MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S

CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Veteran’s CAC Meeting

Friday September 4, 2009

3:00 PM-5:00 PM

CSUMB Alumni and Visitor Center (Building 97)

 

1.         Chair James Bogan called the meeting to order at 3:00 pm.

            A roll call of members was conducted.

Present – Ralph Villar (District 1), Leonard Ortiz (District 3), James Bogan (District 4), Bill Nye (District 5), Abel Quinones (United Veterans Council), Jack Stewart (United Veterans Council)

Ex officio – Stephen Jorgensen (California Department of Veterans Affairs), Tom Mancini (Ft. Ord Reuse Authority),  Janet Parks (Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation), Bruce Evans (Ft. Ord Retiree Council), Barbara Nelson (City of Seaside), Edith Johnsen, (Veterans’ Families) Julian Chacon (representing Representative Sam Farr), An McDowell (representing Assemblymember Bill Monning)

­Absent – Frank Aguillon (District 2)

­Vacant – Senator Abel Maldonado, Monterey County Military & Veterans Affairs Commission

 

2.                  Public Comment:

Gordon Nakagawa distributed a letter for USDVA Secretary Shinseki about “transforming” VA.  Mr. Nakagawa said that the letter might apply to the cemetery situation and may provide an opportunity to revisit the National Cemetery option.

Mr. Mancini: Would the cemetery be considered a “stimulus” project? Mr. Chacon: It would not qualify as an ARA project, but some federal grants may be available.  Mr. Garza: The funding need for the cemetery is for operations and maintenance costs.  Stimulus money is for infrastructure projects.

Manuel Gonzales: I am a Vietnam veteran 15 of my friends have died waiting for this cemetery.  The federal government should build it.  If money is needed, ask Clint Eastwood or Sylvester Stallone to contribute.  Mr. Chacon: The federal government is involved.  The State Cemetery grant would come from the federal government.

Michael Bloom: A veterans’ cemetery isn’t the State’s responsibility.  Veterans are a

 

federal responsibility.  Mr. Garza: They State has a role.  The State appointed my draft board, not the federal government.

Mr. Stewart: The federal government has rejected the proposal for a National Cemetery at Ft. Ord several times, as well as rejecting the idea of making the site an annex to the San Joaquin National Cemetery.  I do not care whose name is on the cemetery as long as it gets done.

 

3.                  VFW, King City donated $5,000 to the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery Foundation in memory of “all those who have passed”.

 

4.                  Approval of Minutes: Motion (Mr. Stewart) and second to accept minutes as corrected.  Motion carried.

 

5.                  Reporting on the status of the cemetery project, Jim Cook noted that it was important to keep up the momentum to get it completed.  This would require cooperation between interested parties at all levels of the community and government.

 

6.                  Edith Johnsen reported that Tom Perkins has agreed to join in the Central Coast Veterans’ Cemetery Foundation (CCVCF) fundraising efforts.  She noted that is was important to establish a physical presence for the cemetery on the property, but that it would take cooperation to make this happen.  Janet Parks reported that efforts to expand the CCVCF Board of Directors were continuing.  Candace Ingram noted that CCVCF will raise the money needed to fund the State endowment for operations and maintenance costs.  Jack Stewart announced that the City of Seaside had agreed to be involved with a golf tournament in an effort to help raise funds for the endowment.

 

7.         a.  Congressman Sam Farr presented a history of the legislative efforts, both State and federal, to establish a veterans’ cemetery at a site on the former Fort Ord.

            Because of the trend to State veterans’ cemeteries and the fiscal challenges facing the states, Monterey is going to be a national model for how state cemeteries will be funded in the future.

            b.  CDVA Secretary Roger Brautigan reiterated that local effort is needed to get funding for the cemetery endowment fund.  CDVA will put a link CCVCF on its website. 

            Discussion:

            (Tony Johnson): What is the current amount of money needed to “fill” the endowment?  (Mr. Brautigan): $3.3 million.  If the federal burial allowance is increased that amount will go down.  (Mr. Stewart): There were suggestion from the County that enabled the State to lower the amount felt necessary to make the endowment viable.  (Unknown): Does the entire $3.3 million have to be raised now?  (Mr. Brautigan): Yes, but CDVA is considering legislation that will enable incremental

 

            Approval of the amount needed for the endowment and, therefore, incremental fundraising.  (Ms Johnsen): The cemetery parcel will be ready for transfer by the end of the year.  (Mr. Nye): How long with the $3.3 million figure be viable?  (Mr. Stewart): It is recalculated every year.  (Unknown) Is there any chance of raising the cost charged for burial of spouses?  (Mr. Brautigan): The federal government does not charge for spouses’ burial.  I would not like to see the amount charged by the State increased.  (Mr. Farr): The whole cemetery project needs to be looked at as a historical monument. (Bob Lockwood): Some way of capturing and showing the military and veteran history as it pertains to Ft. Ord needs to be a part of this project.  (Ms Parks):  Has any legislation increasing the VA burial allowance been introduced?  (Mr. Farr): I will check that out.  (Mr. Bogan): Would it be possible to make a presentation about the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery at October’s State Veterans’ Organizations Commanders Council meeting in October?  (Mr. Brautigan): Yes. 

 

8.         Meeting adjourned at 4:50 pm.  Next meeting: October 8, 2009, Marina Library, Community Room.

     

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