Friday, July 15, 2011

Awww, Shirley, We Were Just Getting to Know Each Other

So, this is kind of a funny, weird, little, kick-ass, SLO County story.

I'm in the process of developing my "SewerWatch List of Shame" -- that's a list I'm compiling that includes all of the officials and agencies (including media) that supported the now-failed Tri-W disaster from 2000 - 2005, yet, nowadays, when I present those same people and agencies with my huge-list-o'-official-SLO-County-evidence that I've also compiled over the past four years, that shows the Tri-W disaster to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be in my 2004 New Times cover story, ALL of those people and agencies now just turn away.

Every... single... one... of... them.

Pathetic, yet, strangely, kinda funny.

Sara Wan?

Current Coastal Commissioner, Sara Wan, was also on the Commission in 2004, when she voted to approve the Tri-W disaster.

A few months back, I sent her a few e-mails involving my huge-list-o'-official-County-evidence that now shows the Tri-W disaster to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be in 2004, and asked her how she responds to that evidence, today, considering her disastrous vote in 2004.

No response whatsoever.

Local Water Board Chair, Jeff Young?

As I first exposed, back in January, 2006, Young told a bunch of Los Osos senior citizens -- that he was about to fine "out of existence" -- that the reason they were being punished was because the community simply voted to stop the Tri-W disaster... because the community didn't want a sewer plant/disaster in the middle of their beautiful coastal town.

"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 ACL (enforcement) hearing."
-- Jeff Young, RWQCB Chair, 1/5/06

These days? Young? When presented with my huge-list-o'-official-County-evidence that now shows the failed Tri-W disaster to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be in 2004, and putting that disaster on "blocks" was, like, the best thing that EVER happened to this county, and that the ONLY reason his "Water Board" decided to fine a bunch of elderly citizens in Los Osos "out of existence," was because HIS agency got horribly confused on the viability of the Tri-W disaster, and that confusion led to years and years of delay -- delay MUCH more attributable to Young's agency, than a bunch of elderly citizens in Los Osos?

These days? Young? Not a friggin' word.

And that's just TWO examples in my "List of Shame." The list is stunning, and it just goes on and on and on. (Although, to be clear, Wan and Young are already major-league, Hall-of-Famers in the "SewerWatch List of Shame." I mean, look at what they did in 2004 and early 2006. And now? Nothing?! It makes the stomach turn. Spectacular, Hall of Fame-worthy performances.)

Well, it looks like I might have another excellent, Hall of Fame contender for the "List of Shame."

In my previous post, I show how former County Supervisor, Shirley Bianchi, recently started a blog.

As County Supervisor from 1999 - 2006, Bianchi's district included Los Osos, where she was in office during the disastrous Tri-W "project" run through the SLO County government process, including in 2003, when Bianchi voted, along with the other four Supervisors, to approve the Tri-W disaster.

[Thaaaat's right. Had Bianchi simply done her homework in 2003 (like SewerWatch did in 2004), the Tri-W disaster would have been shot down right then and there, on October 21, 2003, instead of June 11, 2010, but it was Bianchi that actually listened to the LOCSD's "behavior based marketing" scam, which, of course, confused her -- just like Young and his RWQCB, and Wan and her Coastal Commission -- into giving the Tri-W disaster official County approval in 2003. And, as we all know now, that allowed that disaster to barrel-on-down the tracks for another seven, unbelievably disastrous years, before finally chugging over the cliff, and crashing in 2010, for the exact reasons that existed in 2003... sans the LOCSD's "behavior based marketing." Absolutely fascinating.]

So, after stopping by her blog, I thought to myself, "Well, this is perfect. I can post in Shirley's comment section my huge-list-o'-official-County-evidence that now shows the Tri-W disaster to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be in 2004, and then see if, these days, she has any second thoughts about her decisions back in 2003."

So, I do. I log onto her blog a couple weeks back, and post the following.

[Let the hilarity ensue. (This... is... great!)]

- - -

Hello Shirley,

Howya been? Great blog!

Real quick, and sorry to go off-topic on your post here, but, this is an excellent opportunity to publicly correspond with you, and you're just the person I'm looking for -- a (former) official that supported the Tri-W project in Los Osos -- to help fill-in some holes for my story over at ol' SewerWatch, and I was hoping you would offer a few comments on that now-failed project, today.

For example, I'm looking at a letter, dated 10/20/05, that you wrote when you were 2nd District Supervisor, to Arthur Bagget Jr., then-Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board.

In that letter (sent less than one month after the Los Osos CSD recall election) you write:

"This is a particularly difficult situation since the current (post-recall LOCSD) Board either will not or can not understand any government process. At one point I was asked if the political will exists here in San Luis Obispo County to assume management of the (Tri-W) project if, for whatever reason, the District were unable to continue with it. Let me assure you, that you have my full support, and I believe that the other Supervisors would give great weight to my position."

Here's where this gets interesting(er) ; -)

In the years since you sent that letter (and since your "Yes" vote on the TRi-W "project" in 2003), here's just a sample of what $8 million worth of county analysis now says about the former Tri-W project:

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 [bolding also mine]."

Additionally, 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)."

And, in the County's TAC Pro/Con Analysis, available at this link:

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

... 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."

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;

- "(Tri-W has) 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"

And, in the end of the County's four year/$8 million analysis, the Tri-W project didn't even come close to making the short list of viable projects, of course, and it just quietly died out, after the 1999 - 2005 LOCSD spent (read: wasted) six years and some $25 million pursuing that disaster.

So, here's my question for you, Shirley, in 2011:

Why did you write a letter, on official County letterhead, to the Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board in October 2005, telling him that you, and your fellow SLO County Supervisors, supported a wildly unpopular, "infeasible," downtown sewer plant on "ESHA," that had the "highest costs overall," and posed the highest "risk" of spills into the Morro Bay National Estuary, when there were several out-of-town, downwind, "environmentally superior," MUCH cheaper, NOT "infeasible," NOT highly controversial, sewer plant sites available, as four years of County analysis clearly shows?

