Morro Bay's smart move and Debbie Arnold picking fights

jtarica@thetribunenews.comJanuary 12, 2013 

It’s a rare moment when the fickle real world actually falls in line with the lofty ideals of Joetopia.

But that very thing just happened.

Back in August I went on the record saying Morro Bay should take this opportunity to continue improving its waterfront by moving the sewage plant to anywhere not on a primo piece of California coastline.

Three months later, Morro Bay elected a new City Council majority that ran on a platform of opposition to rebuilding the current plant.

Another two months later, that majority lived up to its campaign pledge, voting to pull support for the plan by asking the Coastal Commission to deny the necessary permit. Then the Cayucos Sanitary District yanked its backing as well.

I don’t want to take all the credit, but that timeline is pretty coincidental, don’t you think?

The latest news on sewer front came last Thursday when the Coastal Commission denied the proposal to rebuild the plant, effectively dooming any future for the current facility and confirming that efforts can now truly refocus on finding a new location.

This is the right thing to do, even if it costs more.

The only downside is that this project is beginning to sound eerily similar to that other notorious sewer debacle just down the coast in Los Osos.

That community also went forward with plans to spend a bunch of money on a sewer plant in a stupid location until wiser heads prevailed, even more money was spent, and the thing was moved out of the middle of town.

Hopefully, Morro Bay’s process sorts itself out more quickly and efficiently and all parties join around the idea of choosing a better location.

It’s an investment in the city’s future and will be far better in the long run.


On a completely unrelated topic, last week’s Board of Supervisors swearing-in ceremony was more notable than it should have been thanks to the weird belligerence of Debbie Arnold, who chose probably the most uncontroversial moment of the year as a good time to pick a fight with Bruce Gibson.

She may not like him, but vaulting through mental gymnastics to justify her opposition to his vice chairmanship made her look silly on what was otherwise a collegial day.

Beyond that, it’s just obnoxious to walk into a new job and immediately pick fights with your colleagues, especially when the other three were in agreement with how the selection should go.

Arnold’s voting against Gibson’s post is like the kid who starts her first day at a new school by strutting up to a group at recess and telling them how to play their game of Four Square.

Bad form. Let’s not make it a habit.

Joe Tarica is the presentation editor for The Tribune. Reach him at


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