Sarah Christie is the best thing that’s happened to our county government process in many years. She’s brilliant, informed, concerned, and feisty about asking us to respect the rules we have established, which are the ideals for a smart, livable, sustainable green county. She has been controversial because she hasn’t sold out her integrity, like so many of this county’s players.
Take the Los Osos sewer, for example: If not for Christie’s strong call for a review of the Tonnini spray fields, review of existing successful wastewater ag reuse (reduced groundwater pumping from the saltwater-intruded basin), and challenging the waste of reusable water and cost-prohibitive farmland proposed outside of our water basin, we would have had a major planning mistake.
Understand this: Paavo Ogren, the head of SLO County Public Works who took over the task of designing a green, affordable sewer 2-1/2 years ago, has mismanaged his job and produced a corporate-driven project that has disallowed affordable green alternative technology to compete. Sarah corrected some of the sloppy parts of the county team’s proposed plan but unfortunately was not supported by her fellow commissioners to review the collection (70 percent of the entire project cost) or treatment. Sadly the other commissioners were too exhausted to understand that the collection and treatment elements were highly flawed; or they didn’t care.
The commission without Sarah will be a disappointment. Not because of the remaining members or her replacement, but because San Luis Obispo is the most corrupt county in California and no one comes close to Sarah’s intelligence, integrity, or guts to ask the important questions as land use changes and development projects come before them.
Perhaps Jim Patterson should step down. He has ultimately sold out, though most of us knew that when he went dumb, deaf, and blind in our sewer process. The commissioners and supervisors should return Christie to her position, to keep our county honest.