That doesn't seem to make any sense.

Did you get confused on the viability of the Tri-W disaster, or, do you still support that now-failed "project?"

Finally, do you NOW agree with the post-recall LOCSD Board, considering they had the brilliant foresight to stop that disaster?

Thanks in advance for your answer in this comments section, and then we'll discuss it here. It'll be great!

I'm very much looking forward to reading those comments. I have a feeling that the discussion that will emerge is going to be fascinating.

In your main post here, you write:

"If and when we are in a position to mention that we have noticed a new rash of lies, we should mention them."

I agree.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to post this.

- - -

Hilarious.

So, after posting that comment, I check back at her blog every couple of days to see if there's a response, and I wait... and wait.

Nothing.

So, I pop back in, and post one more quick comment on how I'm just going to assume that she's not going to respond, and that I'll just "toss her in" with the others, like Wan and Young.

Apparently, that post got her attention.

Because, a few days later, she pops out this blog post:
  • - - -

    Ron and Los Osos



    Ron – Being somewhat a computer illiterate, I haven’t as yet figured out how to reply to comments, so am using this method of reply.  What seemingly I could never get through to some people in Los Osos was that the District was a separate governmental entity from the county, and I had absolutely no authority in their actions whatsoever.  I could rant and rave in private with them, and often did, but that was the extent of my involvement.  Just prior to my leaving office Sam Blakeslee and I worked together to take authority for the sewer away from the District, which as you know required a State action, which was, by the way unanimous in the State Assembly, Senate, and the Governor.  This should tell you something about the idiocy that was going on in Los Osos. Congress had no authority either, so don’t blame Lois Capps for what the people of Los Osos did to themselves.  I have now been out of office and away from anything to do with Los Osos for over 4 years.  My perception of what occurred there and yours are obviously quite different, and frankly, never the twain shall meet.  Sincerely, Shirley
    - - -


  • Fair enough. After all, even I found her comments settings clumsy.

    So, I respond to that post, with this smart-ass, yet, polite, comment:
  • - - -
    Shirley, you're awesome!

    Thank you SO much for writing that post. (Isn't blog technology great?)

    Shirley writes:

    "My perception of what occurred there (in Los Osos) and yours are obviously quite different, and frankly, never the twain shall meet."

    Well, O.K., but "my perception" is based on the past four years, and $8 million worth of official County analysis that shows the Tri-W disaster to be the exact same disaster I first exposed it to be in my 2004 New Times cover story (when you were still in office), at this link:

    http://archive.newtimesslo.com/archive/2004-09-22/cover/index.html

    And I have numerous official documents, including letters on County letterhead to powerful State officials, that show that you supported that disaster for years -- even AFTER my highly accurate, and primary-sourced, Three Blocks Upwind of Downtown was published -- when you were the District's Supervisor. (You DID read that story when it was published in 2004, right?)

    So, when you now write, "My perception of what occurred there (in Los Osos) and yours are obviously quite different, and frankly, never the twain shall meet," are you saying that you STILL support the Tri-W disaster today, even after the County's analysis showed it to be the exact disaster I first exposed it to be in 2004?

    Keep in mind, as I pointed out in my original comments here, you write, "If and when we are in a position to mention that we have noticed a new rash of lies, we should mention them."

    Well, that four years, and $8 million worth of County analysis exposed a "new rash of lies" concerning the Tri-W disaster, but you're not "mentioning them."

    Which makes takes like this:

    "This should tell you something about the idiocy that was going on in Los Osos."

    ... confusing.

    Surely ; -), you mean wasting six years and some $25 million on the Tri-W disaster, and then starting construction (on ESHA) on that disaster just days away from the recall election (that finally put an end to that disaster), was "the idiocy," right?

    That's the "idiocy" you're referring to there, right? Please clarify.

    Shirley writes:

    "Congress had no authority either, so don't blame Lois Capps for what the people of Los Osos did to themselves."

    I don't blame Lois for "what the people of Los Osos did to themselves" (and by "people of Los Osos," I'm assuming that you mean the three recalled LOCSD Directors), but I DO blame her for getting confused on the viability of the Tri-W disaster, and then securing $200,000 of U.S. taxpayer's money that would go on to be completely wasted on the Tri-W disaster, as her press release, linked here:

    http://www.house.gov/list/press/ca23_capps/pr030725lososos.html

    ... clearly shows.

    And, THAT intensely interesting point, is the exact subject of an upcoming post that I'm working on over at SewerWatch: Whatever happened to that $200,000, Lois?

    Look how interesting that is: Yes, Lois didn't develop the Tri-W disaster, but she did get confused on that disaster's viability, and that confusion led to $200,000 of U.S. taxpayer's money going straight down the Tri-W rabbit hole... completely wasted.

    So, Shirley, do you think there should be some kind of investigation, these days, into why the 1999 - 2005 LOCSD wasted six years and some $25 million on the Tri--W disaster, when that disaster didn't even come close to making the short-list of viable projects in the County's analysis... where they called the Tri-W disaster "infeasible," OR, are you now part of the contingent (not surprisingly, comprised solely of all the people and agencies that were responsible for the Tri-W disaster) that now just goes to the, "Let's forget about the past, and move forward," card?

    Thanks again, for the opportunity to comment (toldja it'd be VERY interesting ; -).
    - - -


  • And here's where this entire chapter goes off-the-rails-hilarious.

    That was that!

    Not only did ol' Shirl not say another word on that whole "she approved a disaster" thing, but she went on to immediately delete ALL of my super-polite comments from her blog.

    Awesome! What a performance. I'm so impressed.

    For voting, as a SLO County Supervisor, to approve the Tri-W disaster in 2003, and then writing in 2011, "If and when we are in a position to mention that we have noticed a new rash of lies, we should mention them", and then refusing to "mention" a "new rash of (Tri-W) lies," after she was "in a position" to "notice" them, and then deleting all of my comments that primary-source-exposed her to that "new rash of lies," Shirley Bianchi gets instant acceptance into the "SewerWatch List of Shame" Hall of Fame.

