From: BING SMITH
Date: October 7, 2017 at 2:54:26 PM PDT
Subject: Monterey County Resolution 16-R03
Attached is Resolution 16-R03, which Monterey County tried to shove down the throats of the landowners, saying it protected them from harm caused by the Interlake Tunnel Project. Also attached is the draft amendments to that resolution, which actually does protect the landowners. (Because of that, Monterey County probably wont accept it.) Finally, I include a synopsis of the most recent Res Ops meeting in Salinas, from last month. Read ‘em and weep.
Monterey County BOD Resolution
NRWMAC Amendment to Monterey County BOD Resolution
NRWMAC Latest News
Ms. Vicki Janssen, Legislative Assistant
County of San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors
1055 Monterey Street, Room D430
San Luis Obispo, CA 93408
SENT BY EMAIL ONLY TO: John@JohnPeschong.com and email@example.com
Dear Supervisor John Peschong and Ms. Vicki Jansen:
My name is Jeff Greene. I am an owner of property in the immediate vicinity of the Interlake Tunnel Project being pursued by Monterey County.
Approximately two years ago, I hosted a meeting at my home, attended by landowners, whose properties, like my own, were threatened by the tunnel project. During that meeting we discussed the strong likelihood that Monterey County would one day want access to our properties to do testing and/or inspections, preliminary to the commencement of the actual construction phase. In anticipation of this, and in order to be reasonable and cooperative, and, more importantly, to avoid any possible litigation, the landowners prepared a list of issues that Monterey would need to resolve to our satisfaction in order to have the access we believed they would one day request.
Subsequently, and over time, we engaged in dialogue with representatives from Monterey County to discuss these issues, wherein we attempted to make them understand that, while the tunnel project might benefit thousands of people in Monterey County, it would come to fruition only at the expense of owners in San Luis Obispo County whose land was situated along the proposed tunnel alignment. In our view, testing and construction would inevitably pose hazards and liabilities to these landowners, and that it was incumbent upon Monterey County to provide liability protection for the harm their project would cause. We explained that the water wells in the area are fragile, the water tables are marginal in many areas, and the subject area is saturated with oil and gas deposits. We emphasized the very real threat of contamination that test drilling and/or tunnel construction would pose not only to our wells but also to both lakes.
The landowners stated their belief that even simple test drills would likely change the water flow, resulting in possibly catastrophic effects to the wells and/or rerouting of oil deposits. We also stressed that this proposed tunnel project is located in an earthquake fault area. We illustrated our concerns by sharing with Monterey County the following list of incidents and facts involving properties in the impacted area:
1. At least one owner struck oil while drilling for a water well and had to shut it in;
2. Another owner’s wells (mine) dried up immediately after the earthquake approximately ten years ago;
3. Many wells in the area have high sulfur/mineral content;
4. Other wells have suffered lower water levels due to drought conditions;
5. Some wells have depths in the range of the tunnel elevation.
There have been many meetings with representatives of Monterey County over the past two years concerning the status of their efforts to resolve the issues we presented to them. At each of these meetings we repeated our concerns and requested that insurance policies be put into place to indemnify the landowners should the predictable harm we feared occur.
Monterey County has uniformly ignored these issues and our efforts at resolution. About six months ago a team from the county held a meeting at the Lake Nacimiento Resort restaurant to once again provide a project update to the landowners. At that meeting, those representatives literally laughed off not only the concerns we had raised but also the complaints we began to voice over their continuing disregard and inaction on the subject. I, personally, reminded them that there will come a day when Monterey County will want access to our properties for testing and that their stonewalling and smug attitude will result in a delay – and they will have only themselves to blame.
A month ago, Monterey County representatives met with owners of six properties to whose land they wanted access for testing/drilling. I also attended that meeting. The owners asked, again, if the list of concerns they and others had presented over two years hence had finally been addressed. The representatives appeared baffled that there even was such a list. We then proceeded to go through the list with them, item by item. In short, nothing had been addressed.
The county representatives did say that there had been “resolution” adopted by the county which they insisted was to protect the owners in the event something “went wrong.” We pointed out that they misrepresented the plain language of the resolution; as it did not, and does not, meet that goal at all. The resolution is, at best, a statement of their intention of “doing the right thing” if something went wrong, and that it could be proven that it was their fault. We have come to believe that Monterey County does not have the best reputation for truthfulness, so a statement in a resolution asking us to trust them to do the right thing falls on deaf ears.
