Tuesday, December 11, 2007

County's Environmental Analysis for Los Osos Potentially Redundant

Below's my latest question to county officials that, to date, remains unanswered. I sent it on 12/04/07, to environmental specialist, Mark Hutchinson (and cc'd it to several other official county types).

I'm posting it here because, 1) it's a great question (which means, of course, county officials will never answer it... and that's too bad, because the answer could potentially save a heck of a lot of time and money), and; 2) if you think it through, not only is it an excellent question, it's hilarious, as well... because it's so true!:

- - -

Hello Mark,

I have a couple of quick questions, please, regarding the "public scoping meeting for the Los Osos Wastewater project’s Environmental Impact Report,” Tuesday, December 18":

Section 15093(b) of the CEQA Guidelines specifically provides that "a statement of overriding considerations shall be supported by substantial evidence in the record," and since I recently reported at sewerwatch.blogspot.com that the 2001 LOCSD's statement of overriding considerations was not "supported by substantial evidence in the record," then why wouldn't almost all of the 2001 EIR suffice today?

See what I mean there?

As long as it's not needlessly overridden, like it was, shouldn't about 90-percent of the 2001 EIR be useable today?

And, I've heard LOCSD Directors Schicker and Tacker say, numerous times over the past three years, that the 2001 EIR concluded, before it was overridden for no reason whatsoever, that an out-of-town site, with STEP/STEG technology would be the most "environmentally preferable" way to go.

Since there is no substantial evidence in the record on why the 2001 EIR was overridden in the first place, doesn't that mean that the original EIR, or a large portion of it, would suffice today, and then all that would be needed to comply with CEQA would be some sort of supplement detailing the out-of-town sites under analysis, like the Giacomazzi site, that are, all of a sudden, now "feasible?"

It seems to me that "public scoping for the Los Osos Wastewater project’s Environmental Impact Report" is about 90-percent redundant?

If that's not accurate, please tell me how I'm wrong. Unlike most, I love hearing that, because I learn from it.

Thank you,
- - -

Hutchinson's response to that excellent question that could potentially save months, if not years of expensive, redundant environmental analysis?

" ."



  • Just let the man do the process Ron. If the record does not reflect what you say he will find it. Nice of you to be so very concerned over OUR sewer project though, thanks. You on septic?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:25 PM, December 11, 2007  

  • That IS a very good question!

    Plus it's already been payed for.
    Just add a NEW SOC from the county listing TriW without the amenities as the (waaay) cheapest solution
    (wouldn't that just make the Water Gods swell with pride!)

    Uh, maybe a do-over would be better.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 7:20 PM, December 11, 2007  

  • 'toons wrote:

    "Just let the man do the process"

    Like the past ten years?

    By the way, am I the only one that caught Supervisor, Harry Ovitt's mind-blowing quote Yesterday? When he said during the morning session of the BOS meeting, where they were recognizing county employees retiring at the end of the year, and the discussion got to Noel King and George Gibson (Gibson was the county engineer that was in charge of developing the county's project in the 1990s, until Nash-Karner's Solution Group derailed that project with her ill-fated project in 1998, that failed two years later) -- this is so great... one of my favorite sewer moments of the year -- and Ovitt said:

    "We DID have a project ready to go."

    F-ing excellent! There was a reason I mentioned ol' Harry in Three Blocks. He remembers.

    I've said this before, and I'm going to say it again, because I'm the only one that I've read or heard that says it, and it blows me away every time I say it: Nash-Karner's Solution Group blew through THREE -- count 'em THREE -- distinct, separate, all vastly different from one another, sewer projects from 1998 - 2005: 1) The County's "ready to go " project... poof... gone, March, 1999, when the newly elected LOCSD Board dumped it to pursue the Solution Group's ponding project, 2) The Solution Group's ponding project... poof... gone... late 2000, and 3) The Tri-W project, that was never going to work because of its illegal force-fit to cover up the fact that project #2 failed... poof... gone... September 22, 2004 (the day Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown hit the streets).

