Finance Working Group minutes : : 10 April 1998 meeting

The Finance Working Group met a second time under the direction of Vince Taylor; Patty Madigan, Michael Potts, and Ken ___? attended. Michael reported that he had received a letter from Virginia Strom-Martin sayiung in part "It is refreshing to see a community work together on a project such as this. One the community decides how it would like to proceed, my staff and I will have a better idea how we may be able to assist you and the community in your efforts." She added that her Mendocino Field Rep, Jennifer Puser, had attended our last meeting and would serve as her liaison. At this time it was agreed that Rep. Strom-Martin would be a primary resource for advice and support.

Vince reported oin his meeting with Greg Picard, local State Parks manager. Picard agreed that acquisition of the rest of Caspar Beach (what's left of it; the last storms have been brutal!) would be "suitable"; a stronger statement might be had from Kenneth B Jones, deputy director of parks stewardship. A request from Rep Strom-Martin might help. We agreed that an important issue for our group is that we should never speak for the greater Caspar assembly. In this case, the key question is "Does Caspar want State Parks to own the beach?"

Patty suggested we should shoot for the moon, and raise enough money to buy the whole property. Then we can dictate terms when, for example, we deed the beach and riparian habitat to State Parks. Patty suggested that Renee Pasquinelli might be a resource, and that a rest room at the beach would be a good idea.

Vince wondered if anything could be built on either side of Caspar crrek within the 300-foot riparian corridor. Patty noted that the Caspar holding was what real estate people call a problem property, with it riparian, sandy beach, and viewshed issues. She reiterated her concern that many procedural questions must be referred to the "full Caspar assembly." Sample issues: several proposals were made by parties to the last "Eight Visions" meeting, including (1) hiring one of the graduate students for the summer to develop three plans (approximate cost: $3,000), (2) retain Professor Randy Hester to develop the ideas with the town ($2,500), (3) retain an economic analyst named Deena to do her specialty on the project ($2,500), and/or (4) retain Professor Randy to facilitate completion of the whole study ($12,000). It was noted that the expenses of the process leading to the "8 Visions" meeting had been defrayed by a generous $1,500 grant from the Tarbell Family Trust. Patty expressed the gratitude of the group to Jim and Judy (in absentia) for their work.

Patty suggested several ideas: (1) seeking a $100,000 Ford Foundation economic development grant to facilitate the process, which might attract matching grants, (2) research the availability of Coho Salmon Mitigation funds possibly including salmon stamp moneys, (3) hold a Gorse Digging Festival complete with name entertainment. Regarding matching grants, Michael suggested we start keeping track of our own in-kind donations of time and materials, and Patty agreed to look for a suitable form. It was also agreed that we need a method for raising money and disbursing it without upsetting community members. It was generally observed that this had proven a sticking point in previous Caspar efforts. The group agreed that a proposal should be prepared and made to the Caspar General Assembly (CGA) at the 26 April meeting.

Patty volunteered to conduct a workshop in Community Asset Mapping and Needs Assessment, a new technique being required by many granting agencies. The idea is that successful projects grow out of resources and innate community abilities, rather than needs, because they are taken over and operated by the community. Projects imposed by others or responding to the imagined needs of a community are less successful. Patty thought the process would take a small group about a week to complete, and would be very useful to us in knowing how to proceed.

Noting Vince's earlier suggestion that an "executive director" might be required to propel the project ahead, Patty wondered if the graduate student mentioned above might be willing to take on such responsibilities this summer? Vince suggested that the Caspar Fund administration group, possibly an outgrowth of the Finance Working Group, should be empowered by the CGA top disburse small sums, up to about $2,000, at its discretion, but that consensus from the larger group be required for larger expenditures. Vince offered the use of his family trust (which is 501-c-3 approved) for clerical expenses, and volunteered to be the group's treasurer. Patty suggested we institute a "Givings" program by which people (like herself and Tommy, who have no heirs) could deed their land to a land trust. She suggested we speak with Roger Sternglass of the Mendocino Land Trust, which could very logically serve as our ‘umbrella' land trust.

A lively discussion of the merits of consensus and voting ensued, Michael making the point that the democratic process in practice seems to foster opposition where the informal consensus process we have enjoyed so far fosters cooperation. Patty pointed out that our ‘consensus' hasn't really been formal, and there are surely plenty of dissidents, mentioning one who had already contacted the Coastal Conservancy to discredit the "Caspar Consensus" arrived at during our meetings to date. She urged that we be careful of hidden agendas, as this has the makings of a "sexy project" which may attract many with less than generous or home-grown interests.

Vince's idea for a formal proposal was discussed. Patty volunteered to work on the historical aspects. Someone needs to research the Coastal Commission and Coastal Conservancy to find out what they already know about Caspar. We need an honest statement of the land's value. Michael agreed to work with local native plant expert Lila McMurtry (who was also absent) to make a map of native plant and animal habitat. We hope to be able to include aspects of the "8 Visions" presented by the UCBerkeley graduate students. And we need to assemble a comprehensive list of resources, including potential backers, investors, and grant-makers. Obviously, this part of the project needs volunteers to pick up the pieces.

Vince offered to mine the internet for foundations and other possibly grant sources, and to approach Jim and Judy who are presently holding the collection of meeting sign-up lists. Michael volunteered to turn them into a usable database. Patty said we must communicate a sense of urgency about this project, and suggested we start gathering phrases that convey the specialness of our project; she submitted "Saving what's left of Caspar Bay headlands" and "The green river of life" around Caspar creek.

The next meeting will be on 21 April at promptly at 11:00. For an invitation to this meeting, email Vince ( Vince explained that joining this group at this point should not require that new participants use up valuable group time being brought up to speed.

respectfully submitted by Michael Potts.

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