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  1. TopTop #1
    Barry's Avatar
    Founder & Moderator

    Sebastopol City Council Debate - Oct 11th

    The 6 contestants for the 3 open seats for the Sebastopol City Council debated last night. I attended it (that's me in the front row in the white shirt). I noticed a few other Waccos in the audience.

    What did you think??

    The candidates are (from left to right in the photo)
    Maureen Shea
    Colleen Fernald
    Ron Basso
    Sarah Gurney
    Michael Kyes
    Patrick Slayter

    Some things that stick out for me was that Sarah was clearly the most polished, perhaps even too polished for some, while Michael was refreshingly, sometimes startlingly, honest and transparent ("I don't know what else to say").

    The NEAP (North East Area Plan) question caught Maureen completely off guard, she didn't know anything about it. So I guess local politics is a new interest. But then again, she's been creating a homeless shelter so she's been working in the trenches.

    Ron Basso kept speaking of "change" but I'm not sure I heard anything substantive about what he'd change, besides being a big supporter of second story housing downtown (which is not a new idea, but is a good idea, IMO, but has yet to be implemented).

    Colleen often spoke of getting the state or feds to help, along with offering "out of the box" ideas, including health care support for single mothers (which she is). She also held up Bill Roventini as example of an independent thinker, which surprised me.

    And Patrick positioned himself as the brash upstart ("I'm clearly the youngest candidate" or something similar, which drew gasps) seem to strike a middle ground between business and environmental interests.

    Sebastopol candidates square off on budget

    Sebastopol City Council candidates at the League of Women Voters debate at Park Side School in Sebastopol,
    Monday, Oct. 11, 2010.


    Published: Monday, October 11, 2010 at 3:00 a.m.
    Last Modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:56 p.m.

    Sebastopol's leaders must act fast to keep the city's budget in the black.

    On that, all six candidates vying for three open Sebastopol City Council seats agreed at a Monday night debate.

    Differences among the candidates emerged as they told the audience at Park Side Elementary School's auditorium just how they would promote growth while upholding the city's progressive values.

    “I have six years of experience in office,” said Mayor Sarah Gurney, who is running to keep her seat. “I'm concerned for our economic vitality, and I want to continue to manage the city, fiscally, with responsibility.”

    Patrick Slayter, an architect and member of the Sebastopol Planning Commission, said the council should work to bring more events to attract people downtown, such as a year-round farmers market.

    “We all saw the effects of the bike ride this weekend,” Slayter, 44, said of Levi Leipheimer's Gran Fondo event that snaked through town, bringing spectators to the area.

    “One way we can do that is by adding amenities for consumers that they depend on, like adding more parking,” said Michael Kyes, 61, an energy-efficiency consultant who has lived in Sebastopol for 21 years.

    What's key is how much people spend, said Maureen Ann Shea, 59, part owner of the Hot Tub Store. “We need to find businesses that are selling things that aren't just $5, $10, $15,” she said. “We should think about our downtown area like Disneyland. How do we make it a destination?"

    Boosting sales taxes can't be the only way to keep the city vital, said Ronald Basso, 51, who owned the now-closed R.S. Basso furniture store chain and has served on the Sebastopol Design Review Board.

    “We need to look beyond taxes. We need to think long term,” Basso said.

    The candidates bring with them a broad range of experience.

    Gurney, a 57-year-old mediation attorney, is in her third term on the council and her third year as mayor.

    Kyes has served on the boards of the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce, the Laguna Foundation and the Sebastopol Parks and Recreation Commission.

    Slayter, 44, is a member of the Sebastopol Planning Commission.

    In contrast, Colleen Fernald, a 48-year-old artist and sustainability consultant, said her experience serving the city stems from her avid participation in the public comment portion of meetings.

    “I've probably attended more hours of public meetings and nonprofit meetings than many members of the existing council,” said Fernald. She sang a peace song to protest the wars in Iraq and Afganistan at a recent City Council meeting.

