California Victim Compensation Board February 20, 2020, Board Meeting
The California Victim Compensation Board (Board) convened its meeting in open session upon the call of Holly Pearson, Deputy Secretary and General Counsel for the California Government Operations Agency, acting for, and in the absence of, Acting Secretary Julie Lee, at 400 R Street, Sacramento, California, on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 10:00 am. Also present was Member Richard Chivaro, Deputy State Controller and Chief Counsel, acting for, and in the absence of, Betty T. Yee, Controller. Member Tubbs was not present.
Interim Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill and Acting Chief Counsel Jenny Wong attended in person. Michelle Greer, Board Liaison, recorded the meeting in person.
The Board meeting commenced with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Item 1. Approval of Minutes of the January 30, 2020, Board Meeting
Additions and corrections to the January Minutes by the Board members included:
Page 1, item 3, the minutes said approval of the minutes of the June 27, 2019, board meeting. That was corrected to be the October 19, 2019, board meeting and the item above that was corrected to be the June 27, 2019, board meeting. Chair Pearson asked that the minutes be corrected to state that she also voted to approve the minutes of the October 19, 2019, board meeting.
The Board approved the minutes of the January 30, 2020, Board meeting, with the corrections.
Item 2. Public Comment
The Board opened the meeting for public comment. Chair Pearson reminded everyone that non-agendized items will not be discussed and no action can be taken at this time, but items may be put on a future agenda.
There were no public comments.
Item 3. Executive Officer Statement
Interim Executive Officer Ms. Gledhill updated the Board on a few items:
CalVCB and CalOES
CalVCB and CalOES are working together to schedule the strategic planning meetings for the year and updates will be provided as available.
We recently hired five victim advocates in our customer service units to work with the victims and use our online portal to apply for services.
February 3 Shooting
There was an incident on a Greyhound bus traveling from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. One victim from Columbia died, and there were five others that were injured. There were 43 people on the bus. CalVCB has received 23 application to date from people who were affected by that incident and is working with CalOES in the local county and with CHP to make sure that victims are compensated for all covered expenses related to that event.
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
In February, we recognized Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. CalVCB has been doing outreach and online promotion to make sure that people understand that this is a very serious issue for women and boys ages 16-24, and one that we take very seriously to make sure that those affected by that kind of violence are aware of our services.
Chair Pearson thanked Ms. Gledhill for the update and asked if there were any questions or comments. There were none.
Item 4. Contract Update
Interim Executive Officer Lynda Gledhill provided the contract update, which was purely informative regarding CalVCB’s renewal of its support and subscription contract for the Palo Alto Network firewalls, which was just over $50,000 and protects the network environment from cyber security threats.
Chair Pearson asked if there are any questions or comments. There were none.
Item 5. Legislative Update
Acting Chief Counsel, Jenny Wong presented the legislative update:
Senate Bill 951
SB 951 was introduced. This bill would make an appropriation from the general fund to pay erroneous conviction claims approved by CalVCB after the passage of SB417.
Claim of Ruben Martinez Jr. (Pen. Code, §§ 4900, et seq.)
This is a Penal Code section 4900 erroneous conviction claim. Chair Pearson asked if there was a motion to approve staff’s proposed decision to grant Reuben Martinez Jr.’s application for compensation as an erroneously convicted person and that the legislature appropriate $635,600 as payment for being wrongfully imprisoned for 4,540days. Member Chivaro moved the motion and Chair Pearson seconded the motion.
Chair Pearson stated that Reuben Martinez’s application for compensation in the amount of $635,600 was approved.
Chair Pearson announced that the Board would convene in closed session pursuant to Government code Section 11126 Subdivision C3 to discuss numbers 1-23 of the Victim Compensation program.
Right before convening into closed session, a member of the public entered the Board meeting and indicated her desire to address the board. Chair Pearson stated that Public Comment was at the beginning of the agenda, but agreed to hear public comment out of order.
Item 2. Public Comment
Christy Melton, an investigative producer with CBS 13, offered public comment. She indicated that her organization has been trying to get answers from CalVCB since June 2019, and no one will sit down to answer some simple questions. She stated she is aware of a violent crime victim living in pain for five years who has yet to get the care this agency is supposed to provide crime victims. The victim describes the same issues exposed in an audit of CalVCB dating back 12 years – taking too long to pay bills, processing delays, and difficulty finding a doctor who will work with the CalVCB program.
Ms. Melton noted a 2011 report cited some of the same problems. She went on to state that a victim’s advocate calls the program difficult to navigate and says it causes more trauma to the victims that it’s supposed to help. Ms. Melton questioned why a program created to help crime victims would be characterized as re-traumatizing as well as how a victim can spend five years trying to get help from the program. She asked what CalVCB was going to do to fix this? CBS 13 thinks that these crime victims deserve answers. She requested that someone sit down with her organization and answer questions.
Chair Pearson thanked her for her comments. She stated that as she mentioned earlier, the Board is restricted from engaging in a dialogue on the topic and reminded Ms. Melton that the Board and accept her public comments, but it cannot discuss them or take any action on them at the meeting. Chair Pearson did, however, let Ms. Melton know that the Board would speak with staff regarding the issues she raised and indicated that Interim Executive Officer, Lynda Gledhill, was present on the dais and that someone would in touch to discuss the issues soon. Chair Pearson thanked Ms. Melton for coming.
Ms. Melton thanked the Board for listening and stated that she would appreciate someone from the Board talking with her.
After no more questions or comments were posed, the Board convened into Closed session.
Pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3), the Board adjourned into Closed Session with the Interim Executive Officer and Acting Chief Counsel at 10:09 am to deliberate on proposed decision numbers 1-23 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The Board reconvened into Open Session pursuant to Government Code section 11126(c)(3) at 10:13 a.m.
The Board adopted the hearing officer’s recommendations for Proposed Decision numbers 1-23 of the Victim Compensation Program.
The board meeting adjourned at 10:14 a.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2020.