Saturday, April 16, 2011

Chris Clark, Owner of Crawford Multari & Clark, Has A LOT of 'splainin' to Do

"I don't make deals, I don't party and drink with sources, and I don't play a game of leaks. I read, I listen, I squirrel information. It's fun."
- Seymour Hersh, Investigative journalist

"The first rule of government spending: Why build one, when you can have two at twice the price?"
- S.R. Hadden, from the movie, "Contact"

[Note: Good god, just how stupid are these people? Chris Clark writes, in an official document, "(I) was responsible for and successful at acquiring all environmental permits and clearances for the LOCSD (Tri-W) project," like that's a good thing. Hence, my e-mail.]

TO: Chris Clark, "Owner", Crawford Multari & Clark Associates
DATE: 4/17/11

Hello Mr. Clark,

I'm researching a story on the Los Osos wastewater project, and I was recently reviewing your contract with the County of San Luis Obispo, that I acquired through an official public records request.

The contract, dated 12/12/2006, calls for you "to assist the County in the development... of a wastewater project for Los Osos," for $150,000, and I just have a few quick questions that I'm hoping you can answer, please.

In that document, it reads, "(Chris Clark) was responsible for and successful at acquiring all environmental permits and clearances for the LOCSD (Tri-W) project."

That means that you are just the person I've been looking for, for the past five years -- since I first exposed, at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2006/08/loopiest-of-loopholes-recently.html

... how a simple, 4-page, 2001 LOCSD document, that you, apparently, created, called a "Statement of Overriding Considerations" (SOC), was the SOLE document that locked in the over-the-top disastrous, now failed (of course) "mid-town" (on ESHA) Tri-W sewer plant/"picnic area" site, for the above-mentioned "LOCSD project."

As I'm sure you know, that SOC "overrode" the entire environmental review process for the wastewater project in Los Osos, in 2001 - a process that showed that treatment facility sites (plural) east of town (out of town, and downwind) are "environmentally superior" -- just as the County's four-year/$8 million worth of analysis (more on that later) just showed is the way to go for Los Osos.

I've also been reporting, since I first exposed that great story, how the logic in the LOCSD's/your 2001 SOC doesn't seem to hold a drop of water.

For example, in your over-the-top disastrous SOC, it reads:

"An in-town site (Tri-W) was chosen over other locations because:

- It results in the lowest cost for the collection system by centrally locating the treatment facility within the area served: and

- It enables the treatment plant site to provide open space centrally located and accessible to the citizens of Los Osos;"

And that's it... the reasons stop there. Just those two are listed for why "an in-town (sewer plant) site (Tri-W) was chosen over other (out of town) locations."

However, here's the HUGE problem that I run into with your SOC.

As I also first exposed, at this link:

http://sewerwatch.blogspot.com/2007/11/what-ought-to-be-law-part-ii-oh-wait.html

.... and that I'm also sure you're aware, CEQA law states, "... a statement of overriding considerations must be supported by substantial evidence contained in 'the final EIR and/or other information in the record." [bolding mine]

Here's the question that I've tried (unsuccessfully) to get answered time and time again over the past five years, ever since I first exposed all of this way back in 2006, and now, I think I've finally found the one person that can answer it, you:

Please point me to the "substantial evidence in the record" that you used in your 2001 SOC, when you were "responsible for and successful at acquiring all environmental permits and clearances for the LOCSD project," that "supports" this:

"An in-town site (Tri-W) was chosen over other locations because:

- It results in the lowest cost for the collection system by centrally locating the treatment facility within the area served: and

- It enables the treatment plant site to provide open space centrally located and accessible to the citizens of Los Osos;"

What substantial evidence do you point to that supports those two claims?

Because, to be frank, the way I see it, and I'm certainly not a wastewater engineer, but centrally locating a sewer plant in the middle of town to save money on the cost of the collection system seems kind of dumb on the face of it, considering that technically accommodating a downtown sewer plant adds tens of millions of dollars to the project, as the County's recently completed analysis (that you worked on) clearly shows.

That's WHY Tri-W had "higher costs overall" in their analysis, despite any savings that may exist by minimally shortening the collection system with a downtown sewer plant (turns out, all you had to do was add about a mile's worth of sewer pipe to the out of town, "environmentally superior," much cheaper, and MUCH less controversial sewer plant location -- the Giacomazzi site, directly "adjacent to the Andre site."

