BRECA Steering Committee Meeting Minutes 8-23-16




DATE: August 23, 2016
PLACE:  Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, California
MEETING TYPE:  BRECA Steering Committee Meeting

Lori Christensen
Kelly Cohen
Bonnie Domeny
Jay Domeny
Rene Hamlin
Lynda Hammitt
Gay Jones
Jim Morgan

Andrea White

  1. Call to Order by Chair Rene Hamlin
  2. Minutes of July 26, 2016
    Gay Jones made a motion to adopt the draft minutes for July 26, 2016.  Lori Christensen seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.
  1. Reports
    1. Treasurer’s Report
      There was no treasurer’s report.
    2. CORPAC
      Carmen Mitchell stated that the Capital Christian Center request for an electronic billboard was heard by the Board of Supervisors on August 9.  Carmen Mitchell and Kelly Cohen spoke in opposition.  Three people spoke in favor.  The Board of Supervisors approved the request by a 3 to 2 vote.  Supervisor Nottoli voted in favor.Carmen Mitchell noted that the proposal was somewhat different than what was shown in the request.  Several people expressed concern over approval of a request when it is not clear what the request was for.  Gay Jones made a motion for BRECA to send an e-mail to the Board of Supervisors expressing concern over approval of a request when the details are not clear and had not been presented to community groups or the Cordova Community Planning and Advisory Committee (CORPAC).  Bonnie Domeny seconded the motion.  The motion was approved unanimously.
  1. Old Business
    1. By-Laws Review Committee
      Rene Hamlin reminded people that the By-Laws are laws, not policies.Ken Crawford distributed a hard copy of his interpretation of the revisions approved by the last Steering Committee meeting.Ken Crawford discussed the proposal to add Article 6.02 to the By-Laws.  He stated that he is not up on all the forms of electronic communication, and Article 6.02 is intended to be the first step towards going electronic.  Jim Morgan stated that the use of the terms “communication” and “business” in the proposed Article means that there would be a de facto Steering Committee meeting taking place.  “Business” in particular means voting.  This runs contrary to the principal, articulated elsewhere in the By-Laws, that members have the right to attend Steering Committee meetings.  There is no practical way of including all of the BRECA membership in the “communications” and “business” of an electronic meeting.

      Gay Jones commented that there is a need to use e-mail for time sensitive issues.  Ken commented that an example would be the need to send a letter to Board of Supervisors, if everybody on the Steering Committee agrees, then the letter would be sent.  Gay commented that this applies to time sensitive issues.

      Gay proposed language for the proposed Article 6.02: “Electronic communication may be used for time sensitive issues.  The communication will be read into the minutes at the next normal Steering Committee meeting.”  A consensus was reached to adopt this change.

      Lori Christensen noted a problem: the proposed language in Article 6.02 includes the statement “All such communication shall be maintained by the Secretary.”  This is simply not practical.  Gay Jones commented that the cited language is removed from the new language.  She proposed that the statement “A summary shall be maintained by the Secretary” be added to her proposal above. A consensus was reached to adopt this change, and that the two (2) statements adopted by consensus here would replace the entire text of Article 6.02.

      Moving on to Article 7, Jim Morgan commented that the existing By-Laws authorize a referendum which can be initiated by either one (1) less than a majority of the members of the Steering Committee, or a petition signed by 20% of the membership.  However, the proposed revisions have only that (a majority of) the Steering Committee may initiate a referendum.  The language in the existing By-Laws allows BRECA members or Steering Committee members who disagree with a Steering Committee decision to appeal to the membership.  This functions as a check and balance on the powers of the Steering Committee and should be retained.  There was considerable discussion to clarify how the existing provisions of Article 7 would work in practice.  A consensus was reached that the language of the existing By-Laws would be retained.

      Rene Hamlin directed the discussion to Article 8.01, amendments to the By-Laws.  Jim Morgan stated that he disagrees with the amendments to the By-Laws to be voted on only at the annual or regular meetings.  He stated that in his experience voting by members at annual meetings is a combination of circus and rubber stamp.  It is only appropriate if there is no doubt whatsoever about the outcome.  Further, it discriminates against members who cannot attend the meeting.  In Jim’s opinion, the voting for amendments to the By-Laws should be by mail ballot only.  Lynda Hammitt expressed concern about the expense associated with a mailed ballot.  Gay Jones commented that at around $150 every 20 years or so, this is okay.  There was discussion about doing an electronic ballot, but this was not practical since around 20% of BRECA members either do not have e-mail or are unwilling to give their e-mail to BRECA.  Rene Hamlin suggested that the language in Article 8.01 be changed to “The proposal shall be presented to members.”  Additional details are to be filled in with a policies and procedures document.  There was consensus to adopt this language.

      At this point the discussion was tabled until the next Steering Committee meeting.

