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Sebastopol News

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 7:42 PM

Getting Serious - Recent Decisions by the Council

The City of Sebastopol has made some major decisions in the last few months. Below is a brief list of the "highlights." It's not exclusive. There are many other issues that have been addressed since January. Click on the title of this posting for details and resources.  

  • Fiscal Crisis             
  • Water Sewer Rates   
  • Sales Tax Measure
  • Fire Services         
  • Community Development Director  
  • Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District     
  • Electrification Study  
  • Garbage Hauler RFP
  • Housing Projects
  • Zoom Public Comment Options

Click on the title of this posting for the full article, which includes additional details and links to resources. 

Friday, April 26, 2024 3:46 PM

BugMania? Sat May 4 is your day for fun...


Bugs, bugs, bugs!


  • Live Mosquito and Tick Exhibits
  • Backyard Bugs Contest for the Kids
  • Bug Tasting Booth (yuck!)
  • Carnival Games & Prizes
  • Free Lunch (not bugs) and so much more!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 3:45 PM

Zero Waste Symposium is Thu May 2!

The Zero Waste Symposium is Thursday May 2nd. Don't miss out!

  • 8am for breakfast
  • 8:30am-5:00pm presentations on a ton of topics
  • 5pm cocktail reception

Learn, connect, feel the joy of knowing that we are actually making strides in the fight to reduce waste.  

Click on the title to this post for more info (see you there!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 4:21 PM

Zoom Bombing Q&A

The City of Sebastopol is struggling with the best way to address a seriously disruptive zoom bombing situation. Below is a Q&A List intended to answer questions presented to me on this topic. For the staff report on the topic, click here. For a Sebastopol Times article covering the item, click here. The zoom bombing question is scheduled to be decided at the City Council meeting Tuesday April 16 (start time 6pm). For agenda, documents, and zoom link (ironically), click here


  1. Does the Mayor have the ability to set a time limit for each speaker?
  2.  Must comments pertain to subjects within the jurisdiction of the city council? Stated another way, if the subject is not on today’s council agenda, is it eligible to be placed on a future agenda? (Or, can I take your valuable meeting time to share a recipe, travelogue, family photos, or you-name-it?)
  3. Question: During Public Comment, can priority be given to residents, business owners or others with significant ties to the city?  Then, others may comment, as time permits.
  4. Question: Has the Council considered requiring that video be turned on, as a condition of offering public comment via zoom? 
  5. Question: Has the Council disabled the unmute button on zoom, to eliminate spontaneous interruptions? 
Do you have additional questions? Please email them to
Please click on the title to this post to see all answers. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024 3:00 PM

SebWalks - Saturday Mornings. Love this town!

Businesses Behind the Scenes Walk 

  • Saturday, March 30th, 9:00 am Meet at the downtown plaza 
  • Rain or shine (if it looks like rain, bring an umbrella!)
  • Leaders: Mayor Diana Rich & Councilmember Sandra Maurer 

Join us for a Springtime walk around town, and get a private peek into the real workings of our local businesses. 

Click on the title of this post for more details. 


Tuesday, March 26, 2024 9:00 AM


Lit Crawl Sebastopol features 119 authors during its four hours of literary mayhem and will draw hundreds of readers, writers, and revelers to crawl through downtown Sebastopol, listening to readings and celebrating Sonoma County’s spirited and diverse literary community. Free all day author talks throughout town 2-6pm, culminating in a ticketed author talk ($25) at 6:30pm at SebArts.

Click on the title above for the full post. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 4:00 PM

Apple Blossom Parade is Sat April 27th!

This is a no-miss for Sebastopol. Kids, dogs, high school bands, music of all kinds, dancing, costumes, trucks, candy, chairs lined up along Main Street beginning in the wee hours (sometimes set up the night before!). It's a party from start to finish. EVERYONE seems to be in the parade or on the side-lines. It's a full town event. Be there. Parade starts at 10am. Ends at noon. What do to afterwards? Walk over to Ives Park and go to the Festival (11am-6pm Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday). 

All the details are on the Apple Blossom Website



Apple Blossom Parade Website

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 3:01 PM

Recognize a Teacher!

The Rotary Teacher of the Year Awards nomination period is open! Submit your nominations by March 15. This is a fabulous program that has recognized local teachers for years. You can see the names of prior recipients here. I guarantee you'll recognize the name of a teacher who meant a ton to you or someone you know. Help choose the winners for this year. Go teachers!!! 

Click on the title of this post for more photos. 

Monday, February 5, 2024 2:55 PM

Candidate Forum - Chris Rogers and Ariel Kelley Feb 7 @ 9am


The Sonoma County Hospitality Association is holding a forum for Assembly District 2 candidates Ariel Kelley and Chris Rogers. You can sign up here. There's also a recording available online from a January 30th forum that included all candidates for Assembly District 2. It's here

Sunday, February 4, 2024 2:08 PM

Ukraine - Delegation in Sebastopol

A delegation from Ukraine is in Sebastopol for two weeks. They are sponsored by Open World, a program that brings people from former Soviet and developing nations to the US for a deep dive into government and a variety of study topics. The local host organization is our own Sebastopol World Friends.  The delegation's focus on this trip is child and family counseling networks.There are six delegates, from a variety of locations in Ukraine. Two were from our Sebastopol Sister City Chyhyryn.

Read the Sebastopol Times Article here

I had the pleasure of welcoming them to City Hall a few days after they arrived, and I also attended the Community Welcome event at Sebastopol Grange on Friday February 2nd. Tuesday the 6th they will be at our City Council meeting. On Saturday the 10th they fly back home. Monday morning the 5th of February I had an amazing video interview with the Mayor of Chyhyryn. This was a first for us - it was amazing to sit at the Sebastopol Co-Work Space at 7am this morning and speak to the Mayor of 5pm his time...over 6000 miles away. What an amazing world. 

Translators? I am now a fan. I thought it would be really awkward communicating through interpreters. These people made it easy (and fun!).  

What else is on their itinerary? Well...remember to breath as you read through this amazing list:  Over the course of the two weeks they will have visited the Fire Department, the Police Department, Forget Me Not Farm, Two Acre Wood, the Enmanji Buddhist Temple, Parkside School, the Senior Center, Child Parent Institute, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, TLC Child and Family Services, West County Health Centers, the Sonoma County Office of Education, Armstrong Redwoods and the Coast, San Francisco and had lunch with the Ukrainian Consul, the State Capital in Sacramento, and of course Sebastopol City Hall. They will have attended a Sebastopol City Council meeting, done job shadows, and met with Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Congressman Jared Huffman, Senator Mike McGuire. 

My primary take-away: (1) the people of a place are what makes it strong, (2) hope truly does spring eternal against all odds, (3) shared human cares and values outweigh everything that might divide us - distance, differing politics, spoken language that feels indecipherable, dress and culture and food and architecture (etc, etc) that feels so foreign, and (4) a face to face contact no matter how brief makes all barriers fall away, and really makes us see that we are (at heart and truly) part of "one world."

Click on the title to this article for more photos. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024 9:00 AM

Coffee with a Councilmember Starts Jan 31st!

Join us to talk and have a cup of coffee. Starts January 31st at Retrograde Coffee Roasters (10-11:30am). The regular schedule will be the last Wednesday of each month (a week earlier in November and December). One or two of us will be there each time. We'll be rotating among five independent coffee houses in town. See you there! 

April 30 Update: Coming up: May 29 please join Councilmember McLewis at Sarmentine, June 26 join Councilmember Neysa Hinton at Retrograde, on July 31 join Vice Mayor Stephen Zollman at Brew Brothers, and on August 28 join Mayor Diana Rich at Retrograde!  

Click the title for full schedule, the event flyer, and other details. 

Sunday, January 7, 2024 2:41 PM

Sebastopol Warming Center Open

Sebastopol opened a warming center this weekend, Saturday and Sunday.
The City of Sebastopol is still in the process of finalizing an extreme weather policy, but with a frost advisory and wind chill factor predicted to bring the temperature to below freezing this weekend, the decision was made to take action in response to the need.

If you would like to be contacted for future needs, please fill out the Sebastopol Warming/Cooling Center Staffing Needs form here. Thanks! 

Please click on the title of this article for the full text. 

Saturday, January 6, 2024 5:31 PM

Chris Rogers for Assembly

I am pleased to endorse Chris Rogers for Assembly. I know Chris to be astute, experienced, honest, hard-working, articulate, dedicated to being a voice for all, accessible, kind and compassionate, and honorable. He knows his issues, talks to the people he represents, is an excellent listener, and always delivers. If you want someone who will speak for us and be heard, he's the candidate to choose. Check out Chris' website here

Friday, January 5, 2024 5:26 PM

Warming Centers: Let's hear it for Supervisor Hopkins!

Sebastopol's warming center efforts were given a huge boost, courtesy of Supervisor Lynda Hopkins and her Chief of Staff Tracy Lyons. With a $10,000 grant from Supervisor Hopkins' discretionary grant funds, the warming centers now have the needed funding to provide shelter for extreme weather events. Thank you District 5, for your compassion and understanding for the most vulnerable in our community!

Please click on the title of this article for more details. 

Friday, January 5, 2024 11:00 AM

Omar Figueroa for Judge

Omar Figueroa for Judge. Yes!!! I am so happy to endorse Omar. He's smart, fair, an excellent listener, and understands laws and policy. He's a thinker who values the facts and understands people. Omar has integrity. If I had the misfortune of finding myself standing before a judge, Omar is the one I'd hope to see looking back at me. I'm voting for him. I hope you do the same! Here's Omar Figueroa's website

Thursday, January 4, 2024 5:00 PM

Horizon Shine - What's the Future Look Like?