So, I'm confused? How can there be "substantial evidence in the record" that shows that "centrally locating the treatment facility within the area served" "results in the lowest cost for the collection system," when doing that -- building a sewer plant in the middle of town -- sticks the project with "higher costs overall"... by far?

Also, that second (and final) reason you give on why "an in-town site (Tri-W) was chosen over other locations" -- "It enables the treatment plant site to provide open space centrally located and accessible to the citizens of Los Osos" -- well, that's just plain weird.

Are you saying there, that you overrode the entire environmental review process for the Los Osos wastewater project, in 2001, just so the town's residents could easily get to the "picnic area" that the LOCSD designed into their downtown sewer plant?

Huh?!

Wow. You're really going to have to point to some SERIOUS "substantial evidence in the record" to support that crazy claim -- that Los Ososans demand that they not only be able to "picnic" in their sewer plant, but to also have that sewer plant located downtown so they can easily get to their sewer plant/"picnic area," even though accommodating a downtown sewer plant needlessly adds tens of millions of dollars to the project, as the county's four years of analysis clearly shows.

So... please, point.

Where's the "substantial evidence" that supports that bizarre take in your SOC?

Frankly, I don't see how EITHER of those two reasons hold a drop of water. Both of those reasons seem to make absolutely no sense whatsoever, on the face of it... clearly. Yet, your disastrous 2001 SOC appears to be the ONLY reason why the County's 2011-and-counting project wasn't built starting in 2001.... a decade ago.

Ouch!

Which brings me directly to my second question:

How did you not get paid twice -- once from the LOCSD for "acquiring all environmental permits and clearances" for the Tri-W disaster, and again from the County -- to develop the exact same project that would have resulted from your 2001 "LOCSD project," had you not overrode, with your seemingly baseless SOC, the entire environmental process for that project, for no apparent documentable reason whatsoever?



For example, in your cover letter to Paavo Ogren, in your 2006 contract, you write, "Our firm will utilize our prior experience with this project both to help with guidance for project development, and to reduce overall costs."

O.K., great. So, with that quote in mind, why didn't you just say to Ogren, the moment you signed that $150,000 contract, something like, "You know, had I not overrode the entire environmental review process for the Los Osos wastewater project in 2001, for no documentable reason whatsoever, with a completely baseless SOC, then the correct, "environmentally superior" project that I was paid to develop at the LOCSD, is the exact same project you should use, only with a sewer plant site east of town, just like the next four years, and $8 million worth of your analysis (of which, I am going to get another fat chunk) will show"?

Why didn't you say something similar to that in December, 2006, like, you know, the moment your contract was finalized? That sure would have "reduced overall costs," yes?

Because, I have to admit, it really looks like, not only did you get paid twice to do the exact same work, but that you also deliberately created the wildly unpopular Tri-W disaster, by popping out a fake, completely unsubstantiated (and therefore illegal, according to CEQA law) SOC ("[Chris Clark] was responsible for and successful at acquiring all environmental permits..."), in a deliberate effort to create a wildly unpopular, downtown sewer plant/"picnic area" disaster, just so it'd prolong the development of a technically sound, and socially feasible, Los Osos wastewater project for Los Osos, just so you could make more money... and you did.

How is that not the case?

How did you NOT deliberately create a disaster just so you, and your firm, could make more money on the Los Osos wastewater project... which you did, on both counts: You deliberately created a disaster (the Tri-W disaster, through an invalid SOC), and then got paid again by the County to develop the same project, except with the sewer plant out of town, which would have happened in 2001, had you not popped out that fake SOC.

Thank you very much for your time,
Ron

P.S. I thought this e-mail would be of interest to my readers, so I went ahead and published it on my blog:

sewerwatch.blogspot.com

I'll be happy to publish your response to this e-mail on my blog, as well, when you reply.

Thanks again

###

25 Comments:

  • Ron, as usual, you've got it right! Multari & Clark, just like the Wallace Group (Rob Miller), MWH (Steve Hyland) & others are all in SLO County's back pocket. Please don't overlook, COROLLO (sp) either, since they've been handsomly rewarded by SLO County. All buddies of Paavo Ogren & Bruce Gibson.

