Herb Golenpaul passes at 92

The public record is unclear about when Herb Golenpaul first attended a meeting of the Sonoma City Council – his wife, Tessa, thinks it was sometime around 2005 – but once he did, he quickly became a fixture, selecting a seat in the first two or three rows, close to the public podium where he frequently rose to lecture members of the council or question their decisions.

Golenpaul was brutally frank, strongly opinionated and sometimes factually wrong.

He was also painstakingly courteous, quick to praise when he felt praise was appropriate and refreshingly succinct, seldom exceeding the council’s three-minute public comment limit, even as other speakers sailed stubbornly past the time-out bell.

Herb Golenpaul died on Friday, Dec. 13, at the age of 92, and the feelings of many who knew him, or at least witnessed his ubiquitous presence in the council chambers, reflected both sadness and appreciation.

Former mayor and council member Joanne Sanders, who last visited Golenpaul two months before his death, confessed, “At first I thought he was just another gadfly, but he wasn’t, he really wasn’t. He was just a doll.”

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