Yes, Horizon Shine Village is closing on March 3, 2024. St Vincent de Paul Sonoma County will move forward with long-standing plans to build an affordable housing project on the site. This was always the plan, but that doesn't mean that the closure isn't challenging for some. Fortunately Sonoma Applied Village Services (SAVS), the nonprofit that has been operating the Village, has been proactive about providing assistance and options for relocation to the Horizon Shine population. SAVS's efforts are being supported and supplemented by the County's Department of Health Services IMDT HEART team. All are doing their best to make the move out of Horizon Shine as smooth as possible. For recent news coverage on this topic, please see The Sebastopol Times January 3, 2024 article and the January 4, 2024 Press Democrat article (subscription required for the PD article). 

Tuesday, January 2, 2024 5:25 PM

Sebastopol's Work Plan: Shining a Light on the Hard Work of our Staff

On December 19, 2023, the Sebastopol City Council had the pleasure of receiving the Annual Level of Service Report. It includes updates on Planning projects and annual housing totals, as well as City services including water, wastewater, drainage, parks, fire, police, schools and traffic. It's an impressive report that provides background information, updates with data and hard facts, and recommendations. It showcases the hard work of our staff, and is an encouraging reminder that our Sebastopol staff is paying close attention to essential serrvices. In the midst of our current Budget crisis, with our limited resources, it's immensely reassuring to know that this level of oversight and monitoring is occurring. Please read the entire report when you can. It's worth the effort. And when you encounter Sebastopol employees around town, take a minute to introduce yourself and say "Thanks." An expression of appreciation from the people they work hard to serve will put a smile on their faces, guaranteed. 

Sunday, December 31, 2023 5:28 PM

Family makes the world go round

It was a lovely holiday. 

Please click on the title for LOTS more pictures...

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 5:22 PM

Holiday Lights in Sebastopol

I drove around Sebastopol one night in December and was entranced by the myriad ways our community dresses up homes and yards for the holidays. I'm sharing these photos with you in the hopes that they'll make you smile as they did me. 

This is a sampling. Please click on the title of the article to see more.        

Saturday, December 23, 2023 5:21 PM

EIFDs-Infrastructure Improvements? Yes!

Fiscal Crisis Prompting Creative Solutions: The Sebastopol City Council is investigating various avenues to address the dire fiscal crisis ($1.7M deficit in a $12.5M expense budget, and similar deficits projected into the future). An EIFD is one option - it provides a mechanism for addressing infrastructure needs without new taxes. There are many questions to be answered, but the inquiry has begun in earnest.

A full report out from the Ad Hoc EIFD Committee is expected on January 16, 2024. See the Sebastopol City Council meeting page for the January 16 Agenda, Documents, and Zoom link. All will be posted by no later than Thursday January 11, 2024. If you'd like to be alerted via email when agendas etc are posted, you can sign up at the City's subscription link

Please click on the title to this article for full details. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023 5:24 PM

Budget - Status Please?

The City of Sebastopol's fiscal crisis continues. See this November 14 article as well as this earlier article for overviews of our fiscal issues.  The Budget Committee is meeting regularly to consider as many options as possible, including among them a tax measure for this coming November. Reports presented to the City Council by the Budget Committee are listed below. To receive alerts via email of upcoming Budget Committee meetings, which are open to the public, please subscribe at this link. The Budget Committee consists of Vice Mayor Stephen Zollman, Councilmember Sandra Maurer, City Manager Don Schwartz, Assistant City Manager Mary Gourley, and Administrative Services Director Ana Kwong.  Bottom line: Nothing has changed as of now. We still face a $1.67M deficit in our $12.5M operating expense budget this year, and similar deficits in the future. 

Please click on the title of this article for a list of Budget Committee Reports and other resources.

Sunday, December 17, 2023 5:23 PM

Fire Services - Status Please?

The Fire Ad Hoc is submitting a brief written report to the City Council on December 19, 2023, summarizing meetings underway with Gold Ridge Fire District and with Graton Fire District. The Fire Ad Hoc expects to provide the City Council with a full report at the January 16, 2024 Council meeting. For background information, please see the November 29 article referencing an in depth review by The Sebastopol Times (and yes, if you haven't subscribed to this excellent local news source, now's the time!). Click here for the December 19, 2023 Fire Ad Hoc Commitee Report Out.

January 2, 2024 Update: The Fire Ad Hoc is now expected to provide a full report out in February 2024. The holidays have made completion of their tasks challenging. 

Saturday, December 16, 2023 5:29 PM

Rotary Holiday Gift Giving

I had a fabulous time with Vice Mayor Stephen Zollman helping the Rotary Club of Sebastopol's Interact Club wrap gifts for local families. Our fabulous Firefighters partners with Rotary every year for this project, offering the Fire House for the wrapping, and then heading out in Fire Trucks to deliver the presents. What a wonderful day! 

Click on the title of the article for more photos.


Wednesday, December 13, 2023 5:21 PM

Lauralee Azo - Putting Zero Waste Principles into Action

Lauralee Azo is an amazing local resident who takes the theory of zero waste and translates it into real and effective practices. That's a hard thing to do, and I say that from experience. Example: I'm standing in front of my sink with a used food container in hand, struggling to figure out whether it goes in the recycling, the compost, or the trash (not to mention whether using some water to rinse it in advance is a good or bad decision!). I admit that I've finally figured out a strategy that (I think) is good for the planet. But Lauralee has worked through that question and a ton of others having to do with recycling. She has it figured out. Lauralee coordinates and oversees the Zero Waste Shed for the 200 residents at the low-income Burbank Heights and Orchards senior housing community. Her story is impressive and inspirational. Read it here on the City website and on The Sebastopol News website.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2023 6:10 PM

Analy High Light Show & The Sebastopol Lights Parade

The Analy Holiday Lights Show was once again a spectacular display of fun and spirited joy. See the article and video clips here.

And let's not forget the popular (now annual) Holiday Lights Parade, another decidedly fun and quirky Sebastopol event. 

Friday, December 8, 2023 2:09 PM

I'm the Mayor?? Wow!!

On Tuesday Dec 5th I was selected as Mayor of Sebastopol. Wow! What an honor. I love this town, this City Council and staff...all of it. This past year as Vice Mayor has been terrific, working in tandem with outgoing Mayor Neysa Hinton. I'm ready for the hard work (and joy) that we will all face this coming year. Having Stephen Zollman as the Vice Mayor makes it even better. 

Goals for 2024: I've been asked about my goals. Here they are: 

  • Foster Connected and Inclusive Relationships
  • Achieve Fiscal Stability to Ensure a Safe and Healthy Town
  • Support all That Makes us a Vital and Vibrant Community

I look forward to this coming year, with a clear understanding of the challenges we face, with a commitment to doing the hard work that will be needed, and a confidence that we as a town can make it all happen.  

Please click on the title to this article for the full text

Thursday, November 30, 2023 3:08 PM

Collaboration - the Chamber and SDA moving forward together

It's wonderful to see these two great Sebastopol groups working together: The Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce and the Sebastopol Downtown Association. Read the full article here. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 3:16 PM

Why is it taking so long to make a decision about Sebastopol's fire services?

This is an interesting article that does a deep dive into the question. Click on the title above for a link to the initial article published a few days earlier by the Press Democrat. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023 5:31 PM

Ariel Kelley for Assembly

Ariel Kelley was sworn in to the Healdburg City Council the same year I was sworn in to the Sebastopol City Council. I've tracked her progress and have been consistently impressed. She is well-informed, articulate and engaging, courageous and confident in her opinions and positions, dedicated to improving the quality of life for everyone she serves, policy driven but practical and a realist, sensitive and compassionate about issues involving the most vulnerable and climate change, and also fully aware of the needs of businesses and the community at large. I'm certain that she's qualified to do what she says she'll do: represent our District in the State Assembly. I'm pleased to endorse Ariel Kelley for the 2nd Assembly District. Check out Ariel Kelley's website here

Monday, November 20, 2023 1:34 PM

Tree Lighting


Thursday December 7, 5-8pm @ the Plaza

  • Analy High School Jazz Band
  • Sebastopol Ballet
  • The Peacetown Love Choir & Mr Music
  • Kids craft activities & face painting
  • Goat petting zoo
  • Hot cocoa, cider, popcorn & cookies
  • And of course Santa's arrival on the Fire Truck.

The Stellar XP Big Screen will play fun holiday cartoons & movies throughout the evening as well as a round of trivia for all to enjoy.

Sponsorships available! Platinum (Headline Sponsor) $1,000, Gold $500, Silver $250, and Bronze $100
Questions: Reach out to Myriah Volk, Executive Director, Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce at

Friday, November 17, 2023 9:44 PM

New Interim Fire Chief

We have a new Interim Fire Chief: Bruce Martin. His career started out as a volunteer firefighter in in 1978 in Fairfax, where he grew up. Chief Martin has most recently served as Interim Fire Chief for South Lake Tahoe and is the former Fire Chief of the City of Fremont. Chief Martin replaces former Interim Fire Chief Jack Piccinini.

Friday, November 17, 2023 5:48 PM

Larry McLaughlin - Reflections

I was elected to the Sebastopol City Council in 2020. It was deep into Covid. Everything was via zoom, camaraderie was hard to develop, and there was an overriding sense of isolation everywhere. I was a complete newbie to government work and felt the isolation imposed by Covid as an immense barrier. Larry was a mainstay for me. I had learned to trust and rely on him for the many years that I was ED of the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center. I knew him to be ethical, kind, experienced, accessible, and always committed to the community. My time with him as a City Councimember has reinforced all those impressions. He shepherded me though my early days and has been an advisor and facilitator of all things good from the outset. Even as I embrace our new City Manager, I know I will sorely miss my regular contact with Larry McLaughlin. 

