Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Power of the Blog

What the heck, huh? Yes! I will take full credit for the county's abrupt change of plan regarding the mid-town, Tri-W sewer plant, and whether its many fatal flaws would be analyzed by the Technical Advisory Committee during the screening process to determine a viable wastewater project for the Los Osos area.

In my last post on SewerWatch, I pointed out that the deeply flawed Tri-W project was being "carried through" the entire screening process by the county, immune to any scrutiny that all the other potential projects were being put through.

I also reported that in the county's Rough Screening Report, it says this:

"The previous project at the Tri-W site will be carried through fine screening process for comparison purposes..." [bolding mine]

That's no longer the case. It changed yesterday at the supervisors' meeting.

Now, thanks directly to SewerWatch (I'm assuming, since no one else wrote about it), county officials NOW say that Tri-W will be carried only through the "rough screening" process, but will be scrutinized during the "fine screening" process, according to John Waddell, of the county public works department. And, if that's an honest appraisal of the pros (none) and cons (lots and lots) of the Tri-W "project," then that project is dead. It will never pass through fine screening because it has too many fatal flaws to mention here. The project will simply never work. And, if it ends up as an option on the advisory vote scheduled for sometime in 2008 (2008!), then something is terribly wrong.

In case you missed it, the embarrassing-for-the-county U-turn happened Tuesday afternoon during the weekly update on the progress of the Los Osos wastewater project.

After taking public comment, 2nd District Supervisor, Bruce Gibson, asked Waddell if Tri-W was going to be part of the screening process. And that's when Waddell said that it would not be part of the "rough" screening process, but it will be part of the "fine" screening process, however, that's not what their own recently released document says. Nope. It says, "The previous project at the Tri-W site will be carried through fine screening process..."

My favorite part of the Gibson/Waddell exchange yesterday was when Waddell conceded that, yes, Tri-W will now be part of the fine screening process, Gibson let loose with a kind of self-righteous-sounding, "Thank you." Like he was saying, "See, people? We ARE playing fair with Tri-W."

The reason I enjoyed that exchange so much, is because it meant that Gibson either read my last post, or heard an earful from LO residents that had, or, most likely, both.

But, I'm not too sure Gibson, or any other county official, for that matter, has any room for self-righteousness there, because, I can almost guarantee that if I had not brought up the fact that an official county document said Tri-W was going to be "carried through" the ENTIRE screening process, it WOULD have been "carried through" the entire screening process... just like they originally said.

S.Wa.T.T. Force 1: 1
TAC: 0

###

22 Comments:

  • This is the first time you heard that? Or maybe, this is just the first time you UNDERSTOOD that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:18 AM, April 18, 2007  

  • Ron, you are a glutton for punishment. I think you must take some kind of perverse pleasure out of setting yourself up for argument, criticism and even ridicule. You do it so well. Don't get me wrong, I like that you do it so well. I appreciate what you bring to the game. You, more than any other single person, have done more to bring things to light that might not have (read: probably would not have) otherwise become known. Yeah, some think you're meddling in affairs where you don't belong. (Sewerville is OUR sewerville, not yours! So why are you mucking in our sh**?) As if pollution and bad government isn't everybody's concern. And many take issue with your reporting because of their own personal agendas. Everybody it seems has strong opinions about the sewer but few seem willing to appreciate - much less respect - that other opinions have validity too. But most of all I think you create raging fire out of moldering embers with your in-your-face style. Me? I like your slightly edgy, often confrontational and always anti-Pandora style. I'm sure many others feel that style is more like a poke with sharp stick. I question whether you are as singularly important in many of these developments as you claim to be. But I honor that you have indeed played a key role in getting us to where we are today. For better or for worse. I think it better. I'm sure you're gonna be hearing from many who think it worse.

    > S.Wa.T.T. Force 1: 1
    > TAC: 0


    I hope the game is called in the 5th on the mercy rule.

    Blaze On!

