UPDATE: County Counsel That Can’t Count to 100 Should Be Fired

It’s been more than 100 days since County Counsel Warren Jensen stated he would respond in two weeks to former LOCSD board president Lisa Schicker’s well-documented complaint against MWH and Paavo Ogren.

(UPDATE: At the August 4 Board of Supervisors meeting, Counsel Jensen again refused to respond to the public’s request for his promised written response to the full complaint.)

For the rest of the article, click here to read it on The Razor.

“Reclamator” Man Exits Los Osos

The end of “The Reclamator” came not with a bang, but with a gurgle.

The end of “The Reclamator” came not with a bang, but with a gurgle.

In mid June Tom Murphy, of “Reclamator” notoriety, was evicted from the house he had been occupying in Bayview Estates since March 2008. Compared to his grand entrance, he exited Los Osos quietly, leaving the fiberglass shell of his beloved Reclamator in the ground at the house.

Late last month Murphy was located in Lake Havasu, Arizona. His retreat appeared to mark the end—though probably not in Murphy’s mind—of his long, drawn-out campaign to sue the district and state for not embracing his water-saving onsite technology. Coincidentally, the SWRCB and RWQCB deserve to be sued for all the misery they’ve caused Los Osos with their illegal vendetta against a select group of homeowners—and Murphy initially tapped into that pre-existing community resentment toward the rogue regulators especially.

Murphy played the legal system as far as he could, but, in the end, there was no payday for him, no settlements, no get-out-of-town money coming his way. He had dug a dry well in the wrong County. He made a colossal blunder thinking a carpetbagger could just walk into SLO and rip off honestly-stolen money from thieves in suits who have been doing it here for years. Tearing a page from the Genghis Khan Scorched Earth Guide to Public Relations, Murphy strutted into Los Osos with Federal Water Code in one hand and an imaginary sword in the other, claiming to be “above the law,” spending thousands on “Vote No on Prop 218” TV ads, and swearing heads would roll.

Meanwhile, the price of the converted septic tank he called the Reclamator kept going up and up, starting at $15,000 and finishing closer to the County’s $25,000-per-home assessment for the sewer he hoped to transfer to his Reclamator; but the price changed so many times it was clear he was making it up as he went along. To combat the wall of bad PR surrounding him, Murphy offered $1,000 to anyone who could prove the Reclamator didn’t work. Never mind that he never proved it did work without a mechanic on duty, or that the RWQCB would ever permit it as an alternative to the sewer. The sands of time and opportunity were rapidly running out of Murphy’s distorted hourglass.

Now, almost two years later, he was leaving Los Osos, pulling back to the scene of an earlier lost battle in Lake Havasu. There he will add more names to the lengthening list of godless traitors he’s lining up to star in his Next Big Lawsuit. Because Tom Murphy never loses, he just moves on. After all, Los Osos isn’t the only water-challenged community in California or the U.S. There’s dirty water needing to be cleaned up almost everywhere, and Murphy can always find a small audience somewhere in the world, although the Internet is rapidly closing the window on slipping through the cracks on a shrinking planet.

Wrote Murphy in a June 27th email to his Los Osos/Morro Bay list: “Hi Guys, We made it to Lake Havasu, settled and setting up office today. By the fact the court evicted me from my residence in CA and my residence is now in AZ, the case immediately qualifies (is over $75K and now I am interstate) to be moved to the US District Court venue (in LA), which is AWESOME for us. As the result of the unjust default judgment and court ordered eviction from the RECLAMATOR house, I am adding the Judge as a defendant to my second amended complaint I will have ready to file before the middle of July, but the BIGGEST surprise I can’t let out of the bag yet. THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!! God bless you all and keep the faith, Tom.”

Murphy never had it as good as he had it in Los Osos, living free for over a year in someone else’s spacious house overlooking the Valley and Bishop’s Peak, but I doubt if he would describe it that way.

To the best of my knowledge, in all the time he was in Los Osos, Tom Murphy failed to sell a single Reclamator. And it wasn’t necessarily because the Reclamator couldn’t or wouldn’t work, because, properly managed, it could. It was because Tom Murphy was less interested in developing and marketing a revolutionary home water-management system than he was in finding the shortcut to the goldmine of overnight riches.