    Congratulations, Shirl.

    ###

    [Note: Since first posting that $200,000/Capps comment, I've been informed by former LOCSD Board Director, Julie Tacker, that the $200,000 might not have been completely wasted, after all. Apparently it went to an environmental document that the Coastal Commission was requiring for any sewer project in Los Osos, including the county's current project.

    But that $35 million that Capps tried to get for the Tri-W disaster, and that I write about (in 2005!), at this link?

    Oh, yeah. She still needs to answer to that. If not, we just might have another member of the, List of Shame Hall of Fame, on our hands.]

    39 Comments:

    • Ron says:
      "I'm in the process of developing my "SewerWatch List of Shame" -- that's a list I'm compiling that includes all of the officials and agencies (including media) that supported the now-failed Tri-W disaster from 2000 - 2005…"

      Ron, it is clear that you and I will never agree on Tri-W, so I won't address that here. What I would like to ask is that you expand the scope of your list to include the public. It would make for a far more accurate picture of what the situation really was, as Tri-W remaining as the location for the plant when the ponds went south did not happen in a vacuum. The public was as much a part of this as the officials and the media.

      CSD meetings are conducted in the open, with the expectation that community input will help mold Board decisions. CSD directors are elected to do the job, and are either re-elected, not re-elected, or recalled. We all acknowledge that the original project morphed. But what has been little spoken about is how that happened, from a pond to a concrete, underground plant with no significant protests at the critical time needed to change the location without huge and awful consequences.

      You really must write about this - where were the protests in 1999-2000-2001 on the location? (The Coleman and Keller lawsuits were the only ones out there and they seem to state, no need for a sewer at all, clearly NOT supported by the 80% who voted to have a CSD and a sewer pond in the middle of town.) Clearly the citizens were asleep at the wheel and that makes such an important comment on public process and how it does or doesn't work. It really expands the scope of your work beyond that of sniping at officials.

      So please, do yourself a favor and all of us too. Unless of course you believe that the authorities are like parent figures that hold the ultimate control and that the citizens are just children with no power. Don't fail to show the complete picture, there is just so much more to this story!

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 2:42 PM, July 15, 2011  

    • Toonces: A critical point here. Most of the public were not sewer experts and they relied on the elected officials who were in charge. The Los Osos sewer project was a lot like the tar baby: the very first lie causes a second lie then a third to get out of the second and so on down the line. Ron has the documents showing that the Solutions Group knew even before the CSD election formation that their Ponds of Avalon plan would not work as designed and would not get a permit from Briggs so it couldn't work and if it were enlarged to work properly, it would have been more costly than the County's plan. The Solutions Group didn't tell the community that. Everything else is connected to that initial lie. IF the SG had gone to the community up front and said, Ponds Won't Work and the community said, "We don't care,we're going to create a CSD and elect you guys and we expect you to jam something in there no matter what and no matter the cost and make it work and you MUST keep the sewer plant in the Tri-W site no matter how bad the design and no matter how high the cost" then you could blame the community.

      One critical question that still remains unanswered is "Just what was it about the Tri W site that caused the CSD to cling to it so ferociously, even after it became clear it wasn't going to work"

      Paavo Ogren, who was the CSD's first General Manager, said years later that in his opinion the CSD just didn't have the resources to do the job right.

      So, we have an initial lie followed by the lies required to cover up the initial lie, and you have a governmental agency without the resources to do the job right, you have an outfit like Montgomery Watson Harza, whose bread is buttered by giving the client whatever cockamamie thing they want, no matter how bad, and you have incompetent and asleep at the switch regulators who weren't doing their job (and failing to do their job because they're unaware of more lies)and who are threatening the CSD to hurry, hurry, hurry, and you have a train set on a false track heading for a cliff with everyone yelling, "More steam! Faster! Faster!."

      And after the crash, is it any wonder that the engineers of this disaster would want to walk away and never, ever discuss or own any of it?

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 6:05 AM, July 16, 2011  

    • Ron, Shirley, as District 2 Sup, had the 'bully pulpit' to tell the old CSD board and the public that the plan was way wrong. But, she remained silent and even added her office weight when she stated that we couldnt have the plant outside of town because hanging sewer pipe under the LOVR bridge at the Los Osos Creek was too much of an environmental hazard!
      I agree that the County(Shirley)had no real say, but her actions, or lack there of,certainly helped the advancement of the train wreck we are still living with.

      By Blogger ososgrande, at 10:58 AM, July 16, 2011  

    • 'toons writes:

      "We all acknowledge that the original project morphed."

      Not "all" of us. Only the Kool-Aid drinkers, like you.

      The "Morph Lie," was part of Pandora's deliberate "behavior based marketing" strategy.

      I outline her "Morph Lie," at this link.

      She was able to trick you, 'toons, and a heck of a lot of other people, like Shirley, into thinking her second disaster at Tri-W, was kinda-sorta the same as her first disaster at Tri-W, and that her first "better, cheaper, faster" disaster simply "morphed" into her second Tri-W disaster.

      Of, course, the truth, first exposed by SewerWatch (of course), is that her "better, cheaper, faster" disaster failed completely, as I show in my first New Times cover story in 2000, and it was known by the Karners that it was going to fail, BEFORE the 1998 election that formed the LOCSD solely on that disaster, as I first exposed at this link, and then she just went on her heavy-duty lying spree (that included the California Coastal Commission), to force her second disaster into the Tri-W site, so she could tell 1998 Los Osos voters something like, "See? There IS a sewer plant in the middle of town, which means we didn't trick Los Osos voters into forming the LOCSD for no reason whatsoever, and, at the same time, killing the County's then-"ready-to-go" project from the 1990s."

      But, as I've shown repeatedly on this blog, that's exactly what happened.

      She tricked Los Osos voters with her "better, cheaper faster" disaster into forming the LOCSD for no reason whatsoever, and then that killed the County's "ready to go" project, and then she and Gary immediately started cashing fat checks off of their newly created cash machine: The Los Osos CSD, as I first exposed at this link.

