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Letters to the Editor, Dec. 20 - 22


A City Council putsch

EDITOR: Although I did not attend the most recent Sonoma City Council meeting of Dec. 12, where Rachel Hundley was selected as Sonoma’s next mayor (“Rachel Hundley, Madam Mayor,” Dec. 16), it is my understanding that per longstanding procedure, Madolyn Agrimonti, previous mayor pro tem, was in line for appointment as Mayor. With little or no discussion a vote ensued, with Rachel selected as Mayor by the council members. Why, what is behind this move? I do not know Rachel at all, and certainly cannot comment on her capabilities, nor her abilities to serve as Mayor. This letter is about a process gone amiss. I do know Madolyn, and hold her in high regard as to putting her constituents and issues first, not petty politics or self-advancement. She has always served the Council and city well in her duties as a council member in my opinion, addressing the issues of the city in a thoughtful, professional manner.

Why Madolyn was not selected as the next mayor is very perplexing to me and disconcerting. With no discussion prior to the Council vote, and with a unanimous decision to appoint Rachel as the next Mayor of Sonoma, leads me to assume several logical conclusions, none of them positive. Was there an infraction of the Brown Act, i.e. discussion among council members outside the confines of a formal meeting, to reach the decision to bypass the selection of Madolyn? Why the departure from the acceptable and longstanding process of succession with no public discussion or dialogue? Why no discussion among the Council members in executive session prior to the vote? If there are issues, why not discuss face to face? We all know that the Mayor’s position is mostly a ceremonial position in terms of management direction of city affairs, and is a rotational position, with the pro-tem mayor usually succeeding the most recent sitting mayor. Why the change?

It is my understanding that Madolyn handled this situation gracefully and professionally. The same cannot be said for certain council members who decided to deviate from the norm with no public discussion, or one with Madolyn. The residents of Sonoma deserve better, as does Madolyn.

Peter Gilligan

Sonoma

Mayor walks thin line with conflicts of interest

EDITOR: In my opinion Mayor Hundley should take a step back from the Tuesday Farmers Market discussion and recuse herself due to a conflict of interest (“Council: No Extension Yet for VOM Farmers Market,” Dec. 16). The fact that she was a partner in a food truck operation that was denied entry into the 2016 markets is a conflict of interest in terms of the possibility that she could be holding ill will toward the market management.

I don’t see how she could be fair and impartial toward the market in her City Council position.

When the Council was trying to make a final decision on Monday night at the Council meeting they insinuated they would want to include the market board members in a sub-committee – and when market manager Bill Dardon began to speak Mayor Hundley, instead of encouraging and inviting cooperation from him, pretty much shut him down in an authoritarian manner telling him it was not time for public comments. Her intervention, to me, indicated that she has already made her mind up in this matter and holds “conflict of interest” feeling toward the market management.

Mayor Hundley was also recently a featured participant in a “branding of Sonoma” marketing campaign by the Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau that could also be viewed as a “conflict of interest” in her role as Mayor of Sonoma. In this video Sonoma is heavily pushed as a tourist destination and this could be viewed as Mayor Hundley pushing a “pro-tourist“ agenda at a time when many locals in Sonoma would like to see the Visitors Bureau stop its extremely aggressive pro-tourist agenda. Many of us locals are tired of the tour buses and massive onslaught of drunken wine drinking tourists who descend on our town day after day. Mayor Hundley’s participation in a pro-Visitors Bureau campaign while maintaining a neutral position on our Council indicates she is pro-growth and pro-tourists. She is certainly playing a thin line at best in terms of her position on the Council in regards to the Visitors Bureau’s agenda and the Farmers Market management team.

George Thompson

Sonoma

High treason, low response

EDITOR: Now it emerges that the top federal national security officials, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, split along party lines over whether to make the CIA briefing on Russian hacking of the U.S. electoral process public before the election.

The respectful silence of the Democrats on the grounds of official secrets protocol was rewarded by a dirty-tricks late hit from the partisan Republican FBI chief James Comey. WikiLeaks released the Russian hack of DNC internal communications to tear off the scabs from the primary just in time for the Democratic Convention.

That was followed by a steady drip of hacked communications from John Podesta, which was the fodder for months of lazy mainstream media stories about the trivial e-mail story.

Comey, McConnell, and any Trump campaign staff who collaborated in fixing the U.S. election should all be prosecuted.

Unless this scandal is magnified in the media to the level it deserves, as a constitutional crisis, we will have finally rolled over as a free country, and let the worst people in America get away with a coup d’état.

“Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?

Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.”

Ben Boyce

Sonoma