Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Architect of Record, Charles Slert – October 7, 2017 – 3 Part Series

Rumors abound for the last several months that there has been and is dissension amongst the Del Norte, Crescent City Veterans Monument Committee regarding our Point of Honor Monument project?

Based on my first hand knowledge and experiences; absolutely true! Curious, because when I found myself in combat, us G.I.’s always had a common goal and will to work together to defeat the enemy. Unfortunately, not so when it comes to our Point of Honor Monument evolving Committee over these now many years.

As the creator of the Point of Honor Monument vision Back in 2007 and the individual who single handily created all of the various Architectural “Instruments of Service” (the Monument project: Master Plan, Design Development, the original Point of Honor Fund Raising Brochure, Construction Drawings, designing the Monument Lighting, project related documentation, designing the Landscaping Plan and preparing the Construction Documents thereof, inner-acting and preparing all California Coastal Commission reviews, revisions and approvals, making multiple public presentations, securing of the Coastal Development Permit, Securing of the Crescent City Building Permit and providing hundreds of hours of our Monument project “Good Will” and project leadership over the past ten years, I am especially and more qualified to pass these Monument related project assessments than any other individual.

Why did I originally get involved with the Point of Honor project, which by the way I named.

Because, I am a Vietnam Combat Infantry Sargent Veteran doing a 14 month tour of duty at the peak of the war in 1968-69. Additionally I was a local involved Crescent City citizen, Public Servant and architect at that time. As a professional architect I believed I could create a project that would capture the imagination of the greater community, by creating a place of honor with a special “spirit” about it. I volunteered my professional services “Pro-Bono” as I was interested in creating a special place for my community for celebrating and honoring the Veterans (my colleagues) of Crescent City, Del Norte County and the community at large. Had I known it was going to take ten plus years and all of the personal hardships, sacrifices, multiple failures on the part of the  Veterans Committee, as well as my significant out of pocket expenses, I would not have volunteered for that.

What’s my professional experience for those of you who may not know me?

I am a 35 year plus practicing CA State Licensed Architect winning over 50 Design Awards for my distinctive and time enduring projects over these years. I graduated with a BS in Architecture and a Masters in Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona. I have also taught Architectural Design at both Cal Poly Pomona and the New School of Architecture San Diego for ten years. Collectively, my experiences more than qualified me to design, produce and lead as architect, our Point of Honor Monument project. Currently, our Point of Honor Monument project has no architect. This past August 4th, as the project “Architect of Record” since I conceived it and shepherded it for the past ten years, the Committee, of which I have been a member since July 2007, called a meeting without notifying me. On this past May 26th they voted to “Abandon my Point of Honor Monument Design.” How would you feel after ten years of 800’s hours of sacrifice, contributions and out of pocket expenses, since I volunteered my professional services “Pro-Bono.” Now that’s real gratitude, respect and thanks from my fellow Veteran colleagues. My assessment and opinion, disgusting to say the least.

So what’s the source of the problems associated with our Point of Honor Monument project you ask?

Actually, it’s pretty simple. The introduction of a “Johnny come very lately,” Project Manager Adam Trask who is grossly inexperienced, naive and uninformed about the construction processes. He is misguided and the absolute worst project related communicator that I have encountered in my 35 years as an architect. So since his 2015 arrival to our project, he has repeatedly dropped the ball and grossly mismanaged our project, as the Project Manager. This has resulted in the “blind leading the blind, leading the blind,” repeatedly. Do you also find it curious, that this past February 10, Craig Bradford wrote me saying “Adam Trask Project Manager is incapable as project manager and is working independently with Harlan Ziegler.” And then additionally on March 3rd Committee Member Craig Bradford once again wrote me that Project “Adam Trask is trying to assume the architects role and is hoarding the information.” These assessments show there was an attempt to bypass myself, behind my back, as Monument Project Architect.

So as the Monument “Architect of Record” (for the past 10 yrs.) it is my professional role and responsibility to oversee each and every aspect of our project, reviewing, assessing, making recommendations and approvals to the Committee.