    2. Picnic Update
      A draft of the Picnic flyer was circulated for comments.  At Rene Hamlin’s suggestion, it was agreed to have cup cakes instead of a full cake.
    3. Invasive Plant Removal
      Kelly Cohen stated that she had not done anything about growth of Yellow Starthistle on the levee.  Gay Jones stated that she had reached out to Pete Ghelfi at the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency about Yellow Starthistle at the Kansas Access staging area and near the Mayhew Drain.  She asked if there is consensus to approach the American River Parkway Foundation, which does invasive plant removal, to request a contingent to work on the two areas.  There was agreement to do this.
    4. Old Business From the Floor
      Rick Sloan requested the application for new members, as there are three new residents on his street.  Jim Morgan gave him several of the applications.
  1. New Business
    1. Amtrak
      Rene Hamlin stated that she would like to have representatives from Amtrak come to a Steering Committee meeting to talk about their services.  There was agreement to do this.  Lori Christensen asked whether Regional Transit should also be invited.  There was not support for this.  Rene stated that she would invite Amtrak representatives to the September meeting.
    2. Measure B
      Carmen Mitchell stated that there had been a presentation at the Cordova Community Planning and Advisory Council (CORPAC) meeting concerning Measure B, but that it had been confusing since they discussed both Measure A and Measure B.  Gay Jones stated that CORPAC heard representatives from the Sacramento Transportation Agency (STA) and the County.  Measure B will be on the November ballot, and consists of a 1/2 % sales tax hike.  State transportation revenue has dropped.  For the first 5 years, 70% of Measure B money would be used for fixing and repairing transportation infrastructure, unless a super-majority of the elected officials voted otherwise.  Kelly Cohen commented that we do need work on transportation, and that the gas tax is not enough.  Carmen stated that the representatives at the CORPAC meeting said that the gas tax is set to expire, hence we would not feel an impact.  Kelly remarked that one of her big concerns is the proposed new bridge over the American River, and the loss of riparian habitat.
    3. New Business From the Floor
      Jim Morgan stated that he would like to get a new BRECA Newsletter started, with a target date of October.  He would need articles by the end of September.  Lynda Hammitt volunteered to write an article on the Neighborhood Yard Sale.  Rene Hamlin asked for calendaring of 2017 BRECA activities.  Gay Jones stated that she would like something about the December BRECA party.  It was noted that the BRECA Picnic in September will be featured in the Newsletter.Rick Sloan stated that also on the November ballot will be Measure J.  This would ask for an additional $45 per household for the Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD).  Including the existing assessment, the total would be $65 per household.  The measure needs a 2/3s vote to pass.  Rick requested that Measure J be put into the Newsletter.  Gay Jones suggested that we have a presentation by the CRPD at the October BRECA meeting.Gay Jones noted that she had a discussion with Evan Jacobs about another proposed rate increase from California American Water (Cal Am).  He commented that Cal Am had to close one well due to contamination, but that interconnections have provided adequate supplies.  Gay suggested that we reach out to Rancho Cordova, as part of their area is supplied by Cal Am.
  1. Meeting adjourned.

The next meeting will be a Steering Committee Meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at the Rancho Cordova Library.

Parkway Planting 2014

Volunteer American River Parkway Planting

Volunteers from the community came out to plant native plants in the parkway adjacent to the BRECA neighborhood Sunday, 16 March 2014

This event was arranged and organized by Gay Jones, Chair, BRECA Steering Committee.

Others who participated and helped are as follows:
A very big thanks goes to Jeff Peterson and his company SMP Services, Inc.. BRECA also had the strong guidance and cooperation of the Elderberry Farms Native Plant Nursery, Hedgerow Farms Inc. in Winters, “Nextdoor”, the American River Parkway Coalition, the American River Parkway Foundation, the “DRI-Water” Company in Santa Rosa; and, of course, our County Regional Parks. Thanks to everyone!

Gristmill Parkway Access

Gristmill_CrowdUpdate for the issues outlined below: As of 2012, the volunteer services of the Gristmill Gathers are no longer needed because County Regional Parks has resumed these duties.

Gristmill Parkway Access

On 28 September 2009, officials from County Parks met with a large gathering of people from the Butterfield, Riviera East, College Greens East, and Rosemont communities and surrounding areas to explain the budgetary problems causing the closure of the Gristmill Entrance along with several other American River Parkway access points. These officials also wanted to discuss possible alternatives for continuing to allow vehicle access at Gristmill that would require community volunteer help to succeed. Sandra Sanders, member of the College Greens Home Owners Association, and Gay Jones, Butterfield-Riviera East Community Association (BRECA) Chairperson, sparked interest in having such a meeting, which was held at the Gristmill Entrance to the Parkway. Attending from County Parks were Janet Baker, County Parks Director, Steve Flannery, Park Ranger Manager, and Shannon Brown, Park Maintenance Superintendent.

People who use the Gristmill access consider it one of their major access points for not only foot traffic but also most importantly for those using vehicles to reach the river to fish and/or launch and remove boats, kayaks, rafts, canoes, or just park and walk. The distance from the entrance to the river makes portage impractical and parking on the street is very limited. Many attending held $100 season passes that monetarily support the parkway. The officials from County Parks were impressed by the number of people showing up to voice support for keeping Gristmill open for vehicle traffic and parkway maintenance.

The county officials provided a briefing on their budgetary problems and decision-making as well as answered questions and took comments. Basically, their problem stems from having their annual budget reduces from over $6 million two years ago to less than $2 million now. County Parks has had to reduce the number of rangers and staff, reduce maintenance, cancel some trash pickups, and remove relief facilities, among other things. This will have to remain in effect until the budget can be rectified in the future.

County Parks then offered a possible alternative for keeping the Gristmill gate open, but that would require some volunteer help from the communities. The park rangers could open the gate in the morning and close it in the evening if volunteers would work to keep the area clean by picking up trash and placing in the trash drums. As necessary, the volunteers would have to empty the drums and dispose of the trash. Many volunteered to do just that, and Gary Morse of Rosemont volunteered to be the coordinator for the effort and to work with the county. You can reach Gary by calling 868-4724 if you would like to add your name to the volunteer list or have questions regarding the effort.

If things remain on track, on Monday, 5 October, County Parks will begin opening the Gristmill gate in the morning and closing it in the evening on a trial basis, and they will also schedule periodic ranger patrols. Additionally, community members are expected to be observant and report aberrant situations. Community groups are also expected to provide the plastic liners for the trash drums and have individual bags for gathering trash. Generally, community members feel this is a successful result and acceptable compromise to keep Gristmill open until sufficient budgetary funds are once again available.