Board of Directors: October 2019 Meeting Minutes
Glen Ellen Forum Board of Directors Meeting
October 17, 2019 at Mayflower Hall; submitted by Jim Shere, secretary
Present were Melissa Dowling (Board President), Angela Morgan (Board Vice President), Jim Shere (Board Secretary), Margie Foster (Board Treasurer), Nancy Padian
(Board Member), Bettina Sichel (Board Member), Tracy Salcedo (Board Member), Rob Schermeister (Board Member), Nick Brown (Chair, Steering Committee, and Chair,
Traffic & Safety Committee), Alice Horowitz (Chair, SDC/Eldridge Committee member), Vicki Hill (Vice Chair, SDC/Eldridge Committee), and Laura Schermeister (Chair,
Commerce and Tourism Committee). Excused absences included Shannon Lee (Chair, Communications Committee), BJ Blanchard (Chair, Community Project Committee), Leslie Vaughn (Co-Chair, Engagement Committee), Ellie Insley (Chair, Landscape & Environment Committee), and Poppy Darby (Co-Chair, Engagement Committee).
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm by Melissa, and she distributed an agenda
(see attached). Jim had previously distributed the minutes of the previous board meeting (held 7/18/19) for review, corrections and changes; there being no corrections or changes, Nancy moved and Tracy seconded approval of the minutes as submitted and they were unanimously approved by majority vote.
Margie presented the treasurer’s report (see attached). The funds raised for this quarter (7/1-9/30) amounted to $9,664.12; $414.12 of that was general donations, and
$4.00 of that was an eScrip rebate. The need for a volunteer to assume management of the eScrip program with the Glen Ellen Village Market was discussed. This person would announce the program at each general meeting and act as liaison with the Glen Ellen Village Market, which honors the program. Margie said there are about 40 participants in the program; 1% of what they spend is refunded by the Glen Ellen Village Market to the Forum, and 3% if more than $600.00 is spent. It was decided that Nick will announce the program at the next general meeting and that Nancy and Rob (who will be members of the Fund Raising Committee when it is established) will facilitate the program, including a general review and audit.
Margie continued the treasurer’s report, detailing donations from the Jack London Yacht Club of $1,000.00 for the Engagement Committee, $600.00 for Forum Operating
Expenses, and $1,400.00 for the Community Project Committee. The Project Committee has also received a refund of $1,250.00, which makes for a total of $2,650;
another donation in an unknown amount is pending having to do with the kiosk project. The North Bay Foundation has donated $5,000.00 for the Fire Victim Aid lottery. This amounts to $9,664.12 total income for the quarter. $414.12 will go into the Forum General Fund, and the remainder is earmarked for the various special funds indicated. Balances for each committee are as follows: Commerce and Tourism Committee is $2,429.00, Engagement Committee is $1,000.00, Fire Victim Aid Fund is -$64.00 (we overspent there), Forum General Fund is $2,100.00, Community Project Committee is $4,095.00, SDC/Eldridge Committee is $224.99, and Traffic & Safety Committee is $102.19. Tracey moved to have $64.00 transferred from the General Fund to the Fire Victim Aid Fund to cancel that deficit, and Melissa seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved by majority vote.
As of 9/30/19 our bank account stood at $11,340.30, with $105.45 in Petty Cash this makes for $11,445.75 total assets. Outstanding payments are to Christa Granton for
our general liability insurance, Becoming Independent for litter abatement, the Glen Ellen Community Church for rental of Mayflower Hall, and reimbursement to Melissa for the use of Dunbar School.
Out of 27 participants in the Fire Victim Aid landscape lottery, there were 11 winners chosen randomly; Joyce Clover (who also received a storage shed), Raam & Sophia
Pandeya, Ken and Diane Jacobson (who also received a storage shed), Danny Matula (who wrote a beautiful letter and included a poem, see attached), Justine Ashton (who
also received a storage shed), Lori Solis (who also received a storage shed), Bettina Sichel, Angela Bell (who also received a storage shed), Dave and Kathleen Pitou, Marge
Everidge, and Arthur and Jill Dawson. Details are attached, along with the names of those applicants that remain unfulfilled. Margie asked for further funding from the Rise-Up program of the North Bay Foundation, and was told to reapply in January. She also submitted a request to the Rotary Fund and received a recommendation to ask for funding a community project rather than something individually driven. The development of a standard response to donations, including our tax number, was
discussed; Melissa will pursue this. Birthday fundraising through Facebook was also discussed.
Margie said our insurance policy should be reviewed by others on the Board; Melissa will review it.