      Makes perfect sense, if you think about it. (In fact, interestingly, that's the ONLY thing that makes sense.)

      'toons' writes:

      "But what has been little spoken about is how that happened, from a pond to a concrete, underground plant with no significant protests..."

      Uh, 'toons? Have you been dipping into Paavo's stash?

      Little spoken about how that happened?

      What do you think all of that screaming was at all of those LOCSD meetings for years and years, culminating in a successful recall election?

      [continued next comment]

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:11 AM, July 16, 2011  

    • 'toons writes:

      "You really must write about this - where were the protests in 1999-2000-2001"

      I have written about that... extensively. You just can't read. Not my problem.

      Where were the protests in 2001?

      I don't know about you 'toons, but for me, and just about everyone else on this planet, the last thing on our minds after September of that year (and for years to come) was a fucking sewer plant.

      'toons:

      "Ron, it is clear that you and I will never agree on Tri-W"

      Well, like I told Shirley, when she said the same stupid thing, I'm using the County's own evidence that shows the Tri-W disaster to be the exact disaster I first showed it to be in my 2004 New Times cover story.

      So, it's not me that you'll "never agree" with on Tri-W, it's four years and $8 million worth of careful county analysis that you don't agree with.

      I guess you feel that you know more than all of those experts. Well, there ya go.

      Chura writes:

      "And after the crash, is it any wonder that the engineers of this disaster would want to walk away and never, ever discuss or own any of it?"

      You know what's funny/sad about that?

      "The engineers of this disaster" were, like, everyone... including the Tribune (that wrote several editorials supporting that Tri-W disaster), the State of California (that issued an illegal loan for that disaster), and EVERY local, elected official, including Capps, Maldanado, Blakeslee, Bianchi, Gibson, Laurent, so, who's left to investigate?

      The SLO County DA? Shea's good friends with Pandora (of course), so that's out.

      The State Attorney General? If that office were to investigate the Tri-W disaster, it would show that their clients (the State of California) reeeeelly fucked up. So, they can't investigate.

      The Trib? I laughed just typing that.

      New Times? Other than my two cover stories, their Tri-W Disaster coverage was non-existent.

      The SLO County Grand Jury? Well, let's just say I'm working on an upcoming post that shows what a total joke that heavily conflicted, played agency is -- a total, useless joke.

      So, who?

      I guess that just leaves me.

      Welcome to Democracy, 2011-style.

      OG writes:

      " ... when she stated that we couldnt have the plant outside of town because hanging sewer pipe under the LOVR bridge at the Los Osos Creek was too much of an environmental hazard! "

      The reason she stated that, is because she was lied to about that, through the LOCSD's "behavior based marketing" machine, and she guzzled their Kool-Aid.

      Hey, Shirl, why don't you pop on down to the Public Works Department these days, and ask them if it's possible to cross Los Osos creek with a sewer pipe?

      OG writes:

      "I agree that the County(Shirley)had no real say,"

      Bullshit. She, as a County Supervisor, voted to approve the Tri-W disaster on October 21, 2003. She had DIRECT say in the train wreck, and now, she won't say a word.

      List of Shame Hall-of-friggin'-Fame, baby!

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:15 AM, July 16, 2011  

    • Let's preface this with the vote in 2005. 20 votes stopped the mid-town project. 20 votes. Not a large number, is it?

      Ann, you seem to be implying that the CSD was formed to do ponds, but it seemed clear by the vote that the community hated the County's old project, so they were going to do their own project regardless. So if it wasn't going to be ponds, it would be something else.

      Ron states, "the truth, first exposed by SewerWatch (of course), is that her "better, cheaper, faster" disaster failed completely, as I show in my first New Times cover story in 2000, and it was known by the Karners that it was going to fail, BEFORE the 1998 election that formed the LOCSD solely on that disaster."

      SO - (main point) - if the people missed this article, where were they when the CSD discussed the project change? It does not take a sewer expert to parse out the meaning of, "We are not doing ponds." We had plenty of "sewer experts" spring up in 2004, where were they in 1999? Where were the community protests as to the location before the land was actually purchased? Where was the community when the new project costs were discussed? They seemed to understand "ponds" so why couldn't they understand "no ponds?" Surely the project change was not kept in closed session!

      Sorry, the people just don't get the excuse of having no responsibility in this. They were not watching, they were asleep at the wheel, something you Ann, castigate people for regularly. They don't get off the hook for their part in this 20 vote debacle.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:17 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • Ron, you claim to know about the County's old sewer project. Did you ever write about it? What was it and what so great about it? I didn't live here then. All I ever read on these blogs from the dissidents is how rotten and corrupt the County was and is. So why was their sewer project exempt from this taint? Wasn't it a gravity project?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 2:02 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • Ron, enjoyed your 20/20 factual profile of Supervisor Bianchi's past Follies.

      Loved the part of her Kipling reply "never the twain shall meet". Just wait till she " Stands at God's great Judgement Seat" where she's got a lot of "splanin" to do.

      Seems like both her and our rather silent Godfather Gibson are behaving like uncaged canaries in a coal-mine that quit singing and take flight at the first scent of trouble.

      By Blogger FOGSWAMP, at 2:53 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • Toons out of some kind of parallel universe wroteAnn, "you seem to be implying that the CSD was formed to do ponds, but it seemed clear by the vote that the community hated the County's old project, so they were going to do their own project regardless. So if it wasn't going to be ponds, it would be something else".

      Ever hear the slogan, "Cheaper, Better,Faster"?
      THAT was the Solution groups slogan

      At that time, county project was a gravity sewer out of town for around $90/ Mo.

      Solution groups plan was a limited system with a pond in a park for $38.50 A month

      And you don't think that maybe, just maybe PRICE was the reason the CSD was formed?
      What do you use for money on your planet?

