Thursday, December 02, 2010

If Supervisor Gibson REALLY Wants to Help "The Los Osos 45," He Should Recuse Himself on All Things CDO-ish

TO: Bruce Gibson, SLO County Supervisor, District II
DATE: 12/2/10

Dear Supervisor Gibson,

Thank you for this opportunity to address a very important issue that currently exists in San Luis Obispo County.

On her great blog, Ann Calhoun recently reported on the November 29th workshop in Los Osos, that you attended.

In her report, Ann writes, "Supervisor Gibson said he intended to ask the (Regional Water Quality Control Board) to remove the CDOs (Cease and Desist Orders) from The Los Osos 45."

Earlier this year, I sent an e-mail to Jeff Young, the Chair of the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

That letter is viewable at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-water-quality-control-board.html

In that letter, I show Mr. Young how, according to official transcripts available for download at this link:

http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/rwqcb3/board_info/minutes/2006/01_06_los_osos_hearing_transcript.pdf

... he said at a public meeting, "I can tell you one thing, that had the community not put the blocks on the current project (the Tri-W project) that we would not be here with an (enforcement action) hearing."

So, to be clear, according to Mr. Young's own words, had the community not voted to stop the Tri-W project in 2005, by recalling the three remaining Los Osos CSD Board Directors that were responsible for that "project," his Board -- the RWQCB -- would not have issued the CDOs to begin with.

But, something extraordinary happened since Mr. Young uttered those words in January of 2006: The County's Los Osos sewer development process.

As (I hope) you know, your public works department has just spent the past four years, and some $8 million, showing that the former Tri-W project was a complete, "infeasible," disaster, and stopping that disaster was the best thing that, not only happened to Los Osos, but SLO County... ever.

For example, the County's Pro/Con Analysis, regarding the various sewer alternatives for Los Osos, available at this link:

http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/PW/LOWWP/TAC/TAC+Final+Pro-Con+Component+Analysis+8-6-07.pdf

... says the following about the LOCSD's former Tri-W project:

- "(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."

and;

- "It (The Tri-W sewer plant) has high construction costs..." ($55 million. The next highest treatment facility option is estimated at $19 million.)

and;

- "Very high land value and mitigation requirements"

and;

- Tri-W energy requirements: "Highest"

and;

- "Small acreage and location in downtown center of towns (sic) require most expensive treatment"

and;

- "higher costs overall"

and;

- "Limited flexibility for future expansion, upgrades, or alternative energy"

and;

- "Source of community divisiveness"

and;

- "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..."

and;

- "NOTE: It was the unanimous opinion of the (National Water Research Institute) that an out of town site is better due to problematic issues with the downtown site."

and;

- "ESHA – sensitive dune habitat"

Furthermore, according to the March 2009, "Los Osos Wastewater Project Community Advisory Survey," conducted by county officials, "Only (9-percent) of (Prohibition Zone) respondents chose the mid-town (Tri-W) location (as their preference for the treatment facility)."

Additionally, in a June 2009 letter to the California Coastal Commission, the SLO County "Project team," writes, "The Project team, given the clear social infeasibility issue associated with Mid Town (Tri-W project) and the infeasible status of the LOCSD disposal plan [bolding mine], believes that if either of those options are deemed by decision-makers to be the best solution for Los Osos, then serious consideration should be given by the Board (of Supervisors) to adopt a due diligence resolution and not pursue Project implementation."

I also asked SLO County environmental specialist, and Los Osos wastewater project planner, Mark Hutchinson, to, today, put himself in the shoes of the people that were responsible for wasting $25 million and six years on the "infeasible" Tri-W disaster. He just laughed... out loud. That was his answer to that great question; laughing.

Finally, out of all the documents the county produced on the Los Osos wastewater project, not one of them -- not one -- is favorable to the Tri-W "project," and, in the end, which was on June 11, 2010, when the Coastal Commission gave final approval for the County's proposed project (that includes an out-of-town sewer plant), the Tri-W "project" didn't even come close to working... not even close.

So, look at this situation, in 2010, it's very, very interesting:

In January 2006, the Chair of the RWQCB said that the sole reason why they issued enforcement actions against the community of Los Osos, is because the community voted to "put the blocks" on the Tri-W disaster.

However, as almost four years and $8 million worth of County analysis now clearly shows us, "putting the blocks" on the Tri-W disaster was the exact right thing to do.

To make things worse for the RWQCB, it appears that they failed to do their homework when it came to the Tri-W disaster, and therefore they were badly confused on the viability of that disaster.

