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Historical Records Commission Minutes August 12, 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
Sabrina Condon, Business Systems Analyst
Karen Schneider, Library Commissioner (LC) for Deborah Doyle Liaison to the HRC
Erika Thibault, Deputy Library Director, Sonoma County Library

Guests present:
Carol Eber, Member, Advocates for Sonoma County Archives
Ray Holley, Communications Manager, Sonoma County Library  

  1. Call to order 4:02 pm
  2. Introduction of Guests
  3. July 8, 2021 Minutes approved
    1. Motion by Eric Stanley
    2. Second by Margaret Purser
    3. Approved
    1. Budget Discussion
      1. Balance is $3,905.52
    2. Continuing Business
      1. Review Retention Schedule(s)
        1. Sheriff's Office schedule update
          • Change to the schedule that was approved on page 3 - Items for personnel file.  Intended to have retention be 5 years after end of employment instead of 5 years only.
          • Motion to approve the revision to event +5 years by John Murphey
          • Second by Gretchen Emmert
          • Approved
        2. Department of Emergency Management schedule
          • Emergency was a part of Emergency-Fire services, and Fire services will move to Permit Sonoma.
          • Emergency Management is a new Department but drawing from the previous division
          • Motion by Margaret Purser
          • Second by John Murphey
          • Approved
      2. HRC Commissioners Report
        1. Steve's report:
          • Invited Carol Eber to give us a Public Comment about her trip to the San Diego Archives
          • As far as we know, the Sonoma County Historical Society luncheon is still on for October.  With COVID-19 count, who knows what will happen in the near future.
        2. Gretchen's report:
          • Plugging away at the spreadsheet
        3. John's report:
          • Reviewing counties with dedicated Archives with Archivists.  Houston would be a good example.
          • Smaller counties were not as robust.  Had a lot of records, genealogical focus, web process, blogs about county history.  Seems like in most cases the Clerk's office and their records remain independent.
        4. Eric's report:
          • No update for HRC
          • Museum has received offers of archival materials from Press Democrat, LGBTQ Timeline
          • Museum items at Los Guilicos Archives are small enough to move them into museum storage areas.
        5. Margaret's report:
          • Pamphlet update below
          • Working on a nomination for the Archives award that will nominate the Office of Cultural Research at CalTrans Distric 4 and Special Collections Library at Sonoma State University for their partnership of rescuing all those Highway 101 documents and finding a secure home for them.
      3. Library Commissioner Report
        1. Update by Karen Schneider:
          • Here for Deborah Doyle
          • Ray Holley has drafted a public statement on the status of the movement of Los Guilicos to Westwood.
        2. Update by Ray Holley:
          • Update on materials at Los Guilicos and their eventual move to the Airport Business Center
          • Have basics of lease agreement for the Westwood Boulevard space, it is a complex three-way agreement between the County of Sonoma, the Library, and the building owner, Sonoma County Farm Bureau
          • Waiting for County Real Estate Office to complete review of the lease
          • Details have been worked out including how the space will be used, how improvements will be completed, cost
          • Cost covered approximately 50-50 by County and Library.  There is a significant investment of Library funds as well.
          • Ready to begin moving materials as soon as next week, however the County has its process and we must be patient and wait for that.
          • Space planning firm has completed a plan for efficient and effective storage.  Will involve cleaning and reusing the current shelving from Los Guilicos and purchasing additional shelving. 
          • Moving in 2 phase, as soon as Next week after we hear back from the County
            1. Phase 1: To remove out of fire danger, we will carefully packing items, palletizing them.  Moving to an adjacent space near the Farm Bureau building
            2. Phase 2: Once improvements are complete, improvements are significant including some removing of walls, will be moved from temporary space to the permanent space. 
          • Materials will be inaccessible during the first phase of the move.
          • We recognize these are important but our highest priority is rescuing these documents from fire danger.  If we were to wait for all steps to be completed, we would not be able to move them until October.  We would like to move them as soon as next week.
        3. Questions from the HRC:  
          • Steve: Thank you for the update. I am confused about the funding for this move.  We heard the county had appropriated $140,000 and then there was some confusion about how it couldn’t be used for the lease. Would you clarify what you said about the funding?
            1. Erika Thibault: The Library Commission has approved $137,000 of library funding to pay for the improvements and the actual move.  The County $140,000 will go toward the lease.
          • Steve: In the Archives now are some large rolling shelves that the Court books are on, we heard they will not fit in the new building.  Is that what the new shelving will be for?
