COBB AREA COUNCIL
Thursday, January 19, 2017, 6:00-8:00pm
Little Red Schoolhouse/Cobb Mountain Lions Club
15780 Bottle Rock Rd., Cobb, CA 95426
Present: Eliot Hurwitz (Chair), Gary Prather, Barbara Flynn, Jessica Pyska, Jessyca Lytle
The Chair called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.
1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES from December 15, 2016
MOTION to approve: Barbara Flynn, seconded by Jessica Pyska. All 65 attendees present were in favor without objections or changes.
1. TREASURER’S REPORT
Gary Prather: The council’s bank account was opened with help from the CalPine mitigation fund last summer. Out of a total grant of $3,000, money was spent on setting up the council website and our Post Office Box 1442, Cobb, 95426, with a total of $2,753.33 left in the account.
1. PUBLIC and BOARD COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
Q: Judy Cortesi–Longtime Cobb resident. concerned about Hoberg’s . Any
environmental engineer on the issues, particularly re samples of water?
A: Hazard Abatement Committee members–Glenneth Lambert, Jessyca Lytle, Karl
Parker gave answers:
Soil samples were taken from around the property to guide how much cleanup in any
particular area of the property is needed. Weather is holding activity up now.
Abatement monitoring paused during the holidays. The committee has re-started their
activities and have alerted the owners of the continuing issues, including water quality.
Karl has been posting reports on the Facebook page for the council and also on the
council website. Ben Murphy, Cobb Water District manager, and Robert Stark have
been checking the water district’s station regularly.
Robert Stark, Cobb Water District: There has been no erosion control at all, rain has
fallen 26 inches in 4 days, and four inches of silt went down Putah Creek to Lake
Beryessa, fortunately not to Clear Lake. The damage is already done, and this should
have been taken care of 3 months ago when he brought it up to the council then.
● Make sure Abatement Committee reports are on the CAC website.
● Abatement Committee will provide a full report for the next meeting.
Ben Murphy, General Manager, Cobb Water District — The district will be breaking
ground soon on our Forestry tank project. Grant agreement for $490,000 just signed
with the state, hoping to start this project March April We are also faced with
replacing 16,000 feet of water main due to fire flow requirements. We will be splitting
this into two phases: P hase O ne– hopefully via a grant for the lower Summit area
comprised of lower Summit Road, Trinity, Glen, Shasta, Hoberg, Hoberg South, Angely,
Karen, and Bleuss Way. Phase Two– a loan for D ove , Quail , E ntrance , Evergreen ,
H oberg property all the way to F orestry Road. Phase One will hopefully go out to bid in
January of 2018, Phase 2 hopefully goes out to b i d January 2019. Unfortunately we will
not be able to get the pipe in the ground before the county paves the roads as they
are under their own funding and time constraints. So when we go to put the pipes in
the ground we will be cutting up the street and repaving. We did a similar project in
Loch Lomond and they repaved there and it turned out very good.
Cindy Leonard–For information on the status of the Boggs State Demonstration
Forest , go on their website. Website and newsletter have a lot of pictures of the
debris-burning and progress reports. Surprisingly, despite the daily burning, their have
been no reports of smoke affecting the community. A meeting at the Water District
office is scheduled for January 25 to design new trails, and they are continuing to work
on the existing trails.
Karl Parker–Valley Transit provides ride help to anyone stuck and isolated. The
county agency will be doing a survey to improve bus service, instead of ferrying only a
couple of people a day over the mountain as is happening now. Pay Your Pal program
helps volunteer drivers to help get folks to doctors etc.
Barbara Flynn–Is concerned about the direction our council is taking. Very serious
times for the businesses in Cobb. Please repopulate the mountain, anything we can do
to help people build. It’s not a pretty picture when all the businesses are struggling.
Please focus, and don’t branch off to work that’s already taken care of by others or the
county. Keep our agenda streamlined and smaller so people can talk about what they
want to talk about.
1. COBB REBUILD WORKSHOP
Rebuild Advocacy Committee – Ron and Kathleen Haskett
The council Rebuild Advocacy Committee will be hosting a Rebuild Workshop on
Saturday February 18 to help address the issues of getting people back that Barbara
talked about. Extensive discussion took place among the council participants, and all
these suggestions will be incorporated into the plans for the workshop. Scheduled for
February 18, 9-5, auditorium at Cobb Elementary School. Volunteers, details,
questions, ideas call Ron Haskett: 707-533-9771 . Please text. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, send questions beforehand so they can have answers
ready by the date. Poster coming soon.
1. APPROVE CAC 2017 ACTION PLAN, ESTABLISH WORKING GROUP
The Chair read through the draft plan.