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 8:54 AM, April 17, 2011  

  • "the wildly unpopular Tri-W disaster"

    Dude, Measure B won by 20 votes! Maybe you got some 'splaining as to just how that translates to "wildly?"

    Hey, hows that response from Sara Wan coming? Heard anything? You wrote her almost a month ago.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:30 AM, April 17, 2011  

  • Tri-W was wildly unpopular enough that it's supporters changed its name to the "mid-town site" to try and deflect the negative connotation that Tri-W wrought.
    Unpopular enough for many hundreds of residents to gather in the park for a picture with a prominent sign reading "MOVE THE SEWER"
    Unpopular enough that the town recalled three of it's directors and elected three to replace them that had vowed to move the sewer out of town. Is that unpoular enough for you?

    By Blogger M, at 2:03 PM, April 17, 2011  

  • Fer Gawwd's sake, Lynette, just shut up & STOP pimping for Slo County, Bruce Gibson, Paavo Ogren & the rest of the good old boys. Wake up, you fool, YOU are NOT going to score any points for yourself OR hubby by continuing with your same old prattle...we're sick of it & we're SICK OF YOU!

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 2:24 PM, April 17, 2011  

  • M, NOTHING will be enough for Lynette, it's her "job" to pimp for Gibson & the County's flawed plan...

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 2:26 PM, April 17, 2011  

  • M, the name was changed to mid-town site due to the request of the former owners - it had nothing to do with deflecting a negative connotation, and the change came very late in the game, maybe 2008.

    20 votes unpopular, that's all. A retroactive "law" that gave the directors the feeling that they could move the sewer. And indeed they could have had they continued with the collection system.

    And how did that out-of-town move go for you M? Happy with it?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:01 PM, April 17, 2011  

  • Lynette, stick to the topic at hand. No one cares about your snotty & snide comments. You're sounding more & more like LeGros. You & Perlman pretty much MUCKED up Ron's thread regarding Sara Wan. You're spamming again.
    Ron has done a great job in exposing the corruptness in SLO County, stop trying to dilute THAT FACT..There are more & more foreclosures in Los Osos, with ALL those & the VACANT LOTS, do YOU really think it's "OK" for only the residents of the PZ to subsidize the ENTIRE project? The numbers JUST DON'T work out...A small portion of the Community SHOULD NOT subsidize a project that benefits not only ALL of Los Osos, but the ENTIRE County, State & even Federal Government. Clean water benefits all, not just the residents of the PZ. The septic tanks DID NOT pollute the bay. Remember CMC, Cuesta College, etc.?
    Tri-W was a disaster & was very ill-conceived, no matter what YOU think...

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 7:31 AM, April 18, 2011  

  • Oh, that's right - the vacant lots WERE IN the last project, weren't they? Well, we don't know where they will land this time, we'll have to wait and see.

    Clean water benefits all - so those that make the BIGGEST mess must do the MOST cleaning - 83% of Los Osos is the PZ. There are 500 or so vacant lots in there, you do the math as to the percentage left out of the paying - for now anyway. (Thanks for pointing out how the last project was actually more beneficial to the homeowner's bottom line.)

    Gee, hugh jass, you sound just like getrealosos - any relation?

    BTW, before you butted in, I was talking to M - who has far better manners than do you ha.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 5:21 PM, April 18, 2011  

  • No one's listening to YOU, Lynette. YOU really have NOTHING to say, nothing relevant anyway. You're spamming again, you're doing it on Ann's site as well as Ron's. Ron has important info he's trying to get out & if YOU don't like the "message he's sending", well, TOO BAD! Get a LIFE..

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 8:51 PM, April 18, 2011  

  • Gee hugh jass, don't you think you are spamming too? Ron's important info is in his article, not here in the comments.

    Besides, YOU seem to be the one not liking my comments, not Ron. He knows how to delete me if he wants to and probably doesn't need you to decide that for him.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:43 AM, April 19, 2011  

  • Ron, since Multari/Clark are "licensed professionals", wouldn't you think that they have a fiduciary obligation to disclose to the LOCSD of ALL ALTERNATIVES? BTW, just to inform LYIN' Lynette, I am NOT one of the OCHS. Now, maybe THAT will keep her on topic & maybe we can get some real answers. I, for one, am sick of her WILD speculations...

