September/October 2001 issue
Wednesday, September 26, 7:30 p.m
Multi-Purpose Room, Bonny Doon School
Suddenly Our Oaks Are Dying 

Our Monterey Pines have been devastated by pitch canker. Pierce’s Disease is threatening our vineyards. Now, another fungus is attacking our stately oaks. 

Sudden Oak Death syndrome (SOD) has been found since 1995 in coastal areas of Northern and Central California, including Santa Cruz. In some areas, entire stands of oaks have succumbed. Tan and coast live oaks have been mostly affected, but black oaks have, too.

At the Sept. 26 RBDA meeting, SOD expert Dr. Keyt Fischer, a Harvard-trained conservation ecologist. will discuss the will discuss potential wildlife ecological impacts of SOD, and theories about how to protect and restore affected habitats. She will also report on the increasing effort to understand and battle this epidemic.

The California Oak Mortality Task Force has been formed to bring together public agencies, non-profit organizations, and private interests. It has developed a strategy that involves the reporting of elevated levels of oak mortality from many sources, including roadside surveys, aerial surveys, rangers, open space field personnel, and the public. (See the Web site

SOD is a growing and serious problem that could have a major impact on our area. Come to the Sept. 26 meeting to learn how to recognize the signs of it, and what you should do if you think one of your trees has been affected.

Roads Committee Sets Goals

On July 5 Buell Proffitt, Tom Scully and Mark Atkinson met for the first, and to date, only meeting of the Roads Committee. RBDA Chairman Ted Benhari attended the majority of the meeting as well. A list was created of the goals for the committee that included:

1. Discover and report on the county's road repair policy;
2. Create a way to find out from BD residents what their concerns and needs are;
3. Work with the county to find effective ways of controlling the French Broom along the roadside;
4. Discover and report on the county's schedule for repairing or replacing damaged and blocked culverts;
5. Find out if it would be possible for the county to consider widening many of the roads in the area to better accommodate bicycles.
Of course, we all know, the county has been completing work on many of the roads in recent months. As a committee we have not pursued many of the above mentioned goals due to this favorable development, wishing instead to let this series of repairs and repaving first come to an end. We will have a better idea of future needs once they are, complete.

An e-mail address has been created to receive comments and concerns from residents. It is and will be received by Tom and forwarded to all committee members. The RBDA Board will also be kept informed of all actions of the committee.

Felton Empire Pavement Repair

A contract for pavement repair work on Felton Empire Road was approved by the Board of Supervisors on August 14. The work, which was engineered and bid by the Public Works Department, will provide pavement repair and asphalt overlay from the intersection of Empire Grade to approximately one mile south toward Felton at (pavement marker) PM 1.0. The cost of this work is $330,826 and is tentatively scheduled for construction in September of this year.

In addition, Granite Construction Company is currently preparing to overlay approximately 3,600 feet of Felton Empire Road between PM 2.03 and 2.71 as part of the 2000/2001 Pavement Management Program. The remaining two sections of Felton Empire Road are scheduled to be chip sealed in spring 2002 between PM 1.0 and 2.03 and PM 2.71 and Highway 9. With the completion of next year's chip seal work, the Public Works Department will have completed all scheduled resurfacing work on Felton Empire Road, in accordance with the County Pavement Management Program.

If you require further information. please contact John Swenson, Senior Civil Engineer, at 454-2160.

— Tom Bolich, County Director of Public Works

The Bonny Doon Planning District
Bonny Doon Planning District map

If you live in or own property within this district, roughly from Empire Grade to the ocean and from San Vicente Creek to the City of Santa Cruz border, you are eligible to be an RBDA member.

See ‘Verifying Membership" story, below.

Still Standing
Some discussion at recent RBDA meetings has focused on the organization's Standing Rules, which appear to be a source of confusion. According to Roberts Rules of Order, Standing Rules "are rules which are related to the details of administration of a society rather than to parliamentary procedure."

We don't have many. A bit of research into the archive of minutes yielded only 6. Here is a brief summary. The full texts will be available at the September meeting for anyone interested.

1. Permits the chairperson to send e-mail to members at his/her discretion.
2. Allows either the chairperson or treasurer to sign checks.
3. Revises the procedure for the Executive Board to express an official RBDA position in letters 
   (see #6).
4. Defines the process for placing information on the RBDA website.
5. Defines the rules about posting letters requesting RBDA involvement in an issue at the public
    RBDA meetings.
6. Defines the procedure for authorizing official correspondence from the board.

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Verifying Membership

Following the 2001 RBDA Board Elections, questions were raised regarding the eligibility of those members who voted. Historically, the RBDA has accepted membership applications on faith, the reasoning being that there existed no strong motive for non-residents to pose as residents, certainly not in numbers sufficient to significantly alter any vote.

