Thursday, December 04, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

"Folks, I know that there's a lot of history here. No one on this Board is stupid about that."
-- Jeff Young, Chairperson, Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, referring to the Los Osos wastewater project, 4/28/2006

[Note: Yesterday (12/3/08), I sent the following e-mail to Harvey Packard, Enforcement Coordinator for the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He's yet to reply (although, in Packard's defense, he is relatively good at replying to e-mail, and my question in that e-mail probably shouldn't call for a quick, hasty response), but I wanted to post my letter now because the RWQCB is conducting meetings in SLO today and tomorrow. Los Osos isn't on the agenda, but "Public Forum" is, and, maybe, just maybe, a public comment type might get some ideas from my e-mail, and have some questions for the Board that test Mr. Young's knowledge on the history of the project -- a subject that he is allegedly not "stupid" on.]

- - -

Hello Mr. Packard,

I'm working on a story that shows how all of the official data coming out of the County these days regarding its development process for a Los Osos sewer system, shows the Tri-W project (that was, as you know, stopped following the LOCSD recall election in 2005) to be the exact technological embarrassment that I've reported it to be for over four years now, beginning with my second New Times cover story on this subject, Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown, published in September, 2004.

For example, in one of their reports, the National Water Research Institute wrote, "Given the number of problematic issues with the downtown site (Tri-W), it is the unanimous opinion of the Panel that an out-of-town site(s) is a better alternative."

And in a report published by SLO County officials, it reads:

"(Tri-W's) downtown location (near library, church, community center) and the high density residential area require that the most expensive treatment technology, site improvements and odor controls be employed."


"(Tri-W allows for) Limited flexibility for future expansion, upgrades, or alternative energy"


"All sites are tributary to the Morro Bay National Estuary and pose a potential risk in the event of failure. Tri-W poses a higher risk..."


"(Con: The Tri-W site is) ESHA – sensitive dune habitat"

Furthermore, during a recent phone interview, when I asked SLO County environmental specialist, Mark Hutchinson, to put himself in the shoes of the people responsible for developing the Tri-W project, he laughed... out loud.

These days, of course, the mid-town Tri-W site doesn't even make the County's short list for potential sewer plant locations for Los Osos.

So, clearly, considering the enormous amount of data coming out of the County these days that shows that the now-defunct Tri-W project was a colossal embarrassment, recalling the officials that were responsible for developing the Tri-W project was the exact right thing to do in 2005, and stopping that gravely ill-conceived project was also the exact right thing to do, according to, well, every professional that wasn't part of Tri-W's development.

So, here's my question in late 2008:

Since Los Osos voters clearly did the right thing by recalling the elected officials that were responsible for the Tri-W project, and electing officials that immediately pulled the plug on that embarrassment (for lack of a better word), why did the RWQCB enact enforcement action against the people of Los Osos immediately following the recall, when the people of Los Osos did the exact right thing by recalling the Tri-W developers and electing people that would stop the Tri-W embarrassment?

Are the enforcement actions in Los Osos a result of stopping the Tri-W project (which was, clearly, the right thing to do), or are the enforcement actions a result of the LOCSD wasting fours years when they decided to play "bait and switchy" with the California Coastal Commission from 2000 - 2004? (You DO know why the Coastal Commission called the LOCSD "bait and switchy" in 2004, right?)

That's what I'm not clear on these days.

It's really starting to look like the RWQCB is punishing the people of Los Osos for doing the job that the RWQCB failed to do, when your office failed to stop the technologically embarrassing Tri-W project through enforcement actions in 2004, which would have been a highly justifiable action to take considering the Coastal Commission labeled the 2001 - 2004 LOCSD's handling of the project "bait and switchy."

So, what are the enforcement actions for? I don't understand.

How does your office respond to that?

Thank you in advance for your prompt reply.




  • Ron, do you really think Packard is going to answer this self serving, accusatory letter?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:44 AM, December 04, 2008  

  • Ron,

    Geez, whatever.


    By Blogger Richard LeGros, at 11:28 AM, December 06, 2008  

  • 'coupla cuties on the Adopt-a-dog page:

    A beautiful three year old border collie -- ID#A154855

    ... at the shelter since Nov. 29.


    A sweet 10-year-old Aussie named "Boy" -- ID#A134365

    ... at the shelter since Nov. 20.

    By Blogger Ron, at 11:46 AM, December 08, 2008  

  • Ron, you will have to get in line behind us for your response from the water board. Having sent a message to Chairman Young on October 29, 2008, we have yet to receive a reply. We asked for protection from predators and assistance with finding on-site systems that meet CCRWQCB standards so that we will be in compliance with our CDO should the County fail to complete the WWTF project timely.

    We are very concerned about the fines and referral to the AG for prosecution as stated in our CDO should the County fail to make "reasonable progress" toward construction of a WWTF by January 1, 2011, a mere two years away.

    Having heard Board Member Jeffries last May say in our presence for the record that he read our CDO hearing testimony while watching "DEAL OR NO DEAL," we have a fair understanding of what enforcement in Los Osos means to the CCRWQCB.

    By Blogger Bev. De Witt-Moylan, at 8:47 PM, December 16, 2008  

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