FORA conflict of interest

FORA faces conflict of interest charge

Fort Ord: Lawsuit alleges consultant’s hiring violates law
By VIRGINIA HENNESSEY
Herald Staff Writer
Updated:   08/09/2012 08:46:02 PM PDT

As Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Sam Farr toured Fort Ord National Monument on Thursday, there was more trouble brewing for the base reuse authority and its executive officer.

A new lawsuit by Keep Fort Ord Wild alleges the Fort Ord Reuse Authority and Michael Houlemard violated state law by hiring a consultant to write their reassessment plan who is already the project manager for Monterey Downs, the largest proposed development on the former Army base.

The city of Seaside hired EMC Planning Group in February to guide development of the equine-themed project, which would include 1,500 residences, two 200-room hotels, retail areas, an Olympic-sized aquatic center and a horse-racing track. Monterey Downs LLC, the developer, is paying the $192,000 contract.

Before it can become a reality, the project must conform with the Fort Ord Base Reuse Reassessment Plan, which will guide future land use on the base, among other things, and must be completed by Jan. 1, 2013.

In April, after prolonged discussions and recommendations by an interview panel for a different consulting firm, the FORA board hired EMC to write the reassessment plan. The contract, which Houlemard signed, eventually totaled $506,000.

The danger, Keep Fort Ord Wild alleges in its lawsuit, is that EMC is being paid “by two masters” to meet with itself to write the rules that will win approval for Monterey Downs. The cozy relationship, the suit states, is a violation of the Political Reform Act and conflict of interest laws.

The suit seeks an injunction against the arrangement, a finding regarding the rights and obligations of the parties, and attorneys fees.

Houlemard and FORA’s in-house attorney Jerry Bowden were not in the office Thursday afternoon. Outside counsel Jon Giffen said he had not had time to read the lawsuit, which he received late in the afternoon, but said FORA would respond appropriately.

Speaking from an administrative point of view, Assistant Executive Officer Steve Endsley said his staff reviewed both of the consulting agencies that applied for the job, EMC and RBF/AECOM, and judged both qualified.

Despite concerns raised in writing and in public comment by Keep Fort Ord Wild spokesman Michael Salerno, according to the lawsuit, Bowden advised the board EMC had no conflicts with regard to accepting the reassessment job.

The lawsuit is just the latest shot across FORA’s bow by the group of open-space and outdoor-recreation enthusiasts. It filed suit in March over public records it sought pertaining to FORA’s use of a $100 million federal grant for munitions cleanup on the base.

Since then, FORA has released to the public thousands of pages it earlier denied it had or even existed, the new lawsuit states.

Waiting in the wings is a likely lawsuit over expense reimbursements to Houlemard, including reimbursement of his residential DSL service and nearly $300 for a moving violation and traffic school. A claim over those expenses was denied by the board.

Thursday’s lawsuit is potentially more serious, as it threatens to delay work on the base-reuse reassessment, which must be completed by Jan. 1. It also comes at a time when the state Legislature is considering extending FORA’s authority beyond its 2014 sunset.

Monterey Downs last month submitted an application to the city of Seaside that would require numerous amendments to the city’s general plan, zoning and planning laws. Any amendments would have to be approved by FORA’s Base Reuse Plan. Seaside is also seeking annexation of land for the project that was earlier allocated to the county.

EMC, which is guiding both processes, is required to have a representative onsite in FORA offices. At the same time, the company is writing documents on Seaside letterhead regarding Monterey Downs.

“The FORA consultant is writing rules, omitting other rules that may inhibit or prevent the Monterey Downs project, and setting up a regulatory plan that decides what is permitted … and what is prohibited,” the lawsuit states. “The FORA consultant is writing the script for the same controversial project which consultant is managing in (its) role as project manager.”

The conflict, the suit states, is demonstrated by comments Seaside made to FORA in an Aug. 2 letter complaining that the base reuse plan has not promoted economic development in the city. The letter “strongly advocated” that the reassessment give greater emphasis to reaffirm Seaside’s future development.

It also “pleads for a bigger piece” of FORA’s money and water allocations to accommodate development, goals that would likely be in conflict with other jurisdictions.

Unlike the public, the lawsuit states, EMC has complete access to data and work products — paid for by tax dollars that support FORA — for purposes including research for Monterey Downs or other private interests.

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 753-6751 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com.

