At its meeting last night, the Sonoma City Council unanimously approved a couple of resolutions intended to reassure and assist undocumented valley residents threatened by the new and more aggressive immigration policies of the Trump administration. The first of the two votes was to adopt the resolution expressing support, “A Resolution to Support and Safeguard Civil Rights, Safety, and Dignity of All Sonoma Residents and to Affirm the City of Sonoma’s Commitment to a Diverse, Supportive, Inclusive and Protective Community; and a Resolution to Approve Financial Support to La Luz for $10,000 to Assist in its Education and Support of the Immigrant Community.”
The second vote was to approve funding to La Luz, the Springs-based organization which provides a variety of services to the Latino community, of $10,000. This money is intended to allow La Luz to further expand its programs, including legal aid to undocumented residents.
Many speakers addressed the council in support of the measures taken by the city, including a few members of the Latino community. Though some speakers asked for some changes before adoption of the resolution, including using the term “sanctuary city”, others expressed the opinion that moving ahead with the resolution as presently worded was an important first step and should be taken. Ultimately, the council agreed and the unanimous vote was warmly received by the community members in attendance.
In other council business, the majority refused to ratify the Mayors nomination of Linda Carrado to the Planning Commission. The 3-2 vote, Hundley and Harrington in the minority, led to a later discussion about the commission appointment process. The council made a wide number of suggestions about how the process might be changed from its current and long-standing method of the Mayor and one council member (rotating) interviewing applicants and then the Mayor making the nomination of his or her choice. The matter will be placed on a future agenda after the city manager and city attorney can confer and present the council with some clear, and legal, options. Meanwhile, many vacant seats on various commissions remain unfilled, despite the many and important issues before commissions such as the Planning Commission.
Brown Act complaint
Finally, on the recommendation of the City Attorney and City Manager, it was announced that the action of the Planning Commission to place the reconsideration of environmental studies of Bill Jasper’s hillside home development would be reversed. The city had been accused of violating the Brown Act at the Planning Commission meeting in question, and while the city maintains that the Brown Act (open meeting law) was not violated, it was nonetheless implementing the remedy curing a Brown Act violation requires. Moreover, Mr. Jasper has withdrawn his request for a reconsideration. The formal action on this matter will be taken at the next regular Planning Commission meeting. City Manager Capriola noted that steps are being taken to clarify meeting procedures and better train staff and commission members in order to avoid possible procedural missteps in the future.