COBB ABATEMENT MONITORING COMMITTEE
Report to Cobb Area Council
December 21, 2017
1. LETTER FROM ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH DIRECTOR, Ray Ruminski
We reported last month that Ray Ruminski had indicated by email that “the site of the burned structures has been adequately remediated and that no additional work is required. I consider that the cleanup goals established for this portion of the Valley Fire area have been met. “ Director Ruminski has formalized his conclusions in an official letter dated December 15, 2017. I will now read that letter…
2. CONCRETE REMOVAL, WOOD PROCESSING, ETC.
Work continues. The reduction in the wood remaining on the property is now clearly visible from Highway 175, and the amount remaining has been substantially reduced. Processing will continue through the next several months until it is gone. Work has slowed somewhat, due to the end of the CalWorks grant funding for labor, as well as the holidays. However, new grant funding is expected to come online in January.
3. AESTHETICS At our meeting on December 12, we asked the Hobergs management to do everything possible to improve the “viewscape” – especially the Hwy 175 corridor from Emerford Road to the front entrance. In response, vehicles (e.g the old fire truck) have been moved back and they are now working from front to back to move everything back from the highway.
4. WHAT ABOUT THE MONEY?
A recent comment on the Cobb Mountain Rising Facebook group asked whether the CalWorks grant was being used to line someone’s pockets. Here are the facts, as I know them:
• Hobergs Historical association was provided the EXACT same grant received by other groups including Harbin Hotsprings, and Adidam.
• Hobergs did not receive any money directly from the grant or government. The money did not pass through Hobergs’ books; workers were paid directly by the program.
• Although the labor funded via the grant did provide significant help to the Hobergs cleanup effort, it cost Hobergs owners tens of thousands of dollars to manage those employees with paid staff, fill the gas tanks of the vehicles, rent and fuel the equipment used by the crews.
• Hobergs was the only commercial site in the County that did not receive assistance from the CalRecycle debris removal program.
In response I asked if Hobergs management could provide some information about the cost of the abatement project to date. Here is a partial list of expenses incurred to date:
• $485,000 – HAZMAT contractors, general clean-up crew and clean up management, consultants
• $78,000 – Pre and Final HAZMAT testing
• $75,000 – Dump fees (local)
• $489,000 – Equipment rental costs, Fuel and operators of all the equipment (over a year costs)
I know at times we feel frustrated with the pace of progress, and perhaps wonder what’s going on. But I think these numbers illustrate the depth of Hobergs’ owners’ commitment to the restoration of the property, and Director Ruminski’s letter clearly demonstrates that their efforts have resulted in significant progress.
Karl E. Parker