    By Anonymous *pg-13, at 6:11 PM, April 18, 2007  

  • I hope you're equally willing to take credit for the extra $100 - $200.00 per month it will cost us homeowners due to the delays caused by the people you cheer on from your home in Santa Margerita. But I have a sneaky feeling you don't roll that way Crawford.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:56 AM, April 19, 2007  

  • Giving the previously permitted and started project a pass through the rough screening phase of the County's alternatives analysis process was always a given. It has also been understood that it would be analyzed along with the other final set of viable project options. What Mr. Waddell said on Tuesday was nothing new--but, apparently, it was new to you.

    There are obviously a few things about the County's efforts that you don't completely understand--including Supervisor Gibson's body language.

    I look forward in a few weeks to reviewing the analysis, and hearing follow-up discussion, on the final project alternatives, including the pros and cons of the Tri-W project.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:37 AM, April 19, 2007  

  • Forgive me for I have not read the TAC report...

    But, I would just say this...

    Are any of the following criteria that all sites are being judged on:

    Design already complete?

    EIR complete?

    SRF eligible?

    If those are criteria then why should the Tri-W project get a pass on anything? Those catagories will presumably score Tri-W higher than the other sites and therefore that is its advantage. Why should it get points in the other catagories too just because we dont want to scrutinize it?

    All sites should stand on their own and Tri-W should not get a pass in either the rough or fine screening process.

    It doesnt take an idiot to see that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:54 AM, April 19, 2007  

  • Commentary wrote:

    "Is there one objective person reviewing the sewer?"

    I'm objective, and Ann's objective. That's two. (Well, to be honest, I was objective up to the point I figured out who was right and who was wrong. That was in 2004. These days, I take all kinds of fun, subjective liberties within the framework of my highly objective conclusion.)

    "And by the way, where's Waldo? Did what's his name ever resurface down at the infamous Regional Water Board?"

    Good question. I read somewhere recently that his "vacation" ends in April. Welcome back, Rog.

    PG-13:

    "And many take issue with your reporting because of their own personal agendas."

    Tell you the truth... I'm mildly flattered that they even "take issue with my reporting." All I do is tappity-tap-tap on my keyboard, and post that stuff on my little blog. I find it interesting that it gets read at all.

    "I question whether you are as singularly important in many of these developments as you claim to be."

    Me too. Although I do find it highly coincidental that I wrote a piece that showed Tri-W was going to get "carried through" the "fine screening" process, and then a week later, it's not going to get "carried through" the "fine screening" process. That's kind of cool.

    Anon:

    "I hope you're equally willing to take credit for the extra $100 - $200.00 per month it will cost us homeowners due to the delays caused by the people you cheer..."

    Those people were never called "bait and switchy" by the California Coastal Commission. And what about the two years wasted by the initial CSD from early 1999 to late 2000, when they were chasing the dead-on-arrival ponding system? THAT delay is the one that cost your community dearly.

    Anywhoot, since Tri-W was never going to work, the "new board" arguably saved your community multi-millions of dollars by stopping that lemon. And if you want to see me proven right, again, then get Tri-W restarted, and you'll find out the hard way.

    "But I have a sneaky feeling you don't roll that way Crawford."

    I love hip-hop talk. Peace, out, G.

    Anon:

    "It has also been understood that it would be analyzed along with the other final set of viable project options. What Mr. Waddell said on Tuesday was nothing new--but, apparently, it was new to you."

    Then why did the Rough Screening Report say this, "The previous project at the Tri-W site will be carried through fine screening process..."?

    Another Anon:

    "All sites should stand on their own and Tri-W should not get a pass in either the rough or fine screening process."

    That's an excellent point, and after I published my main post, I thought about it, and wished I had addressed it.

    Had the Tri-W project gone through the rough screening process, its many fatal flaws, like its Swiss cheese development permit, would have been identified then, and it would have been shot down then, and not obstructing progress today towards a project that will actually work.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:22 AM, April 19, 2007  

  • Keep it coming Ron! Go S.W.A.T. or whatever you call it! Those who dislike your opinions keep coming back for more because it just BURNS THEM UP that we just might be able to get rid of TRIW once and for all! Your mission is just like the majority of voters in Los Osos. Lots of us agree with you (well not always but pretty much...sometimes you're not very humble but whatever, you're forgiven by me). And Gibson is shaping up to be a pretty cool guy, don'tcha think?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:09 AM, April 19, 2007  

  • And Gibson is shaping up to be a pretty cool guy, don'tcha think?