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When Ft. Ord recreation is outlawed, only outlaws will recreate at Ft. Ord

Terrific post today at xasauntoday. Must read!

EPA and FORA Threaten Ft. Ord Wildland Users with Collective Punishment

http://xasauantoday.com/2012/07/13/fora-collective-punishment/

Expose’ on the misuse of authority, blind reactionaries, and the senselessness of it all.

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FORA must update Ord reuse plan

 From the Salinas Californian ~ www.thecalifornian.com/

Pat McNeill: FORA must update Ord reuse plan

Jul. 3, 2012  |
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar visits Fort

Volunteers for BETA, Bicycle-Equestrian Trails-Assistance, get back from a ride earlier this year in the former Fort Ord. / Travis Geske/The Salinas Californian
Written by Pat McNeill

Twenty years ago, closing Fort Ord seemed an end in itself. We were sick of war. The region was a destination for its beauty and recreational diversity. For all I knew, the military base, off-limits behind Army gates, was a cratered and tracked wasteland like the one I left in Vietnam a decade earlier. Any public use would be better and there was little reason for me to question the plans emerging from FORA and the leaders of Monterey County.

That was then.

Today, recreational use of Fort Ord has bloomed and with it a vastly more sensitive awareness of what Fort Ord is. Then, few civilians had access to the training areas. We had seen annual fires caused by munitions and careless soldiers. We knew there were tanks and tracked personnel carriers churning up the ground. There were engineer companies practicing battlefield construction techniques. But most of it went on behind the closed curtain of military security.

That was then.

Today we know that the military respected the oaks. Yes, many areas were severely damaged and the BLM has its hands full today attempting to restore eroded and denuded areas within its responsibility.

On the other hand, hundreds of acres were so undesirable militarily that they remain semi-pristine. Other parcels have had 50-60 years to revert to near-natural wild areas. Even used areas have had the last 20 years to revert to nature. Much of Fort Ord is scarce marine chaparral, an ecological designation that has largely disappeared under the human footprint. Similarly, the coast live oak regions of Fort Ord host trees upward of 300 years old, but low-growing and wonderfully gnarly in their survival from the time of native Americans and totally pre-dating western culture.

I didn’t know this 20 years ago. Did you?

I’d like to think that had the ordinary among us known what was on Fort Ord, we wouldn’t have been so accepting of a FORA plan that would turn it over to commercial development. To earthmovers that demolish the trees and reshape the ground to look like San Jose — and abandon it when the going gets tough. Imagine giving land to a government transportation agency that would cut down old oak trees and pave over the ground so buses could be repaired and stored between our university campus and student housing. All just a few football fields away from already-paved and abandoned military motor pools.

Then there is the East Side Parkway, a planned four-lane road slicing through oak woodland with no provision for wildlife or recreational corridors. Should we all end up as roadkill? Or are we able to assimilate new information and change our blueprints when we see a better way? It is time for FORA to update the Base Reuse Plan to 2012, including input from a new generation and the wisdom of two more decades.

Pat McNeill is a resident of Salinas.
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Presidential Proclamation — Establishment of the Fort Ord National Monument

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FORT ORD NATIONAL MONUMENT

– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

In the heart of California’s Central Coast, the former Fort Ord encompasses a sweeping landscape of vivid beauty and rich natural diversity. One of the few remaining expanses of large, contiguous open space in the increasingly developed Monterey Bay area, this area is a rolling landscape long treasured for recreation, scientific research, outdoor education, and historical significance. Originating in the Pleistocene Epoch, ancient dunes provide the foundation for this landscape’s unique array of plant and wildlife communities. The area is also notable for its historical significance, including its role in the Spanish settlement of California and in the military training of generations of American soldiers.

Nearly two and a half centuries ago, as Americans fought for independence far to the east, these lands were traversed by a group of settlers led by Spanish Lieutenant Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza. In 1775-1776, Anza established the first overland route from “New Spain,” as Mexico was then known, to San Francisco, opening the way for expanded Spanish settlement of California. The diaries kept on this nearly 2,000-mile journey were used to identify the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, approximately 6 miles of which pass through the Fort Ord area. Although much of the historic route currently passes through urban areas, the undeveloped expanse of the Fort Ord area is likely quite similar to the open landscape experienced by Anza and by the Costanoan (now commonly referred to as Ohlone) peoples who lived in what is now the Central Coast region of California.

