Letters to the Editor

Oceano sewage spill settlement is a victory for the lawyers

After reading “South County Sanitation District settles 2010 Oceano sewage spill lawsuit” in the Aug. 5 edition of The Tribune, I do not understand how this settlement can be viewed as a “victory” for the district.

According to the article, the district will pay a settlement of about $1.1 million and has spent at least $700,000 in legal fees (as of March 2013). While half of the $1.1 million settlement will be spent on local projects, this is still far from a victory and in fact hasn’t saved the ratepayers in the sanitation district any money.

If the district had paid the $1.1 million fine that was originally levied and then spent another $550,000 on the local projects it will now complete, the total cost to the district would have been $1.65 million. Instead, they fought the fine and will now pay at least $1.7 million for the exact same outcome! (This amount will undoubtedly increase once the legal fees from March 2013 to the present are included.)

Seems like the only “victory” here is for the lawyers.

Melinda Kirkland, Atascadero

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