    Debate over the health effects of PG&E SmartMeters and wireless Internet dominated a portion of the evening, and an audience member asked the group how they would weigh opinions of a quiet majority against a vocal group of very liberal residents.

    “For a long time it's been said we had a vocal minority attending the council meetings and swaying decisions,” Basso answered. “For me, I won't be easily swayed.”

    Gurney defended the council's policies as balanced.

    “There's a misperception that some small vocal minority runs our city, and I know from my experience that it's just not true,” she said.

    Fernald put herself squarely on the fringe. Sebastopol is represented by a strong moderate leadership, and it's time to diversify the council, she said.

    “I'd like to see three strong moderates, three conservatives, and one extremely liberal,” Fernald said, waving her hand.

    The debate was organized by the League of Women Voters of Sonoma County and co-hosted with the Sonoma-West Times and News and the Sebastopol Area Chamber of Commerce.
    Last edited by Barry; 10-14-2010 at 11:17 PM.

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  2. TopTop #2

    City Council Debate Basso OWNS real estate that benefits from his position

    Why doesn't he disclose how his financial interests will be affected by the changes in zoning law he proposes i n his pamphlets. He instead describes himself as "retired." To say that disclosure is lacking would be an understatement...
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  3. TopTop #3

    Re: Sebastopol City Council Debate - Oct 11th

    Hi Barry and Waccos,

    Here is my response to Barry's question & observation...

    "Colleen often spoke of getting the state or feds to help, along with offering "out of the box" ideas, including health care support for single mothers (which she is)."

    What I said that, I think Barry did not hear is, that I'm interested in our community co-creating an affordable wellness care program for all city residents, and I will add perhaps all 95472 zipcodes who wish to benefit from a Go Local style way to get, and keep healthy. Let's design it together.

    "She also held up Bill Roventini as example of an independent thinker, which surprised me."

    Bill used to surprise me sometimes. I may not have often agreed with him, though I appreciated that he was at times counter balance to the majority. All councils need that.

    I seek to be a representative of the majority, not aligned with a particular interest, working to understand and serve the needs of all stakeholders; in the most agreeable win/win/win way we can find.

    Not everyone will be happy with the result. To find out what having the most people adequately satisfied looks like, takes mutual respect, and willingness to meet each other half way sometimes. Sometimes it's important to take a stand.

    Wacco is a good tool to help us vet the important issues before they are voted on by the Council.

    Here are the unedited answers I gave the Sonoma West Times and news.

    I hope this helps guide your vote for our fine City's best future.

    If you want a "Super Progressive" to have a vote on the Council, I suggest bullet voting - just vote for 1.

    If you want this Candidate to have some visibility via a yard or window sign, (complete with reusable art!), please contact me.

    Want to sponsor my Wacco ad or newspaper ad?

    Please see my website; give me your feedback and answers to the questions for co-creating our optimal community.

    In peace,

    Colleen Fernald
    Candidate for PEACE!
    Sebastopol City Council


    Community Vitality

    Ensure our safety & wellness services are supported; redeploy Sustainable Sebastopol to build on Public/Private partnerships, and NGO multi-stakeholders groups, in order to protect our ecological health, social well being; and invigorate the local economy.

    Improved Transportation is tied with Accountable Development

    We need to resolve the current transportation challenges in order to serve the existing community, and visitors; if we are to provide for accountable development in scale with our small town.

    We need to require Community Impact Reports. Investigate the Greenest transportation solutions to add to iWalk, Lite Initiatives, and other programs; enhance safe pedestrian and bike routes.

    There is still a need for crosswalks on Litchfield at 116, and the Fircrest Mobile Home Park Seniors want one at their location before the 2012 date Cal Trans has scheduled for installation.

    I’d like to see increased visibility on some others; the bright green painted crosswalks are hard to miss.

    I want the public better informed regarding the regulations regarding vehicles entering crosswalks when pedestrians are there; likewise, pedestrians understanding the risks of jaywalking.