At this same meeting we were informed that the company contracted by Monterey County to perform the work had insurance to cover the landowners if, again, “something went wrong” during the drilling/testing procedures, and furthermore, that Monterey County itself had insurance for the project. This is another, truly massive misrepresentation. These policies would only protect the contractor(s) and Monterey County against the landowners if something “goes wrong.” They do not, even remotely, cover or protect any landowners against the liability created by Monterey County or its contractor(s). The statements made to us in that meeting by the representatives of Monterey County were, at best, the product of utter naiveté, or at worst, and much more likely, just another example of their penchant for falsehood. Under either scenario, it is clear that the landowners should have their own insurance, without cost to them, for any and all phases of the project. We have repeatedly asked that we be given insurance that either directly covers us for loss and/or liability, or that we be named as additional insured for the same coverage on an appropriate policy. Monterey County has refused this request, instead insisting that we rely on the resolution.
Monterey County has now informed the landowners that they will invoke eminent domain against them if they insist on continuing to refuse access. We feel that, at some point, Monterey County will make the same statement to a federal judge in order to bully access, which could amount to perjury, inasmuch as the landowners have repeatedly stated over two years they would provide access if and when Monterey County covers the owners’ liability.
Monterey County has consistently shown that they have no regard for the people of San Luis County or the people around the lakes. Rather their interests are in grabbing the water for "other" uses in Monterey. The water management agreement doesn't include “other uses” as described in their literature concerning the purpose of the tunnel. I believe that Monterey shouldn't even be managing the water as their conflict of interest in the management of the water and desires for it, for the expansion of Monterey defines the definition of "conflict of interest”. I request that San Luis Obispo County support us in protecting the water, recreation and the residences like us who are directly affected. I request that when Monterey requests your support for eminent domain you reject it for the reasons above. We have tried to be reasonable with Monterey, predict their needs and help them pre resolve easily predictable issues that need planning to prevent delays. They have disregarded us and treated us as a deplorable inconvenience and nuisance.
Concerns for friends of the lakes and property owners if the tunnel project happens: Decreased property values, low water levels, no water in coves, docks on dry land, some boat ramps out of water early in the year, short summer recreation, longer drought due to low water level in dry years, more to come. Monterey county wants the tunnel elevation at 745 and that is 15 feet below where we are now.
We request your help.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM NRWMAC **updated**
Lake Nacimiento was originally designed to provide irrigation water and flood control, as well as recreation, by Monterey County, which built the 210-foot earth-fill dam to create the reservoir in 1956. Much of the lake water is diverted each month to: 1) Monterey County, to provide irrigation primarily for farmland; 2) municipalities in San Luis Obispo County for their own use, including drinking water, and 3) the Salinas River, where it finds its way, eventually, into the ocean. Although the borders of Lake Nacimiento are entirely within the confines of San Luis Obispo County, the waters are controlled by Monterey County, which, unfortunately, has displayed precious little concern for the economic or social impact that its management of the lake has had, and continues to have, on property owners, visitors and lake enthusiasts.
Because of this, the Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee (“NRWMAC&rdquo was organized in 1989 to try to correct some of the problems associated with Monterey County’s management of the lake. NRWMAC holds a seat on the Monterey County Water Resources Agency Reservoir Operation Committee (“Res. Ops.&rdquo. This committee meets monthly and advises Monterey County on lake operations, maintenance, and other issues regarding both Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio. At least one NRWMAC Director travels to Salinas to attend this monthly meeting. We have a strong voice on your behalf because of the support and donations that you provide.
