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AV Land Trust Sues Peachland Family (Part 3)

The “funny” thing about being sued by an organization such as the Anderson Valley Land Trust, is that everyone suing you claims that they’re not suing you. Let me explain.

There are nine people on the board of the AVLT at this time. Sometimes there’s seven or twelve or more or less on the board. I was sued by seven of the current nine board members, plus an eighth, Jim Snyder, who has left the board. Jim Snyder left the board after he and the other members unanimously decided to sue me. I had met Jim a few times and many times I had asked the AVLT to have Jim talk to me. He and I had similar situations. 

Jim’s dad, Steve Snyder, was on the AVLT board for many years. When Steve left the board, Jim joined the board. Steve put an easement on the Snyder family property. Jim is an heir to family property with an AVLT easement. My family put an AVLT easement on our family property. Before my mom passed away, both Jim and I were heirs to family property with an AVLT easement. I saw this as an opportunity to find common ground with Jim, and hopefully other AVLT board members. 

I asked AVLT board president Patrick Miller and AVLT vice president Steve Wood if Jim could sit down and talk to me to try to solve problems. (This was before I got sued.) They both told me that I would not be allowed to talk with Jim and further I would not be allowed to talk with any board members. I don’t even know if Jim ever knew about my request to talk with him, and now he has quit the AVLT board. For whatever reason, Jim agreed that suing me was the right move, voted for the lawsuit, and quit the AVLT shortly after casting that vote.

So, while Jim Snyder was on the board, he was suing me. But now that he’s not on the board, I’m sued by the other 7 (or 9?).

But all these board members claim that none of them sued me. They claim I am sued by the Anderson Valley Land Trust, a non-profit 501c(3). I’m not sure why they don’t want to admit they sued me. Without the board members, the AVLT would not exist. It is not a person, and “it” can’t sue me. “It” needs people to do that. And those people are Steve Wood, Barbara Goodell, Karen Alteras, Rachel Turner Williams, Jesse Rathbun, Patrick Miller, Dave Hopmann, Glynnis Jones, and Nancy Hornor, who comprise the current nine board members.

AVLT Vice President Steve Wood has a situation that concerns me.

Something like 35 years ago, my mom, Briana Burns, got Steve to take care of me. I don’t know or remember all the details, but I lived with Steve and his family for some amount of time. I was hoping this history would encourage Steve to talk with me. Instead, I think it made him feel compromised and discouraged him from talking with me. I hope in the future Steve will feel that he can confide in me.

I feel that Steve is compromised in other ways as well. Steve is a significant part of the Anderson Valley Elderhome Project. I fully support our community getting together to provide senior housing. As I mentioned in the last article, my mom left the Valley in her later years due to being unable to find a rental. I feel strongly about trying to provide housing for the community. I think Steve does too. But there’s a problem. Steve is, on one hand, donating his time and expertise to the Elderhome, and on the other, as the Vice President of AVLT, allowing Barbara Goodell to deny housing to older community members. (See previous Part 2.) AVLT board member Glynnis Jones is also in this compromised state. Glynnis is involved with the Elderhome Project, while (intentionally?) ignoring Barbara’s violations of her easement-mandated 55 and over housing requirement. My sincere hope is that this is an oversight. But this is not something I can sit idly by and accept. Especially after Steve and Barbara and Glynnis filed an unfounded lawsuit against me over housing on my property.

Housing is in short supply in Anderson Valley. I take pride in providing housing in the community I was born and raised in. I have many friends who say the tenants renting Barbara’s senior housing unit are amazing people. And I have no doubt of that. They did not know Barbara was violating her AVLT easement and county code by renting to them. Or maybe they did, I wouldn’t know. 

Point being, Barbara wanted to provide housing for some good people who were an asset to our community. I don’t fault her for that. I tried to do the same thing by providing housing for a new doctor that I hoped would be the new lifelong MD for our community. I still currently provide housing for our community. The difference isthat I’m not suing anyone. And (the big one) I’m not violating my AVLT easement or county code. 

Barbara has a duty to read and understand her own easement, as well as any easements for the AVLT since she is on the board of the AVLT. Barbara sued me while concurrently violating the same stipulations that she was suing me for. 

Wow. I truly believe that Barbara might have forgotten this requirement for senior housing in her easement. The problem is that once reminded, nothing happened. I have pointed out these deeply troubling inconsistencies to ALL the AVLT board members for the last year since they sued me in court in Ukiah. I have not had any response on this issue.

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