Which is exactly what I have done for the past ten years. As a very successful architect with over 35 years experience, the reason for my project successes has always been my hands-on leadership and involvement from the beginning through the successful completion of a project. But, apparently after ten years of taking advantage of my Architectural Master Planning and Design abilities, project leadership, shepherding, professional experience skills, and public service, they have decided that they can arbitrarily side-step the myself as the Monument architect. According to the California “Architects Practice Act,” this is not an option (unless there is some legal cause which there was not). These recent Committee actions are just one more piece of evidence of their project mismanagement, and recklessness, to the successful outcome of our Monument. One has to ask themselves why would they do this? Grossly misguided leadership. It’s just yet another example of their collective lack of experience and professional respect for Professional Industry Standards.

It is probably worth mentioning at this time that I have received two State of California Senate Certificates in 2012 from former CA State Senator, Doug LaMalfa for my leadership of the Point of Honor Monument project, with an addition Certificate in 2011 while serving on the City Council as Mayor.

In the past couple years associated with our Point of Honor Monument it has become clear to me that several things were amiss and ultimately compromising our Monument. Do you really think I’m going to sit idylly by and allow something that I have the largest (by far) personal investment of anyone involved in our project from day one? Hell no! So, as my job requires, I repeatedly called, wrote and voiced my objections, concerns and disapprovals to Harlan Ziegler President, Doug Plack VP, Adam Trask PM and Craig Bradford Committee Member. Apparently, they got tired of me repeatedly asking questions (that they rarely, but more usually never responded to), of my project follow through, challenging them and advising them of consequences. Collectively, these actions continued to put our project at risk.

My project and Veteran team assessments and observations were reinforced when I realized that President Ziegler, apparently felt he was substantially through with my “Architect of Record” services (in his mind), he chose apparently on his own to only communicate with me regarding our project “periodically” which once again is not an option, and it puts our project at considerable risk, additionally. Per the CA “Architects Practice Act” the Architect of Record is the ‘Project Team Lead Representative!” That’s the way we functioned, until Trask came along with another agenda. That’s also what our mutually negotiated March 27,2017 “Architect/Owner Approved Agreement” specified. Once again, these actions on the part of the Veterans Committee shows their inconsistencies and continued mismanagement.

5 thoughts on “PART 1: Veterans Point of Honor Monument Chaos”

    1. Donna/Linda, I was wondering if the Times will try to get the committee folks on the record about what has happened with the Point of Honor? I think it is very important to hear what they have to say.
      If there were in fact, abuses with the funds, this will probably be the last time we donate anything to local causes here.

      1. Yes, there will be more info in the next week or so. I contacted Aadam Trask, Project Manager, via email with a copy to all committee members that included 1/2 dozen questions. He has not bothered to respond. It appears that they want to keep things secret for now.

        But, with the Bryan Ranger/rape case sentencing tomorrow morning, and the Dr. Phil Show interested in their case, the Point of Honor has to take a back seat. Our local taxpayers association submitted a letter to Probation last week in essence telling them the evidence shows, in our opinion, the wrong man was arrested.

