Herb Golenpaul was the best part of the Sonoma City Council. He was this amazing presence in the room, and Sonoma could always count on him being there and speaking up.
He was never aligned with any one council member; he called them all out equally and without hesitation. He often said what so many were thinking, and sometimes what many of us had never even thought of until he mentioned it.
My favorite council memory was when the council moved to change the date of council meetings because a newly elected member couldn’t meet on the current meeting date due to a scheduling conflict. Herb stood up and said exactly what many people thought (myself included), asking why the new member even ran for the position if he couldn’t meet on council meeting days. Herb then told the council he had things to do too, but he managed to be there every meeting because it was important.
He had a point, and he made it without pause or hesitation. They still changed the meeting date, but Herb called out the elephant in the room and I remember talking to many people after that meeting who all loved that he said it.
Herb was kind, steadfast and wonderful. I have often said I wanted to be just like him when I grow up, and I still do. I have spoken at a few City Council meetings, and often on topics where there was great discussion and debate. Herb was always a constant and level-headed voice of reason in the room, and I always appreciated seeing him sitting there.
I will miss him dearly, and there is now a huge void in the council chambers that I just cannot imagine will ever be filled.
I thank him for all his service in his 92 years. He is a wonderful example of a life well lived. My condolences to his wife and family, and my gratitude to them for sharing this wonderful man with our little town. Herb was a gift. RIP Herb.