MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday September 11, 2008
1:00 – 3:00 PM
1. Chair James Bogan called the meeting to order at 1:00 pm.
The Chair requested a moment of silence in memory of General William Gourley and in remembrance of September 11, 2001
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), 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)
Absent – Julian Chacon (representing Representative Sam Farr), Colleen Freeman (representing Assemblymember John Laird). No replacement for Rito Guerra has been named by Senator Maldonado.
2. Public Comment – None
3. Motion (Mr. Quinones) and second to approve the minutes of the August 14, 2008 minutes as mailed. Mr. Stewart asked that more detail of comments made during the meeting be included in the minutes. Motion carried.
4. Jim Cook, RDA, reported on a meeting between staff from the City of Seaside and County of Monterey, held August 29, 2008, regarding the cemetery project schedule. Mr. Cook described the meeting as “excellent” and “very productive”. Discussion in the meeting centered on moving the requested land cleanup to a residential standard from the “endowment” land parcel to the “habitat mitigation” parcel. He pointed out that there was no change in status proposed for the use of the endowment parcel. There will be a presentation of the draft Veterans’ Cemetery Master Plan at the Seaside City Council meeting at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 18. Supervisor Ila Mettee-McCutchon, who hosted the meeting added that more issues were resolved than raised, land cleanup timing issues were resolved and that all participants were willing to discuss issues and compromise. (Mr. Stewart) What about timeframes for completing the cemetery? (Mr. Cook): The change fits with the desired timelines. (Mr. Channell): What happens to the habitat parcel? (Mr. Cook): It gets cleaned to a higher standard for possible later development by the City of Seaside. No matter what the uses on that parcel, the cemetery remains intact. (Jill Anderson, Assistant City Manager, City of Seaside): The proposed change is a win for all parties. We are all working toward the same goal. (Mr. Pedrozo): What is Seaside’s goal for the development parcel? (Ms Anderson): We are still evaluating potential uses. We want to develop the best and most appropriate use. (Gordon Nakagowa): Does the proposed change have any impact on proposed ancillary projects for the cemetery area? (Several): No
5. Chair, James Bogan introduced Secretary Thomas Johnson, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CDVA) to report on September 11, 2008 meeting between CDVA representatives and County staff on grant application and endowment funding issues. Secretary Johnson remarked that the morning’s meeting was very productive. He was impressed already done as reflected in the draft Master Plan. The latest estimate on the funds need to report to the State Controller that the endowment is fully funded is $3.33 million, which will cover the gap between cemetery revenues and operating costs. The State will submit a preliminary State Veterans’ Cemetery Grant application to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the next “few months”. The draft Master Plan is an important part of the preliminary grant application. The timelines between the State estimate for the project and the Master Plan differ by about six months. CDVA is working to meld the timelines. (Mr. Cook): This was the most successful meeting with a State department in my entire career.
6. Master Plan report from RHAA (Cordy Hill, RHAA consultant): The Master Plan is being distributed as a draft because it has not yet been approved by the County of Monterey and the City of Seaside. It has been revised to address questions raised by the City of Seaside. The issue of water has been resolved. The County will provide the water for Cemetery operations. (Mr. Cook): After the September 18th presentation to the City of Seaside, the plan will be presented to the Board of Supervisors. (Mr. Stewart) What are the changes? Do they have any impact on the proposed ancillary uses? (Mr. Cook): The only changes are the ones discussed earlier. They concern the endowment and habitat parcels only, not the cemetery or other proposed uses adjacent. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to accept the final draft of the Master Plan and that it be forwarded to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the City of Seaside. (Mr. Evans): What about water? (See above.) (Mr. Channell): Does the proposed development for the “habitat” parcel create any problems for the cemetery project? (Supervisor Metee-McCutchon and Mr. Cook) No. (Ms Parks): What about the money for the endowment fund? (Mr. Cook): The pre-application process will go forward without the endowment being funded. (Mr. Aguillon): How are the County and the City working together? (Mr Cook): That is the purpose of taking the Master Plan to the City Council and County Board of Supervisors. (Supervisor Metee-McCutchon): The City and County have nothing to say about what uses the other puts its portion of the land to. (Mr. Villar): You cannot hold up the project based upon possible future uses of the land around the cemetery. Motion carried with Mr. ChannellI opposed.
7. Discussion of next steps, future actions and redefining the role of the CAC: (Mr. Cook): The Master Plan has been the focus of this Committee since its inception. Now that it is completed the CAC has to consider what its ongoing role will be in getting the cemetery project completed. Two things that seem crucial are fundraising and advocacy. (Mr. Garza): To fully realize the entire cemetery complex as planned takes money. The CAC needs to decide how we get there. (Mr. Villar): We need to provide oversight to the cemetery development process. With the completion of the plan, we may no longer be an advisory body. (Mr. Bogan): Article II of the CAC bylaws describe our role. (Mr. Stewart): What are our parameters? (Mr. Cook): Whatever it takes to get the project completed, including advocacy and oversight. (Mr. Nakagowa): The usual fund raising methods will not generate the return needed. Part of the development of the “habitat” parcel needs to go toward that effort. (Mr. Channell): Are we talking just about the ancillary uses? (Mr. Bogan): Both. Don’t try to set limits on our efforts. (Col. Pamela Martis): No car washes or bake sales. You need to look at the efforts of other foundations. (Supervisor Metee-McCutchon): The effort needs to involve not only fundraising, but “friend raising”. Keep people informed and involved using something like a newsletter. (Mr. Aguillon): The veterans’ service organizations need to be involved. We need to improve CAC visibility and get the media involved. (Mr. Mancini): How many VFW and American Legion posts are there in the three counties? It would help to get some exposure through national veterans’ service organization media participation. (Mr. Bogan): There are 41 veterans’ organizations in Monterey County. 21 are active in the Monterey County United Veterans Council.
8. Election of CAC officers: Nominated for Chair Jack Stewart (by Mr. Villar) and James Bogan (by Mr. Aguillon). Mr. Bogan elected as Chair. No nominations for Vice-Chair. Mr. Stewart will continue to serve as Vice Chair
9. Meeting adjourned at 2:00 pm. Next meeting September 11, 2008.
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.