    Riiiiight.....Until he does something you don't agree with, then he's corrupt, or "on the payroll," or a lacky for Taxpayers Watch, or a Pandora tool, or whatever else you obstructionists come up with. You guys are a hoot.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:13 PM, April 19, 2007  

  • Like I said, as of right now, to me, he seems pretty cool. What's your problem with personal opinions? Gotta lump me in with "obstructionists" do ya? Even though I want s project and I support the county and Gibson? Guess "you guys" are a hoot as well!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:42 PM, April 19, 2007  

  • Anon wrote:

    "... sometimes you're not very humble but whatever, you're forgiven by me"

    That's funny, and thanks for understanding.

    Hey, I have to hold the reader's interest somehow, right? I mean, not only am I writing about a sewer project (think about that for a moment), I'm writing about the Los Osos sewer project. Holding a reader's interest on that subject is, as you can imagine, difficult.

    If I did straight reporting -- "According to officials, the sludge removal from the pipe diameter with the nitrates and the effluent and the blaaaaaaaahh..." -- if I wrote like that, my site would get exactly nones of readers.

    "And Gibson is shaping up to be a pretty cool guy, don'tcha think?"

    Too early to call, for me, but I have noticed a couple of red flags:

    #2: The self-righteous sounding, "Thank you," that he dropped at the last meeting. To me, that said, "All you people that have told me over the last week that Tri-W wasn't going to be included in the fine screening process, you were wrong! See? We ARE including it."

    But the citizens weren't wrong. NOW Tri-W is part of the fine screening process... AFTER I wrote my last post. Those people were right. The county was wrong. That attitude-soaked, "Thank you," was red flag #2, for me.

    But the bigger red flag, Red Flag #1, came when he went out of his way a few months back, during one of his first public meetings as a supervisor, to praise former Solution Group member/initial CSD Board member/Save the Dream marketing director, and enforcement-strategy-developer, Pandora Nash-Karner, when she was being re-appointed to a seat on the County Parks Commission, a seat she has held since 1991. (Keep in mind, Tri-W was supposed to be a "drop dead gorgeous" "sewer-park," according to then-CSD director, Nash-Karner.)

    That highly public praise told me a lot, but what it really tells me is that Gibson and Nash-Karner are on a first-name basis, and when she is on a first-name basis with an influential person, that's always a bad thing for Los Osos, just ask Bill (Tribune opinion page editor, Bill Morem), Dave (popular, local radio talk show host, Dave Congalton), Roger (RWQCB Executive Officer, Roger Briggs), Darrin (SWRCB Division of Financial Assistance, Darrin Polhemous), Bud (former 2nd District Supervisor, Bud Laurent), and, I think you get the picture. If there's a person that had/has influence in Los Osos, then Nash-Karner was/is on a first-name basis with that person, and that's been the case ever since I started reporting in Los Osos, in 1990.

    Now that I think about it, I can't say that about another single person in Los Osos. Interesting.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is, keep a close eye on Gibson, and look for any signs of the affects of behavior based marketing. I've already noticed a couple. But other than that, he seems fine, so far.

    Another Anon:

    "Until he does something you don't agree with, then he's corrupt, or "on the payroll," or a lacky for Taxpayers Watch, or a Pandora tool, or whatever else you obstructionists come up with. You guys are a hoot."

    Speaking of interesting, I read that comment after I wrote that stuff above. Huh?

    Obstructionists? S.Wa.T.T. Force 1 is moving at three times (at least) the pace of TAC. If anything, we're "expedientionists." ; - )

    A couple of Anons left this:

    "Any site for a wastewater treatment site and it's disposal sites that have fatal flaws should not be built. The "Out-of-Town" site has a fatal flaw: it's out of town."

    "Correct, commentary! All that water ouside of town will cost a fortune to bring back into town to stem saltwater intrusion and to recharge the aquifer! It's all fine to put it out of town -- if you want to pay that price."


