This is in response Councilwoman Donna Westfall’s Nov. 27 piece, “Fight back against corruption.”
Newer council members Kathryn Murray and myself have requested full transparency regarding all wastewater treatment plant issues. Therefore, there is no new branch of corruption formed as alleged by Westfall.
This is not my opinion alone, this is based on the formal official findings of the 2008-09 Grand Jury and the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in response to all alleged “corruption/conspiracy” inquiries by Westfall and her cadre.
The mayor and council members Burns, Murray and myself continually review all the facts and issues associated with our WWTP and ask informed questions as necessary. We are each familiar with the facts, inquiries and the summary findings provided by all. Intelligent questions have been asked and answered to their satisfaction. The real issue is that Westfall has made multiple rude, disingenuous, baseless, misstated/misrepresented questions over the past year which have been answered, but because Westfall doesn’t like the answer and it doesn’t fit her WWTP agenda, now she’s the one grossly misleading her minority cadre of followers.
There is an inherent responsibility for a council member to become familiar with all of the facts and issues, prior to making wild, slanderous, vicious, personal, misinformed, misrepresented selective attacks and/or accusations. Westfall continues to mislead the citizens.
Regarding her reference to the “stenographic media” not investigating her claims, I assure you The Daily Triplicate has done its own due diligence investigations, have reported the issues and findings, time and time again over the years and would be all over the story, if there was a hint of a story. Perhaps Westfall and her never- ending claims of WWTP corruption and conspiracy have lost their credibility a long time ago.
She also wrote, “People truly want to know what their leadership is doing and how it affects their lives.” This is a true statement. Sadly, she continues to mislead her minority following by misrepresenting the facts and truth. The citizens of Crescent City will not get a refund back to pre-2007 sewer rates even if the misguided petition is successful.
If the petition is successful, our city will default on our annual contract loan with the state, the WWTP will be completed no matter what (next June 1, ahead of schedule). The state will take over the operations of the facility, the city will likely have major employee layoffs, reduced services, major associated legal fees and the state will assess all of the city property owners with a very heavy property assessment and more than likely our city will go bankrupt. Now who wins in this scenario? Not the city and not the sewer rate-payers.
She wrote, “One casualty of corruption is fact. Facts about the WWTP are being kept from the public.” Ms Westfall, if you believe there’s “corruption and conspiracy,” please file a lawsuit and prove your misinformed opinions in a court of law!
She wrote that the City Council’s censure of her was “designed to shut me up.” Once again she couldn’t be farther from the facts. As co-author of the censure motion, I can state that she was censured specifically for her continual multiple violations of our new City Council Code of Ethics, which Westfall voted for in March 2009.
She wrote, “We just might have to fire some people who have been abusing the public’s trust.” Might this be a reference to our city engineer, Jim Barnts, who was cleared by our city, the Grand Jury, and the FFPC regarding inquiries alleged by yourself and your handful of followers? Once again you have no respect or regard for a democratic process and/or authority and its summary of findings. Clearly, you choose not to see the truth and the facts when they’re staring you in the eyes, all because you have a hell-bent agenda to try to divide our city and its citizens.
She referred to herself as “a 62-year-old grandma (who) can stand up to these bullies.” Ms. Westfall, this is not about you. This is about what’s best for our citizens and city. I have been personally approached by countless citizens over the past year who are sick and tired of your selfish grandstanding and think you’re a very misguided, destructive individual.
To date you have served no tangible benefit to our city. None of your antics or hollow claims have resulted in any cost savings, refunds, terminations or otherwise for our city and its citizens. But you have and continue to cost our city and taxpayers tens of thousands of documented dollars, and the bill continues to rise. The informed citizens will not allow you to mishandle our limited financial resources.
Shame on you! This is not about politics, this is about right and wrong, and you have been and continue to be wrong about the city and its citizens. Remember the simple truth: what goes around, comes around!
Charles Slert is a Crescent City Council member.