Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

By Donna Westfall – October 19, 2017 – When we’re wrong, we apologize.  And, we made a mistake.  The mistake was misspelling Aadam Trask’s name.  How do I know this.  Because he stopped me in Fisherman’s Restaurant to complain about misspelling his name.  I didn’t know him from Adam, so I asked him, “Who are you?”  He wouldn’t tell me.  He just wanted to continue complaining.

Here’s what he complained about:  Charles Slert’s 3 part article about the Point of Honor Veteran’s Memorial Monument pointing out some of Aadam Trask’s shortcomings as project manager.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out I was talking with Aadam Trask.  And I did try to make it clear to him that he had every right to respond.

In follow-up to our short conversation peppered with the f-word and other unkindly things about me and Crescent City Times, I sent Aadam Trask the following questions via email requesting a response by 5 pm, Friday the 13th of October.

Here are the seven questions:

1. Are you getting paid to work as Project Manager? If yes, how much and when did it start?
2. Do you have drawing(s) of the “new,” or “revised”, or “re-designed” Point of Honor, Veterans Memorial Monument?
3. Do you have a timeline of events so that the public can be made aware as to a completion date?  If yes, can I see it?
4. Do you have a Project Budget showing total costs with breakdowns by phase for my review?
5. Have any grants been secured for the original Slert Design, or for the revised design?  If yes, when were they obtained, who provided the grant $, and how much?
6. I understand there was an agreement – “Architects/Engineer/Owner Agreement” spelling out the roles and responsibilities that was approved on March 27, 2017 by a 5-2 vote.  Where is a copy of that agreement and can I see it?
7.  Do you have any idea when the project will be completed with;
     (a) building permits,
     (b) by phase,
     (c) approval by the Calif. Coastal Commission?
Aadam Trask did not respond to any of the questions.  Guess they want to keep this a secret for the time being.
I did see meeting minutes wherein he tried resigning as project manager on February 22, 2017, but Kelly Schellong moved to decline Aadam’s resignation and the motion was seconded by Jeremy Herber and passed.
As recently as 7 days ago, I received a copy of Kelly Schellong’s email to committee members:
“Hi all, I have been told that Roger and Bob have been discussing the project and it’s status at their morning meetings that Donna Westfall attends? I also saw that Bob congratulated Donna Westfall on Facebook for her accurate ‘reporting’on her website, to include the Point of Honor (which actually was just printing Charles letter). I’m interested to hear from Roger the details of what has been discussed and the perception he believes is out there from these discussions.  I know we had as a committee agreed to keep the changes confidential until we could go through the maneuvering with the coastal commission and working with Senator McGuire but now that Charles is working with Donna (which is funny to me knowing the history), I’d like to have an update so I can accurately inform people when I’m asked. Thank you!”
To which  I sent Kelly Schellong the following e-mail:
Kelly,
#1) When publishing articles in www.crescentcitytimes.com, I read everything first. I don’t have to agree with them. Those 3 part articles were by Charles Slert.  And, quite frankly, I was not aware of what was going on.
#2) When I met Aadam Trask at Fisherman’s Restaurant Wednesday morning, he refused to identify himself to me although he had plenty of denigrating things to say about me and our news source, Crescent City Times. Despite his demeanor, I told him he had every right to respond and as a matter-of-fact I had questions for him.  See my email to him attached.
#3) Yes, of course I remember the disrespectful way my fellow council members treated me during the ’08 – ’12 years I was on the City Council complaining of what looked like corruption on the WWTP job…. you and Charles included.  See #4.
#4) I usually don’t hold a grudge as compared to some of the other small-minded people I’ve encountered in this town.
#5) At the ground breaking ceremony a few months ago,  I asked you questions concerning the financials of the Point of Honor – which you didn’t seem to know very much about.  Matter-of-fact, you couldn’t even give me contact info to Harlan Zeigler.
#6) I asked those questions of you because after so many years I couldn’t understand why it was taking so long to get the job done.
#7) I meet quite often at the Town Hall Meetings held at 6 am at Fisherman’s restaurant.  Sup. Bob Berkowitz is there nearly 99% of the time.  Sup. Roger Gitlin is there less often.  We discuss a whole range of subjects.  I don’t see where either of them have had much to say about the Point of Honor other than to parrot my sentiments – which is, why isn’t it done yet?
#8) I’m wondering if you, or anyone involved with the Point of Honor is informing all those who have contributed money that there may be a design change.  Don’t you think that people are entitled to know what it’s going to look like if the committee is making changes?  Sorta sounds like a bait and switch and I know that’s not the intention of the committee.
#9) I believe all involved would like to see this accomplished with the least amount of controversy and a huge effort to just get the thing done.
#10)  Like it or not, this is news worthy.  So, Kelly, if you would like to contribute any information that would enhance the discussion, I would welcome it and publish it.  This goes for all members of the committee.
Now, getting back to our apology to Aadam Trask –  Aadam with two “A’s,” we sincerely apologize for misspelling your name. It won’t happen again.
9 thoughts on “We all make mistakes – our’s was with Aadam Trask”
  1. I see some work going on at the “S” turns at the POH. Does anyone know what’s going on? If the POH is estimated to cost about $800,000 and they’re about $780,000 short, isn’t it pretty irresponsible to make a cursory start without any means of finishing? Did any of the POH leaders EVER respond to the questions posed? Are they just going to plant trees?
    Incredibly expensive trees? Great, now every tourist can see it and say, “look, that’s another unfinished project lined with good intentions”? What I resent is the cloak of secrecy surrounding the project while asking the public to donate. With all the social media available, there’s no excuse for declining to offer some form of update.

