Setting the Record Straight
In response to a letter from 2006 by Steven Van Horn, Sr. Property Agent, to the then Supervisor Mary N. Piepho, we feel compelled to shed light on certain overlooked historical facts. It is important to address these missing pieces to provide a comprehensive understanding of the history surrounding the property that encompasses the Brentwood Veterans Memorial Building and the old Fire Station. Let us delve into the significant details that were omitted from Mr. Van Horn's narrative. You can read his 2006 letter here.
The Establishment of the First Firehouse: Contrary to Mr. Van Horn's account, the first firehouse was constructed on the property in 1937, not in 1930 or 1931. It is crucial to acknowledge this accurate timeline when discussing the property's history.
The Change in Lease Agreement: Mr. Van Horn failed to explain the transition from the county subleasing the lot from the veterans to the subsequent change in 1955, when the veterans began leasing the entire lot from the county. This shift in the lease agreement is an important aspect that should not be disregarded.
Parcel Division in 1965: Another significant oversight in Mr. Van Horn's letter was the absence of an explanation regarding the division of the parcel in the lease in 1965. Prior to this division, the lease and dedication to Veterans encompassed the entire parcel, as originally purchased in 1923.
California Law and Veterans' Consent: Mr. Van Horn was informed by the then BVMB Board members about California Law, which clearly states that the county cannot revoke land dedicated for Veterans Halls or memorials without the consent of the veterans. It is regrettable that Mr. Van Horn failed to disclose this crucial information to Supervisor Piepho.
Original Dedication and Land Use: Emphasis was placed by Mr. Van Horn on the original dedication, highlighting the potential use of the land "for all or any other purpose." However, he neglected to emphasize the subsequent clause, "for which same may be lawfully used." According to the code, consent from the Veterans is required if changing the dedication of the land or building.
It is essential to consider the Military and Veterans Code, introduced in 1935, predating the construction of the firehouse in 1937.
Lease Agreement vs. Original Dedication: It is important to clarify that the lease agreement between the Veterans Service Organization and the County does not replace or supersede the original dedication of the land. The dedication to Veterans' use remains significant and should not be diminished.
The intent of the 1923 Board of Supervisors: Mr. Van Horn stated in his letter that the County fulfilled its commitment to build the Veterans building and subsequently utilized the remaining parcel for other public purposes, including the construction of a firehouse. However, it is crucial to note that the original intent of the Board of Supervisors in 1923 was to dedicate the property exclusively for Veterans' use. The subsequent use of the land for the fire department and the erosion of property dedicated to Veterans were not envisioned by the 1923 Board of Supervisors.
In response to Mr. Van Horn's 2006 letter, it is evident that several pertinent facts were omitted, creating an incomplete narrative of the history surrounding the Brentwood Veterans Memorial Building and the Fire Station. By acknowledging the accurate timeline, the lease agreement transition, the parcel division, California Law, the original dedication, and the intent of the 1923 Board of Supervisors, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the property's evolution over the past century. It is crucial to embrace the full historical context to make informed decisions that respect the dedication and purpose of the land for our revered Veterans.
We will add a post that outlines the property's history in more detail.
California Military and Veterans Code
MILITARY AND VETERANS CODE - MVC
DIVISION 6. VETERANS BUILDINGS, MEMORIALS, AND CEMETERIES [1170 - 1480] ( Heading of Division 6 amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 604, Sec. 1. )
CHAPTER 2. County and City Buildings [1260 - 1266] ( Chapter 2 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 389. )
(a) Whenever a city, county, or city and county has provided, maintained, or provided and maintained any building, memorial hall, meeting place, memorial park, or recreation center for the use or benefit of one or more veterans associations, veterans service organizations, or nonprofit veteran service agencies pursuant to Section 1262 or Section 37461 of the Government Code, the provision of that facility and its acceptance by the veterans associations, veterans service organizations, or nonprofit veteran service agencies constitutes a dedication of that property to a public purpose, and the city, county, or city and county may not revoke the dedication, so long as the veterans associations, veterans service organizations, or nonprofit veteran service agencies have not violated the terms and conditions of the dedication, unless the city, county, or city and county dedicates substitute facilities or unless the veterans associations, veterans service organizations, or nonprofit veteran service agencies have either consented to the proposed city, county, or city and county action or have abandoned use of the facilities.