    In Three Blocks, three years ago, I wrote:

    " In hindsight, ol' county supervisor Harry Ovitt was right. He consistently voted against funding additional studies to determine if Los Osos actually needed a sewer - which it desperately does. Yet, in the end, Ovitt's constituency still helped pay for the Solution Group's blunders, along with the rest of the county's taxpayers. The Solution Group, it seems, owes SLO County taxpayers a $5 million apology and Los Osos taxpayers a $30 million apology. Think they'll be forthcoming anytime soon? That's one expensive park that Los Osos doesn't want to pay for."

    So true... to this day. [I kick myself, because when I wrote, "... and Los Osos taxpayers a $30 million apology," I should have written, "... and Los Osos taxpayers a $30 million, AND COUNTING, apology." MUCH more accurate. Damn.]

    Mike wrote:

    "Just add a NEW SOC from the county listing TriW without the amenities as the (waaay) cheapest solution"

    Here's my latest excellent, yet, unanswered question to the county:
    - - -
    "When the (Pro/Con) report says that the Tri-W site will have "higher costs overall," is it saying that those "higher costs" will be more than double the next most expensive option ($55 million to $25.1 million)? [In the FSR, where it shows "construction cost" of the various treatment facility options, Tri-W is about $55 million, and the next highest is about $25 million.]

    A "yes" or "no" answer would be fine.
    - - -

    Here's the best I could get out of Ogren: "At this time I do intend to provide interpretations of the Fine Screening report - it is what it is."

    It is what it is? Well, then, "what it is" is when it says Tri-W has "higher costs overall," is that Tri-W is waaaay more than twice the cost of the next option, $30 million more, due to everything needed to accommodate a mid-town location... a location needed to accommodate the picnic area and amphitheater in the Tri-W project... uhhhhggg...

    "Uh, maybe a do-over would be better."

    Maybe. That's why I wish county officials would answer my questions, so we would all know:

    Why is the 2001 EIR of no use today, considering the fact that its conclusions were overridden for no reason whatsoever?

    There could be very good reasons why the 2001 EIR can't be used today, I just don't know what they are. That's why I e-mailed the county's environmental specialist... to see if he knew. (I'm starting to notice a trend. I know when I've asked a really good question, because county officials will not respond to it, like when I asked them for the specific code in CEQA that shows that ALL potential sewer plant sites must be evaluated throughout the entire process, even if it is illegal to build on one of those sites? Never got an answer to that excellent question, either.)

    But, if the 2001 EIR is fine -- and I can't think of why at least 90-percent of it wouldn't be -- and the county could just take that ball and run with it -- all CEQA compliant-like -- then 1) that's going to save a fortune, and; 2) that's going to save a hell of a lot of time.

    Look, as anyone that reads my blog knows, I'm all about the official documents, and if there's an official document that concluded, before it was needlessly overridden... for no reason whatsoever, that STEP/STEG technology with an out of town site is the way to go in Los Osos, then STEP/STEG technology with an out of town site is the way to go in Los Osos!

    Start, for God's sake. Start!

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:16 AM, December 12, 2007  

  • Ron, congrats on being a finalist in the There ought to be a law contest

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 10:17 AM, December 13, 2007  

  • Ron,

    You wrote: "When the (Pro/Con) report says that the Tri-W site will have "higher costs overall," is it saying that those "higher costs" will be more than double the next most expensive option ($55 million to $25.1 million)? [In the FSR, where it shows "construction cost" of the various treatment facility options, Tri-W is about $55 million, and the next highest is about $25 million.]"

    Hmmmm ... you feel comfortable comparing TriW's inflated project bids to a back-of-the envelope figure of estimated current construction costs for conceptual sewers at other sites.

    If these other sites pass muster during the due diligence phase, once the RWQCB and CCC add their requirements and once the time for designing these sites have passed, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that their ultimate price tag will be far higher than the $55M you are telling us is waaaaaay more expensive.

    If that happens, I'll expect you, Ron, to finally admit that you were wrong to tell us that TriW was more expensive.

    What is saddest Ron, and I'm telling you this as a friend because I'm real nice, you could have easily done a bit of legwork back in 2005 and found out that the costs of moving the sewer out of town were far more than you had imagined.

    By Blogger Shark Inlet, at 10:37 AM, December 17, 2007  

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