Recap of Sebastopol City Council for Oct. 18
A call for a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty, a report about Map Your Neighborhood, and the deletion of a rule banning arcades from serving alcohol when minors are present
All council members were present at the October 18 Sebastopol City Council meeting, including Mayor Patrick Slayter, Vice Mayor Neysa Hinton, Councilmember Una Glass, Councilmember Sarah Gurney and Councilmember Diana Rich.
Note of Conflict of Interest: In addition to being the co-publisher of the Sebastopol Times, the author of this piece is also a part-time contractor for the city of Sebastopol, where, as coordinator for the Relaunch Sebastopol program, she has a mandate to increase tourism, support local business and increase civic engagement. The news reported in this article, and any opinions reflected therein, are not dictated by or reflective of the opinions of the city council or staff of the city of Sebastopol.
Coming in at a smidge over two hours, this was one of the shortest city council meetings in recent memory. Here’s the recap:
The council honored Sunny Galbraith for her work with the Zero Waste Committee.
In light of the controversy in Los Angeles over racist comments by members of the city council, Mayor Patrick Slayter took this opportunity to reiterate a city resolution against racism and intolerance passed in 2020.
Public comment: Max (no last name) complained that this author has a conflict of interest because I am both being paid by the city as a consultant, while also being the co-owner of the Sebastopol Times, which is covering the election. She insinuated that our election coverage was being influenced by three members of the city council who have endorsed candidates (not her candidate, obviously). (Author’s note: Honestly, Max, think about it: if I was this sort of lackey, I’d be currying favor with the incoming candidates – not those who will be leaving office next month or those who may find themselves in the minority on the next city council.)
The next public comment came from Steve Pierce, who suggested three methods by which the city might increase its revenue:
If the city were to increase its sales tax from 9.25% to 9.5% (like Petaluma), the city could raise an additional $120,000.
If the city were to raise its Transient Occupancy Tax from 12% to 14% (like Healdsburg), it could raise an additional $130,000.
If the city were to raise its real estate transfer tax, it would raise an additional $160,000. (He noted the city would have to become a charter city to do this.)
He encouraged the new revenue consultant to look into these ideas.
And, as usual, there was a public comment about electro magnetic frequency radiation, suggesting “we’re being cooked alive” by EMFs.
(Note: The consent calendar consists of items that are routine in nature or don’t require additional discussion, often because they’ve been discussed extensively at a previous council meeting.)
After approving the minutes of the last few meetings, the council also approved the following:
They approved contract with Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for agreement of election services. The current agreement expires on December 31, 2022. The new agreement will take effect January 1, 2023, and run through December 31, 2027.
Approval of Biennial Review of City of Sebastopol Conflict of Interest Code. This code designates employees who must periodically disclose certain personal financial holdings based on their position by filing a Statement of Economic Interests form.
Extension of Emergency Proclamation of Local Emergency (COVID-19) issued by the director of emergency services (i.e., the Fire Chief).
Approval of allocation of budget for flood-related repairs and consultant services for the Sebastopol Cultural Community Center
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
The first item on the regular agenda was a request from the city’s Climate Committee that the city council support a call for an international Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, that would limit the proliferation of fossil fuels and encourage countries to begin phasing them out. The council, noting that it was right in line with the city’s ban on new gas stations, voted its unanimous support, becoming one of a handful of cities in the U.S. to do so.
Map Your Neighborhood now Meet Your Neighbors
Fire Chief Bill Braga gave his twice-yearly informational report on the Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) and the Sebastopol Neighborhood Communications Unit (SNCU) programs, both of which are integral to Sebastopol’s emergency preparednss plans. Skip Jirrells spoke about MYN, while Stan Green spoke about SNCU, the city’s emergency shortwave radio program.
Here are the highlights:
Map Your Neighborhood is changing its name to Meet Your Neighbors (MYN).
MYN is making progress mapping connected neighborhoods throughout the city.
MYN is putting together a Spanish language version of their program.
SNCU has completed four shortwave hubs, one in each of the city’s four evacuation zones.
You can find out more about these programs at sebastopolready.org.
Hybrid Council Meetings
Councilmember Sarah Gurney moved this item from the consent calendar to the regular agenda so the council could discuss when and if they wanted to return to in-person or hybrid (in-person and Zoom) meetings. The state has announced that it plans to lift the COVID State of Emergency in February 2023, but cities may have until 2024 to switch back to in-person meetings. The council ultimately decided to leave this question up to the incoming city council, which will have three new members, who will be sworn in at the December 6 meeting.
Public Hearing: Deleting the prohibition on alcohol in arcades when minors are present
The council also voted unanimously to delete a section from Sebastopol’s municipal code that forbid the serving of alcohol at businesses with “coin-operated play devices” when minors are present. They deleted this rule so that a new venture in the Barlow, a retro arcade for families and adults, can open for business.
You can watch the whole city council meeting here.
Great recap of the council meeting- thank you