Sewer nut shreds the Shredder
October 17, 2011
OPINION By JULIE TACKER
Shredder: Dear Shredder,
I think I’m having a problem communicating. Every week I go to the Board of Supervisors and say the exact same thing and nobody seems to listen. Also, my application to lynch Paavo Ogren and Maria Kelly was rejected, again. What am I doing wrong?
Los Osos Sewer Nut
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Julie: The same can be said for the sewer decision makers (1980-98, County of SLO, 1999-2005 LOCSD, 2006-today County of SLO) study after study, design after design, to still end up with an energy hungry gravity sewer IS insane.
Shredder: I consider what I am about to say the most important piece of advice I have ever given: shut up.
Julie: No Shredder, you shut up! If you can’t be part of the solution, get out of the way.
Shredder: For years I’ve listened to you rant about your sewer.
Julie; You may have heard the dedicated concerned citizens of Los Osos week after week, but you obviously weren’t listening. If you had been you would know why they go and perhaps have joined them in their plight.
Shredder: You hate it. You really hate it.
Julie: We don’t hate the sewer, we hate the process (tainted by corporate greed, small town politics and now a love affair that revealed what we already knew, Maria’s vote to settle with mondo-engineering firm MWH let lover-boy Paavo off the hook (for illegally ordering the backdating of a contract).
We hate having our voices quashed by those who claim to be doing what’s “good” or “right” for Los Osos. Those who do not live with the complexities of the issues in Los Osos, those who do not care what the dissention has done to a community that is otherwise quite lovely.
Shredder: You want more funding. You’re not happy about the funding you got.
Julie: “Funding?” What funding? Los Osos could have got a better loan from a loan shark than it’s getting from the USDA. The County’s “skilled negotiators” portrayed Los Osos as “deadbeats who defaulted on a $6 Million loan in 2005.” This is completely false. The loan in question was rescinded by the State when their own engineer agreed with the District’s engineer and newly elected Board that moving the sewer from downtown would reduce the project cost by $25 million. That engineer was quickly removed from the project and buried in a cubical somewhere in Sacramento.
Shredder: I’m not sure what you want, and I don’t think you are either.
Julie: Los Osos has always wanted a fair process and a chance to build an environmentally friendly project. For example, this project doesn’t even provide for solar panels on the rooftop of the plant to offset costs of operation. When this was brought to the attention of the permitting authorities, the County’s response was to orient the building east/west to absorb the southern sun, but not add the panels. The rate payers would pay for the panels up front, but would also benefit from the long term cost offset…maybe you Shredder, can get the answer “why not?”
Shredder: You’ve had years to formulate a cohesive statement, argument, manifesto, anything.
Julie: At one time (1998) 87 percent of voters were in agreement of one thing; to take the project away from the County. They were sold on “faster, better, cheaper” and are still in search of it.
Shredder: Instead, all anyone’s heard for years is incoherent rambling against anyone and everyone even remotely connected to Los Osos.
Julie: Again Shredder, you haven’t been listening to those weekly speakers. Each brings something different. They come from all walks of life, political parties, religious preferences, and myriad life experiences. Some speak sewer, others water, some to cost, the complex details, or as of late — the recently revealed love affair involving key players, Maria and Paavo.
Shredder: And if they’re not on your side—whatever the hell side that happens to be—they’re against you.
Julie: Not necessarily. The Los Osos issues are very complex (if you were listening you would know that). Those citizens who march like lemmings to the podium to agree with the County ARE against those who bring forth the issues, concerns, and flaws. They like living like mushrooms; in the dark being fed compost. Clearly they haven’t taken the time to go through the studies, add the figures themselves, or look at the logistics of the permits (e.g. Harming/killing no more than 15 snails over the course of the 45 mile long project, emptying 5,000 septic tanks in under a year, tip-toeing through Native American ruins/burial grounds, daily dewatering of a million gallons of polluted groundwater from trenches, digging in sugar sand, the complex list goes on and on).
Shredder: There are two ways to go about this. One way is to sit down privately and try to reach a resolution.
Julie: Which issue would you like “resolution?”
Gravity verses step? Good loan verses bad? Who is eligible for subsidizes and who isn’t? Farmers will take the wastewater or they won’t? Seawater Intrusion marches on while the County sits on $5 million intended for conservation devices? Denitrifying septic returned water for drinking? Selling our Solid Waste franchise to the County for a mere $2.8 Million, never to get it back? Paavo and Maria? Which?
Shredder: The other way is to grandstand on TV and the radio every week clearly getting nowhere.
Julie: You obviously do not follow these dedicated citizens very closely; they attend many more meetings that are not televised than are. (They are not allowed appointments with individual Supervisors to take issues up behind closed doors.) They spend their precious time, days and often very long nights, reading documents, buying copies of documents, and mounting travel expenses to cross the state to speak to the State and Regional Water Board, Coastal Commission, and others to make their voices heard.
Shredder: You’ve fallen in love with the sound of your own ramblings, and probably driven away people who might have something important to contribute to the subject.
Julie: What you call “Rambling,” I call free speech. You in the newspaper business are supposed to be the biggest advocates for the 1st Amendment. As for others who may have been “driven away,” I say, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Shredder: You have managed to accomplish nothing, really.
Julie: Really Shredder? These hard-working, dedicated individuals have brought the overarching Los Osos issue of Seawater Intrusion to the forefront. While you sit comfortably on your porcelain throne and don’t give flushing it a second thought, the informed citizens of Los Osos have to weigh flushing pollutants into their future drinking supply while depleting their current drinking water supply and paying dearly for it.
Shredder: Might I suggest a hobby? Perhaps crocheting unicorns onto pillowcases; believe it or not, that’s actually a more substantial contribution to society.
Julie: Crochet away dear Shredder, I’d prefer to read the latest Water Conservation report.
Shredder: I’m a cheapskate, but I’ll happily chip in for yarn if you’ll cork it.
Julie: I’m a cheapskate too. I’d like an affordable sewer bill so I can afford a hobby. You say you’ll chip in for yarn? Nice. How about chipping in to pay the bills? Sewer and water combined are estimated at $500 per month per house.
I’d rather be a “Los Osos Sewer Nut” than a mushroom. Thanks for the compliment.
Julie Tacker is a 40 year Los Osos resident and longtime dedicated “Sewer Nut”