NRWMAC wants to alert you to a serious matter, which was revealed to us at the most recent Res. Ops. meeting in Salinas: Monterey County’s stated intention to remove the Rangers from Lake Nacimiento (and Lake San Antonio) as of July 1, 2017, and reassign them exclusively to parks in Monterey County. Their plan is to replace the Rangers with untrained, unarmed, minimum wage, security guards who will have no law enforcement authority. In fact, these security guards will not even be physically on the lake; instead, they will patrol the campground at the resort marina.Contact Monterey Here
In times past, the number of Rangers on both lakes exceeded 30. Over the years, due to budget cuts in Monterey County, that number has been reduced to its current level of eight. It takes a minimum of three Rangers in order to put one Ranger boat on the lake (two Rangers in the boat and one Ranger at the resort marina). With shift coverage and days off, it takes at least seven Rangers in order to keep a boat on the lake.Contact Monterey Here
The Rangers are the only full-time law enforcement authority on the lake. They perform many vital functions, including, but not limited to, the following: Citing and arresting intoxicated boaters; citing reckless boaters; performing Quagga mussel permit inspections and citing violators; maintaining center line channel buoys to keep boaters from running aground; being a deterrent to dangerous behavior by their visible presence; providing emergency services in case of a catastrophe like the Chimney Fire, the two drownings last summer, or a boating accident; and providing a deterrent to gang activity, which seems to be spreading.Contact Monterey Here
Monterey County knows both lakes will be very active this year because of the water level. Boaters pay Monterey County $100 per vessel for a yearly lake permit; dock owners pay $60 for each dock. Yet, although Monterey County continues to collect these fees, its current plan is to eliminate the remaining Rangers, and along with them, any hope of real security at the lake.Contact Monterey Here
NRWMAC is working on several action plans to remedy this situation. We have already sent a letter to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which has the ultimate authority on this issue, insisting that it reconsider the decision to remove the Rangers from the lake or, in the alternative, assign Monterey County Sherif deputies as necessary law enforcement. We have mailed copies of the NRWMAC letter to, among others, Mr. John Peschong, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors; Ms. Rita Neal, SLO County Counsel; and Mr. Jesse Avila, Monterey County Counsel. We are communicating regularly with other individuals in order to develop strategies in the event our entreaties to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors are ignored. In the meantime we are spreading this message to as many of you as possible.Contact Monterey Here
For more information about NRWMAC and the issues we are working on, such as Quagga mussel control, lake level maintenance and the inter-lake tunnel, please visit our website: http://nrwmac.org but make sure to contact Monterey and let them know your opinion. Contact Monterey Here
This is an important issue regarding the Lake area Rangers at both Lake Nacimiento and San Antonio.
The rangers serve the lake area both on and off the water. Most of us know, if you call the local sherif it will take 45 min or more for an officer to arrive. To the contrary, the Rangers show up in minutes.
There has been confusion on an action taken by Monterey regarding the rangers. It has been reported by rangers and others that the ranger positions at the two lakes were being eliminated. The report was that some positions were being terminated permanently and the ones left were going to be servicing the North part of Monterey county. This caused a firestorm of residence contacting District 3 supervisor Simon Salinas’s office at Monterey who resides over this issue as its in his district. Contact Monterey Here
The first reports back from Monterey and the lake info line was that it was true and no rangers would be on either lake this year. Because of complaints from residences Simon Salinas had a second meeting with the Rangers. It is reported that Monterey softened their position and would possibly consider some limited ranger coverage at the lake, some jobs eliminated and those remaining would spend most of their time in the North part of Monterey county. This prompted more complaints to Simon Salinas office. One caller reported Simons assistant told one caller Monterey wasn’t responsible to the Nacimiento people as they don’t vote in Monterey. Contact Monterey Here
Jeff Greene informed us that Simon Salinas returned his call. Mr. Salinas agreed that it was predictable the attendance at the lake this year would be very high because of the lake level. Mr. Greene informed Mr. Salinas he felt it would be gross negligence not to have a full staff of rangers at the lake. Mr Salinas agreed. He said he would be recommending to the board of supervisors to keep the rangers at the lake. He did say that when there were large public events like a concert or the like in other parts of the county the rangers might be needed for that event but then sent back to the lake immediately. Thereafter. Mr Salinas said that even though he will give the recommendation to keep the rangers at the lake full time he warned that the full board of supervisors make the final decision by vote which is coming up in just a few weeks. He recommended citizens contact all the board with their support to keep the rangers. With that said Monterey is having a homeowner meeting regarding the tunnel project. They have invited only the homeowners over the tunnel. Monterey will be discussing the tunnel project. Contact Monterey Here
Because we have limited ways to communicate with Monterey, homeowners might want to attend the homeowners meeting to voice their displeasure with the Ranger situation. The meeting is at Lake Nacimiento Dragon Grill at 1:30 pm. Simply showing up in force will help get the message to Monterey that the people of the lake demand proper security. Also since Monterey collects significant income from the lake, which is in San Luis Obispo County, it would seem a conflict of interest for them to take those funds collected and send them to Monterey for other Monterey projects vs paying the rangers for the security at the lake with lake money. Contact Monterey Here
As a side note: This last week there was a car accident between the two lakes. The rangers were there within minutes aiding the driver and controlling traffic. Without rangers it would have been a very different situation. Over the years Monterey has drastically reduced the County Ranger staff to only 6. We can't loose more Rangers. Contact Monterey Here
There are a lot of Rattle Snakes that have been displaced with the higher water level. People have reported snakes swimming in the lake as well as snakes around the lake. Be very careful out there.