    Notice the absolute lack of any "according to"s. Nice. Thanks for leaving that unsourced fluff, guys. Just what Los Osos needs these days.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:16 AM, April 20, 2007  

  • Note to the resident ego:

    I am objective' is circular logic.

    Spock was pretty close to objective, but he had funny ears.

    Ann is objective? Ann is a columnist and a biased observer. Good for her!! Columnists are not objective. If they were, they would be demoted to boring mundane reporters.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 PM, April 20, 2007  

  • In response to anon who wrote: Correct, commentary! All that water ouside of town will cost a fortune to bring back into town to stem saltwater intrusion and to recharge the aquifer! It's all fine to put it out of town -- if you want to pay that price."

    You have missed the point I was making which was that it's an ethical issue: a town (L.O.) voting to have a sewer in their town at Tri-W and later voting to not have the sewer in their town but out of their town and into someone else's town. And that town, Los Osos Valley, an agricultural community, doesn't get to vote on the issue.

    Jumping to bogus assumptions that water will need to be transported and that it will be expensive is a completly separate issue that can be dealt with in perhaps a future forum on bogus-assumptions-to-make things not work.

    The issue I'm exposing has been played out recently in other areas. The people of Atascadero don't want a super Wal-Mart at the edge of their town but voted for the Dalidio pavement/box store project for the people of San Luis Obispo.

    The people of SLO already had voted that they didn't want the Dalidio project.

    How ethical is this mind set?

    Also disturbing is the reason the people voted for the Dalidio project: because 130 acres of Prime Class 1 Ag Soil is surrounded by pavement and box stores so therefore the 130 acres must also become pavement and box stores.

    This lack of objectively prevails with the Los Osos sewer project.

    Next:
    re:but what it really tells me is that Gibson and Nash-Karner are on a first-name basis, and when she is on a first-name basis with an influential person, that's always a bad thing for Los Osos,

    You left out the Coastal Commission (one phone call to Steve produces a multi-million dollar unfunded park). That said however, I think you give too much credit to Pandora and not to the money, power and prestige of Mr. Pandora. If you were a person of influence and were invited to wine and dine with either Julie Tacker/Jeff Edwards or Gary and Pandora Karner, which would you choose?

    By Anonymous commentary, at 4:45 PM, April 22, 2007  

  • If you were a person of influence and were invited to wine and dine with either Julie Tacker/Jeff Edwards or Gary and Pandora Karner, which would you choose?

    Is hemlock an option? I don't think I could suck down enough martini's to make either of those choices pleasent. The thought alone is very scary much less having to choose one over the other.

    By Anonymous *pg-13, at 9:25 AM, April 23, 2007  

  • Is hemlock an option? I don't think I could suck down enough martini's to make either of those choices pleasent. The thought alone is very scary much less having to choose one over the other.

    LOL
    (=laughing out loud)

    okok I'm in control of my senses once again. PG13, think of those running for office. Don't you think that Supervisor B.Gibson has been wined and dined by the Karners and that this is how he (and the others) came under the influence of the Pandora's? Maybe they serve diluted hemlock so you won't notice the effect of going under their control?
    hiccup

    By Anonymous commentary, at 8:28 PM, April 23, 2007  

  • http://www.waterkeeper.org/

    http://www.cacoastkeeper.org/index.cfm

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:17 PM, April 28, 2007  

  • Ron, could you send me your email address or phone number so I can contact you?

    My email is gaylewashburn@sbcglobal.net. We've been accused here in Fillmore, California of heading down the "Los Osos" path because we're not happy with the City's decision.

    By Anonymous Gayle, at 10:39 PM, April 29, 2007  

  • Gayle. Contact Al Barrow as soon as possible. We in Los Osos would love to have him spend all his time assisting you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:12 PM, May 01, 2007  

  • Anon left:

    "Gayle. Contact Al Barrow as soon as possible. We in Los Osos would love to have him spend all his time assisting you."

    That's kind of funny.

    To me, Al's an interesting cat.

    If you strip away his pacing around meetings like a caged wild animal, and the occasional eruption, he's actually extremely knowledgeable in this stuff. I know a lot of you will find that surprising, but it's true. When he's on his game, he can make a heck of a lot of sense.