Dunbar is raising their rental fee for Forum meetings from $25.00 to $85.00; Tracy will discuss a reduction of their fee if we supply custodial service. The Glen Ellen
Community Church asks $50.00 for use of Mayflower Hall, which would require changing the day of the week. Wine Country at Jack London Village was suggested as
a possible alternative venue. The most we’ve had attending the general monthly meeting has been approximately 65.
Committee reports were held to three minutes each, as timed by Laura. Nick reported for the Steering Committee. Speakers at the general monthly meetings
over the past three months have included the following: in August Marty Winter spoke about developing the Rustic Apartments, Jim about the drive to fund naming the Jim Berkland Bridge and the 125th anniversary of the Glen Ellen Community Church, and Larry Davis about his Art of Planning class; in September we had Jillian Beal about Dunbar School, and Helen Sedwick about filing claims with PG&E for losses due to the wildfires; and in October we had Sanjeev and Dana Singh of the Mill at Glen Ellen Restaurant, Carol Tragash of the Creekside Healing Village, and Ricci Wheatley of Sonoma 707 Candle Company (each new businesses at Jack London Village), Dave
Shefferman regarding emergency radios (see attached), and Danielle (a resident at the Rustic Apartments).
Discussions regarding the MAC (Municipal Advisory Council for the Board of Supervisors) and the PAT (Planning Advisory Team for the development of SDC/
Eldridge) were also featured at the August and September meetings. Half of the speakers come from the agenda list on the website and half are more spontaneous.
Future speakers may include Jennifer Gray Thompson from the Rise-Up Program of the North Bay Foundation and D’mitra Smith, Vice-Chair of the Sonoma County
Commission on Human Rights. There will be no meeting in January; in February we hope to hear from Sweet Grass Grazing and Ellie Insley about landscaping for fire
management. December’s meeting may be a holiday party; Nick will discuss this with the Steering Committee.
In her absence, BJ submitted a written report from the Community Project Committee, which is attached. Melissa drew attention to the Rural Roads clean-up day on October 26th. Holiday lighting of the Jim Berkland Bridge was discussed; the county will not allow lighting overhead but will along the sides, having concerns regarding electric power and traffic safety.
Nick reported for the Traffic & Safety Committee. Bill Olsen will become Chair, particularly the Safety portion of this committee, when the rebuilding of his garage (not
his house) is complete; Nick considers becoming Co-Chair of the Traffic portion. The Ready Glen Ellen website at http://readyglenellen.com was designed by Bill’s daughter Eliot Olsen (a professional web designer), and is maintained by Melissa, Emily, and Laura.
There was further discussion of Dave Shefferman’s presentation at the October general meeting regarding emergency radios. Nancy encouraged making the radios available, emphasizing their value in an emergency and noting that the profit would go to the fire departments. Angela will discuss funding by the Rotary with Alec Peters, who wants to speak at a general meeting in the future. It was proposed that we promote the program to local residents by direct email; it was so moved by Rob, Nancy seconded it, and it was unanimously approved by majority vote.
It was agreed to reduce paperwork by relying upon electronic distribution of documents, making sure that hard copies will be printed only for those who require
them. Melissa so moved, Nancy seconded it, and it was unanimously approved by majority vote.
Vicki and Alice reported for the SDC/Eldridge Committee. Out of 110 applicants (including Tracy, Vicki, Nick, Matt Dickey, Mickey Cooke, and Steve Lee, Gregg
Montgomery and Teresa Murphy of the Glen Ellen Historical Society), 13 local people will be named by the county to the PAT (Planning Advisory Team) In November. The
PAT is not a decision-making body but has an advisory role to the consultant (Dyett & Bhatia at http://dyettandbhatia.com) to the county in the implementation of the Specific Plan. The county and the state are currently negotiating final details of a reimbursement agreement. A recent article in the paper about the closing of the water
treatment plant at SDC/Eldridge presented the point of view of the Valley of the Moon Water District, which is working closely with the state and county water agencies. A
tour of certain buildings at SDC planned with other agencies was canceled due to the recent PG&E blackout; it will take place sometime next week.
Angela announced the possibility of a four-year grant ($10,000 per year) from the Sonoma Community Foundation (https://www.sonomacf.org/about-cfsc/ourcommunity- leadership/). It would give the Forum the ability to strengthen a capacity to grow the board, get more fund raising opportunities, and connect with the community. She had spoken with Karin Demarest, director of the grant (and Vice President for Community Impact of the Sonoma Community Foundation), who encouraged us to apply saying only six such grants will be given but everyone that applies will attend a two-hour training, with the opportunity to connect with other groups. The deadline to apply is October 23rd; Nancy will pursue this opportunity, with Angela’s support. Melissa spoke about the Landscape & Environment Committee’s booth at the Glen Ellen Village Fair, featuring native plants and information on making property firewise. Alice, a member of that committee, spoke about existing confusion between legal ordinances and recommendations that have resulted in some people being encouraged by some inspectors to go overboard in clearing out underbrush, which is not good for migratory birds and animals. Ellie is gathering and consolidating information for the website on what is factual, smart, and legal, in creating a defensible space that is good for the environment and provides a habitat that supports wildlife. The committee created a handout that may be attached to these minutes.