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 7:03 AM, April 19, 2011  

  • I sure hope Mr Clark's Professional Liability policy is paid up. If this doesnt smell like a claim, I dont know what does.

    By Blogger ososgrande, at 8:56 PM, April 20, 2011  

  • Hello ososgrande,

    Who would be suing?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 10:20 PM, April 20, 2011  

  • The twenty vote spread doesn't really explain just how unpopular it was.
    It was a "Recall election" one of the most, if not THE most difficult elections to win.
    First you have to start a petition drive, then you have to make sure that the reason for the recall stays firmly married to the individuals being recalled.
    It ALMOST ALWAYS NEVER WORKS.
    All the incumbents need to do in most cases is just don't FU anymore and gather a little support.
    And here is where a vote created the FU.
    No, I'm going to qualify that statement.
    The vote that screwed the pooch here was the three to two vote that set the date for the election, one of the most incompetent political blunders ever.
    WTH were they thinking? what was the conversation then?

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 7:44 PM, April 25, 2011  

  • I disagree Mike Green. The popularity of directors was not what was going to get the sewer moved out of town. Measure B was the crux of that election.

    Any newly elected directors would have had their collective hands tied had Measure B (the ILLEGAL Measure B, I might add) NOT passed. Out of 6558 total votes, 3289 voted for the measure and 3269 against it. That is just 20 votes to allow the project to change or not.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:58 AM, April 26, 2011  

  • Wrongo toons, Measure B was part of the same slate, If the election had been set at the earliest date, it is more than conceivable that the recall AND measure B would have failed. Instead for some kind of inconceivable reason the CSD BOD chose a scorched earth direction.
    Ask ANY first year political science major what the effects of continuos political messaging is.
    Or ask Napoleon, A lie told often enough will be believed.

    By Blogger Mike Green, at 12:50 PM, April 28, 2011  

  • Well Sewertoons, if you had lived here during the recalled boards tenure, you could attest to their un-popularity. You keep harping on only 20 votes. No matter how you describe it, that's still over half of the voters saying no. And trust me, those voters were screaming no throughout the process, but the recalled directors had blinders on and said screw you people. We are going to do this our way. That is what got them recalled.
    Sincerely, M

    By Blogger M, at 1:25 PM, April 28, 2011  

  • Mike sez:"Wrongo toons, Measure B was part of the same slate, If the election had been set at the earliest date, it is more than conceivable that the recall AND measure B would have failed. Instead for some kind of inconceivable reason the CSD BOD chose a scorched earth direction."

    Correct. Setting the last possible date for the election AND tearing up the Tri-W site before the election, both sent a clear message to the community: F--k you AND the horse you rode in on. It was an astonishing blunder, one that had to have been fueled by such rage AND a complete disregard of the community and complete lack of the prime directive of an elected official: first of all, do no harm. That 3-2 vote was total scorched earth and a total gamble, with the community the one put at risk. Pure raging Sampson bringing down the temple on his own head, a kind of CSD suicide bomber bent on inflicting the maximum damage to the community that was considering rejecting the Tri-W Three.

    By Blogger Churadogs, at 7:12 AM, April 29, 2011  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:06 PM, May 02, 2011  

  • "A lie told often enough will be believed." So true. "We can move it out of town with no problems from the Water Board, we won't lose the loan, it will cost $100/month."

    I too am sorry that the election was not done sooner so that I could be flushing and forgetting right now, there would be no lien against my house, the upper aquifer would be cleaner, the lower aquifer would have been less pumped due to conservation measures only a project could afford, AND the CSD wouldn't be hanging by a thread.

    Fine, you didn't like the directors, you felt that they made mistakes, you voted them out. That is the voter's privilege. BUT, M and Churadogs, I believe that you are confusing the decibel level of the screaming with the actual number of votes which was 20. Without those 20 votes, the new directors would have no legal means to move the plant out of town!

    The five-year old screaming for another ice cream cone does not see the adult's reasons to not give it to her, but if she screams long enough and has weak parents, she might get the ice cream cone and then with the stomach pains and vomiting, she finally understand why getting the next cone was not such a good idea. In this case, the number of adults that caved to the screaming over better sense -- If you only knew the number of people who wished that they had never voted for the recall and Measure B!