The area’s open, contiguous landscape owes its undeveloped state in large part to its role as a U.S. Army facility. From World War I through the early 1990s, the area’s rugged terrain served as a military training ground and introduced as many as a million and a half American soldiers to the rigors of military service. From its origins in 1917 as a training ground for troops stationed at the nearby Presidio of Monterey, Fort Ord had grown into a major Army installation by the beginning of World War II. During the Vietnam War, it served as a leading training center and deployment staging ground. While the former Fort Ord has few remaining historic structures, today thousands of veterans carry the memory of its dramatic landscape as their first taste of Army life, as a final stop before deploying to war, or as a home base during their military career. These lands are an historical link to the heroism and dedication of the men and women who served our Nation and fought in the major conflicts of the 20th century.

Today, this expansive, historic landscape provides opportunities for solitude and adventure to nearly 100,000 visitors each year. By bicycle, horse, and foot visitors can explore the Fort Ord area’s scenic and natural resources along trails that wind over lush grasslands, between gnarled oaks, and through scrub-lined canyons. Within the boundaries of the Fort Ord area, visitors admire the landscape and scenery and are exposed to wildlife and a diverse group of rare and endemic plants and animals. Because visitors travel from areas near and far, these lands support a growing travel and tourism sector that is a source of economic opportunity for the community, especially businesses in the region. They also help to attract new residents, retirees, and businesses that will further diversify the local economy.

Scientists are also drawn here, seeking out opportunities to better understand once-widespread species and vegetative communities, and their ongoing restoration. The Fort Ord area is significant because of its rich biodiversity and important Central Coast habitats, supporting a diverse group of rare and endemic species of plants and animals that are managed across the base through a multi-agency, community-led management plan. It is one of the few remaining places in the world where large expanses of coastal scrub and live oak woodland and savanna habitat, mixed with rare vernal pools, exist in a contiguous, interconnected landscape.

The protection of the Fort Ord area will maintain its historical and cultural significance, attract tourists and recreationalists from near and far, and enhance its unique natural resources, for the enjoyment of all Americans.

WHEREAS section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) (the “Antiquities Act”), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;

WHEREAS the 1991 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission recommended that Fort Ord cease to be used as an Army installation, and pursuant to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-510), Fort Ord closed on September 30, 1994;

WHEREAS it is in the public interest to reserve such lands as a national monument to be known as the Fort Ord National Monument;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Antiquities Act, hereby proclaim that all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States within the boundaries described on the map entitled “Fort Ord National Monument,” which is attached to and forms a part of this proclamation, are hereby set apart and reserved as the Fort Ord National Monument (monument) for the purpose of protecting and restoring the objects identified above. The reserved Federal lands and interests in lands consist of approximately 14,651 acres, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected and restored.

All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of this monument are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, leasing, or other disposition under the public lands laws, including withdrawal from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws, and from disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing other than by exchange that furthers the protective purposes of the monument.

The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing rights. Lands and interests in lands within the monument boundaries not owned or controlled by the United States shall be reserved as part of the monument upon acquisition of ownership or control by the United States.

Of the approximately 14,651 acres of Federal lands and interests in lands reserved by this proclamation, approximately 7,205 acres are currently managed by the Secretary of the Interior through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and approximately 7,446 acres are currently managed by the Secretary of the Army. The Secretary of the Army, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, shall continue to manage the lands and interests in lands under the Secretary’s jurisdiction within the monument boundaries until the Army transfers those lands and interests in lands to the BLM in accordance with the 1995 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of the Army and the BLM, as amended, that describes the responsibilities of each agency related to such lands and interests in lands, the implementing actions required of each agency, the process for transferring administrative jurisdiction over such lands and interests in lands to the Secretary of the Interior, and the processes for resolving interagency disputes. The Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, shall manage that portion of the monument under the Secretary’s administrative jurisdiction, pursuant to applicable legal authorities and the MOU, to implement the purposes of this proclamation.

For purposes of protecting and restoring the objects identified above, the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, shall prepare and maintain a transportation plan, in coordination with the Secretary of the Army and consistent with the MOU, that provides for visitor enjoyment and understanding of the scientific and historic objects on lands within the monument boundaries that are under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior.
The transportation plan shall include the designation of roads and trails for bicycling and other purposes. Except for emergency or authorized administrative purposes, under the transportation plan motorized vehicle use shall be permitted only on designated roads, and non-motorized mechanized vehicle use shall be permitted only on designated roads and trails. The plan shall be revised upon the transfer of lands now under the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Army to the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with the MOU.

Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the rights of any Indian tribe.

Nothing in this proclamation shall affect the responsibility of the Department of the Army under applicable environmental laws, including the remediation of hazardous substances or munitions and explosives of concern within the monument boundaries; nor affect the Department of the Army’s statutory authority to control public access or statutory responsibility to make other measures for environmental remediation, monitoring, security, safety, or emergency preparedness purposes; nor affect any Department of the Army activities on lands not included within the monument. Nothing in this proclamation shall affect the implementation of the Installation-Wide Multispecies Habitat Management Plan for the former Fort Ord including interagency agreements implementing that plan.

Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to enlarge or diminish the jurisdiction of the State of California with respect to fish and wildlife management.

Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the monument shall be the dominant reservation.

Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this monument and not to locate or settle upon any of the lands thereof.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Whispering Oaks permanent open space

Thanks to all who sent letters, emails, called and showed up today at the Board of Supervisors, Whispering Oaks parcel was voted into permanent open space designation. We put it back where it belongs.

Jane is right, “Working together, we can accomplish great things for our community.”

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Happy Trails Happy Hour

Last night Gordon led a Happy Trails Happy Hour Tour with fellow KFOWers Jason and me for a bunch of influential local folks, to show the absurdity of the Monterey Downs project.

Gordon prepared map handouts which explained boundaries and elevations. It is
quite obvious that the preposterous MD renderings don’t match terrain and it
will never nor could be built as proposed. The plans are as fantastical as a
Kinkade painting. Needless to say the group was stunned by the beauty of the
area and the outrageous audacity of Boudreau.

Gordon made it educational and entertaining the whole way as we stopped frequently to compare maps and drawings.

It’s amazing to view the topography with the plan in hand and to point out the placement of various components on impossible locations, just one example, the location of “affordable” worker* housing right underneath massive power lines!  Send your request for a personal tour to info@keepfortordwild.org.

* p.s. How come everyone pushes for the abstract “JOBS” but hates the actual human “WORKERS” ?

Gordon Smith with maps

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Keep Fort Ord Wild forces records release

Read how FORA is spending taxpayer dollars to clear the way for developers’ bulldozers while we continue to be surrounded by abandoned buildings FORA let rot.

 

In December 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a report to Stan Cook, project manager for the munitions cleanup of 3,400 acres of Fort Ord.

It begins like this:

The Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement (ESCA) Residential Quality Assurance Process Pilot Study Technical Information Paper, California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Off-Campus Munitions Response Area (MRA), Former Fort Ord, Monterey County, California, dated December 27, 2011 (hereinafter referred to as the RQAPPS TIP CSUMB OC MRA) …

Yes, that’s a 19-character acronym.

The 2011 report goes on to say that the RQAPPS TIP CSUMB OC MRA is deficient in a few areas and needs more work.

Keep Fort Ord Wild had to sue FORA to get records like that in the hopes of understanding how the agency spent a $97.7 million federal grant for munitions cleanup on the former Army base. Winning release of the records might have been the easiest part of that proposition.

While they purportedly report that the remediation project is about 70 percent complete, the records are incomprehensible to the average person.

Fort Ord mountain bike enthusiasts Michael Salerno and Nick Wheeler are the driving force behind the group’s investigation of the project, which is clearing munitions from land that will eventually be turned over to the county and cities for development, the veterans cemetery and permanent open space.

Among the targeted properties is the Parker Flats area now proposed for the controversial Monterey Downs housing and horse-racing development, a project opposed by Salerno, Wheeler and Keep Fort Ord Wild.

Salerno and Wheeler’s efforts began in 2011. The two spend a lot of time bicycling on the former Army base and weren’t seeing a lot of work being done. They asked FORA officials for public records showing how the money had been spent.

They received a barrage of acronym-laden reports and board packets, but none that clearly answered the question: What did the public get for nearly $100 million in tax money?

They finally were told $82 million of the grant went to an insurance policy to guarantee timely completion of the project, but FORA didn’t have a copy of the policy. Where are the progress maps, where are the invoices, they asked? And then they hit a brick wall.

FORA Executive Officer Michael Houlemard and in-house counsel Jerry Bowden said the rest of the records they sought were the property of the private contractors who had been hired to do the job — ARCADIS, Chartis insurance and Weston Solutions — and not subject to the Public Records Act.

