Environmental Press # 16

Subj: Los Al opts for the clean; CM Sanitary Dist. also
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 08:05:04 -0700
From: Doug Korthof <doug@seal-beach.org>
To: voiceforveterans@aol.com (via CleanOcean@orange-county.net)
Cc: citycouncil@ci.los-alamitos.ca.us


ADAPTED FROM A DISPATCH SENT BY O.O.G.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ocean Outfall Group (OOG), dedicated to ending the 301(h) waiver held by the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD):

We won a doubleheader today with victories at Los Alamitos City Council and Costa Mesa Sanitary District.

The Los Alamitos City Council meeting was a model of good government. They heard our issue over an agendized city council meeting. They listened to us when we approached them last Fall. In earlier meetings, they heard us out with dueling PowerPoint Presentations from both OCSD and OOG.

 

 

Then, in an act of great civic responsibility, the Los Alamitos representative to OCSD, Alice Jempsa, brought the issue to her City Council and asked for direction from the Council on how to vote. This is very unlike other Orange County city councils that just depend on the OCSD representative for his/her vote. Los Alamitos should be proud of Alice Jempsa). After a discussion, including the telling of much independent personal research by the councilmembers themselves on the issue, the Council came to an unanimous vote:

"No waiver, and approve Alternative C",

the treatment alternative that calls for full secondary treatment, and the only one that does not require a waiver. The audience then erupted in a spontaneous standing ovation. It was great to see and a tribute to the good government of Los Alamitos.

This morning [monday] the waiver issue was also discussed at the Costa Mesa Sanitary District meeting. After much discussion...the Board of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District voted 4 to 1 for a motion to approve full secondary treatment. This would then obviate the need for a waiver.

So a great doubleheader win. Thanks to you OOGers who are making this historic action happen. On to Buena Park tomorrow [tuesday, 6PM].

Jan Vandersloot (949) 548-6326
---------------------------------END FORWARDED MESSAGE FROM OOG--------------------------------------

The members of Los Al City Council made some great statements. Councilmember (former Mayor) Jempsa was not sure of her Council's opinions, and was surprised, as all, by the depth of knowledge against the waiver by the other 4 council members.

It's almost as if the staff at OCSD creates a world-view, in addition to its other multi-faces:
-- being a sharp financial guru (borrowing at 4%, loaning out at 6%, sniping the fed gov in OC Libertarian tradition),
-- being an Ocean Researcher (hiring dozens of people to go on a jolly "plume hunt" for weeks at a time -- ooops, no plume was found, but lots of fun and games on Ratepayer's $5.1 million)
-- being a Grant Giver to the "good" districts, helping out on alley and sewer repair if only their waiver can be renewed
-- a restauranteur, providing gourmet, catered meals to its many "committee" meetings for the good Directors (bad directors go to bed hungry!) And until someone baldly states, "wake up!", you easily fall into the matrix of belief of Blake and the EColi-Cult.

We've all felt it. You talk with Blake for 15 minutes, and pretty soon, you are whistling the party line, in a dreamy, trance-like state...only to wake up when confronted with rude reality.

Mayor Walker of La Palma, expressed it also, "...they are really going to beat up on me at the District for opposing the waiver, but I've got to do the right thing..."

When you first come out of one of these "cults of many beliefs" like OCSD, you can't figure out why you didn't do it sooner.

The Blake mantra, the belief structure.

As one of the members of the public put it, somewhat rudely but pretty accurately, Blake is a good salesman, who gets people to like him, and only gradually introduces his peculiar ideas -- like that everyone else is wrong, secondary treatment is really not necessary...Blake may really believe this. One of the Directors, from Santa Ana, takes a proprietary interest in "Young Blake" doing well...but that means, the waiver continues. This same Director, in a Committee meeting attended by ex-Director Green, stated that the sewage dumping issue is "...much too complicated to let the voters decide...".

Sounds pretty bizarre, when taken out of the OCSD mileau; but eerily reasonable, when Blake and syncophants are standing there nodding.

-------------------COSTA MESA SANITARY DISTRICT, ANOTHER LAYER-----------------------------------------

9 people spoke at the Costa Mesa Sanitary District on Monday, ALL of them spoke AGAINST the waiver. At last week's meeting, one person spoke for "waiting until October", put up to it no doubt by Blake's Raiders. So far, NO ONE from the public has ever spoke up for the waiver, and of council members, only Tustin's Tony Kawashima stated the waiver is a good thing.

