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Apr-22-2010 02:00printcomments

Larry Agran and Bill Turner: A Tale of Two Traitors?

“The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” George Bernard Shaw

Are we the only ones catching the resemblance here?
Larry, Alfred, Fester and Bill

(LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.) - A recent article in the OC Register about the City of Irvine and EPA “greenwash” of water quality impairments at the former USMCAS El Toro is disturbing, and it strikes a sore nerve; an open wound that won't heal.

It’s an insult to those who have already experienced injury and death, Marines and civilian vendors alike, plus other emerging casualties. These are physical and moral crimes still in progress.

Like a bad dream, this morose, moribund "Hallmark Card" of Superfund base rehabs is unfortunately the gift that keeps on giving: Giving professional water quality experts like myself, legitimately credentialed medical doctors, obviously health-impacted veterans and civilians, plus stellar, doggedly investigative journalists like Bob O’Dowd and Tim King the endless “willies” and endless, outraged frustration.

The OC Register article, carrying the personal quotes of both commercial airport reuse op-ponent Irvine Mayor Larry (“What me worry?”) Agran and former malcontent and commercial airport reuse pro-ponent William C. (Bill) Turner continue the bait-and-switch BS we’ve come to expect from a lawyer/politician, but the Turner Turnaround, El Reverso is justifiably alarming[1].

As a side bar, it’s wonderful when two such brothers, now seemingly Siamese twins separated at birth, finally find one another in a smoke-filled, suspiciously-feeling-like-a-backroom-deal environs, isn’t it? Birds of a feather, their spirits now flying together over the former airports, kind of a "Wind Beneath My Wings" symphonic moment, their eyes locked on one another?

Well, let the games begin, batting first but sadly some day getting to bat last as well, liar, liar, pants on fire and failed logician Larry:

"But just because somebody makes an allegation, doesn't necessarily mean there is a sound basis to it," Agran said.

Robert Duvall as Col. Kilgore in the famous beach scene from "Apocalypse Now"

My response? No, Larry, like the aptly-named Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, you standing on that site and declaring everything hunky-dory, everybody safe because YOU say so, that doesn’t make it the truth either.

Yeah, Larry, like you, we ALL just love the smell of TCE, PCE, and perchlorate in the morning, it smells of victory. I got lots of whiffs, so did quite a few others while serving at El Toro………And whattyaknow, just like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan et al, politicians lie while young men, women and children die, no surprise there either, huh?

And using your usual verbal legerdemain, Larry, magician that you are, waving those Disney Fantasyland wands, you and EPA once again intentionally fool the public, here’s another OC Register quote from the same article:

“The EPA, in a recently released letter to the city, noted that the current cleanup effort is going as expected. The Navy and the Irvine Ranch Water District have created a system to extract the contaminated water and treat it at a nearby desalter plant, where the TCE is filtered out and disposed. Once stripped of the TCE, the water is used for irrigation.”


They aren’t completely removing TCE or any of the other contaminants, so notice the tricky verbiage? Their statements don’t claim 100% remediation and removal, giving them gutless, offensive plausible deniability. Because, folks, they aren’t totally removing but only lowering below EPA-established levels of “acceptable risk.” I've come to hate that phreaking phrase.

In reality, they are reducing, NOT eliminating the gamut of toxins plus radioactive particulates. And notice that ONLY TCE is mentioned, so by omitting the other known contaminants of concern (NTR’s) they have even more trap doors out of this “Dodge City,” Larry’s personal playground and cash cow, Irvine California.


They get your attention diverted, they get you looking at potable (drinking) water only, and don’t intensely critique or fully explain the other reclaimed re-uses. Reclaimed for irrigation can get excessively broadcast, overflow and wind up in our streams, children end up playing in it out in their HOA common open spaces. The biota, both wilderness plants and animals, aren’t getting any better from it, where’s THEIR acceptable risk assessment? Who is looking out for them? Is anyone growing produce in this stuff?

They don’t address surface water impairments either, the damaged goods they deliver via naturally occurring drainage discharges from the aquifer into San Diego Creek---Which evacuates into pristine, fragile, federally protected wetlands in Upper Newport Bay with several federally and state listed threatened plus endangered species! Don’t think much or tell us much about that, do you Larry, you big, environmentally warm and fuzzy bear, do you!


