Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

BY DONNA WESTFALL

Kelly Schellong

Who can resist $154/month sewer bills?

That’s one scenario proposed on what it would take to make the deficit go away on the waste water treatment plant (WWTP).

What’s another option?

Bankruptcy, but that was not mentioned nor discussed in the City Council meeting that took place Monday night, July 21st.

At $154/month sewer bill I assured the city council they could all be guaranteed to be recalled.  The other option, a 4% annual rate increase from now until the cows come home.  How many of you get a guaranteed 4% annual rate increase?  Not going to happen with Social Security is it?

Now,  how short are some people’s memories? Councilwoman Schellong probably doesn’t remember voting to approve a $35,000 design error that was stuck on the backs of the ratepayers.  Or the questions about Stover Engineering double and triple billing which was brought up before she and 3 others on the council voted to approve another $895,000 on his contract.

Or how about the City of Santa Paula that contracted with a firm to do their WWTP for a fixed rate and by a fixed date.  If they didn’t finish by that date, they were not paid.  And no change orders. Funny how someone (Jim Barnts) who is considered a major real estate developer never mentioned that to our city council in 2007. Does Schellong remember that Wahlund et al, did not finish the WWTP by their original date; however, they did manage to finish a WWTP for Lucky 7 during the same construction period as our WWTP.

Least we forget, we had 20 change orders on our plant which is another way of contractors stating “Let’s get more money “.  Plus, questions directed at former Public Works Director Jim Barnts, about the problems in the lab.  First, where was his documentation on how he derived that the $2.5 million lab would pay for itself in 2 years.  They haven’t made a profit yet.  Speaking of the lab, while the very expensive copper roof will outlast all of us, things are falling apart under the roof.  The issues of light’s having duct tape over them, the”bad air” flowing outside on the same wall not too far from where the “good air” comes in, scratches on the counter tops, and cabinets falling apart to name a few…. well, they haven’t been fixed and no one knows when they will be fixed.

Speaking of the lab, where in the bid docs does it say anything about a lab?  Plenty is written about the $30 million plus for the very expensive, MBR system (Membrane Bioreactor), very expensive to maintain and expensive to replace parts.  Does our sewer system even work right yet? We didn’t have an MBR system before 2007, does that mean the entire $30 mil plus goes towards expansion?  Since Prop 218 spells out that expansion is to be borne by developers and not the ratepayers what exactly is our expansion component?  Certainly not 11.8%.

Schellong needs to refresh her memory by watching the old video’s of prior council meetings.  Then Schellong ought to write up a list of all the things she voted to approve that put the burden of $43.8 million on the backs of the ratepayers and instead of asking, “How did we get here?” she ought to ask herself why she voted the way she did.

If Schellong is truly interested in trying to correct this situation, then I suggest she start to ask questions.  The same ones that were asked in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

Is there truth to the rumor that after Lonnie Levy was fired from the WWTP, Jim Barnts and his buddies went in, took out all of the boxes of evidence Lonnie was collecting proving fraud and corruption on the WWTP and Jim/buddies destroyed every single shed of paper within 24 hours?

There are probably good reasons why many people in the community believe Jim Barnts should be in jail. Maybe Schellong hasn’t bothered to speak with those people.  If she had, then maybe she’ll finally answer her own question, “How did we get here?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Schellong Wonders, “How Did We Get Here?””
  1. Kelly You have some nerve asking such a question in light of all that you have voted for. When the conflict of interest with Barnts was pointed out you defended his right to do what he wanted, even though this whole project was so he could have hook ups for his proposed apartment/housing project. You also voted on a single bid from a company that had a recent history of price gouging (Rio Dell) along with a complicit city manager (Eli Naffah) who was city manager at the time Rio Dell had the same construction company come in at twice the proposed budget. Didn’t take much for us lowly citizens to find the info, it was your JOB to check into such things. When the People said we can’t afford this much of a loan, you scoffed at us and ignored what was obvious…WE COULDN’T AFFORD TO BUY A CADILLAC IN OUR ECONOMICALLY DEPRESSED COMMUNITY. You were being lied to by engineers, public works and all kinds of special interests yet you wouldn’t even look into fraud when it was pointed out to you. We got HERE because you aren’t as bright as you think you are and never listened once to people who knew more than you. THAT’S how we got here. Mismanagement from those who are supposed to guard against such massive and costly mistakes is a theme here, and you’re the cheerleader of the group. Way to go, now please, go.

  2. the key to this whole wwtp stuff is finding out the date that the original contract for the loan was signed, sealed, and delivered before the people voted. So the votes had to fail and Dianne Nickerson, former city clerk made sure that the count failed. (along with jim Barnts who hand carried the votes) The city is attempting to get a re-modification on the loan. the city is basically in bankruptcy, and Susan Mayer is negotiating with SRF the bankruptcy details because when you file bankruptcy, creditors come forth and decide the amount the city can afford to pay….I would look in bankruptcy court to see if they have filed….

  3. I sincerely hope Schellong is not seriously asking the public for a reply. Especially when local government, from judges on down, allow insurance brokers to get away with embezzlement of the public’s premiums by changing all of the counts of felony to a misdemeanor. Why did the Honorable Judge Morrison do this? Because Mr. Young and wife are guards at the prison! If he missed time off work to serve his prison sentence he would be fired and how could he guard the prisoners without a rifle? And this was the corker for me…he was punished with community service! The Judge said maybe Officer Young could be a coach on a little league team. Now if that is not a parent’s dream come true!

    Kelly Schellong, you ask how could this happen? Let me ask you hypothetical question. If a person calls you and tells you, the Mayor, in the strictest of confidence that he has proof of those who are committing (financially and environmentally costly) illegal acts at the WWTP. And, you make arrangements to meet with this person. Prior to meeting with him you call Jim Barnts, our former Public Works Director, and in charge of everything going on at the WWTP, and tell him of the whistle blower meeting. As the concerned citizen opens the door to confidentially expose to you who are committing the crimes, you ask, “You have something you want to tell me”? To this person’s shock and horror, standing in front of him is Jim Barnts and his cohorts. Kelly, does this make you a cold-hearted accomplice or just cold-hearted?

    Because of the brutality shown to Mr. Dave Egan by the Sheriff and his department, I am signing this anonymous.

    Due to the seemingly mass exodus of financially/politically prominent persons and those county and city officials who have chosen not to run for re-election, I wonder, are the coffers empty? Is there no more money to “earn”? Are there only negative balances. And who will be held responsible for these deficits?

    Are you moving too, Councilwoman Schellong?

    Have you heard the Steve Miller band?

    “Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
    You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
    He ain’t gonna let those two escape justice
    He makes his living off the peoples taxes

    Bobbie Sue, whoa, whoa, she slipped away
    Billy Joe caught up with her the very next day
    They got the money, hey
    You know they got away
    They headed down south and they’re still running today
    Singing go on take the money and run
    Go on take the money and run………

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