SEMPERVIRENS FUND & THE CALIFORNIA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION & SOME SERIOUS QUESTIONS.
Betsy Herbert, longtime forest activist, resigned from the Board of Directors of the Sempervirens Fund. Her environmental and community serving credentials are impressive: A PhD in environmental studies from UCSC, longtime local forest advocate, former watershed manager for San Lorenzo Valley Water District, currently President, Santa Cruz Mountains Bioregional Council and board member, Center for Farmworker Families. Most importantly now is that she served on the Sempervirens Fund board for 15 years until she resigned last week.
Historically, the Sempervirens Fund has used money from donors to provide permanent protection to the redwood forests of the state. Now, over Betsy’s objection, the Board has put Rich Gordon, former Member of the Assembly, on the Sempervirens Board. What makes this exceptional is that Gordon has just been named as the President and Executive Director of the California Forestry Association, which is the state's main lobbying group representing the timber industry. The CFA website tries to present itself as working for "sustainable forests." In fact, the CFA’s main mission in Sacramento is to make it easier to cut down more trees. Here’s the California Forestry Association website.
After Betsy sent in her resignation letter, the Sempervirens Fund, obviously, acted quickly to update the organization's website and removed her name as a Board Member. Another local angle: Fred Keeley is a member of the Sempervirens Board, and apparently didn't see any conflict in putting the timber industry’s chief lobbyist on the Board of the Sempervirens Fund.
The Sempervirens Fund did NOT update the website to give full information on Rich Gordon, however. Here is how the Sempervirens Fund presents him:
RICH GORDON Government Relations Officer, Caminar; former member, California State Assembly; former member, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors; former President, California State Association of Counties; a resident of Menlo Park.
Here's what the CFA has to say about Rich Gordon:
CALIFORNIA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION HIRES FORMER ASSEMBLY MEMBER RICH GORDON AS NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO. Posted on June 7, 2017
California Forestry Association (Calforests) Chairman Arne Hultgren announced today that former Assemblyman Rich Gordon has been named its new President and CEO, effective July 17, 2017. “We've worked with Rich for years and are pleased to have him join our Association. We are confident his leadership and policy experience will continue to create great policy results for California and for our membership,” said Chairman Hultgren. Gordon brings more than 20 years of public service experience to Calforests, having most recently completed three terms in the State Assembly, where he served in leadership and successfully carried legislation supporting sustainable forestry. He also served as a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, during which time he sat on the Board of Directors of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC). Gordon was president of CSAC in 2008. He has extensive nonprofit experience and was the founder of Youth and Family Assistance, an agency in San Mateo County serving at-risk youth.
As President and CEO of Calforests, Gordon will be replacing retiring President David Bischel, and will be responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction for the Association. In this capacity, Gordon will represent more than 4 million acres of private and family-owned forests; 95 percent of the States forest product manufacturers; producers of renewable biomass energy; and, forestry-related professionals.
“Healthy forests are crucial to the sustainability of our planet. It is an honor to have been chosen to lead an industry association that plays a key role in Californias environment and economy,” said Gordon. “I look forward to working on behalf of Calforests for the benefit of allCalifornians."