John Necker column photo

John Necker

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  


Sebastopol City Council Meeting December 15, 2020 – Synopsis and Commentary


  • All council members were virtually present.



Public Comment (aka Open Mike):

  • The first speaker again urged the council to pursue ranked voting.
  • Evert Fernandez, who did not win a seat on the council, congratulated those who did. He also had kind words for former Council Member Carnacchi, thereby demonstrating to others how it should be done in the United States.
  • Another speaker urged for safe parking for the homeless.
  • A voice from the past castigated the council for not upholding the Constitution and not bringing the troops home.
  • Another speaker thanked the council for the bike lanes.


Regular Agenda Items:

  • After interviews held earlier, Paul Fritz and Beau Anderson were appointed to the Planning Commission (5:0.)

Consent Calendar: (Approved)

  • The minutes for the November 17 and December 1 meetings were approved and will appear here shortly. Scroll down to Past Council Meetings. Not all minutes are available on the website.
  • The Local Emergency Proclamation was extended for another 60 days.
  • The city will solicit bids for repaving the following streets: The base bid is for Hansen Court ($48,710), Michael Place ($133,670), Kathleen Court ($29,143) and Cleveland Avenue ($101,094.) The alternative bid is for Eastside Avenue ($56,821) and Strout Street ($61,318.) This format “allows the City to adjust the actual list to be addressed to accommodate the bids and available money.” The current budget of $451,920 currently includes a 5% contingency allowance.
  • A fourth parklet in town was approved just behind Ramen Gaijin. There was some polite resistance from some other downtown businesses that are not restaurants. Parking remains the big issue.

Regular Agenda Items: (No action: Informational only.)

  • The fate of the Sebastopol Inn was discussed. While all the council members supported the county purchasing the inn, they had, and still have, many questions. Question as they might, Mayor Glass summed up Sebastopol’s position in an uncharacteristically brief statement: “We have no control.” And nothing could make that any clearer than learning tonight that escrow is closing this Wednesday morning, with move-ins to be completed by the end of December. The county stated it will house “COVID-vulnerable unsheltered individuals ... 65 years or older and/or with chronic or acute health conditions.” Sex offenders and violent felons will not be allowed. The residents will be from non-congregate sites and not people who have been dragged in off the streets kicking and screaming. There will be two on-site security guards on duty 24/7. Many other services will be provided. You may see the county’s presentation here. It also contains public comment on the project.

Most of the objections tonight had to do with the location and the effect it would have on the businesses in the area. The other was $6,375,000 the county is paying for 31 rooms before upgrading them. Only two of the rooms have kitchenettes. The county plans to give $370,000 to the city for lost transit occupancy taxes, but it looks like the city is going to be on the hook for dispatching first responders to the location.


A Parting Shot:

  • Just a thought: A very nice, new and self-contained travel trailer can be had for around $20,000. Trailers could have been setup just east of the Sebastopol Inn at Park Village. If a danger of flooding occurred, they could easily be towed to safety. $6,375,000 can buy a lot of them.


Elapsed Time: 5:00 hours (6:00–11:00pm)

Next regular city council meeting is January 5, 2021 via ZOOM

Your can view this meeting and others at:

 You can view the unexpurgated version of this column, complete with links to the relevant documents, at

(4) comments


Regarding the potential for calls for service to the Inn, the Bohemian did a report on the similar Palms Inn on Santa Rosa Avenue. It said the Palms averages 2 calls for Sheriff services per day, primarily calls for service due to disturbance by person under the influence. But under the influence of what? Usually alcohol? I doubt that!


$6.375 million for 31 hotel rooms works out to $205,600 per room for the Sebastopol Inn.


Thank you for your report and for attending the meeting. Another important economic consideration is the operating expense for the Sebastopol Inn is between $744,000 to $1,200,000 annually ($24K-$36K per person per year) with funding unknown after 2022. This is an extraordinary amount of money spent on 31 individuals - more than a person working full time @ $15 per hour takes home. I would like to see more support for our working people and working families. If we can give this much subsidy to some people, we should make food security, housing stability and access to health care available to the people working in our stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals. The Sebastopol Inn residents live on County property but they will be using all of Sebastopol's City Services from parks to water to sewer to police and fire. The City of Sebastopol should be reimbursed for the use of City services each year through the reimbursement of TOT and property taxes. Property taxes on a $6,300,000 building are around $95,000 per year. If the City does not get annual reimbursement, Sebastopol City residents are basically losing funding for their public amenities, infrastructure and general maintenance. The grant which the County wrote for itself allowed it override local permitting processes but I don't think allowed for the County to financially impact our City budget by essentially taking City services for free. Sebastopol has an annual budget of around $10,000,000 (in good times) which totals around $1300 per year per resident. A far cry from the $24,000 per year allocated for the residents of the Sebastopol Inn.

Bring the troops home? Yeah, Sebastopol has control of the DoD and the foreign policy of the USA. I am sorry but that is dumb.

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