Confirmed: the plan is specific to Cobb. More work needs to be done to flesh out the
details and so that it works broadly with the Cobb Area Plan revision and the County
The Cobb Area Plan relates directly to the County General Plan. The General Plan is like
the Constitution of the county, includes zoning, what the future is meant to look like
all through the 10 subplan areas. Last update for Cobb was May 1989. It’s very
technical, and covers areas that impact the character of the community: environment,
public and fire safety, land use, housing, circulation/traffic, businesses we want to see,
critical infrastructure improvements. Lays the rules so if investment money comes in
we can negotiate the rules of the road. Revision will take several months because it’s a
dialogue with the county and they have their own schedules to stick to also. We need
a working group.
Robert Stark: I was on that 1989 committee. Happy to be part of it again. There were
21 members to that committee, all the groups represented: residential, retired, young
families. It’s hard to gather so many people to meet monthly for a year and then to go
through the process of submission and review. It doesn’t just happen, confirming what
you were saying.
Q–John Carlisi: Is there going to be an entire section on financial resource
development, i.e., grants we can apply for from foundations, community
organizations, government? In other words is the plan a wish list or does it also specify
how we’re going to fund it?
A–Jeff Lucas (county economic development): It’s possible that a CDBG (Community
Development Block Grant) program for the disaster can be used to provide technical
assistance to attract businesses. Also eligible under the grant: studies to help
economic development in general.
Q–Could you tell us what CDBG can do and what it can’t do?
A– In a nutshell, CDBG applies to neighborhoods with low- to moderate- income
households. Must show that it’s going to create jobs for these people to go to work or
improve the neighborhood where they live, a community facility, housing project, for
example. It would take at least half an hour to give a useful overview; took 3 hours
with City Council. There’s a lot to it, so I can explain a lot more in the working
committee, and maybe 20 minutes for the public during the next council meeting.
The program is designed to require community input on what is to be done with
the funds, but the county is the applicant. You in this room give the county the
information. First the county announces the CDBG program, and then there’s a formal
public hearing at the courthouse, then a final hearing with the board.
Chair: This ties into a couple of items on the Cobb Area Action Plan to support
economic recovery and resilience, and come up with an economic vision. Chair
confirmed that the action plan’s elements are not listed in priority.
Other comments from the public:
● Engage the school. The students have already started doing diagrams.
● Keep the countywide fire danger mitigation plan up to date.
The Cobb Area Council will also want to know from the county Disaster Council what’s
in place by the summer season.
Jessica Pyska: Plan item 6 (Support for the Economic Recovery, Resilience and Thriving
of the Cobb Area) covers Barbara’s earlier public comments; should add under this
issue to reactivate or assist/regenerate the local merchants or business association.
Previous council meeting called for a business summit, so that needs to be an action
item on the work plan.
ACTION ITEM: Include Business Summit as an action item on the council work plan.
MOTION: Jessyca Lytle moved to approve and adopt the 2017 Cobb Area Action Plan.
Seconded: Gary Prather.
VOTE: All ayes, no objections or abstentions
A sign up sheet for the working group for the Cobb Area Action Plan was passed
ACTION ITEM: Check the sign-ups and determine what areas are represented and
what might be missing, especially where the Cobb Area plan revision is concerned.
1. PRESENTATION OF VOLUNTEER PROGRAMS from the Northern California North
Coastal Regional Chapter of the Red Cross (Debbie Yee and Eva Marquez)
Thanked Cindy, Jessica and Magdalena for bringing them in. Listening to the council’s
agenda, you need to start building resiliency now.
a. Disaster Action Teams are planned for all the major areas in the county,
teams are needed on Cobb. Team responds to local disasters, like an individual
house fire. Fire department calls the Red Cross, Red Cross dispatches the Disaster
Action Team to work with the family and provide immediate resources. Team
members are the emergency caseworkers; there are few in the county, and none in
the Cobb area. The Red Cross normally offers paid training on CPR/First Aid to the
public, but volunteers committed to 20 hrs/yr get the training free.
b. Home Fire Safety Campaign — Campaign addresses personal preparedness
individually and as a family, and is being expanded over the course of 5 years in
order to reduce the rate of injury and death from local fires. The campaign gathers
the community together to make personal preparedness a priority. The program
has already saved 121 people nationwide that we know of.
Upcoming event on January 28 starts first of several to install free smoke alarms at
one of the Clearlake mobile home parks. Sign up and we’ll send the exact location
to gather in Clearlake, and then work 3-4 mobile parks along Old Hwy 53.
