BY DONNA WESTFALL
The Crescent City-Del Norte County Taxpayers Association has been created. There will be a meeting announced soon. Fundraising has been well received by the community. Referendums to take the latest sewer rate increase to the ballot will be circulated starting July 3rd. 167 valid signatures are required from CITY ONLY REGISTERED VOTERS. The goal is to collect at least twice as many as needed.
One of the goals of the newly formed Taxpayers Association is to expose corruption. We support whistleblowing by individuals who see wrongdoing inside government.
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg exposed the Pentagon Papers. These papers disclosed that early on it was known that the Viet Nam War was unwinnable. Former President Johnson had systematically lied to both the public and Congress about the war. When Nixon took office, he had plans to continue escalating the war. Nixon and Kissinger started a campaign to discredit Ellsberg; which resulted in his being charged with theft, conspiracy and violations of the Espionage Act. The case was dismissed at a mistrial. However, Ellsberg put his career and personal freedom at risk by disclosing the papers to the New York Times.
While those living and working in Crescent City are not currently at risk of restarting the war in Iraq; we are at risk of losing homes, high unemployment, more and more business closures, and ever increasing water/sewer rates are a certainty.
On the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP).
The City didn’t listen to the public back in 2007 when they accepted the one and only bid for $37 million (increased to $43.8 million). The City Council was handed a $19 million budget but 3 months later accepted the one and only bid for $37+ million that the ratepayers cannot afford. Over 200 people told them so in 2007 at their workshop. Since then City operates the WWTP in the red and will continue to do so.
There are so many unanswered questions.
Is it because former Crescent City Public Works Director, Jim Barnts, (also real estate developer) urgently needed water/sewer to his properties behind Wal Mart for developers to build low income apartments?
Is it because the bid was rigged/fixed?
Is it because some of the invoices were falsified?
Is it because of double and triple billing?
Is it because the 2400 square foot lab costing $2.4 million was supposed to pay for itself within two and a half years and hasn’t made a dime yet in seven years?
Is it because the City Councils during 2008 through 2011 chose to berate and censure the only Councilmember bringing these issues up instead of investigating them?
Is it because we have a stacked deck when it comes to the Grand Jury and they didn’t investigate thoroughly?
Is it because the City lied to us about the actual expansion portion of the upgrade? Raise your hands if you think the expansion aspect is truly 11.8%. (Do you finally understand that expansion is not to be paid for by ratepayers?)
Is it because the WWTP continues to have problems operating correctly?
Is it because the City has been hit with violations amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars when the reasoning for the upgrades was because of having to pay so much in fines? Why did the upgrades not bring us into compliance as promised?
Is it because seven years into the recession more and more businesses are closing?
Is it time for the County to take over the WWTP? After all, more sewer users live in the County than in the City. County ratepayers are irate over not being able to vote on the referendum. But for all those who want to help, county people can definitely circulate and gather signatures on the referendum starting July 3rd. They can get involved in the Taxpayers Association.
Is it time to create a Special District?
Reliable sources have stated up to $15 million was spent or misappropriated due to fraud and corruption. And into whose pocket did that money go? Do you think this should be shoved under the carpet and forgotten,or do you think it’s time for those involved in the misdeeds to pay the piper?
There are plenty of people out there that know what took place. It’s time for them to come forward and clear their conscience. We should not have to continue paying for the misdeeds of those in high places but we will continue to do so until the questions are answered.
Whistle blowers welcome here.