His strategy was simple: Why build thousands of Reclamators when you only have to build one. Just claim it produces clean water and sue anyone who says otherwise. Then try to sell them. Then sue them again.

– Ed Ochs

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Bang a Gong for Mei’s Heavenly Chinese

Discovering Mei’s (pronounced May’s) Chinese Restaurant in Shell Beach is like finding a diamond in your backyard, except, as much as they sparkle, as valuable as they are, diamonds never tasted this good. That’s because all that glitters at Mei’s are some of the finest Chinese dishes to be found between San Luis Obispo and LA.

Discovering Mei’s (pronounced May’s) Chinese Restaurant in Shell Beach is like finding a diamond in your backyard, except, as much as they sparkle, as valuable as they are, diamonds never tasted this good. That’s because all that glitters at Mei’s are some of the finest Chinese dishes to be found between San Luis Obispo and LA.

While their full, familiar menu offers something for everybody, even more surprising than the satisfying variety is Mei’s gourmet specialties, especially seafood.

Sure, Mei’s serves tasty, traditional lunch specials from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day ($7.25 and $8.25), and you can find shrimp, scallops, chicken and beef prepared every way imaginable on the regular menu, but it’s the Chef’s Specials, along with an array of tantalizing sauces, that set Mei’s above and beyond all other Chinese restaurants on the Central Coast.

The Chef’s Specials—a dozen multi-flavored Mandarin-Hunan-Szechuan masterpieces cooked Hong Kong style—are pungent portals to the rich gallery of Mei’s creative delights. The Walnut Shrimp, fresh cooked shrimp tossed wth walnuts and sliced cabbage in a sweet, white mayonnaise-like sauce ($12.95), is near frame-able art, too picturesque too eat, if it wasn’t so delectable. Equally eye-opening and mouth-watering are the Seafood Pan Fried Crispy Noodle, which collects shrimp, scallops and crabmeat with bean sprouts, cabbage, snow peas and mushrooms over fresh, pan-fried crispy noodles ($13.95); the Sesame Three Flavors, which quickly stir-fries lightly battered shrimp, beef and chicken in a spicy honey sauce ($11.95); and the Ku Ting Crispy Shrimp, deep-fried in a light batter with walnuts in an uncommonly burnished, tangy coating ($10.95). The Ku Ting Shrimp is also available on the everyday lunch menu for $8.25.

Pan Fried Noodle with Seafood


Other sensational sauces to build your seafood, chicken or beef feast around include the Black Bean Sauce (Shrimp and Scallops, Sole Filet, $12.95 and $10.95), Garlic Sauce (Seafood Supreme, Shrimp and Scallops, $13.95 and $12.95), Lemon Sauce (Lemon Chicken, $8.95), Brown Sauce (Kung Pao Three Flavor, $10.95), and Dark Sauce of white wine, garlic, soy and green onions (House Special Beef or Chicken, $8.95). The secret of Mei’s uniqueness lies in its exquisite palette of basic and original sauces, and the consistently fine cooking that ties it all together with distinction.

Even the classic lunch soups—Egg Flower, Wonton and Hot & Sour—are made with an almost-smoked broth and highest-quality ingredients, and simply taste better than soups served without thought at most Chinese restaurants today. The same goes for the appetizers, such as the pot stickers, barbecued pork and paper-wrapped chicken. From top to bottom on the menu, all the dishes at Mei’s share the gift of rare flavor.

Pan Fried Noodle


Mei’s has been in business on Shell Beach Rd. and Moro St. for almost a decade, with Chef Chen and wife, Kelly, taking over in early 2008. While adding a few new dishes and their own touches, they have taken great care to preserve the restaurant’s longtime favorites atop the menu, making sure to prepare signature dishes with the same level of detail as the previous owner. Style and substance don’t come cheaply, but at least at Mei’s you get the quality you expect for the upscale price.

Mei’s is easy to miss at 1759 Shell Beach Rd., just off the 101 (Exit Spyglass Dr.), so don’t be surprised if you pass it and have to turn around on the next street. Mei’s is humble in size (12 tables seat about 45) and decor, but your taste buds will thank you and your stomach will remember the day you stumbled upon the best Chinese restaurant in South County, this side of the Great Wall of Pismo. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11:30 a.m.– 9 p.m. Closed Monday. Lunch daily, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tel: (805) 773-2908.

—Ed Ochs