Volunteers are needed to teach people how to create an escape plan, and how to
make evacuation bags. These are 15-20 minute lessons, and you don’t have a to be
a formal Red Cross Volunteer, just come the day of. 707-438-7066 Debbie Yee.
c. Pillowcase Project – During Hurricane Katrina, it was noted that local college
students coming to the shelters had stuffed their pillowcases with clothes,
medication, and other necessities. Volunteers for this campaign go into the
elementary schools to teach 3rd-5th graders the basics of handling an emergency,
using a pillowcase. Meanwhile, teachers have an entire hour where they don’t have
to prepare classwork. Included in the class information are simple coping skills, how
to stay calm during an emergency of any kind (someone hurts themselves),
importance of fire drills, and what to do in an earthquake. Kids get a coloring
workbook, a pillowcase with Disney characters to color, a fabric marker, a kit to
make homes safer, and stuff for the parents. Crisis becomes not scary but
empowering, and enables kids to make changes in the family.
7. ANNOUNCEMENT: Lion’s tree gifting program: fruits and evergreens: Feb 11, 10AM-4PM;
and Feb 18, 12PM-5PM, please come to pick up trees
CAC COMMITTEE REPORTS
1. Neighborhood Watch – Rainbow Drive Bridge Safety (Inez Wenckus)
The Committee Chair nor anyone from that neighborhood was present.
Robert Stark: For the record, the bridge is going to be out of commission, and there
will need to be a an assessment district because repairing it will take some time. Cobb
Water District needs to bring in a 6-in. water main from Estates Road to Bottle Rock.
Permits needed are under discussion, and the plan is to figure a way to take the
pressure off the creek, and riprap the banks on either side. Need abutments above
ground and not in the creek, and we need to put a water main across it. No
engineering reports yet, and don’t know yet who is paying, as this is not a county road.
Technically, it is the quickest way out; the other way is merely an easement that got
paved. Lots of traffic leaves Bottle Rock Road in order to cut through to get to the
● Lytle: 45+ houses in the subdivision, plus the resort = 78 people
● Prather: emergency services issue for firefighting, but also to evacuate
● Drainage impeded because of flooding
● Even if not a county bridge, situation clearly affects emergency services
● School bus drops kids off at the bridge and even though the bridge is closed, the
kids use the bridge, otherwise they would have to walk from the bus stop out
onto Bottle Rock Road and back around.
● David Leonard: School board is meeting tomorrow morning in Middletown, and
will be looking for an alternate bus stop.
2. Abatement monitoring (Karl Parker)
Because of the holidays and the weather, the committee hasn’t met since last month.
Earlier in the week, they began emailing again with Hoberg’s for reports. Weather in
the past 3 weeks has ground things to a halt. Scott Skellenger says they have been able
to move 4 loads to the landfill, a very low amount compared to what they had been
doing previous to the weather. The contractor for hazardous waste is not even there
because they will need a week of dry weather before they can come. When that’s the
case, they can complete that part in 2 weeks. January 23 weather forecast is not
looking good, either. 50% complete on hazardous waste removal, and the rest should
be done by mid-Feb, weather permitting .
Free firewood program delivered 22 half cords.
Regarding erosion: Environmental health department was supposedly monitoring and
had been notified. Haven’t been there recently to photograph nor heard back yet from
environmental health. Emails with Hoberg folks say they are spreading straw and
heavier mulch, wood chips, and have put out some wattles — but Robert and Ben look
every day and are closer to the situation.
In the meantime, they were notified about 25 hazardous trees threatening the Wood
family on Summit, and came the very next day. Regarding tree removal in general, if
they have to bring in heavy equipment then there would be some fee. Depends on the
parcel as they may be able to just ship off some of the wood in exchange for the fee.
Rob Brown will talk more about tree removal.
Lytle: Many owners are concerned about erosion on adjacent properties
Parker: Contact Environmental Health and let them know you want to see more
action. You can call Dan Nelson, Lake County Lumber 888-869-1287, but even more
important is to call environmental health.
Judy: With all the busting up of the trees, the community is concerned about the
environment. Toxics are not a priority to the General Manager. Don’t like ruining Putah
Dan from Middletown: I do odd jobs and I will also be happy to give free consultation
Parker: Please call the Hoberg’s office onsite.
3. Relief monitoring (Tamsen Nash/Magdalena Valderrama)
Correction: the committee is not case management, it is relief monitoring, finding out
who still needs help, making sure households and families in this area are getting help
via a disaster case manager.
Have identified 35 places we can post hard copies of the tear-off flyer reported at the
December meeting. Volunteers are needed to post this flyer and staff a phone number
to direct people to a disaster case manager.