True to his commitment to the City he loves, Larry delayed his retirement as City Manager for over a year. His original retirement announcement was in October 2022 and here we are in November of 2023, with a new City Manager arriving in January 2024. Larry navigated this path with us, getting us to the point where he could transition us in a smooth way to this change in leadership. Of course, this is no surprise. It's just what we'd all expect from this ethical, kind, experienced, accessible leader who cares deeply for his community. 

Thank you Larry, for all you've done for this fair City. I am glad that you'll be staying on to guide us as City Attorney, but I will truly miss you as our City Manager. And I wish you well in your much-deserved retirement!  

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 10:20 AM

Meet Don Schwartz, Sebastopol's New City Manager!

Don Schwartz starts as our new City Manager in January! Don is the experienced, decisive, collaborative leader this City needs. I have absolute confidence in him. He's the perfect person to help us navigate the challenges we're facing, and to get us to a successful future we can all celebrate. Welcome to Sebastopol, Don! Full Press Release

Thank you to our outgoing City Manager Larry McLaughlin. He has lead this City for literally decades, and was very patient in delaying his retirement so we could find the right City Manager to lead us into the future. Larry will continue as our City Attorney, but the the City Manager role will now be Don's.


Wednesday, November 15, 2023 7:00 AM

A super fun idea - send our seniors mail

Got some free time? Want to put some sweet thoughts on paper and know they'll be appreciated? How about a fun project for your kids? All you do is write a letter or a postcard and mail it to one of the addresses that that the Sonoma County Library has put together. See letter writing instructions here. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023 11:00 PM

What happened 11/14. Will there be a tax in March??!!

The plan at the November 15 Special Council meeting was to decide whether to declare a fiscal emergency and whether the Council supported bringing either a sales tax or a parcel tax measure to the voters in March. The outcome?'s confusing...and it's still an open question: Will this City Council bring a parcel tax to the voters in March 2024? Will the Council even get an opportunity to complete the discussion? 

Click on the title of this news posting for the details. 

Monday, November 13, 2023 4:00 PM

Parcel Tax or Sales Tax?

Context: The revenue produced by a sales tax versus a parcel tax can be similar. So which is best?

Q#1: What is the revenue potential and how does potential revenue from a sales tax compare to a parcel tax? Answer: Equal revenue can be raised from a sales tax and from a parcel tax. 

Q#2: If a $300 parcel tax will raise the same revenue as a 1/4% sales tax, what is the difference? Answer: A parcel tax spreads the tax burden among property owners within the City, while a sales tax spreads it among all who shop within City limits. 

Q#3: Which is better, a sales tax or a parcel tax? Answer: To the extent the purpose of the tax is to support the general fund, then a sales tax makes sense (to me) because it spreads the the tax among those who use the City services that would be funded through the tax, rather than expecting only property owners within the City to carry the responsibility.

Q#4: Is there an issue related to possible consolidation of our Fire Services that enters into this discussion about parcel tax vs sales tax? Yes, because consolidation would extend the annexing agency's parcel tax to Sebastopol property owners.

Q#5: Is one of these taxes (sales tax or parcel tax) less "regressive?" Answer: No, neither takes into consideration a person's income. They are both regressive because every person pays the same no matter what their level of wealth. See explanation of regressive vs progressive taxes here

Click on the title of this news posting for the full text of this news posting.

Monday, November 13, 2023 7:00 AM

We are in a fiscal crisis...full stop.

Click on the title of this news posting for the full text of this news posting, including resources used.

Nov 14: This article has been updated. I've added to the introductory comments. The content in Q#1-24 are the same, but they have been reordered based on input submitted to me by members of the public. One new item as beed added to the questions list (Q#7 below).

--- News Article Begins Here----

Yes, we are in a fiscal crisis, with annual unrelenting deficits, reserves that are depleted in July 2026, and the need to accumulate $10.4M between now and July 1, 2029 in order to balance our budget and gradually build up reserves. The details are below. We will eventually have to ask voters if they are willing to support the City through a tax measure. Or we will need to reduce staff and cut services if that's what voters prefer. I've studied the numbers and pondered the options and I'm convinced that there's no way around this conclusion. 

Is our town's fiscal health worth 50 cents for every $100 dollars spent on retail and restaurant purchases in our town? That's what a 1/2% sales tax increase would mean. How about adding $300 per parcel for a partial solution? Is that better? I don't think so...

Tonight the City Council decides: 

  • Is there a fiscal crisis? (5 of 5 Councilmember votes needed)
  • Should a tax measure be placed on the ballot in March?
  • If yes, what type of tax measure?
  • A sales tax? (4 of 5 Councilmember votes needed)
  • A parcel tax? (3 of 5 Councilmembers votes needed)

Note that the sales tax measure cannot move forward in March without a declaration of a fiscal emergency. The parcel tax measure does not require a declaration of a fiscal crisis.

My recommendation: Go with a 1/2% sales tax measure in March 2024. Give the voters a chance to weigh in NOW, at the first opportunity. Give them the option that solves the problem best: a 1/2% sales tax. Do it alongside the Fire Tax, offering voters the combined package that best solves the needs of Sebastopol voters.

Give the voters the respect they solve the problems for our town...and don't delay in educating them. Allow their vote in March to be a fully informed vote. They love this town. They have supported revenue measures in the past. Trust the people of this town to do the right thing..and give them chance to speak with their votes NOW. See Let the People Speak. And don't delay!


Q#1: Can the Council impose a tax without voter approval? Answer: No, the Council does not have the authority to pass a tax. That is in the power of voters. That's the beauty of democracy! See Let the People Speak.

Q#2: Can we chart a course that gives the City stability until the new hotel is open? Answer: Yes. A 1/2% sales tax provides that stability to Sebastopol.

Q#3: To get the City to a balanced budget with a 15% reserve, how much new money is needed? Answer: $2.5M per year from 2026-2029, with a 3% annual increase, would bring us to a balanced budget and a 15% reserve by July 1, 2029. Sebastopol Deficit - Overview

Q#4: How much would a 1/2% sales tax add to purchases in Sebastopol? Answer: 50 cents for every $100 purchase ($100 x .005).

Q#5: Does a 1/2% sales tax meet our goal? Yes (with an add'l $700K needed annually beginning July 1, 2027). 1/2% Sales Tax - Does it help?

Q#6: If Sebastopol voters pass a sales tax in March 2024, will that block the Fire Tax that will be on the ballot at that time? Answer: No. A decision by Sebastopol voters to support a sales tax in March of 2024 will not block the Fire Tax.

Q#7: If the Fire Tax passes in March 2024, what impact will that have on our fiscal situation? Answer: It will help by providing $1.1M or more to our underfunded fire services. Although it will not relieve our current or projected budgetary woes, it will address the looming future need to find additional funds for our fire services. See Will the Fire Tax Help Our General Fund

Q#8: How much would a 1/4% sales tax add to purchases in Sebastopol? Answer: 25 cents for every $100 purchase ($100 x .0025).

Q#9: Does a 1/4% sales tax meet our goal? No, not unless we have an add'l $1.5M annually beginning July 1, 2026. 1/4% Sales Tax - Does it help?

Q#10: Does a $300 parcel tax meet our goal? No, not unless we have an add'l $1.5M annually beginning July 1, 2026. $300 Parcel Tax - Does it help? 

Q#11: Does a $250 parcel tax meet our goal? No, not unless we have an add'l $1.6M annually beginning July 1, 2026. $250 Parcel Tax - Does it help?

Q#12: How much is the City's total shortfall, looking into the foreseeable future? $13.3M through July 1, 2029, at $1.5M or more each year.  

Q#13:How much does the City have in current reserves to cover this $13.3M deficit? Answer: $5.1M in reserves, which will cover deficits until July 1, 2026.  

Q#14: How much will be left in reserves as of July 1, 2026, to cover our remaining 4 year cumulative $8.6M deficit? Only $400,000 will be left in reserves as of July 1, 2026 to cover the remaining $8.6M in shortfalls.  

Q#15:If we apply the remaining $400K in reserves to the $8.6M the City will need through July 1, 2029, how much more revenue is needed? Answer: $8.2M is needed through July 1, 2029 after we use the remaining $400K in reserves. 

Q#16: If we raise the $8.2M needed to cover shortfalls (after the $400K is used) through July 1, 2029, is that enough to also get our reserves built up again? Answer: No. Raising the $8.2M covers the deficits only. It leaves the City with $0 in reserves as of the 2029-30 fiscal year.   

Q#17: How much more do we need to raise in revenue in order to have a 15% reserve in 2029-30? Answer: Another $2.2M is needed to end up with a 15% reserve balance at the end of 2029-30.  

Q#18: What is the total new revenue that needs to be raised between now and July 1, 2029 to cover all deficits and leave us with a 15% reserve? $10.4M is the total we need in new revenue for a balanced budget and a healthy reserve by July 1, 2029.  

Q#19: If new revenue comes to Sebastopol beginning July 1, 2026, how much per year would be needed to get to our $10.4M goal by July 1, 2029? Answer: $2.5M per year, increasing 3% annually. 

Q#20: What if we start receiving new revenue before July 1, 2026? How much does that change our annual needed revenue? Answer: Any amount we accumulate before July 1, 2026 lowers the per year annual amount after that date.