They also leave out the hundreds of thousands of gallons that are delivered by IRWD to the various ocean outfall pipes that carry the contaminated waste left over from their complex treatment systems. EXAMPLE: A special amendment was passed; an addendum to the NPDES Permit (Cal/EPA) for the contaminated unusable briny waste, a behind-closed-doors agreement was snuck through regulatory circles.

It was never publicized, and South OC water quality watchdogs were never notified. As of 2006 they (the IRWD) are allowed to divert almost 700,000 gallons per day to the Aliso Creek Ocean Outfall Pipe. Our coastal marine habitats off Laguna Beach, they are grateful and asked me to thank you, benevolent Uncle Larry, sir, may we have another?

This is classic obfuscation. This outfall discharge point is only 1.2 miles from the County Beach, barfs its contents into 125 feet of water…. Do you suppose the Agran Gang, EPA, IRWD employees or the others take their families swimming there?

Worser, as Keith Olberman says, they acknowledge that it could take decades to drain that El Toro aquifer and remediate it of contaminants. It may never be pollutant-free. I both saw and heard this at RAB sub-committee and general stakeholder Board Meetings, when I screamed Holy Hell they just turn down or off their hearing aids (their ears).

When you read that they’re disposing of the carcinogenic substances responsibly now you know they’re only moving the hazardous risks to another location. They haven’t cleaned up their house, they just swept the dirt under the carpet or into another room, some other fool's room, in the case of the ocean some pitifully-powerless-to-object creature’s quarters, certainly not theirs.

Allow me to translate for those who don’t understand: “Acceptable risk” in this case means below the concentrations that present science can detect. No one will claim it’s harmless, just undetectable, and there aren't enough long range studies in yet to assess impairments because these are relatively new substances. See the difference; it's really what is acceptable to whom? If you haven't been exposed to it, if you or yours haven't gotten ill, then you probably won't care.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.” - Mahatma Gandhi

Oh, and I get it Larry, if you can’t detect it by current scientific capabilities it doesn’t exist, right. So Larry, meet Frederich Nietzsche: We can’t prove God exists in a lab or under a microscope, therefore He doesn’t exist, right?


From the same EPA analyses documents comes this bombshell, something that negates or at least undermines their entire argument: “Exposure to certain chemicals other than TCE were found to increase TCE toxicity, and vice-versa.” [2]

Chemical cocktails, mixtures with covalent instability must be addressed. They use them for chemotherapy because they can kill everything good and bad in your system.

This acknowledges what people like myself try to explain endlessly: There are individual effects, there are synergistic effects and there are cumulative impacts, there are these new age witch’s brews, these cascading conglomerates of chemical exposures taking place worldwide. To all life forms. Some of which, like fish, we eat, Larry, howsaboutyou? [4]

One toxin in low concentration levels by itself may not be utterly cataclysmic---But added to others, especially considering that they’re stored indefinitely in the organs and fatty tissues of all life forms, means that sooner or later you’ll observe significant adverse health impacts. This process of biomagnification (within an ecosystem) or within a singular organism (bioaccumulation or bioconcentration) can be catastrophic[3].

Ever read one word about these basic biological principles in the mainstream media coverage of Superfund or Brownfield sites; ever hear one word about them uttered by EPA and the Agran Gang in this case?

Readers should also understand that much of the focus in these analyses constellates around “Cost and/or Risk Benefit Assessments.” Which is more accountant and social engineering mumbo-jumbo, what it really means is that bureaucrats decide if the costs are too great, then just move the compliance bar down a skosh. YOU, the public, end up taking risks solely based on pencil-pushing budget economists and your own vigilance.

This is reminiscent of actor George C. Scott’s sexually-distracted Joint Chiefs of Staff General Buck Turgidson (get it?) in Dr. Strangelove who spends much of his time in his hot young secretary/mistress' arms. Bucky (as she calls him) presents a vibrantly enthusiastic yet suicidal case in the Pentagon War Room for a full-on, preemptive nuclear attack to the US President played by Peter Sellers. He says that it’s justified, that by striking first we’d ONLY have 10-20 million civilian casualties maximum, certainly an acceptable risk number for America's eventual victory.

