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Historical Records Commission Minutes June 10, 2021

Members present:
Steven Lovejoy (Chair)
Eric Stanley (Vice-Chair)
Gretchen Emmert
John Murphey
Margaret Purser

Members excused:

Associate Members present:
Amanda King, Secretary
Deva Marie Proto, County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters
Deborah Doyle, Library Commissioner (LC) Liaison to the HRC
Ann Hammond, Director, Sonoma County Library

Guests present:
Michael Von der Porten, Sonoma County Historical Society, Treasurer and Western Sonoma County Historical Society, Member

  1. Call to order 4:02 pm
  2. Introduction of Guests
  3. May 13, 2021 Minutes approved
    1. Motion by Eric Stanley
    2. Second by Margaret Purser
    3. Approved
    1. Budget Discussion
      1. $3,905.52 after business cards $76.48 and County Counsel charges for April and May, both $207.00
    2. Continuing Business
      1. HRC Commissioners Report
        1. Margaret's report:
          • Finishing up the SSU semester
          • Attending a lot of meetings but not for HRC
        2. John's report:
          • Finishing up the semester
          • Working on a 400 page context
          • Communications with the Cotati museum
        3. Eric's report:
          • Reached out to several groups for nominations for the Awards
        4. Gretchen's report:
          • Spoke to the City of Santa Rosa City Manager about possible buildings for the Archives.  There is now a new interim-City Manager and will try to reach him this month.
          • Working through the list of counties for the Preliminary assessment of counties and historical commissions.  Many have historical societies and not many have Commissions.  Working with online Archive of California and Calisphere.  So far have identified Alpine, Fresno, and Glenn.
        5. Steve's report:
          • Spoke with Solano County with a Historical Records Commission.  They were managed by a volunteer group with a County leased building.  Lease expired and owner did not want to renew it.  County did not find anywhere else to put it and ended up putting historical records into storage.
          • Yuba County is a smaller county and uses the County Library, which is part of the County.  Have a Historical Records room and volunteers manage the collection.  They don’t have a Commission they have Historical Resources Commission.  Not necessarily supposed to work with documents and instead buildings etc.
          • San Diego County has just opened a new County Records Center in a new building.  The County Clerk-Recorder are housed in that building and a good space for their Historical Records.
          • Spoke with the State Archivist, who came onboard in 2019 between the two fires.  She was not familiar with our situation so I talked with her quite a while and she was going to take that information back to her staff and get back to me if they can help.
          • California Historical Records Advisory Board, which is supposed to advice HRCs in best practices for preservation and storage.  That board has not been active because of COVID and will be meeting again later in the year.  She asked if there was a possibility of moving County materials to the State Archives.  State Archives is about 85% full, may be a temporary solution.  Meeting with her again on the 24th after she speaks with Staff.
      2. Library Commissioner Report
        1. Update by Deborah Doyle:
          • Had LC meeting and passed the budget and approved the Reimagining plan.
          • Expecting a new Deputy Director
          • Libraries have been opening up
        2. Questions and Comments from Steven Lovejoy:
          • Lively meeting
          • Budget that was passed was rather high ideal.  Are the workbooks public documents?
            • Ann: Yes, they will be public because they are part of the budget that was passed.
            • When will they be made public?
            • Ann: They are not going to be posted on the website because it is a working document.  Our most recent document is June 4th.
        3. Update by Ann Hammond:
          • Gathering different options about where to move the Archives and what it will cost and working with the County.
          • BOS going into budget hearings next week so we will know how much they can put forth and how much the library will be able to contribute.
          • Materials going to History & Genealogy Library, the Library is taking care of that cost themselves. 
      3. Archives Activity Report
        1. Steve: Have there been any places identified?
          • Ann: we have looked into some places and we have a quote from an offsite storage site.
        2. Ann: If the county would like us [the Library] to continue managing these records, I would like the County to have an MOU with the Library so we can determine roles and responsibilities.
        3. Steve: I spoke with Supervisor Gorin and emphasized that interested parties need to be consulted.
        4. Deborah: The definition of public Library and an Archives needs to be determined.
        5. Steve: Has the library reached out to any stakeholders to look into funding?
          • Ann: No.
          • Steve: I was thinking of reaching out to the stakeholders to appear for public comment and urge them to act.
        6. Archives Task Force Report
          1. No update

