MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday July 10, 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 – Stephen Jorgensen (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Janet Parks (Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation), Tom Mancini (Ft. Ord Reuse Authority), Bruce Evans (Ft. Ord Retiree Council), Barbara Nelson (City of Seaside), Julian Chacon (for Representative Sam Farr)
Absent – Eddie Pedrozo (Monterey County Military & Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission) (excused), Colleen Freeman (for Assembly member John Laird)
2. Public Comment:
Diane Sazata(?) reported that she was in possession of portraits of soldiers painted in Monterey by Red Cross volunteers during World War II. She would like them placed in the museum planned as an adjunct to the veterans’ cemetery. Mr. Bogan suggested she contact the Military & Veterans Affairs Office so that arrangements could be made at the appropriate time.
3. Approval of minutes of meeting June 12, 2008:
Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to accept minutes as distributed. Motion carried.
4. Receive report on Fort Ord Reuse Authority Board meeting held June 10, 2008: Jonathan Garcia (FORA) reported that representatives of the veteran community made presentations as the meeting that were well received by the FORA Board of Directors. Mr. Bogan noted that, at the meeting a presentation was made by Garden of Memories Memorial Park indicating interest and willingness to purchase the land designated as the “endowment parcel”. Ms Nelson indicated that a written response
had been made stating that , because the City of Seaside does not yet hold title to
the land that the offer was premature. Mr. Stewart reported that he had raised the issue of an MOU between the bodies having jurisdiction over the proposed cemetery land, as a means of expediting the process, and that FORA Executive Officer, Michael Houlemard, indicated that negotiation of an MOU could act to slow the process down instead of speeding it up. He also noted that Mr. Houlemard suggested that he meet with the CAC Special Action Committee to discuss possible ways of expediting the development of the cemetery. Mr J. Cook (RMA) noted that a discussion of “next steps” would follow the presentation of the Master Plan final draft.
5. Receive report on Draft Parker Flats Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Work Plan meeting held June 19, 2008:
Mr. Stewart repotted that he had attended this meeting on behalf of the CAC. The veteran community was well represented at the meeting and the update on the veterans’ cemetery project was well received. J. Cook stated that it appeared that the cleanup of the cemetery site would not be a factor in delaying the project. Kristina Richardi (RMA) reported that the clean up contactors have indicated that the veterans cemetery parcel had been fully cleared, and the endowment parcel 90% cleared, to a standard that permit construction of the cemetery. This would permit construction to begin, under the current development schedule, by 2011.
6. Receive informational report on possible availability of M-48 tanks for display at veterans’ memorial building/museum site or cemetery:
Mr. Stewart reported that he had been asked by a representative of the Ft. Ord clean up contractor if the CAC was interested in two “M-47” tanks for display at the proposed veterans’ memorial building, museum or cemetery. It requires that a letter be sent to FORA formally requesting donation of this equipment. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second that CAC make a formal request to for the tanks and any other appropriate memorabilia. Mr. Channell: What is the condition of the tanks and who will pay for any needed restoration? Mr. Stewart: One tank is ready for display and one needs work. There would be no charge for restoration. Supervisor Ila Mettee-McCutchon: What about storage? Mr. Stewart: They would be stored until needed. Mr. Aguillon: What about the Drill Sergeant statue that is mentioned in the Ad-Hoc Committee report? Ms Mettee-McCutchon: The statue is no longer FORA’s property. It was given to the Presidio of Monterey. Motion carried.
7. Receive final draft Master Plan report from RHAA:
Cordy Hill (RHAA): Distributed copies of the draft Master Plan and noted that all appendices are items previously provided to the CAC and the public. She noted that copies of both will be available from the Military & Veterans Affairs Office. Ms Hill then summarized the components of the draft Veterans Cemetery Master Plan, enabling legislation (AB 3035) and the federal State Veterans Cemetery Grant requirements and application process. J. Cook then discussed factors that impinge upon and control the various proposed timelines. Meeting are being scheduled between the County and the City of Seaside and the County and the State
Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss theses issues as well as what agreements
might be reached that will help move the development process. Mr Channell: Seaside is obviously a key participant in this process. Should local (Seaside) attend the meeting between the County and Seaside? J. Cook: This meeting is to define and explore the issues. Should issues arise that would impede the “fast-track” timeline, that would be the appropriate time for the veterans’ community to become involved. Ms Mettee-McCutchon: Participation in this process from local elected officials is important. With Rito Guerra called to active duty efforts should be made to get participation from someone who can represent both Senator Maldonado and Senator Denham. Julian Chacon (Rep. Sam Farr) reported that SB 1315, which passed the Senate in April has become bogged down in the House over issues other than the increase in federal reimbursements to State cemeteries for burial. The bill is not crucial in regard to whether this cemetery is built, but it would help. Mr. Jorgensen: Yes, an increase in the reimbursement would lower the amount needed to make the endowment fund viable. Mr. Chaco: It should be noted that the House has increased funding for the National Cemetery Administration, which favorably impacts the State Cemetery Grant program. Mr. Stewart: What is the chance that SB 1315 will pass? Mr. Bogan: The resistance is coming from legislators from the Midwest and East. Ms Mettee-McCutchon: Would it be of value to get local Filipino-American organizations involved in efforts to get the bill passed? Mr. Chacon: I think they already are. Mr. Garza: The State has already passed, or is about to pass, a resolution calling on Congress to enact the changes in benefits for Philippine veterans that are at issue in the pending federal legislation. Mr. Bogan called a special meeting to provide feedback on the draft Master Plan for July 31. Mr. Aguillon: CAC needs to get newspapers and television to print/show maps of and plans for the proposed cemetery. J. Cook: We can have the County Public Information Officer put together a press packet, but it needs CAC points of contact to respond to questions form the press and public. Mr. Villar and Mr. Channell: The points of contact should be the Board of Supervisors’ District Representatives on the CAC.
8. Next meeting /Adjournment:
Special meeting: July 31, 2008. Next regular meeting: August 14, 2008. Both at Marina Library Community Meeting Room, 190 Seaside Circle, Marina, 1:00 – 3:00 pm.
Meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.