Larry must think the same insane way, what’s continual, perhaps never-ending, only mildly dangerous, hazardous health exposure (think “acceptable risk levels”) when so much money from taxes and crony nepotism lay on the table to divvy up among “friends?”

Aren’t more jobs in the Irvine area and a larger tax base worth more, aren’t they more critical to Irvine’s future than un-provable silly allegations made by those lowly pieces of cannon fodder, first-to-fight USMC veterans?

These stupid men and women have a lot of nerve! First they blindly, naively and patriotically offer to give up their lives for their country, then we pay them next to nothing while serving, their families forced to live in contaminated hovels, we and the VA turn our backs on them afterwards, now they find out why so many got sick, are getting sick, or died and NOW they gripe? What ingrates! Cut off their pitiful benefits! Oh, they don't have any? Never mind.

Face it, we live in a complaint-driven society, if no one files a grievance then apparently no harm has been done! Contaminants, what contaminants, we ain’t got no stinking contaminants! “No harm, no foul” like Chick Hearn used to exclaim, right?

Both the US and California EPA are pulling a double Pontius Pilate, everybody goes home happy, right? Except of course these bozos in charge won’t be washing their hands in THAT water, they won’t be bathing their children in it either, and you never catch them recreationally immersing themselves in it, now do you?

I’ll wager that if you lift Larry’s garage door, or those of the “playahs.” You’ll find they have advanced home treatment systems, they never drink tap water or drink from the fountains at meetings, watch them, think they'd take that Erin Brockovitch test?

Here are several sources regarding air and water quality acceptable risk level standards. Notice the use of the word "Unlikely," don't you just love nebulous, Cover-Your-Ass language like that? The air quality quotes are from a Colorado EPA site, the water quality from the Cal/EPA, that one applicable to the USMAS El Toro site:

“EPA has derived a reference concentration (RfC) of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air (parts per billion per cubic meter), based on the critical effects in the central nervous system, liver and secretion system. A reference concentration is the concentration in air below which non-cancerous harmful effects are unlikely applied to lifetime (30 year) human environmental exposures, including to sensitive populations.”

“Pursuant to the Calderon/Sher Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996 (SB 1307), the California Department of Health Services (DHS) has reviewed the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for trichloroethylene (TCE) for possible revision by conducting a cost-benefit analysis. Currently, the MCL for TCE is 5 ppb, the reporting limit is 0.5 ppb, and the public health goal (PHG) is 0.8 ppb.” [4]

Bill Turner, historically a heavy, over-the-top critic of the cleanup, said that after meeting with Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) staff and other officials, and seeing the new EPA information he currently believes Irvine's water "is safe, and always was safe. They make some good arguments about how the homes are safe from vapor intrusion," Turner said[5}.

Here is how Bill Turner saw it in 2008, after "years and years of research"
as he said at the time during a Salem-News.com interview with Tim King.

Is there more insidious a person in power than a cookie-cutter Irvine attorney who has de-evolved (har har) into becoming a politician? Or a converted minister who has reversed ground and contradicted himself? Then again I think that a lot of our Congress carry those kind of career retrogressive DNA markers, and check your local elected and appointed public officials resumés too---Now you know one of the major reasons our country is so screwed up.

I use the word FORMER for Mr. Turner (or should I call him Mr. Turncoat?) because he’s done a complete “180,” suddenly after years of waving his detailed, supposedly expert technical information around in every venue imaginable, harangued, whined, pissed, moaned and bellyached about being ignored, good old Billy Boy has had a change of heart. Or lost his mind. Or had his retirement fund supplemented? Someone told me that he is or was a Southern-bred Christian minister.

Personally, I think he looks a lot like the Adams Family deranged Uncle Fester with his smile askew, maybe someday that light bulb in his mouth will come back on in his “closet of life,” but for right now his quotes seem contradictory, actually traitorous and they play into our enemies hands. Maybe Bill relates to Uncle Fester’s Cookbook, and this is just another bizarre recipe or formulaic, sadistic experiment gone awry?