      By Blogger Mike Green, at 3:56 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • Mike Green - I do agree with you - price was certainly the biggest issue. Ponds and Step were supposed to be cheaper. But the County project wasn't liked anyway because of storing the chlorine gas by the middle school. I heard that (later, as I didn't live here then) from people whose kids were in that school at that time. And "local control" was certainly a selling point. How many columns have I read stating how evil the County was back then? (Red-headed step-child, 1300 homes built after the Water Board declared Los Osos septics a problem. The County ignores Los Osos!) Why wouldn't a community want to do its own projects? Yeah, cheaper is better - but control over the project is good too. It never would have gotten to the cost in 2005 without a LOT of help with delays from the lawsuits.

      I'm just amazed when the tactic of "cheaper/better/faster," that is castigated as being so extraordinarily evil in 1998 was the very same one used in 2005 for the recall "$100/out-of-town." Yet Lisa, Julie, Gail are not vilified like Pandora? They lost the project completely and left the CSD in shambles. Who knows if it will even survive? So why are they not painted with the same brush, or even a blacker one?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 7:13 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • FOG says, "Seems like both her and our rather silent Godfather Gibson are behaving like uncaged canaries in a coal-mine that quit singing and take flight at the first scent of trouble."

      What scent of trouble? Not sure what you mean.

      Bianchi left office and Gibson just had a notice in the Trib regarding the places, dates and times of his office hours. Plus he is there weekly at the BOS. No one has "taken flight."

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 7:20 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • "Mike Green - I do agree with you - price was certainly the biggest issue. Ponds and Step were supposed to be cheaper"
      Wrong, STEP was not mentioned neither was the fact that they had in their hands, at that time, documentation that their partial "solution" would not work, or be approved.
      It's too bad i can't yell louder than capitals, but CHEAPER wins all arguments when it comes to taxes.

      By Blogger Mike Green, at 11:17 PM, July 16, 2011  

    • I remember the meeting vividly when the Sups voted for the Tri-W project. In public comment, speaker after speaker pleaded no,no,no,no,no,no and then Shirley Bianchi was the first Supervisor to vote. Stating what kind of message would we sending to our children if we build a sewer plant near their school? We cannot cross a creek with a sewer pipe. Tri-W is our only option. When the District's own Supervisor votes for this, what can all the other Supervisors do but follow their lead. In the military, they have a standing rule that when a opinion is sought the lowest ranking member speaks first so as not to be influenced or intimidated by a highr ranking officer. That same principle should have been employed here.
      Sewertoons, your constantly castigating the community for allowing Tri-W is not going to win you any arguments. You keep going to the 20 vote card. No matter how often you state it, it still adds up to more than half of the votes were against Tri-W. You say where was the protest, I say it was there loud and clear. The board simply had blinders and ear muffs on and doggedly moved forward with THEIR plan. The highest cost, worst possible spot for a sewer.
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 7:52 AM, July 17, 2011  

    • M writes:

      "I remember the meeting vividly when the Sups voted for the Tri-W project. In public comment, speaker after speaker pleaded no,no,no,no,no,no"

      Apparently, not all of those speakers were a "No."

      Nope.

      In particular, ONE of them, who just happened to be Shirley's close friend AND official appointment to the SLO County Parks Commission, was, of course, a BIG "Yes" for the Tri-W disaster.

      From that meeting's minutes (that I also link to in my main post, at this link):

      "Public comment:"

      "Ms. Pandora Nash-Karner: believes the work done by the LOCSD has been outstanding and urges the Board to deny the appeals."

      So, look what happened there. It's great.

      Shirley's good "friend" and official appointment (who was also a former elected LOCSD director, primarily responsible for developing the Tri-W disaster in the first place) is telling Shirley that the Tri-W disaster is "outstanding."

      So, even though "speaker after speaker pleaded no,no,no,no,no,no," ONE speaker, that just happened to be Shirley's close friend (of course), AND official appointment to the Parks Commission, is telling her "YES!" "Outstanding."

      Who do you think Shirley's going to listen to on that one?

      Clearly, Shirley screwed up (big time) and trusted Nash-Karner, and, as I've shown repeatedly on this blog, that's always a HUUUUUUGE mistake.

      Which brings me to the very sad part of this chapter.

      I'm sure, to this day, that Shirley considers Pandora a "friend," but look at what Pandora did to her "friend" with the Tri-W disaster. She set Shirley up.

      Pandora "behavior based marketed" Shirley, by telling her things like a sewer pipe couldn't cross the creek, and that there was "no other place" to put the sewer plant, and, my personal favorite, vintage Nash-Karner moment: Convincing Shirley that there was no feasible, out of town location for the sewer plant, because the "Andre site" had huge power lines, and PG&E wouldn't allow a sewer plant at the site.

      That is vintage, CLASSIC Nash-Karner "behavior based marketing" bullshit, and look how confused it made her "friend," and District Supervisor, Shirley.

      What Shirley failed to instantly recognize with Pandora's scam, is what I instantly asked when I saw that HUGE-power-lines/PGE easement thing:

      "Really, Pandora? So, let me see if I have this straight: You, as an elected LOCSD director, in your EIR for your "project," considered ONE reasonably-distanced, out of town site for the sewer plant, and that ONE site ALREADY had gigantic high-voltage power line towers running through it, that made it infeasible to even build a sewer plant there to begin with?"

      That is a PERFECT example of Nash-Karner's "behavior based marketing" bullshit, and just how dangerous it is to government.

      [continued next comment]

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:26 AM, July 17, 2011  

    • It's also ANOTHER perfect example of just how badly there needs to be an official investigation into the Tri-W disaster. (I mean, for god's sake, the ONLY out of town site considered by Pandora's CSD was obviously dead-on-arrival, with just a simple, extremely quick "windshield inspection," and a site directly adjacent to the Andre site ended up being the final site selection in the county's process?! If that doesn't scream, "INVESTIGATION!," what does?)

      In her 10/20/05 letter to Baggett, that I mention in my piece, Shirley also writes, "The fact that there is a willing seller (for the Andre site) is of no value whatsoever because PG&E's transmission lines... cross the property."

