Vern Rogers by Vern Rogers, 2013 Redwood Region President (April 2013)

Those of you that have come out for Redwood Autocrosses know that we have one of the best venues for this type of event. The vast majority of sites are simply flat open expanses of concrete or asphalt, and the courses laid out on them create the appearance of a sea of cones. Our site on the other hand has two clearly defined road surfaces connected by smaller roads, mostly at 90 degree angles. This gives us the advantage of much clearer layouts and the feeling of being on a track instead of a parking lot.

Last month I announced that we had chosen a contractor for our planned repairs to the 'go-cart' section of the course. I am chagrined to tell you that we have run into a snag in the approval process for this repair. Our Board was informed this week that Sonoma County's Risk Management Department will not allow the work to go forward as planned. Please see below for the text of their letter:

Subject: Track Repair Project

Risk Management has provided the following feedback regarding the paving project:

The absence of a contract between the County and the paving contractor puts the airport and County at significant risk.  We will not have the protections afforded by our standard agreements, the most important being the contractor's obligation to indemnify us.  Although SBI will provide evidence of insurance, it will have no contractual obligation to indemnify us for losses.  The indemnification language in our agreements obligates a contractor to indemnify us for all losses, to the extent permitted by Section 2782 of the California Civil Code, even if the losses are outside the scope of the contractor's insurance or in excess of the policy limits. 

Unfortunately, this means that the project cannot go forward. The County would first have to get an engineer to evaluate the site and provide a scope of work for the project. The Airport would then have to get at least 3 bids for the project, which means that it isn't possible to enter into a contract with SBI unless they are the lowest bidder.

We are probably more disappointed than the car clubs; it sounded like such a great idea.

Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport
2290 Airport Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Our approach for the time being is to let the dust settle a bit, and then begin to explore ways in which we can proceed with at least some of the proposed repairs. As you might imagine, engineering studies will likely present a significant increase in costs. Also, the Airport was unable to provide us with a list of County approved contractors.

On the one hand, since the two car clubs, PCA RR and ESCA, were planning to pay all costs for the repaving, the County's requirement for additional bids seems unwarranted.   On the other hand, government agencies do have reason to be concerned with liability. The fact is that we do not own our autocross site, but lease it on a one event at a time basis from the County. This being the case we are forced to play by their rules. I do not, however, have to be happy about it and I am not.

Let me be absolutely clear that with or without repairs to "go-cart", our AX site remains superior, and a great basis for many really fun and challenging courses. We will continue to design and run these as we develop plans for the future. I love our site, and I love Autocross. I look forward to seeing you there.

That's all for now. Down the road. 

Vern

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