Keep Fort Ord Wild sued, demanding the records be released. FORA and its contractors rapidly saw the error of their ways and released thousands of pages of electronic and written documents.

Since then, attorneys, preservationists and reporters have spent perhaps hundreds of mind-spinning hours pouring over meeting minutes, monthly status reports, emails and invoices.

The invoices said little. What exactly does it mean when Weston Solutions bills $78,916.86 for “professional services”?

What the records did show is that FORA had either misplaced or destroyed reams of records related to the project.

Bowden, who did not challenge the contractors’ claims that the records were “proprietary,” said on multiple occasions that FORA did not have a copy of the $82 million insurance policy. In early May, the policy was discovered in FORA’s files.

In a recent deposition detailed in court records filed Thursday, Bowden testified that his assertion that FORA didn’t have the policy was based on his “fuzzy memory” and confusion over two separate policies.

“It was all so complicated and intricate that I think, like members of the (FORA) board, I never understood what was the differences,” said Bowden, who is paid $10,000 a month for working a maximum of 19 hours per week.

Thousands of emails were released. Virtually none of them were from Houlemard, though more than 1,000 included him as an author or recipient. Thursday’s court filing asserts that Houlemard is withholding or routinely destroying records.

“FORA is an agency that does not consider itself accountable to the public,” wrote Keep Fort Ord Wild attorney Michael Stamp.

Stamp on Friday filed a new claim against FORA based on the records. It alleges improper reimbursement for employee expenses, including free lunches and a $270 traffic ticket Houlemard got. Houlemard apparently reasoned he should be reimbursed because he was ticketed while on the way to an official meeting.

Salerno said the records show FORA should not be trusted with another 14 years of authority, as is being considered by the state Legislature. Money spent lavishly on munitions clearing and free lunches, he said, could have been better spent on clearing dilapidated Army buildings from the former base.

“The public has realized that FORA has pissed away $100 million doing a residential-level cleanup on public land for a horse race track and housing the area will never need,” said Salerno, in reference to Monterey Downs and the number of foreclosed or delinquent properties already available on the Peninsula.

“They are also realizing,” he said, “the same $100 million could have been spent much better on rehabbing and cleaning up the core of the base, which continues to rot.”

While Houlemard is reluctant to say he has learned anything from the lawsuit, there have been changes at FORA, most of them directed at community relations.

On Friday, at the request of Keep Fort Ord Wild, the FORA board began discussions to establish its first written records retention policy. A public records request form has been added to the website.

After inquiries from The Herald, Kristie Reimer, the manager for the project’s lead contractor, created a map that shows what work has been done, what is ongoing and what remains.

Reimer, of ARCADIS, said all but 9 percent of the project has been cleared of detected munitions. Fifty-six percent is clean and awaiting regulatory clearance. Thirty-five percent, including the Monterey Downs site, has clearance and is merely awaiting release by Chartis, the environmental insurance company.

Reimer’s progress map is one of the new exhibits she and Stan Cook, FORA’s project manager, have set up in a public viewing room at FORA’s office on Second Avenue in Marina. Also included are a timeline of the project and photos of some of the munitions and “cultural debris,” otherwise known as garbage, that have been cleared from the land.

With the exception of Reimer’s progress map, most of the information has been available at FORA community awareness workshops and online, if you can wade through the acronyms.

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 753-6751 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com.
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Ed Mitchell’s FORA comment

FORA Comment from Ed Mitchell, LTC(R) shared with permission below. What’s yours? June 15 is the deadline for your comments to plan@fora.org.

—–

I am a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who underwent basic training and one tour of duty at Ft Ord and am submitting these inputs as a member of American Legion 593, and as the co-founder of the Prunedale Neighbors Group.

I attended the first FORA reassessment workshop that was held in Salinas. I submitted comments then but wish to follow up with written input to FORA and to Congressman Farr.

#1.  I wish to first point out that the FORA presenters provided zero information on how well or poorly FORA has achieved the objective goals in the approved Fort Ord Reuse Plan after 14 years of work. Expecting public feedback without revealing FORA’s self-assessment effectively disquises performance shortfalls.

There have been some very significant accomplishments that need to be recognized. But so should the significant shortfalls. Transparent and mindful understanding of each is needed to determine what actions FORA needs to continue and what performance adjustments are needed to remove the shortfalls, before considering extending the life of FORA.

