Cambrian: Opinion

Without any penalties, dishonesty becomes the rule

I attended the meeting of the North Coast Advisory Council on Wednesday, July 10, and felt that I needed to highlight similarities that came to light when compared to our current presidential campaign where nothing seems to make sense.

Corruption of the moral fiber seems to have disintegrated, and it has now become the norm for politicians to behave in a dishonest way — covering up the truth and never taking responsibility for their actions.

I want to start with the discussion that took place regarding the demolition of the Rod and Reel Trailer Park. The demolition was started without the necessary permits being obtained and, because of the actions of a member of the public who was knowledgeable about such matters and knew who to contact, a stop work order was issued by San Luis Obispo County’s code enforcement.

Of course, everyone should know that a permit was required, so why did this occur? The simple reason is that there is and was no penalty. A permit was applied for after code enforcement had been involved, but if it had not been for the alert by a citizen, the demolition would have been completed.

Apparently, unless there are further infringements — now that a permit has been applied for and conditions set by the county are met — there is no fine. So the directive to all is to proceed with whatever you want to do and then, only if you get caught, do what you already knew you had to, as there are no consequences.

At the same meeting, it was said that the water treatment plant is now rebranded and will be used to support growth in our community. I went to so many meetings where the following was stated over and over:

▪  The plant was needed, as we were in a dire emergency and could run out of water at any moment. My personal opinion is that this was an extreme exaggeration and, on evaluation of the CCSD’s own graphs showing well levels over the past 27 years, our situation was not exceptional. The conditions imposed by the CCSD on water use were not only sufficient to ensure a continued water supply but have resulted in a permanent drop in Cambria’s residential water use.

▪  The plant would only be used in an emergency. When the CCSD was questioned about what specifics would be set to determine when the plant would be operated, the answer was that this would be at the general manager’s discretion and personal evaluation. No guidelines were issued for now obvious reasons — it was not for simply an emergency situation.

▪  The plant was only to be used for existing residents and not for growth — now untrue.

▪  The increased rates for our general needs and the plant were addressed by experts. Although I agree that our rates definitely were too low, it was a result of inaction by past CCSD board members. The way it was presented simplified the process, and it was portrayed that with the possibility of grants the principal cost of the plant might actually be reduced and the CCSD might even be able to revisit the situation with regard to further increases or a possible decrease. Another distortion of the intent.

There are many other points that could be highlighted regarding the process, especially how we went from a temporary relatively inexpensive solution to our multimillion-dollar project. Remember the no-bid contract, elements of the untested design, the failure of the blowers, the flooding of the well area, the failure to comply or even consult with various agencies, the incomplete paperwork and the violations of multiple county and state codes. I could go on, but my point is that I believe there was deception and there is again no penalty.

Tony Church is a former member and chairman of the Traffic Committee on the North Coast Advisory Council.