  2. – I have no idea what the project timeline is since they (the Committee) “Abandoned” my approved & fully permitted original Point of HonorVeterans Monument. You should ask Harlan Ziegler, Doug Plack, Craig Bradford or project manager Adam Trask. But you must know that you and the community who has invested in, contributed to our monument, will look nothing like my original design, because the committee voted after 10 years to “Abandon” my design. Therefore it cannot look anything like my design as it is fully protected by the Congress Architects Copyright Act of 1990. So what are you the community getting, what’s the timeline specifically, what’s the cost and signed contracts, who’s doing the work specifically and what’s the specific status of the new project CA Coastal Commission required resubmitted if any changes were made to my original design. Additionally after 10 years of gross mismanagement, the commission never secured a Grant. Obviously a lot of questions to be answered by the committee individuals!
    – Over the now too many years of our project, I have repeatedly assessed, advised, recommended, written letters, spoke up at committee meetings, and kept all project related documents/correspondence, only to be trivialized, avoided, ignored &/or lied to by my colleagues. The documentation and correspondence (the words of the committee) backs up my first-hand experiences and claims I have made.
    – No, Committee members do not get paid, but I believe Trask has been paid and has certainly been interested in continuing financial security. Other than Ziegler, Plack most of the committee members are “Johnny come lately.” That’a another big part of the project failures in that there have been countless people on the committee over the past 10 years, they come & go with little to no follow-up or follow through.
    – No, there are no other architects on the committee and never has been other than myself. I did the master plan, design, design development, prepared the Construction Drawings (including the Landscape & Lighting plans/specifications, secured the Coastal Development Permit, made the required changes of the Coastal Commission Monument “Special Conditions”, coordinated the bidding, provided prints & electronic copies of all of my works, built the Monument model used for local fund raising, made numerous presentations over the 10 yrs. and designed & produced the Monument flier, all “pro-bono.”
    – Unfortunately, it’s too late for certain individuals to “butt out” for me to continue and finish the project, because the committee chose to have a committee meeting this past May 26th without notifying me or inviting me, and chose to “Abandon” my design, and then sent me a letter August 4th advising me of such. So it’s all in their court now, unfortunately. You the community will get whatever they choose to put together. Why would an experienced committee willfully “Abandon” an approved & permitted Monument project of 10 yrs.? Gross inexperience, gross mismanagement and misguided stupidity!
    – In over 35 years of numerous Award Winning projects as a professional architect, I have never worked with such an inexperienced group. My assessment is the only other professional involved in our project over the 10 years is Mike Young as our pro-bono project engineer. Everyone else has been a “fish out of water,” with continual dropping the ball, mismanagement, lack of follow through putting our Monument at great risk and ultimate failure.
    – Committee members include: Harlan Ziegler (President), Doug Plack (VP), Adam Trask (wanna-be Project Mgr.), Craig Bradford (member) who more recently was to head-up securing Grants, which never happened, Kelly Schellong who has been heading up local fund raising since early 2016 and a couple three others who merely attend and are newer to the committee, but vote. My assessment as Architect of Record for our project is that other than Mike Young, no one else has professional construction knowledge &/or experience, nor do they understand the implications and risks associated with their actions or lack thereof. Just a group of local “good old boys.”
    – Unfortunately, the committee has not been pro-active & forthright about our Monument project progress, in fact avoiding current project progress or lack thereof communications. The less the community knows the better for them. It is now a charade on the committee’s part as they continue to operate in a reactionary, fumbling mode. The local community needs to make some very tough demands of the committee individuals ASAP, as their recent actions are greatly going to affect your Monument final product and and the community”s expectations. What you have seen for 10 years is not what you are going to get!
    – Traditionally, in the “real world” of development and construction, an architect can make a recommendation for individuals to be removed from a project as I did in the case of project manager Trask. Unfortunately the committee represents the “blind leading the blind.” I communicated that if track was working in the real world, he would have been fired based on his actions and lack thereof. It is clearly documented that committee member Bradford made it perfectly clear that Trask was incapable as project mgr. and had a devious agenda. It’s curious to note, as the record of the past 10 years will validate, that there has never been a problem with any of my works, communications, project professionalism, leadership or coordinations, until Trask was brought aboard by Harlan & the committee . In fact I have a letter of appreciation and recommendation from Harlan Ziegler and endless e-mails from various members praising me for all I did and have done. So what’s wrong with this picture?

  3. Charles,
    What is your timeline for completion on the Veteran’s Point of Honor Monument.
    And as the Monument “Architect of Record” (for the past 10 yrs.) having a professional role and responsibility to oversee each and every aspect of the project, reviewing, assessing, making recommendations and approvals to the Committee, what needs to happen to bring this project to completion?
    What are the duties and how many committee members do you need to work on the Point of Honor Monument project?
    Do committee members get paid?
    Is removing intrusive committee members within the architects powers?
    Are Ziegler, Bradford and Trask assigned duties other than committee members?
    Are they architects?
    Did you request their individual services?
    Do you want their services?
    My husband would say “The best opinions given are those opinions that are asked for.”
    If you did not request their services then they are intruding and complicating this project. They need to “but out” so you can finish this project.
    Is it possible to have public meetings so the community can modify the intrusions of committee members, freeing you to be an architect?
    How long will it take you to finish without any more intrusions?

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