      In the context of 2011, that's super-embarrassing.

      And it also means that Pandora lied right to Shirley's face, when Shirley was the District Supervisor, and Commissioner Nash-Karner's boss.

      So, here's poor Shirley, in 2011, after f-ing up and listening to Pandora's "behavior based marketing" bullshit all of those disastrous years, now all hung up to dry in some smart-ass reporter's blog, just because her so-called "friend" lied right to her face back in the early-to-mid 2000s, and those lies, understandably, confused the heck out of Shirley... just like those same lies did to Jeff Young, and Sara Wan, as I show in my piece.

      Sad, really.

      Disastrous and sad.

      By Blogger Ron, at 11:28 AM, July 17, 2011  

    • I'll get back on the present topic in a bit, but first I'd like to address this error. Ron writes:

      "Since first posting that $200,000/Capps comment, I've been informed by former LOCSD Board Director, Julie Tacker, that the $200,000 might not have been completely wasted, after all. Apparently it went to an environmental document that the Coastal Commission was requiring for any sewer project in Los Osos, including the county's current project."

      This isn't what happened. This $200,000 was the Community Block Grant awarded by the County of SLO to the LOCSD in late 2003. It's a Federally funded program that disperses federal money for community projects and it was awarded here to be used for providing money to low income Los Osos property owners to pay for on site costs to connect to the sewer, NO OTHER PURPOSE. The County was to disperse the federal funds within a 12 month time frame or the money would revert back to the feds. The grant, in this case, was tied directly to the commencement of building the project in 2004. When Julie and friends convinced the Coastal Commission on April 15, 2004 to take the LOCSD project to a de Novo hearing, that decision stopped the CSD from proceeding with the project in 2004. With the LOCSD project on hold, the County (within one week after the CC decision) withdrew the $200,000 from the LOCSD and instead awarded it to the City of Morro Bay (for use on a community Center Project).

      THAT'S where the money went, Morro Bay.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 2:38 PM, July 17, 2011  

    • M, please explain how the voters kept VOTING into office supporters of Tri-W until Lisa and Julie came along? Clearly the ELECTED board supported the project enough to design, buy property and get funding! It was too late to stop the project in 2002, and where was the voting public then? (Yes, Julie and Linde ran in 2002, but only Linde made any wastewater issues her platform. And neither won enough votes to win.) There were hardly even any lawsuits back then! I don't care how many protestors came to speak before the Board, clearly they did not transmit to VOTES.

      I don't dispute that as the project rolled toward starting, more and more were incited to protest. I get the 20 vote difference. But by then it was TOO LATE! Where was the support for something else BEFORE the disastrous financial consequences of stopping a project in progress? ALSEEP AT THE WHEEL!

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 3:34 PM, July 17, 2011  

    • 'toons writes:

      "... the County... withdrew the $200,000 from the LOCSD and instead awarded it to the City of Morro Bay (for use on a community Center Project)."

      If that's true, that's hilarious.

      And I wonder if the lawmakers in Washington, including Capps, and former President Bush, who gave final approval for that $200,000, know that the money that they THOUGHT was going to clean up water in California, (allegedly) went to a community center in Morro Bay, especially, considering that Capps' press release for those funds, at this link:

      http://www.house.gov/list/press/ca23_capps/pr030725lososos.html

      ... quotes, Bruce Buel, as saying, "Not only is this specific funding needed to defer the cost of our project, but it is significant that Congress has recognized Los Osos groundwater contamination as a federal issue. "

      Uh, guess not Bruce... and Lois.

      So, I guess my original question still stands: "Why did Lois do all of that work to get $200,000 for an "infeasible," now-miserably-failed, sewer-park-disaster?

      Ummmm... Lois? Answer?

      (By the way, I've e-mailed her a version of that question about three times now. No response, of course. I smell another L.o.S Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony!)

      By Blogger Ron, at 9:24 AM, July 18, 2011  

    • Well, Ron, I see you missed the point entirely - that you and Julie were wrong about where the money went - and try to deflect the fact (WRONGLY, I might add) that the federal money was to go to COMMUNITY PROJECTS - which is different than clean water money. A COMMUNITY CENTER is a "community project."

      I will also note that one of the lawsuits (Keller vs. LOCSD), lost though it was, caused an 18 month delay in the project, which resulted in the loss of a $500,000 grant. The project costs prior to that lawsuit was $84.6 million. After, it jumped to $93 million. And we know where it is today at $189 million.

      So I hope that M is still reading over here. You won, the project is out of town.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:59 AM, July 18, 2011  

    • Not sure what time frame you're talking about, but when they began construction it was $154 mil. They had an 18 month delay and were still able to start construction in 4 yrs? How many paths were greased for Pandora and company to accomodate that?
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 3:00 PM, July 18, 2011  

    • The project began prior to 2001. But in 2001 MWH gave the with the final project report and it was estimated to cost $84.6 million.

      (The grant was offered in late 2003. I got a chart from Sorrel Marks at the Water Board and 2003 shows the project cost to be $93 million then.)

      April 15, 2004, thanks to Julie et al, the Coastal Commission took the project. The redesign cost estimate was $110 million. But then delays due to lawsuits, the building industry getting really busy and a jump in materials costs caused the price to escalate to $154 million.

      Greased by Pandora? Hardly. The Coastal Commission was influenced by Julie and Lisa. Note the price increase as they entered the fray.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:12 PM, July 18, 2011  

    • Toonces sez:"Ann, you seem to be implying that the CSD was formed to do ponds, but it seemed clear by the vote that the community hated the County's old project, so they were going to do their own project regardless. So if it wasn't going to be ponds, it would be something else."