    I remember covering this story waaaay back in the day, and he is one of the very few people from those meeting that I see today.

    Even Nash-Karner doesn't show up at the meetings anymore -- or at least none that will help Los Osos get out of this mess. For example, couple of Supervisor meetings back, she spoke at the morning public comment period in favor of creating an expensive Parks Department for the Parks Commission that's she's been a member of since 1991, yet, that afternoon, when it was time for the LO public comment period, she was nowhere to be found -- or at least as much as I could hear, until KCBX was forced to cut the feed at the 5:00 deadline for the second week in a row. (That subject came up yesterday, and those people have a very good point -- a point I was actually wondering about before yesterday's meeting: Are the people that want to speak at the afternoon LO public comment period waiting around for hours before they get their chance? Are you freaking kidding me?

    Lenthal countered, that because the recent morning items generated a lot of discussion, his board didn't know that all of those people that showed up to speak at the 2:00 LO public comment period would have to wait around for HOURS for their opportunity to be a good citizen.

    Memo to Lenthal: If you and your voluminous staff already know that the morning items are going to generate a lot of discussion -- and it's obvious which ones will, like the ones you've had in your two previous meetings (sans yesterday), for example -- then, for the love of God, either allow Los Osos residents to discuss the sewer at the morning public comment period, or make the weekly update the first item of the day.

    I also heard yesterday, Jerry, that things got a little testy at a recent TAC subcommittee meeting. Keep treating Los Osos residents like you have been, and it's my guess that you'll be hearing a lot more reports about Los Osos's testiness.

    There's one more thing I've been wanting to get off my chest, Jer, Duggan was right. All he wanted to do was talk about the Regional Water Quality Control Board, and that has nothing to do with what you are doing, namely, the construction of a sewer system, yet you shut his mic off a few weeks back. If people can talk about genetically modified corn during that time, then why can't Duggan talk about the RWQCB? Here's another thing to chew on, he discussed water quality in Los Osos during yesterday's morning public comment, and you didn't shout him down then. Why? What's the difference? What's the difference if he talks about water quality in Los Osos or the RWQCB? You can't talk about water quality in Los Osos without talking about the sewer. So why wasn't Duggan's mic shut off yesterday?

    Jerry, please make your public comment policies more consistent and fair, so good citizens don't have to waste hours upon hours every week because of your board's poor scheduling skills and bad policies.

    Signed,
    SewerWatch)

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:11 AM, May 02, 2007  

  • Ron,

    You've got to admit that the Los Osos "regulars" will show up at any meeting where they have an opportunity to give public comment. It is no surprise that Jerry would want such comments to fit his neat and tidy schedule. It won't happen.

    I'll heartedly agree that Jerry should think carefully about the timing of the regular Los Osos stuff. I would suggest a 4pm time-definite agenda item. That way, even if Los Osos folks take more time than allowed, it won't keep others around. Furthemore, those of us who work might be able to arrange to leave a bit early and make the meetings.

    Honestly, there is no 100% perfect timeslot, but Lengthall should allow Los Osos citizens ... even those who speak in gibberish and spout only nonsense ... to make their public comment and he shouldn't stifle such comments because they aren't convenient for him.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 3:23 PM, May 05, 2007  

  • Anon sez:"Ann is objective? Ann is a columnist and a biased observer. Good for her!! Columnists are not objective. If they were, they would be demoted to boring mundane reporters."

    Finally, someone who understands the role of "opinion columnist" on the "OPINION" page. Whew, it's amazing to me how few people don't uinderstand that concept.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 6:07 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • Ann,

    The key point here is that one's opinions should be founded in something other than faith in people named Gail and Lisa. There should be some reasonable hope that the political positions advocated by various columnists have a reasonable hope of helping our community. Advocating that we start the decision process over because the TriW selection wasn't 100% pure in every way does have considerable cost. The question is whether the cost is worth it.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 11:59 AM, May 10, 2007  

  • Exactly Ann!! Why would a journalist want to be paid for being objective, when they can be paid even more for shouting their opinion, twist facts, create innuendo, and disguise "fact" as opinion from a naive public that doesn't know any difference.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:51 AM, May 12, 2007  

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