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Wildfire Safety Commission (View All)

October 2013 Firewise Commission meeting Minutes

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
12:00PM to 1:00PM
Conference Room, Ashland Fire Station #1
455 Siskiyou Blvd
Attendees: Pete Norvell, Matt Warshawsky, Kelly Eaton, Kathy Kane, Annette Herron, Eric Olson. Staff: Karen Alexander, Chris Chambers and Ali True. Absent: none, one vacancy.
II. INTRODUCTIONS: Guest, David Young (contact email:
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES: September 18th 2013 meeting minutes approved at 12:40 p.m. Pete Norvell approved; Annette Herron seconded.
V. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA – Business items D., E., and F. were not discussed due to time constraints.
  1. Q & A with David Young about Commission transition. Matt Warshawsky explained the missions and activities of the Firewise Commission to guest David Young from the Transportation Commission. Young explained his political and committee background and experience both in San Francisco and Ashland. Pete Norvell asked Young what was different before and after the Transportation & Safety and Bike & Pedestrian committees merged. Young stated that changes and progress happened over time, not right away, and that the political and legal process of charter changes was slow. Chris Chambers mentioned that it was more of an edit of an existing charter, keeping roughly 75% of the original, while changing the scope and references. Matt Warshawsky stated he didn’t want focus and energy diverted from current Firewise activities to play politics. Kathy Kane asked Young if the workload of the committee increased during and after the merger. Young felt the workload had remained manageable. He also pointed out that the committee has to stay relevant to get funding, as well as work with other committees. He cautioned about service to the community vs. activism by committee members, and mentioned that while it wasn’t a “perfect world,” Firewise events shouldn’t have to fall by the wayside to direct energy toward politics.
Matt Warshawsky asked Chris Chambers about getting more funding. The department is working on a FEMA grant for pre-disaster mitigation, with some monies included for current Firewise events. Eric Olson asked if the commission would take on a role of choosing which grants to pursue. Chambers said it would. Olson then stated concerns about focusing on the goals of the charter rather than chasing money, which concerned him from prior grant experience. Chambers responded that grant funding would be pursued based on targeted priorities approved by the committee, rather than a generic application approach.
  1. Council meeting update: Chambers. Chris gave an informational presentation to the City Council the previous evening (10/15/13), rather than a request for approval. He presented the charter change proposal to them, and stated there were no objections to it and they are expecting it.  He also mentioned that he is checking with the City Attorney on protocol for the change. 
  2. Discussion of current Commission ordinance and possible revisions to incorporate new scope, and potential different meeting time considering new working goals. It was proposed by Chris Chambers and Ali True that one additional hour should be added to the monthly Firewise Commission meetings. The purpose would be to increase meeting productivity by distributing and reading background information prior to meetings via email among staff and commission members (discussion among members is not allowed). The meetings can then focus more on discussion, decisions, and next steps, rather than trying to catch up on material. Suggestions about meeting start times were discussed. Kathy Kane called for a vote on the 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. time frame for the meetings.  Eric Olson seconded the vote. It passed unanimously that all future Firewise Commission meetings will be held every third Wednesday of each month from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Chris asked the Commission to discuss changes to the Commission ordinance. He stated that minimal editing could maintain the intent, but that Chief Karns wanted the nationwide cohesive strategy referenced. Eric Olson felt a strategic role rather than an implementation role would be the best fit for the Commission. Chris asked Eric to send him a proposal of language to integrate along that objective. Ali said she’d compile members’ suggestions to create the master draft to distribute to the Commission for review. No deadline was specified, and Chris said he’d send out the proposal, synthesize the feedback, re-draft the proposal, and it would be discussed at the next meeting. Ali stated she did not expect it to be presented before the City Council much before January 2014, though Chris was hopeful for an earlier date.
  1. Firewise Community program update: True. – Not discussed due to time constraints.
  2. Fire Adapted Community link to Jackson County Fire Plan and Pilot Project – Not discussed due to time constraints.
  3. CWPP review discussion (if time allows) – Not discussed due to time constraints.
The next meeting will occur on November 20, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the conference room at Fire Station One.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Public Works Office at 488-5587 (TTY phone number 1 800 735 2900). Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to the meeting (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title I).

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