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MEET Sebastopol's New Mayor - Robert Jacob

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MEET Sebastopol's New Mayor
Robert Jacob

At Tuesday, December 3rd's Sebastopol City Council meeting, Robert Jacob was unanimously selected by the city council as the next Sebastopol Mayor.

GUEST COMMENTARY

By Robert Jacob, Mayor of Sebastopol City Council 

If you have not heard, last night I was honored to be unanimously selected by the council to be Sebastopol's mayor for this upcoming year.

Thank you -- to the citizens who elected me and to the council for appointing me to be mayor -- for this amazing opportunity! 

As mayor, I look forward to furthering the accomplishments we made in 2013 into next year. So much has happened here in Sebastopol over the last year. The council and staff have built an ever stronger relationship with each other and the community. The Barlow is filling out nicely, new parks have been established, and we continue to work towards ways to save money for a rainy day, and this is in large part to Councilmember Michael Kyes, who just finished a banner year as mayor. 

As mayor, Mr. Kyes consistently beat the drum for increasing Sebastopol's reserves. Sebastopol was able to maintain excellent service to the community during this recession for two main reasons. First, our city staff was willing to defer raises and benefit increases in order to stretch our local tax dollars. Second, our city had a reserve account to see us through lean times.

Councilmember Kyes is committed to increasing this account balance. He is a leader on this issue, always looking at ways our city can save money while increasing revenues. His most important work building our financial buffer will continue through this next year as we develop other creative revenue sources in order to bring our long-term financial health back on track after tumultuous financial times.

I also appreciate Councilmember Kyes' attention to detail. His ability to dive into the nitty-gritty pieces of any project, a budget, a design, is laudable and ensures that Sebastopol is moving in the right direction.

I am excited to announce that Councilmember Patrick Slayter is now Vice Mayor Slayter. Also selected unanimously, Patrick has the backing of the council to step in and lead our city in a new way. He and I work well together, and I look forward to his guidance and assistance in integrating local business, sound environmental policy, social justice, and general welfare for our residents and visitors alike.

2014 Goals and Priorities

Assisting Disenfranchised Populations

My life has been about providing service to disenfranchised populations.  I began by helping out homeless youth, people struggling with HIV and AIDS, and patients who need safe access to medical cannabis.  As a mayor, I can facilitate even more public policy work in my efforts to providing help to those in need.  From affordable housing, safe routes to schools, and supporting real immigration reform there is so much that we can do to improve our communities by working at the local level.

Diversifying Our Local Business Community 

I want to continue the effort towards diversifying our local business community so that residents can find the goods and services they need here. Integrating The Barlow with the downtown, south-town, and ‘top-o-town’ is a long-term vision I will continue pursuing. Supporting the local Sebastopol Chamber, the Business Outreach Committee, the Sebastopol Entrepreneurs Project, and other business incubation efforts will be a foundation of my daily work for our community.

Pedestrian Improvements and Roads

We must continue to prioritize pedestrian improvements and road maintenance. Sebastopol has put more money into roads this last year than ever before. Properly maintaining our infrastructure is a sound financial decision, costing us less in the long-run, and it just feels better. I think everyone agrees that our walkability as a town is enhanced with the crosswalk improvements. Every project that we accomplish is another feather in our community cap, making us that much better overall. We must continue the refinement of our local transportation network for pedestrians, bikes, and vehicles.

Protecting Our Environment

Protecting our community, in spirit and in nature, is at the core of my leadership. In the works is a groundwater infiltration ordinance, which Sue Kelly, our Engineering Director, has been working on for years. Its adoption will help ensure the safety of our drinking water, and guard against pollution of our wetlands. Our town - from its unique natural setting to its eclectic artists and progressive families - has so much value to be recognized and preserved.

Community Participation

I’m grateful to be working with a strong base of community groups who collaborate in setting the tone for Sebastopol. Between Cittaslow Sebastopol, the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Sebastopol Area Senior Center, and countless others, our town is ripe with groups, often fueled by contributions and volunteerism alone, who work hard to ensure a solid direction for the future of our town. I look forward to more participation in community efforts by our residents and visitors.

What Would You Like to See?

Please contact me at robertjacobcc@sonic.net and let me know what your priorities are for this coming year. I have greatly appreciated the feedback that I have received.  Please keep it up!   

 

P.S. Friends and neighbors, do you get my regular City Council and Sebastopol community update emails? Click here to sign up, or forward this link to a friend:http://tinyurl.com/sebupdates. Be informed and involved; help make a difference in our town!

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