For example, according to a June 24, 2004, document, Roger Briggs, executive officer of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, writes, "The (Tri-W) wastewater project is truly a community-based project."

Clearly, it wasn't... obviously. He couldn't have been more wrong there.

Even the executive officer of the RWQCB was/is wildly inaccurate regarding the Tri-W disaster.

He called it "truly community based," and then, five years later, an official County survey showed that over 90-percent of the Prohibition Zone residents did not want an industrial sewer plant in the middle of their beautiful coastal town, after all... of course.

So, add all of this up, and it's an extraordinary, extraordinary situation involving the CDO recipients in Los Osos today:

The RWQCB, solely because they were badly (and I mean terribly) confused about the Tri-W disaster, punished 45 completely innocent property owners in Los Osos, and the understandable stress associated with the threat (over the past four years) of having their homes condemned by the State of California, has sent many completely innocent senior citizens in Los Osos to the hospital, and worse.

In fact, if we take this to the logical conclusion, the voters of Los Osos are actually heroes for seeing what the (badly confused) RWQCB failed to see -- that the LOCSD was about to build a $150 - $200 million "infeasible" sewer disaster, smack-dab in the middle of a beautiful coastal town, in San Luis Obispo County.

Which means that, YES, the CDOs should just go away, obviously. (I mean, c'mon... the only reason they exist in the first place, is because the RWQCB was badly confused on the viability of the Tri-W disaster.)

But there's a big hazard in play here.

The HUGE problem I see with this quote:

"Supervisor Gibson said he intended to ask the RWQCB to remove the CDOs from The Los Osos 45."

... is that you, Supervisor Gibson, are massively conflicted on this subject.

As I've shown you numerous times, your own appointment to the SLO County Parks Commission, Pandora Nash-Karner, beginning immediately after the 2005 recall election, successfully lobbied Roger Briggs to issue the RWQCB enforcement actions, to begin with.

As I first exposed at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/05/contrast.html

... Nash-Karner, the mother of the Tri-W disaster, actually developed a "strategy" (her word) to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence" (also her words), simply because the town didn't vote to build her disaster.

If you read those e-mails, that I first exposed, and made available for public download at this link:

http://www.slocreek.com/fine_lobby_letters.doc

... you'll see that your Parks Commissioner actually phoned Briggs in the days immediately following the recall election, and discussed her "strategy" with him -- her "strategy" to lobby Briggs to fine Los Osos "out of existence."

Shortly after that phone call, Briggs began work on fining Los Osos "out of existence."

So, look how weird all of this gets:

Like Nash-Karner, Roger Briggs, and Jeff Young, I just assumed that you, too, supported fining the property owners of Los Osos "out of existence," simply because voters didn't want to build Nash-Karner's mid-town, Tri-W sewer disaster.

I mean, after all, you appointed Nash-Karner to the Parks Commission after I exposed that she implemented her "strategy" to have the entire town of Los Osos "fined out of existence" -- a startling sequence of events, that I outline at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2009/04/sequence-pandora-nash-karner-is-bruce.html

So, it just seemed to flow, that you also supported her "strategy."

That makes perfect sense.

But, now, I'm a little confused.

With this quote:

"Supervisor Gibson said he intended to ask the RWQCB to remove the CDOs from The Los Osos 45."

... it now sounds like you may have had a change of heart.

So, I guess I DO have a question in all of this:

What's the deal there?

Do you now NOT agree with your Parks Commissioner, and you, unlike your Parks Commissioner, now feel that the property owners of Los Osos should NOT be "fined out of existence" simply because they voted to not build the Tri-W disaster?

That seems like it really demands some sort of clarification, because, if you are still conflicted -- where you say in public that you want the CDOs removed, yet, secretly, you still support your Parks Commissioner's "strategy" (a "strategy" that appears to be working [present tense], by the way) -- then the same thing is going to happen, that happened at the January 8, 2008 Board meeting, where you (and county staff) drafted an official Resolution that was supposed to help the CDO recipients, but, ended up being used -- used -- for nothing more than to play the sewer-train-wreck blame game.

As I'm sure you remember... if not, I first reported on it at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2008/03/quick-look-at-bruce-gibsons-job.html


... the wording in that Resolution actually called the post-recall LOCSD Board "failures" for NOT building the Tri-W disaster... which is, literally, laughable... literally. It's funny.

The wording in that Resolution was so bad, that, as the minutes show, one CDO recipient after another pleaded with your Board at that meeting to NOT adopt the very Resolution that was supposed to help them.

Yet, when the Item came back to your Board at that meeting, you immediately motioned to pass that horribly worded Resolution.