      No, it was the $43.75 (or whatever) versus the County's $90=100 a month that the voters were voting for. Vote for a CSD and you'll get a sewer for about 1/2 the price as the county's plan. THAT's what drove the vote. IF the community had been honestly informed that no matter how you cut it, the Ponds of Avalon either wouldn't get permitted and/or if expanded to collect the entire PZ, would cost as much as the county's plan, the CSD election would have been moot. Or, more interesting still, could have had a "real" choice -- a "real" Chinese Menu choice: A CSD with a STEP Pond in the middle of town for $90-$100 (or more, including $$$ problems with algae disposal & etc.) OR Gravity with plant outside of the center of town for $90 - $100 (or more).

      Toonces also sez:"Where was the support for something else BEFORE the disastrous financial consequences of stopping a project in progress? ALSEEP AT THE WHEEL!"
      And Ron sez:"And it also means that Pandora lied right to Shirley's face, when Shirley was the District Supervisor, and Commissioner Nash-Karner's boss.

      So, here's poor Shirley, in 2011, after f-ing up and listening to Pandora's "behavior based marketing" bullshit all of those disastrous years, now all hung up to dry in some smart-ass reporter's blog, just because her so-called "friend" lied right to her face back in the early-to-mid 2000s, and those lies, understandably, confused the heck out of Shirley... just like those same lies did to Jeff Young, and Sara Wan, as I show in my piece."

      Add "the community" to the list, and there you have the answer to your question as to why the Community didn't all show up to CSD meetings with pitchforks and flaming brands. They believed whatever the CSD board was telling them, UNTIL Julie and Lisa and the various Los Osos TAC/study//evaluation groups started asking questions about Tri-W and STEP & etc, then things got interesting. If Shirley was fooled by lies, and Sara Wan and Jeff Young as well, certainly The Public wouldn't be any different.

      By Blogger Churadogs, at 6:43 AM, July 19, 2011  

    • Chura writes:

      "If Shirley was fooled by lies, and Sara Wan and Jeff Young as well, certainly The Public wouldn't be any different."

      Excellent point.

      ... and;

      "They believed whatever the CSD board was telling them, UNTIL Julie and Lisa and the various Los Osos TAC/study//evaluation groups started asking questions about Tri-W and STEP & etc, then things got interesting."

      Don't forget about some smart-ass reporter in 2004 ; -)

      Hey 'toons, I'm in the process of compiling a list of names from people that, like me, demand an official investigation into what happened with the Tri-W disaster -- how in the f did an "infeasible" disaster get permitted, and then that over-the-top disastrous process led to 10-years-and-counting of additional water pollution, and wasted MILLIONS of local state and federal taxpayers' money?

      Great question.

      So, surely, 'toons, I can add the Tornatzky's names to that list, right?

      By Blogger Ron, at 9:33 AM, July 19, 2011  

    • So Ann, you are discounting the parents whose kids were in the middle school? They were not in favor of the County's plan. They went to the County's meetings and could never get an answer that stuck as to boundaries of the plant or the precautions. They were extremely distrustful of the County. I'm not saying that they were any sort of a majority, but that was one group that wanted something different. It wasn't just the money, they wanted to decide how to treat the sewage, not leave it to the County.

      OK, however badly it happened, the CSD was formed. Since when Ann, have you advocated that you vote in a politician and then never pay any attention to what they do? That seems to be what you are saying is the excuse for what happened. Excuse/rationale/reason, OK. But that does not give the citizens a pass on their failure to change the direction - if indeed that was even what they wanted!

      If Los Osos citizens went to meetings or paid any attention to the CSD mailers which Ron so likes to dis, they would have know in time to try to stop the direction of the project before it became a financial disaster. Nobody at that point had to show up with a pitchfork - just be there in enough numbers to say - hey, wrong direction, we need to change this. It certainly happened later didn't it? WHY didn't it happen then?

      So, the case can be made that until certain citizens decided THEY didn't like the project, and THEY mounted a very effective campaign against Tri-W (Pandora-like in its power, you could say), the project simply would have gone forward in 2005, saving us millions, saving us from CDOs and NOVs and of course, the CSD's bankruptcy. The reason it stayed in town as proposed by the CSD boards was to prevent this mess - BUT - had the citizens showed up MUCH EARLIER, it could have been out-of-town and maybe even Step! Where were they?

      (BTW - The public are right here in town, able to see with their own eyes what was going on, they are not distant officials dependent on secondhand reports.)

      (PS - There wasn't enough land for a Step pond in town, so that was not an option Besides - a sewer pond in the middle of town? So all the arguments about Tri-W being stinky were trumped up lies? I mean if a sewer POND didn't bother people…)

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:37 AM, July 19, 2011  

    • Ron, the "smart-ass" reporter showed up too late. Where were you in 1999 or 2000 when it mattered?

      And Tri-W was NOT infeasible at all. So no, do NOT put my name on the list.

      If you are doing a list to push for a State audit, which will show how horribly the Lisa board mismanaged district funds, by all means, add me to that list.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:42 AM, July 19, 2011  

    • 'toons writes:

      "Ron, the "smart-ass" reporter showed up too late. Where were you in 1999 or 2000 when it mattered?"

      'toons, you really need to back away from Paavo's bong.

      Where was I in 2000? Uh, as I've mentioned about a zillion times on this blog, I was writing my kick-ass New Times cover story at this link:

      http://archive.newtimesslo.com/archive/2003-09-11/archives/cov_stories_2000/cov_07062000.html

      ... with Alex Zuniga's brilliant cover design that shows the words "better, cheaper, faster" going down a toilet.

      Hilarious.

      'toons writes:

      "And Tri-W was NOT infeasible at all."

      Tell that to Maria's friends at the SLO County Public Works department.

      After all, as I've reported about a zillion times on this blog, including in the main post here, it was Maria's friends at the SLO County Public Works department, that wrote this:

      "The (SLO County Los Osos wastewater) Project team, given the clear social infeasibility issue associated with Mid Town (Tri-W) and the infeasible status of the LOCSD disposal plan, 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 to adopt a due diligence resolution and not pursue Project implementation."
      SLO County Project team, June 29, 2009

      Hi... lar... i... ous.