            1. Ray Holley: We call them ledgers; we are modifying some existing shelving to accommodate the ledgers. It will also involve purchasing additional shelving.  They have to be completely flat and fully supported.  Will add time due to the customization of the shelves.
            2. Erika Thibault: The ledgers shelving will remain at Los Guilicos for future use.
          • Margaret: Is it the rolling shelves that will stay or the ledgers?
            1. Erika Thibault: The shelving will stay.
          • John: There is material there that are loosely in rolls and should be flat in cases like building plans and maps.  Are they going to have a proper home?
            1. Ray Holley: I understand we are purchasing special archival containers for them.
            2. Erika Thibault: As part of the space planning design, we do have special provisions for them.  They will eventually be stored in flat boxes.  They will be stored as they currently are for the temporary move.  During Phase 2 materials will be stored appropriately.
          • Steve: When you move from Phase 1 location to Phase 2, will there be cleaning of the materials?
            1. Erika Thibault: We will explore all options.  At this time, we did get one quote from a company that would provide the service but we have not put that out to other companies.
          • Steve: That impacts the amount of time the materials are inaccessible to the public.
      4. Archives Activity Report
        1. See above
          1. Strategic Planning
            1. Postpone until more information is known about the Archives.
          2. Collections & Archives Recognition Awards
            1. Nominations
              • Update from Eric Stanley:
                • Got the forms and guidelines to the Heritage Network
                • We have received one official Nomination
                • Deadline is August 31, 2021
                • We will probably have a handful of candidates/nominees.  Look at those at the September 9 meeting and make a decision.
                • When we last discussed this, we were discussing a certificate as the award.
                • Eric to work with Secretary for the award certificate
              • Update from John Murphey:
                • Some of the people I sent the form to are requesting more time.
                • I will get back to them that we are sticking to the August 31, 2021 deadline. 
          3. Outreach
            1. Update on the 2004 HRC/Landmarks Commission Pamphlet, “ Researching the History of Your Sonoma County Building”:
              • Update by Margaret Purser:
                • Made quite a bit of progress. 
                • John had gone through a first pass to point out the items that needed to be updated and useable.  He also reached out to the Landmarks Commission who assisted with creating the original document
                • Got started revising the easiest things, which was updating information about what documents are available, where to access them, who to contact
                • Around the same time, representatives from History & Genealogy Library and Historical Society of Santa Rosa who had begun to work on revisions of the document themselves contacted John
                • Had a ZOOM meeting together and discussed the kinds of information people would find useful and how to structure the document so people would have a better understanding of what the document would be used for.  Combined different versions of drafts in a shared Google drive to see if we can merge these documents in some useful way. 
                • Have not heard from the Landmarks Commission at this time, would be nice to have their participation.
                • Had a brief discussion about all types of buildings, not just the home.  Trying to frame the document as broadly useful in terms of property rather than structure.  A document that sends people to the right places given a particular interest and reach a broader audience.
              • Update by John Murphey:
                • During the meeting last week, there was a representative from Historical Society of Santa Rosa (HSSR) and the H&G Library (H&G).  They all had mutual goals but different
                  • H&G wants a document that a person off the street using sources in the H&G collection
                  • Denise Hill, HSSR, was talking about resources specific to Santa Rosa
                  • John and Margaret will start with the County material first and then hope to come together and produce a unified document.
                • Made a request of Patricia Cullinan of the Landmarks Commission to bring to their next meeting, but question is when is their next meeting since they often skip meetings.
                • Going to look at non-property owners so anyone can do this type of research. 
                • Will present itself as a resource guide or a toolkit rather than an instruction.
              • Comments by Steve Lovejoy:
                • Would not want to make putting your house on the Landmarks the pamphlet the focus.  Many people do not want their house listed. 
                • Once finished, would be good to have a public lecture maybe sponsored by the HSSR for public outreach done by the HRC.
                • Do we know if other cities than Santa Rosa have documents in their archives for this process?
                  • Margaret: the document already lists all of the contact information for cities in the County for whatever office in that City has archives.  Linking to those websites within the document. 
