MINUTES OF THE FORT ORD VETERAN’S
CEMETERY CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Thursday, January 14, 2010
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Marina Library Community Meeting Room
190 Seaside Circle, Marina
1. Chair James Bogan called the meeting to order at 1:05 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), 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), Julian Chacon (representing Representative Sam Farr), An McDowell (representing Assemblymember Bill Monning)
Absent – Juan Sanchez (Military & Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission) (excused), Edith Johnsen (Veterans’ Families) (excused), Barbara Nelson (City of Seaside), Rito Guerra (representing Senator Abel Maldonado).
2. Public Comment: None
3. Rocky Chavez, Undersecretary, California Department of Veterans Affairs (CDVA) announced that an “All Hands”/Town Hall meeting would be taking place at Monterey Peninsula College on February 17, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This will be an opportunity for veterans in the Monterey area to learn about services available from CDVA and to speak about issues of concern to them. Mr. Villar noted that the location makes it difficult for many veterans in the south part of Monterey County to attend and/or participate.
4. Approval of minutes of December 10, 2009 meeting: Motion (Mr. Nye) and second to approve the minutes as distributed. Motion carried.
5. Jonathan Garcia (FORA) distributed a copy of a press release announcing a $460,000 grant to conduct infrastructure planning for the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery. He noted that FORA was working with CDVA in structuring the work to be done under the grant.
6. Tom Mancini reported that the City of Seaside that there has been no change in the status of the offer for the endowment parcel. Jim Cook added that an exclusive negotiating agreement had been drafted and sent to the developer and that the County and the City of Seaside would be meeting soon to work on details of the development project. (Mr. Nye): I understand that there was more than one entity that had expressed interest in the property. (Mr. Cook): Yes, Monterey Peninsula College had expressed an interest, but the decision was to go with the Horse Park. MPC is being encouraged to work with the Horse Park on development of the parcel, rather than competing, because they have a similar interest in the property.
7. Candace Ingram announced that, based upon the three proposed designs for the sign to be displayed at the cemetery site, a design had been selected by the Central Coast Veterans’ Cemetery Foundation. A copy of the final design of the 8’ x 4’ foot sign was displayed. (Mr. Mancini): Where are the directional signs going to be placed? (Mr. Bogan) Placement of the directional signs has been decided in conjunction with the Army and FORA. (Mr. Nye) Will smaller versions of the sign be available to post and help bring attention to the cemetery brochures? (Ms Ingram): That is a good idea. I will bring some to the next meeting. An event to unveil the sign will be scheduled, probably for March. (Mr. Aguillon/Mr. Bogan): Will the National Guard be participating in the unveiling of the sign and placement of boundary markers indicating the cemetery site? Could the unveiling event be held in proximity to the State’s event on 2/17? (Ms Ingram): There is a plan to have one event per month leading up to Memorial Day to keep the cemetery issue before the public on a regular, ongoing basis. (Mr Stewart): To clarify the National Guard role, they offered to provide an honor guard for the sign unveiling. They did not volunteer to put up the sign or place boundary markers. FORA and its contractor agreed to be responsible for putting up the sign.
8. An McDowell announced that proposed language for State legislation to help expedite the cemetery project had been returned form the Office of Legislative Counsel. A press event is being scheduled to announce the bill. Mr. Cook thanked Undersecretary Chavez for the work put into this effort by CDVA staff and reminded CAC members and the public that support for the will be needed in person at legislative hearings in Sacramento. (Mr. Stewart): What does the legislation do? (Mr. Cook) It allows the cemetery funding of the cemetery endowment to be phased incrementally to correspond with the proposed incremental development of the cemetery. This would eliminate the need to raise the entire $3.4 million for the endowment before the State could apply for the cemetery grant from VA. (Mr. Jorgensen) It also allows the State to develop the cemetery in phases rather than all at once. (Ms Ingram): The entire cemetery will be designed at once even if made operational in phases. (Mr. Jorgensen): Yes, it gets built by VA all at once, but constructed in phases.
9. Janet Parks stated that the Foundation working group had met to work on details of the golf tournament. Mr. Stewart reported that the date of the tournament not yet finalized, but it would be separated from a fund raising dinner to be held at another time. There will be a scaled down awards dinner after the tournament. Ms Parks reported that there was a volunteer searching for possible grants to help fund the cemetery and associated projects. Mr. Cook reported that, according to Rito Guerra, Senator Maldonado is looking into an “I Bank” loan, to be repaid from the proceeds of the sale of the endowment parcel, to help fund the cemetery planning costs. Ms Ingram explained the timing of activities and events to help keep news about the cemetery and progress toward it is in the press and before the public on a recurring basis. Mr. Villar asked about the status of the television interview with Teresa Wright. Ms Ingram suggested that the interview be scheduled to coincide with the announcement of the new legislation and the unveiling of the sign.
10. Meeting adjourned at 2:05 pm. Next meeting: February 11, 2010, Marina Library, Community Room.
Respectfully submitted by Richard F. Garza, Secretary, ex officio.