Q#21: If the new hotel opens by July 1, 2026, does it help meet our goal? Yes, completely if combined with a 1/2% sales tax and partially if combined with a different tax. 

Q#22: What about a possible reallocation of funds if Sebastopol consolidates with another fire district? Answer: Yes, there is a possibility of reallocation of funds as a result of consolidation, but it is too speculative to be reliable.

Q#23: Does Sebastopol have the highest tax in Sonoma County? No, Petaluma and Cotati are at 9.5%. Santa Rosa and Sebastopol are at 9.25%. Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, and the City of Sonoma are at 9%.  See UUT? TOT? Sales Tax? Definitions please! for more details on taxes throughout the County. 

Q#24: Have any California cities gone bankrupt? Yes, most notably Orange County (1994), Vallejo (2008), San Bernardino (2012), Mammoth Lakes (2012), and Stockton (2012). See the articles here and here and this video.

Click on the title of this news posting for the full text of this news posting, including resources used. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023 11:00 PM

Let the People Speak

A plea for democracy: Let the people we represent exercise their right to vote. 

Context: After I drafted the news posting below I realized that some introduction was needed. Here it is: Yes, we are in a fiscal crisis, with annual unrelenting deficits, reserves that are depleted in July 2026, and the need to accumulate $10.4M between now and July 1, 2029 in order to balance our budget and gradually build up reserves. The details are below. We will eventually have to ask voters if they are willing to support the City through a tax measure. Or we will need to reduce staff and cut services if that's what voters prefer. I've studied the numbers and pondered the options and I'm convinced that there's no way around this conclusion. See We are in a fiscal crisis...full stop for all the details. I think we as Councilmembers should recognize the emergency and turn to the people of our town to allow them to weigh in on a solution.

As has been established by discussions in public Council meetings to date, some of my fellow Councilmembers agree that our fiscal situation is dire, and that a tax measure is essential, but others have expressed uncertainty. Those who are uncertain have the power to prevent voters from considering a sales tax measure in March. They can block the unanimous vote needed to declare a fiscal emergency and in that way prevent the 4/5 vote needed to support a sales tax measure in March. Those of us who see the urgency of our fiscal situation will have no alternative but to support a parcel tax measure, which can be brought to the voters in March with the support of three Councilmembers out of five, or to leave the voters of Sebastopol with no voice to be expressed in March of 2024.

---Original Article---

I'm concerned that we as a Council have forgotten our role in this discussion. Our decision is not about imposing a tax. We don't have that authority. We only have the authority to determine whether those who live in our town should be allowed to make that decision. Should we allow our citizens to exercise their right to vote on a tax to stabilize their town? Or do we five on the Council somehow think we know better and are justified in blocking their ability to voice their opinions? Personally, seen from this perspective, for those of us who believe in democracy and the power of each voter to contribute to decision-making, I think we have to allow those who live in this town the opportunity to speak with their votes. That is, after all, their right. 

What's the worst case scenario? We as a Council don't give voters the chance to vote on this issue, and in 2026 the City Council faces the stark reality of no reserves, a history of three years of deficits, a future of continuing annual deficits, and the knowledge that the Council did not act at the earliest possible date to allow the residents the right to vote on a tax to stabilize the town. That would, in my opinion, be a sad outcome for a group of electeds who clearly have the best intentions for this wonderful town.

City Council Meeting Tonight at 7pm (note the start time): If you can’t attend tonight (zoom or in-person) please send in your comments via email. 

Click on the title of this news article to read the full text. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023 3:00 PM

UUT? TOT? Sales Tax? Definitions please!

For the full text of this news posting, including resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

TOT: Transient Occupancy Tax

  • 12% on hotels and vacation rentals
  • $100 bill: 12% TOT adds $12.00
  • $200 bill: 12% TOT adds $24.00
  • The City expects $500,000 from TOT in 2023-24
  • TOT represents 5% of Sebastopol's revenue.
  • TOT Rates in County: Range from Healdsburg (14%) to Santa Rosa (9%)  

UUT: Utility Users Tax

  • 3.75% on telecommunications, video, electricity, gas, and refuse collection
  • Examples: Comcast, Sonic, Verizon, PG&E, and Recology, among others
  • $100 utility bill: 3.75% UUT adds $3.75
  • $200 utility bill: 3.75% UUT adds $7.50
  • The City expects $908,000 from UUT for 2023-24
  • UUT represents 8% of Sebastopol's revenue
  • UUT Rates in County: 5% Santa Rosa, 3.75% Sebastopol, 3% Cloverdale. Rest 0%.

Sales Tax

  • 9.25% on retail sales.
  • 6% goes to the State
  • 1.5% goes to the County
  • 1.75% goes to the City
  • The State Cap is 10.25%
  • $50 bill: 9.25% sales tax adds $4.63
  • $100 bill: 9.25% sales tax adds $9.25
  • $200 bill: 9.25% sales tax adds $18.50   
  • The City expects $4,794,560 from Sales Tax for 2023-24
  • Sales Tax represents 45% of Sebastopol's revenue.
  • Sales Taxes in County: Range from 9.5% in Petaluma & Cotati to a low of 8.5%

For the full text of this news posting, including resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 3:00 PM

What is the City's Projected Reserve Balance?

This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including explanations and resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Q#1: What is the most updated reserve balance for the City going into this fiscal year? Answer: $5,118,799. This is the beginning reserve that was reported in the Budget approved on June 27 ($3,527,869), plus the ~$1.6M ($1,590,930) in additional reserve funds identified by the Audit completed after the June 27 approval of the Budget by the City Council. This healthy updated reserve is what carries us through this year's shortfall of ~$1.7M, next year's shortfall of ~$1.5M), and 25-26's shortfall of ~$1.6M, leaving us with ~$400,000 going into FY 2026-27 as we face a $1.7M deficit. 

Q#2: Why is the City's reserve balance important? Answer: If the City spends more than it can raise in revenue, that shortfall is covered out of the general fund reserve balance. The reserve is the City's "safety net" or "rainy day fund."

Q#3: Can you give me an example of how the reserve balance is calculated? Answer: Yes, let's use this year as an example....(click on title of news article for more...)

Q#4: Why is the reserve balance for this fiscal year different in the post-Audit October 17 Report than it was in the 2023-24 Budget approved by the Council on June 27?  Answer: Between June and October the City closed and audited the books for last year (FY 2022-23). The audit disclosed that last year's revenue was higher and expenses lower than expected, which added more money to the City's reserves for the start of this year.  

Q#5: How much did last year's reserves go up? Answer: After the audit, the City showed an increase in last year's reserves of ~$1.6M (~$1M in increased revenue + ~$600K saved because departments spent less. That $1.6M more at the end of last year meant the City had $1.6M more to start this year. 

Q#6: Was there a one time Covid grant that was part of the reason for the $1.6M increase in reserves? Answer: Yes, a Covid grant helped raise last year's revenue. It came to the City in two payments. Part could not be accessed right away because of reporting and usage limitations. After the recent audit the full amount was made available to the City and was added to revenue.

Q#7: When will the Final 2022-23 Audit be Released? Answer: The audit is still being finalized (and yes, that means some of the numbers may still change). It's expected to be presented to the Council at the beginning of 2024. (The 2021-22 Audit was presented to the City Council at the January 17, 2023 meeting

Q#8: Did the $1.6M additional reserve included in the projections in the October 17 Revenue Options Report? Answer: Yes, it's already been factored into the October 17 Report. The additional $1.6M saved in 2022-23 is why the reserve increased going into this year from 14.8% (in the June 27 approved Budget) to 27.4% (in the October 17 Staff Report).

Q#9: Does the $1.6M additional reserve money help our deficit? Answer: Yes, in the short term.  It bought the City a bit more time, providing enough reserves to make it until July 2026 (when the City is projected to enter that fiscal year with a $1.7M deficit and only $400,000 in reserves to cover it). Without that additional $1.6M in the reserves, the City would be running out of money even earlier, in July 2025. 

Q#10: Does the City have any other one-time grant funds or similar amounts that have been received but the City can't currently use? Answer: No, according to City Staff. See link to the recording of the October 17 Council meeting - go to timestamp 2:26:31-2:26:33). 

This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including explanations and resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023 10:00 AM

Which Tax Measure Produces the Most Revenue?

The October 17 Revenue Options Staff Report provides full examples of the revenue streams projected for various tax combinations. At page 4 of 12 of the Revenue Options Report there is a grid that includes the annual projected revenue stream for each type of tax. (For quick reference, here is a pdf of the grid.) Here's a summary:

Full Year Revenue From Various Tax Measures (2026-27 to 2029-30)

  • FY26-27-FY29-30
  • $1.7M - $1.8M: 1/2% Sales Tax (increasing to 9.75%)
  • $830K - $900K: 1/4% Sales Tax (increasing to 9.50%)
  • $820K - $820K: $300 Parcel Tax
  • $680K - $680K: $250 Parcel Tax
  • $320K - $330K: 1.25% UUT (increasing to 5%)
  • $ 96K - $165K: 2% TOT (increasing to 14%)
  • New Hotel Potential Revenue:
    • $1.1M - $1.5M at 14% TOT 
    • $980K - $1.3M at 12% 

Click on the title to this article for more details.

Saturday, November 4, 2023 11:00 AM

If the hotel opens, how much additional revenue will that bring to the City?

Assuming the hotel opens July 1, 2026, that it has 66 rooms (as is currently planned), 85% occupancy, and that the rooms are booked at an average rate of $400 per room, it would generate at the current 12% TOT ~$980,000 in 2026-27, increasing to ~$1,300,000 in 2029-30. With an increase in TOT to 14%, it would generate $1,100,000 in 2026-27, increasing to ~$1,500,000 in 2029-30. 

