MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
Thursday November 13, 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), Eddie Pedrozo (Monterey County Military & Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission), Tom Mancini (Ft. Ord Reuse Authority), Jill Anderson (City of Seaside), Bruce Evans (Ft. Ord Retiree Council), Julian Chacon (representing Representative Sam Farr), Colleen Freeman (representing Assemblymember John Laird).
Absent – No replacement for Rito Guerra has been named by Senator Maldonado.
2. Public Comment – Colleen Freeman announced that this will be here last meeting, as Assembly member Laird has been termed out.
3. Motion (Mr. Quinones) and second to approve the minutes of the August 14, 2008 minutes as mailed. Motion carried.
4. Jim Cook reported on the November 21st presentation of the Cemetery Master Plan to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. He thanked the members of the veteran community for attending the hearing. The Board of Supervisors approved all actions recommended by staff. Mr. Garza added that the response from Board members, both during and after the presentation was very positive. On the consent calendar at the November 21st meeting was a proposed change to CAC by-laws adding an ex-officio member, representing veterans’ families, to the CAC. This action was approved and it is up to the CAC, if it so desires to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on who should be appointed to that seat. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second that Edith Johnsen be recommended by the CAC to the Board for appointment. Mr. Stewart noted that a number of people made strong endorsements of the Cemetery Master Plan at the presentation on November 21st. There was discussion on expression of “dissenting” opinions by CAC members to the Board. It was noted that the comments were not a dissent, but an expression of concern about development on what had been designated as the “habitat mitigation” portion of the cemetery property.
5. Supervisor Ila Mettee McCutchon reported on a meeting on fund raising strategies held October 31, 2008. She noted that the meeting was productive and dealt with the relationship between entities raising funds for the endowment and the construction of the ancillary projects around the cemetery and the CAC and possible strategies for fundraising. Edith Johnsen stated that it was important that fund raising efforts be directed at the entire community, not just the veterans’ organizations and some steps that could be taken toward that end. She noted that is not the role of the CAC to raise funds, but it can be part of the effort. Mr. Aguillon expressed a concern about the burial of homeless veterans and other veterans who cannot afford burial in private cemeteries. Mr. Stewart added that the neither the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation nor the CAC had the expertise needed for this kind of fundraising effort and that a professional fund raiser, working on behalf of the Foundation, is an essential part of this effort. Mr. Bogan asked for volunteers to serve on a committee to act as liaison between the CAC and the Foundation fund raising efforts. Mr. Channell: Are these fundraising efforts for the cemetery endowment fund or for the ancillary projects? Mr. Bogan: Primarily for the ancillary projects. Mr. Cook: It is possible that the proceeds from the sale of the endowment parcel may not be realized before June 30, 2009. In that case, funds raised by the Foundation could be used to supplement the State’s cemetery endowment fund. These funds then would be repaid once the proceeds from the land sale. Mr. Channell: Isn’t that mixing apples and oranges? I would like it recorded that I think we should seek legal advice on the fundraising issue. Mr. Villar: Fundraising and use of the funds are the responsibility of the Foundation, not the CAC. Juan Sanchez: This discussion points out why a professional fundraiser is necessary. The message about why the money is being raised and what it is going to be used for needs to be clearly articulated to the public. Ms Johnsen: It has to be made clear that the Foundation does the fundraising and the proposed CAC subcommittee acts as liaison between the Foundation and the CAC and communicates any ideas from the CAC that may contribute to the fundraising efforts. Mr. Evans: Does this mean that all the money that the Foundation has raised goes into the endowment? Does Seaside contribute anything toward the $3 million, now or in the future? Mr. Mancini: Seaside has no choice. Mr. Bogan: The first priority is the cemetery. Until the endowment is filled that is where all donations should be going. Members of the Funding Liaison subcommittee will be James Bogan, Jack Stewart, Abel Quinones, Edith Johnsen and Eddie Pedrozo. The subcommittee will meet immediately after this meeting. Gordon Nakagawa: Is there any way to be sure the value of the endowment parcel land, given current economic conditions, will be sufficient to meet the needs to fill the endowment? Ms Anderson: We are in very uncertain economic times. With the estimates that have been provided we are very hopeful that the property will be worth a sufficient amount of money to cover the $3.4 million. It is anticipated funding for the ancillary projects will have to come from private sources. Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to establish Fund Raising Liaison subcommittee. Motion carried.
6. Mr. Jorgenson reported on the status of progress on the National Cemetery Grant pre-application. He is in the process of preparing the pre-application package and the draft is being reviewed in Sacramento right now. Mr. Channell: At what point do you submit this pre-application to USDVA? Do you need to have the money in the “Laird Fund” before the application is submitted. Mr. Jorgenson: The pre-application could be ready to be sent in the next two days. Based upon my reading of the application form the State has only to have the authority to obligate the funds but the funds do not have in place at the time it submitted.
7. Mr. Garza provided an update on Master Plan presentations to other jurisdictions. A presentation is scheduled for the San Benito County Board of Supervisors on November 25, 2008. A presentation has been requested by a member of the Santa Cruz County Board and will be scheduled. Mr. Bogan gave a DVD copy of the cemetery Power Point presentation to the voting members of the CAC.
8. Meeting adjourned at 2:00 pm. Next meeting December 11, 2008.
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.