Fortunately, the other Supervisors were actually listening to the citizens of Los Osos, and you didn't get the votes needed to pass your Resolution, and the entire mess collapsed on the spot, and turned into a colossal embarrassment for you.

Supervisor Achadjian was so appalled at the wording in that Resolution that he told county staff to bring it back "without all of the blame language."

So, look how awkward all of this gets today:

What assurances do we have that you, Supervisor Gibson, will not do the exact same, massive-time-wasting, hidden-blame-game thing this time around, that you did three years ago?

Due to your relationship with the person that actually lobbied FOR the enforcement actions, you seem awfully conflicted on this very, very important subject.

If I may be so bold, I have a MUCH better idea on how to proceed this time around.

At last month's Los Osos sewer update, I heard Supervisor Patterson say, that he, too, would like to see the CDOs just go away altogether... which they should, for the obvious reasons I outline above.

Here's what I think should happen this time around: Due to your obvious conflict on this extremely important issue (and the disastrous consequences that result from that obvious conflict), it would be better if Supervisor Patterson were to take the lead this time, and, moreover, it would also be better if you were to just recuse yourself of this entire subject -- no behind-the-scenes input, no voting on the Resolution... nothing.

That would probably be best for all involved -- for you, for your Parks Commissioner, and, especially, for the totally innocent CDO recipients.

As always, thank you very much for your time.

Ron

P.S. If you want to clarify your position on whether or not you support your Parks Commissioner's "strategy," you have my e-mail address.

P.P.S. I've published this e-mail on my blog:

sewerwatch.blogspot.com

###

[48 weeks down... 4 to go.]

7 Comments:

  • Supervisors who are taking a public stand against the water board in the matter of the CDOs are picking the perfect, safest time to huff and puff, strut and crow, as they observe County staff moving us through the sewer project time line.

    If the protest vote were to succeed, however, would they be as willing to support their constituents against the water board? How authentic would their conviction and offended sensibilities be then regarding random scapegoating? After five years, including a scandalously flawed, failed attempt a few years ago at a resolution to support us, we have barely the ghost of precedent to demonstrate that the County, in that case, would do more than leave us dangling in the wind.

    By Blogger Bev. De Witt-Moylan, at 10:08 AM, December 05, 2010  

  • The County is in the business of protecting . . . The County. If needed, they would slit the throats of the Los Osos 45 and kick them to the curb. Which should put the BOS public posturing about "helping" the CDO recipients in perspective. The term, "when pigs fly," should pertain here.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 6:20 AM, December 07, 2010  

  • Chura writes:

    "If needed, they would slit the throats of the Los Osos 45 and kick them to the curb. Which should put the BOS public posturing about "helping" the CDO recipients in perspective."

    Yep... which, ironically, is exactly what makes them so much fun to write about.

    Showing that the BEST way Gibson can help his own constituents is to simple go away on this issue, and let a Supervisor outside of District II take the lead?

    AAAAAHAHAHAHA!

    Hilarious, because it's true!

    Ya know, it was the great Bill Plaschke, that once describe the "open letter" technique thusly: "I know, I know, this is a worn and hackneyed literary device, about as fresh as a Dodger Stadium concourse, but I don't really have a choice."

    Yes, Bill, worn and hackneyed, but I, too, really don't have a choice.

    Bruce Gibson does THE MOST embarrassing things I've ever seen an elected official do... anywhere, and it's just SO fun to point them out... directly to him... time-stamped... over, and over, and over again.

    The County IS in the business of protecting . . . The County.

    And I am in the business of exposing the hilarity in the County protecting... the County.

    Bev writes:

    "...scandalously flawed, failed attempt a few years ago at a resolution to support us...

    To me, the real sickening part about that "scandal" (that I revisit in my main post here) is that Gibson USED the CDOers (including Bev... he USED them) to play the sewer train wreck blame game.

    Absolutely disgusting.

    And he couldn't have been more wrong on that!

    Calling the post-recall board "failures" in that bogus Resolution, for NOT building the Tri-W disaster?

    Like I write, that's literally funny.

    And, yet, there he is, right now, in office, with his Parks Commissioner, hip-to-hip... for another four years.

    How 'bout that election last June? Two "candidates:" Marshall O. -- supported by Taxpayer Watch honks, and Bruce Gibson -- supported by Taxpayer Watch honks.

    You know what sucks about you, District 2? You keep giving the rest of us in SLO County laughably embarrassing Supervisors.

    Laurent? Bianchi? Gibson?

