MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday June 12, 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), Leonard Ortiz (District 3), James Bogan (District 4), Ralph “Norm” Channell (District 5), Jack Stewart (United Veterans Council).
Ex officio – Stephen Jorgensen (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Janet Parks (Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation), 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), Colleen Freeman (for Assembly member John Laird)
Absent – Frank Aguillon (District 2), Abel Quinones (United Veterans Council) excused, Rito Guerra (for Senator Abel Maldonado)
2. Public Comment – None
3. Approval of minutes of meeting May 8, 2008 – Motion (Mr. Villar) and second to accept minutes. Motion carried.
4. Chairman Bogan, with the permission of the CAC, combined agenda items #4 and #7. Mr. Stewart reported on the May 12, 2008 meeting Community Workshop on the Draft Parker Flats Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Work Plan. He noted that there was significant attendance by the veteran community at this workshop. Veteran group input regarding the veterans’ cemetery was well received. Good contacts were made with other community representatives were made after the meeting. Stan Cook, ESCA Program Manager, was introduced as the ESCA liaison to the CAC. Mr. S. Cook announced that there would be another workshop on cleanup efforts at the Bridge Center on June 19. Jim Cook (RMA) stated that the participation of cemetery proponents at these workshops is important and
encouraged members of the CAC and the veteran community at large to attend the next meeting and all future meetings of this kind. Kristie Reimer (LFR Inc.) reported that meetings with the agencies regulating the cleanup process were positive and that the agencies were being supportive of the cemetery effort.
5. Cordy Hill (RHAA) reported that two minor changes had been made to the cemetery site plan. Based upon some changes in federal cemetery design preferences, the columbarium had been moved away from the cemetery administration building. Also, based upon the Ft. Ord base cleanup report the proposed site for the amphitheater and parking areas have been slightly changed. The "fast track" schedule was also amended reflect the positive news about the amount of cleanup that has been done at the site and the fact that the State can submit a National Cemetery Grant application prior to the transfer of the land to the State.
6. Ms Hill distributed a copy of the executive summary of the site Master Plan and described the components of the final Master Plan document. The final plan will be presented to the CAC at the July 12 meeting. Mr. Stewart expressed his concern, and that of the Monterey County Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission, about the proposed 18 to 24 month process for an RFP on development of the cemetery "endowment parcel". This process would set the completion of the cemetery back for up to two years. Mr. Jorgensen confirmed that, based upon current law, the State would not submit a grant application until sufficient funds were in the endowment. Mr. J. Cook pointed out a number of the political, administrative and logistical obstacles to getting cemetery construction started by 2011. Mr. Stewart acknowledged the intricacies of the entire process, but reiterated the belief is that the resolution of the endowment issue is crucial. Mr. Channell proposed that all local the jurisdictions involved in the cemetery join in a Memorandum of Understanding or Agreement committing to the completion of the cemetery project. This might provide sufficient assurance that funding for the endowment would be forthcoming to the State to make the federal grant application. It was suggested that this issue be brought before the FORA Board, by CAC members and the veteran community at its meeting on June 13. Edith Johnsen endorsed the MOU/MOA proposal as a means of getting all the issues regarding the cemetery into the open and resolved. Mr. Jorgensen noted that pending federal legislation (SB 1315) and other recent legislative changes would greatly reduce the amount needed to make the endowment fund viable. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to assign the issue of a MOU/MOA to the CAC Special Action Committee (Mr. Stewart, Ms Johnsen, Gordon Nakagawa and Mr. Bogan) for further investigation and development. Motion carried. Mr. Bogan noted that Congressman Farr is already on record
as being in support of SB 1315. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second that the CAC go on record as encouraging the County of Monterey and FORA to add support for SB 1315 to their respective legislative platforms. Motion carried. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and
second that the CAC accept the changes to the land use portion of the Master Plan as presented. Motion carried.
Mr. Bogan encouraged CAC members to get veterans to attend the June 13 FORA Board meeting and to get people in other legislative districts to contact their legislators in support of SB 1315.
Mr. Nakagawa suggested that the CAC try to get the involvement of organizations such as the 82nd and 101st Airborne Associations in the cemetery effort.
Mr. Jorgensen (to Ms Hill): How much do you estimate the total cost of the design work necessary for the final State Cemetery grant application would be? Ms Hill: $800,000 to $1 million.
8. Meeting adjourned at 2:05 pm. Next meeting July 10, 2008 at the Marina Library Community Meeting Room, 190 Seaside Circle, Marina, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.