    The "do no harm" quote ("primum non nocere"- "first, do no harm" which is from the Hippocratic oath - which applies to doctors, not legislators), could well be applied to the Lisa Board too.

    I guess you just need to own up to the final result of that colossal gamble. You should be happy and looking forward to your plant out-of-town. You finally did get what you wanted.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:08 PM, May 02, 2011  

  • Quick comment:

    Read Mike Green's comments. He was referring to what is called a "referendum." The referendum, which is almost impossible to achieve normally, defeated both the 2005 board and the project -- not by "20 votes," but with at least 3,289 votes.

    Big turnout. Obsessing over one part, but not the part of it is lying by omission.

    Also, Measure B was NOT the only legal means to move the plant out of town. There was also Proposition 218, which was not utilized by the pre-recall or the post-recall board.

    Check the facts. End of transmission.

    By Blogger Razor Online, at 6:36 PM, May 02, 2011  

  • And if 3,289 votes had been gained by NO on Measure B, it would have gone the other way - as a referendum. So?

    No matter how you try to slice and dice it, the community was nearly equally divided on this. Big turnout for BOTH SIDES, not just for "Move the Sewer." No obsessing, no need to label it - these are just the facts of how many votes went which way. 20 votes decided it. Do you not see this?

    Why would prop 218 be used by the pre-recall board? As everyone here seems to agree, had the recall been done earlier, we would be flushing and forgetting right now. It took the additional time to "convince" more voters to support Measure B. The Lisa board certainly did not feel the need to address any of the protests from the other side - so what would be different?

    The really big question was when the Lisa board still controlled the project and were asked to do a 218 - to assure the lenders that the town was serious about paying for this - and as the Lisa side complained that the old board did not do - when it was her board's turn to right that alleged mistake - THEY didn't do it! How much more flip-floppy can you get?

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 9:44 PM, May 02, 2011  

  • Hey, Los Osos... quick show of hands.

    How many of you would rather have your sewer plant in the middle of town solely so you could more easily "picnic" in your sewer plant, even though technically accommodating a sewer plant in the middle of town adds tens of millions of dollars of unnecessary costs to the already hugely expensive project?

    Let's see here... I see Pandora's hand, and the other six or seven people that were responsible for wasting six years and $25 million developing the Tri-W disaster, and I see about four other hands from the people that absolutely chug Pandora's behavior-based-marketing Kool Aid... including 'toons, and Joyce Albright.

    Yep, that sounds about right.

    "Only (9-percent) of (Prohibition Zone) respondents chose the mid-town (Tri-W) location..."
    -- Los Osos Wastewater Project Community Advisory Survey, March 27, 2009

    I'm surprised it was that high.

    You know what I LOVE about you Taxpayer Watch losers? You just can't get over the fact that you lost that 2005 recall election after out-spending the opposition 3-1.

    You spent ALL of that money on the recall election, and lost, of course.

    You spent ALL of that money on that hilarious (and highly embarrassing for you) dissolution attempt, and lost, of course.

    Still SOOOOO bitter, after all these years. AAHAHAHAHAHA! (Gawd, I love you guys, You're hilarious!)

    By Blogger Ron, at 9:38 AM, May 03, 2011  

  • Don't forget that the real mistake was in not holding the election sooner. We would be flushing and forgetting right now had it been held earlier.

    How about posting that MM document that you claim the County is holding out on using to avoid paying for restoration?

    Oh, and in case you didn't watch the BOS today, it might interest you that the latest Los Osos protest is that the out-of-town Giacomazzi property has not been purchased yet or the purchase even secured. Apparently some in town (yes, Tri-W protesters) think this is going to be a big problem - no place to put the plant.

    By Blogger Sewertoons, at 12:28 PM, May 03, 2011  

  • Lynette You're sounding more & more like a BROKEN RECORD, frankly, we've heard enough of your same old, same old...Since you're so unhappy about not being able to flush your toilet into a sewer system, why not just move back to LA? None of us will miss you.

    By Blogger hugh jass, at 7:14 PM, May 05, 2011  

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