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Sebastappeal - February 2015

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Sebastappeal - February 2015

by Sarah Glade Gurney

Best of the Best

Our Chamber of Commerce puts on an annual Community Awards event. This year, it will be on February 12, 6-8 PM. Awardees are nominated and selected by the community by category: Citizen, Business, Volunteer, Firefighter and Police Employee of the Year; Service to Youth, Seniors, and the Public; Environmental Consciousness; Humanitarian; Beautification of a Visible Site; Business Spark Plug; Contribution to the Arts; Hall of Fame; and Spirit of Sebastopol. 

Come find out who these 2015 honorees are and enjoy an evening with our very best. The introductions are heartwarming, the speeches inspiring.  It’s one of the greatest nights in town.

Inspired to Give Back to Our Community?

There are two openings on our Design Review Board. One is for a licensed architect or landscape architect. The other [alternate] could be an architect, landscape architect, or someone with expertise in design, land use patterns, urban development, or other related fields.  

This five-member board meets monthly on the first and third Wednesdays at 4 PM at City Hall. The alternate [sixth member] serves in the absence of a board member or in the event of a conflict of interest.

Applications are available on the City’s website and must be returned to City Hall no later than 4 PM, February 3.  Applicants are interviewed, one at a time, by the Council in a public meeting [usually specially set], then discussed and appointed during the regular, public Council meeting. 

This board has a challenging job – following design guidelines that are sometimes described as “vague” and applying them to projects that could be “controversial” in a town whose overriding design style has been dubbed by many as “eclectic.”

If you have the required experience and an interest in public service, you are needed – please apply. This is the second time these vacant seats have been posted.

Baby Boomers in the News

Hearty congratulations to Karen Cano, our Administrative Services Director, upon her recent retirement! Karen has served the City faithfully and professionally and, in the last few years, responded to new trends for more frequent reports, five-year projections, and a multitude of questions about budget details. Thank you, Karen, and have fun on your travel adventures!

This next July, Sue Kelly, our Engineering Director, will retire. Hers will be hard shoes to fill, in great measure because it’s difficult to describe her job.  Sue has served as our representative on more County-wide committees for more years than anybody and she has invaluable, incalculable “institutional memory.”  

Superintendent Keller McDonald is also retiring this summer. In February, he passes the torch to the 2015 Citizen of the Year and, in June, the reins to the West Sonoma County Union High School District. Not easy to replace that big smile, quick wit, and strong singing voice!

Meanwhile, Jim Corbett, aka Mr. Music, was named 2015’s “Aged to Perfection” Distinguished Citizen. The Senior Center honors Jim’s work delivering music to our schools and our community. Mr. Music hasn’t quite retired – he’s cut back from the classroom to focus on events, like the upcoming Ukulele Festival. Sing on, Jim!

What’s Your Wisdom?

With boomers aging, our senior community’s growing.  In response, our Senior Center launched a new membership program, “Wisdom Counts.”  For $35/person or $60/two-person household, a member receives discounts on trips, classes, activities and special events, not to mention value-added offers from local businesses, special invitations, and monthly newsletter.  Support this great private, non-profit organization wisely, with your new membership!

Leadership – Sebastopol Steps Up

Sebastopol Mayor Patrick Slayter was selected as the 2015 Vice Chair of Sonoma Clean Power, to assist Cotati Council Member Mark Landman as Chair.

Our Mayor enthuses, “To represent Sebastopol on the SCP Board offers the opportunity to work to protect our environment, provide a local economic boost through the construction of local electrical production facilities, and offer residents a choice other than the incumbent investor-owned utility.” 

No wonder – impressive news from SCP! Service has begun to residential customers in the original jurisdictions: Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Sonoma, Cotati and all parts of the County. Later joiners [Petaluma, Cloverdale, Rohnert Park] get service this summer. Rates are between 5-8% cheaper than PG&E.  Overall participation is high, with opt-outs at 7.5%, almost half of what was projected.  

I was elected to Chair the Sonoma County Transportation Authority [SCTA] and Regional Climate Protection Authority [RCPA] for a second year, with Supervisor David Rabbitt as my Vice Chair. I welcome newcomers Supervisor Susan Gorin and Petaluma Council Member Kathy Miller to the Board