Politicians Push Vet Cemetery Land Transfer; Activists Allege Brown Act Violation
March 18, 2013
Politicians aren't taking any chances with a critical land transfer of the planned Central Coast Veterans Cemetery. Meanwhile, open-space activists are alleging the Seaside City Council has violated California's open-meetings and environmental laws in scheduling a meeting to address the issue.
Congressman Sam Farr, State Senator Bill Monning and Assemblyman Mark Stone are asking the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to approve a transfer of the 78-acre parcel from the Fort Ord Reuse Authority to the state of California. Farr's letter went to the city of Seaside as well.
The transfer would allow the cemetery to qualify for federal funding advocates say is critical to moving the cash-strapped project forward.
The Seaside City Council is met at 5:30pm March 18 to consider approving the transfer, which has the support of city staff. But a letter sent to Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio from activist group Keep Fort Ord Wild warns the council not to take any action, alleging violations of the Brown Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.
KFOW attorney Molly Erickson writes that the city of Seaside has not provided her with the requested public records related to tonight's meeting, including the actual agreement under consideration. "The council cannot approve an agreement that the public has not seen," she writes.
Erickson also argues that it's too early for the to approve the transfer under CEQA, and the draft environmental impact report has not been released. "The project is very controversial," she writes.
In a letter sent Monday to Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio, county counsel Charles McKee warns that the county has not yet signed onto the agreement under consideration by the Seaside council. "We respectfully request that the county be omitted as a party to that agreement," he writes.
McKee adds that the Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the veterans cemetery at its regular March 26 meeting, with a resolution directing FORA to transfer the land directly to the state.
UPDATE 3/19 1:45pm: The Seaside City Council did approve the agenda item Monday night. City Manager John Dunn reports the requested documents were made public in time for the meeting, and the KFOW complaint was forwarded to the city attorney.