MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTE
E
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday May 8, 2008
1:00 – 3:00 PM

 

1.         Chair James Bogan called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm. A roll call of members was conducted.

Present – Ralph Villar (District 1), Frank Aguillon (District 2), Leonard Ortiz (District 3), James Bogan (District 4), Ralph “Norm” Channell (District 5), Abel Quinones (United Veterans Council), Jack Stewart (United Veterans Council).

Ex officio – Steve Jorgensen (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Eddie Pedrozo (Monterey County Military & Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission) Tom Mancini (Ft. Ord Reuse Authority), Bruce Evans (Ft. Ord Retiree Council), Barbara Nelson (City of Seaside), Julian Chacon (for Representative Sam Farr)

­Absent –  Janet Parks (Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation), Colleen Freeman (for Assembly member John Laird) Rito Guerra (for Senator Abel Maldonado)

 

2.                  Public Comment – None

 

3.         Approval of minutes of meeting April 10, 2008 – Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to accept minutes with the amendment that Supervisor Ila Mettee-McCutchon instructed Jim Cook to work on improved communication with the Central Coast Cemetery Foundation and the CAC.  Motion carried.

 

4.         Consider revision of the bylaws to add a representative from the families of deceased veterans to the CAC – After discussion on whether a family member of a deceased veteran should be added to the CAC as a voting or ex-officio member, Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second that the CAC by-laws be amended to add a family member of a deceased veteran to the CAC as an ex-officio member.  Question (Mr. Mancini):  How would this person be selected?  Would it be done by the Board of Supervisors or this Committee?  Mr. Cook: The proposed by-laws change would be submitted for approval to the Board of Supervisors and, if approved, the CAC would select the new ex-officio member.  Motion carried.

 

5, 6.     (Agenda items 5 and 6 were combined.)  Receive final draft of existing conditions report from RHAA, including CAC and stakeholder feedback and receive report from RHAA on refinement of the site plan and project implementation schedule – ­Mr. Cook stated that there were three aspects to these reports for the CAC to consider: 1) Review of the existing conditions report; 2) Review of a newly developed slide show presentation for approval and possible presentation to FORA and the Board of Supervisors, and; 3) Review of a schedule of implementation of the project.

              Slide show: Cordy Hill (RHAA) reviewed the presentation for the CAC.  Question (Mr. Aguillon): Is the design, as presented, final?  Ms Hill: All the elements in this design will be in the final plan, but the federal government has final review and approval.  Ms Mettee-McCutchon: It is time to remind the two boards (Board of Supervisors & FORA) that this project is alive and well and evolving.  An information presentation, such as this slide show, to both would be appropriate.  Mr. Channell: All the Board appointed members of the CAC should keep their individual Board members updated as to what is going on with the cemetery.  Mr. Bogan & Mr. Stewart: This presentation is intended as a supplement to ongoing reports to individual Board members.  It also gives them the opportunity to have a public discussion about the project.  Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to accept and approve the slide show presentation.  Unknown: The final slide needs to include information about the tax deductibility and federal tax ID number for the Central Coast Cemetery Foundation.  Mr. Channell: All CAC members should have copies of the presentation.  Motion carried.  Ms Hill: The tax ID information will be added to the final slide.

            Conditions/site plan: Ms Hill: After discussion with California Department of Veterans Affairs, some revisions to the location of the maintenance yard, amphitheater and parking areas were made.  Mr. Jorgensen: Would the change in the location of the amphitheater make the State responsible for its maintenance? Ms Hill: No, although adjacent to, it is not intended to be part of the cemetery and would not be maintained by the State.  Mr. Aguillon: Is these enough parking? Ms Hill: All parking has been designed in accordance with federal standards.

            Timelines: Mr. Cook: How long will it be until we break ground?  Following standard operating procedures, it will not be until 2015, which is not acceptable.  Accelerating the process can move groundbreaking to 2011.  This requires getting FORA to speed up the cleanup process, getting the federal government (VA) to approve a cemetery grant and hold the funding until the land is cleaned up and getting the State to submit the grant application predicated on the promise of future funding.  This last item will require legislative assistance.  Ms Hill: Discussed the various factors controlling the timelines for the cleanup and construction process.  Stan Cook (FORA): Mr. Cook gave an overview of the property.  He pointed out that the Army had cleaned up some of proposed site and that effort was being reviewed by regulatory agencies (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTC)).  A FORA workshop on the cleanup work plan is scheduled for May 12.  Cleanup on the remaining sections of the cemetery site should begin in late 2008 or early 2009 and should take six months.  Regulatory agency review is what will take time.  There is a public meeting with the regulators scheduled for June 19.  Public testimony will be taken.  This is an opportunity for the public to emphasize how important this project is to the community and request that the review process be accelerated as much as possible.  Mr. Mancini: Described the cleanup process.  Unknown and Mr. Mancini: Described how the military used the site and what is liable to be found there.  General discussion of variations of the approval and development processes.  Mr. Cook and Mr. Bogan: It is important that the veteran community attend and participate in the upcoming public meetings to communicate the importance of this project to the community.  Mr Stewart: What is the status of the endowment parcel?  Mr. J. Cook: The City of Seaside in beginning of an RFP process for development of the parcel.  That process should be finished in 18 months.  Mr. Stewart: Is the State going to be willing to begin the cemetery grant application process without the endowment being funded.  Mr. Jorgensen: It would take legislative action.  Mr Stewart: It took 14 years of working with the legislature to get as far as authorization of      the endowment.  I am not optimistic about being successful in getting the existing legislation modified in a timely manner.

 

7.         Meeting adjourned at 2:20 pm.  Next meeting is Thursday June 12, 2008 at Marina Library Community Meeting Room, 190 Seaside Circle, Marina, 1:00 – 3:00 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.