Click on the title of this news article for the full text as well as a list of sources.

Friday, November 3, 2023 5:08 PM

What non-tax options does the City have for increasing revenue?

The Budget Committee is presenting a long list of potential tax and non-tax revenue generating options at the November 7 City Council meeting. These options were initially outlined in the October 17 Revenue Options Staff Report, and then refined in the November 7 Revenue Options Staff Report.

The Minimum Goal: $1.7M-$2.6M in New Funding Annually

  • The City has projected annual shortfalls of $1.7M to $2.6M through 2029-30. This is each year. 
  • A 1/2% Sales Tax will bring in $1.7M-$1.8M annually, core funding that is the foundation for a full solution. No other option comes close. 
  • Sources for the above: earlier news postings on the deficit, revenue options

Click on the title to this news post for the full text, list of sources, and for the information and agenda and zoom link for the November 7 City Council meeting. 

Friday, November 3, 2023 10:00 AM

Will the combination of Fire Tax and Consolidation help the City’s Deficit?

This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including full explanations and all resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

As explained in a previous news posting on this website, it's clear that the Fire Tax, if it passes, will not help Sebastopol's $1.7M deficit. It would bring additional money to Sebastopol for Fire Services, which is good, but it would not be enough to allow Sebastopol to release any of it's current $1.8M in budgeted funds for Fire Services for other City needs. See news article here

The modified question presented here is whether the combination of Fire Tax and Consolidation would help the City's $1.7M deficit. The answer is yes.

Q#1 How much total new funding for Fire Services would Sebastopol receive from the combined Fire Tax and Consolidation parcel tax? Answer: With consolidation, the new money for Fire Services is doubled, to ~$2.2M. That includes $1.1M from the Fire Tax, plus ~$1.1M from a parcel tax. 

Q#2: How much would be needed from the City's general fund in a consolidation with a Fire District that could operate Sebastopol's Fire Services for $2.2M per year (the Graton example)? $0 would be needed from Sebastopol's general fund for operations. $500,000 to $1,000,000 could be set aside annually toward purchase or loan repayment for replacement equipment or facility upgrades. 

Q#3: In a consolidation with a Fire District that could operate Sebastopol's Fire Services for $2.2M annually, would there be any portion of the currently budgeted $1.8M for Fire Services that could reasonably be reallocated to other City needs? Yes. Anywhere from $700,000 to $1.3M ($1.8M minus $500,000 to $1M) would likely be available to reallocate to other City needs.  

Q#4: In a consolidation with a Fire District that would need more than $2.2M to operate Sebastopol's Fire Services, would there be an amount that could be reallocated to other Sebastopol needs? Yes, but the available amount would be reduced dollar for dollar by any increase in the operating funds needed by the annexing agency.


This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including full explanations and all resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023 11:52 AM

Math Matters. But maybe not for Verizon.

Math does matter. A hilarious Verizon call. This has been floating around the internet for ages, but it's worth a quick listen. It makes a point that's worth remembering as people consider the impact of a 1/2% sales tax increase. It's different from a 1/2 cent increase....

See the full text of this post by clicking on the title above. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023 3:03 PM

Halloween in Sebastopol - Florence Street!

Yes, it was a crazy, Sebatopol-quirky good time. See the full article in The Sebastopol Times here. And don't miss it next year! 

Friday, October 27, 2023 6:00 PM

Budget: Will the Fire Tax Help the General Fund?

This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including the full Fire Tax ordinance, explanations, and all resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Sebastopol has a $1.7 million deficit. There's a Fire Tax coming up in March of 2024. Will the $1,080,000 Sebastopol is projected to receive if the Fire Tax passes help the town's $1.7M deficit?

The Answer is No. The Fire Tax will not help the City's $1.7M general fund deficit. The Fire Tax is intended to stabilize funding for fire services. It will provide new funding to help fill our current $3.9M to $5.4M funding gap and is not intended to replace or allow the release of amounts currently budgeted for our Fire Services.  

Q#1: How much funding is needed for Sebastopol's Fire Services? Answer: $5.7M to $7.2M. 

Q#2: How much funding is Sebastopol providing for Fire Services currently? Answer: $1.8M. 

Q#3: What is the shortfall between the funding needed for Fire Services and the amount Sebastopol has budgeted? Answer: $3.9M to $5.4M.

Q#4: How much of a difference will the Fire Tax make for Sebastopol’s Fire Services? Answer: The Fire Tax will reduce Sebastopol's shortfall of $3.9M to $5.4M by $1.1M. 

Q#5: Will the Fire Tax cover all of Sebastopol’s Fire Services expenses? Answer: No. Even when combined with the currently budgeted $1.8M in City funds, there will still be a shortfall of $2.8M to $4.3M.

Q#6: If the cost of operations is only $2.2M/yr, would the new Fire Tax funds free up any of this year’s $1.8M in City funding for other City needs? Answer: No. The Fire Tax's $1.1M would fill the $700,000 funding gap for operations, and provide $400,000 toward equipment & facility needs, leaving no funds available for other City needs.  

Q#7: Will the Fire Tax allow a reallocation of any of Sebastopol's currently budgeted $1.8M to other general fund needs? Answer: No. See answer to Q#5 & Q#6.  

Q#8: Why is more funding needed for operations? Answer: To pay for the "career staffing" model crucial to improving response times. 

Q#9: Why didn't Sebastopol allocate sufficient funding for Fire Services? Answer: Sebastopol is in a fiscal crisis, facing many unmet fiscal needs and working on a strategy to address them all.  

This summary includes only short answers and conclusions. For the full text of this news posting, including the full Fire Tax ordinance, explanations, and all resources used, click on the title of this news article. 

Friday, October 27, 2023 5:00 PM

Halloween in Sebastopol - There's lots to do!

Sat Oct 28:

  • 10am-6pm. Downtown 'Ghost Hunt’ Shopping Event
  • 1pm: Halloween Costume Contest@Toyworks
  • 5pm. Halloween Dog Costume Contest
  • 7:30pm. Halloween Themed Musical Review

Sun Oct 29: 2:30pm. Halloween Themed Musical Review

Mon Oct 30: 6:30-8:30pm. Love Choir Halloween Party 

Tue Oct 31

  • 5:30-7:30pm. Parks After Dark - Howl-O-Ween at Ragle Park
  • 6:30-8:30pm. Halloween Gathering & Street Party
  • 6:30pm'ish: Check out Florence Avenue
  • 7:30pm. From Ravens to Rats - A Journey Through the Macabre

Click on the title to this news article for links and additional information about these events. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023 9:48 PM

The City's $1.7M Budget Deficit - Cold Hard Facts

Do you have a question about the Sebastopol Budget? Please email Diana at so it can be added to a developing Budget FAQ

Sebastopol's Finances in a Nutshell: The situation is grim. That's the bad news. The good news is very good: This is a solution-oriented City Council. I'm confident that we'll find a way forward that builds a good healthy sustainable future for Sebastopol (and all the wonderful people who live here).

But here's the first step toward building solutions: We need to face the reality of the facts. Here they are, from my perspective on this Council and from my recent term on the Budget Committee.  (For full details (and resources) click on the title of this news article.) 

1. Going into this fiscal year, Sebastopol faced a possible $2.6 million shortfall, but managed to reduce that to a $1.7 million shortfall through a variety of severe cuts. Click here for the article detailing those cuts.

2. Sebastopol's final adopted budget for this fiscal year (July 1, 2023-June 30, 2024) has the City needing ~$1.7M more than it will bring in as revenue (yes, even with the cuts just mentioned!) 

3. This pattern of annual shortfalls continues for all foreseeable future years, from $1.7M now to $2.6M in 2029-30.

4. The City's reserves cover the shortfalls through June 30th 2026 (and maybe three months into that fiscal year). After that the City has zero dollars in it's general fund reserves to cover increasing annual shortfalls. 

5. The City needs an influx of an additional $1.7M to $2.6M each year to cover expenses through June 2030 (with no new expenses added...just maintaining the expenses already in the budget). 

6. And...the kicker..the revenue influx just described is not the amount needed for Sebastopol to be a healthy sustainable town. The $1.7M to $2.6M annually is a baseline survival minimum. It does not include any additional expenses that would allow Sebastopol to thrive.  

NEXT STEPS: Developing a strategy to address this situation. I'm confident that this City Council is up to the task....but the work is just beginning...

For full details (and resources) click on the title of this news article. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 5:58 PM

City Manager - What's the plan?

Yes, the City of Sebastopol is recruiting for a new City Manager. Our current City Manager Larry McLaughlin, who has been with the City for 35 years (!!) is retiring in December of this year. Applications have closed and the selection process is well under way. Stay tuned. More details in the near future!

Thursday, October 19, 2023 9:51 PM

Sales Tax? Parcel Tax? UUT? TOT? Why?

Do you have a question about the Sebastopol Budget? Please email Diana at so it can be added to a developing Budget FAQ

The City Council is considering a number of possible strategies for addressing its structural deficit. The topic was covered in an informational presentation from the Budget Committee on October 17. The focus of that report was on the financial impact of a variety of tax measures, although a number of non-tax ideas were also discussed. Each scenario lays out the annual impact of a variety of tax measures, with the final projection showing the reserve level in fiscal year 2029-30. 