Tune in for Bill’s next hysterical episode, we’re curious if he waffles or flip-flops, or maybe mysteriously acquires enough unreported, off-the-books wealth to move and build an airport somewhere far away from Irvine, take a flight where customs doesn't check your stuffed luggage for $100 bills, say Tahiti?

"The Ghosts of Marines reporting" by Tim King

And let’s be honest as others are not, yes, right now, it deeply bothers many of us that our own government gives us no choice, must be seen as our enemy because they are in 100% denial regarding past, present and future impacts of VOC in or around our military bases.

Only two categories of people really know Marines: (a) Our personal and extended military families, and (b) Our opponents.

We didn’t choose this air and ground war, like the previous historical ones, but we don’t back down, these colors don’t run, who did they think they were fighting, a bunch of pacifistic wussies?

Marines, if you didn’t know it you should, only have one setting on their gearshift column of life: FORWARD. And to invoke a US Naval officer David Farragut quote, one borrowed by Tom Petty: “Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead!”

You gotta wonder, in light of his years of adversarial and confrontational quotes, if Billy had an epiphany, if God whispered to privileged Billy Boy one night while praying to play the role of Judas, maybe LENNAR or someone slipped 30 pieces of silver into the coffers with a nudge and a wink? Did somebody slip an envelop under his door? Was he nuts or stupid before, suddenly like the Scarecrow from Oz acquired a brain? Was he lying then or is he lying now?

Congressman Chris Cox

How does one go from strident yet very articulate gadfly, from a seemingly erudite pariah spending hundreds of uncompensated research hours, from attending and confronting everyone in the food chain even remotely involved in the rehab cover-up, continuously and vehemently alleging criminal fraud to not only me personally but to the mass media, captured and memorialized on tape for Salem-News.com and other outlets, to being a happy-go-lucky, pro-Larry Agran rehab convert? Hey, nothing to see here, step off, everyone go home.

Has he gone from Right Reverend to Wrong Reverend Turner? Pardon the irreligious pun, but what in the Hell is this guy thinking? Read what he said about then US Congressman Chris Cox, he scathingly alleged a lot of malfeasance and discretionary abuse by Cox. Now who looks foolish? The man had what he said was irrefutable proof, he wheedled, browbeat and cajoled others to join him, chastised those who didn't, browse his website for his testimonials, his confessions, his sermons.

As for us, those who want complete transparency and accountability, our enemies are relying on attrition, possibly because a lot of us are aging old soldiers. They continue their mendacity, their propagandistic cover-up, and they must assume (with all due respect to my Army bros) we’ll simply fade away like General McArthur suggested.

We’re Marines. Always. We don’t leave our injured or dead on the field of battle, as Inchon and other prior examples proved. We are a vengeful lot, we don't make excuses for that. And we’re not leaving this metaphorical field until we achieve our objective. So no, Larry and Billy. No, we will not back down, we will not go quietly, we will not calm down. We’re in this for the duration.

Larry and Billy, you should be proud: Your tax dollars (and many, many others) paid to train us to become "Devil Dogs," you know "just push play" kind of soldiers. You two slippery dudes should be proud, they trained us VERY well: We are, ironically, like the subject of "water" itself, VERY persistent. We find wherever it is we are sent, we neutralize and/eliminate our opposition if that's our goal. I mean these things only metaphorically, but it's not complete hyperbole if you know Marines.

Don't try any payback "Anti-SLAPP" hanky panky either, alleging falsely that I am threatening or inciting violence because I'm not. That would be an obvious ploy or canard on your part , trying to gag, to stifle our voices, censor or intimidate us, force us to hire expensive attorneys[6].

You two men then, in a warped way, are at least partially responsible as taxpayers for your own dilemma anyway, now how do you marginalize or firewall us, what's up your sleeve next? You helped the government to create or encourage us to become what we've become. We see ourselves as a whistle-blowing Sherlock Holmes, you and the entire governmental structure that denies any danger are our Professor Moriarity, our nemesis, our objective.

Understand, we’re not without that typical USMC gallows humor, most of our people see a lot of death in service or in their subsequent civilian lives. Those of us focused on this issue ironically call ourselves TEAM EL TORO (TET), and contrary to that tragic Vietcong confrontation back in 1968, we’re not losing this one.

