Opinion » Shredder

What's brown and runs downhill?


Remember the good old days when people pooped wherever was handy and wiped their behinds with leaves? Yeah, me neither. Humans have had sewer systems since Asia’s Indus Valley Civilization circa 2,350 BCE. You’d think in the intervening 4,367 years we’d have this shit figured out (sadly, pun intended).

Well, apparently not. Morro Bay’s current sewer system is flushing about 1 million gallons of partially treated effluent into the Pacific Ocean daily, and way back in 2013, the California Coastal Commission told the city it needed to build a new wastewater treatment plant because the current one, and its beach-front location, was unacceptable.

Now it’s four years later, and Morro Bay is still trying to settle on a new site after the first two were rejected and—surprise, surprise!—the price tag keeps growing. The current projections are somewhere between $124 million and $167 million to construct the new plant. I’m no Einstein, but $124 million divided by 10,700 residents is $11,588 each for every man, woman, and child. One statistic I found said there were 4,844 dwellings in Morro Bay, which means the new sewer—on the low end—will cost on average of $25,599 per residence … $34,476 if the price tag is $167 million. In a city filled with fixed-income retirees, it’s no wonder there’s been so much opposition, but the price is only going to go up, not down. Imagine what residents would have saved if Morro Bay dealt with this crap years ago (yeah, sorry, pun again intended).

Meanwhile, Morro Bay’s partner in the current sewer plant—Cayucos—is going to break ground this summer on its own treatment plant after it saw Morro Bay dragging its feet (um, is that toilet paper stuck to your shoe?).

“Their costs are just skyrocketing; every time you look, they’re going up another $25 million,” Cayucos Sanitary District Manager Rick Koon told New Times back in February. “We can build a smaller, more efficient plant that uses less energy than our portion of the existing plant, and it’s closer to the community.”

Morro Bay officials say residents can expect to see their water and sewer bills more than double, so if you’re paying $100 a month now, expect your bill to be at least $200 a month. Hey, anybody got the number for Meals on Wheels?

And does anyone know if Morro Bay is factoring in the fact that Cayucos residents will no longer being sharing in the costs of the new facility? Hey, Morro Bay, grab a few leaves and poop where you want. Maybe that’ll inspire your fellow residents and elected officials to get off the pot (yes, I’m terribly, terribly sorry).

In more horrifying news, Atascadero State Hospital is facing a lawsuit from a self-proclaimed whistleblower. Former clinical social worker April Grundfor claimed she was terminated for accusing ASH of not taking reasonable care to protect one patient from another.

According to her suit, Grundfor said she became concerned about a patient named Adam Paul Cary after she was warned by the lead psych tech that it was unsafe to be in a room alone with him. Cary had been written up for violent acts and had allegedly penned a letter stating his intent to harm other patients or staff members. Grundfor took her concerns to a doctor in charge, who—according to the suit—ignored her warnings. Despite the understanding of the danger Cary posed, he was housed with another patient, Kevin Allan Turner, whom he subsequently strangled to death on May 28, 2014.

Jeez, and I thought the SLO County Jail was a tough place to be. This appears to be another example of the woefully inadequate health care and supervision available in the area’s detention facilities.

In lighter news, what in the world is going on with Pozo Saloon? If you were hoping to see Alabama at the Pozo Stampede this weekend, the rural music venue has canceled the event … right after canceling last weekend’s Higher Grounds Music Festival.

Pozo’s Facebook page stated, “Due To Unforeseen Circumstances We Are Sad To Announce This Year’s Pozo Stampede Has Been Cancelled.”

“Unforeseen circumstances?” Not according to Alabama, which posted its own Facebook explanation.

“The Group ALABAMA will not be appearing at The Pozo Stampede as advertised on April 30, 2017. This is due to the promotor (sic), not paying contractual deposits required. ALABAMA is extremely disappointed that they cannot play for their fans at The Pozo Stampede, they had been looking forward to the show. This date will not be rescheduled and refunds are available. —Team ALABAMA”

Yesterday, Pozo posted on Facebook that Randy Houser, who was billed second on the Stampede poster, would now give a free show at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, with all donations raised going to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Scuttlebutt among music insiders suggests that Pozo Saloon promoter Levi Beanway is ultimately at fault for both cancellations due to poor business acumen. Levi’s parents fought long and hard to establish Pozo Saloon as a venue, having to prove to SLO County that it has historically been a gathering place for large events to secure permitting for concerts. It’s been around since 1858, and it would be a tragedy to see the venue close.

The Shredder doesn’t poop but does spit out a lot of paper strips. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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