Letter of Resignation
March 9, 2019
To: Sacramento Historical Society Board Members
Upon careful reflection, I have decided that I am no longer interested in serving on the SHS board with Gregg Lukenbill. His unprofessional, unethical, and juvenile antics, couple with his threats to my personal reputation if I cross him, has made me realize that he is a toxic individual and that I wish not to expend any more of my precious time on.
The tipping point for me was Mr. Lukenbill’s enlistment of Randee Tavarez to post a personal appeal from Mr. Lukenbill to the followers of the Sacramento Historical Facebook page to oppose the City of Sacramento Del Rio Trail project. This occurred on Saturday afternoon, March 9th. I directed Randee Tavarez, who should have known better, to immediately delete the post.
The SHS Facebook page is not Mr. Lukenbill’s property. If he wants to plead his case to his followers, he should start his own Facebook account and page. No individual board member can use the SHS FB page to promote their own agenda, whether it is in opposition or in concurrence with the board’s position. Passed accomplishments by a board member does not entitle them to any more rights and authority than any other board member. Mr. Lukenbill has indicated to me that he feels he is entitled to take his actions with SHS property because he has done so much for the organization. Mr. Lukenbill is delusional.
Contrary to what Mr. Lukenbill believes, the letter of apology to our email subscribers, in response to Mr. Lukenbill’s unauthorized email, was not prompted by members opposed to the content. The letter was drafted solely by me in response to the unauthorized use of the SHS logo and my name distributed by a third-party website that I have never heard of.
I was shocked to learn at the SHS board meeting Tuesday night that Mr. Lukenbill lied to Aundrea Gibson our office manager and said I had approved the transfer of the SHS email to some individual named Isaac. I can assure you, I would never in one million years, ever approve such transfer. Mr. Lukenbill’s highly unethical misrepresentation to Aundrea means in a very real sense that he committed a theft from SHS by obtaining the email list under false pretenses.
Mr. Lukenbill is trying to hijack the SHS organization to promote his own grievances against the City of Sacramento. If you continue to allow Mr. Lukenbill to usurp the board’s authority to make policy and conduct a professional and ethical business, you will diminish the reputation and stature of the Sacramento Historical Society.
I have done my best to work with Mr. Lukenbill. Unfortunately, his recent behavior and irrational fixation that the SHS should be his own personal platform for stopping the Del Rio Trail project has made it impossible for me to continue serving on the board.
Sincerely, Kevin Knauss
Subject: Apology For Del Rio Trail Email
March 5, 2019
To my fellow Sacramento Historical Society members and supporters,
I would like to sincerely apologize if you received an email purportedly from the Sacramento Historical Society encouraging your attendance at a Sacramento City Council meeting to advocate against the proposed Del Rio Trail project. The letter, by one of the Sacramento Historical Society Board of Directors, was not approved by the board. I, as president of Sacramento Historical Society, did not approve the letter being sent.
I did encourage a board member to draft a position paper on the historical nature of the Walnut Grove Branch Line and its importance to Sacramento history. The position paper or letter was then to be reviewed by the full board of directors for approval.
It appears that my directions on the development of the position paper and process of approval were not clear. This resulted in an email being sent out regarding the Del Rio Trail project that had not been properly vetted and approved by the Sacramento Historical Society Board of Directors. For this communication lapse, and any misunderstanding on the part of the recipients who received the correspondence, I apologize.
As a board we must speak with one voice. To make this happen, all matters of advocacy or resolutions need to be approved by the full Sacramento Historical Society Board of Directors.
The Sacramento Historical Society did approve the following resolution regarding the Del Rio Trail project at their March 2018 board meeting.
Resolved: That the Sacramento County Historical Society opposes the City’s plan to approve the Del Rio Trail by Mitigated Negative Declaration unless the City retains the historical rails of the Walnut Grove Branch Line; or, if planners intend to remove any rails, the Society demands: (a) that the City solicit and accept adequate public input, including input from all stakeholders; (b) that the City create and circulate a draft Environmental Impact Report under CEQA and a draft Environmental Impact Statement under NEPA; and, (c) that the City proceed with plans for removing any rails only after finalizing an adequate EIR and EIS, incorporating consideration of all public comment and a suitable study of alternatives to removal.
It is a proper role for the Sacramento Historical Society to offer historical information on any structure or site that may be significantly altered or erased by new projects. It is acceptable that Sacramento Historical Society strongly encourage public officials to conduct due diligence, and adherence to the letter of the law, when proposing projects that may obliterate historic sites.
It is not acceptable for a nonprofit organization to politicize or demonize current projects or votes based on past decisions by a city council or board of supervisors. The Sacramento Historical Society must convey only factual information and the potential implications of proposed projects surrounding historical preservation of the site in question. We must also maintain high ethical standards when conducting advocacy of any project that relates to historical preservation.
The correspondence you may have received encouraging your participation in advocating against the Del Rio Trail project is not a call to action that either the board of the Sacramento Historical Society or I would have approved.
Feel free to contact if you have any comments or questions.
Sincerely, Kevin Knauss, SHS President