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 sebastopolcitizens.org.
TRIGGER WARNING: This is satire. Feelings might get hurt. If yours are of the tender variety, we advise that you turn to another column. — The Editor
Roll call: Vice Mayor Patrick Slayter, Councilmember Una Glas, Councilmember Michael Carnacchi, Councilmember Sarah Glade Gurney. Mayor Neysa Hinton was absent.
- Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to the City Manager Larry McLaughin, Fire Chief Bill Braga, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and Public Works for their efforts during the Kincade Fire evacuation.
Public Comment (aka Open Mike):
- A speaker voiced her concerns about drugs, alcohol and hit and runs on her street.
- Another reminded us of a free-to-all Thanksgiving dinner at the Sebastopol Community Church from 1 to 5 p.m.
- The Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce tree lighting will take place on Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Mario Savio Free Speech Plaza.
- There was a complaint about vineyard spraying, but since there are no vineyards in the city of Sebastopol, the council has no jurisdiction – though you can bet they wish they did.
- OK … this is where it went off the rails. One of the council’s frequent commenters showed up in sweatshirt bearing a logo referring the CIA with a term not printable in a family newspaper. He spoke for three minutes on several topics while avoiding shedding a photon of light on just what his point was. His phrase du soir was "weaponized atmosphere."
- And just when you thought is was safe to listen, the husband and wife tag team jumped in the ring and grabbed the mike. Having lost interest in their chemtrails conspiracy, they were smugly pleased to expose our ignorance for not knowing PG&E is in the process of “taking over” all the fuel in the world. No wonder we are having all these blackouts!
Consent Calendar: (Eventually Passed 4:0)
- The council authorized a request for consultants to prepare a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan. It’s required by FEMA to be eligible for grant money. The cost for preparing such a plan is estimated at $80,000. $50,000 of the cost will be offset by the $1.5 million dollar flood recovery grant that the city received in October.
- Pat and Craig Boblitt were anointed the next two Locals Who Make A Difference.
- A change was approved in the job description for the building inspector position – a position that will be vacated by the present inspector on Jan. 1.
- Approval was granted for the city of Sebastopol to host the Sonoma County Mayors and Councilmembers’ Holiday Gathering. This is a rotating honor, and Sebastopol drew the short straw this year. Only $3,000 was allotted, so it looks like it’s going to be chips and dips and a BYOB affair. Councilmember Carnacchi ground up 10 minutes of the timespace continuum, lost forever in the grist mill of his fascination with inconsequential minutia.
- The council accepted and approved the Annual AB 1600 Report for FY 18-19. This state law governs, to a certain extent, how the city charges fees and how they are spent. For instance: “If a local jurisdiction has had possession of a developer fee for five years or more and has not committed that money to a project or actually spent that money, then it must make findings describing the continuing need for that money each fiscal year after the five years have expired. If a local jurisdiction cannot make these required findings, then the city or county must go through a refund procedure.”
Regular Agenda Items
- The Sebastopol Climate Action leader, the always perky Sunny Galbraith, asked the city to consider adopting a Climate Emergency Resolution. The presentation and public comment on this item droned on for 50 minutes, asking for a sub-committee to be formed, new gas stations to be shunned, all-electric houses to be embraced and natural gas in housing to be banished from the kingdom. So, after just an hour and a half, this got sent to committee to come back in some form that will shame the rest of the world into following our lead and thereby saving the planet, whether we deserve it or not. (Passed 4:0) (Editors Note: See this week's Sonoma West story, "Sebastopol City Council ready to move on climate emergency resolution")
- The Zero Waste Sub-Committee, again led by the above perky person, asked the council to pass a zero waste addition to the special event permit requirements. This is also off to committee to give it a more draconian vibe. (Passed 4:0) (Editors Note: See this week's Sonoma West story, "All large events in Sebastopol must now be zero waste")
- Councilmember Carnacchi asked for “approval of Fee Waiver; Approval of Endorsement of Use of Little League Field During Apple Blossom Festival; and Approval of Request authorizing the closure of Main Street” so we can have our festival again next April. The councilmember is working on injecting a theme commemorating the 100-year anniversary of women getting the right to vote. It involves the REACH helicopter, a stage at the Little League field for women to do something, and other odds and ends. The more he talked, the more it looked like he needed some women to step in and rescue him. (Passed 4:0)
- Vice Mayor Slayter brought forth an idea to purchase “carbon off-set credits for official city travel.” He was authorized to come back to the council with more detail. (Passed 4:0)
- The council considered installing some security measures at the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center and Youth Annex Buildings. Things are getting a little rough down there at night. There have been break-ins, threats, harassment and other unpleasant acts that have the police cruising through there more often. So the council authorized $20,000 for keypad doors, an alarm system, cameras and lighting that might deter the overnight “camping” there and make the area safer. (Passed 4:0)
- Staff asked the council to reject all bids for the repairs to Community Cultural Center and then authorize a re-bid. There was a mistake by the architect and another one by the low bidder that blew this whole thing up. So it’s going out for bids now with an estimate of $383,900, which is an increase of $72,350.
A Parting Shot:
The holidays are bearing down on us like a careening Mack truck overloaded with mashed potatoes and sloshing gravy in its wake. While you might not avoid the truck (or even want to), you should avoid irresponsible consumption of alcohol. Here's a group of my drinking buddies at a Blues Brothers party showing you how to do it right.
- Elapsed time: 5 hours (6 to 11 p.m.)
- Next city council meeting is Dec. 3, at the Teen Center, 425 Morris Street at 6 p.m.
- You can view this meeting and others at: http://bit.ly/sebcct v
For the full (and uncut) version of this column, see sebastopolcitizens.org.