Laura reported for the Commerce and Tourism Committee. At the next meeting of this committee October 22nd she will suggest the committee meets quarterly rather than
monthly. The idea of a passport has been dismissed, being not the best way to promote Glen Ellen without the high cost of printing. McCormick’s Mercantile has
offered to pay for the second printing of the map; it was recommended that donations go through the Forum, earmarked for the Commerce and Tourism Committee, so that it will be a tax-deductible donation. Outreach to other members of the business committee will be augmented by Meridith Mace, Visitor Center Manager at Quarryhill
Botanical Garden, who will send monthly emails out to the entire mailing list of local businesses, inviting them to the quarterly meeting of the committee. In the absence of Leslie and Poppy, Co-Chairs of the Engagement Committee, there was a discussion of the community meal at Morton’s Warm Springs 9/29/19, at which the budget of $300 was exceeded, reaching an actual cost of $500. There were 40 to 45 participants, and although it was an enjoyable event it was felt that marketing fell
short and a better use of our resources could have been made.
Going forward, it was generally felt that a request of $2,000 by the Engagement Committee for a Thanksgiving community meal at the Kenwood Depot required a more
detailed proposal, and that there is insufficient time to publicize the event satisfactorily. It was proposed that we ask that the committee cancel the Thanksgiving meal, and that future events be submitted to the Board by the Engagement Committee more formally, including a detailed budget and marketing plan well enough in advance to ensure success. Melissa so moved and Rob seconded, and it was unanimously approved by majority vote.
An Artists and Authors Festival, originally projected for the Moon House when its remodel is completed next February, is tabled until 2021 when we are more prepared.
The Jack to Jack Regatta held by the Jack London Yacht Club will take place 4/18/20; the Forum has been asked to take an active part in the event. Under Old Business Nancy, as a member of the newly formed Fund Raising Committee, will pursue the four-year grant offered by the Sonoma Community Foundation, as described by Angela earlier in the meeting. Tracy will supply content written for an earlier grant application by the Forum for the SDC project. The deadline to apply for membership in the MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) is Friday, October 25th. This will represent the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Eldridge to Susan Gorin, our county supervisor, in a formal advisory capacity. There was some discussion regarding the different responsibilities of the MAC and the Forum, and the different forms of governance they provide.
The Impact 100 grant season is opening, providing grants of $5,000 to $20,000 for specific projects. This will be taken up by the Fund Raising Committee. Possible
projects for this and other grants could include the Artists and Authors Festival, grooming the triangle across from the firehouse as a formal entry into Glen Ellen,
firewise landscaping, and other wildfire-related recovery and preservation projects. There was further discussion about signage at two entries to Glen Ellen, towards which
the Community Project Committee has received $1,000 from the Jack London Yacht Club. Ana Dominquez and Jim Burch of the JLYC are currently working on a design of
the signage, and with CalTrans and the county to get permission to place the signs. We may apply for more money from the JLYC, and from the local Rotary Club to fund this project. When the project finally comes to the Board for approval it will be fully researched.
Jim presented the idea of forming an Advisory Board to the Forum, composed of people who would not be required to serve on committees or attend meetings but
whose experience and expertise would be made available in a burly advisory capacity on an as-needed basis. Discussion showed concern for the increased bureaucracy and
any precedent being set by establishing a separate board for retiring members of the Board. While certain retiring members may be designated Board Members Emeritus,
this would not include people prominent in the community who have not served on the Board. Similar recognition of major donors or contributors to the Forum was also discussed. No decision on this subject was reached.
The agenda refers to the Rustic Apartments survey project, which Shannon had proposed for discussion. The Steering Committee had planned to survey the
community for opinions regarding the development of Marty Winter’s property on the corner of Carquinez Avenue and Arnold Drive. Melissa suggested that such a survey
include Marty’s input and that of the county, recognizing our increased reputation as the voice of the community and responsibility that this involves. Melissa then moved
that the meeting planned to design and implement the survey include all members of Steering Committee and the Board of Directors, which was agreed upon by consensus.
The meeting was adjourned by Melissa at 8:30 pm.