Accomplishments include establishing CSUMB and entitling six subdivisions, some of which have been built or partially built. But the shortfalls include large swaths military urban areas remaining blighted with decaying buildings and cracking parking lots, while additional subdivision entitlements into the forested/trails areas of Ft Ord are being championed as appropriate.

The major shortfall is only focusing on entitling subdivisions and zero progress on leveraging habitat and recreational access to help the local economy. FORA has shown zero vision or leadership to generate eco-tourism for the local towns of Marina, Seaside, and Del Rey Oaks. FORA’s leadership shortfall is not recognizing that low-cost improvements would support thousands of tourists to visit and spend money in the surrounding towns.

#2 For example, a major shortfall is the lack of a free public access policy to the recreational areas. Free public access to California’s coast is now recognized as a highly beneficial public policy that generated billions of dollars in tourist income to this state during the last 45 years. Similarly, millions of dollars of economic benefit can be gained by the cities surrounding Ft Ord if FORA, surrounding cities, and the County of Monterey establish ordinances or requirements that make developments or roadways provide safe access over, under, or across those areas to ensure free public access to the recreational areas within Ft Ord, including the Soldiers Monument.

#3 Additionally, there has been zero progress on the objective of establishing a county-city trail system to access the protected interior area of Ft Ord, now the Soldiers National Monument. No planning for parking/access areas or intelligent trail linkage from adjacent parks to the Ft Ord recreational areas. This shortfall was mitigated by local activists who conducted a successful referendum to ensure linkage of the Ft Ord Dunes State Park to the Jerry Smith recreational trail to the Soldiers Monument.

#4 Should FORA be approved to continue operating after June 30, 2014 it should be required to focus priority not on more entitled subdivisions or building bus maintenance yards in the woods. FORA should instead comply with the Fort Ord Reused Plan’s objectives and work on establishing trailheads and intelligent trail networks and champion the economic benefits of a 50-50 balance between job growth coming from the existing developments (as they build out) and job growth from eco-tourism to/through the new Soldiers Monument. Any claim that one of FORA’s accomplishments was the establishment of the Soldiers Monument is false. That vision came from the hiker/biker/horse rider community who did the legwork to make it a reality. FORA only chimed in at the end when the activists had gained political support from politicians in Washington D.C. that grasped the merit of the vision.

#5 Another shortfall is the lack of information on the progress of the Ft Ord range clean up of ammunition and whether that task will not conclude on June 30, 2014 when FORA is schedule to expire. This county cannot and need not suffer the economic harm of the range areas not being cleaned up with the original $100 million dollars allocated to FORA. FORA should report to Congressman Farr, to State Assemblyman Monning, and to the public during the reassessment period, whether the clean up goal will be achieved on schedule and within the allocated budget — prior to any reassessment decision. We need to know now if FORA is going to claim it does not have enough money to finish the clean up.

A sister shortfall is that the annual progress reports by FORA average 4 to 6 pages in length and provide little transparency on progress toward achieving Ft Ord Reuse Objectives. Too little accurate information is provided.

#6 Not providing local Indian tribes acreage for a cultural center, as was promised, is another shortfall.

#7 The County’s proposed routing of the 4-lane highway from Seaside to reservation road should be re-routed along the existing Gigling road to the existing Inter-garrison road to East Garrison’s connection to reservation road. It should not cut through interior wooded areas.

#8 I also recommend that the Veterans Cemetery be annexed into the Soldiers Monument.

Yours truly,

LTC(R) Ed Mitchell

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These kids are raised up right

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FORA hasn’t had much time to plan for the reassessment, only been 15 years, and you know how  time flies!  You have less than 2 weeks window of opportunity to give The Authority your vision for Fort Ord. You might suggest reworking The Plan with current economic and population forecasts for starters?

Base Reuse Plan Reassessment Workshops:

5/21/12, 6:30-9pm — Salinas Community Center, Salinas
5/22/12, 6:30-9pm — Carpenter’s Hall, Marina
5/29/12, 6:30-9pm — Monterey Conference Center, Monterey
5/30/12, 6:30-9pm — Oldemeyer Multi-Use Center, Seaside
6/2/12, 9:30am-noon — Carpenter’s Hall, Marina

BUILD ON BLIGHT FIRST!

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http://keepfortordwild.org/2012/05/19/1239/