                • We should also include the specific wording the public should ask for when requesting documents from these different entities.
                  • Margaret: The document does include two major tables: 1) types of documents and description and 2) all of these different agencies and their contact information.
              • Comments by Gretchen Emmert:
                • I was at H&G Library today and they showed me some old building permit books.  Cities are another resource for permits, property history, and building information.
            2. Other California County Historical Records Commission  
              1. No update
          4. New Business
            1. None
            2. Public Comment
              1. Carol Eber provides an update on her visit to the San Diego County Archives:
                1. Part of her interest in the Archives comes from being the great-great-granddaughter of Mark West who came to Sonoma County in the 1840s. 
                2. Had a remarkable 2-hour tour of the San Diego County Archives.  They had a new 1-story facility that opened in February 2021, extensive climate control within +/- 5 degrees, humidity settings and sensors.  They have a special room for off-gassing maps-did not want those maps to contaminate their other records.  Had amazing shelving for the maps lying flat with ventilation.  Place for visitors to access the Archives.  The Archives they built is also a safe room.  Brought in an Archive consultant who helped design the facility and built for a 50-year future.  They only have County Recorder records.  Discussed Recorder-specific funds used for the project.  Shared the report with Supervisor Coursey’s office who said they were already discussing the Archives being a part of the new County building.
                  1. John: if someone was to walk off the street, would they be served by a staff person?
                    1. Carol: right now it is by appointment.
                  2. Deva: Clarification on trust funds in the Recorder’s Office.  There are multiple trust funds that are earmarked for different things.  We use the Micrographics fund to print microfilm for records preservation.  E-Recording fund to run the electronic recording program.  The Modernization fund is restricted by law to modernize the operations of the Recorder’s Office.  That is why San Diego used it for Recorder’s records.  I don’t know how much money San Diego had in their fund.  It would depend on how much they have been pulling against it.  We do use our fund, which is why all of our records are digitized, how our facilities have been updated, upgraded our recording system, and had the grantor/grantee index books cleaned.  The County has already informed us that they will be using Modernization funds for the portion of the new building specific to the Recorder’s office.  It is not enough to build a whole building. 
                  3. Amanda: further clarification that the Modernization fund comes from a $1 fee per recorded document.  Some counties record many more documents and some record very few.
                  4. John: I remember a few meetings ago someone telling us there is no plan to have the Archives be part of the new County facility.  Is that still the case?
                  5. Deva: I am wondering if Supervisor Coursey’s office meant the Modernization fund has already been discussed and did not realize Archives vs. Recorder’s Office.  I have not heard anything about an Archives being a part of that facility.
                  6. Carol: it was specific to the Archives because it was in response to the report I sent.
                  7. Steve: He is not only interested in a short-term solution but a long-term solution for the Archives.  Incorporating it into a new center seems to be a very attractive option.  I would like to keep the discussion of the Archives being incorporated in the new center.
                  8. Carol: In San Diego, one individual drove the new Recorder’s Archives facility.  In our County, we have 18 local organizations that are very interested in the County Archives.  Improving the facility, access, and continued maintenance of such a thing.  County officials will consider that in their planning and decision making and those that come out an advocate for inclusion of an Archive in the new County center are going to get the support of people who belong to 18 organizations in the County, if you’re elected.
                  9. Deva: To clarify, the reason why the Assistant Recorder did that is because it is an Archive for the Recorder’s records.  With Archivists, that is County funding.  You cannot use Modernization fund for ongoing staffing, that would be General Fund. 
                  10. Carol: In the future, they are considering making those Archives available to other organizations for a fee.
                3. Steve will send Secretary Carol’s report 
              2. Deva: Identified 697 old Assessor's working maps in County Records Management.  We pulled them out and did a project to get them all scanned.  They are currently being indexed and will be uploaded into our Recording system so people may search Unrecorded maps.
              3. Sonoma County Heritage Network Meeting, October 9, 2021 
                1. Library Commission meeting, September 13, 2021, 6pm, on ZOOM   
                2. 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/
              4. Meeting adjourned at 5:15PM

              Next Meeting - September 9, 2021 - WebEx, 4:00PM

              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

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