Promoter of Sewage Greenbelts Knows He's Fighting an Uphill Battle

You and I think of sewage-treatment plants and we think of large, unsightly tanks where a very smelly brew is stirred and sifted.

Roger Frauenfelder, a San Diego deputy city manager, thinks of sewage-treatment plants and he envisions greenbelts, lush landscaping and recreational facilities. He dreams of a plant in Laguna Niguel that resembles a horse ranch.

It is good he is able to keep such soothing images in mind.

It has fallen to Frauenfelder to persuade property owners in Poway, North City, Santee, Mission Valley, Otay River Valley and South Bay that treatment plants proposed for their communities can be "good neighbors."

If you think a condo project raises hackles, try a sewage plant.

As a way to win hearts and minds, Frauenfelder has authored one of the most relentlessly upbeat municipal reports ever issued: "Architectural Concepts for Aesthetically Pleasing Treatment Plants."

Sample: "In addition to designing the visual appearance of the plant to fit adjacent land uses, other related aspects of designing to be a good neighbor include addressing potential nuisances such as odor, noise, lighting, dust, graffiti, litter and traffic."

Frauenfelder sees jogging and walking trails and oodles of greenery kept lovely by reclaimed water. The water, however, presents a dilemma of Blue vs. Brown.

"Some people find open water surfaces to to be more aesthetically pleasing than covered tanks, when viewed from above. On the other hand, the color of the water is generally brown, not blue, and this does not meet people's visual expectations."

Frauenfelder will soon take his report to the City Council and the task force overseeing the $2.2-billion plan, and then to community meetings in North City, Mission Valley and Chula Vista.

"I'm not naive enough," he says, "to believe that, when we actually come down to picking a certain location, that the people closest to the plant won't have objections."

Translation: NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) is out there and waiting.

Suffocating Critics in Paper

Here and there.

* If nothing else, the proposed SDG&E-Edison; merger produced a mountain of paper.

Michael Shames, director of the Utility Consumer Action Network, has arranged with the I Love a Clean San Diego recyclers to cart off 60 boxes of unessential documents.

"Edison has a policy of: give 'em everything so long as it's not relevant or damaging," Shames said. "I ask for summaries of contracts; they give me the entire contracts, appendices to the contracts, addenda to the contracts, contracts unrelated to the contracts."

* A history is being written of Stern's Gym, the venerable weight-lifting parlor in North Park.

Working title: "Don't Spit in The Water Fountain," taken from a sign posted for years in the Rocky-style establishment.

* Despite howls from the press and needles from her colleagues, San Diego Deputy Mayor Abbe Wolfsheimer is not backing down from her order barring reporters from roaming the 10th-floor City Council offices.

Wolfsheimer wrote to Councilman Bruce Henderson that asking permission before entering an office is but "common courtesy." Her scolding trump: "Courtesy is not a dinosaur."

Bashing the Past

Oldies but goodies.

Pete Wilson still sees political gain in slamming Rose Bird, who was voted off the California Supreme Court in 1986. Same for Jerry Brown, gone since 1982.

An opinion poll attached to a current fund-raising appeal for the former San Diego mayor's campaign for governor asks whether a governor "should appoint liberal judges like Rose Bird."

Another question: "Should we continue the sound conservative policies of George Deukmejian or return to the irresponsible schemes of Jerry Brown?"

Each poll includes a wallet-size card with the names of the recipient's state legislators. There, too, the Wilson campaign has trouble staying current.

The cards for inland North County list Assemblyman Bill Bradley of San Marcos. He died June 1.

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