The Minimum Goal: $1.7M-$2.6M in New Funding Annually

  • The City has projected annual shortfalls of $1.7M to $2.6M through 2029-30. This is each year. 
  • A 1/2% Sales Tax will bring in $1.7M-$1.8M annually, the core funding around which we can build a full solution. No other option comes close to this option. 
  • Sources for the above: earlier news postings on the deficitrevenue options

The Best Goal: $1.7M-$2.6M plus Funding for a Healthy 15% Reserve:

  • Six tax scenarios get the City to a 15% reserve by 2029-30.
  • A 1/2% sales tax is the key element in the 3 scenarios that meet the 15% goal and don't rely on a new hotel opening:     
    • 1/2% sales tax + $300 parcel tax  (brings in $2.4M (25-26) to $2.6M (29-30).
    • 1/2% sales tax + $250 parcel tax  (brings in $2.3M (25-26) to $2.5M (29-30).
    • 1/2% sales tax + 1.25% utility users tax (brings in $1.9M (25-26) to $2.1M (29-30).
  • The two that meet the 15% goal with a 1/4% sales tax rely on the opening of a new hotel.
  • A 1/4% sales tax brings in $806,000 (2025-26) to $896,000 (2029-30). 
  • The options without a sales tax don't stabilize the City's finances. They just slow the decline.

Please click on the article title for the full posting, including links.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 8:10 PM

Lunch with a Councilmember?


Lunch with a Councilmember Series. The Sebastopol Senior Center went all out this year to make Sebastopol City Councilmembers available to the community. The Mayor and all Councilmembers have had the pleasure of having lunch at The Harvest Cafe, and chatting with residents about a variety of topics (whatever residents wanted addressed). Two final dates are left: Wednesday Nov 8@12:30pm with Mayor Hinton, and Wednesday Dec 13 with Councilmember Zollman. Come on by! No reservations needed. Lunch is $10 for members and $12 for nonmembers. More about The Harvest Cafe HERE. For a full schedule of the lunches click on the title of this news item. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023 8:35 PM

Sebastopol Walks

Saturday Walks. Two left: Oct 28 (Funky Sebastopol) & Nov 25 (Sebastopol Chroma: Freedom from Gray). Meet at 9am at the Plaza.Click here for the full walks schedule.

Thursday, October 5, 2023 9:45 PM

The Budget: What was cut this year? Here's the list

Do you have a question about the Sebastopol Budget? Please email Diana at so it can be added to a developing Budget FAQ

This has been a continuing question: What exactly was cut from the City's budget this year. one City Councilmember I did a deep dive into the Budget document's transmittal letter...

Click on the title of this news article to see the full list of Budget Cuts. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2023 8:38 PM

Staying informed - Subscribe to the City Newsletter

City of Sebastopol Community Newsletter - Sign up to get them regularly. Click here to subscribe to the weekly e-newsletterClick here to subscribe for specific alerts.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 9:09 PM

Hotel Sebastopol - ETA Please?

There are two big questions regarding The Hotel Sebastopol: #1 - Will it ever get built and #2 - WHEN??!! A letter recently sent by the Piazza Group to the City of Sebastopol's Planning Department says yes to question #1. As to the "when?" question, that's a bit more uncertain, but the letter confirms that the Piazza Group has until late March 2024 to break ground. Construction time? My personal guess is two maybe doors open in 2026? Crossing my fingers. Click on the title of this news item for more information.

Piazza Group Update on Hotel Sebastopol Status

Wednesday, September 27, 2023 8:44 PM

Local News? Sign up for The Sebastopol Times


The Sebastopol Times is purely local news. Interviews with local people, commentary on local issues, facts that are reliable. Great reporting and content (with the appropriate quirky Sebastopol heart). Click here to subscribe

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 9:28 PM

How Time Flies - Nov 2022 to Sep 2023

Where does the time go? In a flash it seems to zip by. I'm back here to post once again, recognizing that it's been about a year since I last wrote any updates for this website. It's been an amazing year. Lots has happened. The big news I'll share, though, is that the new City Councilmembers are the very best. I count my blessings to be...

Click on the title of this news article to read the full posting. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 3:41 PM

Election Results Updated Nov 22@1:18pm

These numbers represent 4090 ballots from the 5584 registered Sebastopol City voters: 73% of voters. This count was done today (November 22) at 1:18pm. Go to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for full details. Click here for the latest Press Democrat article on the election results. For all results, including downloadable summaries and details, go to the link above for the Sonoma County Registrar. In the sidebar you'll see the downloadable documents.  When is the vote expected to be certified? Let's just say that the Sebastopol City Council expects to seat the three new Councilmembers at the December 6 meeting. 

Friday, November 18, 2022 2:12 PM

Election Results Updated Nov 18@1:31pm

Here are the election results for campaigns of particular interest to Sebastopol voters. This is the count as of 1:31pm November 18 from Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. Go to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for full details. This represents 68% of the ballots sent to Sebastopol registered voters (3825 of the total 5584 ballots). Click here for the latest Press Democrat article on the election results. For all results, including downloadable summaries and details, go to the link above for the Sonoma County Registrar. In the sidebar you'll see the downloadable documents.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2022 2:41 PM

Election Results Updated Nov 15@12:57pm

Updated at 12:57pm November 15 from Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. Go to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for full details. This represents 2652 of the total 5584 ballots sent to Sebastopol City registered voters.

Deva Proto, our Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, told the Press Democrat she expects the next batch of results to be posted this Friday. Here's today's PD article. In an earlier article she projected a total final return of 70% or more. That would suggest there are over 1200 ballots that still need to be counted from City of Sebastopol voters. The source of these ballots, according to Deva Proto in the earlier article, is mail in ballots not yet received, plus ballots dropped off on election day. 

For all results, regularly updated, including downloadable summaries and details, go to the link above for the Sonoma County Registrar. In the sidebar you'll see downloadable "details" documents.  

Friday, November 11, 2022 4:42 PM

Election Results Updated@4:20pm. Holding Steady.

Updated at 4:20pm November 11 from Sonoma County Registrar of Voters. Go to the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters for full details. This represents 2106 of the total 5584 ballots sent to Sebastopol City registered voters. 

Deva Proto, our Sonoma County Registrar of Voters, told the Press Democrat she still expects a final ballot count upwards of 70% of all registered voters. See PD Article here. That would mean another ~1000 ballots to be counted from City of Sebastopol voters. The source of these ballots, according to Deva Proto, is mail in ballots not yet received, plus ballots dropped off on election day. 

For all results, regularly updated, including downloadable summaries and details, go to the link above for the Sonoma County Registrar. In the sidebar you'll see downloadable "details" documents.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2022 6:53 AM

Election Info for Sebastopol (6am today)

The count for City Council and for the continuation of the utility users tax represents the votes of 1899 voters of our total 5584 registered voters in the City of Sebastopol. 

Is there more still to come? Yes. At the very least, the mail-in ballots placed in the mail on Election Day but not yet received by Sonoma County Registrar of Voters will need to be counted. And there's the mail in ballots dropped in the box in front of Sebastopol Center for the Arts on Election Day. 

For all results, regularly updated, including downloadable summaries and details, go to Sonoma County Registrar of Voters 2022 Election Results. For a deep dive into the results, download the "details" documents available on the County Registrar's site. For data wonks who want the immediate satisfaction of seeing some core numbers, I've attached the Summary of all results document from the Registrar's website (as of 1:25am Nov 9).

Saturday, November 5, 2022 3:15 PM

Another fun workday...neither rain nor sleet nor...


Okay, so today was a scheduled workday for the Sebastopol Service and Action Coalition. Yes- local service clubs working together to help someone in need. This time we were at a home on Spring Hill School Road. Did the rain discourage this group? No way!!!

(Click on the title of this post for more photos.) 

Friday, November 4, 2022 7:38 PM

Ballots Returned - How Many So Far?

You can get up to date information on the number of ballots returned at this link. You can even sign up to get daily reports sent to your email inbox. This doesn't provide any actual voting results, but does give you the total number of ballots that were mailed out and the total number returned...for any jurisdiction. 

As an example, here are City, County, and State reports as of November 3, 2022.

Sebastopol Ballots Returned

Sonoma County Ballots Returned

State of California Ballots Returned

Thursday, November 3, 2022 2:55 PM

Coffee, Pastries, plus more? Redbird Bakery!


Redbird Bakery in The Barlow. Yum! In the former Village Bakery space. Indoor seating or sit outside in the shared food court space. Breakfast, lunch, coffee drinks and GREAT pastries.

(Click on the title above for more photos.) 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 3:54 PM

Calling all acorn gatherers!


Acorns! Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, here I come! Drop off at 403 Meechan Rd, 9-5 daily.

Monday, October 31, 2022 4:17 PM

Halloween Dino Fun

My dog Arya seems none-too-happy with her Halloween costume. But she sure is darling, right??!! And she definitely loves her pack walks with Bonehemian Wags! Thank you Jessica Gollnick for all the happy dogs. Can you find the costumed ones in the group photo? Happy Halloween everyone! 

Friday, October 28, 2022 11:27 AM

Ken Foley has questions

Ken Foley served as mayor of Sebastopol in the 90's. He emailed the five candidates running for City Council with a series of questions. He wanted to know more about them before he cast his votes. Sadly, only one of the five responded. Mayor Slayter and I independently submitted our answers. Dale Dougherty of our local Sebastopol Times did a series of articles that capture all of this. Informative and interesting, if I do say so myself. 

(Click on the title above for the full post, including links to the articles in The Sebastopol Times)

Thursday, October 27, 2022 6:06 PM

KRCB Interviews of the Candidates for City Council

Check out the KRCB Interviews of Stephen Zollman and Sandi Maurer. The other three candidates were invited to be interviewed but did not respond despite multiple efforts by KRCB to reach out to them. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022 3:36 PM

Ron Nelson is our new Chief of Police!

