Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Guess the Trib, like Supervisor Patterson, Just Doesn't Care that Santa Margarita Will Soon Be a Los Osos

In my last post, I wrote that a recent county staff report addressing the the Regional Water Quality Board's Basin Plan Update, states:

"In areas like Santa Margarita (with clay soils, high groundwater and frequent flooding), this [Mandatory Septic Management Programs] could create a defacto septic moratorium."

I also wrote that I would report back if Barry Tolle, onsite waste water specialist for the county, ever returned my phone call.

Well, he returned my phone call yesterday morning, just before he spoke on this very subject at the Board of Supervisor's meeting yesterday afternoon.

I asked him, point blank, "Does 'defacto septic moratorium' mean that Santa Margarita will become a Los Osos after the county completes its soon-to-be-required Septic Management Program -- with no new building until a sewer system is on line?

His answer? "Yes. It's very possible."

I also asked him about the existing homes in Santa Margarita with septic tanks. Would they be required to hook up to the sewer system once it's on line? He did not commit to an answer.

Now, here's the part that I find interesting: Santa Margarita is on the verge of becoming a Los Osos, and no one seems to care!

When addressing the BOS yesterday, Tolle read this quote, "In areas like Santa Margarita (with clay soils, high groundwater and frequent flooding), this [Mandatory Septic Management Programs] could create a defacto septic moratorium," out loud, for all to hear, including Supervisor Jim Patterson, whose district includes Santa Margarita. And, Patterson didn't ask one question regarding Tolle's amazing quote.

Gets worse. One day after Tolle told me that it is "very possible" that Santa Margarita will be a Los Osos in about a year -- after the county develops its mandated, complex septic system management plan -- like Patterson, the Tribune doesn't seem to care, either. They didn't write a word about Tolle's astonishing quote on their web site today.

So, just to recap:

- On March 27, I published a story on SewerWatch where I hypothesized how the local Water Board's proposed policy changes could instantly turn Santa Margarita into a Los Osos.

- Then, on April 18, I published a story that quotes county staff, "In areas like Santa Margarita (with clay soils, high groundwater and frequent flooding), this [Mandatory Septic Management Programs] could create a defacto septic moratorium."

- THEN, yesterday, I asked Tolle if "defacto septic moratorium" in Santa Margarita meant that the town would be a Los Osos when the county completes their soon-to-be-required Septic Management Plan, and he tells me, "Yes. (Due to its clay soils, and proximity to groundwater), it's very possible."

- THEN, later that same day, Tolle appeared before county supervisors, and said, out loud, in to a hot microphone, for ALL to hear, "In areas like Santa Margarita (with clay soils, high groundwater and frequent flooding), this [Mandatory Septic Management Programs] could create a defacto septic moratorium," and no one says a word. Not Patterson. Not ONE person from Santa Margarita. And, of course, not the Trib.

No one but SewerWatch!

Sometimes I think government's favorite thing is the fact that nearly every adult in this country has to work 40 - 80 hours a week, just to make ends meet, and therefore, they have zero time to contemplate extremely important things, like the Regional Water Quality Board's complex Basin Plan Update, or the rationale for going to war.

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5 Comments:

  • Ron,
    I think you are falling into an Arnold/developer trap. We know that the CCRWQCB owns Gibson, and I have always thought that they owned Ovitt from actions of the past, so now that they are publicly standing up to the CCRWQCB, not wanting an MOU for alternative systems,….what is their motive? Are they trying to prevent alternative systems so the developers supporting Arnold will get gravity systems in LO and SM which will increase development? Please think of the possible consequences before publicly denounce Patterson.

    Remember that where sewers go, rats and developers follow....

    By Blogger Jane, at 8:55 PM, April 23, 2008  

  • The county's now in an interesting rock/hard place. Do nothing and simply accept whatever the RWQCB dumps on their plate or work out an MOU that allows (maybe) the county to support ALTERNATIVE, innovative wastewater systems sooner rather than later. Given the RWQCB's record and the bungles they've so amply displayed with their Mad Pumping Schemes or the Mad Hatter Tea Party CDO "trials" of the Los Osos 45, I tremble to think of ANYTHING onsite being left up to those Boyos. I suspect Patterson is thinking along the same lines. Sleep with the Devil in order to bothkeep and eye on him an/or influence his actions for the better, or do nothing and end up with The Santa Margarita 45 dragged before the Mad Hatter.

    Weirdly, I don't have a problem with AB885 and other upgrades in all onsites for all counties. The problem I have is with THIS RWQCB and THIS staff. Their track record is appalling.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:03 AM, April 24, 2008  

  • Jane wrote:

    "I think you are falling into an Arnold/developer trap."

    I don't think so. I'm actually a Patterson fan. But when he doesn't see an obvious, extremely important question, like: "Mr. Tolle, what do you mean by 'defacto septic moratorium' in Santa Margarita?" I have to call him on it.

    "Please think of the possible consequences before publicly denounce Patterson."

    That's not how journalism works.

    "... what is their motive?"

    I'm not entirely sure, however, I do know one thing: "Water Quality," almost certainly, has nothing to do with it.

    Churadogs wrote:

    "The problem I have is with THIS RWQCB and THIS staff. Their track record is appalling."

    It'd be interesting to see what other Regional Boards think of the Central Coast board. I bet they're the laughing stock of the bunch. I sure hope they are! It'd be a sad commentary if there was another Regional Board that's worse.

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:01 AM, April 24, 2008  

  • Jane's post got me thinking, because, if SewerWatch is anything, I'm an equal opportunity "public denouncer."

    Now that I think about it, where was Debbie Arnold last Tuesday? Why wasn't SHE at the public comment podium asking this question: "Mr. Tolle, what do you mean by 'defacto septic moratorium' in Santa Margarita?"

    That staff report, with that quote, had been out for about a week by Tuesday. It's barely four pages long, takes just a few minutes to read, and the words "defacto septic moratorium in Santa Margarita" come FLYING off the page.

    So, why didn't Arnold see it?

    If I was Patterson's opponent, I would have have shown up at the podium last Tuesday, and asked that question.

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:47 PM, April 24, 2008  

  • Ron says:
    Now that I think about it, where was Debbie Arnold last Tuesday? Why wasn't SHE at the public comment podium asking this question: "Mr. Tolle, what do you mean by 'defacto septic moratorium' in Santa Margarita?"

    Now you must ask why her handlers would not want to her to speak at this time regarding the resolutions and the MOU. How will they benefit from these? What backroom deals have been cut? Will they jump into the fray after it is a done deal and act like they knew nothing about it? (They received more information on the CCRWQCB plans than the BOS was provided.)

    Arnold’s handlers are insiders that believe in the “greased palm” form of government.

    By Blogger Jane, at 5:47 AM, April 25, 2008  

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