Unlike the Tet Offensive, you with no sense of shame or conscience in Irvine, you no longer have the element of surprise as the VC did.

We’re here, we’re entrenched, and we’re not going away. Gung ho!

FYI: If a project near you has some interesting enviro-aspect(s) that you think is/are worthy of Salem-News.com coverage and our readers attention, feel free to contact me with a very brief synopsis. Water-related “Blue Interventions” are my specialty!

[1] EPA: El Toro toxic runoff poses no risk to Irvine residents Sean Emery OC Register

[2] www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/tcefs.pdf

[3] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomagnification

[4] cdph.ca.gov/certlic/drinkingwater/documents/mclreview/tce-mclevaluation-12-01.pdf

[5] El Toro Now

[6] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation


Launched in 2010, Odd Man Out is the creation of Roger von Bütow and his OMO columns are written exclusively for Salem-News-com. Born and raised in the LA Harbor area, son of a German immigrant father, he's been in Orange County for 45 years and is a 38-year resident of Laguna Beach, Ca. In 1998, he began his professional career in environmental review processes (CEQA, NEPA, MND, MND and EIR/EIS). He's a rare mix of cross-trained builder, writer and consultant as he brings his extensive construction experiences dating back to 1972 into his eco-endeavors. He has tremendous field and technical expertise in successful watershed restorations, plus wastewater, urban runoff, water quality monitoring/improvements and hydrologic mechanisms. He's built everything from commercial spas to award-winning private residences, and provided peer review and consultant analyses for single homes, subdivisions and upscale resorts.

View articles written by Roger Butow Read Roger's full biography on the Salem-News.com Staff Page

His resumé is extensive, try an online GOOGLE search of his personal journey and historical accomplishments. His consultation fees are reasonable and if you've got a major project that alarms you, that needs creative intervention, then he's your man. His credentials and "CV" can be provided upon request.

Contact him at his office: (949) 715.1912 or drop him an email: rogerbutow@cleanwaternow.com

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Brian Whitworth April 22, 2010 2:33 pm (Pacific time)

How is it that Irvine has been able to get away with this? Frankly I don't understand, are they trying to kill their own people? Is this not a mini long ranging Chernobyl for California? God help us.

Jim Davis, Veterans-For-Change April 22, 2010 1:42 pm (Pacific time)

Roger, EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!! OUTSTANDING JOB! Tim King, and Salem News have been a staunch supporter of all of us who have been fighting this fight for a very long time, drafted legislation (yet to be accepted, signed and put to the floor), gathering hard copy petition signatures for over a year and still on-going. We’re not only losing our veterans, but their spouses and children to the exposures of TCE and PCE every day, and the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs couldn’t care less! CNN did a segment not long ago on the male breast cancer cluster from Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, and did a poor job at coverage, didn’t bring to light all the other problems and issues, didn’t challenge the Colonel on the Air when he was spewing his lies and garbage, yet there were thousands and thousands of comments on the CNN blog which still runs to this day! Personally I don’t take nor do I read the OC Register any more due to those who own it and for the most part their stories/articles are all biased, or quite frankly bought and paid for and residents of Orange County are so laid back and reserved they never challenge the authenticity, sources or information spewed from their publication. So again, I come out to challenge every reader of this article to help us fight to get this legislation on the floor for a vote and passage so that our nations Veterans and families are cared for, and the door is opened up widely to those who are civilians and are equally exposed and contaminated, ill and are dying too! Anyone who is sincerely interested please E-Mail me at: Jim.davis@veterans-for-change.com and I will respond with a copy of the petition. We are desperately seeking at least 40,000 signatures and I would love to be able to hand carry this to Congresswoman Sanchez of Orange County, Senator Feinstein, and Congressman Filner. Throw it on their desk and ask can you still ignore us now? Can you honestly sit there and tell me you don’t care about those who served or the civilians who worked on these bases being ill and dying? And I’d hope those who live and work in the Orange County California are to really stop, think, and realize, if this development project goes through at the former MCAS El Toro base, are you willing to jeopardize your health, the health of your children and your lives?

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