Madolyn Agrimonti was born and raised in San Francisco and lived in Daly City from 1967 to 2004. She received a bachelor’s degree in management from St. Mary’s College and her master’s of nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco.
While living in Daly City, she was elected to the City Council in 1990 and served two consecutive terms as mayor from 1994 to 1996. Prior to being on the council, she was a legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Alan Cranston and state Sen. John Foran. She was the co-founder of the Delue Bayshore Boys & Girls Club. She was the director of advancement for Ursuline High School from 2005 to 2008, and she is on the Sonoma Community Center board and the Sonoma Valley Health Care District board. She and her husband, Rich, have lived in Sonoma since 2004.
List the top three issues facing Sonoma and how you would address them.
Agrimonti: Sustainability of the city; water rates; and roads.
On sustainability, Measure J will generate about $1.1 million that should go back into the General Fund for services. The Tourism Improvement District is innovative and will help with the TOT (transient occupancy tax). If we market our lodging and increase our sales tax and TOT, we can backfill for the loss of redevelopment money.
On water rates, we have to deal with both state and federal regulations. And that 5 percent rate hike wouldn’t cover the improvements we need. We need more information. I think there is more there than meets the eye.
On roads, I’d like to know how road money is allocated. We’re at the end of the pipe and I hope we’re not affected because of our size. But we need to make the roads safer for both our tourists and residents.
What leadership would you provide for building a community swimming pool?
Agrimonti: I’ve attended a couple of pool committee meetings. In Daly City, we brought in a 30,000-square-foot, three-story Boys & Girls Club and library. We’re probably looking at some sort of private/public endowment. I think a site by the Boys & girls Club is a great place. But sustainability is the big question and who is going to run it. Two-thirds of the problem is sustainability.
How should we finance street maintenance without the annual $850,000 redevelopment money we lost?
Agrimonti: Right now, I believe we’ve got about $450,000 allocated from the city – but that’s a far cry from the $850,000. It’s not that we’ll lose our tax dollars, because we’ll get some former redevelopment money, but I’m not sure how much goes to pass-throughs such as schools and mosquito abatement. Only time will tell.
Do you agree with the ban on dogs in all city parks?
Agrimonti: I’m a dog owner and I’d like to see another dog park. Our parks and Plaza are for everybody, and I believe we need some sort of rules. There needs to be a rule for us because, it’s our home, and for our visitors.
What steps would you take to stimulate business development?
Agrimonti: I’m in favor of the Tourism Improvement District and marketing. We need to look at Plaza rents … people have the right to charge, and I believe in competition. We need to promote business and advertise throughout the Bay Area. One out of four people who visits San Francisco takes a side trip.
We need to define excellence and see what can be offered. We need excellence in service and respect for customers. We also have to market for people who live here in Sonoma. We need quality and attitude. We can improve our sales tax that trickles down to the small business program.
Should the City Council debate issues that aren’t strictly local?
Agrimonti: I wouldn’t give an automatic yes. We need to be more discriminating on the things we vote on. I’d look at things on a case-by-case basis, not just an automatic “yes.” If it affects our city, that’s important.
Would you have supported the Tourism Improvement District?
Agrimonti: Yes. I’m very supportive of the TID. It’s a three-year program that comes with benchmarks and has to prove itself. It’s generates money which is how they’ll measure its effectiveness. I admire it … it’s creative. Let’s try it.
Would you have voted with the council not to raise water rates?
Agrimonti: It was meant as a gesture of being a team, but it won’t stop this. I believe the council wants to revisit this. We have to see if there are other methods. We have aging wells and salt-water intrusion. We need to dig deeper for our wells. I don’t think it (the “no” vote) will stop the wave, but let’s step back and take a look at it from a different perspective.
What’s the last book you read?
Agrimonti: “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. I love mysteries – especially James Patterson.
Who’s your hero?
Agrimonti: Christiane Amanpour. She’s articulate and puts herself in dangerous places. She gives you the big picture.
What do you do for fun?
Agrimonti: Being with friends and having people over for dinner. But I won’t talk religion or politics then.