Read the Sebastopol Times Article here.

Consider subscribing to the Sebastopol News. This is local news, written by locals who know our town. Definitely worth supporting. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022 1:58 PM

Facts Matter - Horizon Shine's operations $0 & 0% of the City's Budget.

The City of Sebastopol spent $0 on Horizon Shine's operations last year and $0 is budgeted this year. The Village was funded by the County. The operations of Horizon Shine are costing 0% of the City Budget.

Source: The Sebastopol 22-23 Budget. You’ll find only one financial item about Horizon Shine, and that’s the City acting as a pass-through for a County grant designated for Horizon Shine. No City discretion there because it’s not the City’s money.

(Click on the title above for the full posting, including specific page locations in the City Budget, and including also an 10/31/22 update with answers to related questions.)

Sunday, October 23, 2022 10:00 PM

Alice in Wonderland Scavenger Hunt Anyone?


Scavenger hunt in Santa Rosa. So fun. My first time doing a Cluedupp game. We signed up our group online, loaded the app onto our mobile phones, reported to a starting point (in this case the plaza in Santa Rosa), and then followed the clues and moved through the game until we finally "found" Alice! It was a great way to be outside, walking and laughing together. No, we did not do costumes, but next time we will. One of the most fun parts of the day was seeing all the people (lots of them) wandering Santa Rosa's downtown in Alice in Wonderland costumes. I'm definitely a fan now. 

(Click on the title above for more fun photos)

Sunday, October 23, 2022 8:16 PM

Work Party - Let's hear it for community!


This past weekend I joined a neighborhood work party here in Sebastopol. Service Clubs (Sebastopol Rotary Club, Sebastopol Sunrise Rotary, Lions Club) partnered with neighbors to help a property owner clear out-of-control vines and bushes that were creating a potential fire and safety hazard. Even Sebastopol's own Steve Brown (from the Building Dept) joined the effort. It was great to be doing a productive project together. Hard work, but so worth it.

 (Click on the title above for more photos.) 

Saturday, October 22, 2022 10:00 AM

Oct 26 Latte Art Throw Down

 See you there. It sure sounds like fun. At Retrograde Coffee (website here). 130 South Main Street / 707 827-8065: Here's the message from Retrograde: Is your costume ready?! Have you been practicing pouring your hearts, tulips & rosettas?! We are SO stoked to host y’all on Thu Oct 27th from 6 - 9pm for our Latte Art Throw Down & Costume Contest!

(For full details, click on the title above.) 

Friday, October 21, 2022 4:26 PM

Do I have to cast three votes?

No, you do not have to cast three votes. There are three open seats on the Sebastopol City Council. Five candidates are vying for those three seats. The three candidates who get the most votes will win. Please vote only for those you feel are the best, whether that's one, two, three (or none at all). This will maximize the chances of the candidates you believe are best getting elected.  Do not dilute your voice with an “extra” vote that will only reduce the chances of your preferred candidate(s) prevailing. Voters do not have to cast three votes (or any at all actually). 

Friday, October 21, 2022 10:32 AM

Sandi Maurer - Vote for her!!

Sandi Maurer: A passionate, articulate, community-minded person who is well-prepared, approachable, and loves our town? Yes!

Sandi Maurer is the voice of quintessential Sebastopol. She went to Sonoma State, and is a mom, grandmother, gardener, and artist. She is also a business owner and a passionate, articulate, organized, and compelling advocate for issues she sees as essential to the community. She partners with others and is unfailingly even-tempered, unflappable, and approachable. She can agree to disagree and argues her point in a respectful but persuasive way. Sandi has what it takes to see the world through the eyes of this very unique community, and to help set policy that aligns with our values. She has the qualities and the skills we need in a leader for Sebastopol.  
If you believe (as I do) that Sandi is an excellent candidate, please consider endorsing her and donating (any amount is meaningful!). To endorse Sandi, click here to send Sandi a message saying you'd like to be added to her endorsement list. To donate to Sandi's campaign, click here. 

Check out Sandi Maurer's website here, and her endorsements here. You can see her artwork on her artist's page here

To those who know Sandi only through her advocacy against smart meters, cell towers, or similar technology (EMF issues), I can only tell you that I am convinced Sandi Maurer is not a one-issue person. (Full disclosure here, I have no problems with this technology..Sandi and I are on opposite sides on this issue.) To my astonishment, this amazing woman has won me over, and shown me that her passion and interests are for the community at large, not just for the one issue she's tackled so far. 

Sandi Maurer's core motivation is to improve our community. She is fearless and articulate and honest. She is funny and accessible and compassionate, and will do the work that is needed to get a job done correctly and efficiently. Voting for her is the right thing to do for our community's future. I invite you to join me in casting a vote for Sandi Maurer for Sebastopol City Council.

Friday, October 21, 2022 10:30 AM

Stephen Zollman - Vote for him!!

Stephen Zollman - A social environmental justice candidate with an MBA & JD? Perfect!

Stephen Zollman gets my vote for Sebastopol City Council. I urge you to cast a vote for him. What an amazing background. Let’s start with the fact that he’s former military and is super well educated. Just think for a minute about the gazillion directions he could have gone in his career. But he chose to be a public defender. He chose to serve youth and domestic violence survivors. This guy clearly has deep skills and a deep commitment to doing the right thing for the right reasons. Am I going to vote for him, the candidate with the skills and the heart? OK, that’s a big YES! 

Donate? Endorse? If you agree that Stephen is an excellent candidate, please consider endorsing him and donating (any amount is meaningful!). To be added to Stephen's endorsement list, email his campaign team at  To donate to Stephen's campaign, click here (every donation counts!).

Stephen Zollman's priorities, from his recent mailer:
  • Leverage partnerships with county, state, and federal governments to support Sebastopol needs
  • Secure affordable housing
  • Ensure stability go out fire and emergency services
  • Improve safety by pairing mental health services with law enforcement
  • Accelerate actions to address the climate crisis and build community resilience
  • Support local businesses and create opportunities for youth
This guy clearly has deep skills and a deep commitment to doing the right thing for the right reasons. Am I going to vote for him, the candidate with the skills and the heart? OK, that’s a big YES! I urge you to do the same. Let's keep the heart and soul in Sebastopol. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022 7:48 AM

Numbers Matter - What are we spending on the unhoused?

The short answer: ~$150,000 out of our $12.5 million budget for 22-23. Do I wish it were less? Of course. Am I VERY pleased its not more? Yes! Are we getting quality service for that $150,000? Yes again.

(For the full post, including a link to the City budget, click on the title above.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2022 10:12 PM

ArtStart Mural!

On October 18 I attended the dedication of the "World of Good" mural. It's beautiful, and the story of how it came to be in the midst of Covid (and post-Covid, as we like to call it) is fascinating.

(Click on the title above for the full post.) 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 10:09 PM

Decision-Making, Disagreement, and Debates

The current Sebastopol City Council is a great example of five people who frequently disagree, and argue their positions passionately, and in my opinion produce better outcomes as a result. Are you looking for proof of this active debate? Feel free to review any of the Sebastopol City Council meeting video recordings to witness our many (!!) disagreements and debates and our very healthy decision-making.

(For a case in point - click on the title above.) 

Sunday, October 16, 2022 10:54 PM

What are those tracks?

Tomales Bay is beautiful. Less than an hour away, and full of natural wonders. How about a little tracking exercise. What are these tracks? Marten? Otter? Guesses? Email


(Click on the title above for the full post.) 

Sunday, October 16, 2022 8:31 AM

Homeless Count Down in Sebastopol

Twenty-eight (28) is the true count, for all practical purposes, of those who are on the streets in our town. The official count is 78 in the 2022 Sonoma County Point in Time Count, but the 78 includes those who are at Elderberry Commons, Robinson House (for vets), and Horizon Shine. They are considered homeless because they are not in what the County considers "permanent" housing. Backing out those numbers leaves 28 truly sleeping rough in our town. Not great, admittedly, because no-one likes the idea of even 28 people living this sort of uncertain, unsafe life. But 28, in a town of ~7500 people, at a time in history when there is truly no solution for the homelessness issue is, sadly, OK. 

(Click here for the full post, including a link to the Sonoma County Point in Time Count for 2022)

Saturday, October 15, 2022 10:47 PM

Eagle Scout Rhone Thomas

I was honored to be present today as Rhone Thomas of Sebastopol's Troop 27 was recognized as an Eagle Scout. For those wondering who puts up the flags that we often see lining Main Street in Sebastopol: It’s Troop 27, including this new Eagle Scout Rhone Thomas. Congratulations Rhone! 

Saturday, October 15, 2022 10:21 AM

The Parking Ordinance

Question: Did I support the parking ordinance?

Answer: Yes, I was an advocate and a supporter of the parking ordinance, and yes I did vote for it. I felt it was a necessary step to reclaim Morris Street and surrounding areas (including the Laguna de Santa Rosa) for use by the community at large. Given that we were opening the RV Village and giving the RVs that had been in the Morris Street encampment a place to have shelter, I was OK with it.

(Please click on the title above for the full post, including a link to the parking ordinance.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2022 12:51 AM

Three City Councilmembers Retiring


In December the City of Sebastopol will lose three City Councilmembers who have in many ways driven policy in the City for decades. Sarah Glade Gurney has served on the Council for 18 years (since 2004), Patrick Slayer for 12 (since 2010), and Una Glass for 6 (since 2014). They leave a legacy of service to the citizens of Sebastopol. Many of the current policies that define the town reflect their efforts and their vision. Their contributions are enormous, and span a variety of interests, both local and regional. For full details the best bet is to review their biographies, posted on the City's website. Click here for Sarah Glade Gurney's biohere for Una Glass' bio, and here for Patrick Slayter's bio

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 7:58 AM

Fire Dept FAQ!

