City seeks nominees for Alcalde honors
Each year the City Council of the City of Sonoma selects a citizen of the year who is called the Honorary Alcalde.
Alcaldes in California came about through the rise of the pueblo system and the establishment of town councils. The councils were headed by mayors, called alcaldes, and together they provided a semblance of government, hearing a wide range of issues from land disputes to criminal matters. The alcalde’s position and importance did not end with Mexican rule.
In his speech following the raising of the American Flag over Monterey on July 7, 1846, Commodore John Sloat restated the importance of alcaldes and invited them to continue to execute their duties.
The function of alcaldes did not legally change until after the state Constitution was adopted and duties previously performed by one person were separated into several positions. Today the Spanish word “alcalde” literally means mayor.
In 1975, the City of Sonoma decided to once again find “the town’s most useful citizen” and bestow upon them the title Honorary Alcalde. August Pinelli, the first to be honored, began his year Jan. 1, 1976. The City Council has voted for an Honorary Alcalde every year since. The honoree is given a silver-headed cane as a symbol of the honor and makes appearances at numerous public events.
Letters of nomination should include the basis for the nomination using the following criteria: Nominees shall embody several of the following:
• Broad spectrum of voluntary community service to Sonoma Valley
• Service in a leadership role in at least one nonprofit organization
•Spearheaded at least one community-serving project without compensation
• Is well-known for consistent behind-the-scenes good deeds
• Does not seek public accolades or recognition for work done
• Adheres to a high standard of moral and ethical values
Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m., Nov. 21, and should be sent to Linda Kelly, City Manager, No. 1, The Plaza, Sonoma CA 95476. Additional information may be obtained by calling the City Clerk’s office at 933-2216.