    Water & Climate Security

    Water quality, quantity, and watershed protection; along with green building, waste reduction and renewable power production, are the essential areas to focus on for an inheritable future.

    Continue to support all renewable energy power possible for Sebastopol & Solar Sonoma County, and the Climate Protection Campaign; partner in more community watershed care protection programs and projects; seek grants for a groundwater management plan and broader water conservation efforts.

    Why are you running for Sebastopol City Council and what are your top three priorities should you be elected?

    #1 reason is I LOVE Sebastopol. I am running for Sebastopol City Council to assist this unique community in discovering what adaptive, optimal living and working looks like.

    I have been practicing for 8 years. After staying till the end of many meetings, I'm ready; and fully know what I'm getting into.

    I believe Sebastopol would best be served by having the demographics of the town represented equally on the Council; that is: 3 moderates, 1 compassionate conservative, and one strong liberal.

    The current Mayor I consider progressively moderate. I’ll let the voters decide on the slightly more conservative choice.

    I am the only “Super Progressive” in the race; this part of our community deserves its values to be represented on the Council.

    What do you see as a major contribution you could bring to the Council that your fellow candidates might not possess?

    A long career in Sales, Marketing, and Advertising; building strategic alliances with for-profit, non-profit, and government entities for our balanced best interest.

    My passion for finding balance with natural systems has led me to learn and lead what it is to be “Deep Green”.

    I am very concerned about protecting our resident’s health from unnecessary risks, such as Smart Meters.

    I have been a Candidate for Peace since I entered the 2006 US Senate Democratic Primary.

    I am a single mother. I keep to a tight budget without resorting to credit cards.

    What ideas do you have for stabilizing the city's budget?

    We have had enough of increased rates, fees, fines, and taxes, bailouts for failed systems, and continuations of failed foreign policies with devastating consequences.

    Let’s Lobby the Federal Government to cease all optional, unfundable military conflicts. It’s time to end our debt spending, and preserve available tax dollars to: restore our infrastrure, and ensure our safety and security at home, with enough financial reserves so we are prepared for emergencies.

    How do you propose bringing economic vitality to Sebastopol?

    Encourage through incentives and outreach - green tech/clean tech industry, services and apprenticeships.

    Work with commercial property owners to seek uses and designs, which will be most useful and welcome; to our local citizens, nearby neighbors, and out of town visitors.

    Continue to support the business outreach and incubators programs, especially for locally made goods, art and crafts, wellness services.

    I would suggest more diversity for our co-op marketing and advertising programs, to drive new customers to our quality restaurants, entertainment, and other types of businesses.

    How about some attractive bulletin boards for better communication of events products and services?

    I would also put attention on the improvements to the City’s website, and expand relationships with online groups and portals.

    What is your vision for the eastern entrance of Sebastopol around the so-called Barlow property?

    A lovely mixed use re-development, in scale with our existing town, secure from flooding, in harmony with the needs of our watershed.

    A year round market for local: food, goods, products, arts, crafts, and services sounds ideal.

    A large multi-purpose, civic and events facility was something many of the North East Plan participants wanted, and could generate much needed revenue.

    An Exploratorium style learning center, partnered with a “Green Garage” for emerging businesses is an exciting possibility too.
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  4. TopTop #4
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    Re: Sebastopol City Council Debate - Oct 11th

    I want to echo what Barry said about Michael Kyes, that he "was refreshingly, sometimes startlingly, honest and transparent ("I don't know what else to say")."

    I appreciated Kyes’ sense of humor, as did many in the audience. We laughed with him numerous times. Humor is an important quality in a candidate for a serious office—to be able to have a demeanor and capacity to turn words in such a way as to delight people. Kyes manifested that capacity, which could be helpful to lighten potential conflict within the City Council.

    Kyes also presented himself as well-informed on vital issues. I have never seen him speak publicly before and I was impressed. He is also the candidate that I have bumped into the most often in town going door to door with his message, which is the best way to get elected in our small town.
    Shepherd Bliss
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