Drinkard Appointment
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Nancy Drinkard Appointed to Public Seat on the Board of Forestry!

by Jodi Frediani, Executive Director
Citizens for Responsible Forest Management (CRFM)

September 9, 2004

In an unprecedented stealth move, Governor Schwarzenegger, who ran with a solid environmental platform and who is touted by his brother-in-law, Robert Kennedy, Jr. as a strong protector of our forests, appointed Nancy Drinkard to a public seat on the Board of Forestry.

For those who don't know Ms. Drinkard, she was a Forest Practice Officer in the Felton CDF office (for the Central Coast Region) for 20 years.  Ms. Drinkard was the Division Chief for Forest Practices for a number of years prior to her retirement in 2003.  Not only was she extremely hostile to members of the public (and periodically hostile to Review Team members), displaying her great disdain for the public process, but she seemed to hold the Forest Practice Rules in equally low regard.  Many say that she single-handedly is responsible for the contentious attitude surrounding logging on the Central Coast.  Additionally, she routinely overlooked egregious violations of the Forest Practice Rules during her tenure. Numerous cases of her poor record as a public servant can be cited, but that is not the focus of this email.

Rather, it is important for people to know how the Governor's office handled this appointment. This is what I understand happened:

On approximately July 12, Senator Burton's office was given the names of two "potential" appointees to the Board of Forestry: Jack Hanson, a past Lassen County Supervisor for the Range Seat, and Nancy Drinkard, retired CDF employee, for the Public Seat previously held by Bob Heald. The Senator was asked to comment on their suitability. With such little information to go on, Burton's staff then attempted to learn more about both candidates.

A wealth of emails, letters and phone calls were forthcoming regarding Drinkard, stating in no uncertain terms that she was a completely unsuitable candidate for a public seat.  These included comments from a variety of agency personnel, including some CDF employees.  The concerns were shared with the Governor's staff and everyone seemed to understand that Ms. Drinkard's appointment was dead in the water.

Shortly thereafter, a press release acknowledging the appointment of Jack Hanson to the range seat was sent out.  This has always been the standard method of notifying the press, the public, and the Senate committee responsible for confirmation of the Governor's appointments.

A secondary part of the appointment process includes a notice sent to the Senate committee chair within 60 days of the appointment.  Burton's office received this notice re Nancy Drinkard at the end of the 60 day period, just a few days ago, yet she had been appointed at the same time as Jack Hanson. No press release had been sent out re her appointment, only Hanson's.


Why was her appointment handled in such a way?  One can only speculate, but had her appointment been made public knowledge by the traditional method at the same time Hanson's appointment was acknowledged, it could have been blocked by Senator Burton.  But the notice only arrived after the Senate had recessed, and she will now keep her seat minimally until January 2005. Burton will no longer be in office by then and the Senate Rules Committee will have been re-constituted under new leadership.

An ex-CDF Forest Practice Officer holding a Public Seat on the Board of Forestry is an affront to the public. Nancy Drinkard representing the public is a travesty.  Clearly the Governor does not play fair nor does he give a hoot about public process or California's forests.

Jodi Frediani
Executive Director
Citizens for Responsible Forest Management (CRFM)
1015 Smith Grade, Santa Cruz, CA 95060