Get all the answers to all the questions. Background, facts, links to documents. The Fire Department FAQ is available online HERE

Key Points: 

  • There is no consolidation underway at this time.
  • The City is waiting to receive the results of a study that will provide recommendations about the best path forward. The study results are expected in late November.
  • The study is considering two key options: (1) an independent fire department and (2) consolidation with Gold Ridge Fire Protection District, and is also looking at all other available options
  • The volunteer firefighters and other stakeholders were interviewed the week of September 28 as part of the process. 

Read the full FAQ. The future of fire and emergency services in our community is a priority topic. Inform yourself!

Get updates: Sign up HERE on the City's website to get updates. Select "Fire Services Delivery Study." You'll get notices of City meetings (including City Council meetings and a planned Town Hall). 

Monday, October 10, 2022 10:12 PM

Lynda Hopkins - Wow!

This video was posted by Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins on Oct 9 on Facebook. I knew she was a talented supervisor, but I had no idea that her talent extended to singing and playing guitar. Wow!!

(Click here for the full text of this post.) 

Monday, October 10, 2022 1:49 PM

Candidate Forum for Businesses Tuesday@7pm

SDA Sebastopol City Council Candidate Forum for Businesses. See article in The Sebastopol Times (link below). Tuesday October 11 at 7pm. Location is Soft Medicine Sanctuary (186 N. Main St). Note from Michael Carnacchi of the Sebastopol Downtown Association: This forum is for business owners and their interests. (He made it clear that space is limited.)

Sunday, October 9, 2022 9:30 AM


This post is an update to my Oct 7 post, titled "Crickets. Nothing. Not a Peep," I've realized that the Oct 7 post was really about conversations. So this is where I am on this topic now, as a result of developments yesterday. It was a day filled with conversations with a ton of different people: at the grocery store and downtown running errands, on my block walks for Stephen Zollman and Sandi Maurer, at the Sunrise Rotary fundraiser I attended in the evening, and even answering emails when I got home. Most (especially the block walk conversations) were really wonderful and inspiring, but some later in my day were a bit...well...challenging. What I realized as I ended my day, is that all of those conversations are important, as a human being and especially as an elected City Councilperson. Conversations aren't always comfortable, in my experience, but all of them are worth having...because all of them help us understand one another better. Conversations are about speaking and listening. And I got a lot of that yesterday in Sebastopol. That's my idea of a good day in our town

Key Takeaways:

  • Sebastopol is fabulous (weather, people, everything)
  • Providing facts is the right thing to do
  • The variety of opinions and perspectives in this town is a strength
  • I am rock solid in my decision to endorse Stephen Zollman and Sandi Maurer for Sebastopol City Council
  • I need to accept that the other candidates do not want to have conversations with me right now

And...finally...yes, conversations (at the right time) are essential for the health of this town. 

(Please click on the title above for the full post.)

Saturday, October 8, 2022 11:44 PM

Stephen Zollman - A social environmental justice candidate with an MBA & JD? Perfect!

I sat down today and really read carefully the information Stephen Zollman has on his website. There’s a lot to “unpack” here, as they say. What an amazing background. Let’s start with the fact that he’s former military and is super well educated. Just think for a minute about the gazillion directions he could have gone in his career. But he chose to be a public defender. He chose to serve youth and domestic violence survivors. This guy clearly has deep skills and a deep commitment to doing the right thing for the right reasons. Am I going to vote for him, the candidate with the skills and the heart? OK, that’s a big YES!

This guy clearly has deep skills and a deep commitment to doing the right thing for the right reasons. Am I going to vote for him, the candidate with the skills and the heart? OK, that’s a big YES!
Stephen Zollman is an army veteran.
He has a law degree, and masters degrees in business administration and health law.
He is a former San Francisco public defender, and currently represents youth and domestic violence survivors.

Saturday, October 8, 2022 10:03 PM

Larry McLaughlin is retiring...

Larry McLaughlin has been an amazing City Manager/City Attorney for Sebastopol. For 35 years he has been on staff, as City Attorney first, and then adding on the City Manager role. I will miss him more than I can say. Larry's skills and experience were substantial, but for me it was his character that made working with him so wonderful. He was an honest, kind, organized, approachable leader with a heart of gold. He provided stability and reassurance to all, and he always dealt with whatever came at him with complete equanimity. Sebastopol has been fortunate to have him, and I will miss him greatly.

His retirement announcement is here. 

An article in the Community Voice is here

Friday, October 7, 2022 3:28 PM

Crickets. Nothing. Not a Peep.

Please see the updated posting Here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022 9:11 PM

Sandi Maurer Endorsements - Sierra Club, North Bay Labor Council, Sebastopol Tomorrow!!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2022 3:33 PM

Is Sandi Maurer a one-issue candidate?

Answer: My conclusion is that Sandi Maurer is not a one-issue candidate. Her knowledge and interest and ideas on City issues are broad. Her passion on one issue will not, in my opinion, get in the way of her greater public service to the community.

Sandi and I are on opposite sides of the EMF (smart meters, cell towers, etc) issue. I have to be blunt about that. I am not at all worried about EMFs. She is intensely worried. We disagree. Surprisingly, I have found that this disagreement on a topic that is passionately important to her, does not distract from or get in the way of our discussions on other topics. I have realized that her interests, knowledge, and ideas go way beyond the EMF issue. She has won me over, despite my hesitation, and convinced me that she has the qualities it takes to represent the people of Sebastopol as a City Councilperson. And yes, I am endorsing Sandi Maurer for Sebastopol City Council. 

(Please click on the title above for the full post.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2022 9:24 AM

Stephen Zollman & Sandi Maurer

This post is about the candidates I am endorsing for Sebastopol City Council in 2022: Stephen Zollman and Sandi Maurer. I believe they are the best choices. Please consider supporting them..but most importantly make sure that you do your homework to vote for whichever candidates you feel are best for our town. As a reminder, these are my personal notes. They do not represent the official opinions or positions of the City of Sebastopol or of the Sebastopol City Council.





STEPHEN ZOLLMAN & SANDI MAURER rise to the top for me in all categories. I feel strongly that they have the qualities needed to serve our community. I’ve watched the Candidate Forum, done my research, and met with both of them. I’m convinced that they love this town and will honor the values we hold dear, and that they aren’t afraid to do what’s needed to make our town an even better place for all those who call it home. I believe they will be accessible and listen, will do their homework, and will be brave and courageous in their decision-making. I am convinced that compassion and consideration for all will be a driving force for them, but that they will also be pragmatic and practical. I firmly believe that they are the very best choices for our City Council in 2022. I encourage you to join me in voting for Stephen Zollman and Sandi Maurer.

 (Please click on the title above for the full post.)

Friday, September 30, 2022 10:40 PM

Very excited to endorse Sandi Maurer for Sebastopol City Council!

I am excited to endorse Sandi Maurer for City Council. She is fearless, principled, completely focused on the good of the community, an instinctive researcher who knows the value of preparation, and compassionate about all people, yet pragmatic and realistic. She has already informed herself about City policy, meeting with department heads and diving into the details of City Council decision-making. This is a candidate who has already proven herself ready and willing to do what's needed to make excellent policy decisions for this town. For more information, check out Sandi Maurer's website. Endorse her, make a contribution if you're able, or offer to host a campaign sign. Most importantly, vote for Sandi Maurer!  

Monday, September 26, 2022 9:42 PM

Very Excited to Endorse Stephen Zollman for Sebastopol City Council!

I am excited to endorse Stephen Zollman for City Council. He has the skills, experience, community-oriented mindset, and compassion that we need to lead Sebastopol into the future. I'm convinced that he'll build partnerships and will be pragmatic and caring. Check out Stephen Zollman's website. Endorse him, make a contribution, or offer to host a campaign sign. 

Friday, September 23, 2022 1:42 PM

What are the qualities of a good City Councilperson?

Who Do I Support for City Council? I've been asked about who I would support for City Council. I have endorsed Stephen Zollman but I am still researching the other candidates. 

Will I Offer Further Information on Who I Support? Yes, absolutely. I need to do my research (because that's what I do). I've reached out to all the candidates and asked to meet with each. I'm genuinely curious and interested in each of these people who has taken the very honorable step of running for City Council.

My Suggestions For Every Voter? For now, I suggest that everyone watch the September 21 Candidate Forum Video, which is embedded in my September 20 posting and can also be accessed on You Tube HERE. Also, take a look at the links I posted on September 20, and consider each candidate in terms of the following qualities. This is my personal list that I'll be using to evaluate each candidate.  

I am looking for candidates who have good character, will be relationship builders, will be team players and strong communicators, will be emotionally mature, will be fearless, will be accessible, will be compassionate, will be critical, pragmatic, visionary thinkers, will be prepared, and will understand City finances.

 (Please click on the title above for the full post.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2022 10:38 PM

Check out the Candidates for Sebastopol City Council

There are five candidates running for three Sebastopol City Council seats. Inform yourself about each one, so you can make a meaningful vote on November 8th. 


Here's the recording of the Candidate Forum held on Wednesday evening, Sept 21@6:30pm. The recording is also available on You Tube HERE and on Facebook Live HERE.  

(Please click on the title above for more information on each candidate.)

Diana Rich, Sebastopol City Council
321 S. Main St. #60 
Sebastopol CA 95472
FPPC #1430199
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