SPParks AGM on Zoom

On November 12, SPParks held its 2020 Annual General Meeting in virtual mode – an online Zoom meeting attended by thirty four members. The session was crafted by Dave Brummett and led by President Jim Danaher. It all went smoothly and participants enjoyed chatting and socializing in this time of restricted contact. This is a rather detailed summary of that meeting for those who were unable to attend.

Elections were held to replenish the board for 2021. Members raised their virtual hands to vote approval and welcome to Tom Martin, long time docent and SPParks member, to a three year term on the board, and reelect board members Yvonne Bowers and Suzanne Berube for three year terms.  Dave Brummett and Jeff Weiss had given notice they would resign from the board at the end of this year and Scott Pace had resigned earlier in the year.

This will be the Board Executive Committee for 2021:

President – Jim Danaher

Vice-President – Sue Vargas

Secretary – Anne Cox

Treasurer – Yvonne Bowers

Yvonne takes over as Treasurer from Stephen Hamilton, who set a high standard for thorough and understandable explanation of SPParks finances at our monthly board meetings.

Reports from board members were grouped under our Three Pillars:


Bob Alwitt, Communications Chair, with the help of Dave Brummett, presented the new sonomaparks.org website and spoke briefly of the year long effort, with Sue Vargas and Mike Owens, to bring this new website online.

  Yvonne Bowers told how eBlast and Facebook are the main channels for communication with our membership during this COVID-19 period.  Profiles of volunteers and parks staff were posted and several Trivia Quiz postings stumped our experts. Jim Danaher posed one to the Zoom audience, “What is the longest river in California?” For those who missed it, the answer is the Colorado River.

Anne Cox spoke of our participation in Sonoma’s July 4th parade and Petaluma’s Butter ’n Eggs parade. Anne looks forward to reaching out to volunteers for the 2021 events.


Suzanne Berube, Special Tours and co-chair of the Docent Organization, spoke of the uncertainty surrounding the Docent program. There was one private tour given in January but seven private tours scheduled for the summer were  cancelled. The Docent Book Club did have a Zoom meeting in September under the leadership of Ellen and Hugh McBride. Fifty four docents are on the roster but we have no idea how many will return nor what protocols will be in place for interacting with the public when the parks reopen. After such a long layoff refresher training may be needed.

Lisa Tremblay, Events Chair, said we were fortunate to have scheduled a concert by the East Bay Singers in January and a lecture in February by Ida Ray Egli on “Women of Color in 19th century California”. Both of these events drew a large audience in the Mission Chapel. Subsequent lectures were cancelled but will be rescheduled, possibly on Zoom.  Please let Lisa know how you feel about attending Zoom lectures and give her suggestions for presentation topics.

Lisa, along with Suzanne, Anne, Sharon Douglas, co-chair of the Docent Organization, and Elizabeth Caban,Barracks Gift Store Manager, assembled and handed out the complementary gift bags to SPParks members in the Barracks parking lot prior to the AGM.


Jim Carr, Petaluma Adobe Rehab Chair, reported on the ongoing restoration of the Petaluma Adobe walls. More remains to be done to stabilize and reinforce walls at several locations. Some state parks funds are available but additional funding is needed. The Native Sons of the Golden West has been agenerous supporter and is willing to continue providing financial support.

SPParks provided funds for the new sign atop the Toscano Hotel. A new fountain for the Mission courtyard is under study, most likely to be modeled on the one at La Purisima Mission.

Stephen Hamilton gave the Treasurer’s report.  SPParks funded about $45,000 of parks improvements, maintenance, staff enrichment and community events in 2019.  This income was mostly from Barracks Gift Store sales and disappeared when the parks closed in March.  The store was allowed to reopen in August with limited hours and strict health protocols. Since the parks are still closed and tourism is down, sales are modest but sufficient to warrant keeping the store open. Elizabeth Caban, is managing the store to minimize immediate expenses and promote sales. SPParks members can shop by appointment, just give Elizabeth a call at the store, (707) 939-9420.   

Dave Brummett reported we have 90 memberships and 117 members, family memberships account for the disparity.  Membership now runs for the calendar year so you will soon be receiving a request to renew your membership for 2021. Dave is handing over the Membership chair to Mike Owens for 2021.

Supervising Ranger Rob Pickett gave an update on the parks. Volunteer Coordinator Joleen Ossello has transferred to another park and a replacement will be hired. Christmas at the Mission events have been cancelled, although the store will be open and lights will adorn the parks grounds. The Vallejo home grounds are open to the public and a park staff person is on hand to answer questions. There is a big problem with wildlife at the Vallejo home: Bats, ground squirrels and woodpeckers have invaded the structure. Noah Stewart and Doug Johnson are working on this.