It is my belief that this reasoning still holds. However, members have expressed their desire to have some form of verification system in place to provide confidence in the results of close votes.

My goal is therefore to find a workable solution which provides the necessary assurances to the membership.

The greatest assurance would doubtless be provided by devising a system that would unequivocally prove that every member was eligible to join. However, this is, unfortunately, insupportable. We therefore have to accept a solution that falls short of absolute proof.

This is why:
The criteria for membership are that someone either physically reside in the Bonny Doon Planning District OR own property here. It is therefore possible that someone can be eligible and not have any identification that can be used to prove it.

Consider someone living in Palo Alto who owns 10 acres on Pine Flat. The only evidence that they can provide is a deed. We currently verify such deeds with the County, but if someone joins at a meeting and wants to vote that evening, we don't have time to verify their deed in the unlikely event that they brought it with them.

Consider a tenant just moving to the area. They would have even less to identify their connection to Bonny Doon, at least until their new checks arrive. We would have to do something like getting a notarized letter from their landlord, who would have to prove their identity.

As a final example, someone who has left the area could pose as a current resident by presenting old checks or identification.

But these are the rare exceptions.

On the plus side, the vast majority of RBDA membership dues are paid in local checks with printed addresses that lie within the Bonny Doon Planning Area. I believe this allows for reasonable confidence in the eligibility of such members.

And for those paying in person, most will have some form of normal identification that will
indicate their eligibility.

This then leaves a final few, and I think this number is extremely small, that can or do not present valid identification for some reason. For these, I propose the process of self-certification. This is essentially the requiring of such individuals to sign a statement indicating their legitimacy as members, such as "The undersigned affirms that all members either live or own property in the Bonny Doon Planning District."

 Self-certifying members would be indicated as such in the member database and if requested, the Membership Coordinator could provide interested members with the number of such members.

I believe that this will answer the concerns of the membership.

—Ben Harmon, Membership Coordinator

Please email and let us know how you feel about this issue.


Bylaws are a living document which is modified from time to time to help an organization function even more effectively. Whereas Roberts Rules often seem vague and unnecessarily complicated, it is because they are written to cover all situations and all organizations. Bylaws, in contrast, are written and reviewed for possible modification, to enable a single organization to function more effectively and serve the members and community even better. The Bylaws Committee's report will be included in the Highlander which precedes the November meeting. The proposed changes may be debated at the November meeting, and will be voted on at the January meeting.

The Bylaws Committee of the RBDA wants your help. Please let us have the benefit of your suggestions on how the bylaws can help the RBDA to function even better. Write Bylaws Committee, 1900 Smith Grade, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. E-mail: Fax: 831-429-9829. We are eager to have the benefit of your suggestions. Please contact us soon. Thank you.

If your hunger for information isn't satisfied by the Highlander, know that high speed access to the Internet is being made available in Bonny Doon.

Thanks to the two huge fiber optic cables installed along Empire Grade, the information superhighway can provide you DSL service with dramatically faster access to such things as the entire County Code, now available online, the Supervisors’ agenda, the Planning Commission's agenda and such things as the draft EIR for Waldorf School expansion. A searchable online map service created by the County's GIS Dept. awaits administrative approval.

Faster communication isn't necessarily better though. New DSL subscribers frequently report problems in the course of getting the service installed.

There may not be many farms up here but Dooners like the short trip to get our fresh berries and vegetables down on the coast at Fambrini’s and Swanton Berry Farm. The Board of Supervisors, acting as the board of the Redevelopment Agency, recently made an important move to help preserve agriculture and affordable housing on the North Coast. Low interest loans totaling $125,000 were approved for farmworker housing rehabilitation and improvements at the two farmsteads on Coast Dairies & Land property now owned by Trust for Public Land. Supervisor Wormhoudt’s office negotiated for a year with the farmers, TPL and State Parks. The loans will be forgiven if the land stays in agricultural use for 20 years.

The Highlander
The Rural Bonny Doon Association Newsletter
102 Sunlit Lane • Bonny Doon, CA 95060

Bonny Doon's voice in preserving our special quality of life, The Highlander, 
is mailed free to Bonny Doon residents prior to the RBDA General Meetings, 
which are usually held on second Wednesdays of 
January, March, May, July, September and November.
We encourage you to participate. 

 Send mail correspondence to the Highlander Editor at the above address, 
or by email, below.

RBDA Executive Board
Chair: Ted Benhari  426-5053    | email here |
Vice Chair: Marilyn Hummel 426-3352    | email here |
Recording Secretary: Frank Wylie 423-2533    | email here |
Corresponding Secretary: Miriam Beames 423-6275    | email here |
Highlander Editor: Marty Demare 457-1190    | email here |
Membership: Ben Harmon 459-7752    | email here |
Treasurer:  Chris Gordon  469-4498    | email here |

Send the entire executive board an Click on this image to send an email. Go ahead!

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