Poseidon in denial over the obstacles ahead… and more!

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poseidon entrained 1As I was leaving the May 3 desal townhall, the townhall meeting mostly on the subject of Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant, I walked past Dave Hamilton of Residents for Responsible Desalination [R4RD] and said “So we are screwed, aren’t we?”

We had just got through hearing Jeremiad talk about a paid-off OC Water District majority unwavering in its support of the boondoggle; a gamed Coastal Commission (previously thought of as our last line of defense) having fired their honest, pro-environment Executive Director and under the thrall of Poseidon’s quarter-million-a-year super-lobbyist Susan McCabe (as Tyler had already reported here);  and worst of all, enabled by an ill-informed and apathetic public.  [Although truth be told, when it’s known that a big decision on Poseidon will be made that night, the OCWD hall overflows with angry citizens.]

But Dave Hamilton retorted, “No, Vern, we are not screwed!  Not only do we not give up the fight till the bitter end, Poseidon has a lot more obstacles in their way than they like to admit.”  Always eager for a ray of hope, I pleaded, “Please elaborate on these obstacles, sir.”  And then Dave Hamilton tossed aside his cane, leapt atop a planter, and declaimed the following.  (Actually he e-mailed me this, but I prefer to picture him tossing aside his cane and declaiming from atop a planter) :

“For years Poseidon has claimed it only needs one more permit—a CDP from the Coastal Commission.  R4RD has claimed that this is misleading and that at least two permits will be needed. 

“The second permit is an NPDES permit (permit to pollute) from the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB).  Poseidon’s existing 2012 NPDES permit is only temporary and due to expire next February, and is, by the way, for a quite different project than the one being proposed presently. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) agreed with R4RD, et al., on this, and remanded the matter back to the RWQCB to resolve by collaboration with the Coastal Commission. 

“In the meantime, the State Ocean Plan Amendment (OPA) on Desalination was passed and became law this past February.  The OPA was in the works for 9 years.  R4RD, et al. have warned Poseidon and public agencies and bodies that serious restrictions on proposed HB project would result from the OPA’s adoption.  Official notices as to these effects were sent to all concerned parties, including OCWD and the Huntington Beach City Council.

Poseidon VP Scott Maloni with one of his many lawyers.

Poseidon VP Scott Maloni with one of his many lawyers.

“Although over the last few months the RWQCB has asked Poseidon to reapply for renewal of its temporary NPDES permit, Poseidon has chosen the course of delay and complaint, which has been its MO all along.  Regardless of Poseidon’s obstinance, it must reapply for renewal this August by law or face termination of its permit next February.

“Thus the importance of any hearings at RWQCB over the Poseidon temporary NPDES permit.  The ball is in Poseidon’s court and its obfuscation and delay tactics will no longer work.  Besides, even if the temporary NPDES is renewed, it will only be good for as long as AES continues to use the open ocean intake and discharge pipes, which AES has to abandon as soon as 2020.  Poseidon has yet to seek NPDES permitting for a ‘stand alone’ project in HB.

“I’m leaving out a lot of detail for the sake of brevity.  I hope you get the gist of the matter and its importance.  If you have questions, please ask.”


Isn’t that just SO Poseidon – always one-third bullshit and bluster, two-thirds gaming the system.

Actually there is still a LOT you and I can do to help make sure we don’t get saddled with this ratepayer-swindling, beach-wrecking, crook-enriching monstrosity, besides just sitting back, crossing our fingers, and hoping these agencies make the right decision.  To wit:

  • First, be informed.  Most of you know that we don’t need Poseidon’s overpriced water, but learn to explain the reasons why, simply, to your friends and TO YOUR POLITICAL REPRESENTATIVES (who you may indeed find are less smart than you.)  In my next piece, I’ll try to do just that, try to summarize/simplify the main reasons to oppose Poseidon.
  • Sign on to get the regular newsletter from R4RD (Residents for Responsible Desalination) by e-mailing info@r4rd.org.  They will keep you informed of all major developments, and what you can do. Among other things, they’ll let you know when and where the next Coastal Commission meeting will be.
  • If you live in North OC (Irvine or anything north or west of there) let your local officials – your city councilmembers, your local water officials – know why they should oppose it, and that it’s an important issue to you as a voter.
  • THE NEXT OCWD MEETING, Wednesday June 1, 5:30, Ward & Ellis in Fountain Valley, is an important one where – even though they like to say Poseidon “is not a done deal” – they’ll be discussing the pipeline route through the county for carrying Poseidon’s water.  Come help us raise holy hell, or at least to observe and see what we’re dealing with.
  • The most important thing we can urge OCWD to do, which they haven’t done and have no excuse not to, is to conduct an “alternatives analysis” – i.e. alternatives to Poseidon and desal.  Especially in light of two recent developments:  the substantial drop in expected future water demand, and the availability of recycled water from LA County.  It’s inexcusable for them to keep blowing hundreds of thousands on pipeline studies, and not do an alternatives analysis.
  • Surfrider’s Joe Geever emphasizes:  Keep conserving water.  We have been doing a great job at that.  But just because the state is no longer treating this as an emergency is no reason for us to go back to being wasteful;  the drought is still not over and Poseidon is still treating it as a golden opportunity to bilk us.
  • The November election will be crucially important:  OCWD Poseidon foe Phil Anthony (Seal Beach, Huntington Harbour, Westminster and western Garden Grove) and Poseidon skeptic/critic Roger Yoh (Buena Park, La Palma, Placentia, Yorba Linda & parts of Cypress) are both running for re-election, will probably be facing some Poseidon-backed opponent, and need all your support!  We are looking for a candidate to take down Poseidon dead-ender Cathy Green (HB and parts of Fountain Valley) – defeating her over this issue would be a priceless coup.  And let all your council candidates know that their position on this is a legitimate litmus test for you – showing both their intelligence and honesty, their care for the taxpayers’ money and for our environment.

Death of Connor Everts’ Dad

I listen to Connor Junior...

I listen to Connor Junior…

Meanwhile you might remember me mentioning, a few times, “hulking water guru” Connor Everts, who regularly drives down from Santa Monica to help us fight, such is his moral revulsion toward the Poseidon project.  I saw him as well at the May 3 townhall, where he told me his father had just passed away that week, at 88.  “Same name as me.  There’s a great obituary in the LA Times.  Look it up, Vern.  He was a fascinating man.”  He’s right:

Connor Everts, a Los Angeles-area artist and former longshoreman whose sociopolitical art was the subject of a 1960s obscenity trial, died Sunday at his Torrance home. He was 88…

On the stand, these defenders of art freedom uniformly struggled to explain to prosecutors why Everts’ womb image — intended as a commentary on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — was not an outrage to public decency, as prosecutors argued it was… 

The image was part of a series of nine lithographs he had titled “Studies of Desperation.” In the aftermath of Kennedy’s assassination, the works explored the theme of a person looking out from the womb and choosing not to be born, he said…  The jury hung, and Everts was later acquitted.

connor everts seniorHe again made headlines a couple of years later. He was arrested and said he had been beaten by two Long Beach police officers. They were, in turn, tried and acquitted.

He served in the Coast Guard during World War II and studied art in L.A. at Chouinard Art Institute. He traveled and studied in Latin America and was an assistant to Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siquieros.

He returned to L.A. and worked as a longshoreman to support his wife and children, and painted at night. “I’d rather paint than sleep,” he told a reporter…

In 1966, he was arrested again while celebrating in a bar with students, and said police had beaten him, causing permanent injury to one hand…

Everts testified in his own defense at the trial, countering the accusation that he had made pornography. “I came up with something beautiful if one concerns himself with truth,” he said.

Read the rest here…


We always like to steal this image - an ACTUAL PHOTO of the company's demigod - from the Weekly, and they haven't complained yet.

We always like to steal this image – an ACTUAL PHOTO of the company’s CEO – from the Weekly, and they haven’t complained yet.

Just SOME of our Previous Coverage of Poseidon:

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.