    Bleh... and the Parks Commissioner for ALL of them? My girl, P. Na-K. (God, I miss Bill Coy, the last non-laughable District II Supervisor, and that was in 1990!)

    Sure makes for good stories, though. So, I guess what I'm saying, is that, journalistically speaking, "THANK YOU, District II for electing laughably embarrassing Supervisors, over and over and over again."

    Dumb f--ks.

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:36 AM, December 07, 2010  

  • My comment above got me a-thinkin'...

    I want to supply a PERFECT example of how District 2's stupidity is a gut-punch to the rest of us in SLO County.

    Download this great document:

    www.slocounty.ca.gov/Assets/BOS/digital/ag061906BOS/A-1.pdf

    ... and go to page 6.

    There, you'll find one of my favorite all-time sewer quotes.

    It's from SLO County auditor-controller, Gere Sibbach.

    He writes:

    "San Luis Obispo County has already spent approximately $6.1 million toward a wastewater project for the community of Los Osos."

    What he is referring to there, is the County's "ready to go" Los Osos sewer project from the 1990s, that was deliberately torpedoed by the Karners, just so they could make money.

    The County spent some "$6.1 million" and YEARS developing that project -- a project that was "ready to go" in 1998.

    Sibbach continues:

    "As a result of the vote to form the Los Osos CSD (in 1998), about $4.8 million of that amount was never recovered by the County General Fund. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to this fact because I was the official that had to sign the checks. Notwithstanding my possibly jaded view..."

    Sibbach's pissed, and should be!

    Los Osos being tricked into forming their CSD in 1998, cost SLO County residents "$4.8 million."

    Bud Laurent was District 2 Supervisor in 1998, and was the Karners' main cheerleader, of course.

    So, look what happened there, it's SOOOOO messed up:

    District 2 elects laughably embarrassing Supervisors in Bud Laurent and Shirley Bianchi, and it costs the rest of SLO County residents almost $5 mil... five f-ing million dollars!

    District 2 elects a laughably embarrassing Supervisor in Bruce Gibson, and he proceeds to waste EVERY SLO County residents' time and money by playing his silly, embarrassing, behind-the-scenes collusion games. [I mean, Gibson's BS Resolution from three years ago? What a gigantic waste of EVERYONE's time and money.]

    District 2's string of electing embarrassing Supervisors over the past 20 years, has been an absolute gut-punch to the rest of us in SLO County.

    District 2's stupidity has cost SLO County a fortune.

    (Hey, I smell an "At least weekly.")

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:53 AM, December 07, 2010  

  • Ron, why don't you go after Bud Laurent? He had plenty of culpability in stopping a cheap sewer for LO, to the point that he seemed to be NO-Sewer. Maybe you will consider this as a new topic on which to write.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:14 PM, December 07, 2010  

  • 'toons writes:

    "Ron, why don't you go after Bud Laurent? He had plenty of culpability in stopping a cheap sewer for LO"

    'toons, if you could read, you wouldn't be missing out on all of the fun.

    See that little "search" box at the top left of SewerWatch?

    Type the word "Laurent" in that box, and then click on the little magnifying glass, and PRESTO! Like magic, story after story after story appears where I "go after Bud Laurent."

    Including this:

    - - -
    As I first reported, next January (2011), Pandora Nash-Karner will have "served" on the SLO County Parks Commission for 20 years. She was first appointed to the Commission in 1991 by then-newly elected 2nd District Supervisor, Bud Laurent, after working as his "campaign materials manager" throughout 1990, Laurent told SewerWatch.

    In that election, Laurent defeated then-Supervisor, Bill Coy.

    As a local reporter in Los Osos at the time, I covered that election extensively.

    In 1990 (1990!) Coy was a "yes" vote to continue with the county's process of developing a sewer system for Los Osos.

    Laurent, and Nash-Karner, both opposed that plan.

    That 1990 election would lead directly to 20 years (and counting) of delay in building a sewer project for Los Osos.
    - - -

    Ah, good ol' Bud and Pandora -- directly responsible for 20-years-and-counting of delay.

    Trust me, the ONLY reason you know the names Lisa Schicker and Julie Tacker today, is due SOLELY to that 1990 election, where P. first cranked up her "behavior based marketing" machine as Bud's "campaign materials manager" -- her first slogan (of many, many many slogans to come, i.e. "better, cheaper, faster") came in that election -- "Take a stand, make a difference."

    Boy, ol' P. and Bud sure did make a difference, eh?

    By Blogger Ron, at 10:18 AM, December 08, 2010  

  • Ron, you are a little thin on Laurent info. Can you beef that part up a little?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:53 PM, December 08, 2010  

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