The Board of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, under advice from its Attorney, Mr. A.R. Burns, Esq., tried to limit each speaker to only 2 minutes each. However, there is no written Board policy to that effect, so a written query has been initiated on the issue of Brown Act compliance.

The CMSD Board decided not to "tie the hands" of their rep, Jim Ferryman, but to take a "sense of the Board" poll that, as things are now, they are mostly against the waiver and for full treatment, by a weaselly 4-1 vote. This despite Mayor Dixon, who represents the people of Costa Mesa who pay for it all, having lectured them last week on the unanimous, strong resolution of the CM city council AGAINST the waiver. Some members of OOG wondered at why another layer of bureaucracy is needed in this "CMSD", which appears to be coterminous with the City of CM and which harkens back to the days when there were bean fields in the wash.

-------------------------------LOS ALAMITOS FOR CLEAN OCEAN---------------------------------------------

Numerous members of O.O.G., and some new faces, spoke on the Waiver issue. Some members of the "Los Alamitos/Rossmoor Sanitary District", which does not have a vote on the OCSD board, but which is apparently part of Los Al but also spans unincorporated Rossmoor, were consulted. 2 spoke hesitantly for the waiver, one mostly against.

A citizen who had heard about the issue from the website, apparently, showed up and gave a great speech AGAINST the waiver. The Counil listened to Citizen comments for almost 1 hour, having moved the item up to the beginning of the meeting.

COUNCIL MEMBERS STATEMENTS (any inaccuracies my fault)

1. Marilynn Poe was glad that waiver opponents were not imagining that fixing the point-source problem at OCSD would immediately fix the beach closures, and pointed out that they couldn't just turn a spigot and go to full secondary -- it would take time. As Joan Irvine Smith stated, the other 2 sources (urban runoff and crumbling infrastructure) will remain, but we can stop this 3rd problem with a single vote. Poe seemed to indicate that even more, beyond simply stopping the purposeful discharge, is needed.

2. Arthur DeBolt did extensive research, actually looking at the Clean Water Act's 9 conditions for a waiver (when the Goleta Regional Water Quality Board actually read the conditions, they were appalled to find that they seemed already in obvious violation of their waiver, and voted to end it). DeBolt also talked about "Fecal Indicator Virus" (FIV), such as hep-A, and about the hep-A shots required of Junior Lifeguard programs, the economic value of the Ocean, and the personal value of such programs as the JL. Later, Poe pointed out that some of her relatives had to go from SB to HB because SB is too polluted --this bothered her. Debolt on cost: while it's an important issue, even a dog does not lie in its own waste. DeBolt did not even go into the fact that if L.A. can do it...but someone did mention that our rates will still be lower than the average.

3. Kenneth C. Parker stated that he was not a scientist, a business degree, but it seems like the case of the Pinto...weighing quality of life vs. dollars is difficult, but it's hard to see what we were saving here. We don't know where the funding will come from -- ratepayers, reserves, or grants -- but it's an obvious choice.

4. Mayor Ronald Bates, it's not an expense item, it's an investment, it will be progress in cleaning up the Ocean. Safety of our children and grandchildren, even if it takes a few years to implement. Someone, perhaps Bates, pointed out that the old idea of OC was to stint on taxes and rates no matter the consequences, but that perhaps times are changing as we moved from an Ag economy to a dense, urbanized mega-county.

5. Councilmember Alice Jempsa, their OCSD Director, like the rest of the Council has studied the issue diligently, but did not know how they would react to her bringing the item up. Like the audience, Jempsa was perhaps surprised at the level of intensity with which the other Council members addressed this responsibility, becoming mini-experts on a topic usually left to the bureaucrats. However, that's what elected Councils are for, to make the difficult, political decisions. It is noteworthy that Jempsa did not poll or lobby her colleagues, but left it to them to do their own independent research. Jempsa, a teacher, perhaps viewed this as an "independent study" project, if so, the rest of the Council passed with flying colors, all coming to the same conclusion for differing reasons and details. The waiver must go, is their consensus, and it agrees with the general public opinion.

/Doug

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