You know how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency announced recently they are joining forces to clean up stinky Aliso Creek (finally), which spews its filth into South Laguna's Aliso Beach? Yeah, when have we heard that before? Oh, yeah, eight years ago. Anyway, you'd think such an announcement would be embraced by the local environmentalists who have worked tirelessly to clean that cesspool up. But, in the LA Times story on the agreement, Penny Elia, who chairs a Sierra Club task force dedicated to cleaning up the waterway, was skeptical.
“They promised us we would have an opportunity to bring in our own scientists for a second opinion or a peer review for this super project. And–wham, bam we have a press conference announcing it.”
But the agreement was hailed by Larry McKenney, manager of Orange County's Resources and Development Management Department, who promised environmentalists will have a say on the $45 million project to restore wildlife habitats along the creek and clean the water that runs through it.
Meanwhile, Roger von Butow, the Laguna Beach activist who has most closely monitored the work (or, more accurately, lack thereof) just sent this to us. He's pissed over the composition of a county designated Aliso Creek Technical Review Committee, and especially it being headed up by his most dreaded enviro-foe, Garry Brown of the Orange County Coastkeepers. Roger ticks off his problems:
–Neither Garry Brown nor his CoastKeepers ever attended a single Aliso Creek Watershed Study Meeting, the ones held monthly from late 1998-2004, hosted by the USACE N County of Orange.
–Aliso Creek is in Region 9, Cal EPA.
–CoastKeepers is in fact a Region 8, Cal EPA group out of New Porsche, with little effect, engagement N zero eco-product (history or success) in Region 9.
–Miraculously, he has been picked to head up the Aliso Creek Technical Review Committee.
–This is an outrage, to pass over legitimate Region 9 leaders with local grass roots involvement.
–Is this what the Sierra Club N South Laguna Civic Association intended by dragging in a Region 9 MIA with a questionable personal background?
–Shouldn't long term Region 9 groups be allowed to be part of this selection or appointment?
Von Butow then points to a couple Weekly stories that detail Brown's, um, colorful background: Poo Fighters and Garry Quite Contrary. Von Butow also directs those interested to the Times archives to read about Brown being a consultant to Iger N Associates, the powerful state lobbying firm whose clients include the pavement-happy Building Industry Association. Brown used to head the BIA's Baldy View chapter in San Bernardino County.
–It was Clean Water Now! who “outed” GB regarding his double-dipping employment: One check from CoastKeepers, one check from the “loyal opposition” at IGER a while back.
–So why HAS GB been chosen by Larry McKenney (County of Orange) to head up the most critical committee in this new series of Aliso Creek meetings?
–Is GB going to “green wash” or fast track controversial projects by invoking the Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sacred N hollowed name (Keepers Alliance)?
–Where's a good investigative reporter when you need them?
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.