Dec 28, 2019
By Mayor Neysa Hinton
Last December as I started my term of Mayor, little did I know what was involved in the role. Thankfully Mary Gourley, our City Clerk, provided me with excellent crib notes that got me off to a great start. Beyond the ceremonial aspects of being Mayor, I had no idea all the events that would be thrown at our community this year. Nevertheless, Sebastopol rose to the occasion, accomplished so much, and this year has flown by!
First, I thank my colleagues for supporting me during my term as Mayor and dedicating their time and talents to this City. I thank and recognize our City staff who work every day and many weekends serving this community. Congratulations to Mary Gourley who was selected as the 2019 California City Clerk of the Year. After more than 20 years with City of Sebastopol, the award was well deserved! I also thank our community members for their thoughts, ideas, criticisms and support to ensure that this City continues to thrive and benefit all its residents.
Not only did the City of Sebastopol go through a terrible flood, but we were also affected by the events of the Kincade Fire and the PG&E Outages. Having grown up in Sebastopol, I honestly have never seen so many events with direct impacts to our community, especially in one year! Throughout it all our City staff and Council worked in unison to ensure that the community was well informed and moving forward.
Thank you to Marc Levine’s office and the State of California for awarding a 1.5 million dollar grant to assist with Flood Recovery. Approx. $1 million has already been pledged to making improvements at our Sebastopol Cultural Community Center and making Sebastopol ready for the next disaster.
I am excited to continue to move forward our Zero Waste goals in 2020 and beyond. Creating the Zero Waste sub-committee, along with passing our city-wide ordinances towards a Zero Waste future shows we take Climate Change seriously. These efforts along with our new Paper Free Electronics Use policy to say goodbye to paper City Council packets in the future were some of the biggest accomplishments of the year. Our commitment to Park Village which houses many of our low-income and formerly homeless residents continues to thrive and is moving forward with grants to create more livable units.
To finish up, I would like to advocate for the public to get more involved in the decisions that impact our city. In my “State of Sebastopol” talk this year, I always ended with the statement, “You too can be Mayor.” I truly believe that more people need to vote, run for office and make their voices heard in our community. When I meet someone at the grocery store who has an opinion or a question about our City, I always invite them to the City Council meeting. While I know our meetings can go long, I remind them that they can just come for an item or two. Next year is a big year…with the presidential and City Council elections. Please get involved. It has been my honor to serve you as Mayor in this unique city of Sebastopol. I look forward to 2020 and thank you all!
At the December 3 meeting, Patrick Slayter was elected by the Council as Mayor along with Una Glass as Vice Mayor. The Council, not the voters, decides its own leadership team. The decision is made without following a scheme of rotation or taking turns, but rather as an expression of confidence in the skill and dedication of time of those members chosen. Mr. Slayter has served in one of these role four times in the last five years, 2016 through 2020, and Ms. Glass, three.
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