          John Murphey left at 4:30PM

        7. Strategic Planning
          1. Steve: Do we want to do another strategic plan?
            • Margaret: Strategic planning is often difficult and painful and hard to make work well.  There are a lot of balls up in the air about the fate of the Archives, that it might be unproductive to do a robust strategic plan without knowing what the outcome of the Archives discussion will be.  It might be good to postpone this process until we know more.
            • Steve: That was my thinking also.  I would like to develop some goals but maybe not a full blown strategic plan.
            • Eric: I agree postponing is the right idea.  The next strategic plan could be a little more focused.
            • Gretchen: Sounds like a good plan to me to postpone.
          2. Margaret: How does this process work? Does the County provide facilitation?
            • Steve: we had an outside consultant do it last time over 2 full days.  There are so many unknowns about what was going to happen with the Archives the Plan did not make sense.  We focused on public outreach.  It wasn't all that expensive to do.
        8. Collections & Archives Recognition Awards
          1. Nominations
            • Update from Eric Stanley:
              • John and I had assigned organizations to reach out.  Reached out to Petaluma, Sonoma County Historical Society, Santa Rosa Historical Society, Sonoma State, and Cloverdale and John had his half.  Got a mix of some nominations and some waiting on responses.
              • Recommend dive in on the nominations next meeting.
              • Margaret: Discussion about the CalTrans Archives for team nomination vs. individual.
                • Eric: that is okay to nominate more than one person.
        9. Outreach
          1. Update on the 2004 HRC/Landmarks Commission Pamphlet, “ Researching the History of Your Sonoma County Building”:
            • Margaret: John did a great job identifying what needs to be revised or updated.  The original purpose of this document is specific to people's property.  I have been watching requests for documents for the Commission and they have a different focus.  Seems like it may be a good idea to create a digital document to reference where to go for various requests.
            • Steve: I think it's a good project and well within our scope of what we do.
          2. Other California County Historical Records Commission
            • Steve: Ongoing project to give a summary to the Board of Supervisors when we discuss the Archives.
      4. New Business
        1. Clerk-Recorder's office reopening to regular public hours on Tuesday, June 15.
      5. Public Comment
        1. Michael Von der Porten: recognize the importance of the records which really do come from the County and then become Historical Records.  It's important that they're preserved and available.  For good governance and policy in the modern era. Notes on Monday’s LC meeting – Some are County records, Santa Rosa, and the Courts. Today’s discussion is all about the County. Has the County agreed to take the Santa Rosa records, what about the Court records? This has me worried. My reading of it is the Santa Rosa records have been abandoned. Please tell me I’m wrong. Hearing for the first time the members of the commission concur with the decision of the Library on Monday, I would appreciate clarity on this.
          1. Steve: This is a complicated discussion between multiple parties, which you have alluded to.  There has been no real solution yet and discussions are still going on.  The HRC and the LC and the Library are committed to preserving all of those records and making them publicly accessible.  I don’t think anyone is talking about abandoning records or lose the records.  Everyone is working in good faith and it’s very complicated.  Everyone involved is really doing their best here and I think it would be good for you to make those concerns known to the Board of Supervisors.  They’re the entity that are going to provide the emphasis and money to get those records moved.
          2. Ann: I think it’s important to not confuse ownership and management.  The Library is still managing the materials unless the owners tell us that they want to do something different we will continue to do that.
          3. Michael: I think that’s the first time I’ve heard the Library stay that they are still responsible and I appreciate that.
          4. Steve: We do have a Law Library and whether or not they would want to take on any storage or public access of the Court records.  I don’t know how much storage they may have.  Their mission may be different than a historical archive.
          5. Deva: I don’t think they have any space
          6. Deborah: There has been some pressure at the LC level and public to get those records out there before they start to burn. 
          7. Margaret: The inventory that was just completed should help us identify the ownership.
          8. Margaret: I would like to request to not separate the Archives.  Let’s keep them all together if we possibly can.
          9. Deva: if there is a cost associated with it, I don’t see the County volunteering to host the Court records or the City without payment.  I don’t think it’s realistic.  
        2. Sonoma County Heritage Network Meeting, July 10, 2021, 10am to 12pm, on ZOOM. 
        3. Library Commission meeting, July 12, 2021, 6pm, on ZOOM   
        4. Museum of Sonoma County Exhibits:
          1. 35: Thirty-Five Artists for Thirty-Five Years, beginning December 22, 2020-October 31, 2021: https://museumsc.org/35-exhibition/
          2. Go Big or Go Home: Taking Measure of Sonoma County's Past, May 1, 2021-Ongoing:  https://museumsc.org/go-big-or-go-home/
          3. The Portal Service, May 1, 2021-Ongoing:  https://museumsc.org/the-portal-service/
      6. Meeting adjourned at 5:03PM
    3. Next Meeting - July 8, 2021 - WebEx, 4:00PM

    4. Contact Information

      Secretary of the Commission
      Historical Records Commission
      County of Sonoma
      Business Hours
      Monday – Friday
      8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
      Contact us by Phone

      Mailing Address

      Sonoma County Historical Records Commission

      585 Fiscal Drive, Rm 103

      Santa Rosa, CA 95403

      Meeting Location:

      Currently Virtual, link posted with Agenda

      County of Sonoma Boards, Commissions and Committees