City Hall shocker: Sonoma mayor resigns
Posted on May 18, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Sonoma Mayor Logan Harvey has resigned from the city council to take a job in Seattle, he posted yesterday. “Due to a significant career opportunity, I will be resigning as Mayor and my wife and I will be leaving Sonoma on June 8th.”
, a Sonoma native, was elected to the council in 2018. He served as mayor in 2020, and was chosen by the councilmembers to continue in that role through 2021.
The past six months have brought upheaval to the five-person council. In December, David Cook resigned after his arrest on child molestation charges (he has since pleaded no contest); then, in February, Rachel Hundley left mid-term citing a fractious working relationship with fellow councilmembers.
Full Letter from Logan Harvey:
It is with a heavy heart and deep appreciation that I write to inform you that, due to a significant career opportunity in Seattle, I will be resigning as Mayor and my wife and I will be leaving Sonoma on June 8th.
For Lili and I as well as everyone who grew up in Sonoma in the 90s, this place was the Garden of Eden. A beautiful town and valley filled with a community where everyone from the town doctor to the town grocer had a chance to own a home, to raise a family, and to have a life. When I ran for council in 2018, it is this vision of community that I have always tried to represent and to claw back as much as possible.
Since that time, Sonoma has gone through a significant evolution. As the town got discovered and national wealth inequality grew, home values rose dramatically, and Sonoma has shifted from a place of families and first-time homebuyers to a town increasingly made up of second homes and empty neighborhoods. As a result, the middle class of Sonoma finds itself, as it often does in America, caught between assistance it does not qualify for and services it can’t afford while the poor simply struggle to find any options at all.
Americans have been led to believe that government intervention will make their lives worse, not better. That government is their enemy and not their friend. This is a lie. The truth is that, at its best, American Democracy is not an entity outside of the community, but instead an entity born out OF the community, molded and shaped by those who engage with it. Used correctly, government intervention is the best chance that working people have to reduce the costs of childcare, healthcare, housing and education. Our best chance to build a world where all children, regardless of class or race, have a chance at a better future. Left to the free market, the hollowing out of our communities will continue.
As your Mayor, I have consistently pushed for and successfully passed policies in the hope of turning this trend. To create lasting opportunities for poor and middle-class people here in Sonoma.
Since my election, Sonoma has raised the minimum wage and developed an affordable housing trust fund based on hotel taxes and affordable housing impact fees levied on new hotels and new homes over 1200sqft. We’ve adjusted our inclusionary ordinance to increase the amount of low income affordable housing required in new rental developments and added a middle class affordable housing bracket to allow working families the opportunity to buy new housing without competing against higher net worth 2nd home buyers.
These policies will make new housing developments more likely to address the affordable housing crisis than ever before, but it will not help stem this tide if new housing projects do not get the support of the community.
New housing developments aren’t here to steal your water and ruin your quiet life. They are young families hoping to get their shot at a dream we once all believed in. They are homes for the people we all praised over the past year as “heroes” and “essential workers”. Instead of finding new reasons to be against these projects, let us find new ways to welcome these new Sonomans into our community.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your Mayor. I have so many great memories and so many people to thank. I think it is important for me to tell you that, despite recent events, the Sonoma County elected officials and government staff I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past 3 years are honest, hardworking people who care deeply about the communities they serve. These are not the power-hungry or media-obsessed politicians who so often grace the front page. These are the folks you hear less about, the people who would be happy to meet you, yes, even you, for a coffee and a chat about how to make our community better. I encourage you to try it.
There are big challenges and big opportunities ahead for Sonoma Valley. New state laws like SB330 and the passage of Measure W in Sonoma mean that Sonomans will see new housing that is different and denser than before. A process, long overdue, has begun to research the possibility of annexing the Springs by the City of Sonoma, officially defining our community’s boundaries in the way most of us already see it. We will recover from Covid with an opportunity to reshape our downtown and create new opportunities for merchants and public space. Even though I’m heartbroken I won’t be here to help mold this future, I’m so excited to watch it unfold.
Everyone has different reasons why they love this town. For some it is the natural beauty, for others it is the wonderful food and wine, or the history. But for my wife and me, it has always been this community. Sonoma has a unique way of attracting, kind, good, and decent people. The kind of people you remember forever and it warms your heart when you do.
For both myself and my wife Lili, this isn’t goodbye, because our hearts won’t let those words escape our lips, but instead a “see you later” for our path through life is a winding one and we both know it will lead us back here one day.
Logan and Lili Harvey
Mayor of Sonoma
(End of Letter)