The preliminary assessment report from FEMA from October 2015 cited 1270 homes
burned, whereas CalFire showed a high number, 1313. We will break down those
numbers to see how many are in the area covered by the Cobb Area Council.
The Red Cross did a call-down in June 2016 and found a total of 405 heads of
households in their records whose homes had burned and had no or little insurance. A
preliminary check against the Cobb Advisory Council map shows Cobb area households
without insurance or little, total 187 of those 405. Still to discover is whether cases
were closed because they already received services, or simply because the survivors
could not be contacted; what qualifications were brought to bear on receiving a
Supplemental Client Assistance card, to find out why some were disqualified for that
card; and questions that need to be posed to the pertinent committees at Team Lake
– How many homes have been completed in Cobb?
– How many survivors have occupancy permits?
– How many survivors have moved back into their homes? (There can often be
complications the prevent survivors moving back in despite the possession of an
4. Emergency Communications (Jill Martin/Mel McMurrin)
● An update on the sirens was given at the December meeting.
● Videos on programming the NOAA weather radios can be found on
● The local test administrator for ham radio licenses made his presentation at the
December meeting — we still need more hams for emergency communications.
ACTION ITEM: Post a link on the CAC website for the programming of NOAA radios
5. Emergency Preparedness
Council Chair: We went to the Supervisors Chambers to attend the Disaster Council
meeting but it has been delayed a week because they said they had not posted the
agenda and it would otherwise have been a violation of the Brown Act to call the
meeting to order.
Committee Chair: Gary has been monitoring the Google map and sees that they’ve
been getting accurate on Seigler Mountain. The Mapquest and Garmin systems are still
inaccurate. Must talk with the county to update the maps because these are what
some of the systems out there rely on. These were all old roads when we were
growing up but because the roads were on private lands then they don’t appear on
UPDATES FROM SUPERVISOR ROB BROWN
1. Rainbow Bridge is part of a private road and funding will come from the property
owners; they are having engineering discussions.
1. Cobb Area plan last updated May 1989 – I brought that to this committee, and it’s time
to update. Your group will identify people, and BOS will advertise and get a cross section of
people, also. There was no money or method available before. Now is the time to do it.
1. CalHome program has been announced; it was awarded to Hammers for Hope for the
rehab portion and 2.6M for Habitat for Humanity to handle rebuilds and first time
homebuyers. Senator McGuire will hold a workshop on Feb 16 at Middletown Middle School,
6pm. Ask questions, county staff will be there, lots of opportunities also contractors, 3 years
to make the money happen otherwise the state takes it back.
ACTION ITEM: Move our next regular CAC meeting from the the third Thursday
which would have been the 16th to the following week, i.e., the fourth Thursday
of the month.
1. Tree removal: If you’re trying to rebuild and your neighbor’s trees are a hazard to your
property, call them first. It’s important to handle this before you build. If anything were to
happen, the neighbor’s insurance company will want to see proof that you contacted the
neighbor because this falls under private property issues between neighbors. The neighbor
has to take the responsibility. A copy of a certified letter will do.
If neighbor hasn’t responded, call me on my cell, 707-349-2628, and I will contact the
county’s registered forester, Greg Giusti. He’ll go up and identify the hazard using GPS,
the owner gets notified, and we go forward and in two days it will be removed.
If neighbor says yes come on to my property, call Lake County Lumber to do it in the
Cobb area. Not many people can do it free, there’s got to be some money. And the
government can’t pay for everything, because they can’t charge any less than what
taxpayers have to pay. The tree gets put on the ground, then someone else has to
ACTION ITEM: Post this information on the CAC website, with a big highlight because
there’s lots of issues to abate!
The County will now support the abatement process by a box on the permit forms that
the person has to sign off that there are no trees nearby that are a hazard to the
rebuild. This puts people on notice to get the trees handled BEFORE any damage can
happen. In other words, the County will hold off on the permit to get the process
going, so you can work with your neighbor. If and when the neighbor hasn’t responded
and the permit still hasn’t happened, then we’ll figure out how to deal with that. If you
already have the permit to go, then this can be retroactive.
Andre Ross was at the last meeting to talk about the legal perspective, and all that
information would be on the CAC website.
ACTION ITEM: Extract Andre Ross’s section from the minutes and post as a resource
on the CAC website.
Trees marked LC are the ones to be taken down by Lake County for hazards to the
right of way. Reimbursement agreements had been going smoothly with FEMA and
CalEOS, but now the county is in over 1M and needs a guarantee from FEMA and
CalEOS before continuing with that abatement. As previously reported, the County has
already awarded the contract but can’t give the go-ahead until the Fed and State
reimbursement is guaranteed. FEMA is updating their info re post-fire environment,
and are engaging with us again.
