't be allowed to report on Los Osos. What about Sonya Patel at the Trib, same thing. Did it ever occur to you that reporters OUTSIDE of Los Osos, free of "behavior based marketing" saturation, is exactly what your town needs?

    I hear the brilliant Eric Greening talk about Los Osos at Supervisors meetings all the time, yet I don't hear anyone telling him that his point of view doesn't matter because he doesn't live or own property in L.O. You're lucky to get his knowledgeable input.

    That's such a Los Osos-centric attitude. Typical. You do realize that the Solution Group wasted over $5 million of COUNTY money when they stopped the county's project in 1999, don't you? And now, since AB2701 is shaping up to be nothing more than a waste of one year and $2 million MORE of county money, my "standing" is as solid as ever.

    Every time I drive over a pot hole in the road, I can't help but think how many pot holes that wasted $2 million would have filled.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:22 AM, March 24, 2007  

  • Ron does, indeed, have standing with the CCC on any matter they consider.

    However, he goes too far when he tells us his arguments are "tight" which would imply logical and correct. I would suggest he use the proper word, "slick" which would imply that some of the factual details are conveniently overlooked.

    By Anonymous Georges-Antoine Kurtz, at 2:57 PM, March 24, 2007  

  • "Patrick Klemz of New Times doesn't live or own property in Los Osos. According to your logic, he shouldn't be allowed to report on Los Osos. What about Sonya Patel at the Trib, same thing. Did it ever occur to you that reporters OUTSIDE of Los Osos, free of "behavior based marketing" saturation, is exactly what your town needs?"

    Patrick Klemz and Sonya Patel aren't filing revocation requests with the CCC.

    Patrick Klemz and Sonya Patel are actually reporting - not interfering.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:37 PM, March 24, 2007  

  • Georges-Antoine Kurtz wrote:

    "... he goes too far when he tells us his arguments are "tight" which would imply logical and correct. I would suggest he use the proper word, "slick" which would imply that some of the factual details are conveniently overlooked."

    Then the pro Tri-Dubber(s) [I added the (s) in case there is more than one] should have nothing to worry about.

    But, just out of curiosity, which factual details did I conveniently overlook?

    An Anon wrote:

    "Patrick Klemz and Sonya Patel aren't filing revocation requests with the CCC.

    Patrick Klemz and Sonya Patel are actually reporting - not interfering."


    Patrick Klemz and Sonya Patel can't tell you why Commissioner Dave Potter called the LOCSD "bait and switchy" in 2004. I can (and sometimes, I think I'm the ONLY one that can), which means, my revocation request isn't "interfering," it's righting a terrible wrong, and that's a very, very good thing.

    Anyhoot, since the CDP is Swiss Cheese today, that means it will never come to a revocation hearing, anyway. The nano-second the SRF loan was cancelled, the CDP self-revoked.

    But if it does come to a revocation hearing (and it won't, unfortunately), if I'm wrong, then you have nothing to worry about, and if I'm right (and I am, and the staff of the Coastal Commission already knows it. That's why they said I "deserve a hearing." See how that works? Why would they say that, if they didn't know I was right?) then you should be overjoyed that I caught it.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:08 AM, March 26, 2007  

  • Patrick Klemz reported on Roger Briggs and is now missing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:28 AM, April 10, 2007  

  • The CDP did not self-revoke, ask Monowitz. If, a big IF, there is another CCC hearing on Tri-W, Ron may be there for his 'take' but it won't make a difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 AM, April 27, 2007  

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