For the last several years, John Necker has attended Sebastopol City Council meetings and written up his impressions in Necker’s Notes, a satirical take on the city council in action. He has kindly allowed us to reprint an expurgated version of his column. For the full (and uncut) version, see

John Necker column photo

John Necker

Roll call: Mayor Neysa Hinton, Vice Mayor Patrick Slayter, Una Glass, Sarah Glade-Gurney. Councilmember Carnacchi was absent.


  • Pat and Craig Boblitt were both ordained as “Locals Who Make A Difference.”

The Election of Mayor and Vice Mayor:

  • Mayor Hinton called for nominations for her successor. Councilmember Gurney nominated Councilmember Slayter, and he won in a landslide (4:0). He then nominated Councilmember Glass, who was also swept into office by a progressive wave on a 4:0 vote.

Public Comment (aka Open Mike):

  • Bubba was back. He started by warning about mistletoe in Ragle Park (which is not in the city limits) and then followed that by a “screw the unions” tirade, which morphed into a denunciation of the Democratic party and other odds and ends. If you don’t get the connection there, chances are good you are not alone.
  • Mayor Slayter allowed supporters of HR 763 (see below) to speak at this time instead of doing so later.

Consent Calendar: (Approved 4:0)

  • In September 2018, when he wasn’t playing with his Bullet Train to Fresno, Governor Brown signed SB 998, which mandated water service providers to have a written policy concerning residential water shutoffs for nonpayment. Tonight the council adopted a written policy to do just that.
  • The council resolved to authorize the city to conduct FBI background checks on new employees. That means current employees haven’t had that scrutiny — including the one who is about to shut off your water.
  • Public parking area behind the Chamber of Commerce is starting to look much like the bar scene in Star Wars. The council approved a three-hour parking limitation there in hopes that it will discourage overnight and long-term parking. Councilmember Gurney yet again encouraged parking in the CVS lot instead.
  • Mayor Slayter sponsored approval of HR 763, which would, if passed, require fossil fuel companies to pay a fee on the fuels they extract. Those fees would be collected by the government and, every month, you will get a check for about $20. “The fees must be deposited into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund and used for “administrative expenses”and dividend payments to U.S. citizens or lawful residents.” 

And if you believe for a moment that your government can handle that without someone other than you getting rich, it’s time to lighten up on the weed. 

Public Hearings:

  • Local amendments to the State Building Codes were adopted. (4:0)
  • The city was hoping for some grant money for several projects at Park Village. However the CDC is having paperwork problems, so all of that is essentially on hold.
  • The city will now apply for grants to cover several ADA projects. First in line for ADA upgrades is the police station. But probably because our police don’t thump that many people who have to be wheeled through the doors before being tossed in stir (Editor’s Note: otherwise, known as “the slammer”), ADA improvements at the cop shop were thought to be a low priority. Feeling that something like that would never happen to them, Vice Mayor Glass and Councilmember Gurney suggested the improvements take place at the Youth Annex and City Hall. Because of the changes, this will come back at a later date. (4:0)  
  • To keep the State of California happy, modifications to the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance (AKA Granny Units) were adopted. (4:0)

Regular Agenda Items:

  • A discussion was continued from the Nov. 19 meeting on whether or not to adopt a declaration of a climate emergency. Of course it was adopted on a 4:0 vote. It’s an emergency all right, but it’s a political one that requires a more global solution. The local actions are just to make us feel good while we follow our jellyfish cousins down to the depths where, ironically and eventually, we will make our contribution to even more oil.
  • A discussion about moving the Sonoma County Mayors and Councilmembers gathering to a date in January passed on a 4:0 vote.

A Parting Shot:

  • First, the shot to the foot: Evidently, contrary to my assertions here about a statement made at the last meeting, some new gas ranges sport a “cooktop lockout” that won’t let you light a burner with a match if electricity is not available. Why in the name of fracking hell would anyone want that feature?
  • And as the city inches closer to banning gas hookups, ill wind from an unlikely point on the compass is blowing in from the Luddites who want an exception based on their electromagnetic jitters. OIS (Only in Sebastopol).  

Elapsed Time: 3:30 hours (6 to 9:30 p.m.)

Next city council meeting is Dec. 17, at the Teen Center, 425 Morris Street at 6 p.m.

Your can view this meeting and others at:

For the full (and uncut) version of this column, see

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