Don’t know whose tree marks are the orange blue, white — could be AT&T PG&E, ours
are all marked LC.
Foard Bridge is on a county road, all the funding for those repairs came in from the
Feds and State. Won’t get public funds for a private bridge.
1. Rainbow Bridge used to be a temporary, one-lane Bailey bridge that worked well for
that area. Then the county needed it for another project on another county road for
secondary access. Geothermal royalty payments were used to fund that second project, and
also provided the current bridge that is the one that was left where it is now. So the current
Rainbow Bridge was a gift from the geothermal company for a private road, and the
residents were to pay back the paint. A benefit zone was recommended to be created for
residents to each pay $120 /yr for 5 years in order to pay back the paint and they didn’t raise
any money for that or to maintain the bridge. Now there’s a lot to clean up. The bridge
would have lasted a lot longer, but now there’s damage from all the equipment, and fire
trucks etc. We got CalOES to provide a secondary road for Anderson Springs, which was also
torn up because of cleanup, and we need something like that here, too.
Gifford Springs and Oak Road are public access roads, and not county maintained, but
the trees in Boggs Forest and the storm runoff are creating a problem so we will tie
these issues to state projects, including the levee up there that broke and lots of
homes getting flooded. We’ll be looking into working with OES and Human
Development to assess the damage and ask them for funds to pay workers.
Q (gentleman): What about the bridge by Bottle Rock Road, across from James
Wright’s house? Since the Clayton Fire there are now 20 residents there. Can you keep
this bridge on the radar, we’re not asking for promises, do an assessment?
Brown: An example is Bell Springs, the county does the snow removal but the
residents pay into an account, and it’s a good deal for them. Hopefully folks will get
together, then the county doesn’t have to wait for the money to be raised to do the
work. County resources can front the materials and funds, and the payments per
person might be $100/yr for five years. But all this has to be voted on by the residents,
one property/one vote.
Q: Up in Oak Road, will you do secondary access?
Brown: No, the State fixed the road only because the runoff on it was from their
1. Disaster Council meetings are run by the sheriff’s office. Last week’s meeting was not
properly noticed so it will continue next Wednesday. Cover all the relevant stuff from today.
Grand Jury showed up. As chair, I just run the meeting, and we get the same info that the
public gets from the cities that are represented.
1. Unrelated to the fire disasters, we need to plan ahead on the issue of commercial
marijuana cultivation. The issue will define Lake County’s future, so please be actively
involved. My own bias is that if the public doesn’t speak up, this will let commercial grows
take over, with people coming from all over destroying the environment. The fire aftermath
has been bad, but with pesticides coming in, as well as illegal immigration, and water
problems made even worse because commercial grows divert water from the streams to
their plants, the situation is going to be horrible.
One example of frustration, starts with taking 4 wks to get a permit when things are
good. Right now inspections and permits are behind, and it’s because marijuana
growers from out of town are coming over to rape Lake County.
The board will be meeting at night on this issue, so you can show up. The first one was
about dispensaries, and the next meeting on Feb 21 is about cultivation, at 5pm. Other
districts have their discretion and can do these things, but in my district, Cobb, District
5 this is going to be an exclusionary area–no manufacturing or dispensaries.
Q: Could we create a special zone? How many people have to get active?
Brown: Off the top of my head, I don’t know, everything is still all in draft. Some
supervisors and other people think that Lake County will make a ton of money. The
reality is that half of the applicants will get permits, the other half won’t but then
there’s no way to enforce the permits. The county can’t go on your private property to
check whether or not you have 20 plants instead of the 6 allowed for personal use.
Talk to the whole board. We can always expand something. Instead of going with
“they’re paving the streets in gold and there’s a rainbow road,” for now keep it tight,
and open it up as we go, instead of throwing the doors open.
Vineyards may have some problems but they are at least held to a standard. People
who have money are buying the land, not even paying cash, just putting in a big down
payment and whaling away. So many of these houses they are now buying were
foreclosed and they’re turning them into grow houses.
Comments from the public:
a. Example of pot growers that tried to grow in the alpine meadows at Gifford Springs.
There weren’t many houses there because of lack of water. Then people started selling and
growers came and started diverting what water there was. We’re the mean women of the
subdivision, we didn’t call the county because we’re mean enough. The growers camp, they
don’t clean, they reroute riparian water that no one is supposed to touch. You’ve got to be
diligent in your neighborhood because they will access one place to get to another. One
group thought they could grow across the street from Georgia’s, so we told the teenagers in
Cobb and they took care of it. (Applause.)
Adjourned at 8:17 pm