Sebastopol City Council Preview 2020

The Sebastopol City Council is slated to address a small agenda at its meeting on Oct. 20, with no presentation, one proclamation and three regular business items. The meeting will be held virtually starting at 6 p.m. The meetings are broadcast live over Zoom or livestream.com, and are also available to watch after the meeting occurs. To view the full meeting agenda, click here.

Here’s what’s on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

As part of its consent calendar, the council will be considering the following items:

●    Approval of the city council meeting minutes for the meetings on Oct. 6, 7 and 14.

●    Approval of the extension of the Emergency Proclamation of Local Emergency (COVID-19) issued by the Director of Emergency Services

●    Approval of priority of local streets for Capital Improvement Program (CIP) as discussed at the Oct. 6 council meeting

●    Approval of award of contract for Park Village apartment renovations for contract amount of $202,369 and adopt an order authorizing the city manager to execute all documents required to enter into the contract with August-Jaye for the project.

●    Approval of infiltration resistant sewer maintenance hold replacements

●    Ratification of the council adoption of the Fiscal Year 2020-21 budget

Proclamation for Linda Civitello

The city council will be issuing a proclamation to outgoing Sebastopol Area Senior Center Director Linda Civitello. Civitello retired from her position effective the beginning of October. She was director of the center beginning in January 2017.

Sebastopol Climate Action Subcommittee Appointments

Nine interviews were conducted earlier this month to help fill seats on the city’s Climate Action Subcommittee. The subcommittee was formed in January following a December 2019 declaration of a climate emergency.

The subcommittee is anticipated to have between 11 and 13 members (though the amount is flexible), made up of people who fit the following:

●    One council member

●    One planning commissioner

●    One member of city staff

●    Youth ages 17-23

●    Sebastopol business owner

●    Sebastopol Climate Action or other climate group representative

●    Somebody with an environmental justice/equity background

●    Somebody with a rights of nature background

●    Somebody with a climate background

●    Person who resides within city limits

●    Person who resides outside of city limits within the 95472 ZIP code

During this meeting, city staff recommends that the council appoint subcommittee members, leave any unfilled categories open until the subcommittee begins and appoint a council member liaison to the committee.

Should the Public Arts Committee have more members?

Following up from a discussion on July 21, the council will be discussing whether or not it wants to expand the number of members in the city’s Public Arts Committee (PAC).

According to PAC members, having a large membership has led to difficulty in meeting continuity and quorums in the past. While PAC members aren’t supportive of expanding the number of members in the committee, they are interested in creating a pool of volunteers for PAC subcommittees to help with current and future projects.

The council will be discussing the PAC’s recommendation and providing direction to city staff.

Proposals for more diverse and inclusive council

Proposed by Councilmember Michael Carnacchi, the council will be discussing six council member-related proposals geared toward helping the Sebastopol City Council have more diverse representation.

According to the report for this agenda item, Carnacchi will speak about the following proposals, after which the council and public will discuss them.

●    Term limits for city council members

This proposes eight-year term limits for Sebastopol city council members as a way of preventing “career politicians on two sides that are so dug-in as to their opinions and policies that compromise is nearly impossible.”

●    Election of the mayor by the people and establishment of an “office of the mayor”

This initiative proposes that an election for mayor be held every two years with council members serving four years. Currently, the mayor and vice mayor positions are selected by a three-vote majority between the city council.

●    Campaign finance legislation

This proposes a maximum campaign donation amount of $100 per person and a maximum campaign spending amount of $10,000 per election cycle.

●    Raise pay for city council members to $800 per month

Currently, city council members can receive up to $300 per month in compensation, not including any other benefits. It’s being proposed that council members receive an increase in pay to $800 per month. The amount has stayed at $300 for the past 32 years and, according to staff review, the amount of the increase can’t exceed 5% for each calendar year since the last adjustment (according to city staff, this would allow council salary to be bumped up to an estimated $850 per month).

●    Prohibit city council members and employees from making endorsements using their official title

According to the explanation of this initiative, endorsements “play a major role in the current dysfunction of campaign engineering” and are likened to high school popularity contests. As a way of preventing official, elected titles from potentially influencing an election through endorsements, this initiative recommends prohibiting council members and employees from making endorsements using their official title.

●    Limit in-person campaigning at main intersections to one day per election cycle, plus election day

This proposal is being made due to a potential unfair advantage to working candidates, since candidates who are retired or wealthy may have more time to campaign at main intersections than a candidate who is employed or in school.

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