    Nine years is enough. Please tell me it’s not another scam. Let’s see some accounting. Are there any updates at all?

    1. Thank you for commenting, Wes. I could not agree more. As I have mentioned earlier, if they are short on dough let’s put up some flagpoles and landscaping, put SOMETHING up there with the idea that it could be expanded later.

      I am ready as many of you are, to pick up a damn pick and shovel and do it ourselves.

      Unfortunately, we should all think twice before donating anything unless we know there is something concrete going on (no pun intended). We are grateful to Aadam, as we are to all vets for their service, but as a project communicator, he sucks.

    2. Now the estimated price tag has gone up to 800,000 for a slab of concrete and a few flagpoles with an eagle in the middle? Oh please! I smell male bovine manure.

  2. Donna, I think the availability of funds to work on this project is very much on folk’s minds. Besides Kelly or Aadam, can you reach out to Doug or Craig or other committee members for answers to questions? I would hope they would want to keep credibility.

  3. Well, well, well! A Lori Cowan appointee doing shady things! The plot certainly does thicken. Perhaps someone ought to see what property interests Mr. Traask has tied up in this monument.

  4. Besides these matters, I’m trying to get something clarified. I thought at the ground breaking, they said Kelly Schellong was hired to raise funds. But here it looks like she’s a voting member of the committee. Seems a conflict. Anyone know?

    And I sure agree with WTF, I want to see some form of accounting for the donations.

    1. Wes, your interest in clarifications is correct. Ms. Schellong was not hired by the Committee, she volunteered to be the local “Fund Raiser”, which is very different than heading up the “Grants Sub-Committee” which once again had nearly 11 individuals tasked at one time or another to apply for and secure Grants Funds over the past 10 years, never securing a single “Grant.” This is exactly what happens when you have so many individuals involved, people coming and going and inadequate leadership and no follow up/follow through. Failure! The individuals by name were: Ben Cameron, Tommy Sparrow (RIP), Lisa Tripp, Lesley Orr, Jennifer Henson, Lori (@ Adam/Ashby), Angelina Bieber, Craig Bradford, American Legion (new post) never happened, and additionally Rich & Jan Morehouse and Melisa Blackburn were approached and declined. This is the history of your failed Committee regarding “Grants.” Note, that is 10 years, not 10 months. Additionally, it wasn’t until late last July 2016 that the committee secured its 501c-3 certification. Gross incompetence from the top to the bottom. The Committee and each of all of those individuals should be held accountable accordingly for their gross failures and in the end directly causing your Point of Honor Monument to fail. And yes Ms. Schellong is a voting member even though she has no Construction experience or expertise.

  5. So What’s wrong with this picture besides everything? Aadam Trask is the project manager, he’s supposed to know the answer to all of the questions posed. A project manager is supposed to manage the project. But just as he has since coming aboard on the project two years ago, he avoids the issues at hand, is a poor communicator at best, attempts to manipulate situations and people and purposely misrepresents the facts. So it is no surprise that he would not answer any of the questions put forward to him by Ms. Westfall. And don’t expect him to ever answer the questions. Having worked with him for the past couple years, he has not exhibited the highest level of integrity, based on his words, actions or lack of actions. Trask repeatedly avoided answering my questions as Project Architect/Architect of Record, over the past two years, so I have first hand experience of his avoidance. Trask is substantially, the responsible individual for my original, fully approved, Point of Honor Monument Design being “Abandoned” by the Committee this past May 26, 2017, after ten years of selfless work and contributions to their direct benefit.

    So it is also not surprising to learn last week in an E-mail by Kelly Schellong (Committee Member/Fund Raiser) confirmed what I knew to be the case stating, “I know we had as a committee agreed to keep the changes confidential until we could go through the maneuvering with the coastal commission and working with Senator McGuire…I’d like to have an update so I can accurately inform people when I’m asked.” This folks is called willful collusion, corruption, fraud and Monument misrepresentation. So not only does Trask avoid answering very timely and relevant questions nor is your Veterans Committee being forth coming and telling you, the supporting community, what is going on with your Point of Honor Veterans Monument. individually and collectively, they have failed you greatly.

  6. Thank you for the update, Donna. I did not see a specific question on, “is there any money left?” from the thousands donated by caring citizens. We all want a fitting tribute for our brave veterans, but why not take the money that is left, put up some flagpoles and a small memorial, and put SOMETHING out there to honor our heroes? Don’t they deserve it? We desperately need to get something accomplished in this town!

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