      By Blogger Ron, at 12:08 PM, July 19, 2011  

    • The link, "SLO County Project Team" brings up a blank page. I assume what you say is a quote by someone at the Planning Commission hearings as the date you reference is a Planning Commission date. But since you say, "the SLO County Public Works department, that wrote this:" "WROTE" this, am puzzled. I read the minutes to see where Tri-W may have been referenced but it wasn't. So I will answer as best as I can without context.

      Socially infeasible - yes. At that point in 2009 it was. I agree. A 50% +1 vote wins and on September 27, 2005, there were 21 votes too many for a win. Had that vote been held earlier, I don't believe Measure B or the recall would have passed.

      The infeasible status of the "LOCSD disposal plan" references the harvest wells needed for 880,000GPD that the CSD wastewater plan could implement, but the County's wastewater plan could not. So dropping the volume of disposal to 440,000 GPD was what the County was confident with, no harvest wells needed. So yes, for those reasons, the disposal plan of the LOCSD could not be implemented.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:26 PM, July 19, 2011  

    • (I almost forgot!)

      OK Ron, you were there and you told it like it was, it wouldn't work. So again, this just shows the culpability that the public must own for not paying attention, right?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:33 PM, July 19, 2011  

    • 'toons writes:

      "The link, "SLO County Project Team" brings up a blank page."

      I hate it when the county does that.

      They'll originally put a document at one link, and then change it's location later.

      Drives me nuts.

      'toons? Quick question: You DO realize that you're just an anonymous blog comment-type, and not a, you know, certified wastewater engineer, right?

      Which makes takes from you, like this:

      "The infeasible status of the "LOCSD disposal plan" references the harvest wells needed for 880,000GPD that the CSD wastewater plan could implement, but the County's wastewater plan could not. So dropping the volume of disposal to 440,000 GPD was what the County was confident with, no harvest wells needed. So yes, for those reasons, the disposal plan of the LOCSD could not be implemented."

      ... funny.

      "So yes, for those reasons, the disposal plan of the LOCSD could not be implemented."

      Uh, well, great. Thanks for that, anonymous blog commentor.

      And, I'm sure every word of your little comment there will drop right out of my memory, the moment I go for another cup of coffee... which is right now.

      By Blogger Ron, at 9:37 AM, July 20, 2011  

    • When it came out that Maria Kelley had resigned and an anonymous poster had, I hope jokingly, observed to be on the lookout for Sewertoons to be at the CSD office the following Monday morning to take her position. Now after reading that Sewertoons is on a CSD committee, the same one that newly appointed Director Michael Wright was in, that possibility does not seem so far fetched. Frankly, for any committee or Director, I would prefer someone with more compassion for the community members and someone not constantly castigating the community members for allowing Tri-W to get as far as it did. Boy, did we ever shoot ourselves in the foot when we bought Pandora's line of "controlling our own destiny, instead of allowing the County to do it.
      Sincerely, M

      By Blogger M, at 10:14 AM, July 20, 2011  

    • M, what I have compassion for is the TRUTH. You/Ron/other commenters have no problem castigating or agreeing with the castigation of, former directors, former and current supervisors, public works directors, and their supporters, for causing Tri-W. What was lacking in all of this - like or hate Tri-W - is how it came into being. It didn't happen in a vacuum. It's not fair to rip on only one side of this equation. And also to point out that the community was almost evenly divided on the subject, not all going one direction against.

      I was on the ESC for a couple of years prior to now, have attended most meetings when not on committee, and have known Michael Wright as a committee member, like all of the other committee members during that time. He alone did not appoint me, the board did. I have no idea what you are trying to imply. They are looking for another member presently. Why don't you apply?

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:28 AM, July 20, 2011  

    • Ron, the comment I made on the 880,000 GPD vs. 440,000 GPD was not made by me but by John Waddell (or possibly Paavo) at a public meeting. I'm pretty sure it was a Planning Commission meeting and not a Coastal Commission meeting. I can sift through all of the minutes to find the date and point you out to the place on the .wav file if you want. It is not my invention or assumption, but the County's justification to commenters on supporters of Broderson, which once the amount going there was cut down, left the Commissioners with the daunting the task of finding out what to do with all of that excess water. A plan which even today irritates some who hate Broderson and others who feel that there are not enough places still to put all that water.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 11:46 AM, July 20, 2011  

    • M, Sewertoons will never hold any political position for the rest of her life. Don't worry. This has been determined.

      By Blogger Middle Ground, at 12:35 PM, July 20, 2011  

    • Hey Ron, it looks like Bianchi has removed all comments about the LOWWP, but kept the anonymous comment about the "Los Osos Sewer Nuts." Not surprising.

      By Blogger Razor Online, at 4:28 PM, July 22, 2011  

    • And its not surprising Razor that you deleted my two comments from your last "article" and blocked me from seeing your site on my home computer and blocked me from posting from my phone. Funny thing, same thing she did, you did.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:04 PM, July 23, 2011  

    • Lynnette, You are SO out of touch with most of the residents of the PZ & frankly, we're getting tired of your very tiresome & boring comments...as you stated, YOU are a relative LATE COMER to the sewer nightmare, so why don't you just STOP YOUR BLATHERING because NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ANYMORE OF YOUR DRECK...Please, just crawl back into your cesspool.

      By Blogger hugh jass, at 8:29 PM, July 24, 2011  

    • Ron may delete my comments if he wishes. You and anyone else has the option not to read them hugh jass.

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 8:58 PM, July 24, 2011  

    • Lynette, YOU are the MOST annoying, arrogant & condescending BEE-OTCH in all of SLO County. Believe me, whenever I see your "sewertoons" moniker, I just BLOT YOU OUT & I'm sure others do the same! YOU are so IRRELEVANT!

      By Blogger hugh jass, at 6:51 AM, July 25, 2011  

    • Coming from you hugh jass, I accept that as a compliment! I hope this spewage is therapeutic for you! But then, if you really blotted me out you would lose your impetus to spew. Guess you can't have it both ways…

      By Blogger Sewertoons, at 1:00 PM, July 25, 2011  

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